There's just so much I love about this month. The snow, the warm and happy feelings, being with family, fireplaces, coffee and hot chocolate, all the Christmas activities including the tree, the lights, the gift wrapping, etc...

Another one of my favorite traditions is shopping in Columbus with my Mom. As avid shoppers, we do it this time every year. It's a nice mother-daughter tradition to throw ourselves in with the not-quite last-minute crazies. Perhaps that makes us crazies too? And somehow we always manage to go to Easton (the outdoor mall) on thee coldest day of the year. We'll be there on Monday, I haven't seen the forecast but I'm guessing it'll be 15 degrees and snowy.

But I wouldn't have it any other way.


Can't think of a subject, can't think of a title.

As I usually do when I can't think of anything to write about, I'm going to give some short quick quips on recent events:

  • We saw the Twilight movie. I didn't love it. It counted on you knowing the book (which I've read) and I thought it moved too fast through some of the scenes without giving enough substance to them. I also didn't appreciate the teenagers in the theater. The kid sitting behind us actually took a phone call in the middle of the movie and was loudly explaining to his friend how his girlfriend thought he was cheating on her and how she ruined their anniversary because of it. Although, I'm pretty sure he was getting 'serviced' later on. So I guess they made up.

  • Got our Christmas tree! And we put it up last night. I love that smell SO MUCH! I could sit in front of it all day and sniff it. There's just no replacement for that smell. Those silly poser air fresheners don't even come close.

  • I'm finding it very difficult to concentrate lately. I've been ignoring my alarm - it goes off about 8 times (no joke) - and waking up late almost every day. My day usually starts with me saying, "Oh shit, it's 7:40!". I've just been out of it. And too tired to care. (Hence the bullet points.) Not sure what the deal is?

  • I'm taking an exercise class twice a week. It's called Total Body Conditioning or something like that. What it should be called is, "You're really out of shape Michelle and should be totally embarrassed. Now do 20 more squats!" But I'm really enjoying it. There's only one other lady in the class so it's like I have my own personal trainer.

  • I got my hair cut yesterday. I was feeling adventurous and thought that cutting bangs would be wacky fun... turns out, it wasn't. I look ridiculous. Even more so because I will be spending the next 3 weeks pushing the hair out of my eyes until they grow out. I left the salon looking like a 40-year-old soccer mom instead of 30-year-old woman with no kids who knows very little about soccer. Stupid, stupid, stupid. We're supposed to have photos taken on Saturday. Why I chose to make this huge decision before photo day takes me back to fourth grade Perms Gone Bad photos. I haven't learned a thing.

  • Jay Leno is a pompous ass. I cannot believe he is doing a show at 10 p.m. before Conan when Conan assumes the Late Night spot next year. Conan has waited 5 years for this and now he's still following behind him. Conan has earned the right to prove himself, he doesn't need you to be his lead-in. Although he's not allowed to say it, I bet he is pissed. I am.

  • On a more serious note, my sister-in-law is having the worst 2008. She's the type that is always laughing, always having a good time, so it's really hard to hear that she's sad and not herself. I'm sure she would appreciate a kind thought.


Thank you.

Well friends, our office is closed until Monday and we are heading to Evansville to celebrate the wonderfully delicious and heartwarming Thanskgiving holiday. So I'd like to wish you and yours and very Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for so many things, it brings tears to my eyes to think about them. So I am thankful for Thanksgiving, because it's a day to reflect on just how lucky I am.

(I think we can all be thankful for the low gas prices this year, especially those of us who are traveling. Safe travels everyone!)


A hand model I shall not be.

The only thing I don't like about this time of year is the way that it completely dries out my hands. They are dry to the point of painful. Complete with cracking and bleeding and snagging on wool objects. It's uber attractive.

I'm convinced that there isn't a lotion out there that will help. Sure there are some decent ones on the market, but they all seem to be dirt magnets. Within hours, I feel like every particle of dirt floating around the atmosphere has attached itself to the lotion on my hands. So I go and wash them, thus removing the lotion and putting me right back where I started. In pain. It's a disappointing cycle, so I usually just suffer in silence. I'm quite the martyr.

What's even more unfair is that my husband has hands like babies' butts. They are quite possibly the softest hands in all of North America. Definitely softer than 99.9% of men and probably softer than 95% of women. And that's without a lick of lotion! I don't get it.

So those hands that you see modeling beautiful jewelry in magazines or perfectly pointing out products on the Price is Right, ain't mine.


Older and wiser and good at telling people what to do.

Although I work in higher education, I've never been directly involved with the lives of students. I'm more in the business of telling students where to go, and less of how I can help them get there. So I was caught off guard the other week when my 18-year-old cousin, who is a freshman in college, asked for my advice as to what I think she should major in. She is currently undecided but, I get the impression, desperately seeking to choose something. I was flattered that she values my opinion of what I think she should choose to do for the rest of her life. It also gave me a strange sense of power. Now, I certainly am not pompous or naive enough to believe that she will choose to do exactly what I say, but it was an honor just being nominated.

Perhaps she asked me because I'm the only member of my Mom's side of the family to graduate from a four-year school? (Although her older sister will be graduating from one next semester. It's taken her a little longer than most, but that's cool, she's finishing, that's all that matters.) Perhaps she asked me because she thinks I have done ok in life? I don't exactly know, but I think she thought twice about asking me when I encouraged her to look into gerontology.

My reasons are this: She has always been great with my grandma. When sometimes, my cousins and I feel uncomfortable around her because she's getting older and more fraille and harder to talk to, this cousin will call her on the phone or sit by her on the couch and chat about how things are going. She's the same way with my great aunt who is around 85. She just has that gift. And I don't think many people do. Plus, she loves History, so she likes old things.

I'm pretty sure it was a less sexy suggestion than she was looking for, but I truly believe she would be good at it. At a family gathering last night, she asked me if I had given any more thought to what I think she should do. I again pushed my agenda and we got out the laptop so I could prove to her that gerontology is more than your general nursing home unpleasantries. She didn't seem any more convinced. We looked at a few other options of which she would probably be good at, but I can just see her doing this. I want her to do it.

She asked for it. And I'm not giving up!


Deep Thoughts.

I've decided to get a tattoo.

I'd like to get a tattoo of the inside of my body all over the outside of my body. With complete anatomical correctness.

This way, everyone can truly love me for who I am on the inside.


This is an issue I feel strongly about.

Isn't this refreshing and atypical?

From a PEOPLE magazine (I know, the preeminent source for all political news) article with Carrie Underwood.

"There is someone I do support, but I don't support publicly," the country star tells TV Guide in its Nov. 10 issue.

And she thinks other stars should keep their lips zipped on their political picks: "I lose all respect for celebrities when they back a candidate." Underwood says voters should make up their own minds. "It's saying that the American public isn't smart enough to make their own decisions," she says. "I would never want anybody to vote for anything or anybody just because I told them to."


Issue 88. Do you support the efforts of celebrities to push their political views and agendas in any medium they deem necessary (i.e. movies, interviews about movies, interviews about television shows, newspaper ads, newspaper articles, fundraising telethons, Wednesday afternoons) to the lowly general public?

A vote YES will allow celebrities to remind you that you are a poor Nobody with little to no political prowess who is simply voting the way they vote because you like their movies or their fashion sense.

A vote NO will allow you to continue to make up your own mind by doing your own research and figuring out what you believe in and ultimately reminding celebrities that their political affiliation means bupkus in your voting behavior.

What say you?


Flower Child.

Tess wanted me to share her first Halloween photo with you.

This almost makes me rethink my stance on Halloween. If everyone had to wear this costume, then I'd be down. She isn't trying to scare me or take all of my candy, she just wants the world to enjoy her cuteness.

Personally I find the caterpillars on the leaves a bit frightening. What's with the big smiles? What are they so happy about? Clearly they are on drugs and are not to be trusted.


There are days I like better.

Ah yes, today is Halloween. What once was a time for candy and pumpkins and ghosts and Charles Schulz, 'tis now a time for the mousy girl in your office to dress like a slutty nun. Or a slutty doctor. Or a slutty cheerleader. Or a slutty Dutch girl. Or a slutty police officer. Or a slutty witch. Or a slutty school girl. Or a slutty vice presidential candidate (tell me there weren't be one (or 8 million) of those this year). Or a slutty cat. Or a slutty Olympic swimmer. Or a slutty superhero. Or a slutty devil. Or a slutty baby. Or a slutty prostitute (huh?). Or a slutty candy passer outer. Or a slutty mousy girl from your office.

Here's to hoping you all are more creative with your costumes this year.

I will be in my house. With the doors locked. With the outside lights off and all of the inside lights ON, watching happy movies that won't make me pee my pants or wake up my husband every 6 seconds because I think someone is standing in the bedroom doorway with a meat clever waiting to steal me and throw me into a well in their basement with my dog and feeding me by sending food down in a bucket, with lotion too, eventually hoping to skin me and then wear it. All while wearing a dress and lipstick and tucking things in certain places.

But I hope you all enjoy the day!

Happy Halloween.


Where have I been?

Ugh, I've been in my head, that's where. Trying to think of fun and witty things to write. I think about it so much that I am unable to produce anything worthy of my blog list members' attention. You deserve better.

I need to get out of this place (my head). Perhaps it's time for another vacation?


One year!

Happy First Anniversary to the man I LOVE!

I struggle with what to write here today. Not because I have nothing to say but because I'm afraid of not truly conveying my feelings.

So let me say this... I am so happy that I married you 366 days ago. You have given me the life that I always hoped I would have. I wanted a partner who I loved even though things aren't always happy. I wanted someone who had goals in life, someone who made me feel special and needed, someone who I could learn from, someone who enjoyed doing things and traveling, and someone who I could just "be" with. I had pretty much given up on finding that person. I was pretty sure you didn't exist. And since I love being dramatic, I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to live the rest of my life alone. But I am so proud to say that you are all of those things I mentioned above and I no longer have to worry about being alone. I have found my partner. And you're even better than I imagined.

Our first (married) year together has flown by in one fantastic blur. I simply cannot believe it. If this is what the beginning of our lives is like, what are the next 70 years going to be like? I'm not sure, but I cannot wait to find out! It's fun and exciting, yet at times, stressful and annoying. But thank God, it will be with YOU.

We are very lucky. And there isn't a day that goes by where I don't realize that. I am so thankful for everything we have, but most importantly I am thankful for you and the person you are. This day every year will be a reminder to us of just how blessed we are and everday in between will be another wonderful memory in our lives.

I love you with all my heart.



Last night I filled up my gas tank for $2.06! Total.

Before you ask "WHERE?!" or "Wow, Mickey D, great job spending $500 at Giant Eagle to save .76 cents on tanks of gas!" or "You have enviable talent for sniffing out a great deal!", let me first tell you how I was able to accomplish this seemingly impossible feat...

I only needed .7 gallons to fill up my tank.


The husband told me about the cheap gas on the corner and that I should go now because there was a risk of the Dow going up or down or sideways and that gas prices were thought to be going up. So I went. I guess I should have looked at my gas tank first to see if I even needed gas. Instead I operated on panic and fear. And for that I am ashamed.

It was embarrassing to get out of my car, run my credit card through, open the gas tank (twice, because the first time it slipped out of my hand and shut itself so I had to go back to hit the button again), select my grade, put the pump in and stand there for the whole 1.8 seconds it took to fill up my tank. I gave an apologetic wave to the person waiting for my pump and slunk back into my car. I'm sure there were plenty of fellow gas station patrons who witnessed this event (the place was packed) and are now sharing it with their friends and families and laughing at what a paranoid freak the girl in the black Jetta is.

Before you assume any untruths about me, no, I'm not one of the crazies who runs to the supermarket when the weatherman indicates a snowflake is on its way, this was an isolated incident. One that I am not proud of but one that I have learned a valuable lesson from...

Gas prices suck. Someone, ANYONE, needs to do something about it. The mere mention of cheap gas was enough for me to abandon my critical thinking process. I'm turning into a robot. A scared, hoarding, mindless robot driven by societal fears and paranoias. A slave to the economy's bottom line. A product of this country's most detrimental characteristics.

Or maybe just someone who needs to pay closer attention to what they're doing.

Either way, life seemed a lot simpler when gas was only $1.00 a gallon. That's all I'm saying.


Even better than Sea World.

A few photos of Stingray City.

Photos shot using the finest underwater disposable camera one can buy at the local Cayman grocery store.

Actually, this one was spotted "in the wild" when we were snorkeling before we got to Stingray City. So dangerous! MD sacrified his life to get this photo. Only not so much.

See, she was kissing them. It was kinda odd, I was a little uncomfortable. But they seemed to enjoy it.
MD holding one.
Me holding one. Look how huge that sucker is!

A whole gaggle of them.


Isn't Life "Grand"

Well, we're back. And honestly, we're none too pleased about it. Our trip to Grand Cayman Island was wonderful! Very relaxing and very hot. The high was about 90 and the low at night was 84. But that's what we were hoping for, so it was perfect.

It really is a nice place to visit. We were told there is no unemployment on the island and no crime. The cops don't even carry guns. So it's a very safe place to travel with a family. Although, if you're traveling with a family, you better have bank because stuff ain't cheap there. We had to pay for electricity for the week. Nothing is made there, except for Cay Brew beer and rum cake (and probably some babies), everything else is imported. Including Cuban cigars. And most prices are in Cayman dollars, so since our dollar is for shit, the cost in American dollars is always more.

There isn't much to "do" there per se, but one thing you simply must do if you ever visit is to swim with the stingrays at Stingray City. They take you to a sand bar in the middle of the ocean and let you swim with the dozens and dozens of (friendly) stingrays of all different sizes. They even let you "hold" them. (We have photos, but we need to get them developed.) They are very soft and rubbery on the bottom and feel like sandpaper on the top. I admit, I was a little freaked at first. They feel weird and they kill people, so I had to talk myself into it. But after seeing the guide girl literally make out with them (not kidding, she was kissing them on the mouth), I figured it was safe. It's definitely not something you do every day, it was very, very cool.

We did some shopping, eating, laying out and drinking at the swim-up bar, which is the perfect vacation as far as I'm concerned. We didn't see any famous people, but I hope the following photos will suffice...
Our condo. The Grand Morritt's Resort.

An overview of the condo grounds. We ate at the restaurant in the middle of the photo 3 times. It was pretty yummy. And close by.

The pool. With swim-up bar.

View from our room.

Our very own beach hut.

Me outside of the very best restaurant on the planet, Luca. It was incredible. EVERYTHING was delicious. I devoured some sort of liver dip. Liver! I don't eat liver. If it weren't such a nice restaurant, I would have picked up the bowl and licked it clean. I would make another trip to the island just to eat there. So naturally, I had to have my photo taken outside of it. Seriously, GO THERE. Except on Sundays.

Tortuga Rum. Downtown Georgetown.

Downtown Georgetown. With pirate ship.
MD being a tourist outside the Hard Rock Cafe.

Me being a tourist outside the Hard Rock.
MD illustrating driving on the other side of the car, on the other side of the road. If you're wondering if I got nervous about that, I will tell you, I WAS. It's very disconcerting. And it didn't help that their roads and their ubiquitous roundabouts are poorly marked. So the first 30 minutes of the trip was a little hairy.
The funniest road sign I've ever seen.

... yep, time to go...

It rained the last full day we were there and the day we left. And the forecast for the following week didn't look too favorable, so we got out at the right time. I guess we should expect this seeing as how we were traveling at the end of hurricane season. I still managed to come away with remnants of a tan. Actually it was the first time in my life that I didn't fry myself to allow it to "turn into tan". No one said to me, "Wow, you got some sun!"I got increasingly brown. I guess suntan lotion does have a purpose. It took me 30 years to learn that little nugget of info.

We're counting down the days until we retire so we can travel to places like this all the time. What's 365 times about 35?...


"Holiday!... It will be so nice... holiday!"

We leave tomorrow for the grand Grand Cayman Island! Yay!

I got my now-traditional vacation bikini wax the other day (still $30, woohoo!) and my waxer was telling me all about her recent trip to Grand Cayman. In between ripping the hair folicles out of my unmentionable area, she was telling me all the fun things to do and good places to go and even though I was in a compromising position and in uncomfortable pain, I got excited. An interesting dichotomy to say the least! I was excited before but it's always nice to get those reassuring positive comments from a total stranger who's pouring hot wax on you, you know?

If we see any famous people, I promise to take plenty of photos of the back of their heads to share with you all.

Miss me.


JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes.

As some of you may or may not know, my husband was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 10 years ago. He blogged about his experience, which I encourage you to check out here.

Again this year, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is holding a Walk to Cure Diabetes on October 4th. Please visit his blog to learn more about Diabetes and how you can help work toward a cure that is within reach.


With much gratitude,
MD squared.


Happy First Day of Fall!

Today is one of my most favorite days of the year. So I'd like to wish you and yours a Happy First Day of Fall and all of the enjoyment that comes with the season. May you be warm and snuggly, may you drink hot chocolate while picking apples, may you watch football and the new season of television wrapped up in your favorite sweatshirt or blanket while sitting by the fireplace, may you burn your cinnamon-apple-flavored candles, may you enjoy the smell of the briskness in the air as it seeps into your lungs, and may you enjoy it now before that blasted winter comes along.

Mickey D.


Wuv, Trwu Wuv.

Q. How do I know my husband loves me and accepts me for who I am and my body for what it is?

A. Because he points out when the girls in Playboy have smaller breasts than me to make me feel better about my chestial shortcomings.

And quite honestly, I appreciate that.

*I'm sure you understand why there is no photo with this post. If you need a visual, pick up the latest edition of Playboy. I'm much bigger than that.


My Olympic Moment.

Me and the amazing Ms. Kerri Strug. She of vaulting with a broken ankle but still sticking the landing to win an Olympic gold medal in the 1996 Atlanta games and now a presidential appointee in the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and training to run her fifth marathon fame. And me, of sitting in the audience appalled that we are the same age and have lead completely different lives fame.

However, I'm about 7 inches taller than she is. So I've got her on that one.


102 Minutes + Seven Years

Did anyone watch the documentary "102 Minutes that Changed America" on the History channel last night?

It was video captured by people who were in the vacinity of the World Trade Center on September 11. There was no host and no script. It showed the 102-minute time period between the first plane hitting the first tower and the eventual collapse of the two buildings through eye witnesses and news channel footage. It was people with their personal, handheld video cameras watching the events unfold from their apartments complete with their raw emotion and reactions as well as real-time interviews with people on the street as they watched everything take place.

I'm not certain I could fully articulate how I felt watching this. Certainly not well enough to do myself justice. I experienced every human emotion possible - from anger, confusion, outrage, sadness and fear to pride in our fellow Americans who were reaching out to help perfect strangers and sheer amazement at the bravery shown by the members of the police, fire and EMS departments. At times, I was almost sick.

I have watched everything I can about this day. I was one of those people who, in the days following the attacks, watched the news coverage everyday until 4 in the morning, waiting to see if something else would happen and struggling to see if someone would give an explanation as to why this happened. Even now, if I see there is a special on the architecture of the twin towers or something, I will watch. I simply cannot read, watch or learn enough about it. But this documentary was unlike anything I've ever seen. It's cliche to say that I felt like I was there, but I really did. It was incredible and horrific.

I'm sure most people can't see these things any longer because it is emotionally exhausting and painfully difficult to watch and that's completely understandable. But I have to. It's my way of making sure that I REMEMBER. Even though I remember every detail about the day from my experience, it's important to me that I remember that some people weren't lucky enough to be sitting in the Toledo Zoo marketing department watching the events on television. They were there, they had friends and family members who were there, they have children to whom they've had to try and explain why those buildings aren't there anymore and if they want to share their stories because its helps them to feel better, then I will listen. And watch. And cry.


You all must love my "Face"!

So I just signed up for that Facebook thing that the kids are talking about. And when I say just, I mean just. I added a photo and did a little snooping around on old friends and then I checked my email. I had 4 requests from people who I only know because of blogging! You know who you are. You all must have your finger on the pulse because I got them all at the same time! I have to admit, I saw the friend request names and I was all, "Who the heck is this? I have stalkers already?! I guess people like what they see."

But then I clicked and saw your profiles and I was all, "Oh fun, that's that blogger girl and that blogger girl! I have 4 instant friends who didn't attend my high school or even live in my city! LOVE it!"

Just so you 4 know, you have been officially added as my friends. Welcome!

I'm still new to this phenomenon. I was a lame Myspace participant, which I may subsequently close. I checked that thing like every 6 months, and there is no way I can maintain two social networks. This dance card is full. And I hear Facebook is way cooler. And I always did hang with the cool crowd...


What's cuter than cute?

We went to Chicago over the weekend to visit our new niece, Tess. She is 6 weeks old now and is pretty much the coolest baby in all the land. She is so good, the only time she made a peep was when she was hungry or needed to burp. Which, I can understand, that's how it works in my house as well. MD was asked to be the Godfather, which means that if we accidentally put her in the car and take her home with us, it won't be a big deal.

Get me a knife and fork, I could eat this kid up. I adore her.


As one door closes...

As a sentimental gal, I felt it only necessary to pay a loving tribute to my home in a photo montage. We'll start at the top and work our way down. Please join me in the tour, but remember to bring tissues. For me.

I wore these jeans every time I painted a room in the house. You can see all the many colors I experimented with. Last night I realized that the only walls I did not paint were in a small hallway. The only thank you I can say to the people who owned the house before me is, thank you for not having wallpaper anywhere. Every wall was white, a veritable blank canvas for me to go nuts and paint every wall a color that no one but me would probably ever like.

This is the master closet. This room looked absolutely nothing like this when I bought the house. It had insulation everywhere and there were no walls. We hung drywall, got carpet, had recessed lighting installed and painted. My husband was kind enough to finish the trim around the door and window. This, by far, was my favorite before and after. What a difference. This is where I had all my clothes and my vanity. You can't tell too well, but the walls were a light green. Love it!

Another photo of the master closet. Something tells me the gentleman who bought my house will tackle this wall first...
The master bedroom. The house is a story and a half. So I made this area my bedroom. Painted walls, pulled up carpeting, painting the railings. Track lighting was already there.

Another pic of the master bedroom. Those white doors are closet doors. This house had tons of storage for being built in 1942. This side is where I had my lounging chair and lamp for reading. I think I read there one time. But it looked fabulous!

This is where I tried to get creative. In one of the downstairs bedrooms. The wall was brown with this light blue square. Fancy, eh?

If you thought that was fancy, get a load of this! 3 squares! Handpainted by moi! Three of the walls were this light blue and the one wall was the dark brown accent wall. I totally love this color combination. I had super cute curtains in here too although they were removed prior to taking this photo.

Another bedroom. This one had little pink bunnies at the top. I didn't care for them so I painted this room orange.

Ah, the bathroom floor. (The previous owners had carpet in here. Horrible idea.) This bathroom is small yet it took my Dad and me two days to lay this peel n' stick tile. We almost got divorced over it. To spare my Dad the embarrassment, I didn't take a photo of the one section where I turned my back for 5 minutes and he put the tile on wrong, he matched up the white with the white, thus eliminating the nice checkered pattern. That area is now covered up by the garbage can.

The bathroom. I painted the cabinet and mirror black, the walls periwinkle and got a new toilet. I, for one, think it's tres cute.
The bay window in the dining room. Lovely.

Another shot of the dining room. Check out that curvature of the walls and coved ceilings. Try finding that in a new house these days. (I didn't take a photo of the living room because it had crap it in still, but it was the tan color you see in the alcove. It complemented the dining room nicely.)

My red kitchen. Second favorite room in the house. I absolutely love the way it turned out. My Mom did a fantastic job standing on the counters to paint above the cabinets. I couldn't have done it. White cabinets, white appliances, Pergo flooring (already there).
The basement. Ugh, this is the room that caused me the most grief. It leaked and I cried everytime it rained. So I had it waterproofed. If you're thinking that's cheap, you're wrong. What a mess. But right around the time we got a lot of rain, I was sleeping like a baby because I knew the basement was safe. So I paid for peace of mind and it was worth it. You're welcome, new guy.
My backyard. Not large. But totally big enough for me to put a lounge chair so that I could lay out. Plus it took 15 minutes to mow.
And, here we are at the front of the house. I got a new roof and painted the porch and spent many, many hours on flowers and weeding. I only wish this photo was taken when my tulips and lillies were in bloom. The flower bed on the left is filled with red and yellow tulips in the Spring. They are gorgeous, I will miss them. When I bought the house, there were these two large (taller than the house) skinny evergreen trees that we cut down. One unfortunately (read: hilariously) fell on top of my Dad's car that was sitting in the driveway. Oh the laughs we had over that one... the next day.

So, there we are, good 'ole 2643 Tully. Four and a half years of sweat, blood, tears, independence, happiness and comfort. It was the perfect first home for me. It was so cute and is filled with so many wonderful memories. I will be sad to say goodbye.




1:30. Friday. I will close the door on my house forever.

(I will actually probably close it for the last time on Thursday evening, but I was going for dramatics there.)


Are your fingers cramping up yet?

All of you who are currently sitting there with your fingers, and whatever other flexible body parts you may have, crossed, can stop. It's officially official - the HOUSE.IS.SOLD!

Well, according to our realtor, as long as the guy doesn't get hit by a bus, the HOUSE.IS.SOLD. I'd like to make a personal request to the buyer that he stay inside for the next week to avoid any such awful occurence. I hope that's not selfish of me.

I simply cannot believe it. What an enormous weight this is off of our shoulders. We will finally be a one-mortgage family!*

Closing will be next Friday. And I must admit it will be a bittersweet day for me. I bought it with the intention of living there for no more than 7 years, which is why I got a 7-year balloon, so I knew it wasn't my lifelong home. But it was MY home. I bought it, I decorated it, I mowed the lawn and planted flowers and pulled weeds, I painted it, I loved it, I cursed it, I was proud of it. So it will be a sad goodbye, tears will be shed. No doubt about it.

But I am happy that we are moving forward and won't have the burden of our 'summer home' to worry about. And my Dad can retire as lawn boy since he was gracious enough to take over after I moved out. It'll be nice to live our life in the home we are currently creating and possibly have a little more freedom to do so. And we'll get to buy that pair of jeans I've been wanting.

So thank you all for your well wishes, prayers and happy thoughts, they were very much appreciated. Now, let's celebrate!

*At least until we buy that timeshare in Hawaii that we really wanted.


Hurry, please. My insides are liquifying.

No official word on the house just yet. I think people are just trying to mess with us. Apparently the bank appraiser is appraising and inspecting this morning. We'll see.

This part is grueling. It seems so close, but there is still a possibility it could all be so far away. These pins and needles that we are waiting on are starting to hurt my feet.


Keep 'em crossed, please!

First inspection is complete. Everything is good. They didn't even write anything down that they want us to fix. Phew. I guess we did a good job covering up all the bad stuff! No, I'm totally kidding Guy Who Is Buying My House! That place is a gem. You were lucky to find it.

Now, we just wait for the almighty bank to come and appraise and do their inspection in the next couple of days.

I'm not relaxing just yet. I guess almost two years of worrying about selling the house doesn't magically go away after a couple of weeks. And I'm not exactly Easy-going Eileen on a good day.

So, let's keep our fingers crossed for a couple more weeks, shall we? Thank you.


We saw Chelsea, Lately.

In case you don't have a sense of humor and don't pay attention to things that are funny, the woman in the center of this photo is Chelsea Handler. As part of my birthday present, MD got me tickets to her show (her stand-up, not the one on E!) last Saturday. We also got the distinct pleasure of meeting her at a book signing at Barnes and Noble beforehand, as depicted above.

I would admit that Chelsea's humor isn't for everyone. She can be crass and inappropriate at times, but let me tell you, she was incredibly gracious. She did this book signing and spoke to everyone beforehand saying that she appreciated everyone coming out and buying the book and that she would stay as long as it took to get everyone's book signed. She also offered to stay after the show that evening and sign autographs. Most people would have gotten off that stage as quickly as possible and onto their fancy planes and would have told Rochester Hills, Michigan to kiss off. So you have to give her credit for that.

She was so fun to see in person. She's just hilarious and has such a natural delivery. It didn't feel like she was doing a "bit". I enjoy that. I'm a fan.


Positivity Pending.

I honestly never thought I would be able to type this on my blog, but I think we may have sold my house. I'm reluctant to type anything with certainty or excitement because there is still a 3-day window for them to escape and an inspection to pass. But papers have been signed and if everything goes as they are supposed to, then we have made our last mortgage payment. The buyer wants closing at the end of August.

It's been on the market since January 2007. That's 20 long, frustrating, maddening, disappointing, painful, sad, upsetting, hopeless months. I didn't even have one offer since it's been up for sale. And yes, we even buried the St. Joseph statue in the backyard. My dad was Catholic once so he presided over the burial to keep it legit. Then Mark, our third realtor, on a mission from Above, came down on a cloud carried by angels and sold the house in 10 days. (Pending, of course.)

What's ironic about this house is that it's initially one of the things my husband found attractive about me before we met. The fact that I was able to buy it on my own and live on my own was a major plus. A few months ago I asked him if it was still attractive to him that I had a house. He said no.


It's exhausting, but someone has to have this much fun!

I can't believe how quickly this summer has gone. Between Vegas and my birthday parties and going to Chicago and our niece staying with us and going to Tigers games and becoming an aunt and eating lots of hotdogs and going to Cincinnati last weekend and going to see Chelsea Handler this weekend and going to Chicago again in a couple weeks to see the new baby and summer hours at work, it's been a freakin whirlwind.

And it's all been too much fun.

My husband likes to say that we should have experiences, not things. I'd say we've accomplished that quite nicely.


Rod Allen could only eat 3. In your face, Rod!

Despite sitting in front of 8 of the rudest, loudest, most annoyingst group of young hoodlums, we had an enjoyable evening at the Tigers/Indians game last night. It was my first trip to Jacob's Field, which I will continue to call it in protest of sponsor world domination. The Tigers even came out on top.

And, as a special bonus, it was dollar hot dog night! Opportunities like this don't come around very often.

As a longtime hot dog connoisseur, it's no secret that I find ballpark hot dogs to be spectacular summer cuisine. I had a goal of eating 5 hot dogs but I fell one short. I consumed a disappointing 4. A letdown to my husband and Kobayashi, the world-famous-hot-dog-devouring champion. I probably could have eaten 5, but I wasn't willing to dip my bun in water to do so. I consider it a feat nonetheless. I'm usually good for one hot dog, but when $1 dogs are presented, I simply must take advantage.

There were some 42,265 hot dogs consumed at the ballpark last night. 9 of those by the MD family from Toledo. Impressive, I say. Even more impressive is my husband consuming a hot dog in one bite. Yep, we are quite the impressive couple. Some circles might even call us classy.


Thank goodness for accrued vacation time!

It's been more than 2 whole months since we went to Vegas, so obviously it's time for another vacation. MD and I are heading to Grand Cayman Island in September in honor of our upcoming first anniversary! I'm so excited. I don't know much about the Cayman Islands, but I'm doing some research. Research like, what time does the hotel swim-up bar open, how big is the pool, does the Cayman Island Chamber of Commerce recommend that I pack jeans because it gets cool at night, where's the closest shopping center, that kind of stuff.

Frequent vacationing probably won't be the norm for us, but we thought we should travel while we can before one of those money-sucking kids comes along.

I have to get a new passport today. The one that I got 13 years ago has gone missing. The forms I had to fill out for a missing expired passport involved everything short of an internal probe. Dudes, I just lost it, I didn't sell it to any aliens, I didn't leave my bags unattended at the airport, I'm not in the witness protection program, I just, ya know, moved.


Tee hee!

I think they should keep her.

I beg your pardon.

I am a woman with shorter hair. It's a cute little, now, kind of bob hairstyle. My husband loves short hair and I am thankful for that because my face is too long to have long hair. I also appreciate the fact that he doesn't think that long hair = necessary to be hot. He's not worried about people misinterpreting me for a dude, he just happens to fancy short hair. Cool. I happen to as well.

So imagine my dismay when I read that Eva Longoria chopped her hair off as to appear frumpy for the upcoming season of Desperate Housewives. Hang on just a second, pal. Since when does short hair = frumpy? I thought short hair = short hair. Or as something to try when you get bored and are looking for a dramatic change. Or because you're freakin hot in the middle of summer and can't take it anymore. Do people go into salons looking to be frumpier? "Eh, I'm feeling too fancy these days, let's cut it all off." Is cutting your hair the new "gain 85 pounds and wear ugly makeup in the hopes of winning an Oscar"?

Ugh. Someone get her PR rep on the horn, I'd like to fill out a comment form.


Photo Parade: Superhero.

This is Nora.

Nora is a superhero because she single-handedly made me a dog person. Prior to meeting her, I didn't much care for them. But this little punkin has changed my mind forever. Of little dogs, anyway. I'm still searching deep within to love big dogs.

Wherever there is danger of someone not liking dogs, she will be there. She'll even drive herself there.


Photo Parade: Excitement.

You want excitement? Well, here it is.

Our 'audience upgrade' tickets. Front row. Booyah.


Note to my new niece, Tess:

I'm so very excited you are here! Please do not get me wrong, I mean no disrespect to those that came before you. You have five D cousins that are fantastic people. I adore them. You will love them. (You've got a boatload more on your mom's side. I've never met them, but I hear they're cool.) And I love that when I married your uncle MD, I got to become an instant aunt. But I wasn't around when they were born. Being an only child, I won't ever get the thrill of hearing my brother or sister tell me they are pregnant or calling me at 12:30 a.m. to tell me they just had a baby. So your birth is as close as it will get and it's very special to me. MD is the youngest of four, and your older aunt and uncle are done having babies, so your mom and dad were my only chance to get this excitement. It's hard to explain, but it's awesome. I even demanded that my friends and co-workers refer to me only as Aunt Michelle the days after you were born. I really did. What can I say, I am proud.

Until I married your uncle, I didn't know what a big family was like. But it didn't take long to figure it out. Big families are amazing. And loud. And this one is pretty great. And your parents are two of my favorite people that I've ever met, and I'd say that even if we weren't related. You are lucky. They are funny and sweet and loving and they know how to have fun. Your dad makes awesome homemade biscuits and your mom is the easiest person in the world to get along with. And they really love each other. Plus, you get to live near Chicago and your mom can navigate those streets and the train system with the best of them. Make her take you there often. And slyly say, "maybe Aunt Michelle would like to go shopping downtown with us? Let's call her to visit." I'll be on the next Megabus.

You and I are the newest members of the D family. So I promise to show you the ropes and I will try not to exert my seniority over you as much as possible. But the minute one of your cousins brushes your hair over mine, I'm gonna have to pull rank and shut you down. Perhaps, you'll be able to do that to your brother or sister or my kids someday, but that is all. I am exactly 30 years and one month older than you, let's not forget that... um, maybe we should forget that... I am exactly 25 years and one month older than you. That's what you will tell people.

You have made your parents very happy already. Your uncle and I cannot wait to meet you and see what a lovely little family the three of you are. I'm sorry, the four of you. I'm sure Lucy can't wait to meet you either. She's heard a lot about you these last nine months, and she wants to know what all the hype is about.

Thank you for allowing me to see what it's like to become an "official" aunt. I've enjoyed it immensely. To steal a phrase from my good friend K, who is an old pro at being an aunt, I am happy you were born.

Aunt Michelle



Last night a new little D was born! A girl. She was born at 9:24 Chicago time. 7 pounds, 20 inches long. With a full head of dark hair. They haven't decided on name just yet. She sounds fantastic already. I like her.

I cannot wait to meet her!

Name update: Therese Marian. Tess for short.

Ooh, Tiny you were so close on the date. But not the gender. Good guess.


It's no foul ball, but I'll take it!

Thanks to MD for being the employee of the month (yay!), we got VIP tickets to the Tigers game this weekend. VIP meaning 4 rows behind the Tigers dugout! We might as well have been in the dugout. We also got a free parking pass to one of the VIP parking areas. Unbeknownst to us, they apparently like to put VIPs on television...

That's us on FSN Detroit! In the middle of the eighth inning. Clear as day. Looking like a bunch of VIPs. My dad called us right afterward and said that we just had our 15 seconds of fame. Tiny totally saw us too. Thank goodness MD had the foresight to tape the game so I could watch it 18 times on the DVR. I just think it's hilarious! I mean, we were two of 42,000 people!

And this comes almost a year to the day after we were on tv sitting in the front row at the Late Show. That's pretty incredible. Next stop, Hollywood.


My List. 49-26.

Ok, back to our regularly scheduled program:

49. Having the whole bar get quiet when my college friends and I would loudly sing "Like a Prayer" nearly every weekend.
48. Calling everyone we know telling them about our engagement. And the way his brother made me cry. And seeing MD cry because I was crying.
47. Waiting with Sarah for two hours to touch a dolphin at the dolphin pool at Sea World.
46. Watching the Wizard of Oz every year with my dad, cousin and uncle. My cousin and I would always leave the room when the Wicked Witch of the West was on. And we would beg my uncle to do his spot-on impression of the Lion.
45. The first time I got flowers at work.
44. Having the cool mom who always made blue Kool-aid for our summer softball games and always had the new, fun snacks.
43. Seeing Jerry Seinfeld. Twice.
42. My Slip 'n Slide in our backyard.
41. The hot dogs at Tigers games.
40. Playing the piano every Christmas. The same 10 songs.
39. The Hoopla dance my cousin and I made up and always performed for the whole family.
38. Nora.
37. Asking my parents to move their cars out of the garage so I could roller skate on the smooth surface while listening to all the great 80's music.
36. The smell of Fall in Northwest Ohio.
35. The matron of honor and best men speeches at our wedding.
34. Chicago, New York City, Boston, Denver and the feeling I get when being in a big city.
33. Being invited to the Young Writer's Workshop in third grade.
32. Sarah and I laughing about nothing for hours.
31. My first taste of Pinot Grigio on my 23rd birthday.
30. The home movies from when I was a baby that my dad had converted onto dvd. (They were old projector film that we used to watch on a large pull-out screen in our living room.)
29. My fantastic 30th birthday parties and all the love that went into planning them.
28. Learning to ride my pink Huffy bike without training wheels. My dad letting go without me knowing it and hearing him yell excitedly, "You're doing it, you're doing it!" as I got further and further away.
27. Picking my lip.
26. The day I won 4 tickets to the Late Show with David Letterman.

My list 74-50.
My list 100-75.


baby pool.

My sister-in-law is due July 25 with her first baby. They don't know if it's a boy or a girl. We had a shower for them over the weekend and she doesn't think there is any way she'll make it to the 25th. Which means it could be any day now! I've always enjoyed trying to guess things. Like guessing lottery numbers right before they announce them on tv and guessing the exact time I think we'll pull into the driveway after a long trip, so I'd like to make a game out of this joyous occasion. Since it's on my blog, it will be in print and official. So when I'm right, I'll have my blog as proof and y'all as my witnesses.

Here's what I predict:
The baby will be born on JULY 18 and it will be a BOY.

If you think you're a good guesser too, feel free to play along. I'd love to hear people's thoughts on the pregnancy of a woman they don't know of a baby they'll never meet.

Life with a tween.

Day #1: So far, so good. She's really adorable and pretty mature for her age, she seems so much older than 12. And she couldn't be more thrilled to be spending the week with us. She told me she was just happy that we even asked her to come, that we liked her so much that we want to spend time with her. That made my heart smile. What a sweetie. Here's what I've learned so far:
  • Hannah Montana is for 4 or 5 year olds. Certainly NOT for 12 year olds.
  • 12-year-olds love to read. And they like big, thick books. Even non-Harry Potter books.
  • Cell phones must have a texting plan.
  • Even tweens love shoes and shoe shopping.
  • Tweens are more "developed" than 30 year-olds nowadays. (Which doesn't take much, let's be clear. But, boy, what a depressing realization. Most of my week will be spent stuffing to make sure everyone knows I'm the adult.)
  • 12-year-olds really are aware of what's going on. They aren't stupid.
  • They also don't mind being told to 'shut up'. We didn't tell her to shut up, of course, but she said we could if we thought she was talking too much. (What a different world this would be if only that offer applied to everyone.)

I think I will totally learn more from her than she will from me.


Flashback: July 3, 2007

One year ago today, a magical event took place. It was a day I had dreamt about for more than a decade. It was most certainly a day of ups and downs for my emotions, however. But in the end, it will go down as one of my most exciting days ever. Read all about it here.


Blog monkeys, blog.

I hope everyone knows how much I enjoy reading their blogs. I don't know if you can tell how many people are looking at your blog on Blogger, but if yours is an inordinately high number, I bet it's because of me. It's almost like a tick, I don't even realize I'm doing it. Like every 5 minutes I think, "Surely someone blogged recently." or "I bet someone has left a comment on someone's blog in the time that it took me to type that email." Then I proceed to check all the ones I have saved in my favorites. In my head, people are just sitting at their computers typing away for my enjoyment. You are all my monkeys.

I thank you and curse you all for being so entertaining.

(I'm totally going to run through my list now. Do not disappoint me.)


Having kids is a cinch.

Our niece is coming to stay with us next week. She's 12. We asked MD's sister for a list of food that she likes so we can stock up. Here's what we were told:

strawberry pop tarts!!!!
pancakes (walmart has some already made in the freezer section) They are good!
bagels and cream cheese
blueberry muffins

She knows how to cook and use a stove

frozen Jack's pizza
pizza bites
deli sliced turkey meat to make sandwiches Walmart- Sun Dried Tomato turkey breast
chips- Cool ranch Doritos, honey BBQ frito, chili chees fritos
hot dogs & Mac-n-cheese
chicken & noodle soup
tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwich

micro popcorn
pop sicles
frozen grapes -red

Mt Dew
ice tea
milk skim milk (she says Deans)
chocolate milk made with choc syrup
kool Aid-Cherry or lemonade

Ah yes, we should get along famously. I'm pretty sure 90% of these things are in our pantry right this very moment. This will be a piece of cake. Of pancake, that is. The frozen kind. From Wal-mart.

Thanks-giving Day.

This past weekend went by without even so much as a mention of my birthday. In fact, my Dad said, "I don't even want to hear about your birthday anymore." Boy. Who says only children are spoiled? My own Dad is over me. Aside from that disappointment, it was still an awesome weekend.

As a thank you to my parents for our lovely and fabulous wedding, MD and I planned a day of fun for them. A day of fun which included lunch at the infamous Pappy's, gambling at Greektown and a Tigers game. All funded by us. They spent a pretty penny on the wedding, the least we could do was buy them a foam finger in the shape of a tiger's claw. We're generous like that.

Not wanting a repeat of last year's debacle, we crossed our fingers that all four tires would be healthy. (I can happily report that everything went swimmingly.) We left super early to avoid the ubiquitous construction and arrived in record time and had lunch. Then we made our way over to the casino where MD and I double handedly brought down Greektown. (They might write a book and make a movie about us.) Not only did we scam them for free parking because we left our car there to avoid paying $20 at the game, but we walked away from the Blackjack table with about $120 in winnings. Suckers! I'm sure they are still feeling the hit from that.

The game was a lot of fun. It was super sunny for a while, but we were prepared for a downpour, so I guess the sun in our eyes was welcome. We got to see a grand slam home run, right before our very eyes! Luckily, it was in the Tigers favor. Tigers were up 5-2. We left at the top of the 7th when we saw that the security guards had changed into full yellow rainsuits. They obviously knew something was coming. We're no dummies, we can take a hint. While listening to the game on the radio in the car, my hatred for Todd Jones continued when he blew their lead in the 8th inning. Ooh, that guy burns me up! The good guys were down 6-5. Until the bottom of the 9th. The team rallied in the bottom of the 9th to pull out a 7-6 victory with a clutch walk-off hit! The radio announcer was yelling so much we all couldn't help but be excited. I'd like to think it was the team's way of saying "F you, Todd Jones! We are going to win this in spite of your shitty pitching." And win they did.

It was a great day. Although, I don't think my parents took full advantage of our generosity. We were prepared to pump them silly with hot dogs and beer. Especially after our big win! But no, they were just happy to spend the day with us. The hot dogs were simply a bonus. They thanked us profusely for everything. Which we, in turn, thanked them. And said the next time they want to spend thousands of dollars on us, we would be more than happy to fund another day of fun. After a stop at Greektown, of course.

Note to the kids: When you are patting yourselves on the back for being up $55 after a day of fun, remember to come to a complete stop at all stop signs, because it's amazing how quickly you can be DOWN. Luckily this was a lesson we didn't have to learn the hard way.