Friday, December 25, 2009

Waiting for Santa

When I was three I wandered out of my bedroom on Christmas Eve and discovered my mom putting presents under the tree and stuffing my stocking and just like that, the illusion of a jolly old man in a red suit delivering toys to all the children of the world was destroyed.

Somewhere between junior prom and my bachelor's degree the trend reversed; I became a believer.

Most people abide by 1 Corinthians 13:11, "When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things." Apparently I am not most people. The older I got, the stronger my belief grew in not only the magic of Christmas, but in the Big Man himself.

I often hear people say they don't watch the news any more because it's too depressing. They feel like the world around them is overrun with wars, poverty, economic downturns, gang violence, and celebrities and politicians who either can't remember or don't care who they're married to.

But when the Christmas trees go up and the lights come on, something amazing happens. Across the country bells ring and people throw their spare change into red kettles. Marines decked out in their dress uniform stand on street corners alongside their moms, dads, brothers and sisters to collect toys for needy children in their communities. Regular people and local businesses partner with radio stations donating time and money to grant wishes as simple as new coats for their children or as elaborate as a new van to transport a disabled child.

Churches, shelters, and soup kitchens feed hundreds of thousands of families who wouldn't otherwise get a meal. Charities buy presents for children whose parents are in prison, helping those children find some sense of normality during the holidays.

I have even been told there is sometimes a break during battle on Christmas day.

We become a little more like the people we wish we were.

I know it won't last. It never does. Once the decorations go back in the attic and we polish off the last of the pie, things will go back to normal. That's why I believe it is Christmas that brings the magic. And although he may not arrive on a reindeer pulled sleigh, there is just no denying that the spirit of Santa comes alive every holiday season.

Look around and I think you, too, will become a believer.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Waiting for Sound Theology

In the midst of this holy season I thought I would share with you some theology from a person whom I am quickly learning may be one of the great spiritual minds of our time; my five year old daughter.

The following are excerpts from conversations that have taken place between me and my daughter over the past year.


Me: Possum went up to heaven to live with grandma.
AK: Why?
Me: Because Possum was very old and grandma wanted to have a cat up there with her.
AK: Oh. Does God have a place for all the animals to sleep in heaven?
Me: Yes, I think he does.
AK: Who's going to die next? You or daddy?
Me: *pause* Well, only God knows that, but I don't think either one of us will die for a long time.
AK: Okay. Does God feed the pets in heaven?
Me: I'm not sure.
AK: Well, if God doesn't feed them, who does?
Me: I don't know. I'm sure somebody feeds them, or maybe God does.
AK: How tall is God?
Me: How tall do you think He is?
AK: About as tall as daddy.


Me: And on the seventh day God rested.
AK: So He could let Jesus do all the work?


This conversation was with my dad, a pastor of 40 years.
AK: Someday my mommy is going to die and go to heaven.
Pops: Yes, she is.
AK: And Pops, you are going to die and go to heaven.
Pops: Yes, I am.
AK: And I am going to die and go to heaven, and Nana is going to die and go to heaven, and my daddy can ride a bicycle standing up.


Me: What did you learn in church today?
AK: God lives in heaven. And sometimes Oklahoma.


Me: Jesus was born just like you and your brother.

AK: He has a mom?
Me: Yes.
AK: But He is God's son?
Me: Yes.
AK: Well that doesn't even make sense.
Me: I know it's a little confusing. Jesus is God and He is also a person, just like us.
AK: I mean. How did he . . How was he even . . . How did he . . . How was he even born there.... without a nursery?


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Waiting in Time Out

My child hits.

There. I said it. I feel like it should be cathartic. Like saying, "My name is Kristen and I'm an alcoholic."

Mostly I just feel like I have a child who hits and have developed a deeper understanding how stay at home moms become alcoholics.

My child hits indiscriminately. He enjoys the sound it makes, I think. He starts by hitting his plastic screwdriver off of the plastic toolbox it came with, and that is okay, I think. So I let him do it. He has the most fantastic laugh and the noise he discovered hitting the screwdriver and the box makes him laugh, not quietly, but a big belly laugh. Perhaps I should stop him, but I enjoy the laugh and it makes me laugh too.

He is twenty months and full of life and rolls of chub. He was born five weeks early and barely five pounds, so watching him now, full of chub, life, and laughter brings me great joy, even if he is now hitting a plastic hammer off of a tambourine. I reason that this is a musical instrument, so I allow the concert to continue, thinking that he could be a Blue Man in training.

He then moves with the plastic hammer to the coffee table, which is where I draw the line. Not because our coffee table is particularly nice. It is what designers call distressed, and I think to get it that way, I probably banged it with an actual hammer, but it is the principal of the thing. My child is clearly disappointed, as the noise from the table was much better than either the tambourine or the box provided.

He is not deterred. He finds a ladle in a kitchen cabinet it attempts to see how it would sound beating against the head of our nine year old beagle. Luckily for the beagle, I stop the experiment before he can find out.

His favorite target, however, is his sister. If there is something in his hand, or in his reach, be it soft, hard, long or short, he feels compelled to hit her with it. Sometimes out of anger, sometimes out of curiosity. Sometimes, I believe, just because it is in his hand and she is in his reach.

I have said the words, "No hitting," "Use nice hands," and "We don't hit," so much that he may think they are actually rooms in our house at this point. In fact, as he is raising his hand (or whatever object he has in it) to hit whatever it is he is about to hit, he will look at me and say, "No?" and then proceed to swing away.

He spends a good deal of his day in time out and I spend a good deal of my day trying not to console myself with the stale Halloween candy hidden on the top shelf of the pantry. Our pediatrician suggested that he is simply exploring his surroundings and doesn't understand that hitting people causes physical pain. Meanwhile, I'm trying graduate my daughter from kindergarten without brain damage.

Advice in the mommy world varies from; stick to time outs (don't repay hitting with hitting) to hit him back (he'll never understand it hurts unless you show him).

If any of you have been there and done that, all of us here in the Escovedo Casa would be greatly appreciative of any advice you could give us, especially our daughter and our dog!

How have you successfully disciplined a toddler who hits?
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Waiting for December; How NaNoWriMo Stole My Life

To my faithful Waiting Room readers, first let me thank you. Second, let me apologize for my vast lack of posts in the last month. It seems my life, or at least my writing life, was sucked dry by NaNoWriMo.

Like many of you, I had never heard of National Novel Writing Month, lovingly dubbed NaNoWriMo, until one of my writer tweeps mentioned it on Twitter on October 29. A quick Google search landed me on the non-profit's home page
where I learned that;
"National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30."
"How fun would that be?" I said to my husband, who was sitting next to me on the couch, Googling his own November project. Since leaving my job in August due to health concerns, I felt that God was calling me to write and this seemed like the perfect way to give my writing chops a work-out. Fifty thousand words, thirty days; no problem.

Well, maybe there was one slight problem. I had no idea what in the heck to write about. ButI had two whole days to think about it before the clock started ticking. I mean, come on. I was a woman with no full time job for the first time in my life. What else did I have to do?

Turns out that October 30 and 31 are pretty well occupied with all things Halloween in a house with two small children, one of whom is in kindergarten and had her first big elementary school event, for which her costume had to be made using things we had at our house (hello duct tape!).

November 1; The writing begins. Not only do I have no plot, I have no ideas for a main character, a setting, or even a ge
nre of book. I call upon my Facebook friends for help.

Kristen Walker Escovedo Just signed up for the National Novel Writing Month ( Writing a 50k word novel by midnight November 30. Now I just need a plot, some characters, & a setting. Luckily the goal is not for it to be good, just to finish! Kind of like if I was running a marathon, only in this case, I probably won't be lying on the ground crying at the end.


Brad Fitzpatrick
Plot; a young man in search of the etch-a-sketch his papa bought him, and some kid stole. Characters are Blake, Zeus (a dog), Nurple, and Brianne. The setting is Cleveland, OH in 1983.
November 2 at 12:29am

Elizabeth Lopez Hatley
Cheerleaders.....need I say more?
November 2 at 5:47am ·

Greg Leetz
You can write my Autobiography.... Beer, Girls, and...... OK. Maybe you need to find someone else.
November 2 at 10:58am

Let's say Facebook was a bust. So, November 2 came and went and I was still without a plot, characters, setting, or genre, but I decided I should probably start writing. And I did. I wrote nearly 9,000 words (about a week's worth) before a story developed.

By that time I realized that my characterization of "How fun would that be?" was not entirely accurate. While some sessions were fun, others felt like the days your mom forced you to sit down and write thank you notes for ugly hand made sweaters your aunts from West Virginia sent you for your birthday while your friends were all riding their bikes outside on a perfect 74 degree sunny day.

A week's bout with bronchitis put me almost 8,000 words behind and a weekend visit from my dad and another from my best friend tempted me to get even farther off track Can't you see them now? All of your friends running through the sprinkler, eating red Popsicles and rolling down grassy hills while you are forced to read the entire dictionary? And not the small paperback copy. That big hardback copy that your mom uses for a step stool to reach the pitcher she keeps on top of the fridge at Thanksgiving. Hello my life in November.

Many late night into early morning hour writing sessions helped me stay in the hunt for the coveted PDF certificate printout that goes to "winners" if they finish by midnight on November 30th. But something else happened along the way. I actually started to like my book. My characters started to take shape and every day they surprised me. I never went into a writing session with a preconceived notion of what I was going to write about that day (which is pretty easy when you have no plot lined out), and I just let my characters live for a thousand words or two (depending on how long my 18 month old napped that day or how long I could keep my eyes pried open before I started accidentally writing my children's names into the book).

And on those days, it was fun again.

On November 29, after a seven hour marathon writing session, I typed my 50,202nd word and ended my first novel.

For now.

It is not in readable format, even for my husband, who keeps asking me when I'm going to take it to Kinkos and print it out so he can see what was so important that he and the kids had to eat PB & J for a month. I can't imagine how many comma splices, typos, and sentence fragments it contains. I haven't even read the whole thing from start to finish. During the last night of writing I realized I had inadvertently changed a character's name halfway through. Whoops! But I finished and I'm proud. And to any of my writer friends who gave up their November for

calendar,December 2009Image by hichako via Flickr

NaNoWriMo, I'm proud of you too, win, loose, or draw. Keep that book as a badge of honor, because contrary to popular belief, sometimes, we do need stinkin' badges.

Someday, after Santa makes his way down the chimney, I will go back and fix the comma splices and make sure my kids don't make cameo appearances, and I'll develop this little novella into an actual book.

But for now, I'm ready for December.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Waiting for Thanksgiving; TV Tray Style

What We're Thankful For on TV
The following is a cross post on Joe Jenkins' blog joeonthetube. Richie and I contribute a His/Her Grey's Anatomy Wrap Up to joeonthetube weekly.

HERS: Tony’s truth serum induced rescue of Ziva on the season opener of NCIS.
HIS: I absolutely love NCIS. The season opening was pretty great.

HERS: The Good Wife.
HIS:: Have never seen The Good Wife – don’t need to, I already have one (Love ya babe).

HERS:Tom DeLay’s broken whatever that finally bumped him off Dancing With the Stars since the judges were apparently too dumbstruck by his ridiculous old man Republican hip shakin’ booty to do it.

HIS: Ok, I’ll say it, I’m ok watching Dancing With the Stars – the women’s dance outfits are worth the time.

HERS: My husband doesn’t watch NASCAR.

HIS: I don’t get NASCAR – go straight, turn left, go straight, turn left – um, ok?!

HERS: Phineas and Ferb.
HIS: Phineas and Ferb.

HERS: Our daughter has finally outgrown Noggin.

HIS: Unfortunately, she’s picked up watching videos on CMT with her mom. :-/

HIS: PBS is now on our radar again.

HERS: There are only a few weeks when the Mavericks and the Rangers overlap. Even fewer since the Rangers blew the last half of the season. (I’m not saying I’m thankful the Rangers blew the last half of the season. I was rooting for them. But come on, how freaking long can one season be? Oh wait, that question can be answered by the NBA.)

HIS: Yep, I love watching sports on TV

HERS: Grey’s Anatomy is good again.

HIS: Grey’s Anatomy is good again.

Popcorn for Thanksgiving isn't so hotImage by Lorianne DiSabato via Flickr

HERS: That we only have one TV in our house and I am frequently reminded of the depths of my husband’s love. Case in point – last night, he watched Donnie Osmond take home the Glitter Ball trophy on Dancing With the Stars, even though the Mav’s were playing. I’ll return the favor, of course, when I watch seven football games with him on Sunday. But that’s why God created DVR. Which I’m also thankful for.

HIS: Yep, I love watching sports on TV

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Waiting for Mo

Me & my son show off our Mo's
One of the things I love about my husband is that he did not propose by shaving "Marry me?" into his back hair*. Should that thought have occurred to him, we would not be married today for several reasons, the least of which is that we would be well into our golden years and his back would still be as bare as the day he was born. He is simply not a hairy man.

Because I am not attracted to the Grizzly Adams type, this has never been an issue for me. However, it is inevitable that all males will exercise their ability to grow facial hair at some point. For Richie, this came in the form of a goatee a few years after we were married. For some men this means not shaving for a day or two. For Richie, it was a three month process, with patches of hair here or there, and one spot where no hair would grow no matter how long he waited, how much red meat he ate or ESPN he watched. But eventually his patience paid off and he was a man with facial hair.

He kept it trimmed short, for obvious reasons and although I'm usually not attracted to men with beards, I found it very sexy.

So why would this handsome man who worked so for his goatee shave it off last night with out a second thought?

One word; Movember.

I know. That's not even a word. According to Richie's website, Movember is a moustache growing charity event held during the month of November every year that raises funds and awareness for men's health - specifically prostate and testicular cancer. The month-long campaign this year will benefit The Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

For a minute, Richie was tempted to keep his moustache and just shave off the beard part of the goatee. After all it wasn't a huge mustache to start with, who would notice. But the "rules" of Movember are to start clean shaven and grow your best moustache in 30 days. Seems that the naked faces act as billboards that then grow Mo's to raise awareness for the cause. Richie understood this, and off came the goatee.

So I got to thinking about all those guys out there like Richie who would like to participate in Movember, but are letting their propensity for slow growing hair stop them. I became determined to encourage the "Slow Mo Growers" to unite. What better cause than increasing awareness of a disease that will affect 1 in 6 men (half of whom are probably slow Mo growers).

If you are letting fear of taunting by your family and co-workers stop you, I've prepared some come-backs for you, the "Slow Mo Growers."

You Wanna Take on My Mo?
TAUNT: What's that on your upper lip?
COMEBACK: I call him Mo. What do you call that bald spot on the back of your head? Jenny?

Movember - Day 20Image by davesag via Flickr

TAUNT: I think you have some crumbs or something on your face.
COMEBACK: My Mo is finding a cure for cancer. What's your uni-brow done for you lately.

TAUNT: How long do you think it will take before we can see that thing without a magnifying glass?
COMEBACK: Let's race. My Mo turns into a handlebar moustache before your beer gut turns into a sixpack.

TAUNT: My sister could grow a better moustache than you.
COMEBACK: Awesome. Tell her to sign up for Movember. And, in December, she might want to start bleaching, just saying.

Now you're out of excuses. So go, grow, Mo!

*Footnote - Gentleman, this is not a suggestion, I saw it on AFV in the late 1990's.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Waiting for tricks or treats

spock costumeImage by carbonated via Flickr

Growing up, few nights held as much anticipation in our house as Halloween. My earliest memories of costumes were the plastic aprons that tied in the back, kind of like putting your arms through a Hefty bag, only the plastic didn't hold up as well as a trash bag. The accompanying masks were formed of a thicker plastic with edges sharp enough to be used as a weapon. I speak from experience. The eye holes never seemed to go right over your face, and the holes for the nose were so small that your breath was recycled through the mask all night. In cold climates, like Montana, at least that meant your face was warm.

Speaking of cold, this added another element to the costume. It was nothing unusual for temperatures to be at, or below freezing by the Devil's night (oh how we wished the Devil would show up with fire and brimstone some of those nights). Because we were determined to be Barbie, Darth Vadar, He-Man, or whomever, our mothers would put our heaviest winter coats on first, and then try to put the plastic aprons on over the coats, inevitably tearing them before we got to the first house.

No matter. With pillow cases in hand, we started out for a night of doorbell ringing, candy eating (because who waited until we got home to check for razor blades), and praying that somebody would give out quarters or better yet, coupons for a Frosty at Wendy's. It was almost better than Christmas. In fact, there were years when I think it was.

I understand that neighborhoods may not be as safe as they used to be and childhood obesity is on the rise. I get that my 5 year old wants to be Taylor Swift and that little boys probably don't dream of being fire fighters any more. But don't you just wish you could give your kids one Halloween like you had it? Plastic masks, pillow cases and all?

What are your favorite Halloween memories and new traditions that your family loves?
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Waiting for Julio

One of my five year old daughter's greatest loves is singing and her favorite artist is Taylor Swift. Usually I am pretty good about keeping up with my daughter's current trends. But this one threw me. She had just turned four we were riding home from school and Taylor S

“Love Story” coverImage via Wikipedia

wift's Love Story came on the radio. From the back seat I heard my daughter singing along. When I asked how she knew this song, she replied, "Kristen taught me. We love Taylor Swift."

We do?

From that day on, every time Love Story came on in the car, the grocery store, an elevator, or the dressing room at the mall, our princess sang every word . . . kind of.

For those of you not familiar with the song, it is a modern day story of Romeo and Juliet.

For our little princess, it is the story of Julio and Juliet.

Every time someone new hears her sing they look at her dad or me and mouth, "Did she say Julio?" We smile and nod, but it's so darn cute that no one can bear to tell her that Juliet's forbidden love was a Montague not a Mexican.

I feel her pain. I sang my own share of wrong lyrics. Most were hymns and Sunday school songs. Here is a sampling.

- Roll the old cheerio along (Roll the old chariot along)

- In the song "Mr. Noah Built an Ark" I was sure the line was "Down came the rain in Torrence" thinking that Torrence was the city where Mr. Noah lived. It was only a few years ago that I learned that it was actually "Down came the rain in torrents."

- And my favorite misunderstanding. Although it's not a song, it comes from a musical, so I count it just the same. For about a decade I thought that in Grease when Rizo said she "missed a period" that she just skipped a class. I was amazed how much trouble people could get into in high school for skipping school. That movie didn't teach me much about pre-marital sex, but it definitely taught me important lessons about truancy.

What Julio songs do you remember from childhood? Do you and your family still sing the wrong words? Share your stories here because let's face it, we could all use a little less Romeo and a little more Julio in our lives.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Waiting for fashion to destroy the world

In 1989, leg warmers, stone washed jeans, and parachute pants ruled the runway. But perhaps nothing defines the decade better than big hair. And how did we get our hair so big? Come on ladies - do it with me - flip your head upside down and blow dry our hair while spraying it with aerosol hairspray (Rave was my preference). Tease it sky high. Once more with the spray. Perfection.

Big hair 80's model on white background, 1986Image by | El Caganer via Flickr

At 13, I was not an environmentalist. I cared about more important things like Kirk Cameron and Bon Jovi. Unfortunately, they weren't included in the curriculum at East Junior High. Instead my seventh grade honors biology teacher introduced me to two words that would change my life, and fashion sense, forever - ozone layer.

More specifically, he implied that my hairspray, my aerosol hairspray, could be depleting what seemed to my 13 year old brain to be a pretty necessary part of our little planet.


Middle school was not kind to me. Those years were filled with braces, over-sized glasses, and a few extra "baby weight" pounds still hanging on a decade after I had shed the last inkling of babyhood. Not being athletically inclined, honors classes and band filled my days, which, as you can imagine, made me quite a catch with the middle school boy.

Big hair was kind of all I had.

Except a conscience.

And so it began. After a week of researching chloroflurocarbons (the chemical in aerosol cans that damages the ozone), my Rave went in the trash and my big hair went flat. Several months later I went on to win in the local and state science fair with a project that showed the negative effects of CFC's on kalanchoe plants.

Looking back it may seem that my sacrifice was small compared to what others have given for the cause, and I agree. I didn't leave my family to study climate change in Antarctica or become a vegan to protest animal cruelty. But for a 13 year old girl with rockin' bangs, my sacrifice made me more aware of how one little change can impact the place I call home.

Have you ever taken a small step toward improving the environment? This is the place for you to be proud. Face it, we aren't going to Africa or giving up bacon (can I get an Amen?), but maybe we can turn off the light in the closet in the morning.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Waiting for the St#%id Birds

The following is a conversation that took place between me and my five year old daughter while driving home from church. The background information will put the conversation in context.


1. Every fall approximately one million grackles descend on Fort Worth. Grackles are nasty black birds whose soul purpose in life is to ruin what would otherwise be the best season in Texas.

2. I hate birds. I believe they can, and want to, poke out your eyes. I have not seen Alf

The Birds - Alfred Hitchcock themeImage by Digika via Flickr

red Hitchcock's movie, The Birds. There is no reason for me to see it. I am already scared of birds. The only thing I hate more than birds is clowns. A hawk flying at me dressed like the clown from It; that is my idea of hell.

3. To our daughter, stupid is a four letter word.

My daughter's initials are AK.


AK - Mommy, look at all the birds!

Me - Yep. The stupid birds are back.

AK - Mommy, why did you say stupid?
My husband nudges me and smiles - Yeah honey, why did you say stupid?

Me - Mommy doesn't like. . . Well, you see, mommy is afraid of. . . Mommy is sorry.

AK - Will you promise never to say stupid ever again?

I pause. I think of all the birds, those darn birds. I also think of the Texas Legislature.

Me - No. I can't promise never to say it again. But I will try harder.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Waiting for Answers

At a young age we are trained to believe that questions come with answers.

- Who's the cutest baby in the whole wide world? You are.
- And what is your name? Kristen.
- What is two plus two? Four.
- How do you spell Czechoslovakia? Ummm . . . Chec . . .No, wait, Czek. No, Czeh. Is that even a country anymore?

Even questions to which our own political, religious, or philosophical beliefs bend us on

QuestionsImage by Oberazzi via Flickr

e direction or another still have an answer. For example, the question of whether the earth was created by an intelligent designer or by sheer chance may have different answers depending the textbook, professor, or preacher with whom you are speaking, but each would, no doubt, offer you an answer of some sort.

With our comfort rooted deeply in questions coupled with answers it is no surprise we become anxious when we find ourselves holding one without the other.

It is my experience that the most frequent flier in the answer-less question arena is "Why?" This three letter word can apply to events as profound as life threatening illnesses, job loss, deaths, catastrophes, acts of God, and wars, or things as simple as failing a test, ending a relationship, bad hair days or being stuck in traffic.

In his book The Case for Faith, agnostic journalist turned Christian Lee Strobel investigates what he calls "The Big Eight" objections to Christianity. Of these, the first one he tackles deals with unanswered questions about pain and suffering in the world. To help answer his questions Strobel interviews Billy Graham's former evangelist partner who became a self-proclaimed agnostic author, Charles Templeton. When asked if there was one thing in particular that caused him to loose his faith in God, Templeton answered that it was a photograph in Life magazine.

"It was a picture of a black woman in Northern Africa. They were experiencing a devastating drought. And she was holding her dead baby in her arms and looking up to heaven with the most forlorn expression. I looked at it and I thought, 'Is it possible to believe that there is a loving or caring Creator when all this woman needed was rain?'"*

That is a question without an answer if I've ever heard one.

Over the past year I have had a lot of conversations with God that started with the word "Why?" These conversations stemmed from a string of seemingly endless health problems that resulted in chronic pain. My life, which admittedly was somewhat charmed up to that point, was literally turned upside down. We paid thousands of dollars in medical bills, which was complicated by the fact I had to resign from my job. I became unable to care for my children and some days was unable to care for myself.

As I sunk deeper into what I'm sure was a mixture of depression and narcotics, I felt confident that if I could just find some reason, some answer as to why this was happening to me, it would give me the strength to get through it. Looking at it now, written out in black and white, it seems almost silly.

I guess God could have posted this on my Facebook;
Hey Kristen; Just wanted to

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBase

let you know that your ovaries will be adhered together for the next five months. The doctors aren't going to be able to figure it out and you are going to be in chronic pain. I know it's a bummer, but hang in there because you are going to learn some really important lessons in patience and especially in humility. You will also resign from your job - I know that's going to be tough because you are going to have to trust that I will provide for your family, which will be hard, especially with the thousands of dollars you are going to rack up in medical bills, but this is the only way that I will ever teach you to totally trust me. Big lesson there. Get your Blockbuster card ready - you will be spending lots of time on the couch. Love ya! Oh, and don't forget to take the Wizard of Oz quiz and find out which character you are. I'm betting you're the Lion :-)

Having a reason for the pain wouldn't have lessened the pain, it would have just made me argue with God whether or not I thought his reason was worthy of the pain I was experiencing at that moment. Would a lesson in humility constitute a trip to the ER or did improving my integrity equal a pint of my blood and so on a so forth. How does one begin to argue those reasons. Looking at it now I understand why God didn't answer my Why's.

Not that it mattered. I didn't get any FB posts from God and I didn't know what was coming a week in advance, a day in advance, or even an hour in advance. My husband uses this analogy; We wish God would give us a floodlight, but instead he gives us a flashlight. Some days, he gives us a candle and not even one of those big roman candles. One of those sad little flimsy birthday candles that barely gives off any light at all.

I promise you if God would have sent that FB post, I would have been booked in the next OR and signed up to have those ovaries removed. Yes, I would have missed out on the pain, but I would have also missed out on the path that was set in front of me and the lessons I have learned and I would not be the person I've become. And even through the pain I can tell you, the person I have become is a better person. I have learned lessons in patience and humility that I would have never signed up for of my own volition. I've become passionate about helping people who are suffering from chronic illnesses or chronic pain and their caregivers. Although I resigned from my job, it allowed me to follow my dream of writing. I think there are still more answers to the Why question down the road, some that I may not see for years or maybe even decades.

I've also noticed that I very rarely ask Why on the good days. Like, why do I deserve a roof over my head and three meals a day? Why do I have a family who loves me? Why was I born in a free country while others are oppressed?

I guess there are a lot of good Why's out there too.

What do you do with the Why's you can't answer?

*The Case for Faith, A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity; Lee Strobel: Zondervan Publishing House. 2000

Waiting for Cuts ~ Grey's Anatomy takes on the economy

The following is a cross post on Joe Jenkins' blog joeonthetube. Richie and I were honored to write a guest post for Joe and look forward to contributing to joeonthetube in the future. His & Hers Grey's Anatomy Season 6, Episode 2
After last week’s season premier revealed that Seattle Grace would merge with Mercy West, the entire staff is on edge, to say the least and is worried about keeping their job. This week’s episode revolves mostly around the character’s obsession with proving their worthiness as the chief is keeping tight lipped regarding his plans for any downsizing.

Izzie returns to the hospital, complete with a “Stepford wife” wig. Although she isn't supposed to return to
work for three weeks, her fear of being cut due to the merger pushes her back into the O.R. for a complicated five-hour surgery, forcing Alex to play nurse making sure that she takes her cancer meds and eats throughout the day.

Meanwhile, Cristina decides the best way to secure her job is by asking to be on Arizona's service in Pediatrics. It doesn't take too long (with a little help from Callie) for Arizona to realize that Cristina is using her to save her own neck. I mean, come on, who would really think Cristina should be allowed in the same room with children.

We almost thought the show was going to jump the shark when a paranoid schizophrenic and his mother are brought into the ER after being involved in a car accident. While the mother was lying on the table complaining of abdominal pain, the camera focuses in on a small fist shaped object pulsating in her abdomen. Just then her son says, "Aliens have impregnated my mother." And break for commercials.

Thankfully, Grey's did not go the way of
the X-Files and we learn the pulsating fist was caused by a large aneurysm in her abdominal cavity. Unfortunately for Lexi, she looses the son while trying to bandage his minor wrist injury from the car accident and that leads to him falling down a flight of stairs and in turn bursts his spleen. Fortunately for Lexi, she comes up with a great idea to do surgery on both mother and son (who technically doesn't need surgery), so they can happily recover together. If not for this great idea, the mother refuses the life-saving surgery since there is no one else to take care of her mentally ill son.

Grey's Anatomy Season 6Image by LiGado em Série via Flickr

In the end, the chief directs HR to send out an e-mail to the first round of employees to be let go (not a move us PR folks recommend). None of the main characters get the axe, not that we expected them to. In fact, the only face that any true fans might remember is the nurse that George and Alex slept with during the syphilis outbreak of the first season. In traditional Lexi fashion, she has an emotional breakdown, even though her job is safe.

But fear not, the writers did not leave this episode on a sad note. Instead they left us with something in
spirational; Beer and baseball. Three of our four happy couples meet out on a baseball diamond with a pitching machine that they just happened to have and a cooler of beer for some batting practice and philosophy. It was a fitting, if not contrived, way to end the episode.
He Said/She Said

Best plotline:
He Said - I'm really intrigued about the dynamic between the chief and Derek. The writers are holding back on some things and I'm curious to see how far they will go to separate the two. She said - The staff's reaction to the proposed merger. I think that in today's economic times it is an unfortunate reality that people are willing to do whatever it takes to keep a job - even one they don't really like.

Best line:
He Said - "H
is name is Mr. Bear . . . He eats kids" |(BONUS LINE) "You need to stop worrying about what's gonna happen, and you need to focus on what is right in front of you." She Said - "Nobody likes a dead baby."

I could have lived without: He Said - The paranoid schizophrenic son throwing Lexi up against the wall. That seemed unnecessary. She Said - The baseball scene. I go back to last week with the scene with Izzie and the girl on the bench outside the hospital. The whole thing seemed unnatural and just a bit too much.

A little something for the fellas:
He Said - The pulsating aneurysm in the mom's stomach. Totally looked like Alien. She Said - Agreed. If an actual alien would have jumped out it would have been perfect. Stupid, but perfect.

Something for the ladies:
He Said - The caring and supportive role that Derek took on at the end with his now former co-workers. That only perpetuates the McDreamy persona. She Said - Watching Alex take care of Izzie. He has such a tough outer image, but now that his wife is the one who is sick, and she is putting on the tough face, he was busting in on surgeries and into patient rooms to make sure she was taking her meds and eating. He really loves her. He's still a jerk and sometimes has a strange way of showing it, but watching him bend over backwards to take care of her makes you realize that is the kind of man every woman wants.

Something for everybody:
He Said - The show has finally taken on the economic climate and how we are all being impacted. It is a classic example of art imitating life. The audience can relate because they may have either lost a job or may know somebody who has. They can relate to the situations that the doctors and nurses were in by either losing a job or being the person who got to keep their job.
She Said -Aside from watching the characters react to the news of the merger, I think the mother with the mentally ill son had a really touching story. When she was willing to forgo a surgery that would save her life because there was no one she could trust to take care of her adult mentally ill son, that was a really telling and often overlooked story. She briefly mentioned that her husband left when her son got sick and friends had drifted away. I think this is more true to life than we want to admit. Even just watching the character for an hour on television, I was uncomfortable, so I can imagine that befriending a woman with a son with that illness would be a challenge. Mental illness, even in the 21st century, is something that people still hesitate to talk openly about or to deal with publicly. It is a shame, because then women like the mother portrayed on this week's Grey's, end up alone and isolated, dealing with challenges which are often more than they can, or should have to, handle on their own.

Who are the bloggers? Richie and Kristen are a happily married one-TV couple with two kiddos. Both have worked in the communications/PR field for the past decade or so. You can check out Richie's blog about all things PR and social media here. You have found Kristen's blog. Please feel free to stay a while and look around.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Waiting for Grey's

The following is a cross post on Joe Jenkins' blog joeonthetube. Richie and I were glad to write a guest post for Joe and look forward to contributing to joeonthetube in the future.

A night without ESPN ~ Can men & women be TV friends?

When Harry Met Sally...Image via Wikipedia

The classic romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally asked the probing question, “Can two friends sleep together and still love each other in the morning?” The answer turned out to be no. This post will pose an equally important question; “Can two lovers watch TV together and still sleep together at night?”

If your house is like many, your first instinct might be to answer the same way that Harry, Sally, and many others have over the years. Constant battles over the remote pit spouses against each other in one television homes. This was particularly difficult in pre-DVR days, and although there is no hard data to support my assumptions, I believe it may have been one of the leading causes of divorce, surpassed only by squeezing the toothpaste from the middle and not putting the toilet seat down.

Even now with our best friends Tivo, DVR, and multi-room satellite feeds, tension still runs high and arguments can erupt at a moment’s notice. It is easy to understand how both spouses would immediately forget their sworn vows to love, honor, and obey and trade twenty years of marriage for bloodlust to duke it out to see who gets to watch Tom Delay shake his 80 year old hips on the 60 inch plasma and who watches Tom Brady on the 36 inch analog in the bedroom.

Richie and I made a decision early on in our marriage that we would not put a television in our bedroom. Since we only had a two room apartment that left us with only one television. Ten years later, we have several more rooms in our home, but still only one TV. By default, this caused an interesting dynamic to occur in our marriage. We became TV friends. I started watching sports with him and he started watching things that I was interested in.

It doesn’t always work. He still likes things that I don’t or likes them more than I do and vice versa. But sitting down and watching things together gives us some common ground that we didn’t have before. This blog is designed to show you that men and women can, in fact, be TV friends – sometimes.

Season 6 Grey's Anatomy Premiere
The first three minutes of last night’s Grey’s Anatomy premiere revealed that George would not survive and Izzy would. For those of us who have heard the buzz around the show and knew that T.R. Knight was leaving it was not unexpected. Still, we watched the first 20 minutes of the show and neither of us actually cried, but neither of us talked either, which is a sign that i

Grey's Anatomy Season 6Image by LiGado em Série via Flickr

f we talked, we might cry. The writers did not disappoint and moved the story lines along by bringing in new patients; a woman who lost both arms and a leg in a boating accident (who Christina seemingly inappropriately nicknamed ceviche), and a teenager with unexplainable pain (whose mother was played by the homely girl from The Goonies).

The biggest plot twist came as the board asked Derek to be the Chief of Surgery, which he took to mean as a coup to overthrow the current chief. In the last minute of the show we find that instead Seattle Grace will be merging with its biggest rival, Mercy West (where, coincidently, Callie took a job as a resident after an inappropriate, but funny, blow-up with the chief).

Izzie’s cancer stops growing, which is good news that she doesn’t take as well as you would think. Christina and Owen finally talk about the choking issue, which means they can consummate their relationship. And Meredith and Derek can’t stop consummating theirs, which leads to the eventual eviction of all of their roommates. Izzie and Alex move into Derek’s trailer and Lexie moves in with Mark (just across the hall from a very hot, often inappropriate Callie).

He Said/She Said
Best plotline:
He Said - The proposed merger. I’m looking forward to seeing how that works out. I think it has good potential for future story lines.
She Said - Izzie and Alex. As someone who has recently gone through dealing with chronic pain, it is interesting for me to watch her try to get her life back. He thought he was going to lose her and I could understand how he didn’t want to do that again, but I could understand more how alone she felt. I thought that part was very real.

Best line:
He Said - How gay are you? On a scale of 1 to gay.
She Said - How gay are you? On a scale of 1 to gay.

I could have lived without:
He Said - Kerev being a jerk to Izzie outside at the picnic table. I understand that it might have set something up for later or brought him back to some dark place. That was just difficult to watch.
She Said - The whole scene with Izzie telling Amanda to “Go live her life” out in front of the hospital. I understood Amanda being sad. I understood her coming in because she couldn’t sleep, but enough already. I thought that was cheesy and totally ridiculous. They lost me there.

A little something for the fellas:
He Said - Mark’s new place across from Callie. He has the best of both worlds. There is definitely potential for good story lines.
She Said - What Richie meant to say was Callie got undressed in the hallway. Worth tuning in for gentleman.

Something for the ladies:
He Said - Mark’s shower scene.
She Said - When Callie told Lexie that Mark doesn’t look at her boobs anymore. I think that is what all of us would like to believe that our significant others aren't doing. What better compliment is there? Was Mark in the shower?

Something for everybody:
He Said - George’s mom talking to Owen. This allowed George’s character to resolve in an honorable way without being preachy. There were so many great things about that.
She Said -Watching all of the characters grieve for George in their own way. We’ve all had to grieve and I think at one time or another we have all felt like we were completely alone, partly because we didn’t know exactly how to grieve. Watching all of the different ways the characters grieved gives you a sense that it’s okay to scream, cry, work, have sex, or eat doughnuts, because at the end of the day, you have to make it through the day.

Who are the bloggers? Richie and Kristen are a happily married one-TV couple with two kiddos. Both have worked in the communications/PR field for the past decade or so. You can check out Richie's blog about all things PR and social media here. You have found Kristen's blog. Please feel free to stay a while and look around.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Waiting for Fall

When you grow up in Montana, fall is not a season one looks forward to. When you are a kid, fall means the end of summer break, thus ending long days of riding your bike in the street, running through the sprinkler, swimming at the community pool, fishing in the stream behind the mall, Tecmo Bowl tournaments and bare feet.

Sun Through TreeImage by YelmelNoBrainer via Flickr

When you get older, fall is when the temperature starts to drop, bringing with it snow to shovel, icy roads to be navigated, windshields to be scraped, frozen pipes, and higher electricity bills.

In Texas, I have learned, it is an entirely different story. After surviving summer months that are not only scorching and unrelenting, but seemingly endless, fall is not only welcome, but coveted here in the Lone Star State. Some of this has to do with the fact that the cool days provide a welcome relief to the hot, sticky (it's not the heat, it's the humidity that will get ya) past four or five months.

Much of it is because anyone who has lived in Texas very long knows that fall is likely to disappear as soon as it arrives. As opposed to having three months, or even three weeks of fall, like other geographic climates may be predisposed to enjoy, Texans understand that we must appreciate every brisk morning, every changing leaf, and every day when we can turn off the AC, open up the windows and suck in that fresh, free, cool , beautiful air. Why? Because we understand that even though today's high is 69 with a low of 49, tomorrow may very well be a high of 90 and on Saturday it might snow.

So this morning as I kissed my favorite boys goodbye and I felt that perfect brisk morning of fall blow in through the garage, I knew exactly what I had to do. I grabbed my laptop, a bottle of water and some peanut butter crackers and I headed out to the backyard to write, knowing if I didn't enjoy this morning I would regret it later.

Good choice, Kristen. Good choice.

seven day forecast for DFW

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Waiting to exhale, Cheyenne style

There was a time when people were unclear about the definition of irony. Is jumbo shrimp ironic or just an oxymoron? Thankfully, in 1996, Alanis Morissette cleared up all the confusion when she released her single, Ironic. Now when you need to know if you are staring down the face of irony, just ask yourself is it like rain on your wedding day or a free ride when you've already paid? Maybe it's that good advice that you just didn't take. Or perhaps it's like 10,000 forks when all you need is a knife, in which case I say start poking the idiot who gave you all the forks until he brings you a knife, but that is just me.

And then there are the times when you don't even need to ask because you know not only are you staring irony right in the face but irony is laughing at you while raining on you, stealing your money, and forking you all at once.

And to make things worse, you're in Wyoming.

I was born and raised in Butte, Montana. At 18 I made my way to the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, where my brother was also attending college. About twice a year, usually around Christmas and Spring Break, I visited my parents in Butte. The choice to drive or fly was generally made by the health of my bank account.

In spring of 1996 (ironically the same year as Ironic hit the charts), I was broke, which meant one thing -- Road Trip! This was no ordinary road trip though it was my first girls only road trip. My roommate and best friend became my co-pilot, navigator, and karaoke partner. After growing up in Texas, she was looking forward to a week of snow and mountains, not to mention one of the biggest St. Patrick's Day celebrations and the only St. Urho Day celebration in the country.

It was a drive that I knew well, although I had only made it a few times without my parents. My 1994 Chevy Cavalier would take us through five states in 26 hours. We stocked up on beef jerky, Mountain Dew, and good music. We made it through Texas in a mere seven hours and New Mexico in two more. Three more hours brought us to Denver and I knew we were half way home. This would have been a logical place to stop, but with three states and four Mountain Dews behind us and the Sister Act II soundtrack blaring on the stereo we made a decision that only two twenty year olds living on beef jerky would make. We decided to drive straight through.

Wyoming state welcome signImage via Wikipedia

For those of you who have never driven straight up I25 through the middle of Wyoming, you aren't missing much. It's about a five hour drive, but it feels like 14. It's hilly, it's windy, and if you don't hit a deer with the front of your car it's pretty likely that one will go ahead and jump right into the side of your car. I'm not sure why. Maybe they are hoping you will open the door, pick them up, and drive them out of Wyoming.

Now before all the Wyomingites start hating on me, let me say a couple other things about Wyoming. I have quite a lot of relatives that live there and every time I have ever visited I have met some of the nicest people, which does make it worth the trip. There are also some beautiful parts of Wyoming. Straight up 25 just doesn't happen to be one of them. So when Kim suggested we drive through it in the middle of the night, I popped open another Mountain Dew, put on Bon Jovi's greatest hits, and settled in for another 12 hour drive.

About mid-way through the Cowboy State (approximately 1 a.m.) we decided we should probably stop and stretch our legs. One thing you should know about Wyoming is that cities do not come frequently and when they do finally appear, stores are not open 24 hours. Not even gas stations. Luckily we found a rest area that was open and well lit (another perk in WY is the well maintained rest stops).

We headed in to wash our faces and brush our teeth. Ladies, I want you to think back with me for a minute to the mid nineties when you did not leave home without your Noxema. Well lucky for us, we did not. Unfortunately, we did leave home without towels. And Wyoming apparently was ahead of the curve with green movement because there were no paper towels, only hand dryers, a fact we failed to notice until our faces were dripping wet (and smelling like Noxema). Wyoming in March, is, how should I put this, freezing and we had left Texas that morning where it was 85 degrees so both of us were wearing sweatshirts over our t shirts. We decided with the lack of a better option, these would make good towels.

As we giggled like little girls we saw an actual little girl come out of one of the stalls with a somewhat frightened look on her face. Not thinking much of it, we gathered our stuff and walked out as one of us (I honestly don't remember which one) said, "I bet she thinks we're drunk."

Five minutes later we were back on the highway headed north. I was driving about 10 MPH under the speed limit on the lookout for suicidal deer. Ten minutes later I saw red and blue lights behind me. Confident he couldn't be after me, I kept driving. In fact, I was pretty sure he must be after the car that had been tailing me for the last five minutes and had just raced past me. As the lights got closer Kim finally said, "Kristen, I think you need to pull over."

Let me replay the conversation for you. The officer's words are in blue because, you know, he's a police officer and mine are in green because, you know, I was clueless.

"Ma'mm. Do you know why I pulled you over?"
"No sir. I really don't."

"I'm going to need to look at your license and insurance."
"Yes sir."

"Have you been drinking this evening?"
"I'm sorry, what?"

Hello irony! This is where Kim burst out laughing, which I seriously doubt helped our case much. I explained to the officer that not only had we not been drinking that night, but neither Kim nor I had ever had a drink. I told him that we had been driving since about 5 a.m. and explained what had happened at the rest stop. As I got to the end of the story (which knowing me was about 10 minutes long) I could see him start to smile under what I'm sure was one of the largest cowboy hats I have ever seen. My story matched up with the call that he received from the parents at the rest stop. I started to breath a sigh of relief.

"I'm going to need you to take a breathalizer test."
"I'm sorry?"

"Although I don't believe you have been drinking, state law requires to give a breathalizer test to anyone who we receive a tip for suspicion of drunk driving. Please step out of the car."
More hysterical laughter from my passenger.

As I stood on the side of I25 holding the breathilizer machine up to my mouth I thought about the irony of the situation. Here I was a white 20 year old college student who had never taken a drink of alcohol who was reported for drunk driving by a 10 year old. I didn't know whether to be offended by the whole situation or proud that the family cared enough about their safety and the safety of others to call the police and that the state cared enough about everyone's safety to test all suspected drunk drivers. Now that I have my own family I think I fall more on the side of proud.

I blew a 0.00. The officer let me keep the print out as a souvenir since I told him nobody would believe that I would get pulled over for drunk driving. I still have it in a box under my bed.

As you plan your Labor Day celebrations remember that many cities and states now have a no refusal detail in which police can get a warrant to draw blood to check the blood alcohol level from people who refuse a breath test. Me, I think it's much easier to just get a designated driver, even if you just plan to have a couple drinks or if you forget to bring a towel -- especially in Wyoming.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Waiting for The One

The following is cross-posted on Sonja Cassella's blog, Fort Worth Renaissance. I am honored to have had the opportunity to be a guest blogger on Sonja's blog. If you haven't had a chance to check it out, I hope you will. I'm sure it will quickly become a favorite of yours,as it is mine. Fort Worth natives (and those who would like to be) will enjoy her unique perspective of and beyond.

Waiting for The One

I’ve met many women who tell me that the reason they spend so much time sitting across the table from uninteresting men, laughing at jokes that aren’t funny and eating a dinner salad when what they really want is a big juicy steak topped with bacon with a side of bacon is that these dates, no matter how horrid, help them create a checklist of they are looking for in a mate.

- Bob may have been obnoxious but he had great teeth.

Number One [Division Of Laura Lee]

Image by occhichiusi via Flickr

- Seth had bad breath but he held the door open for me.

- Tyler slurped his soup, talked about his ex-girlfriends all night, tried to grab my breasts when we got in the car, and ate my cucumbers, but he has a job.

- James dresses great, talks to his mom three times a week, loves musical theater, has never been married, offered to take me shopping, give me a make-over, and set his roommate Brian up with my best friend . . . wait a minute.

I view dating from a different perspective. I believe dating allows you to create a list of things that you don’t want in a life-long mate. Once you find someone who doesn’t match that list, you know he (or she) is the one.

Since this may be a new concept for you, let me illustrate with my personal example. Other than my husband, I’ll use descriptors rather than names. However, it is important to keep a couple of things in mind.

- These examples are 10-15 years ago (I was very young when I started dating).

- Most importantly, just because I (or you) place something on this type of list, it does not make the associated person bad or flawed (barring physical or verbal abuse). It just means they weren’t The One. When it comes down to it, most of my ex’s could list a flaw or two of mine (I’m not eliciting a challenge).

The Things I Didn’t Want In The One - As Learned From My Ex-boyfriends

- High School Obsession – Drank too much.

- Long Term High School Boyfriend – Didn’t get my sense of humor.

- Short Term College Boyfriend –More interested in my body than my mind.

- Long Term College Boyfriend – Wanted me to be a mild mannered, size 4, blond, Southern Baptist vegetarian.

Then I met Richie and he wasn’t all of the things I didn’t want.

We met in college, so I won’t tell you we didn’t enjoy a few cocktails on occasion, but there were distinct differences between him and my High School Obsession. First, he was 21 not 17. Second, he knew the difference between having a drink, and drinking to get drunk.

Not only did he get and appreciate my sense of humor, he made me laugh.

Richie and I both majored in Communication Studies, which provided a common interest, but even outside the academic realm there never seemed to be a shortage of areas for discussion. I won’t say he wasn’t interested in my body, but he always respected my decision to wait until I was married to have sex.

Richie and I were friends before we started dating, which has its advantages, one of which is by the time we started dating he had already seen the real me. The loud, silly, bacon loving, frizzy haired, charismatic, size 8. That is the girl he fell in love with.

The advantage to creating a checklist of traits you don’t want as opposed to a never-ending list of must haves is that you enable yourself to see your potential mate for who they really are and not who you want to make them into. Because the truth is, as much as you may believe you can, you cannot change another person, no matter how much you love them or how much they love you. That is why, whatever your expectations, if a potential partner does not meet them, you will both be much happier if you cut your losses and move on than if you spend the next ten years trying to change that person. I tell you that as someone who spent three years a very miserable size four, blond vegetarian.

But, then it happens! You find someone who isn’t all the things you don’t want. It may be someone you have known for years or it may be someone you just met. All you know is that this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. And you should. Because when you know, you know. And when that happens, I promise, you won’t need to date one more person to figure it out. Because your list will be complete.

How did you know he or she was The One? Share your thoughts.