Saturday, January 14, 2012

When Random REALLY Means Random

Remember the Monopoly game McDonald's puts on once a year? The one where you peel off a little label and win free fries or gain the coveted Boardwalk piece? Well, a local grocery store here in Chicagoland is playing a similar game called Wish Big, Win Big. I rarely shop there because their produce is crap, but when I do, I collect game pieces for our board. You can win an iPad, cash, a car, etc. etc. But mostly you win a free donut (which is a huge score for a pregnant chick) or nothing at all.

My husband should take full credit for this, but we won. We won.

Moving on. 

I'm having a hard time dealing with loss and struggle lately. A girl I work with, only 25, just lost her mom in October. She woke up to find her dead on the couch. She then had to endure her mom's birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with her sister and dad while attempting to piece through the loss. She's on antidepressants and confessed to me she's been drinking a bunch, started smoking, and can't afford therapy that she thinks she needs. To add to the madness, she went in for a routine OB appt. and they found abnormal cells that require a biopsy (possible pre-cervical cancer) and a lump in her breast. Breast cancer runs in her family as well. Why so much heartache?

Our favorite pastor at our local church is 55 years old and was diagnosed 2 months ago with stage 4 carcinoma that is all throughout his body. He was suffering from severe back pain and found out he is terminal.

Why loss, heartbreak, and all other sufferings happen upon some people, but others are spared simply boggles my mind. Why was my son to be the one of the 26,000 stillbirths a year and not any other person I know to give birth that year? Why was my friend's son Nathanael born with hydrocephalus? Why was my other friend's son born too early-- though thankfully spared? Why such a rough start? I'll attempt to ween myself away from this topic as it plagues my heart everyday... but I'll never accept this reality of loss and struggle for the innocent and wonderful people I've met in life.

I saw this on Pinterest and thought... yeah. freaking. right. Disagree.
Not sure about my followers, but somehow a house foreclosure or whatever sounds a little better than living the rest of my entire life without my son. Life is hard and we all have our struggles. But I have to say that some struggles manage to last a lifetime while others can be repaired or improve. Loss? Notsomuch.

Moving on.

I finished teaching my second MA course (but first all by myself!) on December 12th. I was just sent the results of my student evaluations and received all "agree" or "strongly agree" related to my teaching abilities... in addition to this wonderful comment:

This was the best experience I have had in this program so far. The
teacher did an excellent job giving examples and explaining her

I'm teaching this course again in March and it's all set up and ready to go! That definitely brightened my day when I read it. I imagine it's really hard to handle receiving poor reviews from college students. Luckily, these are grad students and not undergraduate students. I remember being an undergrad and disregarding my professors as people at times. All of that changed when I entered grad school, of course. Thankfully, these students have treated me with great respect. I realize that won't happen every semester... but thrilled that this was the feedback for this go-around. I can use all the encouragement I can get at this point!

Moving on.

I was chosen as one of BlogHer's book reviewers for The Weird Sisters. My review to come. I'm quite excited to read this book! Gets 4/5 stars with 160 reviews on Amazon.

Moving on.

I'm a big Yelper. I love trying new places and always consult Yelp on our travels for little gems. I've been Yelp Elite status for three years and was just picked up as Yelp Elite for my fourth year in a row! I'm not compensated or anything... just love trying new places and reading reviews myself. They do host Yelp Elite-only events which I occasionally attend and score free dinner and libations. We've had some delicious and free eats thanks to Yelp! I do have a degree in journalism and sort of love writing for free. I know that might boggle some minds, but I enjoy it. Plus, it allows me to document where we eat/visit so I can remember what I ate, what I loved/hated, and places I'd love to re-visit. I also want to keep my faves in business and touting them definitely helps their business! I found this dorky article about us Elites this week.

You're probably wondering why the heck I bothered to mention that. Well... I reviewed a local Jewish deli the other day after being told to try it for months now. I told Ray about it and he'd been twice before taking me there... and he's since introduced his Friday lunch group to the place and they keep asking to go back. Well, I loved it. No surprise there. Five stars and a fabulous review. Because of my review, the manager emailed me and offered a free sandwich on my next visit. Score!

Moving on.

Speaking of freebies, my friend Alison sent me something free. The cutest little Kleenex box ever! There are 15 tissues in that cute, little Flip-sized box.
She knows me so well. I love receiving mail and I especially love freebies! I refuse to admit how much fun, free stuff I receive in the mail each week. Hah. It definitely makes it worth visiting the mailbox in the winter. Well, I have since stopped that little endeavor since ice and snow = a very scared Brandy. I even had someone escort me to my car the other day after work. I'm taking no chances. None.

Moving on.

The comments are starting to flow with this pregnancy.
"You're almost done! You can do it!" (yep, done it before)
"Just wait until he's here... you'll never get any sleep!" (don't get me started on how annoyed that makes me)
"You're going to love having a son!" (yeah, I think I would've loved having a son 13 months ago too)
or... any advice related to pregnancy and/or parenting.

I had a complete stranger ask me if she could touch my belly on Friday. I didn't know her name and she didn't know mine. As a matter of fact, I'd never seen her before in my life. All I could do was respond by saying, "Haven't experienced this in awhile, have you?" Seriously, what else am I going to say? Back off... I have a dead child and this is my second chance at possibly having a spark of my dream come true and I'm utterly uncomfortable by you near me?

Sigh. Moving on.

My friends Alli and Liz both use this special wifi card to send their pictures from their camera automatically to their computer through a wifi network. As long as you have wifi connected and are within the network's reach, the pictures will automatically upload to your computer immediately upon taking them. Cool eh? It's definitely awesome.

Moving on.

We bought Flip a Christmas present today. Seems a little presumptuous, I know. We attended this event at Ikea and scored free breakfasts, free bags, and BOGO lunch... but also went to check out the Ekorre rocking moose. We love moose. We bought Andrew a moose wall hanger for the nursery and knew that when we saw this bad boy, we had to buy it for Flip. The only reason we bought it was because they are discontinuing the item and figured it was our last chance at it. It's put away in a closet to hopefully be used by a special little boy in the next year or two. Note: I typed in Ekorre to Google images and up popped this:

Apparently there is such a thing as an Ekorre-- European red squirrel. 
Here's what I was meaning to search for:
Moving on.

Flip updates to come along with a name reveal in the next week or two. I'm part lazy, part apprehensive. We plan to start a DSLR tutorial schedule tomorrow. Also, I pinned two things on Pinterest that I pretty much want to make like immediately. That sounds like a good way to end this smorg of a post.

European Peasant Bread


Avocado Lime Pasta


Solange, Nik and Caitlin said... [Reply to comment]

I LOVE that moose rocker! Tell Ray, good job on the $2. And congrats on getting rave reviews from your students-not surprised here ;)

Those recipes sound goooooood. I'll have to find you on pinterest.

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

A lot of moving on, huh? :(
Glad you basically won the lottery, and absolutely, I think a lot of the time I would grab other people's "shit" and run, you know? Poor sucker who ends up with my baggage..

Renel said... [Reply to comment]

Okay so moose rocker makes me think your little flip may end up with septum piercing in his early twenties. I wish you told me you had bought him the cutest european squirel ever...

I am currently reading "The Weird Sisters" So I will let you know what I think.

I wish I knew how to get that much free stuff.

Winning 2 bucks is ...well Awesome! You know how excited I get about double yolked eggs. :)

Loved the updates.

Hope's Mama said... [Reply to comment]

I hated the "just wait until the baby is here" comments, especially the second time around. I waited the first time. Quite patiently. Then she died. Could people not think of anything better to say?
Thinking of you so much. The end is so hard/scary/goddamncrazy. xo

Amy L. said... [Reply to comment]

I don't understand why we and other good people are "chosen" (or whatever) to carry these tremendous tragedies in our hearts, either. And I hate that quote. I've heard others say things like that in my presence (as if for my "benefit" - like I should be grateful b/c it could be worse?) and I think, "Bite me. You have NO idea that losing a child is the pinnacle of "problems." Ugh. People are just so damned dumb!

LookItsJessica said... [Reply to comment]

You're Yelp Elite?! I'm super jealous! I love Yelp and post all the time. I must also say that Flip's new little rocker is so adorable. And that wifi card? I am totally purchasing that as soon as we get our DSLR, I cannot stand uploading pictures with a cord.

Thank you for your comment on my blog. You're right, it is all icing on the cake at this point and it only gets sweeter as the days go by.

Melissa @ A Dozen Years Later said... [Reply to comment]

Congrats on the great comments on the evaluations from your students :)

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I think I could have written the first few parts of this post along with you (regarding why there is so much loss and pain). I question things like this every day. And ditto on the pinterest pile quote.. ugh.
On another note- love your freebies and your winning! Way to go! The moose is cute too! And I TOTALLY need that wi-fi card!

*Laura Angel said... [Reply to comment]

When others go through loss, its sort of like we relive our all over again. My good friend who is 29, her mom passed away in front of her on her birthday the day after christmas. :( Its so hard to watch the hurt!!! P.s. I love pinterest!

Ben and Katie said... [Reply to comment]

I saw that you pinned that and had to repin and disagree wholeheartedly! Oh what I would give to lose a house like you said and not my man. I would gladly lose everything I physically have to never have had that car accident happen. People don't realize how much they have! Ben always sees people walking and says, "all these people walking around without a care in the world." I don't know their stories but I'm sure he's 99% right compared to what were going through!

Seriously that moose is amazing! Maybe his name should be flip when you reveal ( ­čśŐ ) flips name!

Oh donuts...don't get me started!!

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

I love this post and the moose rocker. Congrats on winning two dollars! I read The Weird Sisters, so I'm interested to hear what you think of it.