Shout Out! Make Room for “Room and Soul”

What’s that you ask? Do I still exist? Well, kinda. I’m 100%, fully alive in real life, but somewhere between barely holding on and extinct in blogland.  And you? I hope you still exist, too. It’s really the best way to live.

So why the temporary resuscitation? Well, ya see, my dear, darling sister Whitney recently started her very own blog. Please, hold the celebratory applause until after this public announcement. Anyway, her blog chronicles her DIY adventures, all while inadvertently making her readers feel like they have super ugly homes. But seriouly, she has mad skills and wants to share them with the masses.

The problem: she doesn’t use WordPress! It pains me to think of the all WordPress people she can’t share this with. So I will!



The link to her latest post is below. Feel free to visit, meander around, grab a cookie, then follow her if ya likes what ya sees. And share on Facebook!

I enjoyed our little chat. I really do miss the writing fun of yesteryear. But, life happens. Hope to come back soon one day. Thanks for supporting Room and Soul!

Things I Worried about as a Child: AIDS

I was blessed/cursed with a rather precarious combination of traits. Among them: fearfulness, innocence and a wild imagination. The result was an array of ridiculous beliefs I developed early in life, frequently followed by the harsh and/or hilarious process of learning just how misinformed I was.

To say that I’m a worrier would be an understatement. If speaking at birth were possible, I would have come out asking the doctor if he washed his hands before delivering me. Then I would have ordered the nurses to bring me a blanket and cover their eyes. I guess that last part is less about fear and more about my deep appreciation for warmth and modesty. Blankets are my everything!


Oops, wrong blanket.

Anyway, I was also very impressionable as a child. I placed great trust in adults, assuming everything I heard or saw was both true and critically important. As far as I was concerned, adults could do no wrong. Well, except for Tanya Harding and Cinderella’s evil stepmother- they wronged my heroes and were dead to me from the get-go.


My idol from ages 3-5.  What an angel!


My idol from ages 6-10. I even wanted to name my first child Nancy. We’ll see how that goes…

And, ah yes…the imagination part. Inadvertently eavesdropping on adults was one of my favorite childhood activities. I didn’t discriminate as to whom I listened to, either. Whether it was my parents, my teachers or strangers in line at the grocery store, I soaked up conversation like a sponge. As soon as I could gain enough viable intel, I would scurry off like a little mouse and let my imagination go to town. Unfortunately, I kept my thoughts to myself so my parents never had a chance to intervene in my misinformed daydreaming.

So, why do I tell you all of this? Well, it’s important background information for a series of posts I’ll be writing titled “Things I worried about as a child,” the first of which follows.


Mrs. Schierling’s 6th grade class. We were studying one of my favorite subjects: Health. Guess what propels a subject to “favorite” status? Being allowed to eat a healthy snack during class. Mine was usually a very unhealthy-sized bag of goldfish crackers, which were both delicious and suitably distracting.

One day, while arranging the fish on my paper towel, my teacher introduced the topic for the day: AIDS.

She explained that it was an unprecedented disease that was quickly spreading all over the world, including our very own country.

How could you get it, I wondered? As it turns out, 6th grade health books don’t go into great detail on the ways in which AIDS can be contracted. But, we learned the basics, which was just enough information to scare me.

The worrying began and, for a moment, was relatively mild. But then the statistics started: “Kids, it’s estimated that 1 in 4 people will have AIDS within the next twenty years.” All I heard was “Kids, 1 in 4 people currently have AIDS and 12 year-olds are just as likely to have it as adults. And your little dog, too!”

I started scanning the room, convinced that 25% of my classmates were HIV positive. Unfortunately, I had no way of knowing who was infected. The plan was to continue playing with my friends in safe, non-disease passing ways.

Fast-forward to later that year. I decided to invite some friends over for a sleepover. For some reason, toward the end of the sleepover, one of the girls suggested we shave our legs together.



AIDS can be transmitted through shaving! Didn’t these girls know?! They were in the same class as I was, so I knew they knew! Were they willing to risk their lives for a shaven leg (or two)?! I quietly protested and declined to partake in the suicide shaving.


Death Tool

After they went home, I went all HAZMAT and carefully cleaned up the aftermath of their risky little brush with death. And then I sat on the edge of the tub dramatically pondering what the future held for these girls. Full House style.


Dramatic acting at its very best.

It turns out none of us had AIDS.* The statistics provided were pretty inaccurate. Or, I was paying more attention to my goldfish crackers than to the teacher and misheard her.

So, the moral of this story is:  don’t you dare touch my razor.

*This is an educated guess.  I don’t even remember who was there.

It’s Just One of Those Days

The past few weeks have been stressful for multiple reasons. By the time today rolled around, I was over it.   I was tired and every little thing seemed to be going wrong. Kind of like when a toddler misses a nap and the world implodes.

The dog woke me up early. Too early. I looked outside, saw it was pouring rain and instantly regretted throwing away my half-broken umbrella in dramatic fashion a couple days prior.

After walking the dog and sleeping a little longer, I sauntered into the kitchen, threw a bagel into the oven and promised myself I wouldn’t burn it this time. Not this time!

Unable to stay focused on not burning food for a whole 60 seconds, I started writing an email with such fervor that the only thing that could snap me out of it was the smell of burnt bagel. Blast!

Normally when I burn my food, I just make more. Unfortunately, somebody forgot to buy more bagels. * Undeterred, I opened the fridge and grabbed some yogurt. About three seconds into my first bite, I realized it had gone bad. The good news is that I didn’t hurl.

Forget breakfast, I thought. I needed to go to the mall and would grab something there.

I headed out, unusually optimistic that I would find exactly what I needed, despite my lifelong frustration with shopping.

When I got to my car, I remembered I might have another umbrella under the passenger seat. Score! I reached down, felt something slimy and exclaimed “Eww!!”

So that's where that went!

So that’s where that went!

About 25 minutes into my drive, I realized this new mall was not where I thought it was. In fact, it was a good 15 minutes in a very different direction. By now, my stomach was hanging on by a thread so I made a beeline for Wendy’s.

When I pulled up to the window, the guy asked me if I would like any condiments. I asked for some honey. He handed me my bag o’ food and said “I gave you honey-mustard, not honey. Have a good day!”  Huh? Why?! Not caring enough to protest, I drove away, scarfed down my food, and fantasized about how much better it would have tasted with honey.

Several hours later, having failed at possessing a normally proportioned body once again, I wanted so badly to give up. Alas, I came for a specific outfit and had to forge ahead. I decided to stop at one more store.

By the time I got into the dressing room, I was exhausted. I tried on a couple things and as I was tidying up, a sales person knocked on the door.  She asked if anyone was there, to which I responded “Yes, someone’s in here.”  She asked again.  I answered again.  She opened the door and I successfully abstained from speaking my feelings.  See below.

Me too, Frank.  Me too.

Me too, Frank. Me too.

When I got home, the dog was being especially whiny. I didn’t hesitate to use my go-to threat. “Bella,” I warned, “do you need to get in your kennel?!” She stared at me from inside her kennel looking as confused as a dog can look. And that’s when I knew I needed a nap.

*It was me.