Tuesday, December 20, 2011

butterscotch schnapps

The past few nights, the Leiker family household has been enjoying classic black and white holiday movies: Holiday Inn and It's a Wonderful Life. This added to the "By Kansas standards Blizzard, by Colorado standards A lot of Snow" conditions outside, it definitely has helped the Christmas warm and fuzzy feelings. We woke up this morning to major drifts outside, as in no-way-are-we-getting-out-of-our-driveway-for-the-next-few-days. I remember growing up and when we did have "major" snow storms, Mom would dress us up in our rag-tag of snow ski pants (hand me downs or Goodwill discoveries) and gleefully send us outside with strict instructions to find all the drifts (ie: I did not plan for this snow day and you girls being inside this house yelling and tearing at each other, is killing me. So, how about you try killing yourselves outside and give your mother some peace. OK? Great. Fabulous. GO!). The sad thing is, after 20 minutes of being outside, I was "over it" and the snow wasn't that cool. Besides, these were the few days that Mom would allow us to have hot chocolate (with Always Save MARSHMALLOWS) and I wanted my watered-down hot chocolate, darn it. Even if there was two inches of snow, she probably did still send us out. I can't communicate how much my sisters (specifically Mel and I) pushed each others buttons. My strong, strong mother. And to think, the girl doesn't drink or swear.

While I am positive there are mothers in Southeast Colorado who are lively cursing the snow and looking for their bottles of Merlot wine, because their kids are at each others throats, I am enjoying the peace and quiet of the slow drips of water melting off our roof. The twinkle of the Christmas lights (and actively dreading the electric bill for this month, since my husband believes that Christmas without lights on the inside and outside is sacrilegious) and the efforts of our neighbor and his 4960 to move the snow from County Road JJ are the only things going on in our lives today. We'll probably venture outside and try to sled with our laundry baskets, but since I don't have my rag-tag ski pants and gloves, my clothes will get drenched and I'll be "over it" in 20 minutes. I could wrap my remaining Christmas gifts (for my nephew and Aaron) or repaint my nails. But before that, I need to make sure I have enough scotch tape, since my form of wrapping is 90% scotch tape and 10% misjudging the wrapping paper scissor lines. Which is why I am ecstatic that my husband loves wrapping, as in he wishes I'd let him blow our budget on bows and ribbons.

So on this day of avoiding cabin fever, I am hoping that our car is able to maneuver a way out before Christmas in Kansas and that we do not run out of butterscotch schnapps. Hmmm, maybe THAT was why Mom wanted us out of the house on snow days: butterscotch schnapps. Smart woman.

Friday, December 16, 2011

is it all about the benjamins, baby?

I love to read and always have. Growing up, it was the Baby Sitters Club, Sweet Valley High, Boxcar Children (I never did quite grasp that possibility that these kids were homeless in a boxcar and didn't turn out in juvenile lock up), Mary Higgins Clark, Nancy Drew, and various other authors. If you ask me today "What sort of books do you ready?" I'd answer historical fiction. I do not like "fluff" books, anymore (Sorry twins Elizabeth and Jessica ie: Sweet Valley High) and will never ever read Twilight or Harry Potter. And absolutely "No" to anything science fiction or books whose plots are no way believable. I feel that reading is a past time that todays generation is missing out on, sorely. Reading improves comprehension and your general knowledge of words that are not common. You'd be amazed at how horrible reading comprehension is with todays kids. When I am reading a book, I get to leave small town America and am transferred to a different time and place. It's a whole new world (ignore the urge to start singing Disney show tunes).

The book I am reading now is by Tom Brokaw "The Greatest Generation" and it's a.ma.zing. Not only when you're reading it do you feel that you can hear his voice (again, a.ma.zing voice) reading to you, but the content is easy to follow. Brokaw sat down and had conversations with those young men and women who lived through WWII. These contributors had various backgrounds and callings during the War. Some were on the home front, while others were in the heat of battle. If you want a strong smack in the face as to what reality was for our grandparents, read this book. You want to feel like a schmuck for getting upset when your credit cards are taken away (thank you Daddy, 5 years ago) or anytime that you whined about a little w o r k, enjoy this book. A common theme found in a lot of the conversations with this men and women is a hesitation in the future of our country. I would argue that they were the greatest generation, hands down. However, when it comes to my generation and the one following, I share their hesitation. 110% The bond of values and honesty have taken a back seat to loss of morals and lying to get by. "How will I benefit from this? How much money can I make? What is the bare minimum that I can do to get by?" Disgusting. Embarrassing. And sadly, becoming the norm.

The point of this post is not to bash and insult my generation and the following one. I know there are issues with the kids now and perhaps we're all to blame for this lax sense of responsibility that we are letting them benefit from. When I was at K-State, I tried to install some sort of accountability with my students and many times, that "meanness" was met with dismay from the Deans Office, as all it took was a kids parent to call and complain and the situation, even when the blame was the precious childs, was absolved. The second, the very moment, we allow money to dictate our ethics and morals, we have already lost in the race.

I was facing a debate between money and happiness these past few weeks. I could take option A and have a steady income flowing in for Aaron and I; what was left from our debts would be dealt with before harvest. However, option A would take me from the schools here, which has been a strong source of happiness for me since moving. I adore these kids. I see the unbelievable potential they house in their futures and how it just takes a little care and commitment for it to shine. Option B would keep me with the students and Holly, but not making as much money. However, I'd be closer to home and my community. My community. The community that I am invested in.

No, we're not the greatest generation. And God forbid we are attacked the way the Japanese attacked that day in December. However, if we all took the time to give back to our communities and not worry about the bottom line in our checkbooks, could we have this next generation be a great generation? Put your money where your mouth is.

I chose Option B. It's my way of giving back to a community that will give me and my family a solid foundation. And I can teach College Psychology to a great group of kids that have no idea what they're in for. And to be honest, neither do I.

God bless America. Let's earn it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

home clothes

Home clothes v. nice clothes

When I say "home clothes", I can imagine that visions going through your head. No, I don't mean couture vintage pioneer dresses and lace up black boots. Growing up, we had two distinct categories of clothes. We had home clothes, which consisted of older sweat pants and mismatched shirts from old tee ball teams and junior high basketball camps. We never would wear jeans (those were specifically "nice clothes") at home. Nice shirts? Nope, those were strictly reserved for public outings. Keep in mind that we lived in the country and our only visitors were the Crop Quest guy on Monday mornings and the UPS lady when she delivered whatever farm gadget Daddy had ordered. If it isn't obvious, we had no need to dress to impress on the Ponderosa. And since they were home clothes, there was no need to wash them after wearing them once, even if it was all day. They were worn at home, so what is the purpose in fluffy linen smelling Burrton Recreation tee-ball shirts? No harm in wearing the shirt a couple or several times!

As time has marched on, I have realized that many of the habits that I hated growing up, have somehow trailed me to Holly and my young adult life on the farm. If you were to pop in on me on my Ponderosa, you may be a bit taken back. Right now, I am sporting grey socks, a Sunset Revival 2004 orange-yellow tie-dyed shirt, pink VS sweats (that I have worn for the 3rd day straight), hair is classic poof with no heat applied today void of eye liner, brow color, foundation, or finishing powder. Later today, I'll be heading up north with the boys and I just might wear a shirt with my work jeans that I've worn, wait for it, TWICE.

And through all my lovely homegrown habits, poor Aaron is the one who has to suffer.

I've been known to pull Aarons JEANS that he wears at HOME ONCE from the laundry basket and put them back in his drawer. The only adventure that Aaron does now that it's winter, is to go to town get the mail. So, why the need to put clothes in the wash daily? He's not pulling up irrigation pipes or sweating in a Versatile with a failed air conditioner. My laundry basket is plum full after two days of his jeans and sweatshirts. What's the harm in wearing clothes twice maybe three times, when you're not working hard and sweating? Perhaps I am way too much a product of my upbringing. Or perhaps I'm only try to help save water and energy and not running the washer every other day.

So, if you want a cheap thrill, stop by my Holly Ponderosa to see a possible home clothes masterpiece of fashion proporations. And chuckle at my background, because there's plenty to chuckle about.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

War Horse and aggie ville specials

No, we did not lose Internet connection. Yes, we still have electricity. Of course, we still have running water. I just have been busy the past month with subbing, serving fabulous wine and spirits at our local small town liquor store, and fighting off every damn virus and infection that has entered the doors at Shanner and Holly High School. Holy Mary. First, it was the wonderful sinus infection, that still partly remains, and lately it was a stomach virus that left me clinging to indoor plumbing early Thanksgiving morning. Our priest told Aaron that first year teachers are sick the whole year, as their body is adjusting to the influx of germs. You add that to my clients that I see at the liquor store, and I can bet that I'm exposed to more strains of germs than Lindsay Lohan is at a New Years Eve party at Paris Hiltons. But, God bless the husband, who has been there every moment asking "Is there anything I can do?" (Yes, honey. You can body vacuum my mucus out of my nasal passages and sterilize everything I touched, a week ago). Needless to say, my energy levels have been sub par lately.

However, I keep on living. And buying NyQuill and putting vaseline everywhere on my body.

With the CHRISTas season approaching, it seems so many commercials are slanted towards giving us that holly jolly spirit of buying stupid crap we don't need and making us feel guilty for not buying stupid crap for everyone we encounter on a daily basis (lame). There is one commercial, trailer actually, that brings the tear ducts to life. The movie "War Horse" revolves around a boy who buys a horse that apparently isn't as "umph" as his farm family needs, yet he promises to work him out and make him a strong asset to the farm. An incredibly bond is formed and when the boy is drafted into the service, the horse goes as well (this is where the details get scattered) and somehow they're separated, I think. Anyways, the boy gets back from duty and lo and behold, the horse finds his way back to the farm. It may not tear at your emotional strands by these words, but I promise, it's intense. I feel as though I can relate to the heartache of the horse. Yes, of the horse, because at one point, he was unwanted and people didn't know what to do with him.

When I was pregnant, I lost friends. Friends who didn't know what to do or say to me or how to treat me. We were "so close" in college, because our common connections were being able to rattle off Aggieville specials or enjoying the same sort of television shows or having a deep love for fashion and style. Then, the second after a rough marriage and an unplanned pregnancy, look out. Somehow they disappeared or became incredibly busy with their first-job out of college lives. It stung. Horribly. I was bearing a child, choosing adoption, and the sorting through the pain of a failed marriage. I had a fabulous walking partner/shoe loving friend who was eager to keep me healthy and my mind free. Another GAP bestie who took me in when I needed a place between homes. Another stunning friend I met through the shoe pal, financially gave me breathing room. And I am sure there were others who, in their minds, though they were doing good things for me by leaving me alone. It's human nature to stay away when you don't know what to say in a situation. You assume that by not saying or doing anything, you're doing what the person wants. I can't begin to tell you the times I heard "I'm sorry" over those spirit-testing times. It got old. Frustrating. At the time, I was trying to process so much that was changing in my life, physically and emotionally. There is a bible verse that recites something to the effect of being tested in fire and I feel that those friendships were tested during those times. Many failed. Some passed.

Looking back, though. I am glad those friends decided to bail. It helped me weed out the ones that were true friends, in the grown up sense, from the ones who were friends, in the college fun-times sense. We all have those friends, who were friends for reasons or seasons. And it does take all sorts and types to get us through these times on earth.

However, a word for those of you who know someone who is going through a difficult transition or unplanned event in their course of life. Be there for them and verbally tell them that. Do not assume that they can hear your head rattle and they just know that you're "there" for them. When you're carrying on with your ideal perfect life, check in on them. Just to say "hey" or ask how things are going. Try to avoid "I'm sorry", because it sounds as though you're pitying them and that is the last last last last thing they want to feel, in addition to everything else. Because, when your world is turned upside down and you are trying to process what has happened, the last thing you want to deal with is mind reading. Trust me.

It is what it is. People come into our lives and leave, as quickly as that. The ones we wish would stay away forever, seem to always linger back. But, the stout hearted and strong willed ones, never really leave. Now, that my life has finally (thank the holy Trinity) settled, I am developing strong friendships with women who are the kind that songs and cheesy poems are written about. Christmas gifts are no longer bottles of pricey vodka and PJ sets from GAP, but cook books, kitchen appliances, and home decor. Am I getting old? Nah, well, maybe. But, I never felt so alive and true.

Like a war horse, that has been to hell and back.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

never the popular kid

I was never the popular girl in elementary school. Definitely not the cool girl in junior high. Nor was I the "it" girl in high school. Far from it. I hated when the teacher would announce "Now, find a partner....." or "split into teams....." My stomach would get in knots and I'd anxiously look at the floor, wishing it'd swallow me up and save me from the embarrassment of being the last girl chosen. Ugh. No PE teacher should have the kids pick teams. That was one of the most fabulous feelings in the world, let me tell you. It was always left to me and the girl in the wheelchair. Go me.

When we did go to football or basketball games, it was usually me sitting with my Dad, while everyone else in my class would run up and down the track like a bunch of hooligans. Total "L" on my forehead ("loser" for the layman). Perhaps I am dramatizing the crappy social experience of my life as a pre-teen and teenager. However, it's not by much. Maybe that is why I loved writing and reading so much, even back then. When I was reading, I could transport myself to "Sweet Valley High" or was one of the babysitters in the Babysitters Club. I wasn't the odd and awkward farm girl, with hips too big and hair too poofy (sadly, my locks did not know a flat iron until college). With writing, I could ignore the blabber of junior high and high school drama crap and be the creator of my own world, instead of being a side item to theirs.

That is why, I am still getting used to going to athletic events at Holly.


I am the girl that the kids are excited to see and that the parents are pleased to finally meet. I have heard "Mrs Leiker!" more times than I have heard "Well, looks like you're the last one, Monica". It's so odd to me that people know and not like "Now, who is that girl?? No, not that one. The one with the not-so-big glitter belt buckle and embossed cowboy boots. Who is that girl..... I think I went to her wedding, maybe..." It's more like "That's Monica Leiker. She's Hayden's sub and the kids love her. I know, right? The kids actually enjoy a sub and she hasn't been ridiculed yet by the students."

Between Aaron and I, I'm the one that people recognize more than him. For example, at the homecoming pep rally that Aaron was announcing, a group of students were asking amongst themselves "Who is that guy announcing?" One girl answered "That's Aaron Leiker. He's Monica Leiker's husband."

Greatest.moment.of.my.life (with the exception of the birth of Colton, the marriage to Aaron, K-State beating OU for the Big XII championship in 2003, and finally graduating Graduate School).

For once since our move, I wasn't an accessory to my handsome tall blond husband. I was the main deal and he was the accessory and in his home town, no less. Fabulous. Simply fabulous.

I've told Aaron that I'm already jealous of our not-yet-born-herd-of-six-kids. They'll be popular. People will know them. They'll like them and just "Oh, she's nice"-like them. They'll go to football and volleyball games and have kids to run like hooligans with around the track. They may be picked last in PE, if they inherit their mother's fear of flying balls.

I guess this post is to those kids who were always and constantly pickled last in anything. Who doesn't seem to have found their niche in junior high or high school and to be honest: Who wants to have hit their peak in HIGH SCHOOL?! It's silly, looking back at those "cool kids" back then. The ones that thought their little worlds were THE world, sadly never left and still hang out with the same crowd. Eh, maybe it works for them, but it sure as heck did not work for me.

Someday, maybe someday, you'll be able to say that when you walk through the lunchroom during elementary chow time, you have a bunch of little bodies that want Mrs. Leiker to enjoy Chicken and Noodles with them.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

sandwich cookies and pumpkin patches

Yesterday, I found myself sitting the PreSchool room, amongst 14 youngsters who were exhausted from our recent trip to the pumpkin patch. When I was first told that today is the day of the pumpkin patch trip, I instantly froze in fear. "Oh, lord. Is it going to be muddy? I didn't wear my boots today, instead I opted for my boat shoes. And wait, 14 pre school kids running around crazy searching for that "perfect" pumpkin? Yeah, right. They'll never find their perfect piece of orange heaven and it will consist of me running all around the 5 acre plot of pumpkins screeching their names, while sticker plants invade the precious soles of my Sperrys. Fabulous." To be true to the experience, it went off without a hitch. Although, I'm not sure some of them realized that when they told Mrs. Leiker this is the one they want and gnawed it off the vine and wrote their name on the bottom, that meant it was THEIRS. Perhaps the memory line of possession hasn't quite developed fully for their ittle brains. And Mrs. Leiker was able to trot home with 3 pumpkins for herself, her hubby, and the roommate who resides in our basement. And, I didn't even have to pay for it. Perfection, in my world.

Back to the exhausted Mrs. Leiker sitting on the carpet (no, I was not in time out), watching 14 preschools tikes wolf down their snack of orange jello and mandarin oranges and cookies. However, these cookies they were enjoying were the kind that us girls grew up on.

Generic. Generic vanilla sandwich cookies.

I forgot that part of my childhood that included always Price Saver or Shur Fine generic sandwich cookies. It's obvious as to the real deal that they were striving after: Oreos. Our mother would never ever ever purchase Oreo brand cookies. Perhaps, if someone was visiting. However, if it was a family member: forget it. Chances are, they grew up with generic cookies so why should Mom spend an extra dollar on cousin so-and-so? Not happening. I can't begin to tell you the cases of those sandwich cookies we went through. Vanilla. Chocolate. Then the mix of Vanilla AND Chocolate. Stale heaven, folks. Stale heaven. Our Mom purchased everything generic. Toilet paper. Cereal. Cream corn (vomit). Canned vegetables (which are horrible, in comparison to their steamfresh counter parts). I still do the same thing. I'll stand in front of the food aisle, analyzing the prices of the various competition. It's easier, yes, to grab and go. But, then I think of the cents I could be saving, and I'll stand there as long as I have to until I figure out what is the cheapest. Poor Aaron.

Is there a noticeable difference between Oreo and sandwich cookies? You bet your glass of milk there is! Is that even a question?? But, for this sub teacher in the PreSchool room, I silently gave thanks that my mother was the generic genius that she is. Because, if she hadn't only purchased cheap food, I would not have had that sweet memory yesterday of sneaking into the pantry to OD on stale cookies with hardened filling, while having preschool kids hang on my arms and legs.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Daddy, a zenith TV, and bad TV

People still find it hilarious that the only show us girls were permitted to watch growing up was "Little House on the Prairie". That statement from my mouth, is usually followed by shocked looks of disbelief and denial. I am asked "How did you survive?!" (Um, by food. Yeah, food. usually does the trick. Final answer). Or "What did you DO after school?!?!?!" (Um, wow. What did we do after school? Oh yes, homework. Or played outside on the farm or in the shelter belts that protected our house. I had one helluva imagination. Which is probably why I love writing so much. And reading so much. Oh yeah, we read a lot, too. For FUN. Yeah, I know, right?! Who does that?!). We didn't have Nintendo or PlayStation or any other miscellaneous stuff that falls int the category of "Sitting on your rear and stare at the television. Be sure to block out everything else that is going on in the house and what your mom is telling you to do."

Now, to be fair, we were allowed to watch other shows than LHOTP, but Daddy or Mom had to be in the room with us. These included "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman", "Home Improvement", and "Walker: Texas Ranger." If by chance, we'd veer off that channel of good-ole-family-fun, and were watching something else that even HINTED to the vices of sex, cursing, drinking, or anything else that causes a 5th grade boy to squirm (and a father of four girls to hit his knees and pray), Daddy would, without doubt, clear his throat and ask in a disgusted-at-social-media voice:

"Isn't there anything else on?!" Even though, it was HIM who changed the channel. Again, that's totally irrelevant, right?

You can always tell when the dialogue of the show is getting nasty and going down that path to "Satan's playground" (again, another Daddy term that he picked up from his mother). I'd tense up, knowing that sooner or later the "sex" word would be uttered or the characters would engage in activities that should not be shown on tv. Especially when a daddy and his daughters are watching. Ugh. That awkward feeling is uncomfortable. You add the fact that you're in high school and the thought of watching anything that involves sexual activity and your Dad, is similar to the desire of being locked in a tanning bed.

When I was home two weekends ago, Daddy and I were watching an episode of something I can't even remember. The characters started making out and the next thing you know..... I start getting that awkward feeling of wanting to melt into our circa 1970s couch covered with a beige upholstery cover. And I am 27 years old. Married. That same feeling was there: awkward. And the kicker of the deal?

Daddy was out. Snoozing in his chair. Dreaming of 9770 S-series combines and 60 bushel wheat. Visions of him riding away in his 1974 two-tone blue Chevy pickup, with Shadow (our family dog) into the sunset.

And I still was still nervous as all heck that he'd somehow come out of his 8:00 pm slumber. And ask that old phrase that made all us girls stomachs turn from embarrassment:

"Hey, isn't there anything else on?!"

Monday, October 3, 2011

An old Zenith and an unhooked dishwasher

Next month, my parents will be celebrating 30 years of marriage. 30 years that were blessed with five children and countless dollars spent on prom and homecoming dresses and back to school crayons (NEVER Crayola. Rose Art, anyone?) Looking back on the years living at home, never once, did I think "Well, this is it. This is the fight that will leave my sisters and I choosing which parent we want to spend Christmas and Ash Wednesday with." Sure, they had discussions and arguments, but never fights. Never had yell-at-the-top-of-your-lungs fights sprinkled with pull-out-all-the-stops fights. If they did, they never conducted that sort of business in front of us girls. I am sure there were those "discussions" that had the possibility of escalating into nasty emotional drama, but we never were prived to that sort of immature mud slinging. My role model for a healthy marriage? My parents. Easy.

So, how do you gift your parents with a gift that symbolizes that respect and admiration? How do you put into a thing the thoughts and love and honor you reserve for them? You would assume looking at my parents house and based on my blogs poking fun at Mom's lack of interior decorating preference, that it would be easy. Me, the girl with matching green plaid seat cushions that correspond with her Lemon Pepper table runner, that jive with her Aspen red plate settings. I've got nothing. When I posed the question to Aaron about what to get Mom and Dad, he suggested reasonable items. Items that would solve all the issues I have with their house. For example, he suggested getting rid of their old Zenith, which the new Plasma sits. Author note: the "new plasma" has been in their house for over 3 years. It's still new to me and my sisters. It'll probably always be "new" to us. Anyways, their new TV sits on top of their old TV. This is the TV that I first watched the beloved "Little House on the Prairie" so many Fridays on PBS ago. The TV that we religiously watched "America's Funniest Home Videos" Sunday evenings. The TV that I watched "This Old House" on Sundays after Mass, while Daddy "dozed" in his chair. The TV that played countless, I mean countless, Disney VHS tapes. "Walker Texas Ranger"? You bet, it had a home in our Saturday evening hearts (and the eyes of the ranger are always upon you). How could Aaron suggest that we get RID of this decorating surreal work? Nope. Tacky TV on TV action stays.

Next idea was a dishwasher, that works. We have one, oh yes, we have one. It's old and not hooked up and houses many old rags and dish towels and the molding things you use to mold hamburger patties. I think there is also some frosting decorating tools in old bread sacks. So, yeah. We don't have one. I know what you're thinking, with angst: "How did they do all those dishes?! By hand?! Oh! The horrible display of sanitation!!" If the fact that we did our dishes by hand disgusts you, then I'll leave out the garbage container that is an old butter container that sits on our counter. So many, so many memories are housed for me around that beloved sink. Throwing water at Mel, when she put back dishes that I had quickly washed; screaming in terror, when Daddy would put his nostrils against the outside window, hoping to scare the crap out his daughters (which he always succeeded). Watching TV and hearing Mom screech "I need some dish dryers" and then Daddy anxiously pushing us (ok, more like demanding) to get into the kitchen to help our mother. At the time, I would have given anything to have a dish washer like all my friends; being able to load it and walk away and NOT have to spend one more minute with my slimy, stinky sister. Pure torture.

I'd give anything to go back to those days of having Mel closer to me.... And life not being so complicated with the responsibility of finding health insurance since we're self employed (darn farming) and proving previous coverage prior to September 1. I miss those days sharing a room with her and making CLEAR divisions as to what MY side was and what HER side was. I digress.

You see, all the things that we sisters agonized over as annoying and frustrating while we were growing up............ Those hick deals made us who we are today. The memories. The yelling. The tears. The soaked shirts. Standing in front of that old Zenith to say the blessing before meals and making sure that Mel and Alayna weren't looking at the TV while praying. Horrible Catholics. Writing this is even making me bittersweet emotional. It's a flood of memories that are kept in that TV on TV action and that dishwasher full of old rags.

So, I think we're all at a loss as to what to give Mom and Dad next month........ Because they've already given us everything a Harvey County daughter could want. A vintage TV and smelly dishwasher.

Friday, September 30, 2011

....After my gift

Last weekend I attended a birth mom retreat; it was the first ever, hosted by the group "After the Gift", through the Catholic Diocese of Wichita (Kansas). For those of you who are trying to process this last statement, allow me to clarify in layman's terms: it was a retreat for women who chose adoption for their children. It was the first retreat of its kind, for the Wichita Diocese. I grew up near Wichita (Halstead, to be exact), therefor the Wichita Diocese has a special place in my heart. It's a fabulous diocese; one that has something like 55 seminarians (young men in the seminary pursing vocations in the priesthood) and a beautiful Spiritual Life Center. To put this in perspective to other dioceses that I've lived in: Salina Diocese (Kansas) has maybe 4 (?) seminarians, while Pueblo has possibly 6 (?). Wichita is blessed. Incredibly.

For those who are still trying to jump over that hump in their mind (So, you're saying you've had a kid?), I'll clarify again. Yes, I have had a child. Yes, I chose adoption for this child. No, it's not like foster care. Yes, I chose the family. No, I do not text his parents daily for updates. No, I'll never get over "it". No, I haven't regreted one day since April 29, 2009. No, I do not think I'm selfish. No, I do not think I'll be a "bad parent", because I chose adoption for my son. Yes, I am in communication with his parents (Aaron met them in August 2010). So, that answers the next question "Does Aaron know?!" Of course, he knows. His family knows. My family knows. Now, you do as well. Aren't we all special?

For me, adoption was a no brainer. I was at a point in my life where there recently was no male in the home. Yes, I was financially able to support a child. However, again, there was no male in the home. Shocking to many, my mother suggested adoption quickly after it was apparent that I and another person were not going to work our relationship and issues out. At first, I was offended that she'd suggest me, a woman with pursing a Masters degree, me, a women who had a good full time position with benefits, would consider adoption. I had always dreamed that the girl who chose adoption was 16, addicted to drugs, from a broken home, and a high school drop out. I was NOT one of "those" type of people. Heavens no. I went to mass every Sunday; I was active with St. Thomas More parish, reading at mass. I was a pretty person with a beautiful future. I was NOT one of those girls. Ew. I had a COACH bag collection (real Coach bags). I had a perfect life.

Yet, I did not. I did not have the perfect life for the child that I had no previous plans for. My life was just starting to pick up speed, after a painful relationship, for both me and him. I was starting clean. Fresh slate. So many boys, so little time. Yet, my life was put on hold for the most precious boy, my son. The deciding question as to whether to choose adoption or parenting for my child was from my mom "Were there ever any times in your life that you were happy that your Dad was there, in the house?" I could have been sarcastic and responded that I'd prefer he wasn't there as much as he was (I was an envelope pusher and Daddy was the disciplinarian in the house). But, in all seriousness, that question made the decision. He would be given a better life if I made this decision.

Now, for those of you who were raised in single parent homes, I am not throwing ash and dust and blame on your situation. I am not raising myself to an elitist snob position and claiming that in ALL situations, a child is better off with TWO parents in the home. In MY situation, a child would not be given the best opportunity at a healthy emotional life. Again, the relationships in my life (at that time) were not healthy. The child would have no stability and would grow up in homes where his parents resented and blamed the other. Holidays would be split; harsh biter words would be said.

This retreat was a beautiful blessing for my grieving process; to be around women who all chose adoption for their children, was priceless. These women ranged from age 65 to 17. Each women's adoption was different; some have extremely open adoptions, while others have closed and do not know where their child is. However, we all made the unique decision for our children to be given a better chance at life. I was informed by some that I was selfish for choosing adoption; that I was running from the challenge of parenting. Something that we all learn, is that everyone has an opinion for the decisions we made. God bless.

I suppose the purpose of this post, is to 1) inform you of this amazing organization (After the Gift) and hope that someone will know someone who may benefit from the experience of attending a retreat hosted by this group. I plan to become more involved with the women and this group, in hopes that I am able to reach out a hand to a women who needs support, as I did. 2) continuing to share my story, constantly helps with my grieving process. Again, I'll never be over it. Everyday, I grieve. I feel that those of you who have lost a child or family member would agree. Everyday, the grieving process continues and it never does "stop".

I feel that I should again encourage you, that if you know someone who is considering the three options that are available to pregnant women and you feel that they may benefit from communicating with me, let me know. I'm always willing and wanting to help other girls who need someone to talk with who has "been there". Because, I've been there........

Survived that.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

the MIL and spotted cow

Holy long road trip.

Last Thursday, the mother in law and I headed west to Wisconsin for her best friends sons wedding; doesn't that remind you of a romantic comedy title? The FIL (father in law) was suppose to go, but rather sitting in a car for 4 days round trip, opted to stick at home. So, the next best option for MIL was the UDIL (unemployed daughter in law). Aaron was a touch nervous in regards to my sanity sitting in the car for that long, as I have a habit of becoming restless and start poking at him; asking random questions, etc. I'll admit, the drive through Kansas is the worst and that's because I've made that drive many times. Many times. And, I am not so much in love with the scenery as I used to be. We stayed with the SIL in Kansas City Thursday night and headed from KC to Green Bay on Friday. I'll admit, I was hesitant on spending this much time with the MIL; Aaron wouldn't be there to bother and annoy. It would just be me. And her. Those who know our relationship, however, will admit that we spend a lot of time together. And I am comfortable with that. That astounds many who have horrible dreadful prodding intrusive mother in laws (I'm looking at you L-Wood). But that's not how my MIL is. At all.

When I first met people in the Holly area, the first thing they'd tell me is that "You're marrying into a wonderful family. That MIL is the best kind to have." And at first, I thought they were simply saying this, because it's proper to encourage someone who is moving to the middle of God nowhere, that's it's going to be ok (even if you know for a fact that girl will be screeching and screaming to "GET ME THE H$%^ OUT OF HERE!" after the first snake sighting). As time would go on , I would catch myself thinking "I really am marrying into an awesome family......." Our first week back in Holly, the MIL would call before she came over. She would not just assume she can barge into my house (even if she did bring me a bottle of wine); she'd knock then open the door and yell "Knock knock!". Those who have made any sort of move, can testify that you need S P A C E to figure out where to put things and where that box is with your blow dryer, amonsgst all the other pallets of boxes.

This may come as no suprise, but my MIL is a former interior decorator. She has done everything from window treatments to redecorating homes in and around the Holly-area. She studied in Paris. And just for fun, she also modeled. Top it off, she's a Texan, through and through, and has an adorable southern drawl. People come to her for decorating, color coordinaton, room renovation, and furniture relocation advice. Perhaps, her knack for home decorations has led me to have a pretty decently decorated home. I KNOW her knack for shopping has affected me and my closet.

When I started typing today, I had not planned to rave about how beautiful of a relationship my MIL and I have. I had planned to drool over the beautiful scenery and amazing people I met in Wisconson and the great cheese I bought and the amazing Spotted Cow beer I purchased (in cases).

I am so blessed to say that after spending six days solid with my MIL and driving over 2,000 miles, covering six states, and eating Daylight Donuts (nearly daily...helllo Pilates), I still had no problem catching lunch with her today. The unthinkable does happen. It is possible to have a MIL that is also your close friend.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

babies and (future) boyfriends

I don't think that this next statement may come as a surprise: I love kids and I know that Aaron and I will be the best parents ever. Why is this? Because, duh, we don't have kids. So, obviously, we will be the best parents. Ever. And our kids behaviors and futures? Why do you ask, because the answer is will be an easy one, because again, we don't have kids. And the best parents are the ones who don't have kids. Everyone knows that. That lady in Wal Mart who raises an eyebrow when the bratty 2 year old is screeching at the top of her lungs because Mom won't buy gummy bears? Oh yeah, she knows it. She is the best parent, because that blow horn isn't her child.

So the motivation behind this Saturday posting? This morning, the mother-in-law and me went to a baby shower, hosted for a young mama in the area who was in Aaron's class in high school. The baby was beautiful with a full head of brown hair and the mother, radiant. Now, when we celebrate baby births, birthdays, communions, bar mitzvah (just kidding, we don't have any Jewish people here), it takes on a whole new meaning for me. Instead of not really caring or noticing young children, I take note. Why?

These children, bless their country hearts, will determine the success of future Leiker children. How you may ask? Let me paint the picture: fast forward 15 years down the road. It's a typical day at Holly High, let's go with Friday. It's a home football game and Leiker child (girl) is excited for a typical small town friday night. Let's say it's Homecoming v. Walsh High; she has her eye on Boy One and lucky her, he asked her to the homecoming dance. I don't have to spell out for you the evils and temptations that float around kids nowadays; so God, only knows, how crazy and tempting life will be 15 years from now. I don't even want to consider what things life will face my kids. It's scary. It's amazingly scary.

So, that cute drooling infant at the high school volleyball game? It takes a whole new meaning now, doesn't it? Yes, I have an active imagination. This is nothing new to me. And in a small town, like Holly, there are not a plethera of people (SHOCKER). Pickings are limited. So, in the interest of the future generation of the Leikers, I only can pray that these little babies mind their manners (and not just in the Wal Mart).

But, I guess that's how it is with parenting: you just pray and let the pieces fall where they may or may not fall. You do the best you can: you make mistakes and move on.

This doesn't mean that I'll not be watching for those screaming kids in the candy aisle. Move along, boys. Move along (in 15 years).

Saturday, September 3, 2011

the call

Everyone has a set of numbers that when they pop up on your caller ID, you freeze. You glance at the clock. You look back on the phone and, with hesitation, answer, while preparing yourself for the worst case scenario.

In high school, that set of numbers was anyone connected with my ruling committee (Mom and Daddy). When any number from this committee would show up,especially after ten pm, I'd freeze. Immediately, I'd go through the latest possible-fib I told either Mom or Daddy; where did I say I would be? When did I say I'd be home? Who did I say I'd be with? I'd calmly answer the phone, making sure there was no outside noises that would lean my Daddy to assume that his eldest daughter would even think of stretching the truth as to where she was. I wonder how kids before my time of big clunky cell phones (without DATA!! Holy heck) kept their adrenaline going while out with friends, past curfew. There were several occasions when I was caught, thanks to gabby parents. Perhaps that's a good thing of living in small town USA, everyone gabs. Everyone. Even if they don't' realize the grounding repercussions their side comment "Why, no, Monica left well before 10 pm. She said she had to make it home to curfew. She's such a great kid. Lucky parents!". Yeah, thanks Mrs. B. Good bye chunky cell phone.

Funny how with time, that set of numbers that causes your heart to stop and the hairs on your head prickle, does not change. It still consists of three sets: Mom's cell phone, Daddy's cell phone, and our home phone ("The Ponderosa" on my phone). Now, though, thank the heavens that the reasons why my heart stops when these numbers show on the ID, do not revolve around being out past curfew. It's not about me being in trouble, anymore, with the parents. I'll leave that guilt trip for the hubby.

No, now the reasons why my world stops and I glance at the clock, is because the worst case scenario of my ruling committee calling, is telling me that someone dear passed away. Last week, it was Mom calling just to let me know that Grandpa Bergkamp had a possible reaction with sore throat medication and was in the hospital. The world stops. For a brief 10 seconds, I'm not a 27 year old farm wife, hashing her way through Pioneer Women cookbooks. I'm not a young wife who stills enjoys doing the laundry of her husband. I'm 5 years old, on their dairy farm and it's Sunday evening supper. All my aunts and uncles and cousins are there, too. We're just getting ready to sit down for supper and we're all waiting for Grandpa to start the "In the name of the father...." for the prayer before meals. I'm the lucky cousin who got to sit on the left hand side of Grandpa, next to the window. Even though I am far from my cousins, sitting at the card table (this was before we had 40 cousins to sit. At this point, there are only 10), I'm next to Grandpa. The guy who looks like a Bergkamp, with his white forehead, white arms, and wide face. He is a legend. He's not the sappy Grandpa who tells me he loves me all the time. However, he doesn't need to. I know he does, because he is my Grandpa. We have the same last name. We have the same wide forehead.

That call. I hate those calls. Although, everything turns out fine and he's released several days later, I still awkwardly look at the caller id. One of these times, the call will be "the" call. The call that automatically time travels me back to those days, when being punished meant staying the car when we got to Grandma and Grandpa's house, while watching my sisters and cousins play outside on the dairy. Those Sunday's that turned an empty yard to a yard full of minivans, suburbans, station wagons, and trikes.

No, we do not live forever. And I know that "the call" will happen. Until then, and after then, my heart will always stop short and I'll always look at the clock, whenever those few numbers show on the id.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

..your house matches??

Has anyone seen my mothers house? Growing up, it was to me like many kids' homes are to them: safe. Nothing really did match, though. I can remember in junior high, before my Aunt Anne came to visit (she is a fabulous seamstress and sews custom drapes with a great eye for interior design), being in Wal Mart with Mom. I had begged her to buy hunter green valences and a hunter green shower curtain for our bathroom (at this point, yes, we had ONE bathroom for FOUR girls, a mom and a dad. We surived. Take THAT you 4 bathroom families). I desperatley wanted that room to match. I am pretty sure that the valences are still up there and probably dusty as ever (we never noticed nor cared growing up). The shower curtain, I think, is down. I can't remember exactly. Interior decorating was not a concern for my mother or daddy. So long as he had supper ready when he came in from the field and his recliner chair free when he was ready to "watch tv" (doze), he could care less. The flowers that Mom would attempt to grow, would meet their fate when Daddy was on the Grasshopper. Our yards around the house have never really been watered. Mom is predictable with her pansies that she plants on the front planters (that used to be, I believe, watering troughs). Other than that, we are a family that really paid no to little attention on matching things or themes or holidays in our home. The Christmas tree would go up sometime in December and would stay up until the Epipfany. The decorations that would coincide with Christmas, consisted of the ornaments that us girls made in grade school. Second to the tree, the most important decoration for the Advent Wreath and the usual insane sprint, after meal prayer, to the piano to see who would read the meditation that evening. Usually, Daddy would intercede and allow Mel to do it, since I was the bossy one who would throw Mel out of the way. Naturally.

So, naturally, I am not all that keen on decorations for our home. Registering for gifts at Heart of Country in Holly, was a feat for me. Matching napkin rings with my napkins? What the hell? We only used napkins when company was over (and these would come out, naturally, at dessert, because Mom woudl forget to lay them out). And these weren't pretty fabric napkins. Too expensive!! We used the Shur Fine sandpaper napkins, if you were lucky. Usually, it was sandpaper paper towels. And, you are wanting me to choose napkin PATTERNS to match my placemat?! And a table runner?! Do you know where I COME from?! I had no clue. I went with the Lemon Pepper theme (there I go, acting all Better Homes and Gardens and throwing out the word "theme"). For our shower, we were blessed with many gifts from our registry from Heart of Country. If you are anywhere near Holly, you have to stop by Heart of Country. This store will blow your mind. It's as if Southern Living and Farm and Ranch Living met up and had a lovechild. And it is Heart of Country. I love that store. I go in there nearly daily.

Ah, yes. I said I go in there nearly daily. Yes, I am unemployed and really have nothing else pressing to do, then to enjoy a lunch with friends at Wooden Rose then hang out at Heart of Country. Within the past week, I have purchased several items to go with my Lemon Pepper kitchen and dining room; Lemon Pepper button-down valences, Lemon Pepper Rag Rug (picking that up today and am STOKED), Lemon Pepper table runners, and todays task: to find neutral chair paids to go along with, you guessed it, Lemon Pepper. I have caught the decorating bug and am absolutely loving it. Best part: when I tell Aaron that I want to get this or that: his response:

"Do whatever you want, honey."

Golden words to live by, my friends. Or should I say, Lemon Pepper words to live by.

I won't be that annoying woman who posts pictures, daily or hourly, of their home improvement renovations. That is annoying. And desperate. I'll just leave you with this picture of the valences I ordered (along with the dishcloth, that we received a million of from the shower and wedding). I can't tell you how many times I have said to myself "I love my life." Decorating freedoms aside, I am happier now than I have ever been. Except maybe when our bathroom, for a short time, matched a perfect hunter green.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

pet orphanages

Growing up, none of our dogs started off as "ours"; they were strays that came onto the place. Even though they started out as strays, they became part of the family. Tuesday evening, while the hubby was watering the lawn, a dog ran onto our place. He was a full grown husky mix with a bit of yellow mixed (I don't know dogs, all I know is what labs, beagles, Lassies look like; and yes I know that Lassies are not the name of the dog). I was scared at first, because he wasn't "Shadow" (our dog back home). After some time outside with him, we knew that he was used to humans and was fed. Our initial thought was that he was dropped off by someone, which happens a lot out here. As much fun and safe as I would feel with a dog outside, my mind went to the dreaded question that Aaron hates.... "How much is this going to cost?". I ignored that stress inducing, debbie downer emotion thought and remembered all the warm and fuzzy memories of our own dogs (Bubbles, Tacky, and Shadow). All the times coming home from church, errands, school, etc and Shadow running up as we pulled in our circle drive, excited as ever to see us. I want our kids to have that attachment with a family dog. Cats are great and I love our cats. Coming home, I always ask "Where are my kitties" (yes, as that crazy cat woman). But, there is a special bond that I have with dogs, again, based on my own upbringing.

Oh, the times of puppies in the cement garage. I still can see Alayna, who is now 19 years old, in a old tattered green heavy coat looking at the puppies for the first time (I can't remember which dog and which liter it was). The pure look of bewilderment on her face as the little pooches cuddled together for warmth (we didn't get out much, you have to understand....) It was a beautiful time for our family. It was a bonding time. And I want our kids to have that same lessons in life. Losing a family pet was a feeling that we were used to; in the country, cats would "disappear" due to coyotes, etc. Again, another life lesson that country kids grasped on and lived through.

We decided that if the dog was still on our front porch by the morning, I would call a couple of our surronding neighboors to see if they knew whose dog it was. The next morning, pup was still on the porch, as if to be guarding our house. I was excited and yet still disappointed. I didn't want him to be someone else's dog and that same morning, they would be looking their dog and worried. There was no need to call any neighboors......

A fellow neighboor pulled up to our place in his beautiful silver pickup, as the dog ran up to his pickup, my heart sank. He lives about 2 miles south of us and farms around our place. Chances are, the dog knew this place (we are living in his parents old home) and found his way here. As the pickup pulled off and he waved to me, I began to bawl. I sat on the front steps and bawled. And I am not sure why. I am sure it has something to do with the feeling of attachment that I had with the memory of having dogs. It is humorous how those memories of childhood, that we don't think are really important, are. Growing up, I thought I'd be emotionally scarred from having to ride the "horrible" bus daily or wearing clothes that my mother made (Kdg and 1st grade). It's the little passing moments that live with us. The ones that affect our life goals and values are the ones that we don't always "scrapbook" about; they are the ones that you can't see.

But, I can't wait to see a puppy running up to me when I pull in my driveway......

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

strugglin' with a-vowin'

Way back when, I decided that Aaron and I writing our vows would be romantic. Cute. Adorable. Memorable. Charming. And everyone would "oohhh" and "ahhhh" and giggle over the love and devotion we have for the other. They would tell their friends and family members that "That wedding was beautiful. It was relaxed and when they were done with those amazing vows, no one could question the strength of their marriage."

I am seriously regretting that desire to be the next romantic comedy. Because right now, my vows are more comedic relief and not in the good way; more in the cheesy "America's Got Talent" crappy comedy sketch way. Or the comedy style of a creeper 50 year old drunk off whiskey by 8 pm and hitting on you in a not so comfortable way-comedy style. I believe that I believed that since I have a gift/talent/obsession with writing, that this would be a piece of cake. The monologues I run in my head daily are hilarious. Or at least, I think they are. However, there is a serious line between poking fun at your swimsuit top popping off at the Holly City Pool and professing the love you have for the man who has changed your life and has given you the foundation you only heard about in cheesy Rascal Flatts songs.

I have tried about 5 different openings for my vows to Aaron. It's funny how many times we say "I love you" to people. We say it so many times, out of humor, irritation, frustration, and true love. Now, the time that all I want to say is "I love you", it seems useless and not enough. I know, knowing Aaron, that his will be perfect. It will be the work of someone that truly loves the other person; since he is a guy, anything he says that involved the "f" word (feeling) or the other "f" word (future), everyone will love and croon over. Guys have it so easy. He could stand up there and say "I love you. My feeligns for you are commitment and through this commitment we will have a future together" and everyone will pen him as the next songwriter for Rascal Flatts. Easy peasy.

Then, all eyes will turn to me as I stand there thinking "What the hell? How many loads of laundry and cycles of running the dishwasher and this is all I get?! Don't get me started on the endless pieces of trash that I throw away for him from his car or the constant reminders I provide him for things he needs to finish. And all he says is "I love you" and everyone thinks he's amazing?!" (to be fair, he is simply amazing). Yes, I am exagerating, a tad, because I know he will have more than 10 seconds of mush romantic to say to me. In true radio form, he has it counted down to 150 words (one minute). That's as long as it needs to be, because any length more than that is too long and people start tuning out (according to aaron).

And I'll be up there, brain freeze, not knowing what to say or how to say it. I know that with time (three days times, I pray) I'll have it perfected to a tee. It'll be "me" and Aaron will appreciate my words of love and commitment to him. But right now, I am struggling with finding my writers stroke of genius, because all I can think of to say is "I love you."

Because, God almighty, do I love you.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

soon to be maiden names and ships

Here we are, closing in a nearly one week until I legally shed the Bergkamp last name (field on a mountain, German literal translation) for a new shiny last name. I cling and love the last name "Bergkamp". Perhaps it's because I earned my degrees with that last name or because I have such appreciation knowing the family history of the Bergkamps. Fun fact: my great-great grandpa was 9 months when his family set sail for America and he became deathly ill while en route. The, whats the word I am looking for, captain (possibly) wanted to throw him overboard, because he was so sick. Luckily, that never came about and here we are today (good or bad). All Bergkamps living in America come from that one family of nine. As Daddy says it, we're all related to the same trunk of tree. Pretty fabulous, eh?

I decided that I want to keep a piece of the Bergkamp heritage alive, post July 30 2011. I will add Bergkamp to my middle initial and will legally be Monica Suzanne Bergkamp Leiker. Yes, that is a god awful long name. However, it is the little bit of my past that I can always have. We may need to order an extra long tombstone (rather, my kids will) so it is listed as such. That is how I would like my little plot of land at the Holly Cemetary to read. Now, do not think that I am bashful to become a "Leiker". Rather, I love it. It's unique, but not too unique that you trip over saying it. Bonus points: it's totally German Catholic (just like Bergkamp). There is a huge history connected to agriculture with Leiker, as well. And I am incredibly proud to announce that I am a farm fiance (soon to be wife) whose fiance (soon to be husband) farms with his brother and dad. We are part of a family farm operation. Not to say that if Aaron stayed in radio that I would not be proud of saying that my husband works long hours for nickels and dimes and for the gratification of being recognized at any establishment that caters to old people, because that was exhilerating. There is just something extra, in my opinion, when you are connected to a family establishment. I have cousins in Illionis who are invovled with the police force. Uncle G was a IL State Trooper and his boys are invovled with the force in their towns in IL.

There is an emotional side of me that is pulled when I talk about family. Maybe it's because as I get older, I learn that my family (both Bergkamp and Landwehr) are not perfect. You know when you're growing up, you think your family is idealistic. There are no siblings squabbles. No skeletons in the cedar closet. It is basically "Little House on the Prairie". Then, as you grow older you pick up on social cues that you had not yet noticed. It is hard for me to give personal examples from my family, as you all know how passionate and opinionated I am. Let's just say, you notice that you are far from perfect. Some parts of it enrage and really disappoint you. It's like finding out that Santa ain't real.

What is the kicker and the sting is when it personally affects you. You personally feel the zing of their beliefs and you feel as though you had the chair pulled from under you in 3rd grade by the cute black boy and that is the reason, you believe, you have shoudler muscle problems (maybe that's just me....) You're confused and wonder "When did I become the grown up and not their younger generation?" However, since you ARE a grown up, you recognzie and respect their ways and beliefs and values. It is the way the mop flops. It hurts, oh yes, but it is not changing who you are and what you want for YOUR life. Because, after all, you are a grown up.

Maybe that's why I respect my soon to be maiden name so much, because I am realizing that the word "family" can mean and invoke so many emotions and memories that you can't help but cling to that pronoun.

I do wonder how many people may have wished that Great Great Grandpa was thrown overboard...........

Monday, July 18, 2011

psa and that show on mtv

I think we all have those dirty little shows that we watch religiously. They're hidden on our DVR list and we pray that no one will go sneaking and discover. "Teen Mom" is one of my favorite shows to quietly watch in the privacy of my own living room. Now that my life is starting to become a little quieter (minus the tiny little finalized details of the wedding), I have taken the coruage to grab the ridiculously complicated direct tv remote and hit "R" on the marathons that are not hard to find. In the mornings, while the boys are out playing in the field, I have my sanctuary in the living room. My private time to half-ass Pilates, drink "Coffee People" K-Cups, and talk to the cats, even though they never listen to me. And watch my shows that typical males would not enjoy. While watching these "Satan playgrounds" of shows (that's a Joe B phrase), I recommit to the blessings in my life.

For those who do not regularly follow (or regularly graze at the trash tabloids at your local supermarket), I'll give a brief backstory on the main characters, but will refrain from names. One brown haired tiny eyed beauty is a trash talking wreck of emotions whose precious baby girl is being brought along on her teetering cycle of violent outbreaks with the baby's father. There is another who I idolize; she and her fellow 16 year old beau chose adoption for their daughter. I have to admit, these are the characters that draw me in. I can watch them interact with those who did not approve of their adoption and feel a strong maternal bond for her. I was blessed to have parents who supported my decision for adoption, but this beautiful young girl did not. On a recent episode, the train wreck of emotions and her baby daddy and baby are en route to a vacation for a getaway. I'll leave out the verbal abuse that followed between her and the father of the child. It is amazing to see the trash talking that goes on in other homes. I never EVER heard my parents fight with the fervor that these people do, nor use the language that they choose. Grant it, my writing in this blog is not always pure and angelic. However, I can keep it "in check" when considering those around me. ESPECIALLY young children. It's disgusting to watch these people carry on like barbarians with cameras and babies in tow. Perhaps their crying daughter in the backseat has become white noise to them and they are not realizing the effects this child will endure. Thanks to my counseling background, I can attribute a lot of these imperfections to their own upbringings. Chances are, they grew up in homes where verbal and physical abuse was an everyday situation. And chances are, they promised to themselves that they would not follow in those footsteps.

This is when I shake my head, because the cycle is continuing. I see it on "Teen Mom" and everyday life in any small or big town. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I can hold the mirror to my face and have no issues in admitting that my personal decisions have not been "Touched by an Angel" appropriate. Heck, some were more "Bad Girls Club" than EWTN. We need to WAKE UP and realize that are behaviors, emotions, words, and decisions are seriously affecting those children around us. Stop living in la-la land and think that they're not picking up on the things you do. Adoption is not for everyone and YES, I get that. It's a personal decision that one makes in her or his own heart. But, you know, you have to deal the hand God dealt you. My life would be drastically different had I not chose adoption in that booth at Planet Sub with my mother. Even typing this now, draws strong emotions from me. Obviously. It kills me, absolutley kills me to see children who are being "raised" in "homes" that are not encouraging their personal and moral growth. Life is a rough cycle, but I feel that children should not be subject to the rough parts of that cycle because their parent choose to.

Will I stop watching "Teen Mom"? Nope. I honestly pray that this show will influence women and MEN out there who are sexually active. Regardless of age or SES. Children are the most beautiful and precious gifts that we are blessed to create. There not going anywhere, but it is up to us to see that they do get somewhere positive.

*** I apologize for the PSAish posting, but a girl's got to write what a girl wants to write***

Friday, July 15, 2011

ambien no more?

I have officially been off ambien for six nights. To give a bit of background, I have always had issues sleeping. I would lie in bed, staring at the ceiling, rolling over to each side, going to the bathroom with my mind racing for hours about the student issues that day or the strong desire to quit my job and move to middle of nowhere (wait.....I did THAT) once I got to bed. The next question you'll ask is: "When do you drink caffeine in your daily routine?" and I can say that I always have 3 cups of dark dark dark coffee, but I am done with that by 10 am. I do not drink soda (unless, of course, my good friend Jack is attending. In that case, I drink diet soda). I have a sleeping issue. When I started dating Aaron it became more frustrating and more apparent. Aaron would be called in to cover severe weather at all hours of the night and no matter when he first woudl go into the studio, whether it was 2 am or 3 am, he would have to be on air @ 5:30 am. Needless to say, the boy was running on low sleep and you couple that with a cranky girlfriend who isn't sleeping well, something has to change. And it wasn't his god awful work schedule.

I went to my lovely family doctor and he prescribed ambien (genric, duh) for 5 mg. That didn't do squat and we upped the mg to 10. That worked for awhile, but after a couple months, I needed more umph to my ahhh. I was heartbroken and near tears when my nurse told me that 10 was the highest it comes, but I could try ambien cr (continuous release) which was for 12.5 mg. Hook a girl up, seriously.

Long story short, I have noticed a few changes that I've been wanting to make. One, now that I don't work for K-State, my health insurance is not near as glamorous (ie : kick ass) as I have now. What once cost me 15 bucks, now costs 30 and that's for half the pills. So yeah, when you're not earning a paycheck that begins to suck. And I started noticing that even when I woudl get 7-8 hrs of sleep, I'd wake up and not want to get out of bed (sluggish). Since I don't have a "job" that I need to be at work by a certain time (unless the father in law calls for me to do gopher jobs, which happens at about..... 6:30 that morning) I figured I might as well try to ween (is that how you spell ween?) myself off ambien. And I've discovered a little trick in my mom's health food guru vitamin magazines: honey before bed.

Seriously. Honey before bed along with a few "Restful Sleep" vitamin herbs (from my mother) and I'm golden. And I feel safer plugging my body with clover honey and vitamins than with sleep medication.

What's the point of this blog? No, it's not to preach the evils of prescription sleep medications (although they had their spot in my life and who knows, maybe I'll have a night here and there were I need it) or scream in your face the benefits of an "all natural life". I just want to brag that I used to feel as though I was addicated to something and I've made progress. I think we all need to BLOW our horns when we've made progress on something. Especially something that was costing me $30 twice a month.

So who knows, maybe now I can work on weening myself off of something else that's costing me. Don't worry adult beverages, you ain't going anywhere.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

combines and rascal flatts

This summer has been a summer of first for me. One, I am no longer a state of Kansas resident. Although my drivers id is still Kansas, I no longer feel like a Kansas girl. I see cars in town with out of state plates and I feel sorry for them, because they're not Colorado residents. I understand the total irony in that statement, but that's how I feel. I honestly love it here so much more than even I had thought. Not once have I thought "Man, I miss Manhattan and that life I used to have." Probably because I never felt like Manhattan was home "home" to me. I always viewed MHK as a stopping ground, a fueling up stop, if you will. It was the town that I attended college and that was about it. Include a few embarassing moments here and there and that sums up MHK to me. Holly is home "home" to me. This is the town and county that Aaron and I will put down roots. The main drag in Holly will be where our kids (god-willing) will "cruise" on the weekends. If I get my way, they will be driving old lady cars that no one will want to be caught dead in. If Aaron gets his way, they'll be nice trucks or shiny cars. Jury is still out on that one. Point being, this is our "small town usa" and it feels like home to me and him.

What was my point in this post.... Oh yeah, things that were "firsts" for me this summer.

In addition to moving to Colorado and changing my statehood home, I drove a combine on my own. Without Aaron in the cab. AND I dumped on the go. No, this is not meaning the personal body matter type of dumping on the go, but unloading grain on the go, to the grain cart while the combine is still moving. AND the grain cart is moving. Scariest experience. Ever. You're driving this huge mass of machinery and you're having to focus on your ouger not hitting the grain cart, your big tires not hitting the tires of the tractor pulling the grain cart, and your grain staying IN the grain cart. Oh yes, and you always should focus on your field that you're cutting to make sure you don't miss any (wheat) heads. Again, scariest experience ever. However, I aced it. Thanks to the "patience" of my fiance, I mastered it. By the last day of harvest, I was cutting incredibly straight and dumping on the go, at 3.2 (mph). Which is quite the accomplishment, seeing that I started out dumping at a 2.8 (mph). Even telling you all about it now, I am getting goosebumps.

Ah yes, my teacher Aaron. About 20 seconds into my lesson with him, I told him to get off the combine and I'll have Mark (his brother) work with me. I was losing my pateince with Aaron quickly. Those who know me realize my temper and my constant desire to be in control and know everything about everything that I am doing. I hate suprises. I like the plan. I like to follow the plan. So, you can imagine my mood when Aaron is "barking" orders at me, telling me to "lower your header" "raise your header". More than once, did I tell him to remember that at sixteen, I was running that cash reigster at JCPenneys in Hutchinson, like a pro. I was NOT on a combine. This is not second nature to me, yet. I'll save the bantering we did back and forth and the heat of my temper about to overflow (this bonding all took place in a cab the size of a European sports car). After I had instructed him to get off and have Mark work with me, I immediately took it back. We recognized that this was a teaching experience for us: to work on our relationship, together. If Mark were to have worked with me, we'd be missing out on an amazing opportunity to fine tune our communication skills. That's not to say that I was "this close" to chucking our relatinoship out the window into the freshly cut wheat ground.

I may love that man to the death of me, but I will have my temper, sadly, until the death of me, as well.

Perhaps we all should spend some time with the one we love (male or female) in the confines of a 9600 combine. You get to hear them belt out Rascal Flatts and they get to learn that when the AC is out on the combine and it's 100 plus outsdie and there is NO air circulation, you do NOT want to be touched; I don't care how great you think that Rascal Flatts song is. You also get to work through shitty moments when you have that communication breakdown and I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO TELL ME when you are trying to motion from the other combine to me (it appears that when you make circles with your fingers, that means raise your header). When I was going through pretty challenging life moments a few years back, my Daddy reminded me that the trees that are around the longest are the ones who learn to bend. To which, I told him that I'm tired from bending. He wasn't amused. Anyways, go find a 9600 combine that is prone to overheating and learn a new skill. You just might be amazed at what you can do, given patience and a little love from above.

Monday, July 11, 2011

burning throats

I have not died. Yet. Although, the thought of impending death feels right at my doorstep. I just finished running. Outside. Near the heat of the day. Why? I could feel myself getting irritated at everything that went on this morning. The last time I ran was months ago. Months. I had become concerned about the throbbing pain in my knees everytime I ran and walked up stairs. So, I stopped running and then tried out the ellitpical. It took three days for the elliptical that I bought to completley break. Thank you quality Sears. That machine is still in Aaron's house in Manhattan. I decided to take on Pilates and it did really tone my body pretty nice. I still am shocked that by doing simple stretches, I am able to lean and tone my body. I was used to looking similar to what I look like now (like a drowned sewer rat) and thinking that was the only way to work out. The problem with my work out routine is that I become bored with the same deal. Then harvest happened and there was no way I was getting up at 5:30 to stretch some muscles. Sadly, my body does not realize that the stress and pressure of harvest is not a work out.

I apologize if this blog seems a bit odd and off kilter. You need to understand that my body is exhuasted right now. My heart is beating in my HEAD and my throat is burning. You know that burn your throat had in high school track on the first day of practice? You want to look like you've been training all winter long and, yes, these big muscle legs really are muscle. So, you try to act like Flo-Jo during Indian Runs. But, all the while, your throat is burning and your stomach is ready to give back to the earth all you've eaten that day?

Yeah, that was similar to how I felt about 20 minutes ago.

For that small handful of people who are regular readers of my postings, I apologize for the lack of posts. Harvest is done and now I am ready to focus on more important things. No, not the upcoming nuptials on July 30. I am ready to focus on updating you all on the activities on Leiker Farms.

Lesson for today: always bring your cell phone. Never wear pink crocs and fabric shorts that the drawstring is missing to "simply pick me up from the north farm." Because, that will turn into a three hour event and you'll be praying for the last 20 miles of pulling the wrong header trailer, that the gas tank somehow finds just enough to get you to Holly. And while you're gettings gas (yes, you did make it to Holly), you're also praying that your shorts do not fall. All before 8 am.

Oh and did I mention that I am in the middle of withdrawal from Ambien? So, yes, I have been sleeping amazigly. It's been similar to the sleep given to first time moms. Of 8 kids. Who are all cholic. And have diaherria.

That is why I am drenched in sweat right now. Because, sometimes you gotta sweat a little on a dirt road to make you not want to burn the county down.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Holly, like it sounds

One snake. One, maybe two mice later: we're here. Our boxes, bags, Wal Mart sacks, Rubbermaid tubs, empty trash cans used as stroage units, and cars are unloaded. I feel as though it's been a decent move, seeing that we are not able to find only my Chi straghtener, back up blow up dryer, and Aaron's clippers. For the record, my Chi (to the layman, nice brand of hair straightener) is my back up one. So, all is not lost.

Although Aaron's hair is getting a tad too long. And one thing you don't want to see if someone who is slowly going bald with a bit longer hair. It has the potential to look like me on my first visit down to Holly last year during harvest. I wanted so badly to impress my future in-laws to my farming skills, that I suffered through one day of contacts (as if looking prettier would allow me to drive a straighter combine). The end result? Total hell. Talk about hell on the eyes; within 20 minutes to arriving on the field, Aaron slugged the combine (basically, the ground was too high and the header rammed it) and we had to get out and pull wheat and dirt and everything else that was stuck in that shit out. In my contacts. Dear Lord, vanity went so fast out the window that I could give a shit less what people thought of me. Anyways, to sum up: Aaron's hair is getting long and we need to find those damn clippers.

I think half the fun of moving is finding the shit you thought you lost in the move. The thrill of opening a bathroom cabinet and, holy hell, there are your extra blades. Or forgetting you had stocked up on bodywash from Bath and Body Works before you moved out to god forsaken nowhere. Talk about enjoying the little things.

I can't begin to tell you of the adventures I have had already: lucky for us, water is all inclusive in our rent. And those of you who know my family (ahem, dumpster diving, endless buffets for a ridiculosu cheap price for the IBS that I suffer after), you know that we love to cash in on shit that's "free". I've been watering the shit out of this lawn: I'm destined to be the Suzie God Damn Homemaker of Prowers County. Last week while watering the east side of the house, I was moving water and lo and be-god-damn hold, a snake was hanging out by the hose. I can't blame the bastard, it's hot as hell here. I did not scream. I only took one deep old breath in and slowly backed up. The day I saw this snake, I had already had probably one of many emotional breakdowns that included the phrase "What the fuck am I doing here? What the fuck. Where are my sisters. I miss my Daddy." Because that will combat snakes, right? Fear. Ha.

When I told Daddy about my run in with the slithering creature, he remidned me that "you are in the country, girl. You're out of that shithole Manhattan." Daddy hardly curses (no, I do not get my cursing from my Mother. I probably got it from dealing with people too damn much), so when he does curse, you know he's serious. And he's right. I am in the country and yes, there will end up being a mouse or two in the house. That's a small price to pay for the view at sunrise and sundown with the expansive sky and the quiet twinkling of yardlights at the next homestead.

I could continue writting and updating, however I know that I may want to save my bits of Colorado wisdom for future posts. And I don't want to shock all my city slicker friends into a Starbucks coma.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Flyover States and StarBucks

This past weekend, while Aaron and I were at Hasting's renting another disc of "The Tudors" (we highly recommend this TV series on Showtime), we took a walk through the country music Cd's (in part to avoid an older gentlemen author who was handing out flyer's on his new book and encouraging us to buy it. We felt guilty, because Aaron's a nice guy, so we tried to avoid walking by him again). Anyways, for anyone who is a Texas country fan, Hasting's always has a pretty legit stock of red dirt music. I am always impressed and have purchased everything from Aaron Watson to Mikey and the Motorcars from there; this day, however, I chose more modern rock country: Jason Aldean's "My Kind of Party". I have all of his other albums and somehow missed that he had a new one out (thank you music guru fiance). "Dirt Road Anthem" is my favorite main stream country music radio song right now and probably have listened to it 20 times, already. At first run through, I thought the album was so-so; many of the songs sounded similar to the other, but I love acting like I am Kelly Clarkson in my car and belt out "Don't you Want to Stay?".

(((disclaimer:: Jason Aldean does not write his own music, which is a major thorn in my side. To anyone who appreciates a singer who writes his own music, I am 110% behind you. I never will say that Jason wrote his music, because it ain't true))) However, after spending longer than 5 seconds on each song, I have a few that are quickly becoming emotional pieces for me: "See You When I See You" and "Flyover States".

"Flyover States" is a ballad (shocker) talking about being on a first class plane ride to LA from New York City and describes the uppity asses who are also on the ride and their opinions of the "flyover states". You know, those states that their only purpose seems to be get to the state on the other side of 'em. Kansas has a fabulous reputation for this: the only good thing about Kansas is I-70, Highway 50, etc. Those outside the state (and a bunch who live within) don't seem to happy with this reputation; they see no point in the square corn, wheat, soybean, and milo fields. It's the middle of nowhere and they don't quite get why one would choose to live this sort of life.

"They've never drove through Indiana
Met the man who plowed that earth, planted that seed, busted his ass for you and me
Or a harvest moon in Kansas
They'd understand why God made those flyover states"

One of our faculty members and a good friend of mine, told me yesterday that I won't need to take my ambien when we're in Colorado, because I will be so bored, that I will fall asleep standing up. I laughed, because that is quite clever, Jason. I have no issues in making fun of "my kind": those people from those flyover states and small towns with odd sounding names (although, I find "Holly" to be an adorable name). I'm not living in la-la land, so I feel that I can laugh at those funny jokes that are meant in good fun.

But, I tell you what: I am damn proud to be from a flyover state and from a town that when I say "Halstead", people give you that slight nod of their head, but you know internally they're thinking "Where in the FUCK is that?!" Same thing goes for Holly, Colorado. My first year of college, I was embarrassed to admit that I wasn't from the thriving city of Kansas City. It seemed everyone who thought of themselves as important was from KC; they had no clue where anything west of KC was (now, this isn't to say that everyone from KC is in their own little world. No, it's just to say that for the purpose of this writing, I'm lumping you all together). They viewed my small town of no-stoplights as "cute", but you know that they thought that I was dumb and not exposed to the possibilities of the world and Star Bucks.

They can keep their world of stress, anxiety, brakes, and hand sanitizers. I'll take my flyover status.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

he's in charge, now

I handed over the reigns last night; handed over the reigns of further wedding planning to the groom.

Yes, the groom.

It is not that I do not want to be married, actually it's quite the contrary. I want to be married more than nearly anything. Perhaps it's because I am not caught up in the glitz, glamor, and shit that doesn't matter. I know that I love that guy; even when he absent mindly forgets to put the trash to the curb on Tuesday mornings or starts laughing when I kiss him on the cheek and neck, because it's tickling him (I swear, that man has sensitive skin more than anyone I have known). I have been practicing writing my name as "Monica Leiker" since the week we became official (May 20, 2010) and, duh, have already named our six GIRLS we'll be having (with the grace of God). To quote Stoney LaRue "With you by my side, I can do without the city limits" and we'll be doing without city limits, here in about a week.

I was feeling the slow creeping tide of stress trickling towards me as I thought "Shit, invitations? Fuck. I am betting creating a private Facebook event is considered tacky?" The only two things that I was slightly concerned with was: flowers, booze, and food. Flowers? I have that done. Booze? Not yet, per say, but I know that we're having an extreme ample amount of beer and wine ("Fo FREE, of course" It's our party for you), and some of SE Colorado's best BBQ for the dinner. Other than that? Eh, yeah. Not too worried. I've been through experiences and witnessed weddings (I'm looking at you, Melanie Bergkamp Newell) that so much effort was placed into little details: center pieces, lights, table cloths. And those weddings were beautiful. Stunning. And some of those weddings, the marriages were not meant to last. Which is normal. Shit happens. Humans are humans.

But, I do not believe for a minute that that my lack of desire to stress over lights, invitations, center pieces, and cakes means that I do not want to marry Aaron Leiker. I would go down to the court house TODAY (if he did not like the idea of the attention and everyone looking at him, which he does). Truth be told, the man likes attention: he knows, he admits to it, and everyone know it. So, I am going to let him have the attention and take over the rest of this event.

To prove that he was comfortable with this role assertion, he was looking at wedding invitations last night. I think I may enjoy being the typical groom (not doing shit, but showing up the day of) quite well.

Unless, of course, the cast of "Glee" show up for the dance.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

keeping the list

Finish graduate school
Continue working full time
Graduate graduate school
Keep my sanity
Keep my sanity
No more emotional breakdowns
Finish counseling hours while working full time
Meet Aaron Leiker
Get Aaron Leiker to kiss me
Marry Aaron Leiker
Move? to where in the HELL?!
Quit my job
Leave the town I've been living and active within for the past 9 years
Leave the state

The above list is a compilation of the tasks that I'll be completing here soon. Almost too soon. I talked and planned me graduating from Graduate School since I started the program in August 2007. It's one of those things, that you talk about all the time and then when it gets here, it scares the living shit out of you. But you have to play the role that you're totally prepared for it. You were made for this and you could not be happier. It was all part of your plan, after all. You can't get pissed off at the plan that you made, right? That's insane. And that would be a sign of weakness and no way can anyone show signs of weakness or honesty.

I am scared shitless.

I have planned for this, yes. It was all part of my plan (graduating from Grad. School, at least). The Aaron Leiker part presented itself out of my estimated plan little over a year ago. And that's still throwing me off. There is a security, though, in staying in school. You have the excuse that you can't move on (out of Manhattan), because you are finishing school. I have a big handful of students who, I believe, are scared shitless of leaving Manhattan (Kansas State Univ.). So, they'll add majors and minors to their curriculum or make up excuses why they do not want to leave the university. They'll blame someone: crappy advising (how dare you!) or shitty professors. However, when it's all whittled down: they're scared to leave the security of a "plan".

And I am just as guilty as the next.

The idea of leaving Manhattan is incredibly exhilarating for me: to leave the idiot PT and GE county drivers, the radical driving of military men in their huge trucks cutting in and out of traffic as if this is Philly, the ditzy Johnson County sorority girls with their Daddys money over priced SUVs for their skinny asses, and the horribly overpriced cost of living. Then, it's overwhelming depressing. I took a dear friend to the airport today, for he's researching in Italy for the next 3 months.

It was the first of many good byes for me. It is becoming that time in Aaron and I's lives that we must move on and follow a bigger dream for us and leave the rest behind. We can still cling to those memories and the people we've met and loved and cared for. And we still will.

However, as the seasons change and time moves on through the upcoming days, months, and years, our new chapter will take full effect. I will be a Colorado resident and the only state my kids will know will be Colorado. They will not be able to look at a Kansas licence plate and rattle off the county it is from. They won't know that SG is Sedgwick or RN is Reno. They will not tell their friends that their Mom is from Halstead; they'll say "She's from Kansas", as if I am from a foreign country, instead of the state 4 miles down the highway.

It is a new chapter, a new licence plate, a new drivers licence with a new last name, a new title "M.S: Masters of Science), and a new day.

Once we load up our crap.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pitching crap

"I really should be doing something right now. But I just don't want to."

My motto this morning, thus far. Perhaps it's the dreary weather outside; the light sprinkle that will potentially give way to humidity as high as the anxiety my father will feel on July 30. Or the fact that I have THREE WEEKS left before I pack up for the *god willing* second to last time move of my life. As always happens when I move (or clean the house), I pitch half of my belongings, because I have no need for various things. That will probably end up happening with me by the end of this month. Many friends have already benefited from the fruits of my pitching (for example: clothes and shoes). Mom always calls it "pitching", so the namesake has stuck with me. Aaron and my mother can testify to the fact that when I "clean", I throw half the shit away. Anyone who has seen my parents house, can also testify to the fact that my mother is a pack rat. Dear, Lord. It's frustrating and annoying. Probably because I know that at some point, someone will have to clean and deal with all that shit. Those people will be my sisters and myself, obviously. Why not start the cleaning out process now? Ahem.

It's amazing the crap some people hold on to. I used to be horrid at holding on to tops, pants, dress trousers, shoes, etc. Just with the thought "Some day, I'll need this. Some day, I may gain 10 pounds back and will want bigger pants." Well, hell. If I ever gain 10 pounds back, someone can shoot me between the eyes on Main Street in Holly, Colorado. Kidding on that, I really don't give a flying fuck if I gain 10 pounds. Point is, I've adopted a trend to throw shit away if I haven't worn it within 2-3 months. When I say "throw away", I don't really mean that, of course. I first try to give it away. If that doesn't work, then I "try" to donate to SAV. Does that always happen? No, duh. I'm human and sometimes I find it tempting and easier to throw the crap in the dumpster. So, I do.

This may be a fun and easy transition to how certain members of my family dumpster dive at local Casey's stores when they know the sweets are being thrown out. Nah. I'll allow your imaginations run free.

Back to the hypothetical grind. THREE WEEKS until my last DAY! One week+day= graduation. THREE WEEKS TWO DAYS until we move. That numerical time line is screwed. Whateva.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Not falling into the GAP is hard

A Burberry scarf. An authentic Burberry scarf; that's all that I want after Harvest 2011. That is it. I've repeated this to Aaron about 120x over the past six months. That and also one day of being able to shop like I used to.

It was nothing for me to walk into GAP here in Manhattan and drop $300-$400. You can imagine how excited management was when they saw me walk in; they knew they would hit their daily goal, because of my insistence on constantly updating my wardrobe with them. Then, I started working for them. That was a beautiful looking romance, that zapped all my free time and I had to retire my tenure with them (and also my discount, major lame).

Allow me to clear the air, before everyone assumes that I made a killing lifting flags and playing an art adivsor: it was all on credit. Store credit, so you know the interest rate was tres high. With the work I did during harvest last year, I paid off my GAP card and gave it back to my sister (Yes, I am the evil sister who used her sister's credit card, with her approval. That was one of her wedding gifts: getting her GAP card back, with a credit still. Ahem).

So, through my exhilarating shopping days, it was all on credit. And it was a killer time for me. I'd walk in: I like that top, hell I'll get it. Actually, I'll do myself one better: I'll buy one is TWO colors. Wide Leg Trousers? You look sexy as hell on me, I'll get YOU in navy, khaki, olive green, black, and denim. Ah, I was a spoiled charger. I remember filling my trunk with my "on credit" goodies that I worked sooo hard for. I'd relish my closet with the tags on, believing that I was such a rich girl.

Those days of seriously dressing outside my means, has been torture statement the past semester. I love clothes. I love GAP. However, I love being smart most important. I haven't looked at gap.com in months; last Saturday, I went with a close friend to GAP and it was a test of my resolve to be smart w/money. I did not buy one thing. I did use my "Free VS panty" card, though. It was hard, to not spend money. God, there were so many outfits and tanks and perfect summer dresses that I spied.

It's odd; when you're in the store, you feel as though you MUST have this (enter clothing type here). You think you HAVE to have this; your happiness hinges on whether you purchase it. But, once you get home, you don't really think much of it. Your Monday doesn't go any better. Well, that's partly true; I like to think that when I wore new outfits, I performed better at work. Now, I realize it was just my credit score that was doing the performing (in this case, lowering).

However, that's not to say that IF we have a decent harvest, that I won't want to do some splurging at GAP or get that prized Burberry scarf.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

So, you're saying my language is vulgar, Mom?

This HV County Farmer's daughter had her own mother read her blog yesterday.

My first thought? Shit...........
My second thought? Shit.... Oh........ (the roledex in my mind starts running with all the times that I've cursed, offended someone, spoken my mind, and then cursed some more)...

Then again, my mother of all people knows how I feel about certain things and that I have been blessed with my father's wit and sarcasm and her gift of scribing it in a way that makes sense. I would consider this a blessing. She said that although she wishes I wouldn't use the vulgar level of language that I use at times, she really thinks that I should look into writing an editorial or column in a paper in SE Colorado when we move. Which was one of the highest compliments I have received, in recent times. I would give anything to be able to write full time. That wouldn't even really be "work" for me, I'd love it. Enjoy it. I think a column written from the perspective of someone who is moving to SE Colorado from living in Manhattan, Kansas for 10 years would be hi.la.ri.ous. And only partially offensive.

One aspect of that life that I am looking forward to is the decoration side of domestic life. All the women out there 1) believe accessories are KING (which is fine by me, as I love/adore/idolize good accessories 2) believe their homes are their temples and decorations are the foundation of their existence. It's as if "Better Homes and Gardens" or "Farm and Ranch Living" are camped outside waiting to do a 4 page spread on their homes. It's quite a stretch for a girl who grew up in a home that decoration consisted of the tacky 3rd grade art class pottery project gone wrong. In short, our home is not decorated with any specific theme. I worried that when Aaron first came home with me to HV County, that he'd think we grew up as paupers. Honestly, I knew he wouldn't think this; I just wondered it....... Our home is cozy. But everyone knows when you say "cozy", what you really mean is cramped and odd. However, when I say "cozy" in reference to my parents home, I really mean cozy and lived in. Really lived in.

If you want to see where we spent our "decoration" budget, just take a look outside at our ever-growing barn and the land that is listed under "Joe and Joann Bergkamp Farms". Needless to say, although Mom didn't spend much time analyzing themes for her rooms, home still is the best word there is (thank you, Laura Ingalls Wilder).

The funny thing? I cannot wait to make a run for that spread in Farm and Ranch Living with the 5903 crosses that I've registered for at the three greatest shops you'll ever see in Holly, Colorado. And the rooster accessories to boot. No, this ain't Johnson County. This is Prowers County class.

Look out SE Colorado: I'll be rocking your Ariat boots in T-minus two months.

Holy shit.