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Empty Nesting Is Awesome, Except When It’s Not.

I love my life the way it is at this moment. I have one son who graduated from college and supports himself with an actual job, and I have another son who is a college sophomore, living only two hours from home. I work from home. I have the freedom to sleep in if I want, workout for as long as I want, not cook dinner for a whole week if I don’t want to, and most of all, pack a bag and take off to visit friends or accompany Jim on a business trip if I want, with no problem. Many of my friends who still have kids at home (which is about ninety-nine percent of them) tell me that I’m lucky, that sometimes they feel like they can’t wait for their kids to grow up, that they live vicariously through my crazy adventures.

But here’s the thing.
Empty nesting is awesome, except when it’s not.

The periods of exhilaration I feel when I am doing whatever I want to do—which is most of the time, and who could complain about that?—can be immediately followed by crushing lows: loneliness, a slight sense of having little purpose, and did I mention loneliness?

Not all the time. Not even half the time, or one-quarter of the time…but it hit me hard this week, having just returned from This Full House to my mostly-empty house. Jim has been on a business trip for nearly three weeks and although J was home when the cab delivered me from the airport, it was only for twenty-four hours until he had to return to the dorms. I’ve done this before, yet this time was different.

These feelings and the crying—oh my gosh, THE CRYING—that I have experienced over the last couple of days have made me feel like I’m having the newbie empty nester response I should have had more than a year ago right after we moved J into the dorm for freshman year. Why now??

I have no idea.

A sweet, smart friend told me that things happen in their own time and maybe I needed to process it all and maybe it’s not a delayed reaction at all but rather right on time. All I know is, I don’t like it. That goes along with being a control freak. Uncontrolled crying? NO THANK YOU.

That said and as you would expect, my plan is to try and turn myself around mentally and ride it out. Everything is the way it is supposed to be. My kids are doing great, my marriage is fabulous, and I am blessed in so many ways. I have to tell myself that this is completely normal and it’s only a matter of time before I’m back to my “old” empty nest-loving ways.

So while I struggle, I am keeping my eyes trained firmly on the light. It’s right there, at the end of this tunnel.

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Jersey Girls

If we’re connected on Facebook or if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I just returned from a week in New Jersey with my sistuh-from-anuthuh-muthuh, Liz. You know that we had a blast whether we were just hanging out at the house with the entire family or gallivanting, just the two of us, down the Jersey Shore, from Seaside Heights all the way south to Cape May.

What you don’t know is that I did not open my laptop for six days.

Six. Days.

Other than while on the cruise our family enjoyed last summer when I didn’t have the choice (because I left it home), I have never kept my laptop closed for six days. Ever.

Liz and I had decided to take off of work for the duration of my visit but I brought it with me anyway, figuring that I’d check emails at night and it would be handy in case I wanted to blog. I didn’t. I still had my phone for Instagramming and checking those emails now and then, but I kept my online time extremely short compared to, well, any average day. It was glorious and so lovely.

I needed that break. Liz did, too!

As you might suspect, less time with a laptop means more time exploring the Shore and other favorite spots in New Jersey.

We made so many incredible memories out of the tiniest of moments and laughed so much that I’ll be smiling for a long time. Here are just a few of my favorite Jersey things:

Checking out Seaside Heights is always a must. I love that place so much. We took a nice long walk on the beach, and since it’s off-season we had almost the whole place to ourselves.

Beach at Seaside Heights New Jersey

We also went under the boardwalk to see what we could find (or not find) under there and watching the water come in from that angle was pretty awesome. We didn’t notice the “No Trespassing” signs until later. Oops.

Under the Boardwalk in Seaside Heights, New Jersey

We tend to look down a lot while on our beach walks so we can pick up interesting things, and of course I’m always on the hunt for sea glass, which is my favorite. Autumn must be a good time for sea glass at Seaside, because last year I picked up a bunch and this year I found a few good pieces, including a gorgeous blue/purple piece, which is much more rare than the brown, green, or clear ones.

New Jersey sea glass

We take lots of walks together when I visit, but not always on the beach. Liz has lots of beautiful parks and trails within minutes of her house. One evening we took a quick walk at one of her favorites before going home for the day. SO PRETTY.

Holmdel Park New Jersey

On Saturday morning we headed out early to spend the weekend in Cape May, all the way at the southernmost point of New Jersey. It was absolutely gorgeous. All of it.

Beachfront homes in Cape May New Jersey

We found a great place to watch the sun go down with a couple hundred other people at Sunset Beach, and sat there for about forty minutes just admiring the colors.

Liz and Melisa at Sunset Beach

Everyone clapped when the sun did its thing, and as we got up to go to the car Liz said, “Good job, sun!” Indeed.

Sunset Beach New Jersey

It was an absolutely perfect week of unplugging and spending time with some of my favorite people in the entire universe in one of my favorite places in the entire universe. I’m home now, feeling recharged, happy, and as always, grateful for the ability to just take off and make long-lasting memories with loved ones.

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We Made It Out Alive!

As I mentioned last week, D and I had plans to go to Six Flags Fright Fest on Sunday, and we had a great time. It was wonderful to go there with no pressure to get on as many rides as we possibly could so we could feel like we got our money’s worth, since the tickets were a lovely gift. It was completely relaxing—well, except for seeing things like the blood red pool in front of the carousel at the park entry, the ghostly, creepy park decorations, and the regular people walking around with various deep wounds (and ninja stars) on their faces, applied by Six Flags employees at little kiosks all over the park. Did I mention I’m a big chicken? (as it turns out, it runs in the family.)

I was more and more convinced with each passing minute that I wanted to be out of there way before dark. AND THEN WE WENT THE WRONG WAY.

counterclockwise

The lines were terrible and we only got on three rides in four hours (I would have purchased Express Passes if we had planned to stay all day long), but it wasn’t just about the rides. D and I enjoyed excellent conversation all afternoon: long queues are good for that, and so are Dippin’ Dots.

It was nice to catch up in that atmosphere, just waiting and walking (and shrieking on “Batman: The Ride”) together. He and I don’t get to spend much time together these days, since he’s twenty-two and living on his own in Wisconsin. Sunday afternoon was a real treat, hopefully for both of us.

When it was nearly 5:00, we rounded the corner and found ourselves back at the carousel where a Six Flags employee was lighting the lanterns that surrounded the blood pool.

“That’s it!” I said. “We’re outta here. The zombies will be arriving any second now.”

“I’m right behind you,” he said, and we left safely…and in one piece.

I thought I would take him out to dinner before dropping him off at his apartment, but in the end he took me out to dinner, as he was faster with the credit card when the check came. As the mom I naturally tried to tell him that he didn’t need to pay for my dinner and I had intended on paying for his, but he insisted. I have to say that it feels really nice to see a smile on your kid’s face when they can do something special like that. It was a sweet way to cap off our day.

Thanks so much to Chevrolet for the park tickets, and for the sweet ride: they gave me an Impala to drive for a week. This post is not sponsored by any means but I really wanted to mention the car because it was pretty awesome.

Chevrolet Impala

One of my favorite things about it is completely dorky; indulge me for a second. It makes the sweetest chime when it connects to a cell phone via Bluetooth.

See? Dorky. Anyway, I loved driving the Impala. I found it to have lots of similarities to the Buick Regal (another GM car, of course!) I bought in the spring, which is the best car I’ve ever owned. Thanks again to Chevy for the ride AND the rides. (See what I did there?) I thoroughly enjoyed them all!

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All Is Quiet On New Year’s Day (Kind Of.)

Hey there, How YOU doin?

I don’t always write a little home page teaser for posts that are on my ad-free page, but I am sharing some really good news over there and I would really love for you to check it out.

Also, you’ll get to see why I already have plans on New Year’s Day.

Here’s a hint:

Door frame

Click here to read more.

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Stay Hydrated, You. (And You, Too.)

I am going to Six Flags this weekend (with D) for the first time in years and years. Yikes.

I used to love Six Flags until it played a role in one of the scariest experiences I’ve ever had as a parent. Long story short, when the boys were seven and ten we had an exciting day planned at the park. We were having one of those summer weeks during which it’s even sweltering hot in the morning, and literally the minute we handed over our tickets and entered the park, D passed out from heat stroke. It was a scary couple of days (understatement) and truly affected all of us for a long time. J even wrote about it somewhat randomly at school a couple of years later:

The most scary part of my life

From that point on, whenever we spoke about Six Flags, it was called “Sick Flags”. We have visited the park only once since that day, but it’s been a while.

Fast forward to my being offered park tickets by my friends at Chevrolet (this is not sponsored, by the way). The first thing I thought of was the whole “Sick Flags” incident, and the second thing I thought of was that since D and I are going alone, I’m likely going to be riding a bunch of coasters that I would have otherwise skipped if it wasn’t just the two of us and I could have waved at him and his coaster-riding companion from a bench. Eek.

Don’t get me wrong: I used to LOVE roller coasters—cough, cough, when I was a lot younger—but have you SEEN roller coasters these days? ROLLER COASTER DESIGNERS ARE INSANE. There, I said it.

Add to the insanity of today’s roller coasters the fact that I have a twenty-two year old son who has an ambition to skydive/bungee jump/*insert other adventurous “Hell no, not me, thank you very much” kind of sport here* some day.

So yes, I picked up some motion sickness medication for the occasion. I mean, how can we have a great mom and son day at the park if I get too sick for a funnel cake break?

Last night it occurred to me that D is spending Friday night and Saturday in Madison with a huge group of friends from college, and it’s likely that there will be alcohol involved.

(An aside: sometimes it feels so bizarre to have a son who is of drinking age.)

I didn’t feel the need to remind him about not drinking and driving because he and his friends have always been smart about that. Oh, and I spent the first six months after he turned twenty-one reminding him so I’m done. It DID occur to me, however, that drinking causes dehydration, and dehydration is one of the precursors to heat stroke.

No matter that it’s October and the daily highs around here are in the low sixties at best.

I decided to send him a text message about drinking lots of water, kidding/not kidding. He took it well. I’m not sure if he rolled his eyes but in my mind, he didn’t.

Drink water!

At any rate, I’m bringing some motion sickness medication for him, too. He’s not getting any younger, you know.

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Playing Horse

Jim and I have been streaming the show “Welcome To Sweden”, which is an NBC sitcom produced by Amy Poehler (among others) and starring her younger brother Greg. It’s about a guy and his Swedish fiancee and the hijinks that ensue when they move from New York back to her home in Sweden. I find it hilarious, sweet, and extremely unique (subtitles!!), by the way, and Jim…does not.

Anyway, while watching the show I have noticed Swedish Dala horses in the background. Seeing them on television made me remember the three-inch, red Dala horse that my mom used to have hanging on the living room wall above the couch. When I was a kid I used to stand on the couch and take the horse off the wall (It was a keychain so it was a matter of taking the keyring off of a nail), play with it for a while, and then put it back. My mom still has it (because she keeps EVERYTHING), and in fact I remembered that it is currently on display in her kitchen.

Jim and I were in Tennessee for a wedding last weekend and spent the first night at my parents’ house. I found the horse on the baker’s rack in the kitchen, sitting in front of some cookbooks. It has been sitting there since my parents moved into the house eight years ago, completely unnoticed…until I mentioned it.

“I would love to have that Swedish Dala horse,” I said. “I have always loved that thing.”

I should have known better than to mention it in front of my dad because he’s a jokester who loves having an audience. He grabbed the horse off of the shelf–after not ever even noticing it was there, ever ever ever, I might add–and told me that he was holding the horse hostage unless I could convince my sister to give him “his” jukebox.

My sister has a mini Wurlitzer jukebox that our dad has coveted since the day he first laid eyes on it. He doesn’t stop talking about “his” jukebox and she has to nearly put it on lockdown when he’s in town, for fear he’ll gently pack it into the trunk of his car and drive it home. The situation became more intense a few years ago when she and I stood in line to meet Henry Winkler (aka “The Fonz”) and he signed her jukebox with “Jules, I love you! Henry Winkler.” Dad still wants the jukebox, and of course she wants to hand it over even less.

The idea that I would, number one, have ANY pull with my sister regarding that jukebox and, number two, would actually even consider trying to get her to trade that jukebox so I could get ANYTHING is ridiculous, but I enjoyed his creativity. I spent the evening watching him taunt me with that horse while we were playing cards. It was super-annoying, just how he likes it.

Swedish horse collage

So, it is what it is. I took a nice little picture of “my” Swedish Dala horse before leaving my parents’ house, and that was that.

Swedish Dala horse

My mom came home with us for the week and one of her first requests was to go to IKEA. I know what I’ll be looking for.

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My Dad’s 40th Birthday, In Pictures

I know what you’re thinking.

“How can her DAD be forty, when she is in her late forties??”

First of all, he isn’t forty anymore, and second of all I am forty-five which is SOLIDLY in the mid-forties, so shhhh.

To celebrate his birthday TODAY I am going to tell you about the celebration that is most memorable in my mind, which was in 1982, his fortieth.

Of course, that was a long time ago for all of us and because I only remember certain major points of the story, I’m adding drawings for your added entertainment.

We lived in Knoxville, Tennessee at the time and my mom had decided to throw a surprise party for Dad. My sister was nine and I was nearly fourteen. Our aunt, uncle, and cousins were driving down from Chicago to see our new house for the first time, and of course be there for the party.

Before the party and naturally while Dad was working, I helped Mom make his cake. It was huge and had a hill on it, for the popular and not-very-funny-to-those-of-us-in-our-forties “Over the Hill” theme. It was covered in bright green buttercream icing (the color of grass) and other than “40”, I don’t remember what else, if anything, was on that cake but it probably looked like this:

Cake before

That evening, my parents went out to eat with my aunt and uncle, leaving all of us kids at home (with our three Dachshunds, Dapple, Willie, and Sandy). The plan was, naturally, that we kids would greet the party guests and then when Dad came home from dinner he would be surprised, it would be a great party, the end.

Well.

Once the adults left, I can’t remember exactly what we were all doing, but my sister was hanging out with our cousin Aaron who is three months younger than her, and I was hanging out with our cousin Brian, who is a year older than I.

Less than an hour went by and the younger two ran in to find us.

“Dapple’s eating the cake! Dapple’s eating the cake!!!!!”

Dapple's eating the cake!

Brian and I followed them quickly to the dining room, where we found our eleven-pound miniature Dachshund on the dining room table, her snout full of bright green frosting as she continued to work her way down to the actual cake part. She had managed to jump onto a chair and maneuver herself onto the table where the cake rested, completely safe from miniature-sized animals (or so we thought). We were shocked.

We were expecting guests in an hour, and our dog had demolished most of one side of the cake. We were at a loss as to what we should do, so I picked up the phone to call my mom at the restaurant.

By the way, I had to do this old school style, by actually calling the restaurant, from our corded kitchen wall-mounted phone.

corded kitchen wall phone

Mom came to the phone and I told her what had happened, and she told me how I was about to make lemonade out of the lemons we had been given.

“Here’s what I want you to do. Take the cake into the kitchen, and carefully cut off anything that was touched by Dapple. After you do that, cut off another quarter inch in those areas, just to be safe. THEN make more frosting and touch it up.”

I vividly remember thinking, “LADY? ARE YOU CRAZY??” but we were in crisis mode so I knew that I had to follow her instructions and fix the cake.

The four of us ran into the kitchen and worked together to get that cake trimmed up and the frosting made while my mom went back to her table and proceeded to tell my dad, aunt, and uncle that I called because my sister had the worst kind of stomach issues and couldn’t get out of the bathroom.

As it turned out and predictably so, Dapple was the one with the worst kind of stomach issues, and suddenly she was spewing bright green vomit all over the foyer and carpeted stairs. We had to divide and conquer: clean up vomit/fix cake.

Can I tell you how difficult it is to match the color green when you’re mixing it yourself, you’re under pressure, and the dog is vomiting profusely in the next room? IT IS HARD.

Long story short, Dapple eventually stopped being sick long enough for us to clean everything up completely, the cake looked terrible but was at least completely covered in icing again, Dad was surprised, and the guests had no idea about the chaos of the last hour as they devoured that cake with ice cream on the side.

Cake After

It was completely awful and disgusting…and one of my favorite memories ever.

Happy birthday dad!

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Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

As I’ve mentioned a few times previously, taking pictures is one of my very favorite things to do when I’m traveling. I was fortunate enough to have a bunch of hours during our trip to Merida, Mexico last week to walk around and do just that.

Like most people, I’m attracted to bright colors. That’s one of the things I liked most about this trip: there is no shortage of color in Mexico! The bold hues that are used on so many of the buildings there are refreshing and incredibly fun to discover.

Merida Mexico

I often found myself in a state of wonder at the beauty and the resulting happiness I felt as a result of seeing those colors. Here in the United States we usually reserve the boldest, brightest colors for children’s museums or tourist attractions and keep the color of our homes and office buildings more muted and pastel.

Color wasn’t the only stand-out to me in Merida; intricate carvings and other kinds of ornate embellishments were everywhere.

Merida Mexico

In many cases, the color and design kept me from paying attention to the fact that so many of the buildings were incredibly old and in disrepair. Many were dirty, crumbling, and peeling, but here’s something interesting: instead of taking away from the beauty, those things provided “character”. I mean, look at the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, which are on the “New Seven Wonders of the World” list. They are incredibly old (dating from 750-900 AD) and they’re falling apart in places (ahem, “ruins”) but can you deny their beauty? I think not.

Mayan Ruins Chichen Itza

I wondered if I could come home and look at things in the same way, looking for the beauty that appears when the other stuff is set aside. Definitely something to work on.

Merida Mexico

Next time I go to Merida I hope to stay a couple of days longer and bring a zoom lens so I can capture even more of the fine details I fell in love with. (I also hope to bring an ice suit to wear around town because OMG, holy heat and humidity!) In the meantime, I’m going to focus on the beauty I can find right in my own neighborhood.

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50 Questions. Because I’m Exhausted.

I just flew home yesterday from a quick trip to Mexico (and boy, are my arms tired! Ba dum psshhhh!). The trip was a vacation for me and work for Jim; his company has a factory there so I was basically the tagger-alonger. It put a huge cramp into being able to say things like

“We can stay up late because we’re on vacation!”
“We can get dessert every night because we’re on vacation!”
“We can do some afternoon drinking because we’re on vacation!”

Because really, only I was on vacation. (Don’t feel bad for him; he still made the most of Mexico when he wasn’t working.)

While I was there, I did a few hours of work each morning and then walked around for a few hours taking pictures, which is one of my favorite things to do in the world. After that, I spent time at the hotel pool swimming, reading, and enjoying a few margaritas. It was really rough.

There were lots of notable moments while I was on my trip. Three of my favorites?

Finding one of those “Share a Coke” bottles with my name spelled CORRECTLY (does not exist in America). It was at the very front of the cooler at the convenience store, waiting for me.

Share a coke

Enjoying what might have been the best dessert of my life so far on our last night there: Dark chocolate soufflé, almond crumble, crystallized rose petals, and rose ice cream.

Roses and Chocolate

Getting upgraded to First Class on one of our return flights. I have no desire to fly coach again but I suppose that’s normal.

First Class

Since vacation has to end at some point, I found that First Class was a more gentle way of making the break.

As I dealt with re-entry today, I found myself thinking about all of the posts I have in draft and how I just don’t feel like working on any of them because I am SO! TIRED! Then I remembered that Kari tagged me to answer 50 questions and I thought, “Huh. I’ll just do that.” Also, since I know how much she loved it when I mentioned her name a bunch of times in my Writing Process post last week, I’ll just say Kari Kari Kari Kari Kari Kari Kari.

Oh, and Kari.

So anyway, I’m going to go ahead and jump feet first into these questions.

1. What are you wearing?
I am wearing my charcoal-gray Lululemon yoga pants that I did NOT pay for; I got them when I went to see Oprah in her last season. These pants and my Lululemon travel bag (also obtained as a gift that day) are two of Melisa’s Favorite Things. Oh, I’m also wearing a pink and gray t-shirt, and I’m barefoot. I really don’t like wearing shoes at home.

2. Ever been in love?
OF COURSE. Still am.

3. Ever had a terrible break up?
Yes, but not with a guy. It was with a female friend (not a romantic girlfriend), and when it imploded it completely threw me. I still don’t like when my brain goes back to that time. That said, I rose like a phoenix and became a better person because of it. It was a real life demonstration about how some people are only meant to be in our lives for a while in order to teach us something. That friendship and the messy (understatement) ending of it taught me multiple lessons that I carry with me every day.

4. How tall are you?
Wow, great segueway. (note the sarcasm.) I’m five feet seven even though my doctor claims I am now a half inch shorter. I don’t accept that.

5. How much do you weigh?
That’s nobody’s business.

6. Any tattoos?
Nope.

7. Any piercings?
Yes, one in each ear. About 95% of the time I am wearing little diamond studs that have screw-on posts. Jim bought them for me when he was in the Navy and visited Haifa, Israel. I wear them almost all the time for three reasons: I love them, they match everything, and I’m lazy.

8. OTP (one true pair, favorite fictional couple)
I don’t think I have a favorite but the first fictional couple that came to mind was Monica and Chandler on “Friends”.
I’m also quite fond of Cliff and Claire Huxtable.

9. Favorite show?
I can’t choose just one and since Kari (there I go again, naming her) chose more than one I’m copying that strategy. My favorite “classics” are “The Cosby Show”, “Friends”, and “Seinfeld”. My favorite current shows are “Mad Men”, “Modern Family”, and “Suburgatory”.

10. Favorite band(s)?

I don’t really have a favorite current band even though I listen to pop music galore on a daily basis. My favorite “classic” bands are INXS, Berlin, Duran Duran, and the B-52s.

11. Something you miss:
My friends who don’t live near me. Don’t get me started.

12. Favorite song:
I can’t. I don’t have one and couldn’t even cut the list down to be short enough to list here. Also, my favorite depends on what’s going on at any given moment. For example, I can tell you that my very favorite “angry song” is “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morisette. I have never been that angry at a guy but I absolutely love to sing that song at the top of my lungs when I need a release. Or even when I don’t need a release. I have so many favorites, though!

13. How old are you?
I’m 45 and my birthday is next month, so please ask if you’d like to know where I’m registered. (Kidding on the second part.)

14. Zodiac sign?
Scorpio

15. Quality you look for in a partner?
Kindness, intelligence, sense of humor, sex appeal. Not necessarily in that order but also not in any particular order ever. Also I know, that’s four. Luckily when I saw Jim holding up the wall outside the boys’ bathroom in high school, I had a feeling he would possess all four of those. He did, and he does. #Winning

16. Favorite quote?
You probably saw this coming but I have two. “Go big or go home!” and “Dull people have immaculate homes”. I don’t know who said either one. The second one is something my mom used to paint on wooden plaques to sell at craft shows back in the day, and it stuck with me. I live by both.

17. Favorite actor?
I really like Joseph Gordon Levitt but I’m not sure if I would say he’s my absolute favorite.

18. Favorite color?
Red, without hesitation. I have always gotten compliments when I wear red and shades of red so I think of it as my “power color”, but it is also the color of energy, passion, and action and since I’m “all in” on everything I take on, I think it suits me.

19. Loud music or soft?
LOUD. To eleven.

20. Where do you go when you’re sad?
I don’t go to any place specifically except “within myself”. I get very quiet when I’m sad.

21. How long does it take you to shower?
Between five and ten minutes.

22. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
If I’m going to workout, ten minutes. If I am showering and doing my hair and putting on makeup, about twenty-five to thirty minutes. Totally low maintenance.

23. Ever been in a physical fight?
With my sister when we were little, but not since then.

24. Turn on?
When Jim and I are having an especially good day full of laughter and smiles and conversation and eye contact. Perfect day.

25. Turn off?
Like Kari, I’m going with bad breath but I’m also letting you know that Jim doesn’t suffer from that; it’s just that I don’t like bad breath in general.

26. The reason I started blogging?
For writing practice.

27. Fears?
The highest of heights—like skydiving or bungee jumping—and failure.

28. Last thing that made you cry?
When I hurt my back a couple of weeks ago. I cried a lot while recovering because I don’t like not being able to do my normal activities.

29. Last time you said you loved someone?
When Jim called to tell me he was on his way home from work.

30. Meaning behind the name of your blog?
I wanted my blog title to reflect my general location in the Chicago suburbs, and I liked the word “scrawl” because I knew I was going to be writing lots of random stuff. The definition of “scrawl” is “hurried, careless writing” and I figured that when I really worked at a post and it turned out really good, it would be a nice surprise. This blog is, I figure, eighty percent actual scrawling, twenty percent non-scrawling.

31. Last book you read?
“Rebecca”, by Daphne du Maurier, for the two thousandth time, while on vacation. If you have not read it, YOU MUST. It’s my all-time favorite book.

32. Book you are currently reading?
I just started “Thrive” by Arianna Huffington.

33. Last show you watched:
“Top Gear”. Sigh. It’s Jim’s favorite and it’s on right now. I hardly ever say anything because he’ll gladly give me a pass when I want to watch “Dancing with the Stars”.

34. Last person you talked to?
Jim, about two minutes ago.

35. The relationship between you and the person you just texted?

Liz, my sistuh-from-anuthuh-muthuh. I luhv huh.

36. Favorite food?

Steak. Hands down. Especially if it comes with a baked potato.

37. Place you want to visit?
Breaking this into two parts. A place I want to visit AGAIN is Munich, Germany. A new place I want to visit is London, England.

38. Last place you were:
Target. AGAIN.

39. Do you have a crush?
Yes, on my husband and cupcakes. In that order.

40. Last time you kissed someone?
Two hours ago when Jim walked in the door.

41. Last time you were insulted:
Tuesday, by my friend Lori. But she does it to be funny so I got over it and sent a zinger her way in return.

42. Favorite flavor of sweet?
Chocolate. I get it from my mom, who looks at the dessert menu before ordering anything at the restaurant not only to make sure there’s chocolate on it but also to determine how much she can eat for the meal and still have room for chocolate.

43. What instruments do you play?
I can play a mean Playskool xylophone if I have a music book that tells me what colors to tap in what order.

44. Favorite piece of jewelry?
My wedding ring and those diamond stud earrings I already told you about.

45. Last sport you played:

Outside of gym class? Probably bowling. Badly.

46. Last song you sang?
I know Kari was super-excited about my answer to this question. I listen to Spotify all day long and I listen to a wide range of music. I THINK the last song I sang out loud (to nobody in particular) was “The Real Slim Shady” by Eminem, but here are some of my favorites that always get cranked up and shouted out when they come on:

“Ant Rap”: Adam and the Ants
“Fireball”: Pitbull
“Rapture”: Blondie
“Sex (I’m A…)”: Berlin
“Golddigger”: Kanye West
“Bad Medicine”: Bon Jovi
“Wild Ones”: Flo Rida

Need I go on? I could list favorite sing-along songs for DAYS.

47. Favorite chat up line:
I am not currently dating so I don’t use chat up lines.

48. Have you ever used it?
NO.

49. Last time you hung out with anyone:

Besides hanging out on vacation with Jim, I “hung out” with Tracey a couple of weeks ago but we were also working on LTYM stuff. Still qualifies as hanging out.

50. Who should answer these questions next?
I’m not tagging anyone, so I say whomever wants to answer them, go for it! Please let me know if you do so I can read your answers!

Shew. FIFTY QUESTIONS. Now I’m even more exhausted than I was an hour ago. Zzzzzzzz….

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Eat, Bowl, And Play At Main Event Warrenville

We’ve lived in Naperville for nineteen years now, and the area has grown tremendously. When we first moved here, it wasn’t unusual to see corn fields and pumpkin farms right around the corner from our subdivision. Now? No more. There has been a building boom.

One of our favorite places, a 30-screen movie theater, was built about four miles from our house in Warrenville about fifteen years ago. Why any community would need a 30-screen theater was beyond me (THIRTY SCREENS!), and apparently I wasn’t the only one thinking that. A couple of years ago, half of the building was closed up, leaving plenty of screens for the latest movies but also the question of what would move into the building next.

The answer has finally arrived! Main Event Entertainment, a bowling/arcade/restaurant complex, has moved into the space. I was invited to check it out last week and I was pretty excited about what I found there.

(Disclosure: this is not a sponsored post. I enjoyed lunch at Main Event during my visit but was not asked to write and was not compensated for writing this post.)

Main Event Warrenville

The Main Event complex, which has the bowling lanes, arcade, and restaurant I mentioned above, also has laser tag, billiards, a full bar, “gravity ropes” (a walking course high above the arcade), and even conference space for corporate meetings. They call themselves an “entertainment destination” and I agree. It’s pretty fantastic and has attractions for everybody. My recommendation would be ages eight and up.

Main Event Warrenville

The new Warrenville center located at 28248 Diehl Road is the 17th location nationwide and the first location in Illinois. They do lock-ins, youth group events, bowling leagues, corporate team building, and of course, birthday parties.

Main Event Warrenville

Main Event’s dining options include a pizza restaurant with hand tossed pizzas and gelato as well as American casual dining with classic sandwiches, burgers and entrees and that full bar. (My lunch was DELICIOUS, by the way.)

Center hours:
Sun, Tues, Wed and Thurs: 11 a.m. to midnight
Mon: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Fri: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Sat: 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Main Event Warrenville

If you’re in the area, Main Event Warrenville is hosting a grand opening celebration TODAY with extra fun for the whole family and special offers for the center’s most popular attractions.

I have a $25 FUN card to give away to one of my local readers. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment. (Easy peasy, as usual!) You have until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, October 2 to enter. Good luck!

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