Monday, April 30, 2007

I Wonder What My ________ Is Doing Right This Minute?

Cat – After an intense night of Yard Activity Surveillance (from her perch on the open windowsills) and Keeping Mom and Dad Up (a job she takes very seriously), the Schmitt is most certainly sleeping. Where? In my husband’s lap, or on his computer keyboard, whichever is least convenient for him.

Husband – Darlin’ is at home working on his summer temp job resume today. Ahhh, that dilemma that crops up each spring for the grad student – your stipend may stop paying out in April and not start up again til September, but that doesn’t mean we stop living our rock and roll lifestyle! Snort. I’d say Darlin’ is sitting in our big, comfy, doesn’t-match-anything hand-me-down green chair. He has the laptop on his lap, a glass of orange juice by his side (if you are what you eat, Darlin’ is a glass of OJ, low acid, no pulp), and the cat tangled up in everything. You never really have to wonder with Darlin', it's part of his charm.

‘Frass – I DO wonder what my sister is doing right this minute, because I haven’t been able to get a hold of her for two days. She’s supposed to be at work but isn’t answering her phone. Curious. . . Perhaps she is still sleeping, like we all wish we could be on a Monday morning.

Sister #2 – She’s getting ready to graduate college in 2 weeks. I wish I could wonder if she was partying, but she’s a bit on the straight-laced side so she’s probably studying or something boring. Sheesh. Studying in college.

Brother – He is a sophomore. I called him the other Wednesday at 1:00 pm – he was watching a movie with his girlfriend and getting ready to go to a BBQ. Since it’s only 10am, though, he’s probably sleeping, like we all wish we could be on a Monday morning.

Sister #3 – She’s a senior in high school. She’s in class. Photography, I think. Fun.

The Other Wonder Women – What are you doing, fellow Wonder Women? Working, probably like me. Hope your Monday morning has been low stress . . . haha, right, does that ever happen??

Peace and Love to ya - G

Friday, April 27, 2007

i wonder what people did before computers

we've all had days at work where there just wasn't enough on our plates to keep us busy. or a time when our boss was on vacation and we had a little "free time" on our hands. when i find myself facing days like these, i am very, very grateful for my computer, al gore, and the internet. through the magic of the internet, i am able to check up on old friends, send instant messages to them, check email, or even browse through my virtual cookbook, looking for new recipes to try. and even if i don't get on the internet, there are other things to do with just the basic computer - create spreadsheets to monitor my budget, work on next month's nursery schedule for church, or simply play a game of free cell. which brings me to my wonder for the day:

i wonder what people did before computers in the workplace to either a) make them look busy or b) keep them entertained while the head honcho was away?

for serious. i have wondered about this for a long while now. the thought really hadn't hit me until i joined the workforce and, being just 22 and fresh out of college, i had zero responsibility in the office. i spent hours on end surfing the web and emailing everyone i knew. it kept me from pulling my hair out and also kept my boss thinking that i had some projects to occupy my time (which now, looking back seems so silly. certainly she knew better!). i wondered then and i still wonder now. really? back before computers and the internet, did people type up letters to their friends on a typewriter? or play tic-tac-toe by themselves? or just talk on the phone? what did they do to keep them looking occupied if they were light on work for a few days? did they just walk around and talk with colleagues? sneak to read a book? head to the bathroom for a few minutes to just get-away?

i guess i just marvel at how life was in the workplace before computers were around. and i thank my lucky stars that i have my wonderful desktop companion to get me through the day.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I Wonder Whatever Happened to Tim B.

He had black hair and the most lovely olive skin. He seemed exotic to me as we rode the bus together every day. We spent our third grade year in the same class and I was smitten. His name was Tim B., written in perfect third grade teacher script on a sticker on the front of his desk, and he was the only other student that scored perfect scores on all of his spelling tests. I was sure we were destined to be together based solely on our ability to spell words correctly. Yes, I was always a sucker for the intellectuals.

I'm not sure that Tim B. ever really noticed me. I don't remember ever speaking to him. We sat on opposite sides of the classroom, he played kickball with the boys during recess while I played on the jungle gym or swings, and we sat on opposite sides of the bus. During a class field trip, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I had one of my friends ask one of his friends to ask him to "go with me". His friend relayed his response...a big fat no. I was devastated until I heard him ask someone later that day what "go with me" even meant. He had thought I wanted him to actually go with me somewhere. It was in this instant that I realized that he wasn't really that smart at all.

Tim B. was promptly forgotten until later that year he puked in the hallway outside our classroom. He had an awful nickname for the rest of the year and then he moved away. Never to be heard from again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Where you be, J-Zee?

I wonder if my first love ever thinks of me. We’ll call him J-Zee. He was adorably freckled, with curly brown hair, a sweet, open face, and a tendency toward oxford shirts. A “Wonder Years”-era Fred Savage ringer, but younger.

I loved J-Zee with all my six-year-old heart, but he didn’t love me back—a kindergarten tragedy, and an indicator of most of my love life to follow. I can remember how I used recess as my promenade, thinking that if he saw that I could swing the highest out of all the girls in our class (there were about eight, counting me), he’d change his mind. I also employed music in my attempts at a love snare: I truly believed that by singing Christmas carols at the top of my lungs (while swinging), J-Zee would hear my dulcet tones and sweep me away to the merry-go-round. He did not.

I sometimes posit that if my family had stayed in that one-stop-sign North Dakota town, I’d have been head cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, and valedictorian by the time high school was over. So I’d probably have had my pick of the seven or so boys in my class, and therefore be married to J-Zee right now. The mind, it boggles.

Here’s to you, J-Zee, wherever you are and whoever you grew up to be. I hope that every time you hear “Silent Night,” you think about that silly little blonde classmate with the mad swinging skills . . . and smile.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

swinging love

to be honest, i think i've been boy crazy since birth. my first love, however, came when i was in kindergarten. (does that sound incredibly young to anyone else?) anyway, i remember him well, but i can't even tell you his last name...or even how to spell his first name. what i do remember is gazing at him and smiling back at him as we swung next to each other on the playground.

we were living in south florida at the time and i attended a parochial school where my mom taught gym class. as part of our uniform, we girls donned blue plaid jumpers with white collared shirts each day. i usually wore my favorite shoes, pink kangaROOs. you know the kind - with the pouch on the side big enough to stuff a nickel in? anyway, the boy was a grade ahead of me so i was not able to adore him during class time. the few precious moments we had together were swinging on the swings during recess.

isn't that funny? i don't remember his last name. i don't remember much of anything about him except for the fact that he was darker complected, had dark black hair, and swung next to me at recess. he wore the standard uniform for our school - a white collared shirt and navy blue pants and, i'm sure he wore tennis shoes to complete the look. but, something about that boy struck me and i still remember him today.

if i had to guess, i would assume the boy is in prison for drug trafficking or shuttling immigrants into the country. south florida is not an easy (or nice) place to grow up which is why we moved to small town, indiana. anyway, i hope that better things have happened for the boy, and maybe somewhere he's blogging about his first love - a little girl with bleached blonde hair, swinging next to him on the playground, wearing her blue plaid jumper and rockin' pink ROOs.

Monday, April 23, 2007

I Wonder Whatever Happened to My First Love?

He was half Asian, half Caucasian – his hair was thick and black and curly, his eyes were a mysterious blue gray. He spoke with an almost British diction and cadence – I never once heard him drop a final consonant or even use a contraction in his speech. He was sooo smart, and self confident, and handsome. He wore Coke-bottle glasses and had somewhat pallid skin, and was pretty gawky, but oh how I loved him. And weren’t we all gawky at that age?

My first love. I remember him well, and also I remember when I told my mother I was in dire straits over this boy. I pulled her into my bedroom and shut the door, and sat her down opposite me. “What is it, hon?” she asked, concerned at the solemn and sickly look on my face. “Oh mom,” I said, “it’s so terrible. I’m in love. I’m in love with Sean.” I burst into tears, and she nearly choked on her laughter. It’s so hard to be six years old and not have a mother who takes you seriously.

After she dried her tears (of laughter) and mine (of anguish), she told me to go and play, and not to bother her unless I was dying or throwing up. I resolved never to tell her anything again, and carried my private pain in secret, martyred, marked with this humiliation for life, or at least for the rest of the day. In order to prove to the world that I didn’t, in fact, love him with all of my heart and soul and being, I followed him around the playground pretending to film him (like the paparazzi) and called him “Sheepy Sean.” I got the other kids to do it with me, and we pestered him until he cried and told on us.

Sean and I went up through Hickman Elementary School together, and were in the same class every single grade from first through sixth. I never told him about my deep and abiding passion. By the sixth grade I was in love with someone else (Bryan Parrish, I’ll never forget you, XXOO), but Sean and I remained friends, or at least on friendly terms. By sixth grade that almost-British accent sounded affected instead of sexy, and he never did develop a healthy-looking skin color.

So, today, I did it. I googled him. I’m pretty sure this is not him, nor is this. I came up with dozens of other possibilities in my online search but not one seemed right – could the gawky nerd I knew be on the Board of Directors of the LA Arts Council? Could he be VP of Marketing and Sales at a tech company? How about MVP for the Little League? Alas, it is only in my imagination that I will ever see him again. When we left San Diego after sixth grade, I left him and all of the others behind, perpetually twelve years old and awkward in my mind, though of course they are all now in their late twenties, like me. Sean is probably married, probably a dad, and if I had to guess he is probably a businessman somewhere. We were so little in those days, unformed, without direction or much personality. It’s just really hard to guess where Sean Mahon ended up.

Here’s hoping he ended up happy, like me. Peace and love to ya, Sean, wherever you are –


Friday, April 20, 2007

I Wonder Why Peanut Butter and Jelly Tastes So Good

It is 10:42 am and I’m eating my lunch. Why are you eating your lunch so early, you might ask? I would answer: because it is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a side of salt and vinegar chips and I just can’t wait anymore.

Why, oh why, do I love PB&J? What is it about this stuff that destroys my willpower and makes me feel like all is right with the world? I don’t think I’m alone – I think it’s an indisputable fact of nature, practically written in the Constitution of the United States, that a born and raised red-white-and-blue American must love the PBJ. I have never met an American that doesn’t roll his/her eyes with pleasure at the very mention of the phrase “peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” Foreign people don’t get it, even in other Western countries. I seem to recall that English supermarkets had peanut butter, but it wasn’t the sugary sweet creamy goodness that I have on my tongue at this moment. Ditto with Australia. Foreigners I’ve worked with at jobs in the past gag at the first taste. “Americans like things so sweet,” they say, and crack open their Vegemite or Onion Chutney or Steak and Kidney Pie. Damn straight. I love me some sweet, and that is one thing PBJ has in spades.

Take peanut butter: creamy or crunchy, the nutty, salty flavor and velvety consistency surround your tongue like a warm bath, and even though it can be some hard work to chew, it’s worth every minute of aching jaws and sticky roof-of-mouth. As for jelly, this stuff by itself is kind of weird, texturally, but its sweet is a perfect complement to the PB’s salty, and it softens the bread just a touch, which helps with the chewing.

Alone, each has its merits and its negatives, but I think it can be said that the combination of peanut butter and jelly stuck between two slices of bread-of-choice brings more pleasure than either can provide alone. This is because of the nostalgia. A PBJ sandwich is like an instant message along your brain pathways to your memory centers, saying “Remember childhood, back when things were easy. Childhood gooooood. PBJ goooooood.” Oh yes, the taste of PBJ recalls the idyllic childhood that nobody had, but everybody thinks they had because when things were rough, Mom gave you some PBJ. Mom knows what that stuff can do. Kids had a rough day? Give ‘em some ecstasy between two pieces of wheat bread. Bills can’t be paid? That’s ok! This form of therapy is cheap! In fact, let’s have PBJ for every meal because that’s all we can afford with a half dozen kids to feed. Thus, we have the final thing to love about PBJ: when the chips are down, a loaf of bread, some jam, and a pot of peanut butter will cost you five bucks and last you a week.

Ahhh, my sandwich bag is empty and my belly is full. My tongue is a happy tongue, my tum is a happy tum, and I’m going to be hungry at 3pm. But it was worth it. Worth every sticky, creamy, sugar-and-salty bite. Thank you, PBJ, for making my Friday.

Peace and Love –


Thursday, April 19, 2007

good ole hc.

i was set on attending hc when i was in the 7th grade. my sister was a senior that year and had looked at several schools and, in true 'little sister' fashion, i tagged along. the whole family fell in love with the campus - both the scenery and the people. after my sister began attending hc in the fall of 1991, i began spending my spring breaks from high school on campus with her. i loved every second i was there. of course, i was super taken with the college boys (i've been known to be a bit of a flirt), but i enjoyed her classes as well. i attended many of them with her and loved the fact that - counting me - the classes had...oh...about 10 people in them. i began to know her professors better and was even asked to prom by one of her professors' sons! i declined the boy's invitation which made it very awkward a few years later when i had his dad as my sociology professor!

anyway, i was focused on hc from the time i was 13 and i never looked back. i am so thankful that my experience turned out to be all that i had dreamed it would be.

i met my husband there and we began dating my freshman year (his sophomore year). it wasn't an instant attraction on my part (i actually had a crush on his roommate), but after a couple of months of his badgering, i agreed to a date which was defined as watching a movie together and then going on a walk around campus. anyway, after our first "date," i was hooked on him and the rest, as they say, is history. we will celebrate our 7 year anniversary this july. there is no wondering about this part. had i not attended hc, i would not have my boy or my precious babies.

i guess there aren't really enough stories or mere words even to relay how special that school is to me. i remember wondering on my graduation day how i would ever survive without my sorority sisters and other friends i had made. i still wonder about that today. sure i have friends, but almost none of them are as near and dear to me as the ones i have from my college years. those friends saw me grow. they helped me grow. they saw me screw up. but they saw me through those mistakes. and no one understands that unless they were there or at least have experienced hc for themselves. we were in our own little world. our own little bubble. and it was no joke when we would say, "the whole world could blow up and we would have no idea it happened!" we were in our own little utopia and it was wonderful.

i had full intentions of not turning this entry into a sappy one. i'm sure that most of you readers are thinking, "okay, get on with it. we know you all had a great college experience. so what?" so, to break up the love fest a bit, here is a list of things that i would not have experienced had i not attended hc. i wonder how different i'd be without these so-called life experiences!

*streaking across the football field
*looking over the edge of the waterfall on campus
*having rich hardesty come back to my dorm after he played on campus for a few beers
*climbing to the top of the clock tower. **S.C.A.R.Y.**
*laying on the roof of a fraternity house to look at the stars
*playing wiffle ball at 2am
*making taco bell runs after the wiffle ball game
*working 2 campus jobs my senior year while trying to finish my independent study which put my stress level at about a 348 on a 100 point scale
*stealing beer from a fraternity and throwing it out of the window to my roommate below
*learning every word to every rap song known to man
*downloading songs from napster like it was my job and never fearing of a lawsuit
*making penis cookies at the sorority house during a recruitment get-together

the list goes on and on and on...i hope my daughters take a serious look at that little school when they are out shopping for colleges. it was an awesome fit for me and my husband and we would like nothing more than for our girls to have that same experience. of course, i certainly hope that after they graduate my daughters' lists of "life experiences" doesn't resemble mine a whole lot. hopefully, it will look a little bit more like their father's!

HC Makes Me Thankful

HC is a quaint campus situated atop a hill overlooking the mighty Ohio River. As soon as my parents and I entered the campus, I was charmed. Everyone greets you with a friendly hello and students can often be found sprawled out on blankets in the quad. The 1100 or so students are typically identified one of three ways: major, Greek affiliation, or "that's so and so's boy/girl friend". It was a campus that made me feel comfortable and made me feel like I might just fit in. It felt like a place where I could finally be myself.

It sounds like heaven, no? It sounds like making my college choice should have been easy, right? Well, no. I waited until the last possible day to send in my acceptance letter to HC. I really only had one criterion for making my choice and that one criterion made the choice nearly impossible. I wanted to go to a university that no one from my high school would be attending. That meant that I could literally attend any college in the world except for the big three: Indiana University, Purdue University, and Ball State University. I'd always wanted to attend Northwestern in Illinois or Pepperdine in California. In the end, I think I must have chosen HC because I didn't want to go too far away from home, I didn't want to just be a number, and I didn't want to make my parents spend a million dollars on my education.

My time at HC was almost over before it really began. I too made the the mistake of trying to have a hometown boyfriend and my freshman year was miserable because of this. In the end, a housing snafu at the university I almost transferred to was the reason I ended up at HC for a second year. In that second year, my hometown boyfriend dumped me within the first week of his own college experience for the first girl he slept with on a drunken Friday night. After a freshman year that was tougher than I had anticipated, my sophomore year was the turning point. I met so many wonderful and fun students and I learned that it was possible to have fun in college.

I made friendships with women that still endure today. I found peers that had been the nerdy kid in their high school classes too. I found people that I could relate to and that I could talk to about theology, philosophy, or the last episode of Felicity. I joined a sorority that taught me so much more than I had expected. I learned that I could be a leader and that I could excel at things outside the classroom. I learned that a ritual bond can tie you to other women much like the vines of violets grow entwined. I truly see my experience at HC as a major turning point in my life.

By the time I graduated, I was self-assured, I was confident, and I knew that I was supported by my community. Having that kind of self-worth at 21 is an amazing thing. It gave me the confidence to apply for and get a job that only seven women a year get offered. It gave me the confidence to walk into a room of three hundred women and motivate them.

Looking back, I am beyond thankful to HC. HC is just an almost magical place. I am thankful that I attended this tiny school where professors invited us to their homes for dinner. I am thankful that I attended this tiny school where the students appreciated intelligence and wit. I am thankful that I attended this tiny school that still sends out quarterly class notes with e-mail addresses, birth announcements, and wedding announcements. I am thankful that I attended this tiny school that gave me a group of people that I can always count on. I am thankful that I attended this tiny school that helped mold me into an appreciative, confident woman. I am thankful that I attended this tiny school that has made me everything I am today.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

As we extol the many virtues of our dear little alma, our hearts go out to the grieving families and friends of all who’ve been affected by yesterday’s tragedy at Virginia Tech.

I Wonder How Modest I’d Be Without HC ...

I fell in love with my alma the minute my mom & I drove onto campus. Out of the middle of nowhere was a winding entrance with a wonderful, leafy sky, and out of that nowhere came all these Georgian buildings bursting with passionate, smart, Greek-system-loving students.

After a semester of severe, depressive growing pains that I can now see were attributed to the folly of trying to keep a ‘hometown,’ I became one of those passionate, smart, Greek-system-executive-office-holding students, became a theatre person, became a bit boy-crazy, and, by the end, became a lot of the me I am now.

How would I be different if I’d stayed in-state and attended thirteenth grade with the majority my high-school friends? How would I be different if I’d gone to the private school in one of my home state’s biggest cities that my second-best-friend wanted me to go to with her? How would I be different if I hadn’t gone to college alone?

I sure as hell wouldn’t have been audacious enough to think I could stroll into the largest professional theatre in my home state and ask for—nay, demand (in a totally adorable and winning way, mind you)—an internship. HC gave me a self-worth I don’t think I’d have found and been unable to shake had I been in a bigger collegiate pond: I graduating thinking I was a passionate, smart, and all-kinds-of-things-loving student of the world. I still do. I went to HC and excelled there . . . I can excel anywhere! I can excel at anything! My Bachelor of Arts degree from a small, private, liberal-arts school makes me as good as the best and better than most! HC strikes awe and respect in the hearts of man and beast!

Well, not in Montana it doesn’t.

But thanks to my alma, I don’t care that nobody I meet now has ever heard of my little winding entrance or leafy sky or Georgian architecture. I am passionate. I am smart. I am audacious. I am proud and grateful and indebted to the place that grew me up.

I am obviously still full of self-worth. Thanks, alma.

Monday, April 16, 2007

I Wonder What Life Would Be Like If I'd Never Gone to HC?

Hello, and welcome to the blog. I'll be your hostess each Monday and every fourth Friday - my name is G Love, and I will endeavor to be as interesting for you as my cereal bowl of milk is to my cat this morning. Schmitty, I'm trying to focus. Go away.

Schmitty cat is just one of the many characters who will be getting in my way as I write for you all - though usually I won't be playing hooky, as I am today, and thus will be writing from work, where the Schmitt is thankfully not allowed. It's hard to type with a cat on your lap who is by turns gnawing on your fingers and ever so smoothly sneaking closer and closer to your milky cereal bowl. I know what you're doing, Schmitt. You are not being particularly stealth at this point. Ahh, point - that reminds me, I should get to it.

Each weekday one of your four lovely hostesses (and we are all h-o-t-t hot, just take my word for it) will be writing a post about the same question. I suppose, though we're still ironing out the rules, that Friday will be a free-for-all day, sans theme. In any case, seeing as we're all college educated women with at least half a brain between us, and sometimes this is a crazy old nonsensical world, we find that there is lots for us to wonder about. We are Women who Wonder, and we are also superhero Wonder Women, two facts that each week's title will reflect.

This week, we're wondering about HC and what our lives would be without it. HC, our alma mater, is a little wee college on the banks of a substantial river sited near a less-than-substantial town. It's a totally gorgeous campus in the heart of the midwest, and it's where each of us studied for four years, where each of us met the others. We did the things people do in college - meet friends, meet boys, drink a little, study a lot; all four of us pledged the same sorority. HC marked us all for life, but in different ways.

G Love did not want to go to HC. I suppose I should lay that out up front. I wanted a mid- to large-sized college in the heart of an exciting city - UCSD was my top choice. My parents disagreed. They won. So to the midwest I went, and arrived at HC for my first day of freshman orientation, which was also the first time I'd seen the campus, the first time I'd seen even the state the campus was in. All very exciting and scary. It took a couple of years for me to like it. I even tried to transfer. When finally I learned that I would not be going anywhere but there, I sat myself down and told myself to just like the place and be done with it. After that, HC started to grow on me. There is something to be said for small; small means 15 people in your class, dinners with your professors, close friends who you have to learn to get along with because if you have a falling out there ain't nowhere to go. Small means (to this theatre major) big parts in the plays, or at least some role in every play. Small means you are subject to the opposite of anonymity, which can sometimes be called overexposure (i.e. when you walk out of a coffee date with your classmate and suddenly everyone is asking how long you've been going out), but usually feels more like intimacy (i.e. when everyone hears that you're going through something wretched and suddenly little notes of encouragement appear at your dorm door and your professors cut you some slack in the classroom).

I could wax poetical-like for hours, but this post is already a bit long and aimlessly wandering, so instead I'm going to give a list of things I would not have right now if I hadn't gone to HC:
  • This blog. I wouldn't know any of the other Wonder Women, and thus would not be blogging with them.
  • My husband, Darlin'. He didn't go to HC but his parents did, and they were active alumni during my college years. I met him through them.
  • My cat. I would have a dog instead because that's what I wanted til Darlin' talked me into a cat. They're supposed to be less responsibility, snort. Anyway, without HC there'd be no Darlin', and without Darlin' there'd be no Schmitty cat.
  • My year in England. I went to grad school in England, to a place in which I had spent a May-mester abroad during undergrad (with another Wonder Woman, MSO Rin). If I hadn't done the May-mester, I'd never have done the year, and that would have made 2002 a lot less interesting.
  • My whole life.

This reminds me of an exercise I used to do when I was an outdoor ed teacher, whereby I can link any thing you can think of back to the soil in 6 degrees of separation or less. I sit here and try to untangle a few meaningful bullet points, but realize that I can't name anything in my life right now that didn't grow out of my HC experience one way or another. My job, my little house, my little life - it's all due in no small way to that small college on the banks of a meandering river in the heart of America.

So thanks, HC. Thanks for, literally, everything. And thanks to you, for reading this through. See you Friday.

Peace and Love - G

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Official Launch

This blog will be officially launched on Monday, April 16!