I Like You, by Sandol Stoddard Warburg

I like you and I know why.
I like you because you are a good person to like.
I like you because when I tell you something special, you know it's special
And you remember it a long, long time.
You say, "Remember when you told me something special?"
And both of us remember

When I think something is important
you think it's important too
We have good ideas
When I say something funny, you laugh
I think I'm funny and you think I'm funny too

I like you because you know where I'm ticklish
And you don't tickle me there except just a little tiny bit sometimes
But if you do, then I know where to tickle you too

You know how to be silly
That's why I like you
Boy are you ever silly
I never met anybody sillier than me till I met you
I like you because you know when it's time to stop being silly
Maybe day after tomorrow
Maybe never
Too late, it's a quarter past silly!

Sometimes we don't say a word
We snurkle under fences
We spy secret places
If I am a goofus on the roofus hollering my head off
You are one too
If I pretend I am drowning, you pretend you are saving me
If I am getting ready to pop a paper bag,
then you are getting ready to jump

That's because you really like me
You really like me, don't you?
And I really like you back
And you like me back and I like you back
And that's the way we keep on going every day

If you go away, then I go away too
or if I stay home, you send me a postcard
You don't just say "Well see you around sometime, bye"
I like you a lot because of that
If I go away, I send you a postcard too
And I like you because if we go away together
And if we are in Grand Central Station
And if I get lost
Then you are the one that is yelling for me

And I like you because when I am feeling sad
You don't always cheer me up right away
Sometimes it is better to be sad
You can't stand the others being so googly and gaggly every single minute
You want to think about things
It takes time
I like you because if I am mad at you
Then you are mad at me too
It's awful when the other person isn't
They are so nice and hoo-hoo you could just about punch them in the nose

I like you because if I think I am going to throw up
then you are really sorry
You don't just pretend you are busy looking at the birdies and all that
You say, maybe it was something you ate
You say, the same thing happened to me one time
And the same thing did

If you find two four-leaf clovers, you give me one
If I find four, I give you two
If we only find three, we keep on looking
Sometimes we have good luck, and sometimes we don't
If I break my arm, and if you break your arm too
Then it's fun to have a broken arm
I tell you about mine, you tell me about yours
We are both sorry
We write our names and draw pictures
We show everybody and they wish they had a broken arm too

I like you because I don't know why but
Everything that happens is nicer with you
I can't remember when I didn't like you
It must have been lonesome then
I like you because because because
I forget why I like you but I do

So many reasons
On the 4th of July I like you because it's the 4th of July
On the fifth of July, I like you too
If you and I had some drums and some horns and some horses
If we had some hats and some flags and some fire engines
We could be a HOLIDAY
We could be a CELEBRATION
We could be a WHOLE PARADE

See what I mean?
Even if it was the 999th of July
Even if it was August
Even if it was way down at the bottom of November
Even if it was no place particular in January
I would go on choosing you
And you would go on choosing me
Over and over again

That's how it would happen every time
I don't know why
I guess I don't know why I really like you
Why do I like you
I guess I just like you
I guess I just like you because I like you.
It’s okay to hurt.

It is totally okay to hurt. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to take off your super woman cape behind closed doors and let the mary kay mascara run down your cheeks. It’s okay. Life is tough and simply grinning and bearing it only lasts so long. It’s totally acceptable to have the outside world look at you as a pillar of strength when you feel like a pile of stones. It’s okay to ask questions. And, you can in fact be happy and sad all at the same time. You can be so excited about what is to come and absolutely terrified that it might not happen. You can hold on to something horrible so tightly that you don’t open your hands to something better. You can hurt yourself by being fearful that others will do the same. You can help others who are going through their own personal trials. You can try to explain your feelings, but no one will ever understand completely. And thats okay too.

Couldn't help but post this...

After awhile you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
And you learn that love doesn't mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises.
And you begin to accept your defeats with you head up and your eyes open.
With the grace of maturity, not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all your roads on
Today because tommorow's ground is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After awhile you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure...
That you really are strong
And that you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn and learn ....
With every goodbye you learn.

-Veronica A. Shoftstall

time out

Your day is flying by as you fumble through your mental “to do list”. Everyone has that time during a busy day where you face the grim reality that you are in fact not a super hero and you only have 24 hours in each day. That was me tonight…

I was in my car playing speed racer to beat the clock, trying to check one more thing off my daunting to do list. An oncoming fire engine with lights and sirens immediately caused traffic to halt. I pulled off to the side of the road, turned down my blaring radio and patiently watched it approach. As I sat there on a busy street, with hundreds of cars around me, at a dead stop, it made me think.

We all as citizen’s stop, pull off to the side of the road, and wait for an emergency vehicle to pass right? When else do you stop? When do you take a moment to pull off the little road of life? What if that fire engine was your life? Imagine it as the daily stresses, hurts, and frustrations, to do lists, chores, homework, bills, and nagging, toxic, annoyances? Would you stay on the road and let it run you over? No way! Anyone with any brains would gladly pause their busy rushing to clear the roadway until it passed.

It made me think.

It’s okay to slow down sometimes.

Life isn't multiple choice...

Things that I have learned the last nine months…

People change, for better or for worse. Even the person who you know inside and out can take off a mask and reveal they are not an ounce of who you thought they were.

The most rewarding jobs typically don’t pay well, in fact, most of the time you have to pay for them. The pay for the job I am talking about cost me monetarily, emotionally, and physically…but the end reward is far greater than any cost encored in the beginning.

Walls are not to keep people out but to see who cares enough to break them down.

Friends and family are my life blood. You never know how much you are loved until you need to hear it.

The future is an adventure. Sometime adventures are fun, sometimes scary, but it’s an adventure none the less. Hills and Valleys, sunshine and rain.

I can laugh and mean it.

Even the biggest cloud has a silver lining.

Good things fall apart so better things can come together.

Tomorrow is uncertain therefore I must love the people I love, thank the people that need thanked and dance, laugh, smile and sing.

Life is too short to spend it holding on to things that aren’t worth holding onto. Including grudges, memories, upsets, material processions and hurts.

I am fearless.

diggin' it.

Often I have said the following, “life is hard, wear a helmet.” Today I disagree with that statement completely. Life is only hard when you are trying. A true life, one that is tailored to fit just you is effortless. Sure, there are trials, trivial matters, decisions, and setbacks…but it’s different. These tough times aren’t so tough when youre life is authentic.

Things happen for a reason, I get that. I didn’t get that a year ago, but now, not only do I get it…I am living proof of it. I preach this cliché statement like it’s my job! I was lucky enough to die and come back to life. Not in the literal sense but close enough.

My life before was hard. It sucked. I was broke yet had much more money than I do now. Lonely, yet I was married. Homeless, yet I had a cozy little house. I was wanting, even though I had an abundance of things. I was terribly sad, yet I had all the apparent ingredients for happiness.

Today I take inventory of my life. I don’t have lots of money as I fight my way through school but it’s ok, I know it’s temporary. I certainly am not lonely. I am envious of my own social calendar. ;-)My friends are amazing supportive beings of whom I am thankful for in so many ways. I am single (can I get an Amen!). My husband turned out to be a grade-A douche bag. However, this douche bag taught me what not to do the next time around and for that...I am forever greatful. My house? I don't have one anymore. It was just that…a “house”. It wasn’t a home, and I am thankful to have been able to walk away from it. I no longer want for anything and I am far from sad. This is one of the most trying times I have ever been through, yet, through it all I am so excited.

I walked through the fire to figure out what truly matters. And, it turns out, contrary to popular belief; life isn’t that hard after all. I don’t have to try anymore. And now, life is so good.

Boy meets girl,
Girl wants to run like the wind,
So does boy.

She has had her share of heartaches,
But she stays.
She discovers Boy's had his share,
Of heartaches too.

So they both stay,
And learn to trust.

And that is a good thing.

(C) 2008 Walt Hardester

This world keeps spinning faster...

Strange problem I have…thoughts that cannot be put into words. My feelings are an odd mix of emotions that are completely foreign. I look around my world and see it so clearly, yet cannot put my visual inventory into phrases. It was not that long ago where I saw haze and had a million and one words to describe my findings.

Now, the haze has faded. The sunshine is out and the weatherman has given me an unusually positive forecast that involves exciting opportunities and a fresh start. The fear has subsided and been replaced with wide eyed wonder and self discovery.

With all this, still, I am speechless in wonder. My questions and self doubt are overridden. The pain that once was unbearable turned into strength. The love that I gave has been given back to me ten fold so that I can give it to others who deserve it, including myself. The excitement for what’s to come is nothing comparable to anything I can describe. My laughs are like wild fire, smiles the same. Stress still shows its face yet quickly exits.

How exactly do you describe something that of this magnitude? It’s more than a second chance. It’s much more than words. It’s more than feelings. More than self esteem. More than a gift. More than a smile. More than the most beautiful thing you can think of.

It’s happiness. And its mine all mine.

The best gifts

It’s kind of funny. This blog started as funny stories, rambling of sorts about the silly things that happen, just happen to always happen, to me. Although the past few posts haven’t been what I would consider “funny” they have been noteworthy in heart. I promise the funny will come back, sooner than later, but at this time in my life my expressive creativity is flowing in a different theme. I would at first consider this a forward or a forewarning…”what you’re about to read will not be witty”. Actually, this is an invitation…to see behind the funny stories, behind the giggles, behind the smile.

Life is crazy in that it is a teacher when you don’t really feel like learning shit. You know how you feel during a long hard work out? How you think, my goodness, can I really do this? I want to stop! Water please! How many more minutes? How far have I run? Then, when it’s all over you say, “wow, that wasn’t really that bad now was it?” Then, the next time you give it a go, you go a bit faster, a bit further and a bit longer than before.

This is similar to how I have felt over the past five months. I look back and can smile upon the begging and pleading I did with God. I can laugh about how I tried to hold onto something that wasn’t there to begin with. Have you ever tried to hold onto nothing? Try to hold onto thin air and tell me how that works out. So I questioned myself at every turn I could in the beginning. I asked the “why’s”, the “why me’s” and the “why not’s”. I sulked, I stayed in bed, I shut down completely. I was catatonic. Lifeless. Terrified. Alone. Pissed as hell. Hopeless. Confused. Utterly disgusted. Then, it all made sense. Sounds simple huh? In retrospect, it was just that easy.

God spoke to me. He told me all the things that he had been telling me for the past ten years only this time I listened. He spoke directly to me and so there was no confusion, he tattooed those words on my heart and soul. He told me that I am beautiful. That he loves me. That it is my time. That I settled. That I am funny and smart and that I will never be alone. That I am his child. That he has a better plan for me, one that will blow my mind. He told me things that I will never forget.

He sent me words of encouragement. He sent me strength. He sent me energy not only to get out of bed but to do something productive with each day! He sent me reasons to be happy. He sent me knowledge. He sent me insight. He sent me people. People! People! People! Friends and family came from every corner to help me, heal me, love me, kiss me and hug me. He sent me people to make me smile. He sent people that see right through my tough persona. He sent people who make me feel like new even when I think I am damaged. He sent people to hold my hand. He sent people to dry my tears. People to make me cry tears of joy. People that I can inspire. People that I can help. People that can learn from me. He sent people that I can learn from. He sent people who make me laugh. He sent me people that I missed. People that I forgot I missed. People… He sent people, his people.

I am forever grateful for unanswered prayers. Blessings come in really strange packages.

The end.

Beauty from Ashes

Once in a while, when you think you have everything all figured out, life throws you a major curve ball. This never happens when you are prepared for it, never when you have your game face on. The curve ball that I am talking about happens when you least expect it.

During these trials of life you realize so much about your personal world. Your personal bubble that you thought you knew backwards and forwards suddenly becomes a brand new land to explore. The once thought “perfect” reality wasn’t really real at all, and it was far from “perfect”. You were blinded by the shiny surface of a fountain filled with just enough beauty to trick you.

You realize that you settled. You settled for something less than you deserve and in turn you received even less than what you settled for to begin with. You gave up your dreams and aspirations out of desperation to hold onto the unhappiness cleverly draped in superficiality.

The beauty of life is that you always get a second chance. A new beginning can start this very moment. Good things fall apart so that better things can come together. Take control of your life, don’t let life control you. Life may have thrown me a nasty curveball…but I just knocked one out of the park. Me-1, Life-0.

Jerry's Biggest Fan.

I was in a crowded book store a few days ago waiting in line to pay for my merchandise. While patiently waiting I noticed someone invading my personal bubble of air space. I turned around to see a woman who was obviously in a hurry to get past me and obviously couldn't come up with the words “excuse me”. This woman (and I use that term loosely) had long two-tone frizzy hair, a flannel shirt and smelled of patchouli oil and camel lights. I would guess her to be in her early 60’s…and by the looks of her she loved the 1960’s! I think she was going on a trip, but she didn’t have any bags if your picking up what I am laying down.

Me: “Oh goodness, do you need to get past me?”

Hippy Lady: “I was just looking on your back to see if you had a “slow moving vehicle” sign on it.”

Me: Speechless. (Which Never happens!)

Needless to say, I didn’t have my usual sarcastic smart mouthed response.

If I would have been on my A game, the following is what might have been said.

Yes, you better hurry! Someone just stole your VW bus.
Hurry! A new AARP just hit the shelves!
Quick! Jerry Garcia is outside signing autographs.
Wow, you move quickly without a walker!
Yes! Please hurry past, you smell like roach weed that’s older than me!
Lady, there is no need to hurry. Woodstock was over years ago.
Do you know you’re in a Book store right? Like ones you Read?
Sorry, but I don’t think the sell Zig-Zag papers here.
Did someone hide your kindess under your soap again?

If I ever see her again…I am pretty sure she won’t remember a thing.

Gangster Grandma

Has anyone seen the show The Singing Office? My coworkers and I would give the contestants a run for their money! We often break into song for no apparent reason and today was no different than any other. Our lyric library consists of television show themes, gospel hymns, rap, hip hop, country and my favorite…commercial jingles.

As we sang and danced our way through another hour at work, we took a little trip down memory lane. During the conversation someone brought up what our Grandchildren would think of this generation and our choice in music. I guess I never thought of that…

Imagine dialing in the Oldies Station in the year 2068 only to hear; “From the Windowwwwwww….To the Wall!”

I think this conversation might take place.

Grandchild: “Grandma, what does “Skeet, Skeet, Skeet” mean?”

Grandmother: “I don’t know honey; it was just something they sang back then.”

Grandchild: “Grandma, what was in your milkshake that made all the boys come to your yard?”

Imagine a going to your 50 year class reunion and doing the “Superman” with your classmates. Then, after sharing photos of your grandchildren you make your way to the dance floor for the one and only…“Cha-Cha-Slide.”

The following is an excerpt from a funeral that will take place 40 years from now:

As we prepare to celebrate the life of our sweet mother/grandmother, let us honor her with a song from her youth.

… “Apple bottom Jeans, boots with the fur…the whole club was looking at her…she hit the flow’…next thing you know…grandma got low low low low low low low low!”

Priceless Gifts

Growing up I was given permission to be myself. I had the freedom to imagine, say what I felt and be creative. I didn’t have to fit a certain mold or accomplish unrealistic goals. I simply got to be a kid…a respectful well adjusted kid.

We didn’t have cable and only received 3 TV channels (when the weather cooperated). We didn’t own any movies, a computer or Video games. We never had babysitters aside from grandparents and didn’t eat fast food. Our nearest neighbor was miles away and we listened to sweet country silence in our front yard.

My parents never had to worry about traffic or sidewalks. We picked our vegetables from a garden and 95% of our meat was wild game. We had acres to run and played outside almost every day. We made up games utilizing rocks, dirt, frogs, turtles and our imaginations. We ate dinner together every night as a family.

Never once did I feel that I missed out on anything.

My parents didn’t get wrapped up in the who’s who game or my kid is better than your kid. They were too busy being parents. They didn’t go to college because they were too busy learning. They worked ten times harder to get half as far and I am so proud of them for that.

By taking the time to teach your children what really matters in life you give them the best gift. I am so thankful my parents took the time to be just that…parents. They didn’t take the easy road out. They didn’t pawn us off on sitters and electronic items. They talked, sang, taught, drew, walked, played, prayed, loved, kissed, hugged, laughed, cried, cooked, spanked, grounded, yelled, guided, worked, smiled, read, created, planned, budgeted, built and the list goes on and on.

They were parents all the time and friends when they needed to be…not the other way around. It’s impossible to put a roof on a home with no walls or build walls with no foundation. Take the time to build your family home brick by brick and enjoy the stable refuge you create.

Sugar and Spice

Is this what little girls are made of? I certainly try to be a sweet person. I smile, hold doors and say "Thank you" often. I do nice things for friends unexpectedly and try my best to follow the Golden Rule. I strive to be a good person...and for the most part, feel that I am but I am not afraid to THROW DOWN!

I got into a fight in a Shopping Mall Parking lot. A woman jumped me and in turn I took self defense very seriously. It was over a parking spot of all things! I bet she was even more upset over that piece of pavement when it was imbedded in her face. Poor Girl.

In first grade I told a girl that I had a fist and I knew how to use it. She punched me right after I said that. Ouch.

When I was 9 a 14 year old boy was picking on me. He threw a snowball at my brand new Genuine Leather Bomber Jacket that I had just gotten of Lay-a-way from Wal-mart. With a little help, he got an up-close look at the shiny bumper of a 1989 pick up truck. His nose never looked quite the same.

Never start a fight…but don’t be afraid to finish one. Even if you are in a skirt.

Leaky Faucet

Who doesn’t love to have fun? Especially living in Michigan, I jump at the chance to enjoy the sweet sunshine. A few years ago I was browsing through Sams Club. As I maneuvered around economy size barrels of Mayonnaise and Mullets my eyes were blinded by a beautiful sight. There she was...a fourteen foot trampoline with my name written all over it! The blue padding circling the black mesh was a bull’s-eye for fun, and I couldn’t wait to bring it home.

I was like a child on Christmas morning as I raced to be the first to try it out. My excitement soon turned to uncomfort. With the first jump I realized "Houston, we have a problem!" I couldn’t control my bladder. With every jump, my poor Brittany (read the previous blog :-)) tried her best to control herself with out any luck.

As it turns out, my sisters had the same problem. Isn't that strange? We all had such fun as children on trampolines but now as adults we were in need of a diaper change. So, unless your seven or wear diapers save your money and your dignity!

Do you Ever Wonder Why?

Why isn't the number eleven pronounced onety-one?

What was the best thing, before the invention of sliced bread?

How cruel is it to have and "S" in the word Lisp?

Why does the Easter Bunny leave eggs? Being a rabbit he should leave carrots or something.

I never understood why we yell "heads up" when we need someone to duck.

Why is Charlie short for Charles if they are the same number of letters?

It's amazing that we put a man on the moon before wheels on luggage.

You know how people point to their wrist to ask what time it is. Wouldn't it be funny if they pointed to their crotch to ask where the restroom is!

Just Thinking

I am a dreamer. My mind wanders far away to distant mystical lands. Often I have to reel it back in like the Bass my father recently caught from his kayak. Some of my thoughts are funny, some weird, some really off the wall. As strange as they may be, I love to share!

Are young men really afraid of commitment. Are they really that afraid to grow up? If so, they most certainly would not want to date a woman with roots firmly planted in her town or job right? No home, no children, no debt, no crazy ex's. So why don't more women take out Personal Ads that read; Young, Beautiful, Childless & Homeless. She would have guys lining up to date her! She could bring her "will work for food" sign to dinner. And he wouldn’t have to worry about not calling, because she doesn’t own a phone. She does however have a really roomy tent! Oh-la-la!

I work for a bank. A large bank. A customer called me and asked to apply for a loan. A large loan. When I asked her what type of loan she needed to apply for she referred to it as an "insecure loan". I told her we didn’t have any loans with low self esteem; however we did offer an "unsecured loan". I really hope she uses that money on education.

A man was driving at night with sunglasses on. What a weirdo right? It was dark for petes sake! That’s what I said. Then apologetically I scolded myself for the rude comment. What if he was blind?...Then I remembered that he was driving.

I have these favorite sweat pants. They have a few holes located on the left leg at the very bottom. I was wearing them once on a stationary bike when the wheel took a large bite out of my pants. It didn’t spit them out right away either! It took some finagling, but once I released my pants from the jaws of the bike they were most certainly wounded. Poor things. I still however wear them, on Sundays...because they are holy. Get it?! I got really excited as I often do about something small. To illustrate my excitement I started to execute the popular 80's dance move the Running Man. Unfortunately my big toe got caught in the hole of my pant and I face planted into the floor. It was certainly not my best performance.

My dog. Probably the cutest little thing you have ever seen. Have you ever noticed when you blow in a dogs face they freak out, but when they are riding in a car they stick their head out the window? Why is that?

Brittany's Beware!

I am sure you all heard about Brittany Spears showing all her goodies a few months back right? She was getting out of a limo with no fruits in her loom! After that I started lovingly referring to my girly parts as "My Brittany".

So a few weeks ago my phone rings. (PS, I have a loaner phone right now that resembles something from the early 90's. Possibly something Zach Morris from "Saved by the Bell" would own.)

I answer my phone only to hear my father laughing hysterically. He proceeded to tell me that while driving he saw the funniest license plate cover. The commuter obviously had pet belonging to the Spaniel Breed, a Brittany. The Plate cover read..."My Brittany is smarter than your Honor Roll Student!"

I have to say, though I have never met her Dog, I take pride in the IQ of my own Brittany. My Brittany has made some wise decisions over the years. In fact, I would put money on my Brittany any day.

Party Crashing

Imagine yourself driving down a scenic country road. Winding every few hundred feet, admiring the green pastures for miles ahead, with wild flowers lining the one lane of asphalt? Then all of a sudden you spot a quaint family farm house to your left. Children are playing in the yard, while the adults are sitting around the crackling fire. They tell stories of their youth in between bites of warm roasted marshmallow.

As the smell of wood smoke left my nose a few miles up the road My father asked,” Do you ever want to just crash a party?"

And so the evening progresses. We arrive at our destination. A little Mexican restaurant in a little town, with a little family...and a lot of Tequila. As the endless margarita glass keeps mysteriously filling itself to the top I realize that I am a little too loud, a little too crazy...a little too late! The sweet waiter stopped me on my way out of the ladies room. "Amiga, you need water?" he said. The stark white face and stumbling must have blown my cover.

In the mean time, my father (who we lovingly refer to as Hollywood) is being treated like Mexican royalty. Drinks are coming left and right followed with prompt service from all wait staff. To top it off...a photograph of my father wearing a red velvet sombrero while giving double peace signs is placed on the entrance wall. We haven't quite figured out how or why people think he is some sort of celebrity, but they do? I think if he would have grown up in L.A. he would totally be on T.V.! Something funny, not any weird game show host or anything.

We retire to the gravel parking lot where my sisters violate a stone donkey statue that is donning plastic sunglasses. We stop for a few family pictures. We must get it from my father, Hollywood, because we all love the paparazzi!

As we are driving home (with sober drivers of course) we pull into that family bonfire we passed a few hours and a few cocktails ago. We step out of car; reunite with our long lost friends. I say seems like it has been "forever" since last time we saw one another. Literally.

The Party became a bit less funny and a bit more uncomfortable (physically and emotionally) when I accidentally tripped over an old water pump that was sticking out of the grass covered ground. It bounced from left and right as every attending eye glared at me. As if violating their privacy wasn’t uncomfortable enough, I was unintentionally vandalizing their yard decor. "Ooops!” I giggled.

We fashionably exited the Soirée soon after that. On the way home, as we traveled down the same winding road I sat in the front seat of my mother's SUV. I however was in some serious need of fresh air and a window seat. Suddenly out of the back of the SUV someone yells "Chinese Fire Drill!" The brakes slam, doors open and my entire family is running around the car while passers by look at us in utter confusion.

It was at this point in the evening that I realized how fun my family is! I am so thankful for the freedom to laugh out loud.

The moral of this little ditty? Be yourself. Be courageous. Have fun. Realize you are never too old, too busy, or too cool to be a Great Goofball.

A grave stone reads two dates; but what really matters are the stories and laughs represented by the little dash in between them.