How many, How much

As I sat drinking my morning coffee I decided, on a whim, to revisit the poems of Shel  Silverstein (A Light in the Attic to be precise). As I was reading along, one stuck out, How many, How much.

How many slams in an old screen door? Depends on how loud you shut it.

How many slices in a bread? Depends on how thin you cut it.

How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em.

How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.

So simple yet so helpful. It’s easy to fall into a logical trap that we’re all alone or that the world is against us. But, perhaps, if we can change how we’re seeing things they can get better. Or rather, we can feel better about them, which sometimes makes all the difference.

Anyway, just some food for thought. Now I’m off to put some ‘good’ in this day.

Until next time

~ Q

Hermit Season (aka Winter) is Coming

It’s November 1st  and although it was up in the 70s last weekend, colder temps are on their way…eventually.  With the chill comes the start of the holiday season which leads into my director time for dinner theater which really just means Im about to be a hermit until spring. It’s not something that I ever intended to happen, but upon reflection it happens every year so why not embrace it? Figured I’d use the season to kick off a reading challenge. I’m really excited (restarting one From a few years ago) We’ll see how many I can go through. I’m starting with number 23: a book more than 100 years old. I started Frankenstein a week ago or so, so I guess that book will get grandfathered in to this tally. I’ll note any audiobooks I listen to as well but will strive to make the ‘official count’ only with books I read.

Hermit season I embrace you – It. Is. ON!

Until next time
~ Q

The List (book / audiobook)

  1. A book with more than 500 pages
  2. A classic romance
  3. A book that became a movie
  4. A book published this year
  5. A book with a number in the title
  6. A book written by someone under 30
  7. A book with nonhuman characters
  8. A funny book
  9. A book by a female author
  10. A mystery or a thriller
  11. A book with a one-word title
  12. A book of short stories
  13. A book set in a different country
  14. A nonfiction book
  15. A popular author’s first book
  16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet
  17. A book a friend recommended
  18. A Pulitzer Prize-winning book
  19. A book based on a true story
  20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list
  21. A book your mom loves
  22. A book that scares you
  23. A book more than 100 years old
  24. A book based entirely on it’s cover
  25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
  26. A memoir
  27. A book you can finish in a day
  28. A book with antonyms in the title
  29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
  30. A book that came out the year you were born
  31. A book with bad reviews
  32. A trilogy
  33. A book from your childhood
  34. A book with a love triangle
  35. A book set in the future
  36. A book set in high school
  37. A book with a color in the title
  38. A book that made you cry
  39. A book with magic
  40. A graphic novel
  41. A book by an author you’ve never read before
  42. A book that you own but have never read
  43. A book that takes place in your hometown
  44. A book that was originally written in a different language: The Prague Cemetery
  45. A book set during Christmas
  46. A book written by an author with your same initials
  47. A play
  48. A banned book
  49. A book based on or turned into a TV show
  50. A book you started but never finished

A Chapter Closes

Today marks my last day working at PDG. I don’t know how to feel about it because I am beyond excited for the next leg of my adventure. However in order to move in another direction we have to turn our backs on the previous path, and I have enjoyed this path for quite some time now. I was not prepared for what was to occur when I answered that random phone call a little over five years ago.

I had been laid-off in June and luckily my sister Kelly needed a nanny for nugget until his daycare spot was available in August. Bailey had started the summer with them and already had a month under her belt. However, she kindly stepped aside once I was, surprisingly, unemployed. I needed time to clear my mind from the abrupt departure from my first job out of college. Caring for the nephew definitely took most of my attention and was precisely what I needed when I needed it.


Lisa (far right) and I (on her immediate left) were two peas in a pod from the start.

With two days left of my nanny stint I had just put Rory down for his afternoon nap when the phone rang. I had been halfheartedly filling out online applications not really expecting anything to come from it, so I was surprised when it was my cell. On the other end was a woman from Story City calling to talk to me about a job opening. Out of the blue a graphic design position opened up less than fifteen miles from home. Lisa talked, describing the position, while I paced my sister’s living room over and over again.

In retrospect I bombed that phone interview, for that was what it kind of was I realized much later. She had, initially, asked me to take a more in-charge role (if memory serves). Besides design I would help with sales, run the store when needed, etc. I told her no. As an unemployed person with zero prospects I still said no, but hear me out. I wasn’t confident I could be in charge (apparently I have a dormant strain of that Q-gene). I had just been laid off doing a job I was perfectly qualified for. If I couldn’t keep a job I could do, what chance did I have of keeping one I wasn’t qualified for? I didn’t want to do that to myself or my prospective employer so I erred on the side of honesty. Lisa was undeterred. She heard me out and altered the plan for if I was hired. Later she did admit she was a bit surprised, but had me come in to interview anyway.

The following week I went in, met with her and the owner and by that afternoon was offered the job. The next Monday I was driving to Story City expecting only to find a job. What I found instead was a community. That’s something I have come to love about working at PDG and, by extension, being in Story City. Story City still has that ‘small town’ charm I had never really been a part of before. As an outsider it was fun to observe and as I got more acquainted it was even more fun to immerse myself in it.

It’d be fun to have a conversation with past Jamie. Those who know me wouldn’t agree, but I still get very uneasy in crowds. I’m an introvert at heart and being around people can sometimes be a challenge. Many wouldn’t agree because once I know you I’m a complete nutbar. One way to overcome this, not only so I could do my job better but expand my horizons, was to join some committees (with lots of encouragement from Lisa). As the years passed I became more and more comfortable within the community. Within PDG itself, I had become the person Lisa was hoping for when she originally wanted when she called (or close enough to it) – go figure.  So chatting with my past self to see that I’ve grown would be a blast.

I have had the great fortune to work with many amazing women at work. Each of them with their own unique gift that it has been my pleasure to observe. Whether it’s a matter of photography, phone techniques (I don’t know how many phone calls ended with “what should I have done instead?” – especially in the beginning), accounting (it is its own art form and NO ONE will convince me otherwise), or any other skills of an unending list of gifts. These women have helped shape me over the past five years and it’s hard to leave them.


The work family (left to right): Jenn, Me, Lisa and Rhonda.

I haven’t really allowed myself to dwell on it too much because I don’t want to be sad and mar my last few days at work. Also, it’s a weird sensation because I am genuinely excited for what is to come. Next week I start work at the Iowa State University Foundation. But that would not have been possible if I hadn’t have been polished at PDG. I will miss the “family” at the office. Lisa often says ‘we work hard and play hard’ and we certainly do. So, one more day, off to enjoy the time I have left with these wonderful women. I unexpectedly had to bid farewell to Jenn yesterday (I forgot she wouldn’t be there today). Although, it’s not really goodbye since I’m just going to Ames, but it is certainly going to be a little different next time around. In true PDG spirit she sent me off with a hug and a laugh whispering “Choose your adventure*.

I intend to do just that.



*For those that don’t know “Choose your adventure” is a tagline that Iowa State ues


It’s been a good year so far. I just haven’t been posting about it.

Life is ever flowing and hard as I try to blog I find that I have two modes:

  1. I have too much going on to sit down and organize my thoughts into a coherent narrative
  2. I have so little going on that an entry would be somewhat mundane

Life passes and with my sieve-like memory if I don’t write down what happens (either on a blog or in my journal) I completely forget what happens, even the little things. Seeing as how life is made up of ‘little things’ I shouldn’t discount them too much. So, new resolve to write at least once a week.

Until next time
~ Q



Going with the flow

This week marksFamily the annual family weekend. In the past we’ve gone to Lanesboro, Red Wing (twice actually), Lanesboro, LaCrosse and last year we stayed at my sister’s place so we could do a dry run of camping with the nephew. This year we were all set to revisit Lanesboro until tragedy struck. Or, to be more specific, lightning. The place we were suppose to stay was struck earlier this week and will be without power this weekend. So, as we do, we’re improvising and just rolling with the punches. Instead My sister’s family will come down here and we’ll do more of a ‘stay-cation’ with a day spent in Des Moines. All that matters is that the 7 of us will be together. As an added bonus I don’t have to board Watson so he gets to stay with the family for the weekend, win-win. I’ll tell you all about the visit next week.

Until next time
~ Q

stuck in my head

Last night I was walking the hound when all of a sudden words popped into my head. Ever since I have had oddly poem-esq lurking in the back of my mind. I figured I would post it to see if anyone knows what the real words are:

You are you and I am me
the two of us could be a perfect we.

I would be yours and you would be mine
our lives and love forever entwined.

But in the end you are you and I am me
and the distance between us is far indeed.

The writing bug has bitten me again so I’ll be back soon.

Until next time
~ Q

I Got My Wish

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Jamie,
Happy Birthday to you!
Uh-oh. It’s time to blow out the candles – I don’t have a wish!!
What to wish for? Nothing is coming. Come on brain think of something.
No, nothing? NOW you choose to be quite?
What about at three o’clock in the morning, huh? Not then? Good Grief.
Oh, love? Love is what you’re giving me now? That’s a silly wish.
I don’t really want to wish for that. Seriously, stop being so helpful.
Ah geez, I can’t stall any longer, the family is waiting.
Fine, you win brain. Remind me to fire you next year. I can’t believe this…
I wish for ‘love’.

My birthday is June 1st and this year I had easily one of the best in recent memory. Or semi-recent, after all, you only get one birthday a year. For the last three months I have been engrossed in a musical. Every year the local theater troupe (which I am a member) produces a show for the town festival. This year we produced Little Shop of Horrors. It was an amazing process/project/endeavor and I am so proud that I was a part of it. I mention the production now because it took up 99% of my free time.

My birthday occurred in the final days before opening, so I knew meeting up with my family to celebrate was going to be tricky. Luckily we had afternoon rehearsal the day before my actual birthday so I was able to head to my parents’ place that night to celebrate. Arriving an hour later than I intended I was graced with a relaxed evening with my mom, dad, sister and dog (can’t forget that guy). I enjoy going home, especially on nice late-spring evenings. We had pizza from my favorite place and sat around the table sharing anecdotes of the last few weeks.

After supper they sang to me, and it was as they we were singing the final notes of the birthday song that I remembered I was suppose to make a wish. As they hit ‘happy birthday dear Jamie‘ my mind went blank. I fear that may mean I am too unimaginative to think of more for my life. I, however, prefer to think of that I have everything I need. Either road I made my wish – it was a simple wish. Perhaps a throw away, seeing as how I like being independent. But who growing up on Disney wouldn’t wish for love? Truth be told, I didn’t really have my heart in it. We had the special order chocolate cake, opened presents and then went outside to watch my sister play fetch with Watson. She may be a dog whisperer. Animals just respond to her, which is great for her, not for me. Watson listens about 65% of the time but I digress. I concluded my evening with my family and headed home to get as much sleep as possible. I knew I would be getting little sleep for the rest of the week after all (I ended that week with about 30 hours).

I woke up on Monday morning and was thankful I had so much to look forward to on a Monday. Seriously, those are just so rough. I went to work where my coworkers all wished me a happy birthday. At noon we all circled up and ordered lunch. I wore the obligatory birthday crown while enjoying time with my work family. One of the things I love most about my job is that I work with like-minded individuals. We all are hard workers, have complimentary personalities and can balance work and whimsy. I am beyond grateful that when I leave for work everyday it isn’t with dread. Yes, it’s still work, but when you’re in the foxhole with such great people it’s hard to hate it.

That night I headed to rehearsal not expecting anything. We were knee deep in tech and had dress rehearsals to focus on. Much to my surprise when I arrived the director said, “your party is upstairs”. Thinking she was joking I smiled and thanked her. “No, seriously,” she continued, “there are 4 dozen cupcakes.” She wasn’t kidding and in fact she and I (with the help of the sound designer) managed to decimate nearly a dozen during the night while we frantically finished last minute projects. At intermission the cast and crew took a break to enjoy the treats and sing me happy birthday. Let me tell you something, having thirty-ish theater people harmonize ‘happy birthday’ is something to behold. If you can swing it, everyone should experience it.


My bestie sent me flowers for the occasion.

Just when I thought the night would end I got a text from my buddy asking if I could meet up with him and some more friends after rehearsal. I knew cast members wanted to do something too so it seemed perfect. We met up at the bar where they had baked a cake for me. There was another rousing round of happy birthday and I am pretty sure I had a permanent smile on my face as I sat and chatted with my friends. As I looked around the table that night I realized I had gotten my wish. So often people think of love as being something that has all these strings of romance attached to it. But I have found that love takes countless forms. Sure, it was emphasized because it was my birthday, but it was clear none the less. I am lucky enough to have countless people in my life. I care for them, they care for me, and that’s really all I wanted. So although I had scoffed at my juvenile wish for love, I opened my eyes to the more mature reminder that I already had it. So not such a silly thing after all. After all, who doesn’t like having their wishes come true?