Thursday, December 31, 2009

Nice to meet you, 2010, my name is Bailey

Last post of 2009!!

2009 was the first year that the Daily Bailey saw light. And how the world has been graced with its presence. Currently we have 30 (official) followers, here's to 30 more in 2010, and counting!

I need to do my posting now, at 10:39 pm, rather than 11:59 pm, as I am headed to bed. I have spent a rip-roaring evening writing graduate school essays, and am now going to take a sleep break, which will be followed by awaking at 6am, hugging five sleeping bodies good bye, heading to work to make lattes for all the massive crowds who will be demanding them at 7am on New Year's day, then to the library to finish essays, then back home in a stupor/almost-coma, then to bed, then back to work on Saturday.

Raise your hand if you are jealous! Whoo! I'm actually not complaining. I am just happy that it is almost over, and also kind of walking around like an exhausted zombie, saying ridiculous things and occasionally slurring my words.

Much love to all of you, my dear and faithful readers. I know I say it a lot, but I always mean it: your reading means so much to me, as well as your encouraging comments. The writing world can be a lonely one, one where you think you're good at what you're doing, and doing the right thing, but then sometimes you wonder if you're wasting your time. Until someone says "you put my feelings into words," and then I am rejuvenated and ready to type some more, confident I am in the right seat, the writer's seat. Ready to type some more in 2010, and beyond, God willing.

God bless your new year, be safe. Dibbs and I will be thinking of you. Well, I will. Dibby will be eating, licking, biting, or sleeping.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Soul Aerobics

I will likely begin to drift as I type this post. Such is because I participated in my as-often-as-possible-these-days ritual of running five miles (with the occasional weight lifting tossed in) today. And I type today's post to say:

I love to run.

I am juggling a LOT at the moment (as you are tired of hearing, I'm sure), including graduate school applications, full time workload, house full of holiday guests, and, oh yeah, running five miles as many days a week as possible. But the final item on that list is to ease the anxiety that the former three items on the list create inside me in copious amounts. And therefore I am ever grateful for the running, for the warm, dry, indoor gym that allows me to sweat and produce endorphins while the roads are slush-covered and the outside air is frigid.

I hope that none of you ever have to experience anxiety, as it is one of the worst afflictions I have ever experienced. I was thinking about it on my drive home from the gym tonight and the word came to me to describe what exactly it feels like when all of your fears, stress, rage, etc. are on the surface of your mind all at once. It is comparable to the way one's body feels when layers of skin are painfully torn away, exposing under-layers to air, dirt, silt. The word that hit me on my drive home tonight was this: raw. To be anxious is to feel everything all at once, in the most vulnerable, raw position you can imagine.

The most obvious side effect of this physical malady is pain, yes. But aside from that it is unrelenting, as well as often uncontainable. With an open sore on one's skin, you can add an antibiotic ointment topped with a bandage to get the most relief; however, this is only temporary. To daily clean the area and thus ultimately and finally heal the raw sore, one must go through the agonizing action of removing the bandage, once again exposing it to the harsh, unforgiving air, soak it in warm, clean water, patiently air it out, and only then can a bandage be added to the every-day-smaller sore. One original bandage will not suffice; daily action is required.

I will not get into the details of the exhausting list of all the ways to treat the rawness of personal anxiety, but I will mention a few. There is (often only attempted) rest; hot, soothing beverages; cuddly pets; books; quiet spaces; dance floors; many conversations with not-always-understanding family and friends; angry yelling to a willing ear; if needed, medication; prayer; music; art in all its forms; etc., etc. I have employed all of these more than a time or two myself. But the final thing on the list that I did not yet mention is exercise.

For me, today, right now, it is so comforting and amazing to simply, literally,

put one. foot. in front. of the other.

That is all I need, and all I can humbly ask for, until longer, drawn out, unforeseen pieces of my life can fall into place when they finally decide to see fit. Every day, at some point, my chest bubbles to a level of discomfort that only those unfortunate enough to experience anxiety firsthand can understand. That is, unfortunately, for the most part out of my control. Twenty minutes ago I was calm. At this very moment I am shaking mildly. Clearly I don't choose to switch positions like this. What is in my control is the ability to drive to the gym, hop on a treadmill, and run for 60 minutes a day. For one hour a day I can be upright, powerful, and move in a forward motion. And during the running and the stillness that immediately follows, I thank my God not for the "control" given to me in that moment, as I am never in control and He always is, but for the reminder that I am still capable of moving, that life is moving, and that alternately it contains stillness and peace that only He can provide.

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Baby Sister!!

Welcome to the family, baby Charley!! Congratulations, Lynn and Devin!! I am so proud of my girl for being so strong during labor! Love you soooooo much!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Insomniac seeking Master's Degree

Fair warning: applying to graduate school is not for the faint of heart. Well I guess it is, because I am pretty faint of heart, but I am keeping my head above water. Barely. I guess.

I am so stressed out right now that I went to the gym tonight and for the first two miles on the treadmill I could not really feel my legs. I suppose this might be a problem. I was just waiting for myself to fall over and for many concerned runners and stair-steppers to fly to my aid. (In my imagination at least one of them was a devastatingly handsome (single) male.)

There are soon-to-be nine people in my home. We have enough mattress space (not mattresses, just space, meaning people have to get snuggly together) for eight. I should be in bed right now, as I have to awake in less than seven hours for work, but I know it's pretty much a lost cause. Last weekend I ran five miles and didn't sleep the entire night following, so why should I expect today's five miles to sufficiently wear me out? I have an application due Thursday, have to work between now and then, meanwhile weaving in and out of the eight people in my home--none of whom are working and therefore do not require alarm clocks, deadlines, you I have to squeeze in a visit to Grandma's, open presents, etc., etc., sneaking out of the house to the library to write more intimidating application essays...

SIGH...I need a hug...

So. Faint of heart. You should probably get checked out by your doctor before signing up for the application process. And the more schools on your list, the more infinite your stress will become. Personally I am scratching schools off my list every day. I started with around 20, narrowed it to nine, and have now settled "comfortably" at six. Over achiever? No. Nonetheless applying to the top journalism program in the country? You betcha.

Wish me luck, please. Not on the apps, on sleeping tonight. Just kidding, on both, for sure.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


I have every last right to be Ebenezer Scrooge.

I have EARNED the title, People. Do not argue with me.

First of all, I have not had Christmas yet. Go ahead, check your calendar. Yep, it's the 26th. Nope, no Christmas yet in this household. We have to wait for brothers, wife of brother, and GF's of brothers to arrive. And then we have to wait for my BF to arrive. Oh wait, no no. That's right, there is no boyfriend. I have opened two presents, due to bartering, but we'll get to that later.

I ended my evening last night on the phone with my brothers Patrick and Kelly. I argued with Patrick, hanging up the phone with a gritted-teeth, "I love you, drive safely," and then proceeded to call Kelly, because I knew he would be on my side. Kelly calmed me down and walked me through my upcoming anxiety for the holiday week, and when we hung up I thought I was ready to sleep.

Then I popped sleeping pill number 1.


And then I popped sleeping pill number 2.


3:30 am. STILL AWAKE.

This is because I am sleeping on a mattress, circa 1980. Yes, my childhood mattress. It is awful. It makes a crunching noise when you lie on it, and you think you're comfortable, and then you realize you're not.

I sought refuge in a different bed (we will not discuss the entire mattress situation of my household, because my blood will boil), and fell asleep, stiffly and angrily. I woke up around 11 am today, still stiff and angry.

My main goal today was to go to the gym and run. By this point I had been in my house for almost 48 hours, due to bad weather and holiday constraints--home traditions and everything else being closed. I didn't want to shower when I woke up this morning, because I wanted to go get sweaty and then shower. So I had a Pop Tart and a banana. I put on my sweats and coat and went to my car. I backed the car out. I put the car in drive. I moved three feet. And I got stuck.

I am not proud of this, but I pounded my fist against my dashboard, swearing. I came inside and slammed my hand against the wall, screaming how all I want is to sleep at night and go run on a treadmill, and is that so much to ask?

Dad and Riley helped dig me out of the snow, and then Dad made us shovel the entire driveway. I was running out of time to go to the gym before work, and Dad insisted my car would not drive in this weather, yet I had to argue one of our other cars out of him. I was so furious after the shoveling that I called my friend Tommy and said "Where are you? Are you working today? Can you meet me somewhere? Anywhere."

I had given up on exercising and took a shower, then met Tommy for lunch. He paid. Smart move.

I drove to work. I was inadvertently late. Karen, Ashley, Jen, and Marcus tried their darndest to get me to smile. Ashley sent her fiance on a secret mission to get me Sweetarts and a yellow carnation. Marcus cleaned all the snow off my car before he left work. Caleb came to visit me and Ashley and listened lovingly to my story of my no good terrible very bad day. I got free cookies. A mug was sort of broken but still usable, so I got to take it home. Even hottie hott customer Jim came through the drive-thru and stayed for a minute to chat.

I finally cooled. After 24 hours. We had very few customers, so we got to chill.

We closed the store. We said our goodbyes. We headed home.

I got a mile from my house and saw a car with its lights flashing. I thought, "I bet I could help them push that car up the hill. I could turn around and help them and maybe not be a jerk for five minutes of this day." So I pulled into a cul-de-sac.


If you are not taking notes, wake up and pay attention. This was the second time in one no good terrible very bad day that I got stuck in the snow.

I tried and tried to get back up the hill. I created fumes from the hood. I got out to scrape snow from the tires. There was actually very little snow, it was just slush packed in my bad tires so the wheels spun without creating forward motion. As cars passed on the main road I honked the wussy little horn and flashed my lights. I honked at the snow plow.

Oh by the way it was midnight at this point. With snow falling.

I thought about knocking on a door in the cul-de-sac, but no lights had flicked on inside due to my honking, so I figured they were all out of town having a merry little Christmas.

I walked a mile up and down multiple huge hills. Wearing all black. The sidewalks were piled high with snow, so I walked in the road. Not one single car stopped to help me or ask if I was all right.

I walked in the door and told Dad and Patrick and Riley to put on their shoes, let's go. Dad needed to pinpoint the exact location of the car before he would leave. I told him it didn't matter.

We got back to the cul-de-sac and IT HAD BEEN PLOWED. In the time I walked home and we drove back, the plow had come and plowed the cul-de-sac. Nice timing, Bud. Where were you 20 minutes ago?

We pushed the car up the hill in 2 seconds flat, without digging any snow out from underneath. All I needed was extra man power so that the car wouldn't slide back on top of me. So I walked a mile to gather three men and their power.


When we got home I declared, "I get to open a present now." (All present opening is on hold until the entire family gets here. Riley and I each opened one on Christmas Eve--Harry Potter for him, bracelet for me.)

I opened my present.

My present was a box of oatmeal.

I rest my case. Ebenezer Scrooge. Every last right.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas, 2009:

Awake. Stare at ceiling. Cat enters room. Looks cute. Does not come close enough for touching. Leaves room. Head to kitchen. Reach for coffee. Mom calls from upstairs. Go upstairs. Crawl in bed with Mom. Dad comments on weather. Back downstairs. Make coffee. Sulawesi. Eat banana. Listen to Julie Andrews. The Sound of Christmas. Eat yogurt. Listen to Celine Dion. Ave Maria. Coffee is done. Fill mug. Take to basement. Shower. Check email/facebook/blog. Phone rings. Corie. "Merry Christmas." "Bah humbug." "Sledding?" Eat poached eggs. More coffee. More Celine. Clean room. (Partially). Corie and fam (including dog) arrive. With Kahlua. And sled. Put on layers. Sweats. Socks. More sweats. More socks. Shirt. Sweatshirt. Hat. Scarf. Boots. Swish pants. Coat. Gloves. Outside. Great snow. Fast sledding. Tackling. Inside. Hot chocolate with Bailey's. Soup. Cheese. Crackers. Corie and fam (including dog) leave. (Have not touched cat all day--fickle animal is parading his cuteness around the house but skiddishly running away). 2 rounds of Bananagrams. Putter. Putter. Putter. Dinner. Episode of Friends. Debate on board game. Decide on Taboo. 3 minutes of play. Phone rings. Nick. Answered phone too late, he is recording on the answering machine. Hang up. Call back. Talk to Nick for 30 seconds. His phone dies. Return to Taboo. Phone rings. Nick. Talk to Nick for 12 minutes. He is mid-story, involving footie pajamas. Excitement as listener is rising. His phone dies. No more phone time with Nick. Taboo has been abandoned. Bad TV. Mom and Dad sleeping in chairs. Riley turns off obnoxious commercials. Dad instantly awake. "Hey! I was watching that!" "Dad, you were sleeping." "Was not. Mythbusters. Commercial." Riley and Bailey upstairs. Find cat. He is cornered. Receives petting. Purrs. Riley and Bailey tear apart Lego bricks. Riley laughs. "Do you realize this is how we're spending our Christmas?" Kiss Riley on head. Kiss Dad on head. Kiss Mom on head. Turn off lights. Downstairs. Can't find cat--what else is new?, little booger. Blog. Bed. Bah Humbug.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Say what?

Dear Customers,

Sometimes your comments are not appreciated, and often, not invited in the first place.

A few weeks ago I was putting a carafe of half and half out on the condiment bar, and a woman stirring sugar into her coffee asked me, "Do you know anything about feng shui?" This was around 6am on a Sunday, mind you. Who asks a question at that time of day, prior to sipping their coffee? I paused, mentally checked that I was only inwardly smirking, then hesitantly answered, "Yes..."

"Do you guys do your own set up of the store?" she asked, referring to our holiday decorations. I explained that we do, but that they are according to corporate guidelines. She then proceeded to offer me tips on how to better set up the displays according to the principles of feng shui.

I am not making this up.

I was thinking, "Lady, do I look like I care? It is 6am. I am exhausted, and would not be here if I didn't have to be, please quit telling me about feng shui." When she was finished I told her, again, that the set up is out of our control and that we follow Seattle's orders, and I backed away.

Today. I am sweeping the floor and this woman is on her way to the bathroom and pauses as she approaches me, surveying the dust party at our feet and says, "You're doing a good job," then laughs and passes. I don't know about you but I was offended by this. Pointing out the janitorial element of my job. And laughing in my face. Expecting me to laugh back. I supplied her with a fake chuckle to get her to, like the feng shui lady, move along.

About 5 minutes later I am at the condiment bar (maybe I should just avoid the condiment bar, or the cafe altogether, to prevent these awful events in my life) shoving Equal and Sweet & Low packets into their little compartments when the same lady and her friends come over to throw away their empty cups and napkins. This lady makes a comment about how I am "playing with the sugar." I made a cynically polite remark back about how I am "not exactly playing" with the sugar, moreso stocking it for people like her.

Then!! She said, "making all the big bucks," and laughed. I did not laugh back, obviously, as this woman is now quite possibly very openly commenting on my meager salary and perhaps additionally insulting my occupation overall. Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe I am not.

And then. As I gave her no reaction, keeping my face toward the sugar while my mind willed her out of the store, she said it again. "Making all the big bucks," waiting for me to laugh with her.

I'm sorry, did I laugh the first time?

I didn't laugh the second time either. Finally she left.

Customers, think about what you're saying before you say it. And if you're going to insult the baristas working so very hard behind that counter, then make your coffee at home.

Yikes, I am a jerk. But seriously, who's with me? Please do this barista a favor and be extra, extra, extra nice to anyone and everyone you encounter working in retail tomorrow. It is a lot harder to do these jobs than many people think, including tasks such as "playing with sugar."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mall Madness

Last Friday included a milestone event in my life. I went to Victoria's Secret for the first time. And I purchased something.

My Christmas list looks a little something like the following:

-graduate school acceptance letters
-chocolate covered raisins

So. I took matters into my own hands on Friday and went ahead and purchased some sweatpants. (From Victoria's Secret, if you didn't see where I was going with this.) I really had no intention of entering VS, much less the mall, as I never have intention of entering a mall, and when I do I let my nose guide me to the soft pretzel stand and then get the H out of there.


My friend Caleb and I went to see Fantastic Mr. Fox (indeed fantastic--hilarious, including such lines as "Why is your cousin such a wet sandwich?") on Friday, and afterwards we were driving towards food when Caleb mentioned the mall.

He immediately imitated my answer which was: "[Siiiiigh], I could go for mall food court food, but not for mall shopping..."

Caleb was driving so we landed at the mall. He needed to get some gifts for some gal pals, so we ended up in VS. This is where I purchased my new, delicious, blue, soft, thick, glorious sweatpants. Mmm, sweatpants...How I have always loved thee...

Saturday morning I was showing off my new sweatpants to my Mom, told her where I got them from and, putting two and two together she paused and asked, "You didn't go to Victoria's Secret with a 17 year old boy, did you?"

"He's 18, Mom," I reassured her.

Caught off guard by her laughter, she accepted my counter offer and let the issue go.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lady looks like a Dude

This Thursday at work I was in the bathroom.

End of story.

Just kidding.

This Thursday at work I was in the bathroom, and I looked in the mirror and thought to myself, "I kind of look like a 15 year old boy right now." My hair was just the right length, with the right amount of "dead weight" (i.e., hanging flatly without a lot of feminine body), a perfect chunk of my bangs were swept to the side at just the right angle, and I was wearing a white polo--I looked like a boy.

So I came out of the bathroom and asked my coworkers, loudly, "Do I look like a 15 year old boy right now?" Karen and Ashley looked at me blankly, then resumed their coffee brewing and tile bleaching without a sound, thinking to themselves, "There goes Bailey again, with her crazy comments..."

A customer had been in our cafe for a while reading his book, and a little while later he came up to the register for a refill and we all starting goofing around with him. We shared our personal anecdotes about our favorite pastries, gave him warnings about consuming too much caffeine. He bought a sandwich, got a refill on his americano (my kind of man--calm down, he's married), and as I was ringing him up he said, "I've paid for the sandwich, I'd like one vanilla bean scone, and I don't think you look like a teenage boy."

Yesterday he came back in and I asked if he was going to hang out with us all day again. "Couple of hours," he replied. "Good," I awkwardly answered, not saying anything beyond my single word. I was wearing a black turtleneck and he said, "It's better today without the polo." I explained to him, "Yes, but I have the opposite effect with this shirt. I look like a forty year old woman." He advised me not to wear pearls over the turtleneck, and that I would be fine if I just avoided those.

I do rely on others for fashion advice. Also to inform me of bodily changes--weight gain/loss, hair growth, changes in butt/chest measurements--I don't pay attention to these things. I only occasionally look in the mirror and see a boy and ask others if they see him too.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I have thought for a long time (until about 30 minutes ago, to be exact) that periods of intense waiting, patience, wondering what is next in life, were characterized by their occasional entrance into our lives. I have viewed them as commercial breaks, not the television program or feature presentation.

Perhaps I am feeling differently about this because for me the past three years have been, shall we say, saturated, with the aggravation, depression, and wear and tear of such periods, and thus am inclined to feel that such a ratio of patience to smooth sailing is bound to continue. Regardless I wondered driving home just now if maybe the waiting periods are not so much commercial breaks as they are the bulk of our growth and spiritual and emotional development, and faith and dependency on God.

We say that we are not of this world, that we are above it all--Yeah. Right. We turn on the TV for comfort, we pray for a mate to soothe our aches, we search for peace and fulfillment in this world. I think God is constantly trying to get our attention, saying "Yo! Focus! We've been over this how many times? You've got the priorities backwards. Don't worry about your future, your lunch, your cuticles, your career. I'm in charge, now let's hit the book again, please, and try to pay attention this time." I think He says these things through trials in our lives not only because He designed things to work that way--rather than just give us a multiple choice test, He decided to get artistic and creative with it--but because the Bible puts certain messages/truths/rules in plain language, and to carry that out it must be illustrated on another canvas: in worldly times and lives. Also, probably, because most of us are not the most devoted readers of the Bible and so the only opportunity God has to get our attention is outside of its pages and inside the world.

I'm sorry, I'll switch this blame game to myself and drop the "we" language and switch it to "me," considering I have on more than one occasion declared the Bible to be "boring" at Bible studies. That "plain language" I mentioned above? Yeah. Not exactly the most thrilling reading. I just find that my eyes glaze over the choppy, matter of fact sentences. Psalms on the other hand, makes me cry with its beauty, especially Number 139. "You know when I sit and when I rise...You discern my going out and my lying down...You hem me in--behind and before"...Whoo! Get the tissues! But as for the glazing over, I feel a lot of that is Satan trying to distract and prevent me, an avid reader and lover of the literary, from really swallowing and digesting the most important words I can aim to stow in my heart. But that right there is another blog for another time.

So as much as I hate to look ahead in my life and imagine that it will continue to be filled with more dead ends than open, foliage-filled paths, I am starting to wonder if this might be the case. What am I going to learn, honestly, from constant good times? I don't say all this to sound like God is out to hurt us and make our lives miserable, I just feel that if we are stuck in happiness always then at some point we are going to be professing truths that we once believed because we felt them and have over time become immune and numb to them and are just professing because it is our habit. The only way God can teach us is to continually mix it up.

I feel maybe hypocritical, otherwise just half-hearted in writing this, because last night I was on the phone with my brother Patrick, a wonderful man with a wife who he married right after college, a career he landed before college ended, and a baby on the way, in bitter, painful tears because my life is nothing like his. Nothing falls into my lap at the "right time." I know this is a lie because God always, always, puts people in my life at the right time, in grocery stores, airplanes, random last minute social gatherings, but I tend to focus on the Friday nights that people cancelled plans, on the activities I missed in high school because I was too shy as "the new kid" to be proactive and join them.

But my Father takes care of me, and Patrick told me last night, "Bailey, I think you're an awesome person, and I'm not just saying that." He told me about Acts 17, where Paul explained that "from one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'" I know this, but I throw my fists. I blame others for my unhappiness; I know it is unfair and socially unacceptable to do this out loud, so I internalize it and get mad at people I don't even know, due to symbols they carry around that indicate they have reason to be happy--diamond rocks on left hands, car seats and Dora videos, bulky resumes--forgetting that they are just as human as me and therefore have equal opportunities to throw fists in the air.

Point being, I think when we (well when I, at least) imagine a happy life, I don't imagine a "perfect" life, but I do imagine fulfilling pieces coming into the picture at some point: husband, kids, career, along with general comforts day to day: cups of coffee, lunch dates, amusement parks, good movies, fuzzy cats. But God works on entirely different terms as we do. He will always be supernatural, we will always be His creation. He looks at us and says, "I love you, so yes, I'm going to give you people who love you, and avenues for you to use your gifts (which I gave you, by the way), but there are also going to be windy avenues that won't make a lick of sense to you, and the only thing that's going to be a stronghold for you during those times is Me."

So I'm just wondering. If perfect God is essentially a 180 in character compared to imperfect us, then wouldn't it be likely that the proportions we have in our minds of happy vs. frustrating life events would be a 180 compared to his proportions? Possible.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Personal Preferences

A couple of years ago, before I had my own car, my dad was driving me home from work and I was hinting that maybe we should all watch The Sound of Music as a family after dinner. I was trying to let him guess what movie I was describing and after providing him with a few hints he figured it out and declared,

"The hills are dead, Bailey! They're dead!"

I took that as a "No thanks" and hung out with Julie and hunky Mr. Plummer myself.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Dear Josephine

Louisa May Alcott's story, Little Women, continues to feed my soul in so many ways. I find so much comfort in the character of Jo (based on Louisa May Alcott herself; her entire novel is based on her life and those of her three sisters). Almost every time I watch the movie I cry, not only at the obvious moment for tears--when Beth dies--but depending on my life at the moment at a host of other moments.

One thing I always tell people about Little Women is that it contains just about every piece of the life cycle: birth, death, marriage, relationships between siblings, parents and children, husbands and wives, friends, even neighbors. Being a deeply relational person myself, this means everything to me.

I first read Little Women when I was fifteen, and I remember that, while loving it, I was still upset at the end when Jo didn't end up with Laurie, her best friend and devoted suitor, and furthermore, her spoiled sister Amy ended up with him. By the time I turned 21, my heart had changed and I understood the purity of Jo's love for Professor Bhaer and could differentiate between the examples of friendship and true, devoted, romantic love. Now at 24, I like to believe I am waiting for my Friedrich.

Aside from my love for older men, there are many other ways in which I identify with Jo. Shall we count the ways? Let's.

1. Jo is a writer. Duh.
2. Jo has three siblings. I have three siblings. While Jo's siblings are all sisters, Jo is certainly the odd one out, as the passionate writer, tomboy, and arguably, the most ardent feminist of the four. Similarly I am all these things, but am also the odd one out in my family, being the only girl.
3. After Jo refuses Laurie's proposal, she goes to New York to get away. While I am not escaping a proposal, I am looking at graduate schools in New York. This is partially for the programs offered in the region, but also much of my pursuit of graduate school in general is to begin a life changing, independence-birthing adventure for myself. A new life, basically, as Jo goes after the life she truly wants and deserves. Ditto for me.
4. Jo struggles doggedly with the idea of her sister Meg getting married. I was equally a tough egg to crack when my older brother Patrick was falling in love, proposing, and getting married. The breaking--which I am coming to see is not a negative break, but a blossoming--of a nuclear family unit is one me and Jo alike do not handle well, though we come around in time.
5. Jo's father serves in the Civil War as a chaplain (Louisa's real life father, Bronson Alcott, was a noted leader in the Transcendentalist movement, not exactly a religion, but certainly a noble chase after spiritual and moral ideals). My dad is a pastor.
6. Friedrich Bhaer encourages Jo to abandon her pursuit of fictional writing and write from her heart, about life, about her family. Hence she writes and publishes the book within a book, Little Women. I find that in my writing it is nearly impossible for me to write without discussing my family, and I have been told by multiple people (many of whom have not actually spent a great deal of time with my family) that I should write a book about my family. I do plan to do so.
7. Jo is the last one in her family to get married. This is yet to be determined for me, but I would not be surprised, People, if the same were true for me.
8. Jo chops her hair off for money in LW (in real life, FYI, Alcott was a Civil War nurse, and her hair was cut off when she was delirious due to mercury poisoning). Donating my hair to charity is in fact one of my hobbies.

Okay I think you get the point, this list could go on for a while, and that was probably a little more Louisa May Alcott trivia than you maybe cared to hear (just be glad, (or disappointed), that it wasn't Babysitters' Club trivia). However. If you have never read Little Women, men and women alike, please do. It will change your life for sure. Like I said, it continues to feed me through all the years of my life. I can't imagine you could turn the pages and not find something within them with which to relate.

Jo. I mean Louisa. I mean Bailey.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Back by Popular Demand...

When I got home tonight I did what I do about once a month...or two...I threw up my hands and said, "Forget it!" and proceeded to remove all the extra crap I've been chauffeuring around town from my car. Considering the popularity of the May 20th post, "The Mitsubishi Abyss," I have decided to swallow my pride and provide once again for the greater good. I consider the greater good here to be the joy that others receive in pointing fingers at my ridiculous irresponsibility and/or laziness. So here it is, the list:

2 pairs of shorts
1 swimsuit
6 socks
2 knee-high nylons
5 green aprons
1 bra :)
1 hair elastic
6 shoes
1 t-shirt
1 clothing hanger
1 shoebox
1 change purse

Food and food accessories:
8 napkins (some used, some clean, all on the floor)
2 gum wrappers
5 food wrappers of other kinds
1 pack of gum
4 coffee cups (of the paper variety)
1 plastic food container
3 straw wrappers
1 piece of chewed gum, stuck to the lid of
1 Dr Pepper can
4 travel coffee mugs
3 fast food cups
3 plastic cups
8 water bottles (some empty, some with water, some with frozen water due to current weather conditions)
1 empty yogurt container (and, I assume, matching lid)
1 spoon (silver, not plastic--don't tell Mom)
1 french fry (small and shriveled)
1 1/2 bagels (blueberry, HyVee brand)

Office supplies/Paper products/etc:
5 bags
1 permanent marker
7 receipts
3 paper advertisements
1 program from Caleb's dance show last weekend
1 NY Times (12/2/09 issue)
1 coupon
2 notes from Mom, regarding leftovers she sent with me to work for lunch breaks
1 envelope
8 pieces of paper
1 gift card holder
1 sticker

Health/Cosmetics/General cleanliness:
1 gym bag (where the bra was located, all you sick-minded readers who were imagining some other explanation)
1 bottle of ibuprofen
1 towel
(not 1, but) 2 sticks of deodorant (I don't even sweat all that much)
1 "I [heart] Jesus" air freshener

And the Everything Else Category, also known as the Bailey, What is the Matter with You? Category:
3 board games
23 CDs and/or CD cases (not counting those that belong to Corie, along with other things of hers that I always mean to give back to her and always forget, for a year now)
2 paycheck stubs
1 business card
1 French coffee press

And my favorite item:
2 cardboard cut outs, 1 male and 1 female. (I am not a complete freak, these were free from a display at work). These are soon to be strapped into the back seat to become my constant passengers.

You know, when people fear that they will "never get married," the inventory listed above is one of my personal reasons for sharing this fear.

P.S. Oh, and there is a trash can in my trunk. Kind of ironic, now that I think about it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Tell us about yourself."

I'll go ahead and say it: I talk about myself all the time. I mean, I have a self-titled blog, for crying out loud. However, I am just now discovering how difficult it is to talk about myself in a 750-word limit entrance essay to the highest caliber journalism program in the country. The autobiographical essay asks that I simply tell the university's program about myself, about my family, passions, education, whatever I want. Completely open-ended, no restrictions.

Let me just ask, is that not the entire content of this here blog?

Nonetheless, this is daunting and perplexing. I have already written two full length essays in response to the prompt, as well as about six opening paragraphs, and have scrapped them all. If I were in a movie, I would have a wastebin full of crumpled balls of paper at my feet, and would be sighing and rubbing my forehead.

Instead I am nervously shoveling handfuls of Trader Joe's trail mix into my mouth and washing them down with my daily Americano (probably an illegal act, next to a library computer).

I could write about Dibbs, and ensure that the school would not accept me.

The good news is, I suppose, that this school is the most intimidating of all those I am applying to, so once this essay is out of the way I will hopefully be on my way. For now I am going to return to my typed stop-and-start ramblings about my family, moving around while growing up, Anne Lamott's amazing books, why I hated to write in college but now do it as a hobby, etc. Hopefully I will get somewhere.

Love to you readers who stay with me while I try to get to that Somewhere,

Sunday, December 6, 2009

This is my life

Today I began moving into my new "apartment." And by apartment I mean my parents' basement. I did some calculating as we shuffled around all of the heavy furniture and realized I have lived in every bedroom in this house. That is sad. I think I have lived at home a little too long. Mm hmm. Leave me alone, I'm going to school next fall...

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I got home from the gym tonight and my Mom got excited as she remembered something and declared, "Oh I got you a surprise!" She then handed me a tube of Screamin' Dill Pickle Pringles. I got equally excited, popped them open, and we each tried one and were both quite satisfied.

I took one downstairs to Dad, a lover of both salty chips and dill pickles, assuming he too would love the chip. I put it in his mouth, not telling him what it was but assuring him he would like it. He, trusting me, accepted it. And then, like a small child, he spit it out onto the plate in front of him. "What the Hell was that?!" he squawked.

A similar reaction came from my brother Patrick in 2001. Patrick and I had been playing softball with our church youth group, and we stopped at McDonald's on the way home. As our Previa barrelled down the interstate, Patrick took a bite of his burger and promptly made distressed "Ack!" sounds, out of which I somehow translated the word "Pickle!" He rolled down the window to spit the entire bite onto our nation's highway, attempting not to swerve off the same highway. After a minute of recovery he exhaled heavily, as if we had just come face to face with a bear and escaped, and said, "Whoo! We almost got into an accident!"

Like father, like son. Personally, I love pickles. Particularly in large amounts heaped upon one single sandwich.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Tonight I went out to dinner with friends and in the course of two hours, accidentally yelled "What?!" at a waitress who was asking if I wanted something to drink, threw a pen behind my head to a table that was luckily no longer occupied, and did all of this while wearing horrifically mismatched red and green clothing for the dinner's Ugly Christmas theme.

I have been asked to babysit this weekend and need to return the phone call, but am wondering if I am qualified to babysit considering I often feel that I am the one who needs a babysitter.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


December 1st. Today is World AIDS Day.

Interestingly enough, today is also Become an Official Follower of The Daily Bailey Day.

I love making up holidays. I think I'll make tomorrow Give Bailey a Dollar Day.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Which Way?

I think most people would describe me as an optimist, happy-go-lucky, something along these lines. But I know better. I usually describe myself as a realist, and definitely not an idealist. I vaguely recall considering myself an idealist my freshman year of college, then reconsidering a year or two later, realizing that while I would like things in the world to be ideal, I do not have the energy, drive, or willingness to wholeheartedly and doggedly make them so. Don't get me wrong, my cynicism is not constant, I definitely like to look for the good in situations, and people, and while I realistically know that I cannot make the world ideal, I do strive and desire to make it better.

Having family here for Thanksgiving was another refreshing reminder of my role as peace maker/mediator in my household, as well as workplace and every other location life drops me in. Wednesday: Mom was declaring our local newspaper to be valuable because it gives information about how to live a fulfilling life here. Riley was arguing that the NY Times offers national and international news. Mom: "there's no sense in getting depressed about things you can't fix." Riley: "but you can be informed." Bailey: "both local and (inter)national news have value." Mom: "she should be a mediator." Bailey, thinking to herself: "I am. I just don't get paid for it."

4 days later, 30 year-old brother Kelly receiving birthday spankings from his father (yes). Mom getting irritated at the petty violence. Bailey: "Dad, wrap it up, Mom's getting mad, and the boys need to hit the road to get back home." Yet another familial crisis averted.

I see someone in the back row with a hand raised, with that look on his face that is asking, "Bailey? Point?" Don't worry, Readers, it's coming.

On my break every morning at work, I settle in with my Americano and the NY Times (as I sorta-kinda side with Riley on the newspaper argument, although I do see Mom's point!). These breaks are quick, so I usually scan the front page, then dive into the most interesting headline for all the information I can down in eight minutes. Then, inevitably, as I switch to the continuum page (i.e., "Iran, continued A26"), I get distracted by the new set of articles on the page and abandon the one to which I was previously devoted.

It was at this moment, today, on page A8,

(here comes the point)

that I realized, if you want it to be, you can in fact make the daily newspaper your Choose Your Own Adventure story. If tense international relations get you down, head to the crossword! Mid-article! No one's stopping you, this is YOUR adventure!

For example, when I read the paper, I begin as Realist Me, on the front page, bonding with nuclear relations and stock market happenings, striving to be informed and be popped lightly (or pretty hard) in the stomach with some bad news, gritting my teeth and getting through it. But then I get depressed, and that photo from the Nutcracker performance in the Arts section draws Happy-Go-Lucky Me into its Tchaikovsky happy place. And then I get bored, and realize I could never afford tickets to the ritzy New York City performance of the Nutcracker, and sit back sipping my espresso wondering if I will be able to convince Dad to take me to the KC performance this year. At this point I've forgotten what I was reading about, so Holistic Me gamely heads for the business section, perusing the stats that don't make a lot of sense to me but trying to see the world from all sides and give a shot at understanding monies and their relation to, well, everything.

And this is how I attempt to become informed. And this is why I can tell you that an alligator strap wrist watch runs for about $12,000. I read about it in my Choose Your Own Adventure newspaper this morning.

The ending to my daily adventure always ends in the same way. I leave my paper and head back to the espresso machine to make lattes and mochas and such, serving them to familiar and new faces. Which is almost like a CYOA book, as I recall. All the endings are a little different, but ends are wrapped up, leaving you free to head back to your daily duties and routine. Either that, or I am remembering incorrectly and your adventure could either end with a happily ever after marriage or being eaten by a large beast. The CYOA books were mainly in my brothers' rooms growing up; I hung out with the Baby Sitters' Club most of the time.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Moody Me & Marvelous Millie

When I can't fall asleep at night, I feel like the world is ending.


I love how absolutely hysterical everything can be when you are so incredibly tired the next day. I received some "Is she okay?" glances from customers around 6:00 this morning because I couldn't control the giggling.

What can I say? When Millie starts telling stories about small towns, paired with that irresistible straight face and subtle eye roll combination, how can I be held responsible for my hysteria?

Five hours after work at lunch with the family, I was definitely on the verge of tears because I was so tired, but every moment later in the day when I heard Millie's sarcastic drawl in my memory, I cracked up again.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holla, Part 1

Less than a week before I left the country for a semester abroad in southern Africa, one of my front teeth began to hurt every time I drank hot coffee. This was a problem, because I like to drink coffee. I went to the dentist, who was immediately concerned and sent me to an endodontist that same day. When I got to the oral surgeon, he looked at my tooth, I told him where I was going and in how many days and he said, "You're going where? And you're leaving when?" And then he immediately tipped me back in the chair and informed me that he was going to perform a root canal right then and there. Cool.

So for three hours I listened to and kind of watched the True Hollywood Story special of Growing Pains, followed by pieces of True Hollywood Story: Katie Holmes. I learned about sibling rivalry on and off the set of GP and that Katie apparently said as a child that she was going to marry Tom Cruise.

On the way home, Dad was driving and Gwen Stefani's hit of the summer, Hollaback Girl, came on the radio. We listened to a few verses of "B-A-N-A-N-A-S" in silence when Dad chimed in. "Okay I have a question."

Me, numb with a mouth full of gauze, not contributing much to the conversation, waited for this question.

"So what's a Holla-fat girl?"

It was difficult to control the drool flow as, caught off guard, I laughed in the passenger seat.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Akeelah and the Bee is on TV right now. I saw this movie in theaters, as I am a big fan of spelling bees. My favorite line that I always remember is when some students are playing basketball with Akeelah, trying to get her revved up for the national spelling bee. She gets overwhelmed and says, "This is all starting to sound heavy." One of the kids, getting frustrated with her, bounce passes the ball to her and declares,

"It is heavy. Spelling bees are some serious shit."


Thursday, November 26, 2009

How to Celebrate Properly

The Dailee family is doing fake Thanksgiving today, followed by real Thanksgiving tomorrow. Tomorrow my brother Kelly, his GF Jenny, and our G'ma will get here, and today I had to work, so today we are eating my dad's specialty dish, Spaghetti Special (a combination of canned spaghetti, ketchup, ground beef, green peppers and onions--delish), and relaxing.

Oh wait, no we're not. We're cleaning the house. We're getting it ready for our familial guests who are arriving tomorrow.

I got home from work today and Dad was running around like a cleaning maniac, and Mom was cooking. I mentioned that I was going to take a shower because, let's review, oh yes that's right. I worked today, and hadn't showered since last night. Dad got grumpy because (just like me, actually), when he's on a roll he doesn't want anyone interrupting that agenda. Mom calmed him down and told him that I had permission to bathe, and I walked out of the room with a smirk on my face. Oh, Dad.

I got out of the shower, dried the hair, all dressed up with no place to go, and headed to the kitchen to dish up after my long day of work with only cookies and a small sandwich to eat on breaks. I met Riley and Dad in the kitchen and Dad asked us to sweep and vacuum after lunch, amongst other jobs that I don't remember because, let's be honest, I stopped listening. Such a good daughter I am! Dad left the room, and I assumed he went downstairs to continue whatever cleaning project he had on the brain. Mom had disappeared recently too, and had just hung up the phone with her mom, so I asked Riley, "Did Mom just go to pick up Grandma?"

"No," Riley informed me. "Mom just went to the neighbors' to drink wine. Dad just followed."

Could someone please explain to me what just happened in my house?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gender Confusion

Yesterday as I was exiting the locker room at my gym, something unfortunate happened. Now perhaps it was a moment of bad timing, and I do hope it was.

I was rounding the corner leaving the locker room as another woman was rounding the corner coming in to the locker room. The very moment that she saw me, she stopped abruptly, leaned back and looked above our heads to the sign that says "W," then continued on into the locker room with a smile at me followed by, "I wanted to make sure I was going into the right locker room!" She said this the way one would say, "Phew!" and chuckled like we were old friends and we were sharing a joke together, laughing, "Wasn't that close!?" Somehow I didn't feel exactly ready to share in her amusement.

Now...I don't wear Shorty McShort shorts to work out, and while I honestly prefer to run in just a sports bra, my gym is a family place and I like to keep it clean. I often (such as today, for example) wear a (womens!) tank top to exercise--I feel the exposed shoulders offer me a better range of motion when I run and lift--but yesterday I had on my Merry Christmas t-shirt. I also had on modest shorts, but they were not boy shorts. My hair was pulled back, but. I mean. I have hair. I'm not Mr. Clean! So here's what I am thinking: bad timing.

I am going to assume, for the sake of my vanity, that this woman was rounding the corner, minding her own business, then realized "Oh my, I better check and make sure I'm not going into the men's locker room," and just happened to be face to face with me a split-second after she had this thought and thus acted on it.

This is what I'm assuming.

However, as soon as the unfortunate event happened, I recalled being addressed as "Sir" at a football game my freshman year of college, and thinking at the time, "Yes I have on sunglasses that conceal part of my face, and boy shorts, but I am pretty petite and I also have a ponytail right here!"

I told my parents of my dilemma last night and my dad told me, "Well you do look like Riley..."

"Yes," I agreed, "I have Riley's face. But I am a girl."

You can tell the difference between the boy and girl in this picture, right?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mom Bacall

As I type this blog post at my computer, my mom is in bed in the same room, watching a black and white movie (one of her favorite pasttimes, definitely not one of mine). We are in the same room, because, ta dah! My parents moved back in with me yesterday. We have shared spaced for 24 hours now, and so far so good. Here is our first clash, however:

As I mentioned, she is watching an old b&w on the telly. She got very excited at the particular Lauren Bacall film that's on, and so turned up the volume. A lot. I am sitting very close to the TV; Mom is farther away, propped up at a distance with the remote. After a couple of minutes the volume that was probably appropriate for her started to blow me out of the water. I am also trying to think of a post topic and am not good at multitasking, i.e. tune out black and white film and type blog post at the same time.

I turned to Mom to ask her to turn down the volume, and she was asleep.

"Mom," I whispered a few times. Her eyes flicked open. "Can you turn it down a little bit?...Especially because you're unconscious?" She smiled. "Is that so you can hear it in your dreams?" I added.

"I was listening to it!" Sleeper McSleeperson claimed. Sure...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Days of the Week Undies

All right, Kids, I cannot think of a post topic that is worth typing about, and I need to go to bed soon. Riley is down the hall talking to his precious girl Caitlin on Skype, so I asked both of them for ideas and they were officially no help at all. Although they were amusing, I love you both.

But! I just tinkered with the Blogger gadgets, and have added a POLL...

So turn your eyes to the column on the right and VOTE for your LEAST favorite day of the week! Yay! I vote Sunday!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wine 101

Well apparently I should apply for a job at a vineyard.

I just picked up Riley today (yay!! Baby brother for a week!!), and we have already devoured delicious KC barbeque, watched Spice World (we were previously Spice World virgins and our lives have been changed for sure--post soon to follow), and enjoyed some wine. Unintentionally.

Riley just came upstairs and asked, "How long has the grape juice been in the fridge?"

"Why, does it smell bad?"
"How long has it been in the fridge?"
"I'll tell you once you tell me how long it's been in there."
"...about a month..."
"I think it's fermented."

Took some sips, pretty good! Tastes like sparkling grape juice. I said, "Riley, we should mix grape juice with Sprite and have pseudo sparkling juice for cheap!" Riley countered with an even better idea: "We should just make grape juice and leave it in the fridge for a month!!"

So I'm not sure if I should be considered a sophisticated adult in this situation, capable of fermenting grapes, or an irresponsible one, providing alcohol to a minor.

Friday, November 20, 2009


If you're looking for a great film, go see The Blind Side. Amazing example of selflessness, forgiveness, and trust in doing the right thing. Amazing. Go see it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I've been eating fast food a lot this week, and have been talking to an old friend of mine from my high school English class. I also randomly saw two other people from the same English class around town this weekend, and yesterday all of this business colliding in my head brought to mind a memory involving yet another classmate from this famous English class: my friend Nate.

Nate and I were pretty good friends in high school, and one day we went to Wendy's on our lunch hour. We did this because we were mighty seniors who had the all-American democratic privilege of spending thirty whole minutes not in the school cafeteria. Instead of purchasing cardboard milk cartons, we could spend three minutes walking to our cars, five more driving to Wendy's, five and three more minutes to drive and walk back into the school building, leaving approximately 14 minutes remaining to actually eat. Woo hoo! Seniority rules!

As the thirty minutes proved to be a time crunch, and Nate and I got pretty involved in one of our random discussions--these ranged from cookie bars to JFK--over our burgers, we lost track of time. I don't think we actually "lost" track of time, I think we just didn't care. And our English teacher, with whom we had class right after lunch, Mrs. G., she loved us. So we decided we would bring her a Frosty and she would forgive us for being late. So we wasted another five minutes purchasing a Frosty and then headed back to school.

Dilemma. There were attendance police positioned at the school entrances. I don't recall how we dealt with being tardy, but we definitely had a plan to conceal our dessert of bribery. Nate was wearing cargo khaki pants, and he decided to put the Frosty in one of the cargo pockets.

He put a Frosty in his pocket.

This blows my mind to this day, which is why I had to tell all of you about it. Who puts a Frosty in their pocket?! Nate, that's who. His decision to place the Frosty in his pocket was automatic, and this automatic problem solving is, come to think of it, one of the defining characteristics of Nathan.

We got to our classroom, finally, and guess what. We had a sub that day. I remember quite vividly that this particular substitute teacher had drawn a little caricature face of himself on the dry erase board, and written his name underneath. Clearly he was laidback, and Nate and I, caught off guard by this unexpected chaperone, realized quickly that he could care less that we were late. I don't remember learning anything particularly important or relevant to English literature that day... I do remember that half of the Frosty ended up spilled in Nate's pocket.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Ambitious Pile

As you can imagine from my love of writing, I also love to read. I am also an anal expulsive personality, so I like to do a hundred things at once. Actually I hate to multitask, but I think of a hundred things at once and can't decide what to do first. That is an anal expulsive personality in a nutshell. Point being, most nights I get into bed with not one, not two, but approximately eight different reading materials with which to lull myself to sleep.

Last night's ambitious pile included: the NY Times, The Middle Place, the Bible (please, people, I was not planning on reading the whole thing, but maybe a proverb or two to make myself feel like I actually read the book on occasion), my journal (I realize this is more of a writing material than a reading one, although sometimes I review, say, September), my planner (to review my social life, aka "call Grandma"), and the newest Uncommon Goods catalog. Oh and a spiral notebook. And a textbook, but that was just to use as a hard surface to write on.

I went through my dog-eared pages of The Middle Place first, and wrote down the fantastic quotes in my spiral notebook. (Using the textbook as the hard surface.) Then I flipped through the catalog.

And then I fell asleep.

So if you're taking notes, I made it through about 1/3 of my pile of ambition. This is how it is every night. Yet I still lumber through my bedroom and various rooms of my house each night, gathering my items to build my ambitious pile. A thrill of reading excitement shoots through me with each pebble gathered, hastening me toward my nest to crack open the first one. Often I do a little process of elimination upon settling into the nest to decide what to read first. I hold up the catalog next to the newspaper and ask myself, "Do I feel like reading about international news or looking at creative items that I cannot afford to buy?" Set one aside and then weigh the novel against the remaining item. Sometimes it just comes down to eenie meenie miney mo. Seriously.

Currently it is 10:30 pm. I've had a pretty big day. Woke up tired to begin with, worked, drove in cold rain during rush hour to pick up my new running shoes, quickly read a chapter for small group Bible study, spent 2 hours discussing said chapter at Bible study followed by an hour of chit chat about boys, work, etc., and have just now arrived home to write this. I still have to listen to a track or two on the new Swell Season CD that just arrived in the mail (delicious tunes, folks, check 'em out), and eat. But you know what will likely follow all of that? Yet another ambitious pile. It's just a habit I am unwilling to break, Friends. What's yours?

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I just started reading (and by "just" I mean just, in the last hour) The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan. I picked it up from the library in my mad escape from boredom at home yesterday, in my favorite section: Biography. Mmm, biographies. My mom and I went to the (main, central, big branch) library over the summer together and we were like two kids in a candy store. Mom: "I'm gonna check out the new books." Me: "I'll be in biographies." Together: "See ya." And we were off.

The Middle Place, according to the forty pages I've read and the back cover, is about Miss Corrigan's struggle with breast cancer alongside her father's fight against devastating illness, all the while trying to be a faithful wife and mother to her two daughters, Georgia and Claire.

Kelly's writing is delicious. I recently finished Don Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and drooled all over it, and now the dribble has trailed across the carpet from the bookshelf to my new find from the literary treasure chest.

So far, Kelly is writing about discovering her diagnosis of breast cancer, and juxtaposing it with chapters of childhood memories, centered mainly around her father George, whom she loved dearly and vice versa. Yesterday my friend Caleb asked me if my dad will perform my wedding ceremony, a question I have been asked before and never know the answer to. My friend Amanda, whose dad attended seminary with mine, didn't have her dad perform her ceremony because "he needed to be a dad that day," according to her. Dad did my brother Patrick's vows and gave the sermon at his wedding. Ultimately to me I feel he could do both, walk me down the aisle and officiate, but usually I don't worry about it and instead find myself wondering who will be the bigger mess on that day, me or him. I'm pretty sure we'll both be bawling, so just make sure y'all bring a crossword puzzle with you to work on while we collect ourselves.

Point being from all this rambling is that The Middle Place and Caleb's comment have gotten me thinking about my own dear daddy, and have me misting at various points on Kelly's pages. I think I could and maybe should write a book about my dad, but maybe just a blog post for now.

One of the chapters I just read was about how Kelly's dad used to wake her and her brothers up in the mornings for school. He was their AM cheerleader, energetically telling them that they were going to ace their test that day or win their hockey game. Expectedly, Kelly and her brothers would hide under the covers, and it was at this point that her dad would open a window and yell outside, "Hello, World!" and then answer back, "Hi, George! I'm waitin' for ya!" All this reminded me of how my dad used to wake me and my brothers up.

"Reading and writing and 'RITHmetic!...[something about a] HICKory stick!" he would sing. Or "sing," I suppose I should clarify. Basically he was just extra noisy in the mornings. He still tends to be extra noisy all the time, which is where I get it from. Raise your hand if you were the girl always getting in trouble for being too loud in the dorms...

The bedtime rituals at our home were equally noisy to the morning version, but involved tickling. Lots of tickling. My dad is an expert tickler. There was an entire vocab centered around tickling in our household. There is an entire vocab that belongs to my dad alone, including words like "jovis," "strawbanerry," and "PSD" (I'll let you guess what that stands for), but that is a whole other story. "Get got go" would be trigger for the merciless tickling to begin, and as we were far too unique a family to say "uncle" when we wanted the tickling the stop, the only way (and this rule stands to this day) to get tickling to stop was to spell that we wanted it to "S-T-O-P STOP!" Afterall, Dad always promoted learning; he also taught me to spell SEARS as we passed it each day on our way to daycare.

It was so fun to be tickled, and to be under the attention of Dad, that if you heard Dad tickling someone else down the hall, you would more than likely meander to that bedroom, upon which Dad would pick you up and throw you into the tickling heap, taking turns making each blonde head squeal. Many a time I remember Mom coming in as the squealing rose to higher pitches, "Tom! The neighbors will think you're hurting them!"

Some of my favorite memories, actually, are the moments when Mom would scold, "Tom!" These were often the moments that Dad was being the most funny. Another time she called him by his real name and not his "Dad" name was when he was trying to prove to her, yet again, that my white tights were too big for me. He'd be helping me get dressed for church, pulling up the extra nylon from the crotch of the tights all the way up around my torso, pinning my arms to my sides underneath the now-captive netting. "Donna, I'm telling you, these are way too big," he'd reason democratically, stuffing a squirmy arm into place to prove his point. Me, laughing hysterically. Mom would come out of the bathroom to check on the fuss. "Tom!," quickly giggling herself.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


"Hey Bailey, we're gonna get on that plane. And it's going to Africa."

"Mmm Hmm."

Above is the nervous conversation I had with my friend Dan, in line for our flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, clutching our paper tickets. Disbelief, nervousness, excitement. Lauren had commented just minutes before, "I just want to get there so I can see it and get all the stereotypes out of my head." Amen, Sister. We got there, we got the stereotypes out of our heads, we learned, struggled, laughed, etc. But before all of that Dan and I made fools of ourselves on the airplane.

In between our repeated comments back and forth of "that plane is going to Africa, and we're getting on it," Dan and I took the time to notice that our seats appeared to be next to each other, B & C or something similar. We took comfort in this, as twenty hours is a long time to exacerbate one's anxiety, as well as a long time to be bored sitting next to a stranger. When we got on the plane, however, we discovered that our seats were sort of next to each other, but they were separated by an aisle. We bartered with a woman sitting near us to switch with one of us so that we could sit next to each other. Reluctant at first, later on during the flight she commented on how comfortable she was in her new seat, her feet slung over the armrest into the empty seat next to her, covered with a blanket, enjoying a movie.

When we first made the switch and Dan scrambled across the aisle with his arms full of stuff, he muttered to me, "I think she thinks we're together," and we snickered at her mistake.

Once settled and waiting for takeoff, we modified our previous conversation to "We are on the plane that is going to Africa" (progress in the world of skittish minds), and were then quickly distracted by all the buttons around us. And let me tell you, there are a lot of nifty buttons on international flights. We had removable remote controls in our armrests, to control our very own TV screens in the seat backs in front of us. We looked at the electronic map of time zones, perused our movie choices (Miss Congeniality 2 & Madagascar) and CD collections. We dug through our goodie bags--eye masks, toothpaste, ugly yellow socks (put on promptly).

And then we discovered the wing. We were seated right next to the wing, by the window. The wing was huge. Impressed, were we. "Whoa!!"

Finally, take off (which, you hardly feel on such a large aircraft). "We are flying to Africa." Our flight took off from Atlanta, and we quickly realized that we hadn't the slightest clue where exactly Atlanta lies in relation to the ocean. Glued to the window, we thought we saw the ocean about ten times before we actually saw the ocean. "Ahh, we're over the ocean!...Oh wait, nope, still land."

Eventually we settled down, and the woman across the aisle was probably relieved not to be sitting near such misbehaved children. One thing kept us entertained throughout our twenty hours across the Atlantic and over half of Africa, however: the wing. Whenever boredom would sink in, trying to read one of our assigned books for the semester but too nervous to really comprehend the philosophy of race relations, Dan would catch the sag in my face and tap me. "Wanna see the wing again?" My eyes would light up and I'd raise my posture in my seat, like a dog eager at the prospect of a car ride, nodding my head to say "Good idea." And Dan would raise the window cover, and we'd calmly peer out at the clouds by day, or the stars by night, for a moment both forgetting and easing into our adventure ahead.

Friday, November 13, 2009


I buy fresh cut flowers for my home. Not very often, mind you, because I don't make a lot of money, but I figure why not? Reasons:

1. I don't have a boyfriend purchasing me flowers. I am always (well, usually) open to this changing, but until I have one I think I have to do the flower purchasing myself.

2. They brighten the home. Cliche point, yes, but quite literally true.

3. They are natural, and bring the outdoors inside. I believe it is good to be reminded of creation outside of myself. We take trees, grass, the sky, for granted all the time, but when you think about how these things grow and exist, and really stop to look at the parts of a flower and marvel at its anatomy and biology, it is truly humbling.

4. I like them.

5. I don't have anyone besides a boyfriend purchasing me flowers. Occasionally, yes, but few and far between. I belieeeeve...the last I received flowers was my college graduation, from my family, so we're approaching a three year anniversary of that date rather quickly (which, please, let's not discuss that depressing fact of how many years I have been out of school). I don't resent others for not purchasing me flowers, because they're expensive!, and if someone wants to give me flowers I want it to be a genuine motion, not because I asked them to buy them for me.

6. Reason 6 partially contradicts Reason 5, but certain flowers are cheap. Carnations, which I'm not a huge fan of, and even roses if you just buy a few, and DAISIES. White and yellow common daisies are my all time fave, but there are bright pink, yellow, orange gerber daisies that are gorgeous. And daisies last forever. I bought my college roommate Stacy some once and I don't think they died for a month. (We were pretty amazed at this discovery.)

7. They can go a long way. I usually leave a whole bouquet or cluster of a few flowers in one room, but if you get little bud vases (or just get creative and use any container--oh my goodness, I just realized this is turning into a Martha Stewart post) you can spread them all over your house. Place them on nightstands, windowsills, next to your computer. This is especially heartwarming to your guests if you have any. And you should invite guests if you are going to have Martha Stewart flowers, because Martha thrives on entertaining.*

8. It's simply refreshing to walk out of the grocery store with something besides milk, bagels, mac & cheese, gum. A bouquet of flowers in your cart, or tucked in your elbow makes people curious. They wonder who you are giving them to, and I get a little satisfaction out of knowing I am giving them to myself. And I always secretly hope I am inspiring them to buy a flower or two themselves.

*I just have to let you all know that I have a coffee mug that I use often that says "Martha doesn't live here." This mug is really the more realistic representation of my level of domesticity than my flower buying. Just had to clear that up.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Sweaty Life

I am working on a new phrase.

"Sweat life."

We have sex lives, love lives, work lives, family lives, etc. What about the sweat life? I thought of this on my way to the gym this evening. Think about this. How often do you discuss exercise, even if you're not currently exercising regularly? A lot. Examples: "Ah, I haven't worked out in foreeeeever." "I went to the gym last night, ran a mile, and I am so sore. I will not be going back for a while. Who's up for pizza tonight??" "I really shouldn't eat this, I'm certainly not burning off the calories to deserve it."

I do not want my new phrase to replace the already popular, "How's your health?" "How's your health?" is way more encompassing than my (soon to be popular) ice breaker. Inquiring about one's overall health includes diet, vigor, sleep depravation, and if you ask and/or answer that question the way I do, then it includes mental health as well. I want to emphasize that "How's your sweat life?" should be a stand alone question, all its own.

This morning at work Stef and I discussed her sweat life (Sweat Life? Is it okay to capitalize this yet?) yet didn't have a catchy, abbreviated title for what we were doing. Tomorrow we will. She did ten push ups and was feeling pretty ridiculous for being as sore as she was.

Since you asked, my sweat life is going pretty well. I was running around four miles a day this summer, then my ankles started to hurt so I switched to swimming, then I got sick and then I got lazy and have just recently returned to the gym, fueled mostly by boredom. I did yoga on Monday, and ran today and Tuesday. Feels pretty good, thanks for asking.

See, isn't this fun, discussing our sweat lives?? Now go! Ask your coworker, spouse. Call your mom. "Tell me, how's your Sweat Life?"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I am trying to sift through the (literal) hundreds of emails in my inbox (all read, just not deleted), and I just came across one from my birthday. It's from my best friend Nick and all he wrote was:

"I have no idea what day it is."

Little smart-aleck.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fat Cakes

First, I am wearing one of the most comfortable tank tops I have ever owned. My mom bought it for no one in particular, because it was cheap, and I am the lucky recipient. It is so soft. Mmm.

Okay now on with the post.

I received two suggestions for today's post topic, and they were muffins and Namibia. (By the way, if any of you could figure out how I can set up a "suggestion box" on this blog where y'all can list blog topic suggestions, my computer illiterate self would greatly appreciate it and maybe write a post about your topic suggestion before anyone else's.)

Two things come to mind when I think of muffins and Namibia at the same time: Liz and fat cakes.

Liz was one of my housemates in Namibia, as well as one of my four roommates, and most importantly, the girl who I shared a bunk bed with for our semester in southern Africa. She called me "Bed Buddy." I think of Liz because she was very domestic (as well as a great many other things, including many a thing that one does not usually associate with domesticity, before you start making generalizations) and she would often bake for the rest of us to fend off boredom and stress. We loved this. There's nothing better than coming upstairs from working on your second draft (don't ask) of a paper on Steve Biko at 2am, to hear Liz announce jovially, "fresh muffins!" Liz is one of the most fun, talented, and intelligent, as well as one of the cutest girls I have ever met in my life, and her baking skills--which are amazing--pale in comparison to the first things on this list. Point: she's pretty awesome, and so are her midnight muffins.

I think of fat cakes because they are like muffins, sort of. "Fat cakes" are, essentially, fried balls of dough that you can purchase for one Namibian dollar (about 20 cents) in many places on the streets. Now we all know that fried food is delish. Duh. Fried food with extra salt and sugar, even more delish. But fat cakes are a true, drool-worthy enigma, in my opinion. They really are just dough. Perhaps it doesn't hurt that they are usually still warm at the time of purchase. But they are SO good. I brought back to the States more than one pair of pants that I could no longer fit into at the end of my semester to prove it. I suggested to my friend Steve, another house/classmate, that we make my new nickname "Fat Cakes," and he instantly smiled at the idea.

I think that is all I am going to say at this point, but that is okay for a couple of reasons. Number one, this post was based on two unrelated suggestions from friends, so no coherence was really required. And second, this is a blog, not a textbook, so no conclusion is required either. So with that, as author of this blog, I am giving myself permission to post. (Pictured below: fat cakes being sold in the South African township, Alexandra):

Monday, November 9, 2009

Barefoot Bailey

I like to believe that I am contributing to the medical community.

In college I got tested for allergies. I knew that I had allergies, but I had complained of daily headaches and so my doctor did an x-ray of my sinuses and discovered that they were chock full of snot. All the time. So the first step was allergy testing, followed by allergy shots for three years (yeehaw).

At the time of the testing I was home for the summer, working, living with my parents. I didn't have a car, so my dad picked me up from work and drove me to the doc. I don't know if you're familiar with allergy testing, but essentially it is this: lots of needle pricks, injecting of things that you are quite possibly allergic to, which result in big itchy bumps on your skin.

My particular testing was done on my back, about 21 pricks. We discovered on this rainy day in 2005 that Bailey is allergic to just about everything. Not only that, I am very allergic to just about everything. Imagine three columns of huge, extremely irritating bug bites on my upper back. That is what resulted from my testing. When the nurse was finally done pricking me, commenting the entire time, "Oh my," "Wow," "Ooh...," she brought the doctor in. His reaction was similar. He did not hesitate to ask, "I have some medical interns here today, would you mind if I brought them in to see this?" "Bring 'em in," I said gamely.

When they came in my doctor began to explain, "This is an example of an immediate reaction to all allergens..." I'm pretty sure another nurse had come in at this point to see what all the fuss was about, so I asked one of them to go get my dad out of the waiting room. "He'd like to see this," I said. He was pretty excited; I know my father pretty well, and we are similar in being easily entertained. In fact his motto is "Never give up your right to be easily entertained."

Well it has been quite a while since I contributed to the medical community, but today I feel I got back in the saddle of doing so. I went to see my doctor because:

my big toes have been numb for about three months.

The rest of the toes? Just fine. Feet as a whole? A little chilly on occasion, but otherwise dandy. Big toes? Little rascals.

Well I got there today and a medical student came in to see me, solo at first, then consulted his notes with the doctor, and then they came in and examined my feetsies as a team effort. I felt for the student, because he was a little nervous, but he did a great job, and I wished I could have had symptoms like cough and a fever so he would be faced with a less perplexing diagnosis. But alas. He checked the pulse in my wrist, then the pulse in my feet, which was certainly a first for moi.

He retrieved Doc, and the two came back in together. Doc asked me, "Did you get married since I last saw you?" I am not making this up.

"No, why?" I asked, "Cold feet?" (I basked in the fact that both Doc and Stu chuckled at my clever pun.) He then explained that one of the nurses or other doctors in the practice had written on my chart at one of my last appointments that I was getting married in September. News to me. Perhaps this means I should change my Facebook status to Married.

The boys talked to me, talked to each other, and then eventually they each had one of my bare feet in their hands. I have no problem telling you all that I loved this. First of all, as I said, my feet are usually cold, so it was so nice to have warm hands holding them. Second, I clearly loved the awkwardness of the situation--I am sitting on tissue paper with two men holding my bare feet, discussing my bare feet. My feet seldom receive this kind of attention. Love it. I did at one point pray that they would just start giving me a foot massage, because quite frankly, I work on my feet 40 hours a week and could use a daily foot rub. Well, unfortunately no foot rub, and no definite conclusions except maybe get different shoes for work, and find a podiatrist if things get worse. But certainly some free entertainment for Bails. And by free I mean for a $30 copay.

As the doctor was typing his final notes into my electric chart, I suggested that he write in that I was having a few kids. "Spice it up," I offered. Doc and Stu smiled again.

Friday, November 6, 2009


All right, it's time for True Confessions, Y'all. Get the popcorn ready, I think this is gonna be a good one.

So I feel as if I'm a freak of nature. Why? Because, let's just go ahead and get it right out there: I've never locked lips with a guy.

Ridiculous, right??

Okay, ONCE, I did, but it was barely, and so honestly, I don't even really count it.

Now here's my chance to explain myself and save some face (since I'm not sucking it).

Very little in my life has ever been chronological, or followed any sort of normal life pattern (i.e., having your first kiss between the ages of 11 and 17). My family moved three times before I finished high school, due to my dad's career. Thus I took freshman biology as a junior, freshman computers as a senior. I read The Catcher in the Rye, A Raisin in the Sun, and Macbeth twice each, yet really did not continue history courses after my freshman year. This caused me to take a US history class at my local community college just this past year, in order to feel as if I know what people are talking about when they mention the American Revolution.

I got my driver's license just a few weeks shy of my senior year of high school, not my sophomore or junior year like everyone else. I rode the bus as a junior. While my classmates were jaunting off to homecoming dances, and having movie nights in each others' basements, I was trying to find my new locker and awkwardly asking people if I could sit with them at lunch.

This is beginning to sound a little bit like a sob story, which I don't intend for it to be. My point is that in a lot of ways I had to grow up very quickly, be an adult and take responsibility for my social life rather than let it carry me from where it had always been. In the meantime, certain things fall through the cracks, if for no other reason than there is no time for them to happen. I'm not sure if people think about it very much, if at all, but getting settled takes a Hell of a lot of time and energy. I actually love that my family moved so much (well, most days I love it). It has definitely made me who I am today. High school was not thrilling for me, but the day I landed in a dorm I had to make zero adjustment--being surrounded by strangers, I realized, was my forte. I was a pro. And what quickly ensued was that I was able to make everyone else comfortable in simply being comfortable myself. I came out of my shell in college, really showed my true colors and realized that people loved them. So I reaped the reward late, but I still received it.

This whole business, however, obviously, creates problems for me now. Dating is not exactly the most fun part of being single, although it can be. I have been on some really fun dates. I've laughed really hard, miniature golfed, drank coffee, drank beer, played in parks, gone to movies. Some of the dates were awkward, yes. Some of them were extremely awkward (and the enjoyment of those is clearly sharing the stories with your friends later), some of them were just fun. But I'm sure you can imagine my main dilemma? Yes, it's the end of the date. To kiss or not to kiss?

Of course I want to kiss a boy goodnight if I've had a great time with him and want to see him again, but if I've had no practice and he, like any other normal person our age!, has, then let's be honest, it's like asking a 24+ year old to kiss an 11 year old. And that's, seriously, illegal, friends. I mean am I right or am I right? I declare I'm right. And how freaking awkward is it (picture this with me, I bet you're glad you have that popcorn, right?) for a guy to lean in, me to push him away and explain, "Excuse me, Sir, I've only experienced certain coming-of-age activities and this is just not one of them"?

I was just talking to my brother Kelly and his GF, Jenny, tonight about this. Jenny said, "Well yeah, it would be weird if you walked into a date and said, 'Hey it's great to see you again, please don't kiss me tonight,' but otherwise I think it's okay for you to have the 'let's take it slow' conversation at some point." I replied, "I know, but this is me, Jenny! You know I want that first option!" She laughed. In love.

But I really do want that first option, the one that doesn't fit with social norms. I truly believe that with all the times I was forced to go against the grain, do things in a different manner because I had no other choice, as a result I don't even know how to be normal. I feel myself doing this all the time, being intentionally different. Most of the time I view it as uniqueness and creativity, but sometimes I think I should just be another humble human--it's like admitting that you like cheap pop music. You might as well just tell the world you like Hanson, because you really do. (By the way, I have no trouble in admitting that I love Hanson, especially their Christmas album).

I talked to my sister-in-law, also named Jenny, but a different Jenny entirely, this week and she was telling me about her first kiss with my brother Patrick (not Kelly. Confusing, I know). She said that until she made out with Patrick she had never made out with a boy. She said she was really scared and embarrassed to tell him that, but she told me this week that when she did, "I have never seen a boy more excited!" They are married now and expecting a baby in May, so clearly her lack of experience didn't hinder her life in the end.

I guess I am writing this for a few reasons.

1, it feels good to have it out there, I guess.

2, Boys, if you're reading this, just know that when I become reserved, it is not necessarily that I don't like you. I could be really, really interested in you, I am just scared and nervous, and a little bit of an eleven year old in some ways. Which makes me feel insecure, but also makes me feel I am just the person I am supposed to be, and that I want you to love that girl, not the girl who is in every other way just like me but who you assume, anyway, has kissed other men before.

And 3, I think I forgot what Reason Number 3 was. Oh well. Well since I forgot we'll make up a new reason. Perhaps this True Confession will inspire you to make a True Confession of your own. Get something off your chest. Particularly something in which you feel you are misunderstood. Ready? Go!