Friday, July 31, 2009


So I was thinking today (usually a good thing, but not always) as I was running, and by "running" I mean running/jogging/walking...not my most athletic of days, which put me in a bit of a 'tude. In fact, my saving grace was a deer who walked right in front of me across the trail and into the woods, and then a potential further saving grace missed his opportunity. This couple was walking along the trail and as they passed me I said, "there's a deer right in those trees," and let's just say the man's response was less than enthusiastic. This furthered my negative 'tude.

But anyway. My point.

So I was thinking today as I was, let's just paraphrase it as "exercising," about the term "trail head." Okay, if you look at a map of a trail with multiple trail heads, well these so-called "heads" are little spindly lines that veer off of the main trail at multiple locations. So doesn't that make the trail appear a little more like a salamander or a millipede, rather than some freakish snake with ten heads?

So in that case, shouldn't we be calling them trail legs??

Thursday, July 30, 2009


In college I studied abroad with a fantastic group of students, including my friend Olaf, who is amazing.

About a year after we all got back from our semester in Namibia, I felt honored to be among a select group of people who received the following 3 pictures in an email from Olaf. Without a doubt one of the most random pieces of communication I've received in my lifetime thus far.
A couple of months ago my computer was on screensaver mode and my dad saw one of the pictures pop up and said something like, "Who are the good lookin' guys?" I told Olaf about it and he told me that his mom, who I believe is a professor of Psychology or Counseling, has one of the pictures framed in her office at school. The best part is, he says, no one ever says anything to her, they just eye it warily and wonder about her silently. He says they probably think they are her clients/patients.

Here they are (Olaf is the one in the pink boa) :

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Crazy Girlfriend

I have been running as of late, and I'm just gonna go ahead and say it, it feels awesome.

Yesterday I did a quick run at the gym, and I was pretty bored, actually, not too motivated, but as soon as I derailed from the treadmill and starting stretching, I could feel the endorphins almost literally bubbling up inside of me.

At the end of today's run I was just smiling. It's like the endorphins were just taking over. As Riley and I were driving to dinner, I yelled, "ENDORPHINS!!"
This makes me sound like a crazy person, doesn't it? Please still be my friend. I'll share my endorphins with you...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Dear Person who someday proposes to me,

Please give me a Cracker Jack ring.

Or a Ring Pop. That'll do, too.


Monday, July 27, 2009

22 Across: Whoops

A couple of years ago I was a receptionist for a car rental company. One afternoon I went into the mail room with the day's paper to make a copy of the crossword puzzle. As I was walking back down the hall to my desk, these two guys who worked at our Car Sales office gave me this look.

"You didn't!" they scoffed.

I responded, clueless, "What?"

Then they started to accuse me of taking the newspaper to the bathroom with me. One of the guys picked the paper up off of the coffee table where I had set it back down, folded it under his arm, and did a little impression of me, with a guilty face. I tried to protest, but was giggling too hysterically to do so effectively.

Note to self: be conscious of where you walk with a newspaper tucked under your arm.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Today Riley and I spent the afternoon with our grandma. We had lunch, talked, had dinner, and did a puzzle.

Driving home, we had music playing, and we had fallen into a contented silence. Riley was driving, I was switching between the activities of looking out the window and dozing.

Riley broke the silence by asking, "Do your abs hurt from doing the puzzle?"

I didn't have a chance to say "no" because I instantly started laughing.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Do you know anyone who's cuter?

Today I called my dad. When he answered the phone he was whispering.

"Hi," I whispered back. "Why are you whispering?"

(The entire following conversation continued in whisper):

"I like to whisper."
"It's fun...Like skipping."

P-R-E-C-I-O-U-S. I love my daddy!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Animals in my Life Today

First. Leaving for work this morning, I briefly set my bag down on the kitchen floor. I was either going to run upstairs to say goodbye to Riley, or to pick up Dibbs for a final snuggle. Either way, seconds after the bag was set on the floor, Dibbs ran to it and settled down on top of it. When I picked him up off of it moments later, he gave me offended meows, pretending he didn't understand why I needed the bag. He didn't want me to go. What a doll.

Second. Driving through the park this afternoon, looking for a trail to run on, I came across a baby deer hanging out in the grass. Now I have seen baby deer before, but never one this small. This thing was about the size of a collie. And his ears were so big and flappin' around to shoo off the bugs. And he was all by himself, and totally content, munching grass. I opened my mouth really wide in excitement and looked around as if there were someone in the car to share the moment with, until a car came up behind me and I had to move.

Third. After finishing my 5 mile (!) run, I came across a woman and her dog at the trail head. They were paused so the puppy could have a drink of water from a tupperware container--how quaint. Well, said puppy got excited at the sight of me and decided to have a little sniff/lick. Gross. Well it didn't help the fact that I was covered in 5 miles worth of sweat, so once Homestar got a taste of the salt he decided to adopt me as his own personal little salt lick. Gross, again.

Well, experience one and two were fantastic, number three I could have lived without. But that pooch was probably pretty worn out, and if I was meant to assist him in restoring his electrolyte equilibrium today, then it was a small price to pay. (I did wonder, though, if his/her name was Bailey; if it was, I might take back that compassionate statement. I hate that people name dogs Bailey. FYI.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My heart wants to sing every song it hears

A couple of years ago I was visiting some college friends, and Nick and Briana and I had a Sound of Music viewing night. We started around midnight, meaning of course we weren't finished until about 3am. Ahh, glorious musical. Every last minute is so delicious. Including the pieces that seep into your subconscious.

That night I had a dream that I was yelling at Liesl, "Get your ass back upstairs!!"

She was very hurt and yelled back, "We don't even say that in Austria!"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Why I Talk to Strangers

As some of you may (and probably should, just sayin') remember, two years ago the KU football team had an absolute glory year. It was amazing. I was a graduate student at the time and was able to go to quite a few of the games for a decent price, so I most definitely took advantage.

After our ninth straight win, I was out with my friends Jared and Dane, Jared's mom, and some of her friends, eating Mexican food. This middle aged man at the table behind us tapped me on the shoulder and said,

"9-0. We're in the F*ing land of Oz."

I refrained from cracking up, and turned back to my friends at my table. Angie asked me, "Do you know that guy?"

"No," I said, "but I gave him a high five. I make friends pretty easily."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Flipping Out

Until five minutes ago, I'm not sure my mattress had ever been flipped. If it had, it has been some years.

I've been having trouble sleeping lately as it is, and I think it's mostly psychological, but recently I realized a massive crater in my mattress on the side that I lay (lie?) on. Riley and I just flipped it now, but I have gone a few nights thinking about this process first.

Last night, I was lying (laying?) in bed, thinking about things, listening to a fox howl and wondering what the noise was, and eventually my thoughts moved to the crater. While I was approaching thoughts of the mattress and my physical and external disturbances of rest, I heard Riley rustling in the kitchen.

"Riley?" I called, hoping for a little midnight chat to distract my churning thoughts.
"Have you ever flipped a mattress?"

No response. Then slowly I heard his feet padding towards my bedroom. He lightly tapped the door with his finger to open it and asked,

"Is that what you're trying to do in the dark right now?"

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Bus

"Corie. Look at that BUS."

It was destiny.

The year? 2008. Month? October.

It was Corie's last weekend living with me, and she had been moving her stuff into her new house all day (Before you all think this is a sad story, there was no falling out. Corie just bought her own place). We had agreed to do dinner and a movie back at what was still our house that night, for a final bonding weekend girls night. Thing.

Toward the end of the day I had gone for a walk. On my return home, I was about 2 blocks from my cul-de-sac, and two things happened in rapid succession. First, I saw it. Second, a strange white truck approached me. But one thing at a time. I had been walking down one hill a few blocks back and, looking at the downhill horizon, I noticed what I thought was a deck on someone's property. I think I thought it was next to a pool. Now, minutes later, two blocks from my house, I casually looked up the hill of another cul-de-sac. And I saw it. The bus. A blue bus. Hmm...

"Cool," I thought, "a blue bus...Wonder why it's in a driveway in the suburbs? I have to tell Corie about this! I wonder how long it's been sitting here and we've never noticed it??"

Immediately, a truck slowed down behind me. I don't remember being afraid necessarily, but I definitely wondered who was slowing down. I turned my head, lo and behold, it was Corie. I told you it was destiny. You think I'm silly, but these things can happen even with buses. Stay tuned. This story's only getting started.

First, excitement: I was just thinking about you! Yay, you're home just in time to start dinner! Second: What are you driving? Ohhhh, you borrowed the truck from John to move, ahhh, yes, I see.... And without ANY further ado: LOOK AT THAT BUS!!!

Now Corie and I are soulmates for many reasons, but perhaps first and foremost is our shared enthusiasm for just about anything. When we went to Florida in high school with her parents, every 30 miles on the way there we would say, "Beach check!" and then proceed to scream. Amazingly her parents still invite me over voluntarily.

So, obvi, Corie's reaction was "awesome!," and I immediately hopped in the truck for our little tenth of a mile drive up the hill to check out this bus. Well. As we approach the bus, we realize not only is it a school bus painted blue, there is a Kansas Jayhawk painted on the side. And the pool deck that I thought I had seen minutes before? Well, it was a deck for sure.

But it was ON TOP OF THE BUS. Amazing. This still rocks my world. I love this story, can you tell?

We got even more excited at the sight of the deck, one might argue this was the peak of our excitement (but you can be the judge of that when you reach the end of the story). Note that five minutes before we were just two girls, walking and driving, probably thinking about more civilized things like love, graduate school, work. But in a matter of minutes the switch was flipped--we were on a mission. This is why Corie and I are so made for each other.

Well the deck was the ICING on the bus. Oh buddy. Seriously, still gets me excited. We saw that deck and we were out of that car. Knocking on the door (of the house, not the bus). The wooden door was open, but the glass "screen" door was closed, allowing us to see into the house. A woman was in our direct line of view. She looked at us. We smiled. She looked away. She spoke to someone out of our line of vision. It went on for 30 seconds. It appeared she was saying "Those girls look obnoxious [she was right], you answer the door!" Previously unseen man appeared and came to the door, genuine grin. He opened the door.

"Hi," we said.
"Hi," he answered.

"We love your bus."

People, I could end the story there, because that is the priceless line, but this story just gets better and better so I can't stop.

This man was so jovial. "Thank you!," he replied. We began our interrogation: Is the bus yours? (Sort of, he shares it with about ten other guys). Do you tailgate with it? (Yes. Duh.) Glad to see you love the Hawks. (Why thank you).

We then spent a good ten minutes discussing the deck. The deck most definitely gets hung out on, they use a ladder to get up there. But the best part? They order pizza. And have it delivered to the deck. On top of the bus. I am so jealous of the owners of this bus.

Well then to our obvious delight, he showed us the inside. We were expecting an ordinary inside of a bus. I mean, what's inside a bus? Seats and...well, nothing. Just seats. Well there were seats alright. Couches. Lining the edges of the bus, facing each other. Riding to Lawrence in couches. Amazing. There were lots of stickers. Oh, and I forgot--there was a door bell at the door of the bus. And, wait for it...there was a water fountain on this bus. If anyone can show me a cooler bus, I dare them.

Reluctantly we left. We said thank you. Rock Chalk. "Oh, and by the way, I'm Bailey. I live down the street." "I'm Corie." "Nice to meet you. I'm Gary."
(Sometimes I think the best way to describe me is non chronological. I can tell someone my career endeavors, what I had for lunch, what exactly I think about Jesus, why I love the beach, and then it will occur to me, "Maybe I should introduce myself. I wonder if this person I started talking to is uncomfortable right now." And that right there is another way to sum me up: comfortable, not realizing that others might not be. For the most part these are usually good qualities...But I digress. I have a very important story to tell here.)

We went home, had our delicious African pumpkin chili (mmmmm), watched The Notebook, and definitely reminisced about the bus at least 15 times the rest of the night. "Remember that awesome bus?" "Oh man...Oh, right. Ryan Gosling, so hot...But that bus was so awesome! I can't focus!" End scene.

...A few days later, my Dad came into town for a visit, Corie had moved out, and my neighbor Phil had a birthday and invited me and Dad over for brownies. At the b-day celebration it was of course only a matter of moments before I got to the bus. "Happy birthday, Phil, we love you. Now guys, let me tell you about this bus." I got through about ten words, "So Corie and I saw this blue bus up the street," when Phil said, "Oh yeah. Gary Amble's bus."

Jaw drop. "WHAT??!!!? That was GARY AMBLE'S bus????!!!?!?!?"

I refrained from grabbing the phone and calling Corie that very instant. For those of you who aren't from KC, Gary Amble is one of the main broadcast meteorologists in our area. A local household name. On TV every day. To my credit, I did know he lived nearby. I had a class with his daughter in high school, and she double dated with my brother to prom. But we had knocked on this man's door, walked around his bus, and even caught his name, and we didn't recognize him. I only have one thing to say in response to that. Two things, I guess. One, I don't watch the news or check the weather very often. And the second is that

We are the coolest.

Here is the bus in its beauty, for you to gaze upon with us:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Earth to Bailey

A year ago I was working a desk job. I always had piles of paper on my desk that I could never catch up on.

One day in particular I was heaved over my desk, shoulders hunched, mouth agape, staring lifelessly at the piles. I'm almost positive it was morning, it was likely I was not yet caffeinated for the day, and I may have just come back from a vacation. Needless to say I was not motivated nor excited.

So I sent Nick an email, and this was his response:

"If you need a small cheer to get started on your piles on your desk, you should ask a co-worker. See if you can get anyone to get up and give you a cheer."

This gave me a good enough laugh to at least get moving. And I wouldn't be surprised if the first thing I did was make a pot of coffee instead of diving straight into the piles. Which, come to think of it, was good practice for my current job.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Deciphering Daddy

Today during mandatory craft time (btw, made an awesome collage), the phone rang.

It was Dad.

"Bucket," he said. Dad has always called me Bucket, as in a bailing bucket, as in Bailey. "I can only talk for a short minute," he continued, all business, "but I wanted you to hear something and guess what it is."

[Crinkling noise]

"Is it a food wrapper?"
"No," he said, "not a food wrapper, but it is a food of some kind."


Me: "Gasp! Is it the crunching of the chips on a bologna cheese jelly potato chip sandwich??!!"
Dad: "It is! Good guessing!"
Me: "Thank you." (Quite proud).
Dad: "Okay, gotta go, just wanted to share."
Me: "Thanks for sharing, I love you!"
Dad: "Love you too, Bon Jovi!" Bon Jovi is how my father says "good bye." No one is really sure why, but he often shortens it to just "Jovi" or "Jovis." When my sister-in-law married my brother we wrote her our own dictionary of my dad's made up vocabulary, so when he's running around saying things like "straw-ba-nerry" and "boom shacka lacka lacka" she would be, well, somewhat prepared.

And now, since you're all wondering, a history of the aforementioned bologna cheese jelly potato chip sandwich.

First, my dad invented it (big surprise). Second, it's actually quite tasty. Third, my brother Riley still eats them on occasion, I used to but haven't in a long while, and my Dad obviously still snacks on them often. I'm not sure how he came up with the combination of ingredients.

There is one important rule involving the BCJPC sandwich. The chips must be the final, top layer added to the sandwich. That's not the rule, that's a pre-rule to the actual, rule. The rule is that you must silence all those who are in the room with you at the time, place the slice of bread gently on top of the chips, and then ceremoniously, with eyes closed if you feel the need,


the potato chips and smile at the delightful sound. This rule is actually written down on a recipe card in our home. Dad was obviously alone today and therefore without a qualified listener for the crunching of the sandwich chips, hence he called me for the occasion. Which I will say I was and still am thrilled about.

In the 5th grade we had an assignment called "Teach a Lesson." It must have taken us weeks to get through this (fabulous) assignment, because one by one, each student taught the class a lesson, and the entire class had to participate in each lesson. So, you could teach your fellow 5th graders to, say, tie a knot, do a cartwheel, or groom a horse. Your friend the Daily Bailey chose to teach her class to make bologna cheese jelly potato chip sandwiches. (In 4th grade, she also put peanut butter on her armpits in front of the whole school, but that's another blog post for another time).

I bought enough bologna, bread, cheese, and chips for the whole class. I even called our local Village Inn restaurant, explained my strange situation, and they happily provided me with 30 individual grape jelly packets for the event. I taught my class the rule and the pre-rule. We all crunched together in harmony. And I am happy to report that everyone in the class tried their sandwiches, and almost everyone if not everyone, liked it.

So I urge you, go surprise yourself. Make the sandwich, crunch the chips for someone (for the grandest comedy I would suggest recruiting a stranger to do the appreciative listening), and be delighted in the taste of a seemingly disgusting culinary creation (trademark Daily's dad).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fall Fantasies

There are times that you should not let yourself dwell on a concept, idea, fantasy, what have you, if you cannot have it, either at that particular time, or ever in your lifetime. There are other times, however, that I sincerely believe it is okay to meditate on such thoughts. I think that sometimes it is healthy to just wrap yourself up in a good thought and just feel it. I think it helps you move past a desire, cope with a loss or lack of something or someone in your life, and sometimes it is harmless and just contributes to your happiness. Think of all the silly crushes you've had in your life, most of which were entirely painless to get over, yet the hours you spent daydreaming about them were inarguably and downright enjoyable. Admit it. They were.

I like to think that my friends Al(bert Einstein) and Theo (Dr. Seuss) each agree with me on some level:

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand." --AE

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life's realities." --DS

Well the last few days I have been thinking about autumn, and how I would be okay if the season of summer suddenly decided to take a little vacay for a while. And I have been ignoring the humidity, denying the heat, and wrapping myself up in the warm blanket of my imagination, swooning with excitement for the months to come. Please join me in reveling in the following not-so-guilty list (and, photo credits for today's clip art to my girl Carolyn--those leaves are Japanese...).

Things I love about the Fall:
--pumpkin scones at Starbucks
--hot beverages in general
--brightly colored leaves above head
--crunchy brown leaves below feet
--the smell of the air
--going to the corn maze with Corie and Nick
--never actually carving pumpkins past the age of 12, but talking about your intentions to do so with friends every year for the rest of your twenties
--raking leaves
--the feel of the breeze
--switching from t-shirts to sweaters and adding scarves to your wardrobe
--thinking about boys in the fall
--walking around the Plaza with coffee in hand
--getting reacquainted with (and by "reacquainted" I mean staring at and making up your own opinions about) your fellow strangers at the gym, as it becomes too dark in the evenings to exercise outside and everyone recongregates indoors
--going back to school
--the light around 4pm, juicy goldenrod
--the heat around 4pm, not too hot, just right
--and finally, the fact that you are months away from watching Christmas movies--the good, the bad, and the awful

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

All Dolled Up

Last Week:

While cleaning my closet, I come across a tub full of my troll dolls that I used to collect. Open tub, investigate, find a tiny, naked troll with rainbow hair on a necklace chain. "Sweet!" Promptly adorn self with troll doll necklace. Pimpin'.

A few days later:

Wearing necklace. Put necklace on Riley, who is on his way to Best Buy to purchase a laptop. Urge him to wear it for purchasing excursion. Urge him to act natural while making purchase and wearing troll doll necklace. Am shot down. Crack jokes about wearing necklace to work, and pretending the troll is my manager. "Excuse me, Ma'am, let me check with my manager...[lift troll pendant to mouth, whisper to Ralph (given name), lift Ralph to ear for response]...I'm sorry, Ma'am, Ralph says we can't do that..."


Making mac & cheese (my specialty, FYI), hear garage door open. Get excited, was not expecting brother home so soon. In excitement, place necklace on Riley, explaining honor signified in the wearing of the necklace.

Minutes later:

Riley removes necklace. Bailey's face drops, heart crushed. Why won't he just wear the necklace? He retorts, "I wore it to the mailbox." (As if that's good enough). Go to white board in kitchen, where list of chores is written. Begin drawing stars next to specific items, signifying them as "neglected" actions. Scribble stars next to "trash out" and "vacuum." Add "wear troll necklace" to list. Draw star beside.


Tell Brad about troll necklace jokes (troll as manager). Brad laughs, then asks: "Do you guys talk a lot?"

My response:

"Me and the troll? Or me and Riley?"

Brad laughs again, harder this time.

Monday, July 13, 2009


When Riley was a baby, he couldn't pronounce any of his siblings names.

Kelly became "Keddy," which faded with time.

I became "Beady," which my dad still calls me today.

Patrick, shortened to Patty (we were trying to make it easier on Ri Guy, but apparently to no avail), became "Potty."


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sibling Wisdom

A few years ago my whole family was home for Christmas and Kelly, Riley, my mom and I were hanging out in Riley's room. At one point Kelly said,

"Riley, you would be the best non-sinner in the universe if you would clean up your room."

Nice, Kel. Nice.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A High Maintenance Update

I just yelled downstairs to ask Riley what I should post about today. He said "fun movies." I decided to write about high maintenance(ness? I need to reach a conclusion on the grammatical correctness of that term. Being high maintenance is what I'm trying to say).

Well as you may recall, I decided a little while ago to do such things as fold underwear. So I thought I'd tell you how that's going for me. Well I've only folded one more pair of undies since then, but I have been doing some other high maintenance activities.

And I'll tell ya, it feels good! Let's just make a list of the activities, shall we?

--separated all my clothes in my closet by category (skirts, tees, collared shirts, dresses) and put everything in color order within its section. My closet looks delicious. I just go in there to look.
--tidied the kitchen (not to the point of completion, but just a few things here and there) while chatting on the phone with Brad tonight (while Kristen was patiently waiting for us to order pizza; I'm sure she is rolling her eyes at my rudeness right now. And you know what? Number 1 reason I have avoided being a high maintenance gal all these years? Rudeness. My apologies, K Dog.)
--developed and wrote down a rotating chore schedule: Monday, vacuum; Tuesday, dishes; Wednesday, trash and recycling; Thursday, laundry
--I have cleared all items off of my bed at night, including all extra pillows, so that all that occupies my slumber cube is me, my pillow, and if I'm lucky, Dibby (for those of you who are just joining us here at the Daily Bailey, Dibbs is my cat, not my boyfriend. Although my heart certainly belongs to him. Last summer I was trying to avoid a date with this guy and my mom said, "Tell him you're in a relationship. You are, aren't you? With your cat?").
--I have thrown away items, particularly packaging--boxes, plastic wrap--that previously would have stayed around for a much longer period. My whole life I have liked to keep things new. As much as I like to use my 96 pack of Crayola crayons, I also love to look at the perfect new box in the condition in which it left the factory. I will leave stickers on a new trash can, won't remove tags from clothes until the moment before I put them on, and doing so rules out wearing new socks on a whim. I can only wear such socks following a leisurely morning while I have lots of time to prepare to remove the plastic spears that adjoin the toes, and even then the tiny, now worthless pieces of plastic will sit on my nightstand for a good month or 2 or 3 until I am good and ready to throw them away. Why? I'm a thinker, not a doer, always have been, more than likely always will be. But I have learned since my not-long-ago declared underwear-folding allowance to myself that I am perhaps more capable than I once thought of throwing away bits of useless plastic sooner rather than later.

(I used a lot of (parentheses) in that list, didn't I?) (Sorry.)

So there ya have it. My high maintenance update. From me, the lowest maintenance girl you may ever meet. It should be noted here that possessing such a title is tied with rudeness as the other #1 reason why I have never wanted to be high maintenance--I like being the girl who runs out the front door to ride roller coasters at a moment's notice, without a dollar in her pocket, makeup on her face, or cell phone in her purse with a boyfriend's phone number just a thumb-flick away. Independent, carefree, and not a burden to anyone.

One thing I have learned in the past week or so, thanks also to my newly scheduled creative time, is that I had forgotten how great my love for visual aesthetics is. As a child I would spend hours poring over a creative project, whether assigned for school or assigned by myself. I have never lost my attention to detail, and certainly not my love for the arts either. But along the way somewhere I got it in my head that I could only do one or the other. If I was going to be the girl who always goes with the flow, then I would always have to squeeze in the bare minimum effort for my own projects, when time finally allowed.

I have missed such simple things as good handwriting. Nick and Brad both have amazing, simple yet characteristic penmanship. My most obvious joy in getting my postcards from Nick (which he so faithfully sends, thank you <3) is that they come from a person so dear to me. But there is also such comfort in his block, capital letters. I take time to meditate on his return address on each piece of mail he sends. I would likely feel this way if he wrote in ugly chicken scratch, but while to him this is his natural pen stroke, to me it seems as if each letter is built with care for its recipient. And it makes my best friend feel nearer than whatever city his letter actually came from.

I had known all these years that I, too, can create, and make things look more artistic than purely functional. I don't mean to brag, but I've always been complimented on my expertise in creating bubble letters. I can make collages, witty scrapbook pages, blobs of colored pencil and crayon that meld into mosaics. Even when I am at my most patient, you may find me able to sketch something, as long as it's geometric enough and not living. I had told myself I didn't have time for this anymore.

I know this sounds ridiculous, and I will be thrilled and comforted if there is one person out there who can identify with this, but I have looked at friends' day planners for years, noting the carefully planned timing of study, social lives, doctors' appointments, meetings with professors, with envy. Color coordinated outfits, organized jewelry, carefully etched initials on folders for each class. All this time I have scoffed at what I thought was petty. Security blankets, I thought they were, for the weak, for those who needed detail to feel in control. I thought that all I needed was heart, and the rest didn't matter. Turns out I need a little bit of both.

So I am reteaching myself to be the balanced girl I was before--who had time to be detailed, artistic, spontaneous, and organized. Because time didn't feel like it was ticking so fast when I was 10, I didn't feel rushed, and I didn't notice if anyone was watching. Maybe that seems backwards that I should aim for a previous state, but why would we so uphold childhood as an age of innocence and being carefree, if it weren't true? Aren't we all, as adults, ultimately aching to be free? That is one of my favorite words of all time: FREE.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Craft Time, Week 2

First, my apologies about the slacking on the posting lately.

Second, really? Really am I sneezing this much? Anyone else, sudden allergy problems lately?

And now for my post. Well yesterday was week 2 of my mandatory creative time. I will admit that I didn't follow the exact schedule and started around 4:45 instead of 3, because I was spending some quality time with my Brad and my Lynn and my Claire. But I still made some crafties. I made three necklaces from some paper beads. I made the beads in high school. High school. So I made myself string them onto something, finally. And I will say that I love them.

All the bead stringing, along with the fact that the beads were made from magazine paper, i.e. paper with words on it, reminded me of a fantastic quote about writing, which led me to my second craft of the day. Unfortunately the exact quote is buried in the mess that I call my bedroom, but...Ooh wait, I found it on google:

"I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten--happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another." --Brenda Ueland

I love, love, love that wisdom. It is so true. I feel a genuine pang of envy whenever I pass a table of children in Sunday School or kindergarten, making necklaces of Fruit Loops. I honestly, literally stop in my tracks for a second every time, calculating the possibility of me being able to join them.
I want to feel that way about my writing, too, and I feel the best writing comes from writers who feel this way, not from writers who sit down with an agenda to teach the reader "How to eat spinach everyday and pretend to be happy about it," or some other self-help crap. There is plenty of self-help writing that can be the result of honest, cathartic writing. Writing about experiences, tears, sweat, how something was viewed when one was in a certain home, smelling a certain scent, thinking about a certain someone. Writing about conviction of God's presence as a result of feeling and raw, rough, weathered faith, instead of only as a logical reason for the existence of a higher power. Writing about how I'm not sure if I heard a few drops of rain on the skylight just now, but am now straining to hear more, hoping for my favorite, delicious weather this night. Writing about how cutting my hair two days ago was more than just a physical choice, but how it feels freeing to me. How it doesn't make me feel ugly, as many women fear, because men supposedly "love long hair." How it makes me feel more beautiful, confident, genuine than I did with a lion's mane of blonde tresses that turned heads. How I want to turn minds and hearts, too.

Recalling the quote inspired me to make a charm for my writing, a reminder as I create and hope to inspire, soothe, identify with and comfort my readers, however few or many there may now or someday be. Anne Lamott, my favorite writer ever, keeps a one-inch picture frame on her desk to remind herself to write short assignments, if nothing else. If you're too overwhelmed or scared to write a book, a chapter, then write a paragraph. Describe the cup of pencils on your desk, she instructs. Describe the feel of your cat's nose in the palm of your hand. Just write. Her other biggest instruction is to allow yourself to write "shitty first drafts." (If this is intriguing you, I highly recommend her book Bird by Bird. So good, friends.)
Since she has a picture frame, I decided to make a simple double strand of beads to hang on my wall, to remind me to enjoy writing. To write like a kind-ie, putting sticky Fruit Loops on yarn. The yarn always unravels, and the sugar sticks to it and to your fingers, and everything gets messier when you can't resist the tantalizing loops and start eating them and licking your fingers yet continue to string. But that is what I need to remember.
My girl Carolyn just made a comment that I was slacking on my "daily" Bailey duties, and then apologized because she feared I was having a bad week and maybe that was why I hadn't posted in a few days. I was partly being lazy, but I also have been having a rough month, and in the last few days I knew that writing would pull me out of the doldrums temporarily, but I waved off the thought and moped instead. The point is, though, that I need to keep stringing with these sticky fingers. That is where the best writing comes from. And even if it's not always fun to write, if this truly is my gift to the world (which sometimes I certainly fear it is not; I just finished watching Little Women with Riley--Beth tells Jo, as she's dying, that Jo is a great writer and Jo says, "I'm not a great writer" and Beth says, "You will be," and of course she goes on to publish the story of her sisters), if my words will be a mirror for others' hearts, then I need to keep writing them. Because I know as a reader, of Anne Lamott and so many others, that their words at times have been the most comforting mirror I could find. So whether it feels like a sticky mess or on other days just a lighthearted snack--sugary loops and a fashionable accessory, rain or shine I need to get back on the horse and type, scribble, create, bead, write.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dust in my hair

Dust in my hair. Satisfaction. That’s what I remember.

We had jumped in a pool early in the day, which gave my long blond locks extra capacity to hold lots of dust. Namibian dust.

When we stopped at the pool, Melinda and I, in true Melinda and Bailey character, immediately seized the opportunity and jumped in with our clothes on, white tourists in bathing suits watching us all the while. Melinda and I discussed how it’s impossible for us not to get into water when given the chance. Melinda said that was one quality her some-day husband needed to have—to be willing to always jump into a body of water—in order for her to understand him and for her relationship with him to work.

Melinda was more fondly known as “Oh Melinda,” because when we had a get-to-know-you party at the beginning of the semester, she drew her trademark sunshine symbol next to her name on her nametag, and Annelise pointed out that at first she thought it had said “O-Melinda.” The name stuck, and I’m grateful for it still to this day, because it’s so much fun to say.

We were driving through Etosha national park, a large stretch of land north of Windhoek in the Namib desert. We saw zebras, giraffes, impalas. There were huge masses of them at the watering holes, and I have a picture of a giraffe bending down to drink, legs akimbo in that cartoonish manner that Disney portrays them, but when you see it in real life you realize it’s actually accurate.

We saw female lions feasting on a giraffe carcass, which is what all of my friends want to hear about the most when I tell this story. But to me I remember the dust. It was impossible not to get dusty, really. We rode in 15-passenger vans, called “kombis,” which most of us pronounced as “comb-ee,” but my beloved friend Samantha always said “koombee,” insisting on her own beat, why I love her. In the kombis there was no air conditioning, so the windows were always open, and when you drive through a national desert park for four hours, everything is covered in dust.

Stephen wore goggles and used them to his advantage, sticking his head out the window. I was very grateful that I had taken a dip that day, because the moisture that remained on my clothes was like a cold compress in the unavoidable heat for a good hour or two. And when we reached our campsite that night it was so nice to rinse it all off again in the shower and be dust-free, even if only for 12 hours.

We were on our way to our rural homestays with families in the northern portion of the country, which was understandably the most nerve wracking of our three homestays, taking us the furthest from our element and privileged urban comfort zone. But I don’t remember being nervous at that point. The trip was a nice buffer between our time in the city and our upcoming 10-day homestay. I fell in love with my homestay family, and held back the tears when I left, feeling unexplainable emotion at the way I had forever bonded with this family in such a short time, but only spoken a few words due to our limited language crossover.

Pandu, my homestay brother who was about three years old at the time, brought candles to me my first afternoon at his home. His mother had given him two Styrofoam cups and poured sugar around the candles to help them stay upright. I’ll never forget his face, his stature, proudly bearing the torches, two cups that are small to you and me but that filled his entire child hands. He was shy but very curious about me, and you could see in his face and enthusiastic entrance that he was excited to have a chore that gave him an excuse to visit this curious person who looked so different from his mother, sister, all his family and friends. Shy, yet brave in his approach. I graciously accepted his offering.

For a while I thought he wouldn’t get past his timidity around me, but towards the end of my stay we had a tender moment together. I was sitting on the edge of my bed, and he was quietly observing me. Child observation occurred often, which makes some uncomfortable, but I welcomed it. If nothing else, it’s honestly nice to have a break from the exhausting energy of communicating with limited vocabulary. With kids you can just smile, flirt, hold them in your lap. After all, that’s about the extent of my relationship with children anyway. Smiling at the little boys draped over their parents’ shoulders in front of me at church, watching their eyes slowly smile, then fixed in a stare with me for a few more moments until they bury their heads in their mom or dad’s shirt, with a mixture of embarrassment yet satisfaction with having received my attention.

I remember Pandu was looking me over, particularly my face, when suddenly he grabbed it with both hands, and looked at me more closely. I seldom have moments of true communion with others such as this, and as he held my face I knew I was experiencing one of the most tremendous moments of my life. “Pandu” is a shortened version of the word “ndapandula,” which means “thank you.” Variations of the name are very common in Namibia. “Ndapewa” was the name of one of our program staff members, meaning the same thing, and a female Pandu was one of our professors. Pandu is on my list of potential names for my children, because I can think of nothing more appropriate than to thank God for the gift of a child in the most upfront way possible, the child’s name, repeated every day for the duration of their life, an audible prayer voiced 100 times a day, “Pandu.” “Thank you.”

I spent many moments staring at the ceiling in my bedroom that week. I missed my family tremendously then, and when I heard “Whenever you Call” by Mariah Carey, and “That’s the Way it Is” by Celine Dion on the radio that my host family played at night, the homesickness would for some reason become unbearable. Missing my family almost overtook my thoughts while I was there, but as soon as I left and went back to the city I suddenly missed my host family just as much, missing two families with my whole heart all at the same time, which is an unbearable, unexplainable hurt.

On the ride home my friends saved the front seat of the kombi for me, giving me sultry smirks, because they saved it so that I could sit with Passat, our beautiful driver. Passat was 41, but he didn’t look it at all, and I was 20. He had a girlfriend, and we were never actually after each other, but we did have a connection. A lot of students were initially intimidated by him, and I think over time just impatient, with his quietness. But ironically, being a little chatterbox myself, some of my good friends throughout the years have been quiet spirits. Passat and I would chat about the music that was playing, the animals outside (I loved it when he honked at the warthogs, then laughed as they scattered. They always looked like they were in trouble, they have such mischievous faces), the landscape, but mostly we just sat quietly, our bubbles overlapping, silently understanding each other.

When we got back to the city that week, we had a week off of classes, and I was very depressed and meditative. Sarah Ann had 200(!) kidney stones, so we visited her in the hospital while she passed them. I think I grew up more than I knew during that homestay, seeing another depth of human relationships and feeling their overwhelming effect on me. Pandu’s hands on my cheeks, singing hymns in Oshiwambo by candlelight, riding home from church in a truck bed with Dan, my friend from the States, and our adoptive brothers and sisters, sneaking glances at Passat on our four hour drive home to the city. I got a ridiculous sunburn that day, with one arm hanging out the window all day, and another layer of the infamous, intimate dust that I loved. My friend Olaf managed to forget about my burn each night and lost control laughing when he saw me at the breakfast table each morning. This was very entertaining for us all, as Olaf has a way of laughing and making no sound, but grabbing hold of you while he does so, sharing the gleeful vibration of his happiness with you.

Possessing very pale skin (my best friend Nick’s dad, beloved by me and vice versa, puts it, “There’s white, and then there’s Bailey”), the tan line stayed on my arm for months after I returned home to the States, a tattooed reminder of my family, far and wide in this world.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Do you ever google people and feel like a creep?

Yeah, me too.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bridesmaid Bailey Ross

Yesterday I was honored to be in my dear friend Anastasia's wedding. Stace and I were roomies in college. She found herself a precious little cutie pie, Rick (who she spotted with her little crush-laser eye in the sixth grade--yeah, she knew what she wanted at an early age), and I am truly so happy for both of them. Congrats, you two! All the best, always!

Well they were married on the 4th of July. Yesterday while taking pictures it was discovered that the hook and eyes on my detachable dress straps were showing in the pictures. So I removed my dress for some last minute alterations. Dianne, the PRECIOUS wedding coordinator who I wanted to take home with me, got me started on sewing the straps in place, and then headed off to assist the groomsmen.

So here I was, sitting in my jeans, nylons, and t-shirt, sewing away, when Stace walked into the girls dressing area. Her face was priceless. "Going somewhere?" she asked.

Also, because I was sewing a blue and white dress on the Fourth, at some point someone walked in and asked, "How's the sewin' comin', Betsy Ross?"

Friday, July 3, 2009

Airport Celeb Sighting

I have a shirt that says, "Pour Que Tu M'Aimes Encore" on it in hot pink letters. For those of you non-Celine freaks, that is the name of her all time biggest French hit.

I was wearing this shirt at the airport today and the barista at the Starbucks who waited on me looked at it and began to read it aloud.

"Celine?," he said.

"Yes, I love her!"

And he says, wait for it...

"You look like her."

I said to the guy, "she's not exactly blonde," and he said, "no, but your face looks like hers."

NO I DO NOT look like celine dion, but if he wants to hit on me by saying it, I will take it! Perfect start to my day! I called my dad and woke him up at 6am to tell him. Needless to say, HIGHLIGHT of my day.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Collage Morissette

Today I began my mandatory creativity time. Every Thursday from 3-6 it is written in my calendar to do arts or crafts. Today was day 1. It went pretty well. I made a collage of the lyrics to "You Learn" by Alanis Morissette. Fantastic song, agreed?

You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn
You grieve you learn
You choke you learn
You laugh you learn
You choose you learn
You pray you learn
You ask you learn
You live you learn

So true, sister, sing it! The song also includes the lyrics, "I recommend walkin' around naked in your living room," which I agree with, but these lyrics did not make the final collage cut.

If I were technologically savvy I would take a picture of this collage for you with my digital camera and post it here. But I am not. So you will get a picture of Miss Alanis instead. Love you peeps, night!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oh this Crazy Life

You know that "How are you Feeling Today?" poster? Well today I'm writing in my own little emotional vote: Neurotic.

I just folded my underwear, friends. I'm pretty sure I haven't done that since I was 12, and even then it didn't last long, because I knew it was over the top.

I am just slowly coming to realize that I have not allowed myself to be even the slightest bit high maintenance since I was about, well, 12. In other words, I haven't allowed myself to make anything inconvenient for others, and unfortunately in the meantime I have often made things inconvenient for myself.

So I'm letting myself fold my underwear. I'm allowing myself to be a little neurotic. Because you know what? As much as I hate high maintenance(-ness?), I think that as humans we all need to possess it to a small, healthy degree. Healthy, people, meaning asking for 1/2 of a Splenda packet in your latte is taking it TOO FAR!! Ahem, I mean...

But really, this is huge for me, you need to understand. And I will not be surprised if I talk myself out of this in a couple of weeks, so you as my friends need to keep an eye on me. It is your responsibility to make sure I am taking care of myself and not eating fruit snacks for meals because I'm scheduling my social life in a way that interferes with my basic nutrition (although please note I might snap at you because I am in my 20s only the one time and beer and nachos really make a fine dining choice on occasion).

Growing up my family moved three times by the time I graduated high school. This made me 100% able to make friends, and has made me who I am and has grafted me to my family for life in a way that I will never want to trade in. But. I have tried to let other people's schedules and priorities interfere with mine. I wouldn't say I've allowed my values to be compromised, in fact I would argue those are stronger as a result, but at some point I just said, "oh well, I'll just do whatever's easier for everyone else." It's not that I don't have opinions (see what I mean, this back and forth talk? Neurotic. It should have been on the original poster).

Basically what I'm trying to say is that when you're 16 and your dad becomes a pastor and moves you for the 3rd time, you think, "I understand that this is the right thing, and that God's hand is obviously on this, and there's nothing I can do to change it. And besides, I'd miss my family if I didn't tag along with them to Kansas." But the problem is I've let that carry over to an unhealthy level. It hasn't been entirely negative in the shaping of my character, but it's time to start taking care of myself. Having some confidence not only in my own opinions, which I have practice at, but in my own ability to create motion in my own life, and the world.

Thank you to all of you for your continued support.* Keep it up, my awesome friends (seriously). And I will try to do the same for you.

*(Particular shout outs to Braden, Nick, and Sarah this evening. And Riley, for putting milk in the fridge. And Lorri and Phil, for providing the last of their milk before Riley replenished our supply.)