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!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fort Iris

Every Wednesday Bailey's Starbucks store gets a shipment of inventory.

Thus, every Wednesday the back room of the store fills up with boxes.

And every Wednesday Bailey fights the tremendous urge to build a fort.

Yesterday Caleb, my newest coworker, said, "There is a huge shipment in the back!"

I didn't hear him correctly and asked, with alarm, "A CHICKEN?!"

Ever since then Caleb and I have been rotating sitting duties of the chicken. "Caleb, the chicken is making a mess, go clean it up." "Bailey, the chicken misses you." We have also confused every other coworker in mentioning the chicken. Many people really thought there was a chicken in the back room.

Today I asked Caleb what we were going to name the chicken. He immediately decided on Iris, which I quickly vetoed, but once he used it three times it had effectively grown on me. I gotta admit, every time we talk about Iris, I really wish there was actually a chicken in the back room.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Giggle Hour

When I was a kid, there was a part of every day in my household declared to be "The Giggle Hour." The Giggle Hour would not exist were it not for me. This is because, at some point each day, I would be susceptible to crack up at anything and everything. After laughing at about three things in a row, my parents and my brothers would shift their eyes to each other with smirks on their faces and say, "Uh oh. It's the Giggle Hour..." Over time, if they simply said that, announcing the Giggle Hour, my hysterics were just fed. It was like they were giving me permission, "Okay Bails, go ahead and get it out of your system."

My favorite was when I would be laughing so much my brothers could just say my name and I would lose it. It became entertainment for them, really. "Hey Pat, watch this...'Bailey'...[endless giggles from me]"

The worst--for the family, probably, but the most fun for me--was when we were on long car trips. There's no escape from the Giggle Hour when you're in a vehicle flying down the interstate to Grandma's.

I still have the Giggle Hour at this age (and God, I hope it never leaves me--it rocks!). Just yesterday at work I was telling my coworker, Marcus, a story, and I could hardly say the words because I was laughing so hard. Marcus, of course, replied with a blank, "you're a freak" stare.

I called Marcus "bro." I said, "Thanks, bro," or something like that. Marcus apparently does not like to be called "bro." He told me that if he were wearing certain clothing, including a sideways cap, then I have permission to do so. Noted. So I told him about a teacher my brother Patrick had in high school, whose students used to address as "bro." And Patrick's teacher would reply, grumpily, "I am not your bro!"

Seriously, people, I am cracking up right now typing this. This is hilarious, I don't know what is wrong with Marcus.

Well I was trying to do my impression of my brother doing an impression of his teacher, for Marcus. "I am not your bro!" And Marcus continued to stare back. Which is another element of the Giggle Hour. Only Bailey giggles. Others spectate. They should bring popcorn, really.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Speaks for Itself

Keep a green tree in your heart and a singing bird will come.

--Chinese proverb

Monday, November 2, 2009


Two or three years ago it was time for lunch. It was time for lunch at some point today, too, I suppose.

Well this time two or three years ago, Riley came into my room and said, "Do you want cold cuts for lunch?"

Now as I recall, I had been napping, and was still groggy and in that stage of deciding whether sleep or food was more attractive at the moment. Apparently cold cuts didn't sound enticing enough to lure me out of bed, but a warmer, toastier sandwich would maybe have been able to do the trick. So to Riley I questioned,

"Will the cold cuts be warm?"

He gave me a look, laughed, and then slowly let me down with the truth, "No...?"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Strength in Motors

Oftentimes when I am petting my cat and calling him Smoochie Pudding Pie, etc., I also tell him, "Please don't ever die."

Now for those of you who are still reading despite my ridiculous nature, I will tell you more. (What? He's adorable. I just picked him up over his food dish, and he was a squirming, purring, I-love-you-too-but-put-me-down meowing mess. And now he is munching but will return in moments to rest at my feet.)

A couple of years ago I was attempting to enjoy a graduate program that I really couldn't enjoy. I was in my first (which would end up being my only) semester of a Social Work program, simultaneously losing my mind. Okay maybe I wasn't losing my mind, but at times it felt like it and I sincerely feared I might. It was at a point where I had exhausted my normal resources--my extensive family (three brothers, two 'rents), my best friends, acquaintances, the casts of various TV sitcoms--that I decided, encouraged by my brother Kelly, visiting a counselor wouldn't hurt.

In my Policy class that semester, we had watched a video on reforming legislation. The video followed a group of individuals who sacrificed their own precious time to attempt to loosen some of the strict reins on welfare policy, I believe, that had greatly hindered their quality of life, though they worked hard every day of those lives. During the course of time that was covered in the film, this group had some moderate success, followed by what seemed to be pretty awesome success in influencing legislators to make some changes.

After much hoopla and celebration by the group that so valiantly fought for the change, the new law that had been put into place thanks to their grueling efforts, was vetoed. Following the rest of the film that had consisted of conversational dialogue, this information was starkly presented as type on a black screen. Following this message that already made my heart sink, there were bios of each of the people in the video, explaining where they were about three years later. Two of them had died, one in NYC on 9/11, another from extreme health problems that spiraled out of control due to his lack of health coverage. Others, as I recall, were somewhere back near Square One in their lives.

After class I got in my car, merged on the interstate, and started bawling. I called Kelly the second I got in the door and told him "I can't be a social worker." He walked me through it, listened to the snot and tears. I told him that I was afraid to see a therapist, that I didn't want to be "that screwed up" to need one. Having been a social worker, suffered from anxiety, and seen a therapist himself, he slowly explained to me that, ultimately, a counselor is just a non-biased third party to listen to you. Those words have never left me, and I have passed them on to others who were (or maybe were not) considering seeing a counselor themselves. I am a huge advocate for the practice, and believe that the second you start talking in that office you will no longer feel self-conscious but will realize how normal you actually are and that everyone could benefit from the professional listening ear. Even when that couch with the box of tissues next to it looks like a huge, growling leather bear.

My counselor walked me through my semester of social work, which I finished, and helped me sort out my thoughts about whether or not to continue on toward the degree. Because of her help I have been able to, for the most part, use my old line of resources, but occasionally she'll get me through a rough patch. Most recently when I walked out of her door she asked, "Are you ready to walk through this?" I told her yes, and then she said, "You know where I am."

I bet you're all wondering where Dibbs the cat comes into this. Or for those of you who know me pretty well, probably just think I started to talk about the cat and then got distracted. Oh there's a connection--I would never disappoint with a lack of connection.

Conversely to my last visit with my counselor, the first time I visited her I had to fill out some paperwork that I downloaded off of her website. It had questions about familial mental illness, etc., and towards the end of the page it asked, "What actions, if any, have you taken toward finding a solution?" In the two and a half lines provided I listed my beloved "resources:" family, friends, as well as books, prayer, church, journaling. I also made room for "petted my cat." When my counselor read that piece, she smiled. She knew, though, that I was serious, and in turn took me seriously. That is another great thing about counselors: if you are looking for dignity and respect, there are few better places to find it.

In another one of my courses that semester, we discussed Strengths Theory, which focuses on individuals' strengths that they can use to solve problems and crises in their lives--monetary assets, skills, great people in their lives, and moments that are so natural to them that everything else fades away and they forget that they are suffering a crisis. A woman could be grieving the death of her husband, for example, but say she's a ballerina and when she is doing a pirouette, she completely forgets that anyone has died. Forgetting obviously doesn't make a problem go away, as you will soon remember once again. But the point is she loves ballet so much, once danced on feet much smaller than her adult pair and has never stopped, and because of this it is so much a part of her routine and her core that it passes the time and helps heal the wound.

In my class we were tossing out examples of these types of strengths, strengths in activity and routine that we could identify in our clients, strengths we could remind them of so they could use them to get back on their feet. I remember I didn't say my answer out loud, but not because I was ashamed; I recall I was ready to explain myself should I speak my words into the room and be greeted by head scratches in return. I probably kept my mouth shut because I like to speak up a lot in class--if you can imagine--and eventually I like to let other people speak. But to myself I thought, if someone can pet her cat for five minutes a day and think of nothing but the purring ball of fuzz in her lap, then that is a blessing from God. And she may have 23 hours and 55 minutes left in her day to fight some rough battles, but I am going to declare those remaining five minutes her strength.