Saturday, November 22, 2014

Nip and Tuck

Okay....so you know that list I was going to make today.
Yeah...that didn't happen.
I didn't even get around to even thinking about making it happen.
~
I did win the "Mom of the week" award, however.
I actually managed to find khakis (in the right size?!!) for Sam to wear for the play he is in, as well as black socks (apparently when I brought his shoes to school two days ago, I had only managed to get one sock in the bag.) Well...now he has two PAIRS of black socks, plus some cozy "soccer pants" (his term) to wear afterward. (Rather than shorts....which he has been coming home in lately. Perfect for the 10 degree weather we have been having. Ugh.)
 I even made a pan of brownies for their bake sale (that he told me about at 3:00 this afternoon.)
Oh yes...I am mother, hear me roar.
~
I was basking in my motherly glow, when my daughter sent me a text that said "You're gonna kill me....." followed by this:


Yes...Lexie strikes again.  She has already damaged the rear bumpers on both of our cars...apparently she is now working on the front.
My motherly glow was quickly doused.
~
I went off to my rehearsal, and then decided to say "screw it" and be a complete bum for the rest of the evening. (Because tonight was so different from any other evening??)
At promptly 9:30pm (Friday night) Mark asks me "So...are you staying up?"
Translation: "I can't keep my eyes open any longer...and need to go to bed now. How about you?"
Good Lord.  Could we be any more pathetic?
I decided I wasn't going to follow his "I am 43 and completely lame...and need to be in bed before 10pm every single night."  So...I got a little wild, and watched an extra "Criminal Minds" re-run....because I'm exciting and spontaneous like that.
Now I am trying to keep my eyes open long enough to write this...so I don't have to drag my butt out of bed and do it in the morning! ;)
~
Since my stress-free holiday list never came to fruition, I decided I would quickly write about another list instead.

My Christmas List.
If you should happen to run into my husband in the next few weeks...these are the things you should encourage him to put under the tree this year.  He can always use suggestions.....otherwise I can guarantee there will be several pair of socks and unsavory scented lotions purchased. 
I think the following suggestions are all quite reasonable...and super practical.
~
To begin with, something simple.
This lovely sweater:
Seriously....I need to figure out where this came from...because I want it...in several colors.  Isn't it super cute??!!

Then, this sweet baby.  Her name shall be Lola.


Now....in "The Twelve Days of Christmas," the giver of gifts presents his true love with "five golden rings." 
I am certainly not that greedy. 
I only want three.
Oh....and they are diamond.
1.
 
2.

3.

(If I have to narrow it down to just one...I pick ring #3)

This might be a bit harder to "give"....but I really want these eyebrows.

And I think her make-up is quite lovely also.

~
And this last one is the big one.  The "Santa" gift, so to speak.
The one thing I would choose over everything else.
It would be my Christmas miracle.

All I really want for Christmas is......wait for it..........

A tummy tuck!! (doesn't that sound like a fun way to spend Christmas morning?!)  Plastic surgery under the tree?


Now, I realize that sounds a bit ridiculous and vain....but, if you are 5 foot nothing, and have NO torso, and if you spend every waking hour obsessing over your mid-section....well, you will be able to relate to what I am talking about.
I could do sit ups and crunches all day long....and I would still look like Mrs. Potato Head when I sit down.
So, if anyone knows a good plastic surgeon who would like to swap some nip and tuck for piano lessons....let me know!  :)  (If only!!)
~

Tomorrow I will make an effort to be productive.
Until then, I will dream of diamonds and liposuction.
What more could a girl ask for? 
World peace, I suppose. :)

Happy Saturday!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pondering A Plan

You know those days where you are literally running from the time you wake up until you finally get home again...which is about the time you are ready to go back to sleep?
I just had one of those days.
It was a clear reminder of why I gave up that craziness. 
(Or at least attempted to?)
My poor car is overdue for an oil change, and I have put more miles on that darn thing over the past 4 days than I typically do in a month.
In other words...I AM WAY TOO BUSY.
~
This is why the "holiday season" has lost some of it's magic for me.
And that makes me sad.
Considering my line of work...the holidays are always my busiest time of year.
They aren't something I look forward to, necessarily, and they certainly never entail some "time off."
They definitely add some serious stress to my life....and that is something I have been trying really hard to reduce.
~
I always think that "this is the year I am going to get SO ahead of the game that I won't be trying to catch up at the last minute."
Who am I kidding?!
I still have the Christmas cards and photos I ordered from the last THREE years sitting in a drawer somewhere.
It is a small miracle that they ever were ordered at all....but obviously the whole "sending them out" part was never addressed.  (Just like those envelopes!) lol
~
While we are talking about my inability to get around to doing things, I suppose now might be a good time to admit something that is a little beyond ridiculous.
I still haven't ordered our wedding pictures.
Our 19th anniversary is next month.
And yes, they were paid for in advance.
I do have the book of proofs...so it isn't like I have no "proof" (God, I am funny today...or not) that we were married....but still.
Oh, and yes, our photographer moved away (skipped town??) a few years ago.  
I have no idea where to....but I'm sure we will never see him again.
~
Honestly, I sometimes am amazed that I actually follow through on any project I begin.  Let's just say my enthusiasm begins to wane about 1/3 of the way into anything I start.  Life is really hard for me....(2/3rds of the time. ;)
~
So, this year, I am actually going to make an effort to get ahead of the game (as much as I possibly can, anyway) and see if there are some ways I can reduce some of the stress that typically accompanies the holidays.

Tomorrow is list day.  As in "make a list that outlines the big "Stress-free Holiday Plan."
I have decided that it is most imperative that I do some pre-list prep.  This is going to involve a lot of planning, and organization, so it is important that I am well conditioned to do the job.
In other words, I need to go drink some wine now, and ponder what I am about to get myself into.  I will call this "rehearsing Plan B."
If "Plan A" falls through....I will be well practiced with "Plan B" and shall resort to that whenever I feel that the stress is beginning to take over once again.


I can already tell that I am really going to like Plan B.
In fact, I would bet that perhaps some of you might just want to come over and join me on "Plan B" evenings.  (or afternoons.  I don't discriminate.  Plan B is welcome any time of day at my house.)
I am already feeling less stressed!!
And the best news of all?!  When you read this..it will be FRIDAY!

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

In a cave with a crockpot.

So here is the deal.
It is impossible to maintain health eating habits (and I mean, like REALLY healthy eating) if you are too lazy to go to the grocery store.
~
I don't think I really got my point across to my (imaginary) personal shopper, housekeeper, chef and stylist, that when it snows, that means it is time for me to go into hibernation.
That doesn't mean that I just spend more time in my pj's.
No.  That means I actually plan to stay in my house, wearing ridiculously comfortable clothes, and sit either in front of the fireplace, or happily tucked in my bed for the remainder of the winter.
I see absolutely NO reason for me to step outside of my toasty little abode.
No reason at all.
I thought I would set a good example last week, so my (imaginary) personal chef could see how I expected the grocery shopping to be done.
I would really appreciate it if there were beautiful, gourmet dinners every evening, prepared from fresh, organic produce.
I don't think this is too much to ask? Is it?
But instead, here I am...reduced to this!


Ramen and pepsi?  Seriously?  At least I added some frozen peas...because that has really turned this into a highly nutritious meal.
No wonder I have had headaches and felt like crap for the past few days.
And then the vicious cycle begins.
I wake up feeling like a freight train has been running over my head for the past 7 hours or so.  By the time I return to the land of the living, it is usually late (very late) morning, and I'm typically not really ready to go until noonish.
My normal "work day" usually starts around 1...so, there you have it, I have blown all of the time I would have had to get anything extra (like grocery shopping) done.
I usually finish up with my lessons/rehearsals/mayhem around 7 or 8...and let's be honest...who wants to venture out into the dark and cold to spend an hour in the grocery store?  Especially when you are tired and starving.  My grocery bill would double if I shopped in that condition.
~
I am going to take a short break to mention that somehow, I did not prepare this ramen correctly.
I must have either over boiled it...or put too little water in it.  Whatever it is...it tastes awful.
Peas and pepsi.
A lunch of champions.
~
Another interesting factor in this whole grocery shopping debacle is Mark's new mode of transportation.
When he used to drive to work, he would typically text on the way home to see if he should pick up anything at the store (which he drives right by on his route home) for dinner.
This was super handy, because there was always something I had forgotten to pick up, or an ingredient I was missing for my culinary masterpiece.  (Like the butter for the mac and cheese.) 

Now that he is biking every day, he never calls to see if he should pick something up.  Apparently, he has no desire to strap a rotisserie chicken or a lovely honey ham to his hockey helmet and bring dinner home.
He has become somewhat useless in the literal "bring home the bacon" department.
~
Then, there is the problem of "is anyone even going to BE home if I bother to make something?"
I am a huge fan of the crock pot.  I only started using it on a regular basis about a year or two ago (why I didn't start decades ago it beyond me) but I digress. 
The one problem with it (just like with everything else in my life) is that it does require a little planning.  You know....like having the ingredients on hand is helpful.  Or being around to actually put those ingredients IN the crockpot is handy.  
If the stars align, and I manage to have all the ingredients, and I get them in the pot on time....the big question is....will anyone be home to actually eat any of it?
Why is life SO HARD?!!

We have another challenge in our house that we have been fighting for the past 14 years.  I am guessing some of you deal with the same issue.
The curse of the picky eater.
Child #1 was easy.  She loved food, especially GOOD food.  If we went to Burger King, she would order tomatoes. Seriously.
I still remember her asking for fruit when she was just learning to talk.
Canta-ope and boo-da-beddies peese!
(Cantalope and blueberries, please...in case you don't speak toddler.)
Then child #2 was born....
and we were pretty sure that child services were going to come and take him away.  The kid wouldn't eat anything.  Well, he would eat candy.  Or the occasional cheerio.
Mark claims when he was a child, he lived on french fries and peanut butter on ritz crackers for three years.  I guess we know who to blame for this "picky eater" gene.
I would literally start to tear up when this boy would actually attempt to try a new food.  We would cheer any time we saw him eat at all.  It was ridiculous.
He would have happily sucked on a bottle and survived on a liquid diet into adulthood had we allowed it to happen.
Needless to say....he stressed us out.
~
He eats now (thank God) but our kids still pull the "we don't like what you made for dinner" crap.  I HATE THAT.  
I ask them what they like...what they want me to make....what they want me to buy.  I get nothing.  OR, I get "Oh, you know what we like."  OBVIOUSLY I do NOT know what you like, since I seem to make everything you will NOT eat.
Well....it sucks to be them.
Mark and I will sit down to our lovely meal, and those two little *#&$(#*&# get to fend for themselves.
Gone are the days of me catering to the demands of the picky child.
That ended once I knew that no one would die of starvation, and I was relatively sure they could prepare their own food without burning my house down.
~
And so, I will keep a candle burning, while I watch for my (imaginary) house staff to arrive.  Until then, I guess I will struggle through...plodding through the motions of housewife and mother.  Putting on a good show for these people I live with, until I am finally allowed to go into hibernation for the winter, like every woman should!  


I even broke down and stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, my friends.
And I was hungry.  
You can bet your bottom dollar that I did NOT come home with a car full of organic produce like my (imaginary) chef Sven would have been instructed to do.
There were some obligatory vegetables and fruit...but there were many an item that did NOT fall in the "close to the source" category.
I am pretty sure those apple turnovers were NOT picked straight from the tree.  And those BBQ mini meatballs from the deli did not come directly from our dearly departed Bessie, the brown cow.
We won't even talk about that frozen pizza we just ate. 
~
These are the calamities that occur when our (imaginary) house staff chooses to leave us hanging out to dry.
I often wonder if "certain people" (me) would be better off if they came with a warning....such as "Best if not left alone with food" or "May become violent around insubordinate teenagers" or "Do not approach before noon."
You know....if they were just born with a handy tag /warning label attached.
~
I will continue to ponder these very important things while I attempt to solve all of the problems of the world.
But, before I do that, I think a nap may be in order.
~
Happy Hibernation!  (and Thursday!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In the Black

Gray Thursday?
Really??
~
I think this shopping thing has officially gone too far.
I understand the "thrill of the chase" when it comes to getting a good deal. (Actually, I really don't...but I understand that some people really find that exciting.)  I, for one, will NEVER drag my butt out of bed to venture into the cold, cruel world so I can risk being trampled by rude, over zealous crazy people, who are sleep deprived, and suffering from turkey hangovers.
That just doesn't sound like fun to me.

I was just reading the article stating that the mall was going to impose a FINE on any store that refused to comply with the new 
"Gray Thursday" shopping hours.
They will be opening at 6pm on Thanksgiving evening.
Seriously?
~
Am I the only one who finds this completely ridiculous?
Have we become SO wrapped up in the almighty dollar, that these stores can not take ONE DAY off from selling all of the stuff that nobody really needs anyway?
I used to think people who would get up and hit the sales at 6am Friday morning were crazy.  And then it was 4am.  Then 2...then midnight.
Last year they broke down the wall and crossed the line (in my opinion) and Black Friday was no longer just a Friday.
So....what is next?  Obviously, they will continue to infringe upon the one day that all of the people who work in retail actually get to spend with their families during the holiday season, when they declare the entire day of Thanksgiving fair game.
But then what?  
Off-white Wednesday?
Dishwater blonde Tuesday?
Mossy Monday?
~
Why the hell even have a "big shopping day" anymore, when the ONE day is just being stretched into what will soon become a week long event.
I actually feel sick to my stomach with disgust over it.
I think a big part of my disdain has to do with the fact that people turn into crazy monsters on this day.  And why?  Because they become greedy...and they just want STUFF.
STUFF!!  

Ok...let me preface my rant by saying that I realize I sound as if I feel every person who shops on Black Friday (or Tangerine Tuesday, or whatever..)is completely out of their mind.  I really don't feel that way.  I know that for some of you, it is a really fun tradition to get together with your family or friends, and brave the crowds while you get all your shopping done.  I think that is awesome....especially if you actually have a good time doing it.
I am all for anyone who can go out into the crazy madhouse, and keep a smile on their face, be nice to the poor souls who are working at these stores, and have fun.
It is the other people I have serious issue with.
The mean ones who push and shove.  Who are rude and crass.  Who rip items out of other people's hands.  Who have no trouble trampling over people.
It absolutely baffles me how EVERY year you hear stories of people DYING because a herd of crazies trampled them on their way to get a damn TV. SERIOUSLY???!!!  A TV?!!!

If I had any clout or persuasive ability at all...I would suggest that the masses boycott this whole "shopping on Thanksgiving" idea.  I am pretty sure the mall "people" would get the idea that the whole "let's open at 6pm!" thing is a BAD idea if no one actually showed up until midnight.
Can you imagine?  Nary a soul until the clock strikes 12?
I would LOVE IT!
But, eh, no one will listen to me. ;)
~
What really bothers me is the fact that all of this hype....all of this frenzy....is completely driven by materialism.  Our need for more stuff.
Don't get me wrong...I LOVE giving.  Picking out the perfect gift for someone, and watching their face as they open the package is one of my favorite things to do.  Shopping for that "perfect gift" is also something I really enjoy doing, but only if I have plenty of time, and don't have to fight a crowd to do it.
~

I have also really started to think about the things I am buying.  So often, I feel like I am purchasing things, just because I feel obligated to buy a gift.  It's not because I think it's something the person I am buying for will love....most of the time I have NO idea what to get them.  I just know that I want to get them something...so I head off to the mall and wander around like a lost puppy for a few hours, until I finally just buy some stuff, and call it a day.
That kind of takes the magic out of the whole experience, doesn't it?

Once again, society has us brainwashed into thinking that this is the way we are supposed to do things.  
Christmas is a time for us all to go into debt. We buy tons of useless items, so we can wrap them up, and pile them under the tree.  More than likely, the kids will cry and make sure to let you know that you got them the wrong thing.....even though there are 34 presents for them to open....but, the day goes on.....as does that credit card bill, which we hope to get paid off in time for next year's holiday shopping!
I hope you realize that last paragraph was complete sarcasm...I really am not that cynical.  It does make me really sad, however, to know that some people do operate that way.
Over the past several years, I have tried to really look at the holidays as a time to be less materialistic, and find ways to be more creative, innovative, and personal.  Rather than just going out and buying a bunch of generic gifts, I have tried to come up with ideas of things I could make or create, things that people could actually use or enjoy....and it would also be something a bit more unique than your typical "here is a nice Christmas candle and some chocolates." (Yes, that is my stand-by.  Who doesn't like candles and chocolates?)
Last year I recorded a CD of Christmas piano music...and gave those out as gifts.  I know that I love to have soft background music playing all day long....so I thought this would be a nice thing for people to have during the holiday season.
When I was on my sewing kick, I made lots of pretty hand stitched holiday pillows, or small quilts for my nieces, and some patchwork wallhangings.  I LOVE putting cute little gift baskets together.  It's fun to come up with a theme that fits the person you are "shopping" for, and put together something wonderful.  A couple years ago I made a "pampering basket" for my boss.  She works harder than anyone I know, and rarely takes time for herself.  A super fluffy bath towel set, bath salts, luxury soaps, loofahs, a relaxing CD, bottle of wine...you get the picture.....was just the thing for her.
To me, this is gift giving.  This is creating something for people you care about.


Every December, my church holds a special event called "Caring and Sharing."
We have several guests that visit our parish each week for help.  We have a food pantry that provides our less fortunate friends with boxes of food, and other forms of assistance.
During the Caring and Sharing event, all of these families gather for a brief prayer service, and then they get to go "shopping."
In the weeks leading up to the event, parishioners fill food boxes, and drop off hundreds of items....clothes, toys, housewares, blankets, everything you can imaging.  It is all set out, and the guests can come and do their Christmas "shopping" for free.
It is a pretty amazing day.  The church is packed, and the Christmas spirit is alive and bursting forth from everyone there.
I have to wonder....what would happen if every person who spends several hours standing in line, waiting for their chance to get a "good deal" on some item that they probably don't even need, would use that time to volunteer at an event like this...what a difference they could make.

Or, if every person who goes out and spends ridiculous amounts of money on "stuff" would take just 10% of that money spent, and donate it toward helping those in need....what kind of impact would that make?

I think about the parents who choose shopping over spending time with their kids and families on Thanksgiving day.
What would happen, if instead, they went as a family to volunteer at a homeless shelter, or a hospital, or a nursing home...and bring some joy to those who may not be with family on a day that we all should be surrounded by people we love?

I often wonder if parents really think about the example they are setting for their kids.  No matter what age our kids are...they are constantly watching us, and observing everything we do.  How we treat the waiter at a restaurant.  How we interact with a stranger who is asking for directions.  How we respond to the homeless man asking for money.  How we react if we witness someone being hurt.  Our actions and reactions carry a lot of weight...sometimes much more than our words do.
I think the whole "Black Friday" craziness is a great example of that.
Do you push and shove your way to the front, or patiently wait your turn?
It really does become a "survival of the fittest" or maybe "survival of the most aggressive?"
Either way....I would never win.  I have NEVER been good at being aggressive
in a crowd situation.  I just don't have that "need to be at the front and win" kind of drive.  Nor have I ever really understood people who DO have that drive.
They may get to the prize...but is it really worth it?
Eh...I think I will stick with behaving like a well-mannered human.
Neanderthal just isn't in my blood.


As for any shopping I need to do....I have this amazing contraption called a computer.  It allows me to see ALL of the same things I could view at a store (and even some more!) only I don't have to go out into the cold to get there.
I can sit here with my coffee/wine/bottle of whiskey, and shop all day, and not one person will shove me, push me, sneeze on me, give me dirty looks, breathe stinky morning breath on me (well...my dog might) or any other unpleasantry.
And even better...after I push all the right buttons and order my purchases....the nice man in the UPS truck will deliver my things right to my door.
Seriously....WHY does anyone shop in the store anymore?


Hopefully, by the time the Friday cloaked in black arrives, the world will have come to it's senses, and realized that the Thursday that precedes it needs to stay colorless....and officially closed.  
Yes, I will continue to fight my little battle of gray Thursday....even if that just means I'm the only one staying at home, boycotting it.

To all of those who work in retail:  Your halos are shining brightly...may you all be treated with kindness and respect, and be blessed with million dollar bonuses.

As for me....well, I haven't even really prepared for Halloween yet, so I'm not going to worry about Christmas shopping quite yet.  In fact, I still have the Christmas card/family photos I ordered 2 years ago, but have yet to send out.  Hell, I still haven't ordered our wedding photos, and we got married 19 years ago.
I wish I was kidding about that one.
Anyway, I can't be expected to get EVERYTHING done AND write a blog everyday too!

If you are still on the fence about your Christmas shopping/spending this year....here is some great advice:

:)  Happy Wednesday

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In Her Shoes

So, lots of changes around here.
For instance, I'm showering again.
After a good two years in the tub, I have decided to assume the upright position, and become an underwater breather again.
No, it doesn't happen every day...but it is much more frequent.
Why...you ask?
Well, here is the deal.
I can be showered and getting ready in the time it takes me to even fill the tub.
And once I am in the tub...I waste SO much time.  You might as well just assume that you will not see me for at least an hour one that tub water starts running.
And that is ridiculous.
~
So, while I was enjoying the fact that we have some killer water pressure in this house, I did what I always do while shampooing....I started to think.
(Some of my most brilliant thoughts have occurred while shampooing.  The only downside to this is that I often then forget if I have indeed shampooed...or if I was just thinking about shampooing...and then I stand there, perplexed while trying to solve that mystery.)
~
My thoughts were twofold, so I shall write about both topics.

The first sort of flows into the second.  I was born to segue.

So, obviously my mom has been on my mind.  I was actually thinking about what it would be like to be in her mind.  Like, how would I feel if I had to live the same experiences she had.
To be widowed at 47, and raise my last teenage child alone.  Then, to live alone for the next 15 years or so, and find out I had cancer.  Then, to start having memory problems that were severe enough that I could no longer work in the profession that had been the only career I'd ever known (and loved) for over 30 years.  Finally, to meet someone I really enjoyed spending time with, and think I finally found happiness, only to soon be diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and watch everything I knew in my life disappear and crumble around me.
My God....how the hell does this happen to someone?!!
Where is the part where she gets to retire, and enjoy her "golden years" with the husband she has loved her entire adult life?  Where are the trips they would finally get to take together....the trips that they NEVER got to go on, because they were always tied down to the farm.  Where are the weekends and holidays with all the grandkids running around?
Even the house that she called home is gone.  There isn't even one tree from the beautiful back yard she spent so many summers enjoying still standing.
There is nothing.
So, I put myself in her shoes.
How would I feel?
I would feel pretty damn ripped off.
I would feel like life threw all of the work, and trials, and hard years in my face....and then stole the years that were supposed to be mine to enjoy.
And then it occurred to me....I sure hoped that I had lived the hell out of those 15 years before everything fell apart again.
~
I write about this a lot.  I think about 90% of the self-help books out there address it as well.  We can't wait for "something to happen" and then start living.
Do you feel like you are making each day important?  Living it like tomorrow may be the day you find out you don't have much time left?
I know I don't.  I totally take my time for granted.
I know that I have made some positive changes.  I have let go of the things in my life that were making me miserable...and filled my life with the things that I enjoy doing.
However, I don't make good use of my time.
I am really good at wasting my time.  I think that is ok to do once in awhile.
We all need to just take a day and relax, or put life on the back burner.
However, it scares me to think about the "me" in 5 years.
In 5 years...I will be the age my mom was when she lost my dad.
Right now, Lexie is the age my sister was when he died.
It seems like yesterday, yet here I am....in what was her reality, as far as my "stage of life," and the thought of losing my husband and facing life alone is the most horrifying thing I can fathom.


~
Those thoughts make me think....am I doing everything I can to make my marriage as loving and fulfilling as I can?  Are Mark and I spending as much quality time together as we should....are we making sure we are taking time to have fun, and not just get caught up in all of the things we have to get done?
I think it is so easy to fall into the trap of just living life....that we forget to LIVE LIFE.
If I lost him today....I would be so mad at myself for not stepping away from the computer or the TV, and pulling him out the door to go out on a spontaneous adventure more often. I would be so mad at myself for being bitchy about the little things he does that annoy me.  Who cares?  I'm sure I drive him nuts...but he never says it.
Why didn't I hug him more...or be the one to initiate a kiss?
Why is it that it isn't until we think about losing someone that we realize how much we would have changed about how we would have lived with them?
~
It's so easy to be short tempered and mean.  It's so easy to hurt the people you love.
But it won't be easy at all to forgive yourself for doing those things if anything should ever happen to them.
This is something I need to remind myself of more often.
Isn't it funny how mad you can get at your husband/kids/significant other/friends/family when there are right there in front of you....but the second you picture your life without them...your heart immediately breaks in two.

This is what I am going to try to keep in the back of my mind the next time I get annoyed.  And the next time that I think "Ugh, it would be soooo much easier if I just lived alone!" I will stop, and imagine how I would really feel if that ever came true.
My guess is that it is the last thing I'd ever want to happen.
~
So, allow my mom to be your inspiration.  She is one tough cookie.  The ONLY blessing this disease has brought to her is the fact that she can no longer remember all of the tragedy her life has held.  I don't know how someone could emotionally survive being aware of the fact that they had been knocked down in one horrible way after another for the past 20 years....and maintain a positive outlook.  The whole thing absolutely breaks my heart.
~

Live each day with meaning.  Don't wait for tomorrow to start thinking about what you need to do to be happy.  What if there isn't a tomorrow?  Mend any bridges that have been broken.  Cut any ties that are holding you back.  Give yourself the little nudge you need to move forward with that idea or thought that has been circulating in the back of your head for awhile now.  Reignite the passion in your marriage....don't let it die a slow death because you have forgotten how to communicate.  Even though it may seem like it sometimes....you can't read each other's minds...so if you need something...you are going to have to say it, or your partner will never know.  Seriously, if you don't talk about everything, nothing will ever get better.  (And yes, I speak from experience.)  If talking gets too heated....write it out.  That's a good place to start.  (God knows I write a lot more effectively than I talk!)


~

And....important advice learned today:
If you sleep in until 11, then turn on the fireplace, move to the couch, and keep the pan of brownies within reach, you will never want to get up, you will feel completely lethargic, you will want to cry when you think about the fact that you have two rehearsals tonight...out in the cold, cruel darkness, and, you will come to the realization that you just may be the laziest, least productive, time waster on the planet.


SO, get up, and put some serious thought into what you need to do to really start living your life.  2015 is just around the corner.  This is the perfect time to start making some changes, or at least creating a plan.  Don't put if off until tomorrow...because we don't know how many tomorrows we have.  If there is something you really want to do, why wait?  Get that (snow)ball rolling! ;) 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Things I Know

In case you were wondering, it is Revolution Day in Mexico.
I think we will declare it Revelation Day in blogger land.

On this blustery Monday, I will share with you some things that I know for sure.

1.  If I make brownies, I will eat them.  All.
And for some reason, no one else in my house seems to have noticed that there is a pan of ridiculously delicious, very thick, rather gooey, chocolate chip laden brownies sitting on top of the stove.  (I am sure it's because I covered them with aluminum foil.  It is like covering them with the cloak of invisibility.)
So much for my "I shall eat NO sugar" plan.

2.  No one in my family is capable of 100% accuracy when grocery shopping....no matter how specific the list is that I send with them.
I can even text pictures of the items, and it's likely they will bring home the wrong thing.
In other words...it is easier if I just do everything myself.


3.  I am pretty sure my house is haunted.
I know this sounds ridiculous...especially since it was built in 1998 (not exactly a "house with history.")  As far as I know, there have been no deaths or murders in this place (lovely thoughts for a Monday morning, eh?) but I'm pretty sure there are friendly spirits that linger here.
Perhaps we are sitting atop an ancient Indian burial ground or something.
All I know is that I see strange blurry somethings out of the corner of my eye quite often.  (Ok, it might just be my hair...but it seems like something else.)
And I hear weird things all the time....and we know I can't hear...so the fact that I AM hearing something, and it's weird, well, there you have it.
And these strange sounds are always occurring when I'm home alone...and they are definitely not dog sounds....so we can't "pull a Mark" and blame the sounds on the dogs (like Mark does with certain "smells.")  Not very convincingly, however.

He's not going to comment.

Luckily, I feel no mean or scary-types flying about...so it's all good.

4.  I can't find my calendar, so I have no idea what I'm supposed to do tomorrow.  (I know what I have to do from 5pm on...but during the day is anyone's guess.)  

5.  After spending the past 24 hours with my mom, I can say with confidence that she has moved into the "paranoid stage" of her disease.
It's really sad.  Do you remember that movie "Conspiracy Theory?"  That is now her reality.  She is convinced that bad things are happening all around her, and that she (we) are in constant danger.  During lunch today, before she could even settle down enough to eat, she had to tell me about how she overheard "those people" talking about how they were going to "kill people."  We have to constantly assure her that she is safe, and that she doesn't need to worry.  Then she will say "Oh good...ok" and be able to go on with whatever she was doing.  It is heartbreaking.  I can't imagine living in constant fear of whatever your mind conjures up.  It must be exhausting. She typically wakes up before 6 am, but today she slept until 10.  I suppose constantly worrying will wear a girl out. :(

6.  I have to go grocery shopping tomorrow.  In the freezing cold.  I can't think of anything I would like to do less.  
Go grocery shopping in a bikini.  That would be something I would like to do less.  Or not at all.  Ever.

7.  Sometimes, people surprise you with hugs, or words that feel like hugs, out of the blue.  
That happened to me a couple of times yesterday.
It was completely unexpected....and absolutely wonderful.
Try sending some love out to the universe today.
Even better....send some to someone specifically, and make their day.


8.  Mark just asked me if we could have some conductor or musician (or circus ring master?) that he is bringing to town in February stay at our house.
I told him, considering he has given me 3 months notice, that I could probably have the house presentable by then.
I guess I just figured out what I am doing tomorrow. 


Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Stages

I have been thinking a lot lately about how we change as adults.
I mean, we all change constantly throughout childhood...this is obvious.
We go through the typical stages.  Infancy, toddler-hood (is that even a word?) the "kid" years (I think I may have just made that stage up) the teen years (thank you God for only making us do that once) and then we hit our 20's.  This is the time when we get to have a lot of fun, but are also supposed to be figuring out what the heck we want to do with our lives.
I'm trying to figure out who came up with that combination.
Then, we move into our 30's.  I guess this is the time when we are supposed to get our shit together, right?  By now, we have most likely chosen a career, perhaps started a family, purchased a house, become somewhat established.
I will admit, I kind of miss my 30's.  I felt young enough to still feel semi "cool," (aka: I hadn't reached cougar status yet.) I was done having kids, and enjoying the fact that mine were finally in school, and the days of daycare were over.
I still wasn't totally sure what I wanted to do with my life...but I was doing something....and was happy with my choices for the time being.
Yeah...the 30's were good.
Now that I have settled into my 40's...I realize how much I have changed over the past couple of years.
I'm not sure if it is because I am "in my 40's" or if I have just switched over into a different way of thinking...or if I am just plain old. ;)


Whatever it is...I kind of like it.
For your reading pleasure, I will share with you a list of some items that have become very evident to me over the last year or two.

1. No more "flying by the seat of my pants."  
I have forever been the queen of "winging it."  Why prepare when you can just do it on the fly?  I will admit, I'm a pretty cool cucumber when things are thrown my way at the last second.  However, I no longer choose to do things that way.  I have gone the way of the boy scout.  Now I want to be prepared.
Like, ridiculously prepared.  I want every detail meticulously gone over so when it's show time, I don't have to worry about anything going amiss.  (I use a performance reference....but I do mean this in all areas of my life, but yes, most definitely when it comes to musical endeavors.)
Today I had to play for a wedding. (No biggie...I do them all the time.)  Except, the bride's mom talked her into having the processional played on the organ.  Ugh.  I enjoy playing this most unforgiving, bombastic instrument, but only if it is a GOOD organ, and if I have had time to acclimate myself to the instrument.  I had never played this particular organ before...so it was stressing me out. A LOT.  Lexie was playing cello, and when we got there, we realized the organ was 1/2 step sharp...and had very little to offer in regards to decent sounding stops.  It was painful.
I did a funeral a few days ago on a different, unfamiliar organ.  There is nothing quite like sitting on that bench, hoping that the settings you have chosen will sound okay, and not blow out any eardrums when you play the first chord.
I mean, it's not like I'm going to dink around on the thing while the visitation is going on...so it's a crap shoot.  I have no idea what will come out of those pipes until I play the first note of the opening hymn.
Let's just say I was cringing a bit for hymn #1.
I worked out the kinks for the second one, thank God.
~
I have decided that from now on, if asked if I know how to play that wooden box of death, my reply will be a hearty NO!

2.  No more drama.
Ugh...seriously.  Who needs it?  I think I used to actually enjoy drama in my life.   WHAT WAS I THINKING?!  
(This, of course, was years ago...but still!)
This also involves no more playing the victim.  
I used to fall into the "woe is me" role, and blame everyone else for my problems, my sadness, my this, my that.
That is such crap.
I finally grew up, and just faced my issues head on, took ownership of them, and dealt with them.
It's so easy to blame other people for your unhappiness.  To whine about how someone has wronged you, or hurt you, or ruined your life.
Yes, being hurt by someone sucks.
So, if someone does that to you, why on earth would you give them all that power, and allow to continue hurting you?  
They aren't feeling any pain while you spend your days pining about how miserable they made you.....but you are!
Nope.  All done with that silliness.


3.  I love being at home.
I used to get stir crazy, and feel like I was missing something if I wasn't out and about.  I also felt like I needed to have an active social life or my spirit would just start to die.
That just sounds exhausting to me now.
These days, I would describe heaven as being in my pj's, snuggled up on the couch with my dogs and the remote (and I guess Mark can join us if he wants to) by 7pm.

4.  I used to want trendy and fun....now I just want practical.
I traded in my VW Jetta for a Subaru Forrester.  My first thought was  "I am pretty sure I just went from hipster to hippie."  lol  Not really.  But I did think "I am buying a true "mom" car.  And guess what...I LOVE THIS CAR!  I feel safe, and comfortable, and I like that I look like a "practical woman who drives a car that handles really stinkin' well in the snow."
This extends to all areas of my life.  My clothes...once trendy...now, just comfortable.  I actually just ordered a winter coat online.  Yes, I was too lazy to drive (literally) across the highway to the mall and try some on.  The one I purchased is not stylish or fancy....in fact, I will probably look like the abominable snow man in it, because it is long, fluffy, and warm. (and white)
Style magazines have been replaced by Cooking Light, and those 534 pairs of platform sandals/boots/etc.....well, they sit neglected in my closet, while I wear the three pairs of shoes I own that are flat, because dammit, they are so much more comfortable.

5.  I need sleep.  Lots and lots of sleep.
Okay, this is not something new.
I am just completely aware of it, and not afraid to say "no" to things that will interfere with it.  
And, as I write this, I feel myself fading fast.


To top it off, my mom is with us this weekend....which means my Sunday morning will be more chaotic than usual.
And, quite frankly, this post is even boring me to tears, so for the benefit of all of us, I shall close for today.

My point, in this somewhat pointless post is this:  As I go through each stage of life, I find that I am getting a better handle on things, and although I'm not quite sure how I feel about getting older....I am quite sure that I really like where I'm at. :)