Friday, December 28, 2012

On my heart

I am not making resolutions this year - but I am writing a few things on my heart.

Found it here.
- I will not let the problems of others bring me down
- I will thank God each day for all that I have
- I will remember to tell my friends how important they are, and how much I love them
- I will approach each day as though it will be the best day of the year - because it just may be
- I will surround myself only with people who add to my happiness
- I will learn to value myself the way others value me

I see some changes in how I approach my work, relationships, health, and finances in 2013. I know what I need to do, and I plan to do so. If I set a schedule, I know I'll probably fall behind; if I make specific promises, I know I'll probably fall slightly short.

I figure if I approach it by reminding myself of the big things...the little things have a good chance of falling into place.

I will set monthly goals for myself...and do my best to achieve them. I won't be too hard on myself if I don't always get it quite right. There's still next time.

I'm happy to see 2012 go. I was starting to hope it was all an episode of Dallas, and any minute Pam was going to wake up and find Bobby in the shower.

That's not the case, which is fine. I'm going to tuck the lessons and heartaches and triumphs from 2012 in my pocket, and push forward.

I'm ready for 2013. Bring it.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

How kids affect your holiday

My holiday turned out to be more stressful and depressing than I planned. I mean - it's always a little bit stressful and I always get a little down at some point. There was just a bunch of unexpected stuff happening that sent this one over the edge.

I was feeling like this:
A big, jumbled, confusing pile that made no sense.

Then I got my stuff together, and realized my priorities were all out of whack. I had some people to make smile - important people. Plus I promised myself I could do it without help.

Kids make everything just a little bit better.

It's amazing what you can get done when you get your priorities in line.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Right place, right time

This morning, my neighbor couldn't start her car because it was so cold outside. She drives a new Mercedes. My little used Honda, with a million miles on the engine, started right up. I pulled out of my driveway and started my commute.

Less than two minutes from my house, I witnessed a pretty bad car accident. As I pulled over to call 911 and wait for help, it occurred to me that had I left my house just a teeny bit earlier, it could have been me in the car that was hit.

His airbag deployed; and I bet mine would have, too. When you're five feet tall, an airbag deployment is no joke. It's as likely to kill me as the accident.

Those two things are related somehow, in my mind. Somehow, I guess it all comes back to life is full of surprises. It's easy to get annoyed at the little things, but it's important to realize that everything really does happen the way it's meant to, and you really are right where you're supposed to be.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Just believe

It's not always easy to believe in life. Sometimes all you get are problems, questions, and heartache. Other times, you get some good, but it feels incomplete somehow...or just not quite right. You think, "I should be excited about this..." But you're just not.

Once in a while, something magical shows up. Maybe it's not packaged exactly the way you were expecting. Maybe it requires a little bit of work. Maybe it's up to you to look a little harder to find the treasure.

That can be easy to miss. Some say it's not worth it; that if it was truly good, it would show up perfect.

I think that's when you really need to believe.

Christmas is a time of miracles. It's a time for forgiveness. It's a time to set aside differences and worries, and just be happy. It's a time to start over. It's a time when wishes come true. It's a time when nothing matters but a smile on someone's face, or a little joy in someone's heart.

Christmas is a chance for something better; something that brings a little sparkle to your life.

But only if you believe.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Airing my grievance

I have a lot of grievances. Yesterday was Festivus, so I thought in honor of that, I'd air just one. That was a tough's what I got.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Be the good

After last Friday, I stopped checking twitter too much. I started scrolling through facebook really, really fast - past photos of black ribbons, or angels, or of the kids being led from a school in CT. I've remained my usual trivial and sarcastic self. 

I haven't posted any articles, or shared any of the "prayer chains." I haven't "liked" any of the memorial pages. I haven't even mentioned the event on a post, or really discussed it with anyone. According to Facebook, that means I don't care; that I'm selfish and self-absorbed (and probably materialistic).

The thing is...I do care. I probably care way too much. Once you identify that you have depression, one of the things you have to do is learn the triggers. What makes you emotional? What spins you out of control?

The idea of someone just randomly walking into a school and ending innocent lives? Definitely not something I can handle.

When I heard the news, I cried at my desk and then said a small prayer. Then I went about my day. That is what I can handle. The rest is just too much. Surrounding myself with all that sadness and indescribable pain gives it way too much power over me. I'm the sort of person who absorbs all that grief and anger and makes it my own. If I let it, something like this can make me sad about everything.

So for anyone who thinks that people who are not posting about CT must not care - stop. I mean - sure, you might know people who just don't care. But more likely, you know people who simply can't handle the profound sadness or the weight of the whole thing.

We all show sorrow, respect, and honor in our own way. Some people post it all over facebook. Some write letters to newspapers, or sign a petition to make guns illegal. Others might go out and buy a gun.

Some of us just try to live every day bringing as many smiles to as many people as we can reach. Some of us feel that the best way to honor those victims (and anyone else) is to live a life full of positive change and action; to bring as much good into the world as possible.

It isn't helpful to simply complain that there's no good left in the world. You have to be willing to be that good, and then bring it into the world. Those silent friends you have? They may be doing that very thing.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Not this year

When I was a kid, I loved to open the holiday cards family and friends would send to my father. I especially loved when the card included my name, either on the inside or even the outside. I've always loved mail.

I moved out of my father's home November 1995 - and couldn't wait to start my own holiday card list. I took all the names and addresses from his book, bought some cards, and got to work. Soon, cards started pouring in, addressed to me and X (we weren't Mr. & Mrs. at that point).

I was so proud of myself! To me, getting cards sent to my own address was a milestone. A rite of passage, of sorts.

Over the years, I have always looked forward to sending out cards. Selecting the perfect design (usually on clearance in previous year's post-holiday sale), making my list - and checking off the names in the send/received columns on my spreadsheet (yes, I have a spreadsheet).

One year, I even ordered personalized cards signed by me, X - and the dog and the cat.

The first Christmas I celebrated after X and I separated, I used the Christmas cards as a way of letting people know I was single. Not that I wrote one of those family letters or anything. I sent my cards out early that year, signing them just Sue - no longer Sue and X. (I mostly did this because I knew if I didn't, I'd get at least one card that was addressed to us both, and I knew that would be heartbreaking for me.)

Even then, I embraced this tradition learned from my Nanny and my Dad. I used it as another rite of passage, moving from wife to single woman.

This year, though - I'm not feeling it. I dragged the cards out last month and stamped and placed return address labels on a bunch of envelopes. They're still in the box, waiting to be addressed. I'm not sure if it's because of all I went through earlier this year, or all I've got going on now. I just can't get motivated.

So, I'm taking the year off.

At first I felt guilty. I tried to force myself to find the time over the weekend. Well, the truth is, I had the time - but I had other things that needed doing, and the cards just weren't a priority.

I'm sort of this another "rite of passage?" Is the fact that - after 17 years - I'm willing to miss out on the tradition a sign that my life is changing again?

{I'll tell you a secret - I hope so.}

I figure people know I care - and they certainly know I still celebrate Christmas. Skipping one year won't get me kicked off too many Christmas Card lists.

If it does? Fewer to worry about next year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Material girl

I'll admit it - I like stuff. If you know me well enough to have ever been in my house, that is not a surprise. I have a crap-ton of stuff - decorations, furniture, clothes, purses, shoes, jewelry... The list goes on and on - and on.

I suppose some people think that makes me materialistic. Well, I don't suppose - I know some people see me that way. Which is perfectly fine - stuff makes me happy, and I'm not ashamed. I guess the only thing I don't like is the implication that somehow makes me a bad person. defines Materialistic as:
Excessively concerned with physical comforts or the acquisition of material things, rather than spiritual, intellectual, moral, or cultural values.
See, what I object to is the idea that you have to choose between wanting nice things, and being a good person. Am I "excessively concerned" with my jewelry collection? Some might say so. But it's not like I'd sell a person into human trafficking to support my Stella & Dot habit. If I had to choose between making a donation to a worthy cause or shopping at Sephora - I'd probably alternate back and forth. Sort of a one for you, one for me kinda thing.

I may like "stuff" but I am very aware that it is not the most important thing in the world. I take good care of my shoes and clothes because I love them. But if I woke to find my house on fire, I'd grab my cats and get out of there - because in the end, I know stuff can always be replaced.

Without a doubt, volunteering is the most rewarding thing I've ever done. I maintain healthy relationships with friends; I don't lie, I give advice or help where it's needed, and I'm polite. I go to church, where I'm reminded about what really matters. I read and keep up on what is going on in the world, which makes me very aware how lucky I am to be in a position to offer help to others, rather than needing to ask for help myself.

I know it's important to keep my spiritual, moral, cultural, and intellectual values in check. I know it's important to do what I can to make the world a better place. No one can fix everything, but we can all fix something.

I just don't see any reason why I can't be wearing cute shoes and earrings while I'm doing my share of the fixing.

Friday, November 30, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Blogging everyday

How does it feel to blog everyday?

I couldn't actually tell you. I don't have time to blog everyday. A lot of posts (even some for this project) are scheduled ahead of time, so I can write when I'm free to do so.

I'm also not crazy about writing prompts. Some questions, I really like. Some get me thinking, and writing, about things I wouldn't have come up with on my own. But some questions are just downright silly, and really not anything to which I can relate.

But, whatever - when I commit to a project like this, the big thing (in my mind) is to finish what I start. So I did.

Now I think I'll take December off.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

NaBloPoMo - New blogs

I'm always looking for new blogs to read. Reading blogs helps keep me sane during the workday, and entertained while I'm in waiting rooms or on trains.

Three new blogs I've found in the past year that I would recommend are:

Just Life: Take Two
Kateri von Steal comments here and on another blog I author. Her blog is fun to read, and fun to look at.

Courtney Sanik and then some
She's a friend of mine, who also writes elsewhere. I have long-enjoyed her "other" project, but this year really started paying attention to this blog, as well. She's wonderful and sparkly.

I'd heard of this site before, but never paid it much attention until I started doing this NaBloPoMo writing project.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Worst trip

I have not traveled a lot. Well, at least not out of the country. I only left the US for the first time this past summer, when I went to Montreal (which is really, really close to where I live, anyway).

I have been to fourteen of the fifty states, plus Washington DC. Well, actually, two of those thirteen states were only drive-bys - I drove through on my way to another destination. I've also traveled to every corner of my own state (New York).

I'm supposed to talk about the worst trip I've ever taken. The truth is, doing that might hurt someone's feelings. Even more importantly, as bad as my worst trip ever was - there's always something good in every trip.

Traveling is supposed to be about finding new places, having new adventures, and learning new things about yourself. Even if a trip is awful, you probably learned something new you don't like (or may have even found one good thing that you do like).

I don't think anything can be all bad, if it gives you the chance to learn and grow and explore. Besides, it's all about making memories. Without the bad memories, how would we know to appreciate the good?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

NaBloPoMo - More other languages

Today's writing prompt:
If you could instantly know any language in the world, which one would it be?
Spanish - so that I didn't feel like I wasted all that time we talked about yesterday.

Monday, November 26, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Other languages

Today's question...
Do you speak more than one language? How did you learn the additional languages?
I used to speak pretty good Spanish. I learned in school. I took high school level Spanish in 8th grade. Turned out, to get a New York State Regents High School Diploma at that time, if I took five years of a language, I only needed to take two years of science.

So I took Spanish all through high school, too. I was pretty good, so in college I registered for a course in Spanish Literature. That was where I learned I wasn't as good at Spanish as I thought.

I don't really speak it anymore.

Friday, November 23, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Hardest thing to say

I'm usually not at a loss for words. Occasionally, I'll be caught off-guard. Like, if someone makes an especially nasty comment to my face, I might not have a snappy comeback right away, because I'm so shocked at the nastiness. Of course, I can usually come up with one later - a friend used to call that "delayed intelligence."

Mostly, though, I say whatever is on my mind - but with enough of an edit-chip so as not to be that nasty person. Mostly.

But even the most out-spoken and upfront person can have trouble saying some things. For me, the word that is toughest to say is, "No."

Even this isn't absolute, though. For example, I'm pretty good at telling my family no - no, I'm not available for dinner that night; no I don't want to come to that party; no, I won't be contributing to that gift. I am nice about it, but firm, and they understand. I was nervous the first time I said "no," but it got much easier after I realized they would still love me.

I'm also pretty good at saying no at work - no, I can't work late; no, I definitely can't come in early; no, I'm not going to do your job for you. At work, they need me more than I need them - and everyone knows this. Saying no is not as big a challenge as it once was.

I don't want it to sound like all I say is no. I actually say yes quite often, because I truly don't mind helping out, or putting in extra effort, or going out of my way for those I care about. I'm just saying in these cases, I could say no if I wanted.

So when can't I say no? Relationships.

I'm not saying I just roll over and let others treat me like a doormat. I certainly don't say yes to every invitation, or requests for money or favors. But I say yes more often than I might like, because I'm all about putting the feelings and needs of others before my own.

Truth be told, I don't think saying no is as difficult for me as it is to simply stick up for myself. So, I might not exactly say "no" to someone - but I don't always stick up for myself, or tell people my feelings are hurt, or just flat-out get up and walk away when I should.

It's something I am working on - a good balance of sticking up for myself, and still being a kind-hearted, compassionate, considerate friend. I wouldn't ever want to say no and compromise who I truly want to be.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Tears of sadness

I cry a lot. Mostly happy tears; occasionally sad. Sometimes, I start out as sad, and then while I'm working through it, something positive happens, and I cry happy tears.

I'm a very emotional person.

I think the last time I cried, they were sad tears. Sad because I was judged by someone who I respect. The words, while intended as good advice, were harsh and stung of criticism.

A smart person once told me that "unsolicited advice is crticism." That's very true. When you offer someone advice that they didn't request, what you're basically saying is that you identified a need for them to improve. You found something they did wrong, and you're trying to correct them.

That's criticism. Even if you don't intend it that way, that is how it will be received.

I try very, very hard not to offer advice unless I'm asked. You can bet that I always have an opinion. If we've talked about it, I have definitely thought about it, processed it, and come up with what I think is the right answer.

Will I share that answer?

Not unless I'm asked.

Why? Because when I give advice, it comes from a place of genuine concern. I know I'm not better than anyone else. Even if I'm in a better place at the time - I was once right where that person is, and probably will be again. I am in no position to criticize.

But I might have good advice. I might be able to help. If I'm going to offer, that's how I want it be received.

I certainly don't want to make anyone cry.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Where do I read?

The question for today
Where is your favorite place to read?
In bed; on my sofa; outside on lunch; at my desk when I need a sanity break.

Basically, it isn't where - it's when.

Retail thanks

I keep seeing a lot of posts from people saying they will avoid shopping Thanksgiving Day sales because if they're shopping, someone is working, and if someone is working, that someone isn't with his or her family.

I get it; your family loves Thanksgiving. It's full of warmth and love and good food and laughter and football and family time. Yay. But not everyone feels the same. So before you judge big retailers or other shoppers, consider a few things. Such as...
  • This isn't new. Just because certain retailers are open earlier this year than in years past doesn't mean they invented the concept. Have you ever run out of milk or napkins before putting the final touches on the big meal? I have - and boy was I thankful that the nearest grocery store was open. The sign on the door said they were closing at 3 so their employees could enjoy the holiday.
  • Which brings up an interesting point. A lot of families eat early on Thanksgiving. Having worked in retail for a long time, I can tell you - they will go nuts tonight fixing things just so, allowing employees to arrive at work tomorrow at the very last second. If the store opens at 8 pm, those employees had time to enjoy a holiday that started at 9 am.
  • You're forgetting why these people have these jobs in the first place - to earn money. Stores pay time-and-a-half on holidays; full-time employees will make double-time-and-a-half because they get paid for the holiday, too. That's like earning half a weeks pay check in one day. What would you do with that money this time of year? A lot of those employees are thankful for the chance to earn a little extra.
  • The other employees? Those are college and high school students just thankful for a chance to escape their dysfunctional family on the most awkward and mind-numbingly boring night of the year. Trust me. I was one.
  • Those retailers you're avoiding because of how they're treating their employees on this one day? Some of them treat their employees terribly all year long - and you're still giving them your money. Joke's on you.
  • How about all those holidays that you don't celebrate, where someone is "stuck" working so you can be shopping?
I won't shop on Thanksgiving because I don't like crowds. I don't shop on Black Friday because when I left retail a million years ago, I vowed never to go back to a store on that day.

But if people want to spend their holiday shopping, I say have at it. Spending money supports the economy. It keeps people you're not even thinking about employed, with food on their table, heat in their homes, and kids with smiles on Christmas morning.

That's worth some thanks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Favorite book

I read a lot. When I was married, we had an entire room devoted to books. In fact, we had to design the shelves ourselves, to make sure we had enough room.

Now, storage is at more of a premium for me, and I keep my books in my Nook, for the most part. I read books by James Patterson and Janet Evanovich (whose newest Stephanie Plum novel comes out today!).

But my favorite book of all time? To Kill a Mockingbird.

If you're not familiar with the story - you've apparently been living under a rock for your whole life. I can help. You're welcome.

The book is narrated by Scout, a young girl whose given name is Jean Louise Finch. She tells us the story of how she and her older brother, Jem, came to meet up with a mysterious neighbor, about whom the whole town had made assumptions. He turns out to be none of the things they thought.

The backdrop for the story is Scout's father, Atticus, defending a client in criminal court. Atticus is a white lawyer, defending a black man, accused of raping a white woman. In the south, in 1931.

There's a ton of lessons in the book. I'm no English professor, and I won't even bother trying to pretend like I understand all the symbolism or literary techniques used by the author, Harper Lee.

What I learned from To Kill a Mockingbird:
  • There is no room in my life for prejudice of any kind.
  • Words are powerful and should be chosen carefully.
  • "People are people, no matter where you put them." - Harper Lee in a 1961 interview.
  • "It's a sin to kill a mockingbird...mockingbirds don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us." - From Chapter 10. Evil destroys innocence, but it is should still be preserved. We all have a "moral imperative to protect the vulnerable." Help when you can, give what you have.
I've learned a lot of lessons in my life. I can't think of one more important than knowing we're all here to help someone.

Monday, November 19, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Locked in?

I dislike the question
If you had to be locked in some place (amusement park, book store, etc) overnight alone, where would you choose?
I wouldn't - because that's creepy. Don't you people watch horror movies?

Friday, November 16, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Dream house

The question for today is
Would you buy your dream house if the price was right, but you also were told it was inhabited by ghosts?
This question makes no sense for me, because "not haunted" is one of my top ten criteria for dream house. Right along with (in no particular order):
  • Not near a cemetery
  • No. Freaking. Way.
  • Not built on an ancient Indian burial ground
  • Not infested with snakes
  • Not lacking central air
  • Not having well water
  • Not without an available cable connection
  • Not split level
  • Not too far away to shops and businesses
  • Not on too much land to shovel/rake
So, no, regardless of price, I would not buy a house that was haunted - because it's not my dream house.
It's more like a nightmare.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Favorite pet

Real pet owners are like parents - we don't choose favorites.

When I'm asked if I have any pets, I usually say that, yes, I have three - two cats who live with me, and a dog who lives in heaven.

Remy was always happy to see me, and I don't think I ever came into our home when he didn't greet me. He loved me even when I let water boil over on the stove, or didn't make the bed, or grabbed clothes out of the hamper because I didn't feel like putting laundry away.

He curled up next to me when I was sick, or scared, or sad. He kept me warm in the winter - and was the best excuse I ever had for turning on the AC in the summer.

Remy wasn't like other dogs. He didn't like to go for walks. He never wanted to run outside, or dig in the yard. Mostly, he wanted to hang out on the sofa and watch movies or sports on TV. He let the cats play and jump and even lick him and lay on him. He ate when he was supposed to, never complained, and only had a handful of accidents in his 14+ years.

He had his own personality. He knew when he was in trouble. He knew that even though X was immune to the puppy-dog eyes - I was not. He would get upset when our schedules changed, and we would come home later, or be gone more - and he wasn't afraid to show his displeasure.

Remy's love was unconditional. He didn't see flaws or mistakes or excuses. He saw the good in everyone who passed through our door. I've never had a more devoted, happy, laid-back, or well-adjusted friend. I miss him every day.

Remy taught me what kind of person I want to be. I'm grateful he always thought I already was that person.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Cooking

Today's writing prompt is
Tell us about the best meal you've ever cooked.
This question is clearly not meant for me - since I don't cook. Notice I didn't say I "can't" cook - because I'm sure I could if I was so inclined.

I'm just not. I can cook enough to get by, and have made a few somewhat successful holiday meals.

But I don't honestly think I've ever made a "good" meal.

I'm OK with that, too. When I got married, I had the foresight to choose a husband who could cook. After he moved out, I was smart enough to move in a housemate who can also cook. I have friends and family who can cook, and because I'm single and (they think) helpless, they're constantly giving me free food.

I don't think they realize that grocery stores and restaurants are happy to prepare meals for me in exchange for money - but that's fine. I'll gladly accept free food.

The less money I spend on groceries, the more I have left for important stuff.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The God I pray to

Unless you pay this blog undevoted attention, or stalk my foursquare check-ins, you might never guess that I attend a (non-denominational) Christian service every week. I don't really discuss the services with anyone. In fact, I barely even mention that I go, unless it's in passing (if someone asks what I did on Saturday, I might say "I went to church"). I'm certainly not your stereotypical Christian.

One of the messages we get a lot is that we should not be ashamed of our faith. That we should be proud of our relationship with God, and spread his word.

That isn't the only message I've ever heard at church with which I disagree.

Religious people often wonder why others dislike religion so much. Well - as a person who spent most of her adult life shunning religion - I'll tell you: It's because religious people often come across as pompous, arrogant jerks.

I'm not talking about a Pastor. If people know your job is to spread God's message, and they show up to your service, or read your book or your blog, or watch your service on TV - then obviously, they're looking for the message.

I'm not even talking if you share the occasional message on facebook. If you're doing that, your friends know your deal, and they either accept that about you, or they've hidden your updates. Either way - I say rock on.

But even I - someone who actively seeks out God's message - have very little patience for sneak-attack preaching. You know what I mean - sending people links in email, texts with bible versus - particularly those that question my own faith or my own actions.

That's what "non-religious" people dislike about religion. The in-your-face, my-way-is-better attitude is, quite frankly, a turn-off.

See, I don't agree with everything my church says. In fact, there have been several times when, if I hadn't been trapped dead-center of a packed aisle, I would have gotten up and left in the middle of a message.

I think a relationship with God is, to an extent, a relationship with yourself. It's private - and I think it works differently for everyone. I believe in the overall message of my church - helping the community, finding strength through faith, building hope, treating others with kindness. Those are good things, and messages I can get behind.

But a lot of the message is washed in traditional, Christian beliefs - with which I most definitely do not agree.

The God I know is one of love, compassion, and forgiveness. He did not create us to judge or oppress or be unfair to one another. He would not want us to force our personal beliefs on each other. He would want each of us to use our own talents to shape and share His message. He would expect each of us to do that in a way that blends with who He has created us to be.

In other words: He expects the underlying mesage to be the same - but also expects it'll be delivered in different ways by different people.

He would not expect all of us to "preach" or "teach" His word. Some get that calling, and study and learn and then share. But most of us don't know His word well enough. The truth is, His word comes from the Bible, which is really just a collection of stories that are left open to interpretation. So no one is really an "expert." To say you are is to say your relationship with God is stronger or more imporant than someone else's.

There's that pompous arrogance I was talking about.

If you're shoving His word in people's faces when they didn't ask, and using it to pass judgment, then in my opinion, you're actually doing His word a disservice. The God I know would not want us judging one another - because that's His job. The God I know has a personal relationship with each of us, that works in its own way. He knows our heart and our mind and our intentions, and that is what He will use to judge.

Not the opinions of others.

I do and believe in a lot of things that the Bible (supposedly) says I shouldn't. My God created me this way. That is His image of who I am, and staying true to that is how I stay true to Him.

It does not make you right and me wrong. It makes us different. Which is OK - because the God I pray to created both of us that way.

NaBloPoMo - Bravest thing

Today's writing prompt:
What is the bravest thing you've ever done?
I really have no idea. Getting married? Getting divorced? Buying my house the first time - or the second, on my own? Going to college, then looking for a job? Dating? Or choosing to be single when everyone around me expects me to be dating? Changing careers? Or maybe it was asking my huge crush to the Homecoming dance senior year (he said no)?

Life is full of moments that test our courage. As you go through life, you realize that the things you once thought were difficult, were really not that bad. Remember as a teenager when everything was the end of the world? Then you got to your twenties, and the stuff you dealt with as a teen looked like a walk in the park. By the time you hit your thirties, you start to realize that the stuff you thought was so brave and wonderful in your twenties was really just a dry run for when life starts to get real.

Everyone is tested in different ways. Some of us are tested with how much family stress we can handle. Some of us battle health issues. Some have financial problems. Others have relationship issues. Some get it all (or at least, think they do). No one set of problems is greater than another. If someone seems to never have problems, remember - we all get what we can handle.

For some of us, the ultimate struggle comes when we're very young; others don't struggle with anything until we're much older. Usually, we think we know exactly what our greatest challenge could be, and we've got a plan in place to handle. Then, without warning, life pivots, and throws us something we never thought we'd have to catch.

When that happens, we have two choices. Fold under the pressure, and give up. Or make a decision that no matter what, we will survive.

So the bravest thing I've ever done is probably the bravest thing that every one of us has ever done:
I hit rock bottom.
Then I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and kept moving forward.

Monday, November 12, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Favorite place to blog

I occasionally blog at work. I find it relaxing to step outside the craziness on my desk and take some time to focus on writing.

When I'm home, I'll blog anywhere. The sofa, my bed, the deck. The one thing I don't like is a lot of noise distracting me. Mostly my home is quiet, and I can go anywhere and find enough peace to crank out a little inspiration.

When I hit a blogging wall, I usually turn on the TV, or get out of the house to distract myself. Going to the gym, or a walk, or just a drive will clear my head enough and get me back on track.

Of course, then I'm not near my netbook. That's when I start sending emails to myself on my phone with blog ideas.

Friday, November 9, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Life changes

I feel like I've been in a constant state of change for the last four years. Divorce isn't easy; neither is transitioning to a new job after more than nine years because of a buy-out. Buying a house and a new car on your own are also pretty stressful.

And that was just the first eight months.

It's taken me this long, but I've recently been feeling like I'm finally turning a corner.

About a week ago, I had my tarot cards read. The cards showed that every aspect of my life is in a season of change and growth. They showed a recent loss that forced my hand, and triggered a lot of very positive choices and opportunities.

The cards also showed that a lot of this change is out of my control, and does not look the way I was expecting. They correctly predicted that this is intimidating to me. But - they also showed that if I keep myself open to the changes, there's a lot of good opportunities in every aspect of my future.

That's all good news. I suppose if I had to pick one area of my life that I'd really like to change, it would be relationships. I honestly hate to admit that here, but if I feel like I'd be lying if I said anything else, and I'd hate lying even more.

I'm not talking about a superficial change, like I'd really like a date for New Year's Eve (though that's true enough). I'm looking for a fundamental change; a complete overhaul of how I view  and manage relationships, and how I fit them into my life.

I want to figure out (and accept) the sort of relationship that I want. Then I want to learn how to make choices that will get me where I want to be.

The problem with changing this part of my life is ultimately, it is outside my control. I can make all the good choices I want; I still can't force the right person to walk into my life, fall hopelessly in love, and then live happily ever after with me.

I suppose the thing to do is concentrate on the things that are within my control. Like - just what does my happily ever after look like, anyway?

I'm working on it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Dream job

My dream job has always been to be a professional writer. I suppose technically, I am, since I make money from some of my writing. But I don't earn a living as a blogger; I barely earn spending money.

I suppose it would be easy enough to turn writing into my career. At this point, I could just tell people that's what I do; eventually, that's how people would see me, and - BAM! I'm a writer.

The trick is to actually earn enough money from writing to pay my bills. A little more difficult.

My bills are big. Writing earnings are not - at least, not at first, and there's no guarantee they ever would be.

So, I suppose in reality, my dream job is one that pays my bills, and fills my closet. Which makes my current job a dream job.

Or a nightmare.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Compliments

I'm not always good at receiving compliments. I don't always see myself the way others see me; makes it hard to see what they see when they're saying something nice.

But I try - and I'm improving.

I've gotten a few compliments recently. One that comes immediately to mind is when I posted a new photo of myself on facebook, so that I could make it my profile picture. Right away, a bunch of people "liked" the photo, and several left very nice comments.

I'll be honest - I hate my picture, and it's very hard for me to find one I'm willing to share. I took this one myself, with the front-facing camera on my phone, in a bathroom (with a wall as my background) because it was the only room at the (obviously Halloween-costume) party with sufficient light. I had to take the photo then because after I went to bed, I would no longer be sporting the feathers, sparkles, or makeup.

I'd just as soon upload a new profile photo without facebook making a big production. But these days, facebook turns everything into an event, so there's really no way around the post. It's even worse on my phone app, and by the time I can delete the post, I'll already have comment and/or likes, and at that point deleting just seems rude.

Plus, I appreciate the compliments. I think most people would just not say anything if they didn't have something nice to say. The compliments come across as sincere, and that is very easy to appreciate.

I suppose receiving compliments is something that takes practice - and that's just as good a way as any for me to keep improving.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Presidential actions

Today, we elect a President. Fabulous. Now we can all go back to normal, and argue about important things like the Kardashians and X-Factor.

I'm not sure I could do the President's job. I mean - that's a crap-ton of pressure. I have respect for anyone who can take his personal beliefs, set them aside, and do what's best for everyone as a whole. I'm not sure I could.

I understand our economy is tanked and our foreign policy needs a lot of work. Some decisions need to be made - and as President, that's something I would delegate. Trust me - you don't want me in charge when it comes to that stuff . I can barely even balance my own checkbook.

As far as social issues... I guess I'd want to look at making sure that people's rights are protected in the Constitution. Take the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) for instance.

My opinion on same-sex marriage* aside, I have a real problem with the Constitution being used as a vehicle to take away rights. I prefer to think of it as a way to ensure and protect rights.

Truth be told, I think the Federal Government should keep its nose out of marriage. Since DOMA - a conservative initiative - put that nose where it doesn't belong, I think the government is obligated to make sure rights of all citizens are protected, at least as far as the Constitution is concerned.

I'm not gay, so I have no personal interest in protecting gay rights. But even if what matters to me personally is different than what matters to the next person - the point is, we all have personal rights that need protecting.

If I can't trust my government to protect the rights of my friends - how can I trust my government to protect my rights?

The answer is - I can't. I think the government needs to do whatever it can to reassure all people that their rights are just as imporant as the next person's.

*All that said - love is love. No one knows better than me how damn-near-impossible it is to find good, honest, pure, sincere love. I can't for the life of me wrap my mind around any belief that love should be restricted. 

If two grown, unattached, (mostly) sane people capable of making their own decisions can find love - who is anyone else to judge? Now cut it out.

Monday, November 5, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Election thoughts

Tomorrow is Election Day. This being a leap year, we're choosing a President for the next four years.

All I have to say is - thank goodness it's almost over.

I am tired of all the political rants on facebook, and in my office. I don't care what your political beliefs are - you're entitled to them, same way I'm entitled to mine. But if you can't be civil and nice, at least be quiet.

We all have different priorities. What's really important to me might be less important to someone else. It doesn't make either of us wrong.

What makes people wrong is when they flat-out refuse to accept that someone else might have a point, even when disagreeing.

What makes people wrong is when they resort to name-calling, pointing fingers, placing blame without solutions, and perhaps even getting a little mean and/or violent. That's wrong.

At the end of the day, all that really matters is that you choose what you feel is important, find a candidate that makes sense, and cast your vote.

Because if you don't vote - you can't bitch. We all know how hard I'll fight to protect my right to complain.

Friday, November 2, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Where to live

"If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?"

It's a popular question, and people love to come up with fancy answers that they think sound cool. A big city like Manhattan or Paris, or a cabin in the woods, or somewhere warm or tropical.

The truth is, at some point in our lives, we all have the chance to make this exact choice become a reality. Maybe it's right out of school, or just after marriage, or after a divorce or another life change. At some point, we can all decide to change it up, and move away from wherever it is we landed.

I chose to stay right in the same place. My dad is here, and X and I made our home here to be close to him. I could move now - but I haven't, and I have no plans.

Could that change? Of course. I might move for my career; truthfully, the most likely reason I'd ever move would be if I found the love of my life, and had to move to be with him.

But at this very moment, I could choose to live anywhere I want - and I choose right where I am.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Favorite quote

Anyone who knows me will tell you I love a good quote. I speak in quotes often, and can come up with something that applies to just about any situation.

My inspiration for quotes? Maya Angelou, Marilyn Monroe, Sex and the City, George Carlin, Disney, and movies - to name a few.

I have two favorites (actually, I have more than that, but I'm picking two)...
"There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." ~ Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
Why is that my favorite? After my divorce, I decided I needed to do take the gagillion framed photos of me and X off the walls. Replacing the pictures was easier than removing the hardware and spackling and painting, so I headed to a booth at a local craft fair, in search of replacement art.

I found this quote on a painted wooden plaque. I hung it in the hall, where I see it every morning when I leave my bedroom.

Most of us don't give ourselves enough credit for being brave, strong, or smart. I was one of those people - and this quote reminds me I deserve more credit.

My other favorite quote?
"Here's all you need to know about men and women: Women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid." ~ When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops by George Carlin
Why is that my favorite? I've been divorced and dating for nearly four years, and I haven't found a more accurate way to describe the relationship between men and women.


NaBloPoMo - A November project

Writing challenges are all over the blogosphere. The intent is to inpire bloggers to write every day. I don't write every day, for the simple fact that I don't have time every day. But I do write whenever I can, and I love a good bit of inspiration.

My friend turned me on to the NaBloPoMo prompts over at BlogHer.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tell us your favorite quotation and why.

Friday, November 2, 2012

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Monday, November 5, 2012

What are your thoughts about tomorrow's election in the United States?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

If you were President of the United States, what would be your first act in office?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Talk about the last compliment you received.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

If you could have any job (and instantly have the training and qualifications to do it), which job would you want?

Friday, November 9, 2012

If you could change one thing about your life right now, what would it be?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Where is your favorite place to blog?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What is the bravest thing you've ever done?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tell us about the best meal you ever cooked.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tell us about your favorite pet.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Would you buy your dream house if the price was right BUT you also were told it was inhabited by ghosts?

Monday, November 19, 2012

If you had to get locked in some place (book store, amusement park, etc) overnight alone, where would you choose to be locked in?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Talk about the opening of your favorite book.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Where is your favorite place to read?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

When was the last time that you cried? Why?

Friday, November 23, 2012

What is the hardest word for you to say?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Do you speak more than one language? How did you learn the additional languages?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

If you could instantly know any language in the world, which one would it be?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tell us about the worst trip you ever took.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tell us about three new blogs you found this year.

Friday, November 30, 2012

What has been the hardest part about blogging daily?

Shall we? OK. If you're interested in seeing what other participants are posting, click here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I never liked to beg

My first Halloween costume ever was Wonder Woman. I was 5 years old. It was one of those awful, plasticy costumes with the horrible masks that were oh-so-popular in the 70's and 80's. I liked dressing up as Wonder Woman, but I remember wondering - why am I begging strangers for candy? This seems unsafe - and unnecessary. Can't we just go to the store and buy this stuff?

Me dressed up as a sparkly, coordinated witch.
Not a stretch.

Much to my father's relief, after that I sort of lost the taste for trick-or-treating. I think I may have gone once or twice more, but mostly, I just wanted to go to parties or shaving creme fights where I could dress up (with minimal effort) and have fun without begging.

I dressed up once in college - finally realizing my life-long dream of being one-half of a couples costume. Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. Because X was (and is) such a good guy - I did not have to beg.

As an adult, I only dress up if there's a party. When I do, I'm minimally creative, and unwilling to invest a whole lot of effort (or money). I don't enter costume contests, and I won't wear anything that isn't an outfit I'd normally wear, anyway. Nothing uncoordinated, no cheap makeup, no bad wigs.

Since I live in a house, I hand out candy. If I'm not going to be home, I leave a basket on the front step. I'd say I do this to be a good neighbor, but mostly it's because I don't want the little beggers to trash my front lawn.

I guess I never got the point of a holiday that celebrates dressing up as someone else - as if who you are isn't fabulous - and begging others to give you something you should know how to get for yourself.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Words shape your life

It's sort of funny to me how sometimes, the message at church is really appropriate and timely for me, and exactly what I need to hear. Other times, it's just down right eerie.

That's what happened this weekend, when my church started a new series called Words. The message this weekend was about how words can shape your life, and change your direction. At the end of the message, we all wrote down negative words that have been spoken to or about us - and then threw them away, and replaced them with the words God uses to describe us. 

It's a nice thought, and quite powerful. Honestly - I've been struggling a little bit with negative image, and figuring out how to see myself in a positive way, even when I get the opposite message. 

But truth be told, it's hard to use words like "redeemed" or "victorious" to replace words like "fat" or "ugly" and feel like I've come out ahead. I mean, I can be redeemed or victorious all day - it won't change my New Year's Eve situation. 

With regards to relationships, I was recently told that I need to stop with the negative thinking. If I start putting positive thoughts out, I will start getting some positive back.

I was told I need to stop thinking I'm not pretty enough or smart enough or successful enough. I especially need to realize that the right person is going to look at me for my whole person. He will see that I've "got it all going on" - but I have to see that first.

I was told that I need to not assume every guy will be a jerk, and start giving the good ones a chance. I need to start listening to my instincts more, and have more faith in myself.

I guess the message is the same - I need to replace the negative thoughts with more positive, and start seeing myself the way I want others to see me. After all, I can't expect to get positive, good things in my life if I'm not putting out positive, good thoughts. Right? 

I think we're taught too soon, and for too long, to judge ourselves based on what others think. We choose how to dress, what to say, who to like - and more - based on how our choices shape the opinions of others.  

By the time we're old enough to figure out that the opinions of others shouldn't really's kinda too late to unring the bell. So what's a gal to do? 

I guess I could start by listening to what people who actually like me have to say. They'll tell me I'm pretty, smart, funny, talented, compassionate, generous, thoughtful, sincere...those are some nice words. Plus, I mean, let's face it - I obviously surround myself with the best people. If that's what they're saying...well, there's no way they're all wrong. Right?

Even bigger than listening to those words, is figuring out a way to silence the words of others. To completely discount the opinions of people who don't think I'm any of those things. When someone says or does something that makes me feel less than what I know myself to be...he needs to go

I need to remember that I have the option of seeing myself the way he sees me - or the way I know myself to be. Then I need to make the right choice.

Negative words will always be there. I guess the trick is to make sure the positive words are talking louder.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I'll admit...

...that I got this idea from Baking Suit

...that I have two posts that have been sitting in draft-stage for weeks, because I keep getting distracted.

...that I probably don't need any more shoes.

...that I'd love to resign from my job, but I'm very attached to the quality of life the salary affords.

...that I should be more careful with my money.

...that I sometimes give in to feelings when I shouldn't.

...that some of my best stories are born from bad ideas.

...that I sometimes know something is a bad idea, but might do it anyway.

...that I can (almost) always handle the consequences when that happens.

...that sometimes, I really don't like when friends offer opinions or advice.

...that I sometimes just want to stay home, eat unhealthy food, and watch stupid TV.

...that sometimes I wish I was the sort of person who could just unplug - but that's just not me.

...that there are some things even I won't admit here.

...that sometimes it feels good to admit things - so feel free to do so below.

Friday, October 5, 2012

My hair's not on fire

I am traveling this weekend to visit a friend in Virginia. Since I've never taken a train beyond Penn Station in NY, and never by myself, I decided to splurge a little and make the trip on Amtrak. I say splurge because it will end up costing me more than driving. I weighed the cost against the fact that I wanted a new adventure, 9+ hours is a long drive to do alone, the miles on my car, and the fact that traveling by train allows me time to relax while someone else does the work.

Train won. 

I woke up earlier than any human ever should this morning (5 am). I had to get ready, take care of the kitties, say goodbye to my housemate's munchkins, then drive 30 minutes, park, and get to the gate for an 8:05 am train. I arrived at Penn Station at 10:35, and departed on a train bound for Richmond at 11:35. So far, so good. 

As I was standing in Penn Station, hovering around the departure board waiting for my gate to be announced, I realized something, that I think I can finally admit:

I really don't like New York City. 

It's not that it's scary, because it really isn't. True, I find it a little intimidating because I don't know my way around, but it's actually pretty easy to navigate if you just pay attention. I'm not worried about crime or terrorism or anything because, well, worrying would do no good. Also I've never seen so many security people in one place at one time.

It isn't that I find the people rude. I know New Yorkers have that reputation, but honestly, I've never really encountered that issue. Not to mention - it was Penn Station. Not everyone in there is from New York. This morning, I saw an older woman drop a bunch of paperwork, and no fewer than three people rushed to help her. 

I even enjoy the part of New York that involves walking around, seeing sights, shopping, and wandering in and out of museums. Oh, and people watching. Don't forget the people watching.

What I don't like is the pressure. All the bustle and confusion and hurry up and get where you need to be, even if all you're going to do is wait. I don't like the pressure of always hurrying, never stopping, and feeling like I'm in the way. 

I'm not high-strung, and I'm never urgent. Almost nothing is an emergency to me. I feel very out of place in an environment like Manhattan - where everything is a "my hair's on fire" kind of moment. 

I guess the truth is, I'm more an upstate kind of pace is a little more relaxed, and my hair is never on fire.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fast food for lunch

Sometimes I eat fast food for lunch. By "fast" I mean food that comes from a building with a drive-thru attached. I don't consider things like Panera or Chipotle (or Moe's, which I prefer) fast food.

The only fast food I really "like" is Taco Bell. I say like that way because it's not my favorite way to eat what passes for Mexican/Southwest Style food. I'd much rather go somewhere a little more authentic, or - brace yourself - even prepare something at home.

But sometimes I just don't have the energy to deal with lousy parking or lunch-time crowds. Sometimes I'm wearing heels and there's no way I can risk having to walk what will feel like a mile to get food. Taco Bell is also the only place I can get Baja Blast Mountain Dew. It's also slightly less expensive than some other places.

Convenience and price are my major incentives, but of course, there is that whole I-want-to-live-longer-so-I'm-trying-to-stay-healthy bit. When I started counting calories, I had to cut down the number of times per week I allowed myself the convenience of a fast-food lunch.

Notice I didn't say eliminate; I still eat fast-food from time to time. I look up the nutritional information online and track the calories the way I would for any other meal. It just so happens that when I eat a fast-food lunch, I don't each much else for the rest of the day (and/or I make sure I can hit the gym after work).

You see - it's not all about convenience or price for me. I'm an emotional eater, too, and when I have a bad day/week/month, sometimes junk food makes me feel better. Not healthy, not normal, but whatever. Some people drink alcohol; I eat sugar and salt. It's definitely a vice, but I like to think I have many other fine qualities.

Since I'm having a spectacularly crap-tastic week, I decided to have junk for lunch today. It doesn't make me sick the way it does for some people. In fact, the only food that ever makes me sick? Vegetables. Go figure.

What could be so bad that a person needs to drown the sorrow in sodium, chemicals, and over-processed food that barely passes as meat? I'm glad you asked.

***Please note: The rest of this post is really just me whining. I don't expect to have anything productive or helpful to say, or lessons to teach. Feel free to stop reading. ***

* I'm sick. I believe I have a sinus infection. I'm not a doctor, but I do know my body. Twice a year (spring and fall) my allergies kick into over-drive. The congestion usually turns into bronchitis. Last spring it was an ear infection. Last fall? My eye got so swollen that it became infected from natural bacteria on my eyelid. I got a staph infection from my own body.

More than once, this bi-annual infection has manifested itself as a sinus infection. The swelling on the side of my nose, and the fact that it's red and warm tells me there some inflammation. The slight feaver and fatigue suggest an infection. Since my ears and chest are fine, and neither eye is bright red, I'm thinking sinus infection.

* So go to the doctor! (You might say.) I'd freakin' love to. But my doctor can't be bothered to see me on an urgent basis. Or, her version of urgent and mine aren't in sync. Since this is the second time that the office's limited hours and resources has forced me into the hands of urgent care, I'm in the process of finding a new doctor. In the meantime, I might need treatment before I can get an appointment. My urgent care copay is $150; it's only $25 for a doctor visit. I can think of a lot of ways I'd rather spend that $125.

Either way, I'll suffer through the rest of today. Urgent care will be there if I need them. I have a hair appointment after work - I've never been sick enough to miss a hair appointment.

* Did I mention that now I have to look for a new doctor? I hate paperwork. It stresses me out.

* Work has been driving me absolutely bonkers for the last week. I inherited a bunch of clients last spring, which has shifted my book and made 10/1 almost as busy a renewal date as 1/1. That makes September almost as miserable as December. Rush projects, last minute changes, tons of meetings - all while keeping up with the day-to-day stuff. It's a real bummer.

* Personal life. I have one. It's stressing me out right now. I dislike changes and I dislike uncertainty even more. I'm also pretty bad at commitment.

* One of my personal email accounts was hacked. Some person in Venezuela used my email to send some sort of link to a bunch of my friends. I don't know what the link was; I'm guessing some silly ad. It was annoying inconvenience, just not something I felt like dealing with this week.

I think that's all I have to share. Yes I realize I have it better than most people. My problems are nothing compared to what some have going on. I realize I'm lucky and blessed. Believe me when I say that not a day goes by that I don't remember to thank God for what's good in my life.

One of those good things is that I can eat comfort food, and as long as I track the calories, I don't have to feel too guilty.

Another is that I knew enough to create my own little corner of the internet, where I can cry if I want.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Guess my number

From Shush Shoes Facebook Page
No, not that number. The number I want you to guess is way more embarrassing.

I switched my shoe wardrobe from spring/summer to fall/winter the other day. Yes, I have so many pairs of shoes that I have to box/store half the collection just to keep it manageable.

Which got me wondering how many pairs I actually have; so, while I was moving stuff around, I counted.

The number is a little embarrassing, really. Almost too painful to write.

So, I'm going to let you do the writing. Leave a comment for me below with your guess for the number of shoes I own. I'm talking an all-in number - dress shoes, work shoes, event shoes, slippers, flip-flops, sneakers. Everything.

The person whose guess is closest to the actual count will win this lovely Sephora makeup bag filled with goodies I've collected from shopping at, and also*

Comment whenever you like, but to be eligible for the contest, you must comment before noon on Friday, September 21. Comment as many times as you like, but only your first guess will be counted for the contest. Make sure you either sign in with contact information, or check back to see if you won so you can get in touch with me.

*Please note the Sephora makeup bag was free with my last online purchase. Online purchases from Sephora also yield a crap-ton of samples, and Birchbox is a service to which I have a paid description. So the samples were either paid for by me, or free to me as a result of a purchase. Neither Sephora nor Birchbox paid me to mention them in this post. I just like their stuff and have a whole lot of it laying around. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

The gym - random observations

I've been to the gym every night this week. The enormous amount of pain I feel is (slightly) balanced by the slightly-smaller feeling of accomplishment. Life is about balance, I suppose.

Some random observations from My Week at the Gym.

- Putting a gym right next door to a pizza place is bad planning - or cruel. Maybe both.

- I am neither a business person nor a real estate expert, but I found at least three places between the gym and my house that would be perfect for a sushi restaurant.

- That said - I actually found a very good sushi place very close to my house, that also does take-out and delivery. I can't even begin to describe my excitement. [This is sort of tangential to the gym observations. I stopped there on the way home from the gym, so I included it here.]

- I find it annoying that people sit on a machine, without using it, particularly when I'm waiting.

- Only slightly less annoying is when people use a machine incorrectly. C'mon - if I can figure out the right way to do the exercise, anyone can.

- I'm hoping by November my hair is long enough that I'll be able to clip all of it back.

- The hair clip I got in Target's $1 section is awe-some.

- Women need the calf press more than men, and should get precedence for that machine. I have to wear heels; you don't.

- Just because I'm looking at the TV that's in your direction doesn't mean I'm checking you out. Get over yourself.

- The absolute last thing on my mind when I'm at the gym is making new friends. I'm so miserable, I barely want the friends I already have.

- Don't wear skin tight pants and a cleavage-enhancing tank top, and then pretend you didn't want those guys staring at you. We all know better. [Not saying anyone is wrong for liking attention, just for not owning how they really feel.]

- I feel going to the gym is largely a waste of time, with very little return. However, being at the gym the other night meant I avoided a close encounter of the skunk-kind. It's the little things.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Progress report

I feel like I owe this little corner of the internet an update on how I'm doing with respect to my fitness goals. It's been a while, and things have changed for me considerably during that time.

I realize you didn't actually ask, but you're here, which I take as a sign that you care even just a little bit, and I plan to capitalize on that curiosity.

The truth is - I fell off the wagon a little. After a bad spell, I had to adjust some priorities. Truthfully, the gym lost out a little bit. Then I went on a vacation (more to come on that), and things really fell apart. 

But, I'm happy to report that a) my pants still fit the same and b) I'm getting back on track. 

I've been avoiding eye-contact with the scale, but I'm sure I've gained. The fact that my pants still fit the same suggests that the gain has been insignificant. The fact that I'm getting back on track means that by next month, me and the scale will probably be back on speaking terms. 

I still say that all this getting-healthy nonsense is going to be the death of me. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Put away your white

I posted this on facebook yesterday, to a mixed reaction.

And by mixed, I mean I say no, and five friends said yes. The sixth friend said he prefers reflective silver year-round. I suspect he was making a joke.

Back to my answer....I don't wear white after Labor Day. But let me be clear - the rule, as it was taught to me, is nothing below the waist after Labor Day. So a crisp white shirt? Fine, though in colder months I'm more likely to layer that under a sweater anyway.

White shoes? I'm not likely to wear purely white shoes any time of the year. I do put my shoes with white in them in winter retirement until Memorial Day.

White pants? You'd have to shoot me with a tranquilizer dart to get me in a pair, anyway, but if I wore them - they would also be resting now.

No white shoes means no white purses because, well, it won't look right.
That is such an old-fashioned rule. People still stick to that?
A lot of things are old-fashioned. Doesn't necessarily make them wrong. The idea of a bride wearing white at her wedding is certainly old-fashioned, and people still pay thousands to do so. How about eating with the proper utensils? That's old-fashioned - but (most civilized) people still do.

I was taught the no-white rule by my grandmother (Nanny). You may say, well see, it's a dated tradition - and that's fine. If you want to wear white after Labor Day, have at it. I don't need the guilt and judgment from the hereafter, nor do I think a pair of white polka-dotted wedges is worth worrying about what will happen should I run into Nanny in heaven.

Besides - if an idea stands the test of time, and still makes sense, is it old-fashioned? Or is really just classic? I wouldn't wear velvet or wool or tweed in the summer, either. Is that idea old-fashioned - or is it just practical?
Stacy and Clinton tell me it's OK to wear white any time of year.
By all accounts I could find, this is true. There are entire posts about how to rock white all year round.

I choose not to, because it's how I was taught. Nanny also taught me to say please, write thank you notes, be a gracious house-guest, how to set a proper table, and do dishes. I suppose some people also consider those ideas to be old-fashioned as well.

Each generation is different, and everyone should think for herself. Nanny taught me an awful lot that I don't follow, and believe me when I say I've done a lot of things that would not have made her proud. But some of what she taught just makes sense....

So I don't wear white shoes after Labor Day.

Friday, August 31, 2012


Got a bit of a wedding theme going on this week....yes, that's just a coincidence.

While I generally prefer crime dramas when I watch TV (except for Big Bang Theory, which is just the best show ever), I'm not opposed to the occasional, reality TV train-wreck. Sometimes, the bigger the wreckage, the better.

If you agree, then Bridezillas is a show you simply must check out.

The WE original follows two brides per show in the days leading up to their wedding, showcasing all the ways in which a wedding ceremony can turn a (seemingly) normal woman into a fire-breathing monster from the planet She's Insane - otherwise known as a bridezilla.

No job is too big, expense is too high, or request is too outrageous - for everyone else. Their freak-outs are embarrassing at best, and bordering on painful. They behave like spoiled brats, throwing temper tantrums if anyone doesn't jump at their every order. One bride brought her bridesmaid to a tanning salon and yelled at her, and the technician, when the color didn't come out the way she wanted.

So why do I watch? These women are so ridiculous it's entertaining. Also, it is hard to look away - like a train wreck.

Not to mention, they are so horribly behaved, they make me look like an angel.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Marital advice...from me?

Baking Suit and Frank got married had a picnic with a judge this weekend. Master of Ceremonies GenWar (I definitely recommend you click that link, but maybe you don't click it at work) asked several of us if we would like to participate in the "drunk toast." As he explains, when people have a celebration of any sort, he feels that at least one friend should rise to the challenge of delivering a toast to the happy occasion in a less-than-sober state.

"I don't drink," I protested.

"That's fine. I'll take care of the drunk part," he responded.

Uneasy about the idea, I asked, "What would I say?"

His response? "Well I don't know, but at your birthday party I got to hang out with your ex-husband while he cooked, so I'm assuming you must be doing something right."

After a moment of reflection, I thought, "Somehow, I don't think this is the place or time to offer advice on how to remain friends with an ex spouse."

This exchange lasted for a few minutes, culminating with GenWar stealing my sparkly purple sunglasses and leaving me with his straw hat. I totally chickened out on the speech, because giving happy marital advice to a newly, happily un-married couple at their non-wedding wasn't something I felt I could do on the fly.

But, having had a pretty successful marriage for 9 years (we were married for 10, but that last year really wasn't very good), and having remained friends with said ex-spouse, I figure GenWar might be right (don't tell him I said that). I might have something of value to offer. So, having had a couple days to think it over, this is what I've come up with:

- Stay true to yourselves. Yes, you will both grow and change, and that's OK. Life would be boring if we always stayed the same. You fell in love with each other for who you really are. Stay true to those feelings, and true to who you are - the rest will always work itself out.

- Don't sweat the small stuff. Most of it is small. You're both ridiculously smart, so you'll know the big stuff when it comes. Tackle it head-on, as a team, and you'll be fine.

- Focus on each other. Yeah - family, friends, work, obligations...they're all important. Don't give them up. But at the end of the day, you and you are what matters most. Don't let anyone or anything come between you.

- Be honest. If you're doing something you feel you need to hide from the other person - you need to stop. Immediately.

- Don't discount each other's stuff. No matter how insignificant the other's collection may seem, if it's important to one of you, it should be important to both of you. The same goes for feelings.

- Don't give up what matters to you outside the marriage. Yes, I know, this is a little contrary to the point about focusing on each other, but it's a big part of staying true to yourselves. It's a balancing act. You'll screw it up once or twice, but keep trying and you'll get it right.

- Don't share a bathroom. Trust me - nothing good can come from this.

- Never forget to remember how much better your lives are because they've come together.

When all else fails - find separate corners until you can play nice.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Who, me?

I puffy-pink heart Baking Suit for many, many reasons. Her love of shoes, her sunny way of looking at life, her WTF feature, and the fact that she always brings me baked goods are just a few of my favorite things about this fabulous lady.

One of her favorite bloggers gave her an award....which she has passed on to me. I'm not sure why - but I certainly appreciate the thought!

As a recipient, I agree to:

1. Thank the blogger who gave it to me, and share a link back to her awarding blog. {Done}
2. Name five fabulous moments in my life.
3. Name five things that I love.
4. Name five things that I hate.
5. Pass the award on to five deserving bloggers.

Here we go....

Five Fabulous Moments
* Signing paperwork to purchase my house on my own
* Buying my own car (without a husband or a dad cosigning)
* Hosting a rather successful fundraiser
* Earning my CPCU Designation.
* The moment I realized I had an awful lot to live for, and I could do this on my own.

Five Things I Love (Like Baking Suit, my list does not include family, friends, or kitties, which are all givens)
* Chocolate
* Derek Jeter
* Sushi
* Shemar Moore
* Shopping

Five Things I Hate
* Ignorance
* Cooked Carrots
* Animal Cruelty
* Bigotry or discrimination of any kind
* Spelling and grammatical errors

Five Deserving Bloggers (To whom I'm passing on this award)
* Amanda
* DerryX
* Angela
* Stephanie
* Girl's Got Shine
(I spend a lot of time at when I should be working!)