Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Make some mistakes

I think the problem with resolutions is that we set our sights on the big picture, which is often overwhelming and takes a long time to achieve.
For the last few years, I've chosen a big-picture goal, and then gone about it by setting small tasks for myself to accomplish throughout the year. By giving myself manageable items to check off a list, I set myself up for success, and am more likely to actually achieve my big-picture result.
I'd like 2015 to be a year of big change. I plan to accomplish that by completing a few smaller goals:  
  • Get a promotion (already applied)
  • Earn a new designation (or at least start one - some take more than a year)
  • Travel to someplace I haven't been
  • Learn to make something in my crock pot
  • Add to my "Rememberlutions Jar" each day
  • Self-publish a book (or at least get it started)
  • Less searching and worrying (this will have to be a day to day thing)
  • More faith that things will work out on their own (more day to day)
  • Napping - because napping is important
  • Make a few mistakes (this should be easy, particularly with the crock pot goal - and the less worrying)
Why mistakes? Change requires that I do things I've never done, which means I'm bound to mess things up. In order to change, I can't be afraid to make mistakes. Instead, I make them a goal - which practically forces me to try new things. See what I did there?
"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something." Neil Gaiman
Cheers to 365 days of mistakes - make 'em count!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Everything, always

Christmas was always my favorite holiday growing up. I love presents, and as the only child of divorced parents, I got a crap-ton on Christmas.

When I was married, Christmas was still my favorite. I was (and am) still an only child - and I continued to get a crap-ton of stuff. Some of it turned into gift cards, which was great. There were just enough to last until my birthday, which my parents conveniently placed just about 6 months out. Nicely done!

Then I got divorced, which I admit put a pretty big damper on Christmas. Don't get me wrong - I still have a lovely holiday, I'm still surrounded by wonderful people, and I do still like stuff (though there's something to be said for downsizing).

Something else I learned this year is that there's been something missing from my holidays (and, probably other days, too, but let's focus). The most important, lovely, and special things simply don't fit under a tree.

Shiny packages and pretty stuff can make a great substitute - that is, until your heart figures out what really matters most.

Luckily, the trick to finding the important stuff is the same as when you asked Santa for a new toy on Christmas.


Merry Everything, Happy Always - that's my Christmas wish.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Stuff I learned in 2014

It's been kind of a long year. A whole lot has happened, yet in some ways I still feel like I am in the same spot. I figured out some things I want to fix, and I'm doing OK, but feel like I have a little ways to go. I thought it might help to look back at what I actually learned and accomplished in 2014.
I learned that positive thinking actually works. I allowed myself to visualize the way I wanted my life to look on my 40th birthday - and it happened. To be honest, I thought I had a hold of the whole positive thinking thing a while back, but I really don't think I truly "got" it until this year.
I learned that you're never too far gone to start making better choices. Earlier this year I made some horrible, icky decisions (yeah, it was pretty bad). I thought there was no way to recover from those mistakes, but have since figured out it was as simple as forgiving myself, and then saying, "no more."
I learned that my life will probably never look the way I thought it would. More importantly, I learned that's OK with me. My happiness doesn't have to be like everyone else's, it just has to make me smile.
I learned that my past might shape me, but it doesn't have to define me.
I learned that a person is never too old to learn patience. I also learned that patience is not an easy thing to learn.
I learned what faith really is - and I learned that it works.
I learned was reminded that the most important people are those who will tell you the truth, even when it is not what you want to hear.
I learned that when you build walls to protect yourself from the bad, you also block your blessings. Letting people in is a risk - but it's one that's worth taking.
I learned that a lot can happen in a year. I'm ready to see what might happen in 2015.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Give big

I know a lot of people who like to say they hate "stuff," they don't need material things to be happy, they have learned to appreciate the people and memories in life. Etc, etc, etc.

I agree with it all. People are more important than things and happiness isn't found on a shelf. But there's still no denying - I love to shop.

I disagree that the ideas are mutually exclusive. A person can love to shop and still appreciate all that she has.

I spent some money on Black Friday, Cyber Monday...and all the surrounding days. On stuff for other people, and yes, on stuff for myself.

Today is Giving Tuesday. I will spend a little today, too - just not on stuff. Today I will support the causes that mean so much to me. Causes that help boost the lives and spirits and self-esteem for kids in my area. Organizations that make a difference in my community.

If you have an organization that you love, today is a great day to carve out some of your holiday-spending budget and give back. Or, volunteer your time - or just do a random act of kindness for someone.

The littlest things will make a big difference.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." ~ Dr. Seuss

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region

Girls Incorporated of the Greater Capital Region

Monday, November 24, 2014

Choose happy

I am going to let you in on a little secret: Starting around November 15, I start wishing it would just be New Years Day, already. Sure, I enjoy my time with friends, and I like all the yummy food the holidays offer. Anyone who knows me knows I love Christmas presents (giving and receiving, thankyouverymuch). I get a kick out of some of my holiday decorations, since I'm a sucker for glitter and sparkle.

But damn, if this time of year isn't tough.

Between the extra family stress and the fact that my traditions are...well....non-existent at this point, I'm about done with decking my halls. I just want to eat a little food, watch "It's a Wonderful Life," reflect on a few good memories, and hope for the best as I turn yet another page.

Since I live with depression every day of my life, I know what to do and how to manage. I am thankful to be in a position where I can actually choose to be happy. I wasn't always here; happiness was once nothing more than a fuzzy idea that seemed totally out of reach. So I know just how lucky I am.

I have learned ways to find happiness. When that fails - I have learned how to create happiness. I have learned that, if you're lucky, happiness really is a choice - one you have to make every single day.

But it's still tough - and I know I am not the only one. So if you know someone going through a tough time, here is a good list of things not to say.

If you're going through a rough time, just remember - January is coming. Until then, if you need a smile, let me know. I'm sure I have one or two to spare.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Forever people

Friendship is weird. Think about it - who we meet sometimes seems pretty random. If you're like me, you probably meet new people all the time. Most just pass right by. But every now and then, you meet someone and stop. It's like you both decided, "Hey - I like this one. I think I'll keep it."

Even though it seems random and senseless, I personally think we meet who we meet for very good reasons. Sometimes it takes a really long time to understand. Other times, it's obvious right away. Sometimes, we never really know.

I feel like that's because it's not always about us. They say people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Sometimes the reason isn't ours - we're there to help someone else learn a lesson or get through a difficult time.

The downside of that is the potential to get hurt. I have shed quite a few tears over the hurtful words or actions of others. Sometimes, it just hurts when I lose them from my life.

I used to think those encounters were some sort of proof that I did not deserve happiness. The whole,"why me; what did I do to deserve that?" thing. But over time, I have come to look at these reason/season people as a blessing.

{Stop rolling your eyes. I'm being serious here.}

How wonderful is it to be in such a good place, I am strong enough to bring good into someone else's life? Even if it means a little temporary heartache - what better proof could there be that I am on the right path?

More proof I'm on the right track? In completely random, senseless ways I have met some amazing forever people. People I could call anytime, and I know they'd stop what they were doing to come help. People who, at different times and in different ways, have all helped carry me when I could not carry myself.

If I can bring them half the blessings they bring me, I'd say I'm doing just fine.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Keep it off the playground

Forgiveness is funny. It's one of those things we're taught when we're young - and we learn quickly. Someone hits us on the playground, the teacher makes him apologize, we say "apology accepted," and within five minutes we're back to playing.

It seems so simple. But then the mistakes and offenses get bigger. We deal with more than a sore arm. There's no one to remind anyone to apologize. Eventually, we forget how to forgive.

We start assigning value. Some things deserve an apology, and some don't. Some apologies are worth accepting, while others are not. We think we're hurting the other person by withholding that forgiveness; teaching him a lesson. We have completely forgotten how nice it was to return to the playground without anger or fear.

Forgiveness isn't something you pick and choose. It isn't a weapon or a lesson. A mistake is a mistake, and one hurt feeling is not worse than another. Forgiveness isn't a reward for an apology, or a long-standing friendship, or because someone is your favorite.

A forgiving heart is one that accepts hurt feelings and then lets the anger go. Forgiveness is a tool; a way to release ourselves from negative feelings and allow light back in.

Does that mean you never get angry? Does it mean that you allow yourself to be mistreated? Is a forgiving heart a weak heart? Of course not.

It means that you have the strength to realize that, at any given moment, everyone you meet is doing the best he can with what he's got. Sometimes that best falls short and leaves you on the losing end. Forgiveness means having the power to pick up the pieces, fix what you can, and move forward.

It keeps your heart light, and keeps those hurt feelings off the playground. So the next time someone says he's sorry, you won't be too hurt to say, "OK."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Supposed to be

We are all supposed to be someone.

I'm a woman, so I am supposed to want kids to raise and a house to decorate and a husband to love me.

I'm 40 - so I'm supposed to be sad that I have none of those things. I'm also supposed to feel all washed up.

I'm a "curvy girl" so I'm supposed to desperately try to lose weight (probably so I can attract that missing husband). I'm also supposed to have incredibly low self-esteem, and no self-confidence.

I'm a child of divorce, who is divorced herself, so I'm supposed to be cynical (at best) about love.

I come from a family that leaves - either physically or emotionally. So I am not supposed to trust, or know how to express my feelings. I am supposed to be scared and angry and depressed. I am supposed to react in anger.

I'm an only child, so I am supposed to be completely spoiled, selfish, self centered, and incredibly shy.

I'm sure some of that is true, or at least was true at some point. I certainly struggle with self-esteem and confidence. I am pretty spoiled. I haven't always been great at expressing myself. I'm sure some of those things come and go, depending on my circumstances. Some probably always will.

But those things do not define me. I have learned that every one of us can overcome who we are supposed to be. Things like family and childhood and past experiences do not have the last say in who we are.

In the end, we choose who we will become. It may be a long road, and we might trip and fall along the way - but the path is ours to make.

I am not who I am because of everything I have been through. I am who I am in spite of it.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Take the first step

When I tell people I have faith, they usually give me the, "C'mon, you don't really believe in that, do you?" look.

Well, yeah, I do - or I wouldn't have said so.

But I understand the question mark. For a long, long, long time, I had zero faith. I thought things had to be forced into shape. If it didn't fit, I pushed harder. I thought faith was an excuse to be lazy, and not work for what you want.

Over the last couple of years, I have learned that faith is a lot of trust mixed with a lot of work. Faith means you keep moving towards your goal - while trusting that whatever happens is part of the plan.

You still have dreams and wishes. You still set goals. You still make plans.  You still do all you can to get where you want to be. Keep up your end of the deal.

At some point, you accept that you've done what you can. What remains is out of your control.

Then you keep moving forward, as if you know how things will turn out. That's faith.

What's meant to be will always find its way - but you need to participate.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Apple CEO comes out, brings stupid people along

I honestly didn't know who Tim Cook was until this morning, when every news outlet I follow anywhere "broke the news" that he announced he is gay.

I'd much prefer to live in a world where men and women announcing their sexual orientation would not be news. But - apparently, a lot of people care.

Search "Tim Cook Android" on twitter, and you'll find tons of people who are either happy they already use Android devices, or who plan to switch because Apple's CEO came out.

Disturbing? You betcha. But now that those folks have come out (as being stupid), here's a thought....

CEOs from all tech giants should come out. As something, I don't care what. Gay, bi, lesbian, trans gender. Whatever you got.

All the ignorant biggots would have to cancel their plans and throw out their devices.

Then the rest of us can continue browing Buzzfeed lists and cat videos in peace.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Work in progress

I have often said that everything happens for a reason. I actually do believe that things happen the way they're meant to, and we are right where we are supposed to be.

That doesn't mean stuff always makes sense. When I find myself in the middle of a difficult time, my first reaction is almost always, "Why?" I'd like to think I've been through enough and at some point, I deserve for stuff to just start working.

This weekend, I was supposed to be out of town for an annual Halloween party. It was canceled at the last minute, and I found myself with an incredibly empty schedule.

Since I was in town, I figured I'd go to church Saturday night. Our regular Pastor was not there. Instead, he had a church member share a personal message about control - and how we need to be willing to admit when things are out of our control, and hand them over to God.

I won't sit here and pretend to be all religious or try to convince anyone what his or her relationship with God should be. In my opinion, that's totally personal.

But that message is particularly relevant to my life right now. I needed to hear what she had to say. I am going through stuff over which I have zero control.... which has always been a challenge for me.

I have long been that person who thought everything was her fault - and her job to fix. Only child, divorced parents, abandonment issues... yadda, yadda, yadda. I realized several years ago it didn't matter why or how I got that way - I just needed to fix the problem.

It's not always easy. There are times when I still wonder if I've messed up, or I'm not good enough, or I don't deserve better.

But then I remember, that was once the way way I felt all the time. It wasn't something I wondered, either; I was sure I didn't deserve to be happy.

I also used to look at life's challenges as a reminder of how weak I was, and something from which I needed to hide. I figured I just deserved to be unhappy, so I let everything defeat me.

Now, when something is difficult - I meet it head on. I see it as a chance to prove to myself I can handle anything - even the stuff I never thought I could. It's a chance to grow - and maybe have something better than I ever thought possible.

I'd call that progress.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Give it a try

I've been told I am a very pragmatic person. Even as a kid, I always wanted to understand "why." If the why didn't make sense, I didn't subscribe to the lesson. "Because I said so" never really worked with me (which, you can imagine, led to the occasional conflict).

As a young adult, I left that behind for a while. I started chasing goals and dreams that belonged to others, because it was what I thought I was "supposed to do." I figured that when I finally checked all of the items off the list, I'd see what all the fuss was about.

I did not.

Now that I am (*ahem*) older, I've come full circle. I'm back to searching out "whys" that make sense. "Because everyone else is doing it" doesn't cut it anymore.

My choices don't always make sense to the people around me. Sometimes I think my friends and family (especially my family) wonder if I haven't let things get completely off-track. 

Those who know me best, know better. I am not ignoring what I know, and what I have learned. Pride, reason, and experience are all still a part of every choice I make.

I'm just finally letting my heart have a say, too.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Moving target

Ever find yourself thinking, "Why me?" Or, maybe even worse, "Why not me?"

We've all been there. You look around and it seems like everyone else has their stuff together. Right job, right relationship, right home - whatever. Then you look back at yourself and you think, "What happened here? Why don't I have that?"

I think that feeling is normal - sometimes. The trick (I think) is to get some perspective before you're overcome with the overwhelming anxiety that can follow.

Happiness isn't really a destination; it's more like a moving target. Sometimes you're right in line with exactly what you want or where you want to be. Other times, you think you know - only to find that it isn't all you expected. So, you have to pivot, and adjust your aim.

If you're anything like me, you probably feel like you're always pivoting. Maybe you have found yourself wondering why you can't just have what you want?

I like to think that maybe I haven't hit my target because I've been aiming too low. I suppose it would be easy to think that I somehow don't deserve to just be happy like everyone else. But I prefer to think that my happiness isn't simple like everyone else.

Mine will be absolutely amazing.

So what's a lady to do while she waits, and sets her sights on amazing?

Think about all you have. Focus on all the happiness you've already found, and how much better things are than they could have been.

Remember -  your goal isn't to reach the end, anyway. Three months from now, "happy" could look completely different than today's target. That's not a problem for those of us who know how to adjust - just means there's always something to look forward to.

So maybe those of us who are always pivoting are the ones who have it right.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Most women don't think they're enough. Not pretty enough, thin enough, tall enough, smart enough, rich enough.... Whatever it is - in our heads, we're not enough.

We're even taught that if someone tells us we are {insert compliment}, we should deny the idea. "Oh, please - look at my butt/abs/thighs/hair/etc." How can we ever have a healthy self-esteem if we're tearing ourselves down, even when others try to build us up?

It has taken me a long time (plus a lot of tears, and a little counseling) to learn that I really am enough. I'll never be thin, and the tall ship sailed about 30 years ago. I definitely look better some days more than others, but I know that I have plenty more to offer - and it makes me more than enough.

This morning I ran across this post about changing women's inner voice, the one that tells us we're not enough. It got me thinking - what if we all started telling each other how we really see one another? How much better would the world be if every woman saw her own value? Knew her own worth?

The thing is - we women have to listen. It won't do any good to hear positive words if we shoot them down.

If you know a beautiful woman, tell her. Tell her why she's beautiful. Tell her how she makes you feel; tell her why she's valuable.

Ladies, if someone tells you you're beautiful - listen. Don't dismiss the idea. Really hear that person tell you why you're beautiful, and say thank you. Believe them - because they're right.

That would make the world a much more beautiful place.

Monday, September 22, 2014

As good a place as any

Twenty years ago, 40 sounded ancient. I expected to feel old. I expected to be married, settled in a home, and in a career that was pretty secure. Instead, I'm....not any of those things.

Which, I then expected would make me feel sad. I thought I'd feel like a failure; like I'd let my life veer terribly off course, and I was going to lose a bunch of time as I tried to steer it back.

Turns out, much like my thirties, I was totally wrong about forty.

The year I turned 38 was a particularly bad one; 39 wasn't much better. More than one friend assured me I had nothing to worry about. Things get better at 40, they insisted. It's when life begins.

Still skeptical, I figured it couldn't hurt to at least try. I started envisioning what I'd like my life to look like at 40. As the date drew closer, I wasn't sure it would work out. I kept hoping, praying, keeping my fingers crossed. Then - poof! It all came together.

I used to look at 40 as an ending. It seemed so old, so final - what could I possibly look forward to after 40?

I've come to learn that is entirely the wrong way to look at things. The end should never be the goal. It shouldn't even be acceptable. We shouldn't look for endings; only new beginnings.

I started this blog to talk about the lessons I learned when I accepted that my life was never going to look the way I planned. I was a "30-something figuring life out - again. " As I'm no longer 30-something, I've been thinking this blog needs a new central message.

Since 40 seems to be a good place for my life to start over, I guess it's a good place for the blog to start over, too.

Here's to new beginnings.... 40 is as good a place as any.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Question about Facebook Messenger permissions

*raises hand*

Everyone is really upset about the permissions required for the Facebook Messenger app. All the articles I've read tell what those permissions are, and why I should be offended and opposed. But I haven't found one that talks about how (or if) they're any different from the permissions I already gave Facebook.

Example - I synched my Facebook contacts with my phone contacts. That means if my Facebook friend shares his/her phone number or email address, Facebook added it to my contact list. I can now use my SMS app, phone app, email apps tp contact my friend, all thanks to Facebook.

But, presumably the Facebook app needed permission to read my contacts and personal profile information to make that happen. It would also need to be able to find the various email and SMS apps, to help me make the contact.

The same is true if I want to use Facebook to take or share a photo or video. It has to be able to identify and interact with those apps in order to read and share the file.

As for changing "the state of network connectivity" - if I've told Facebook to keep me available, or to refresh every 30 minutes, doesn't it need to be able to connect?

I'm not suggesting that the permissions aren't excessive, or that people should use the app. I'm just saying that I think Facebook's reasons are more about making its app function properly, and less about using my phone to randomly call my contacts. I also wonder how different the permissions are from those I've given previously.

To be fair, I installed the app - and I hate it. It uses chat heads, and I find it creepy to have little thumbnail photos following me no matter where I go. But - I have friends who prefer it over texting... and sometimes, a person has to compromise.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


I'm house-sitting and watching Chrissy's kids while she and her new husband honeymoon somewhere in Europe. I just have the kids Wednesday and Thursday night, and she did everything she could possibly do ahead of time, to make my life easier.

I was quite honored she asked me to watch the kids. I'm not exactly the first person* people think of when they think about child care (shocking, I know).

Everything was freaking fine, until the three of us got in the car to leave for school - and my car wouldn't start. We pivoted quickly, moved to Chrissy's SUV, and got them to school only 4 minutes later than planned. I was impressed, considering we had to move their booster seats, find keys, and I had to figure out the new car.

As I waited for my battery to be replaced, it occurred to me this could have been much more stressful. So I'm quite grateful that...

• We slept at their house and not mine, where a second car would not have been so readily available.

• My friend's kids are nosy and look where they shouldn't, which is why they knew where to find the keys for that vehicle.

• My car died while everyone was safely in the house.

• I, at some point, thought to put my roadside assistance service membership on auto-renewal, so I had someone to call for help.

• That I came to the same place to replace my battery, and they keep good records. My battery was under warranty.


*I wasn't her first thought, either. I am very touched to even be on the list.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Before and after

By now you know I sold my house and moved. What you may not know is that I sold my house to a dear friend of mine and that guy she married.*

I adore them, of course, and I am so very happy to see them happy.

Of course, we're all friends on Facebook, Twitter, and I'm not sure where else. I see the pictures and status updates, and comments from their friends and family, as they post about their renovation efforts. I even helped them move some stuff into the house (though I stopped short of carrying boxes of hardwood flooring).

The other day, a mutual friend asked how I was handling that - seeing a complete dismantle of the house I called home for so long. Even X asked how I would ever be able to go back, and see how the work and memories I made have been changed.

I'll admit - at first it was strange. It felt weird, seeing pictures of my house on someone else's timeline, labeled "before." I thought back to when X and I moved in, and took the same photos (in the BF - Before Facebook - era). Except, we called them "after."

But the truth is - the house hadn't been my "home" for a long time. I bought it as one half of a couple, many years ago. The projects and renovations we did were done as a team. Sure, I bought the house after the divorce, and it was mine. Yes, I continued to make memories - Chrissy and her kids lived there for a while, there were parties and house guests and little changes.

But the house was never what I imagined back in 2003, when I was full of ideas and hope for what we could make of it. That all stopped the day X left. That was the day the house stopped being my home.

There is an episode of How I Met Your Mother in which Ted gives up his long-time apartment. In the letter he writes to his friends, he says he thought the apartment had been haunted by memories of a love he lost, but he finally realized that it was really haunted by him. He had stopped living and was standing still in time, and the apartment was keeping him from moving on.

At some point, the house did the same for me. It allowed me to stay stuck in a place where I didn't have to deal with the reality that my life is different - and it was time to move on. The house was my excuse, my refuge from the scariest thing we all face now and then.


The truth is, home is a fluid concept. When we're young, it's with our parents. At some point, it becomes that first apartment where we spread our wings for the first time. Eventually, if we're lucky, it becomes that house we buy right when we think we're settling down.

It'd be nice if that was the last home for everyone. For some, it will be, and I think that's simply wonderful.

For me, home has changed again. I'm grateful that I owned a house, and saw some of those hopes and dreams come true.

I'm also grateful that I was able to own the home on my own for a bit, that it was there to help my friends when needed, and to shelter me while I healed.

Now I'm grateful it will be there for someone else's hopes and dreams - and I actually feel quite honored I'll get to witness those dreams come true.

After years of haunting, I'm finally finding my new home - and my after has become someone else's before.

*Make sure to visit their sites for pictures of the renovations and other musings on life, and home ownership.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mission accomplished

The past couple of months have been a whirlwind of change for me.

At the end of March I accepted a position with a new company, ending a nearly-14 year career. I still work in insurance, but on the other side of the wall.

That change was a big deal. I had to give up the perks that came with seniority and job security. I have to learn a lot, being back on the receiving end of training after so many years of being the "expert."

I couldn't be happier.

I've known for a long time I wanted the change - but finding an opportunity that made sense wasn't easy. Where I've landed seems to be a good fit. Still - it's tough to leave a job where you didn't have to think, and take on something new where every click requires a thought.

About a month after the first day on my new job, I moved into an apartment. A week later - I closed on my house. No big deal, right? I've talked about selling for years, and I knew I wanted to leave home ownership life.

But I'd lived in that house for eleven years. I only lived in my childhood home (which was an apartment) for thirteen years - so this house was my home. It held all of my memories (good and bad) and packing that up (or in most cases, throwing it away) was tough. Few things in life are more emotional than seeing your entire adult life bagged up and left to wait for garbage day.

But it was time. For years I have promised myself that I would not turn 40 with the same job or home address.

I turn 40 in 48 days.

Mission accomplished.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Moving up

I'll admit - I was surprised by the overwhelming emotion I felt (both the amount and variety), making my move from homeowner back to apartment renter. I haven't written about it because I'm still not quite sure what I want to say.

But, here's something I know....

Today is the sort of day I am very happy not to own a house, or any of the work or responsibility one brings.

Friday, May 9, 2014


So - I moved. I'll be talking more about that next week. In the meantime, I wanted to chat about something that's been on my mind for a while.

RSVP - Request for a response to an invitation (from French: répondez s'il vous plaît).

When people send an invitation, they usually need to know who is coming. You know, to plan food, seating, parking, entertainment, budget, etc. Sometimes a week is enough notice - sometimes it's not. Either way, if you receive an invitation that requests a response by a certain date, the polite thing to do is respond by that date. If you can't commit - then your answer is no. It is not the host's job to accommodate your unpredictable schedule.

I get multiple invites each week, primarily for events on Facebook. The other day, I received two in the mail.

Facebook events don't always have an RSVP date. But whether there is or there isn't, the process is the same:

Read the invite
Decide if I want to go
Check my calendar
     If it's open, I add the event and reply yes.
     If it's not, I reply no.

If the first event is something that can be moved, and the second one is important enough, I might make a change.

Either way, the whole process only takes about 5 minutes - 10 tops.

So there's really no good reason it should ever take weeks to reply to an event.

Unless you really don't want to go... in which case, you should just say no in the first place.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

My 25 percent

In church this weekend, Pastor discussed celebrating and enjoying life. He talked about how much time we spend in pursuit of material things, or trying to please others.

He mentioned reading once that the people you meet in life can be broken down into four categories:

• 25% will not like you.
• 25% will not like you - but could be convinced to like you.
• 25% will like you - but could be convinced not to.
• 25% will like you - no matter what.

Those are the people you need in your life, and you should not be concerned with pleasing anyone else.

I am so grateful for my 25%. I am blessed to have people who accept me, faults and all. People I know I can count on, without even having to ask.

Knowing who your 25% are not only makes life a little happier - it makes dealing with the other 75% much easier.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Grateful for my bed

So... I have a new full time job. I started on April 1. It was a tough decision because as unhappy as I was with some parts of my old job (which I had for almost 14 years), I had a lot of great perks. I gave those up in favor of an opportunity to start over. I never thought I'd be starting over at nearly-40 - but it seemed like the right decision.

But starting over means some training...which means some travel. As I type, I'm sitting in a hotel room, while it snows outside in Syracuse, NY. Blech.

This is the fifth night in the last two weeks I've spent away from home. I miss my bed, and being able to get my errands done, and I really, really miss my cat.

I'm grateful for this new opportunity. I'm really grateful that it's with a great company, and that my new coworkers all seem very cool. I'm grateful that I finally had the courage to give up those perks and try something new, that will be better for my future.

But - I'll be super grateful when I can sleep in my own bed.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wait for it....

I never watched How I Met Your Mother when it was on the air. I resisted when people told me it was totally my thing. Then, a few weeks back I fell in a Netflix hole, and binge-watched several seasons in a weekend - and now I'm hooked.

If only someone had told me how similar HIMYM is to Friends, I'd have been on board years ago!

I know millennials don't like the comparison. I understand - no one likes to hear a show that defines their twenties is similar to another show....that defined another generation's twenties. There's no way people that old could have ever been twenty and cool. Right?

But I can show some parallels. Don't believe me? Watch. It'll be legen...wait for it!...dary!

Since I am still watching older seasons, I did not watch Monday's series finale - but I did read the spoilers. One bit is mentioned below, so -


First we meet Ted Ross - uber-smart professor, often sharing facts he loves, but others consider boring and useless, who is constantly correcting others. Ross Ted is a hopeless romantic who dates, but never commits because his heart belongs to Rachel Robin, the beautiful new-comer who enters their lives in the pilot episode from a foreign land - Long Island Canada - and grabs his heart. The two would go back and forth between dating one another, even living together as roommates at one point, before eventually finding their way back to each other in the final episode.

At one point, Rachel Robin even dates one of Ross Ted's best friends, Joey Barney, the womanizing player who seems like he'll never settle down. That is until the day he realizes he's in love with Rachel Robin.

Then there's Chandler Marshall - the guy who wants to go along with his friends' schemes, even though he can't lie and eventually backs out. Mostly, he makes sarcastic comments. He's in love, and eventually marries and starts a family, with "group mom" Monica Lily, the responsible, dependable one who keeps the group together with her cooking and her schemes.

Of course, the two TV shows aren't exactly alike. A few "major" differences:

• Five friends instead of six
• They meet at a bar instead of a coffee shop
• The first group couple starts the series off that way, rather than connecting mid-series
• There is never any mention of rent control regarding Ted and Marshall's apartment, leaving it unclear how a struggling architect and an unemployed law student could afford a Manhattan apartment with that many rooms.

Most TV - especially sitcom TV - follows a formula. Why?

If it's not broke - don't fix it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I don't do Lent

Lent is "a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Day.

The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial."

I'm not really a fan.

I know a lot of people who give something up for Lent - usually as a jump-start to a self-improvement campaign. People give up sweets, or junkfood, or ice cream, or alcohol, or meat, or swearing, or TV, or taking the elevator.

Don't get me wrong - that's all awesome. Life is about constant improvement and change.

The thing about Lent is, the sacrifice is supposed to be done in faith; a penance, to honor Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. If you're someone who gets that, and you have faith that Jesus is your savior, and you want to honor His sacrifice, rock on.

Sacrifices done for any other reason are certainly admirable - but they're not penance.

I attend a nondenominational Christian church. I struggle a bit with the subtle hypocrisies I face, since I don't agree with every point of view. One thing I have learned is, in order to truly have faith, you need to understand the traditions and beliefs, and how you can honor them best.

I believe in a forgiving, loving, gracious God. I believe He wants us to be the happiest, healthiest, most successful version of our best selves. I believe He placed us each here with a purpose, and finding and fulfilling that purpose is the best way to truly honor His sacrifice.

To me, the idea of Lent seems to suggest that we are always living in a way that goes against God's plan - but that somehow, we can set that right during those six weeks.

I disagree. The God I know is not that harsh or judgmental. He is not looking to punish, or take away. He has more faith is us.

I think if we strive to always live within His plan, He doesn't much care about six weeks in the spring. I also believe that any time we lose our way, we can come back to God. I think God would accept anyone, anytime - and all we need to do is ask.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Windshield washer

On my drive to work this morning, I watched a driver in a car next to me roll - yes, as in crank - down her window, reach her arm out and over, and splash what looked like Gatorade on the outside of her windshield.

Of course, I can't be sure if it was Gatorade, or windshield washer fluid in a Gatorade bottle, as her regular method of windshield washer fluid distribution.

It's a little scary how much the two things look alike? What if a passenger mistook it for Gatorade, and took a sip?! Or what if she forgot?


It got me thinking about solutions we use when we're young that we'd never even consider as we get a little older. I can remember the floor of my first car getting a small rust hole on the driver's side. My "solution?" A thicker car mat.

In high school, I had a friend who drove a VW Bug. Not one of the fancy new models that was released in the late 1990s. I'm talking about a car right from the 1960s in his driveway. The engine was where the trunk should have been, and the front seats backed right up against the backseat. I was the only friend short enough to ride in back.

Most of the car worked well. (Except for the parking break...the car did slide down a steep driveway into the road.) One part that was a little iffy was the defroster.

So one night, three of us were driving to the movies, and the windows were getting a little foggy. The passenger tried to turn on the fan; our friend the car shook his head and handed her a sponge.

"Wipe the windshield," he instructed.

She leaned forward and wiped down as much of the windshield as she could reach. Then handed the sponge to me so I could take care of the rear windshield.

I'm not sure any of us would be OK with that solution today - but we made it to the movies.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


This just in: I'm single on Valentines Day.

More breaking news: I'll be single after my 40th birthday, too.

What's really surprising? I'm perfectly OK with my singleness.

I rarely talk about dating here - and this post is no different. I'm not talking about dating, or even how I handle not dating.

I'm here to talk about how much it seems to bother other people that I'm single.

I really am OK with all the links to articles about how to be single when I'm 40, or what people have learned being single in their 30s, or how to handle V-Day solo. My personal favorite was this one (Joe wasn't impressed, though - typical guy).

I'm OK when friends ask what is new, and I try to talk to them about Stella & Dot, or Big Brothers Big Sisters, or selling my house - or anything. I'm thankful some listen, and it's really OK that some don't. It's even OK when some immediately ask, "Are you seeing anyone?" As if every other accomplishment pales in comparison to the lack of romantic love in my life.

"What's that? You cured cancer?! Great. Were you able to find a date for that wedding? No? Well, don't worry - you'll find him when you least expect it. Maybe you should just focus on yourself for a while..."

Anyone else find it ridiculous that someone would offer "focus on yourself" as advice to someone who obviously already is?

The condescending smiles and encouragement are fine. Welcome actually.

They don't make me sad. They don't make me angry. I don't feel inferior, or inspired to marry the next guy who comes along.

The advice makes me smile. I remember (fondly) the times in my life when I was in a healthy, happy, committed relationship. I know how good that can feel - and what a blessing it is to find someone you love, who loves you back.

I'm happy for my friends who I know are happy - and who I know want the same for me.

But of course - not all the advice comes from those in happy, healthy relationships. Not all of it is about me being happy. Sometimes it's about the advisor trying to make himself feel better by making me feel bad.

Then I'm grateful. I understand how precious love is, and how easily it's lost. I know that no matter how much of an "expert" you think you are, you're never more than one big misunderstanding away from being single next Valentines Day.

So, to my friends who truly want me to be happy - Happy Valentines Day. Thanks for showing me what love is really all about.

To the others....maybe you should just focus on yourselves for a while.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Women first

I came across this post about women who have husbands and kids (found it here, actually).

For anyone who doesn't know, I'm divorced with no kids. I don't ever plan on having kids. It's not because I can't. It's not because I don't like kids. It's not even because of my career ambitions.

I've chosen not to have children because I think I'd make a lousy mom. I'm too selfish and impatient and immature to put another person's needs above my own for, like, the rest of my life.

People have often disagreed. I've heard, "You'd feel differently if you had a baby," dozens - maybe hundreds - of times.

I appreciate the vote of confidence. But I think that little experiment could be pretty risky. What if I have a child, and then it turns out I was right? Now some poor kid is saddled with the worst mom ever, all because someone thought I should be a mom?

Not acceptable. So instead, I have a cat. We're quite happy.

But just because I've chosen not to have kids doesn't mean I think it's OK to judge or degrade women who chose to be moms. The author of that post said:

We have baby showers and wedding parties as if it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to get knocked up or find someone to walk down the aisle with. These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them. They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the world.

Is she nuts? I'll agree that finding someone to marry isn't that tough a task. Certainly, getting pregnant is no terrific accomplishment (in many cases, though I do know women who struggled to have children).

But we don't celebrate a woman having a wedding, or a baby. We celebrate a woman becoming a wife or a mother. A woman devoting her life to one person. A woman agreeing to put someone else's best interests ahead of her own. A woman vowing to love someone else until she dies - no matter what stupid crap he pulls. A woman taking on the monumental task of molding and shaping a child into, like, a whole person. Remembering to feed him everyday, and everything.

Those are not easy or common. At all.

Now - I'll admit plenty of celebrated marriages end in divorce [waves] and plenty of lousy moms get a shower. The point is, we're celebrating the intent, even if actual results may vary.

If someone does actually manage to be a good mom - she totally earned that party. If someone manages to stay married to the same guy for decades, without killing (or at least maming) him... the very least she deserves is some new dishes.

The writer goes on to say:

You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.

OK - that's just rude, in addition to being totally wrong. Some of the strongest women I know are moms (or soon will be). They are beautiful, exceptional, vital women who contribute more in most days than I bet this author could dare dream in a year.

I also know women without kids who just skate by. They offer very little of value, and accomplish nothing exceptional.

Of course, this goes both ways. Many times us non-moms are judged because of our choice. We're told we can't possibly understand, we don't know what "real" busy is, or we're all selfish people who hate kids and do nothing for anyone else.

My personal favorite is that my life must be "empty" without kids or a husband.

So - as it turns out, all moms aren't "common" and all non-moms aren't exceptional. Wives can be judgy and selfish, and non-wives can be caring and altruistic. So how are we supposed to tell anyone apart?!

Stop generalizing. Stop assigning women to types based on their choices or circumstances.

Start respecting differences. Start learning from others' experiences.

Most of all, stop tearing each other down. It does nothing to help us as women - and we're all women first.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I love Wednesdays

Saturday is my favorite day. It's the one day every week where I not only don't have to rush out of the house (usually), I also don't have to worry about rushing out the next morning.

Friday is my favorite work day because I can dress casual, many of my clients are off, and I'm staring down the barrel of Saturday.

But Wednesdays? I love Wednesdays. I've usually gained some momentum on my work week, and am doing OK. But it also feels so much closer to the weekend. Once you survive Wednesday, it's just Thursday, which is practically Friday - which is ptactically the weekend.

Plus - Wednesday is Shemar Moore Day!

(Criminal Minds, 9 pm, CBS)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Moment of clarity

I was born in 1974...which means later this year, I celebrate the 11th anniversary of my 29th birthday.

I have never been OK with getting older. Well - not since I turned 18, anyway. I wanted to vote, so that birthday was pretty cool. I don't drink, and never have, so turning 21 wasn't especially exciting, except that maybe it made me eligible for more giveaways. Pretty much since 1995, I've been OK not discussing the number of candles on my cake.

My issue hasn't been related to health or signs of aging. My issue has always been that my life is never where I expected it would be when I reached a certain age. So, confronting the age meant confronting my (perceived) failures.

Turning 35 was the worst. It was the first birthday I celebrated after my marriage ended. I was single, struggling, in a job I didn't really enjoy, and just plain unhappy. Eventually, I came to embrace those "failures" and even used them as a jumping off point for this blog. I learned that while it may not be the life I ordered, it's the one I'm meant to have. 

I've been dreading turning 40 for as long as I can remember. It just sounds The thing is, I have learned from my friends who crossed that threshold before me that 40 isn't nearly the end of anything. In fact, for many, it's actually the beginning...of a happy, fulfilling, joyful life. 

I have been quite stressed out lately, at the prospect of selling my home. Not because I don't want to sell
(because I do), but at the prospect of dealing with all of that change. I've lived in this home for 10+ years. Selling means giving up a part of who I am. It also means starting over, which is not something I ever thought I'd be doing at 40.

Add to this a little stress about my job potentially moving. Not far - but far enough to make me (momentarily) reconsider where I'd look for my new home. It was causing a lot of worry and grief and a few, "It's just not fair!" moments.
Why am I the one who has to change? Why does it have to be difficult for me? 

Then, out of nowhere, I had a true moment of clarity. It occurred to me that I have been unhappy about a few things in my life for a little too long. Apparently, this is the year those things are going to change. Sometimes life does that - shakes things up just enough to trigger a much-needed change.

That's scary. But in that moment when I decided to just accept that things are going to change, I also realized - it's exciting as hell.

I suspect that 2014 will not be an easy year for me. 

But I suspect it will all be absolutely worth it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

An app for that

I am mostly grateful that I have a job. It's actually a good job - I am well-paid, have more vacation time than I can actually use, flexibility, and a pretty short work week. Mostly, I can't complain.

But I may still download this app - just in case.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Caffeinated gratitude

Today is brought to you by caffeine, tears, and sheer will to live.

I'm thankful for the caffeine. Since I get mine via Mountain Dew, I'm especially grateful that the Panera closest to my office has a drive-thru open for breakfast hours.

Carry on.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Random gratitude

I didn't post yesterday... but that doesn't mean I wasn't grateful.

• I'm quite grateful for apartment finder sites and apps that help me research potential new homes for Joe and me.

• I'm grateful that there are places where I can bring Joe to live. Smuggling him in would be a pain in the you-know-what.

• I'm grateful that I love Joe enough that I wouldn't even consider living somewhere he couldn't. Everyone deserves that kind of love in their life.

• I am eternally and hopelessly grateful to my parents for the fact that I have no siblings. Seriously - how do you people put up with all that BS?

• I'm grateful it's no longer December, the holidays are over, and we can get back to task of just being.

• I'm grateful I'm not as dumb as some people. Seriously, have they never experienced cold weather?!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Selfie Olympics

I'm thankful everyday for Buzzfeed. They bring endless distraction and fun into my day.

Today, I'm also grateful I've never been caught on the internet in any of these poses.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Snow days

I promised to share a little gratitude every day.

It is not often you'll hear me talk about work; and you'll almost never hear me say I'm grateful for my job.

But, as the snow continues to fall, I have to say, I am quite grateful my manager allows me to work from home when the weather is bad.

I don't actually mind driving in snow - but I suck at walking in the stuff. Even the short walk from the office parking lot is bad for me.

Then there's the shoveling. Sure, I have a snow-removal service - but what if I get home and they haven't plowed? Then I have to shovel my way into my driveway.

I'd just as soon stay home.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A year of gratitude

Baking Suit shared this post today, and it got me thinking...

I can absolutely find something in every day to make me grateful. How wonderful would it be to document all that gratitude? The only problem - I don't take that many photos.

Even so, I think I probably run across images every day that mean something to me. Or, stories worth sharing. If a story makes my day better, perhaps it could do the same for someone else.

Definitely worth sharing.

The first of my 365 Grateful project....

Friends who get me. They are rare and special.