Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

I'm not a big believer in making New Year's Resolutions, at least partially because I don't believe in setting myself up for failure. But for some reason about half way through January this year, it kind of hit me that I will be turning 40 this summer.

Wow. Forty.

I remember when my dad turned 40 and how old I thought he was back then. Now I wonder if he felt as young as I still do. It's true what they say... it's all about perception.

So, while it is not a New Year's resolution, I have decided that this year I will start living life with fewer regrets, even if it means stepping outside of my comfort zone. I don't want to look back at 60... 70... 80 years old and say, "Boy, do I wish I would have tried/done/experienced that when I had the chance!"

You may wonder what some of my 'goals' are, for lack of a better word. Well, I don't have many... most of them crop up when I least expect them to and are shot down in the next thought. A lot of them are forgotten, and others stay just below the surface. They are what I dwell on in my daydreams.

The 3-day walk is one that I've thought about for a number of years, and as you probably have figured out, I've taken the ball and run with that dream. Every single day it is causing me to do something outside that comfort zone... and so far it hasn't hurt one single bit.

Yay for me! As long as it doesn't mean I am all of a sudden growing up. *wink*

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm Baaaaack!

Whooooooaaaaa, Nelly! Talk about taking a blogging sabbatical! Guess I just needed to step back and deal with things beyond sitting in front of the computer for a while, but now I am back.

BOY, am I back!

And do I have BIG NEWS! I have taken the leap and have registered to walk in the Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure™ in Denver on August 27-29, 2010.

What? You don’t know what that is? Well, allow me to enlighten you…

Every year, thousands of men and women gather to walk 60 miles over the course of 3 days. Each of the walkers is obligated to raise a minimum of $2,300 in donations before being allowed to strap on their walking shoes for the big event. That’s a lot of moolah, my friends. But, you know what? It doesn’t scare me. In fact, I have vowed to smash that goal to smithereens and have set my personal goal at $5,000.

Yep. You read that right. Five thousand smackeroos. And I am convinced I will meet that goal. In fact, when I meet that goal I am going to dye my hair pink for the walk. Heck, there are a whole lot of people who would donate just to see it, too. Furthermore, I will even up the ante… if I double my goal and reach $10,000 I will shave my head for the walk. All the way, baby.

As they say in the poker world, I am all in, baby. All. In.

There are so many people whose lives have been affected by breast cancer, and each one of them has a story to tell. And I want to hear them. And I want to walk in their honor… for them and for their loved ones.

If you would like to make a donation, please visit my 3-day participant page and make one today. Please don’t hesitate… donate today.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

45 Lessons

The following was written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, for The Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25 No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27 Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Friday, August 7, 2009

My Perfect Day

There was a lady I used to work with that would proudly say her favorite day of the year was hands-down her birthday. No question about it. To me, that was amazing as so many of my own birthdays have been, shall we say, less than stellar.

At least, not until this year.

It started out as any other day... getting up just before my alarm goes off, getting ready for work and so on. You know, The Usual Thing. There were no cards or banners or little notes tucked anywhere for me to find, so I thought to myself, "Here we go again..."

But then again, maybe not.

As I slipped behind the steering wheel of my car, I found a birthday card from DH. Not just any birthday card either. It was a birthday card dripping with sweetness and lovey-dovey-ness and [insert a huge smile here] a wrapped dark chocolate Dove bar. SCORE! Be still my birthday-girl heart!

Let me tell you, nothing... nothing... could have wiped the grin off my face from then on. I was one happy camper. And, the cool thing was, my day just kept being great. I had the usual birthday treat of my co-workers singing "Happy Birthday" and getting balloons and candy... made all the more special because my friend 'B' happened to be in the lobby and was able to join in with the singing. I got a Harley Davidson mug with a tootsie-pop bouquet tucked inside from one of my BFFs... with the craziest colored suckers I've ever seen to boot!

It was a really great day at work. All the work went smoothly, customers came in specifically to wish me a happy birthday. It was just... well, perfect.

When I got home, DH and DD sang to me and presented me with a double batch of rice krispy treats (which is what I wanted in lieu of a cake), the Harley Davidson jacket I'd thought was still in special-order shipment la-la land... and a pair of diamond earrings! Can I hear an "Amen, Sistah!"??? Yep... I was in present nirvana...

I checked my Facebook page and had birthday wish after birthday wish waiting for me. Cool beans. And one of my dearest friends EVER was online and I got to chat with her. Awesome. We were even able to make plans to spend a girl's weekend together. Un-freakin-believable!

While I was finishing up online, I got a call from the local florist making sure I was home for a flower delivery. You betcha!

Seriously, can this day get any better?!

So, then DH, DD and I decided to spend the rest of the day hanging out in the 'big city' just south of us. First, we went to the hardware store for something DH needed, and I saw the bright yellow watering can I've been daydreaming about all summer... the last one on the shelf, I might add... and so I decided to splurge (with it being my birthday and all) and went ahead and bought it. Next, we had to go return some items at another store, and I found two books that I'd been wanting... and bought them as well. So, while I was on a roll, I had DH take me to a media store thinking maybe I could find one other book on my wish list... and I did. And another one I'd forgotten about wanting... and it was even marked way down. So I brought both of them home with me, too.

I swear, at that point I felt like I'd drank an entire bottle of Felix Felicis or something. (That reference won't make a bit of sense to all you non-Potter heads... sorry!)

Then, out of all the places I wanted to have my birthday dinner at, the one place I was craving was... McDonald's! I know it sounds crazy, but since we don't have ready access to one where we live, it really is a guilty indulgence... so that's where we went.

After we got back home, I got calls from my brother, my sister in law and my mom. It was great visiting with them and telling them all about my day.

DH and I topped off the day by taking a ride on our Harley with our neighbors. The weather was wonderful, the company was even better and the sunset was glorious.

And that was My Perfect Day.

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Bouquet of Sharpened Pencils

"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address."
- Joe Fox to Kathleen Kelly

I just love that quote from "You've Got Mail". And this time of year, it's hard not to have that line running through my mind as DD sharpens her entire box of pencils before tucking them in her backpack in expectation of the first day of school.

But school supplies are not the same these days. No way, Jose. You can hardly turn around in Target without seeing a newer, better... dare I say designer... version of spiral-bound notebooks or pocket folders by people like Ed Hardy.

Seriously. Whatever happened to good ol' Pee Chee folders? Anyone remember them? Heck, I felt like I'd won the lottery when my mom let us pick those out instead of the plain colored store brand. DD would scoff at having to carry something as boring as a pee chee. She'd have to drop out from the shame of it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jesus is Living in Our Kitchen

It's true. Jesus is in our kitchen. Right now. As in while I type this.

Okay, okay, you can stop worrying that I am off some sort of medication or have had a stroke. It's nothing like that. Jesus is a praying mantis that has somehow made his way into our kitchen. And into our lives.

While a normal family would try to A) catch it and take it back outside, or B) smush it in a tissue and flush it down the toilet, alas, we are not a normal family. Not even close.

Last summer we had a very large spider take up residence in between our interior kitchen window and the sorry excuse of a storm window we have. We named him "Spidey" and it was always cause for celebration when some bug would find it's way into Spidey's web. We'd call out to everyone in the house, "Come quick! He's gonna get another one!" And that would be our entertainment for the next half hour or so. Sure, there was a big ol' creep factor involved with the thought that Spidey might one day find his way inside the house, but as long as he was controlling the bug population before it could come inside he was a welcome addition to the family. May his hairy legs rest in peace.

This year, there is no Spidey in residence. Instead, there is Jesus the praying mantis. (Get the humor there, folks?) While I'm not thrilled that he is on the inside of the glass, I am more than happy to allow him to dine on all the creepy crawlies that attempt to invade through our sad-sack old windows.

Aren't we so... special?

Blogger's note added Sunday, August 2, 2009:

This morning we had to say goodbye to Jesus. I found him suffering on the kitchen window sill after what must have been a David and Goliath-esque battle with a spider. Or would it have been more like Godzilla vs. Mothra? A question for the ages...

*sniff sniff*

We will miss you Jesus.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Long and Short of It

Why is it some women have this strange urge to grow their hair out? And then, just when it gets longer, we have this strange urge to cut it shorter again? It's something akin to a sport for some of us, I swear.

I had long, long hair when I was a little girl. At least I did until my brother decided to play "Barbershop" when we were staying at my grandma's house one weekend. Thankfully, he had barely started in with a pair of those little-kid safety scissors before grandma walked in the room and stopped him. Of course, that didn't change the fact that he'd already successfully hacked a big chunk out of the hair on the back of my head.

Let's just say my mother was less than amused. She washed and brushed out my hair one last time, had my dad take me to Sears for one last picture of me with my long hair (since the front still looked unscathed) and then had it all cut off in what was probably supposed to look like a Dorothy Hamill cut. Trust me, I never felt like I would be twirling on ice with that haircut. To this day, I still think of the term 'bowl haircut' when I see me with that hairdo. Ugh.

Ironically, that was the beginning of many years of growing my hair out long and then chopping it all off again. And again. And... well... again.

I always want what I don't have. Like curly hair. I got more permanent waves in my lifetime than I care to admit to. A few even made me look remarkably like Chaka Khan. Just in case you are wondering, it was not an attractive look for a short, chubby white girl.

Now, on the verge of 39, I still cannot figure out what the heck I want my hair to look like. The angst usually starts after a bad hair cut. I kind of go on strike, I guess you'd say. I decide to just grow it all back out and pull it back in a pony tail every day. Quick. Easy. Not very flattering, mind you, but efficient nonetheless.

And then I get the urge. The Urge. Like now. I have it, and bad. I want to get a style. Something that just screams SASSY! The problem is, I never know what that style is.

So, this time I hatched a plan: I took pictures of two hairstyles I couldn't choose between, and then asked a bunch of the ladies from work yesterday. I kept the running tally a secret from them until after they had voted. One girl was outright shocked that I'd actually get whichever style got the most votes. And, maybe it is a tiny bit crazy. But if you think about it, these people see me day in and day out... they should have a pretty good sense of who I am and what I could pull off. Right?

Monday is my appointment. And I'm ready! SASSY hair... here I come! Wish me luck!