Saturday, May 27, 2017

moving forward...

The fan circulating the cool stormy breeze through my house is so loud, I can hear it throughout the house. Although I am finding myself thankful for it tonight, darn air conditioning is acting up.

It's been an emotional week.  Full of highs and lows.  People that I'm thankful for.  Short tempers and high spirits.  All the things that happen when any group is put through a huge change.  Our little group has been put through more than their share.

We are a family.  We aren't co-workers, peers, supervisors.  We spend way too many hours together for that to be the case. For 10 months we have been in a state of change, turmoil, transition in our professional lives. We've had to learn to deal with the fact that our "family" would be fracturing, no way all of us could move forward with our future, for a variety of reasons.

Our beloved Y was closing, our building was not sustainable. I remember the day it happened.  The beginning of the end for that beautiful, old piece of history that we loved and hated depending on the day. The flood in January of 2014.


We all knew the day would come.  For a while that first evening as we sat there in shock we feared that we would never open again.  The damage was intense.  Water everywhere. Large parts of our building seemingly destroyed. Ceilings coming down, water continuing to rise in the lowest levels of the building as the water continued to come down from 5 floors above, seeping through nooks and crannies.

There were four of us sitting in the lobby that night.  Emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted from the battle we'd fought since the early hours of that day.

I remember the feeling in my heart.  It felt hallow.  It was a building for pities sake. The sense of loss was almost over powering.

Our "family" worked hard.  Hubs was part of that family, it was when he still had an office on the main floor. That flood caused the Corporate Offices to move out for the first time since our Y had opened in 1926. And while we worked for 9 long months to get back to where we were, it wasn't meant to be. It was the beginning of the end for that old girl.

Ten months ago the decision was made, the battle ceased.  It was time.  We'd done a good job holding our own, we'd grown our membership base, we'd proven that a Y still belonged downtown.  But it was definitely time.

We got word that we were going to have a new Y, in the heart of the city.  A new kind of Y.  She's almost ready, soon we will open her doors.


This week, I closed the door on the past for the final time.  I was struck by the powerful feelings it held.  As I pulled up out front for the day, my heart hurt again. I would pull up again, many times, but it would never be to a Y again.  Simply to a building that needs to be emptied.  A place full of memories.

I spent Thursday comforting members and staff.  Offering tissues and hugs to people that have been there for decades.  Encouraging them to come with us to the new location. Climbing the stairs to all of the levels many times, giving final tours to people that simply wanted one more look. I guess when you have been part of the city landscape for 91 years, you don't truly slip off into the night.

Hubs was not feeling well - a migraine level headache took him out - he'd been supposed to join me for the final walk through. One of my B's was in Delaware, the other simply too tired to stay to the bitter end.  The Beast, well let's just say the week had pushed her hard and she needed to be home before her children put her picture on a milk carton as a missing person.

I knew that my boss was feeling under the weather, fighting a head cold that wanted to win.  But that night he showed up to help me walk every square inch of the old girl.  Locking rooms and insuring there was no one hiding in corners. Turning off lights and saying good bye.

I am blessed to work for a man that I can truly respect and admire.  He is a true cause driven leader.  He lives it.

I'd shared with him that I wanted to toast the old girl, after her doors were locked she was no longer a Y, just real estate.  Despite a cold and probably needing sleep more than helping me, we toasted the past, the present and the future for our Y.


She does have a future.  Because a Y is not just a building, it is not brick, stone or marble.  A Y is the people inside.  The work in the community.  A Y doesn't need walls, it helps, but it is not necessary.

Remarkably, I didn't cry.  At least not as I turned the key, reminisced, or even walked out to my car.  Maybe it was my military upbringing.  Maybe, just maybe I felt she deserved respect.  She'd sheltered so many over her 91 years, people had been connecting and finding a place to belong inside her walls for over 9 decades.

I can't say I didn't cry on the way home.

Our new "home" is almost ready.  Each day is more exciting than the last.  It's bright, airy, full of energy and fun! I am beyond excited about the things that we will accomplish.

The change is hard.  We're all running on fumes, working long hours with a single day serving as a weekend, if that. Our families aren't seeing us and we aren't seeing them.  Not only that but it's a busy time of the year. Graduations, vacations, endings and beginnings in all of our lives.

On top of all the things that need to happen quickly, we are all dealing with a 91 year old cranky old lady that might be trying to kick us out.  Ceilings are leaking that shouldn't have water above them.  The elevator decided to quit working the day before we started moving things out. Chunks of ceiling want to fall on the track.  It's been so stressful.

I have a lot of work that I should be doing. Schedules, bills to pay, so much.  I decided I needed a break. It's time to rest.  For a day, that is all I need, I want a long night's sleep. I will be better after a day of rest. My emotions not so raw. My energy level returned.

It's an interesting place. Looking west I see the past, it's quiet in its worn regal state.  Looking east is the future, full of life, excitement, energy, power, and possibility.


Now it's time to give in to sleep.

I'm worn.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

sandbags...

Hot coffee and a beautiful sunrise.

Still doesn't feel like enough to get me motivated to do anything.  I want to get a walk in.  I do.  But my headache from yesterday is still lingering and the cold breeze is not inspiring me to slough off the exhaustion this week has brought with it.  

I haven't been sleeping well.  Correction, I've been sleeping fantastic until something makes me wake up and once awake all of those to do lists start popping up in my head.  Home ones, work ones, personal ones... they come flying in, robbing me of sleep.

I feel like I am stealing a few moments of time.  I guess I truly am.  I should be folding laundry, doing more laundry, changing sheets, catching up on the ironing, dusting (I'm am thinking of labeling all surfaces a science project with a do not disturb the dust signage), finishing pulling that darn English Ivy and putting out my beauty bark, moping floors, vacuuming (haven't seen that thing in weeks)... that list currently feels as overwhelming as the one for work.

I'm not complaining.  I'm sorting through.  I love my job.  I am so excited about all of the great things that we are doing, the changes, the energy.

I am just feeling a tad caught up in the maelstrom. So many moving parts in all areas of my life.  It's swirling around me. Golf, move, closure, opening, advocacy, staffing, coordinating, new rates, schedules, lists, lists and more lists.

Is it truly possible to be excited and anxious at the same time?  Where does one end and one begin?

So I'm stealing a few minutes.  Not many.  Just enough to enjoy the silence while Hubs and daughter are off on a mission that possibly involves a canoe?  Don't ask.  I've learned it's better that way.

There is no music playing, the house is silent except for the sound of the fountain in the aquarium. The boys are both snoozing and I am pretty sure the cat has once again returned to the upper level (I believe she has claimed it as her own).

In the silence, with the beautiful shadows from the breeze and leaves in the sunlight dancing on the hardwood floors, I am feeling calm.

More in control.

Control is something I have not been feeling a lot of lately.

I missed two of my workouts this past week.  Life, rain, and a headache all decided they were more important.  It's hard to believe that not a week ago I was standing out in the rain helping to bag sand.  Putting other problems and responsibilities on the back burner to help not only the community I live in, but a fellow leader in the Y movement.

Standing in the rain, covered in sand with my fellow Y family, my family and complete strangers I remembered what I missed so much about having time to volunteer. That powerful feeling of doing for others is amazing.

As Valley Park posted pictures of where we had worked so hard for so many hours, with flood waters dancing around the makeshift levees I felt a sense of pride for the efforts and immediate sense of defeat.  It looked from the pictures like it had been a wasted effort.

Slowly I started reading the comments, in fear, I didn't want to see what they said.  I didn't want to know all that was lost.  But in my usual Polly Anna manner, I was hopeful that I would see a silver lining somewhere, some how.




Seems that old adage, it's all a matter of perspective, is very true.  The pictures were taken from a drone hovering overhead.  The reality is that our efforts did make a difference. The homes might have taken a bit of water, but nothing tragic.  The county police department stayed dry. Homes and businesses were not destroyed.  We didn't save them all. Many have a lot of work to do to recover.  But we helped save some.

The Mobil station that we all kept running to for bio breaks and hot coffee appeared to have lost it's battle, but no sandbagging could have protected it.

In the midst of all that chaos, we made a difference.

I'm feeling the same way about the sunrise that is blinding me this morning.  I was so thankful for the rain to stop yesterday.  I love rain, but sometimes you can simply have too much of a good thing.

One storm handled, calm restored.  That is where I am right now.  Tackling one storm at a time and hoping I don't miss anything along the way.

Those endless lists will keep me focused.  I have all my B's, the Hubs and my girl keeping me grounded and sane.  I even started planning this coming weeks workouts. And tomorrow I will prep all the meals for the week.

It's all in the planning.  I guess it's time to fill my own sand bags.  It's time to rally my support system.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

trotting in the rain...

It's Tulip Trot Day! 

It's pouring rain. And yes I do intend to walk it regardless!  I had been hoping for sunshine and nice temperatures. Mother Nature, that fickle old woman, decided chilly and wet was far more preferable. Ugghhh, it's the first time that I will go to the Missouri Botanical Gardens.  I'd had such high hopes to enjoy the beauty.  I will still enjoy the beauty, just in a different way. 

I don't mind rain.  I seriously do not. The girls are joining Hubs and I, although I feel Hubs is considering opting out.  He is not a fan of rain. Who knows the girls might opt out also.  I hope not.  I am not willing to give up so easy.  It's just another step on this journey. 

I got on the scale this morning, yes I know I told The Beast I would wait two weeks, I didn't.  I wish I had. On a basic level I know that weight training is going to cause swollen muscles initially. I know that muscles have more "weight" than fat. Logic weighs heavily in all of that.  But I can tell you, that the emotional side, the heart that has pushed through this journey was NOT happy this morning. 

I need to really refocus on my cardio and watching my diet.  Hubs and I have been resorting to our old ways far too often.  Not out of laziness, but out of sheer exhaustion. I toyed with getting something quick to eat for breakfast this morning.  But with the scale burning in my memory and The Beast's words about cardio and diet ringing in my ears I stopped for a moment and reassessed.  

A healthy, low-fat, low-sugar, high protein bowl of Greek yogurt, whole grains and a few strawberries later, I feel ready to take on the world.  Or at least 5K of soggy.

I know I am making progress, yesterday for the first time in almost a decade I shopped in the non-"women's" section. Not everything was bought there.  But enough to make me proud of my hard work.  

This journey is hard.  We are so ingrained to want instant success.  To take those baby steps, to struggle.  It feels unnatural.  And truly it is the most natural thing in the world.  Now if you see my gorgeous daughter who had a baby just over 9 weeks ago and she looks like a super model, it's easy to understand my frustration. Then I remember that she has the time for those walks and all those projects she's always working on are the truest definition of functional fitness.  And I feel a bit better about where I am on my personal journey. 


So... As we were heading to the Tulip Trot we got a notification that it was being cancelled due to rain. We decided to go pick up our shirts and transfer our registration to the Garden Gallop they are having in June. My girl and I were so excited to find out we could not only transfer, but also still walk the 5K, they just weren't allowing runners due to the standing water on the paths.  Safety first you know (which actually was not a bad idea as several places were a bit slick due to the water on the stones and or wood). So we smiled sweetly and got the Hubs and Grand Daughter to walk with us. That's our version anyhow...  it had nothing to do with the fact that we had the truck keys and were not negotiating.




If felt pretty amazing to hit 10,000 steps before 8:30 am.  And even in the rain, those gardens are breath taking!  Absolutely beautiful!  How have I never been there before?  I was feeling like a total slacker about it until Hubs made the comment that he's from here and in his WHOLE 65 years, he's never been either.  He has me beat hands down. Completely.



So, not only are we the proud owners of sore thighs, achy old knees, pruned feet and probably a few blisters, we didn't let a little (okay, so we are under an areal flood warning) rain deter us.


Now a tub with some Epsom salts and catching up on my magazines await my attention.  

Friday, April 28, 2017

early morning mumbles...

Sleep is starting to evade me.

I've been up for almost two hours now.

I've already taken the boys for their morning walk.  At least I think that is what we are still calling it.  They are both starting to show their advanced age and what used to be a 15 minute adventure of being dragged, is now a very leisurely stroll of about 30 or more minutes that involves a great deal more time standing still while they slowly meander along.  The big guys allergies are wearing on him, that and the fact that he is 10.5 years old.  Pretty advanced age for a Shepherd/Rottweiler mix.  The little guy, he's still trucking along at 16, (although that is pretty advanced for his breed mix of basset/pit) and there are days that I am pretty sure he is actually moving in reverse, at least until the last sprint when the leash comes off.  Then he's greased lightening. Although, I've noticed that our race has more breaks in it than it used to.


I worry that their time with me is drawing down.  And I find myself listening for their snores at night, more than sleeping.  For years Hubs has said that he hopes when they cross the Rainbow Bridge that they are sleeping safely in mommy's arms.  While I can understand that thought, as said "mommy"... I don't want to wake up to one of my boys gone in my arms. My heart would shatter!

So once my sleep get's disturbed and I start counting snores, well that's the end of it.  Because then my to do list breaks into my mind and simply there is no sleep from that moment on.



We are crazy close to opening our new branch.  It is an intense and overly busy time.  There are tough decisions to be made and so many things that are having to be sort of started from scratch.  New staff to either be hired or current staff to be retrained.  A 91 year old building full of "stuff" that needs to be sorted and planned for. A new one that needs to be monitored and filled.  I've measured offices and work spaces. Looked at more paint colors than my brain can process at this point.  I woke up this morning with visions of YMCA medium green versus YMCA light green and hearing the voices in my head arguing their different points.  For the record, I am not a fan of the light green.  Actually of any of the light colors.  I gravitate to the medium's, but dark's are where my heart is. Because at 3:30 am that is the conversation rattling in my head.





At random times I find myself making mental notes to order toilet paper dispensers and debating with myself over where I want to install paper towel dispensers. Evaluating the needs of the new facility with what remains in the current one, how many trash cans do I really need to purchase?

Don't even get me started on all that I have learned about fitness equipment, loading docks and installation processes! Although, I am incredibly excited to see and experience all of the new "toys" that will fill our space.

It is such a different kind of experience.  Such a big change.  It's exciting and it's terrifying all in the same breath.

I am thankful to Hubs for starting me on my own personal fitness journey almost 10 months ago.  It helps me understand so much more of what I am dealing with.  Most of the people that come to us are "Health Seekers", they are searching for the path.  Maybe they are still in denial, maybe they are still trying to rationalize it all in their own heads.  I feel so much better prepared to help them, to take their hands and say walk with me, I'm on the same journey.

A year ago, a comment was made that offended me to my core.  I still hear it in my head.  It wasn't meant maliciously, it was said carelessly and could have been worded better.  The young woman that said it is no longer part of our organization, and it's probably for the best, in a nut shell she was a super fit, young, single person and she could not understand the sheer laziness and lack of will power of anyone that could allow themselves to get "fat". She didn't have the depth and context of working long hours, finding little time for yourself, getting caught up in the day to day life far too many live, raising children, taking care of other family members and all of the things that lead to that slippery slope.

I hated that she'd callously said that.  I am sure there is a better way to encourage.  I have always been that person that has to make the journey to be able to fully understand the path.


I was that "fat" person.  I am still that "chubby" person.  I have a way to go on my journey.  I have found my path to my destination meanders a LOT! And that sometimes I lose track of where I am going.  Thankfully, I haven't reversed directions, but moving forward with everything else going on has been a challenge.


Working with "The Beast" 4/26/17 
I am so enjoying working with the Beast.  She might be the ying to my yang. She pushes me just hard enough that I don't really love her for a few minutes, but not hard enough that I hate her for days. She makes me work for it, and I love her wicked laugh as I am not so silently cursing her.

Me and my "B's"! Yep the Beast is in there!
It's not a pretty sight combining my personal and professional hopes, dreams and goals. The marriage has been messy.  It's so rewarding for all of the bits and pieces to finally feel like I have the right puzzle.  It's not the toddler version that I had all the wrong parts to, but I wasn't really expecting the 5000 piece one without a picture.

I was searching through old photo's today.  Looking for just the right one of Hubs, I need it for a special occasion. As I searched it was like pulling a scab off a festering wound.  The pictures I saw of me, that I allowed to be posted... wow... It's been an eye opening morning to say the least.

September 2013










April 25, 2017
So the lack of sleep is probably just my mind working over time.  Thinking through all of the bits and pieces and figuring out how to sort it out.  My old boys are just that, old... and eventually the Rainbow Bridge will call them to run like puppies again, but for now they are snoozing in the sitting room, safe and dry away from the rain.  I will manage to open and close the buildings.  Our golf tournament will happen.

And I will continue on my journey to me. Thankful all the way for the people that I hold most dear!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

do unto others

My adopted "hometown" often surprises me.

There are times that it feels like a "big" small town.  Where everyone is kind and helpful, if a bit nosy.

Then there are the times that sadden and shock me.  Because when someone says they are from St. Louis, well that actual number is really quite small.  "St. Louis" encompasses so many small municipalities and townships that I am often dumbfounded by the sheer number of city limit signs you pass driving up highway 70 to the airport.

The local news screams about districts, areas and counties.  In the all too recent past this jumbled up group of individual towns that all get lumped together have even made the national and international news services.

As an outsider, I can tell you, it's a hard city to understand.  I have had to learn lessons that I never learned in my life.  I am not sure how well I have learned them now.

I digress..

I want to share a story with you.

There is a hockey round two game.  Meaning... first off "Let's GO BLUES", next... traversing the city to leave is going to be a nightmare! (I mean we have two sports that we are passionate about... Hockey and Baseball - both have the same outcome on traffic.)

Secondly, it's raining.  I've lived all over this crazy planet and I have never witnessed rain being a magic potion that eliminates the driving skill of thousands of people all at once.

The path I usually take is fairly quick it's a simple two 4 lane divided city street, a couple of lights and a choice to take 44 or 55.  Because in this city everyone knows you avoid highway 40 at all costs, especially during rush hour.

It was moving slow, as in a 10 minute drive out of town became a 35 minute drive to an even worse commute on the highway.  A disabled vehicle in the right lane was making it worse.

I wasn't close enough to help, but an elderly man, quite frail and fragile looking was trying to fix a flat, he'd evidently hit one of our infamous pot holes.  As I was debating on how I could possibly get over to help him, and how much help I was going to be.  I mean, I haven't changed a tire in about 30 years, at least I don't recall doing so, since my dad MADE me learn before I could have a license.

It was then that I noticed a big guy parked a bit ahead of him with his hazards flashing, rushing up to help. He was young, strong and looked like he could have bench pressed that car to get it out of the traffic lane. Watching him rush up to help, filled me with not only pride, but hope.

My heart soared even higher when I watched the young woman in the car with him, rush out, grasping her umbrella to hand them for shelter, she didn't stay under it, she walked further down the road to direct traffic away from them.  The night in shining armor and the wise old man who'd already slain his dragons.

Yep, I believe in fairy tales.  And I believe that even in a town such as this, that the pure and honest good in people can overcome so many things! This town is very racially divided, still.  This tears at my heart. It isn't something I always understand.

I tend to see people in two buckets and two buckets only.  Either you are a good person (flawed or not) or you are a bad person (someone that just doesn't care who you hurt with your actions or words).

I deliberately left the race of these wonderful people out of my story.  But in a town such as this can sometimes be, it was what made it the most poignant part of the story.  That young couple didn't think twice, that old man graciously accepted their help.  In a neighborhood that is questionable.  Where lives are often viewed as disposable, I watched love, compassion and concern.

Maybe, just maybe, there will come a day when we no longer see colors of skin.  When we see the goodness of the heart and soul. Maybe that shining moment will happen when hatred, fear, and all the other ugly things will face that kind of love and light.

Can you imagine it?  In a pouring cold rain, I watched the proof before my very eyes.

I hope that incredibly unselfish young man and his beautiful compassionate woman will continue to be just that.  Rescuing those that need their help, regardless of their personal discomfort, because it is the right thing to do.  And I hope that old man proved that wisdom comes with age and was gracious and thankful...

Yep... this city is full of surprises... and I am thankful for the one I witnessed.

It restored my faith...

ps... I'm not Paul Harvey, I'm not going to tell you "the rest of the story", because those silly details that the media focuses on... they don't change the story...

Sunday, April 23, 2017

another day, another chance...

Good morning sunshine!

What a difference 24 hours makes. Yesterday's cold, gray, wet and dreary morning has been replaced.  It's still cold, 38 degrees is not a brilliant spring morning in my opinion.  But it's gorgeous!!  The sun is brightly shining through all of the new fresh growth on the trees.  It will edge up on the thermometer in a few hours, 70 is right around the corner

Hubs started the day out questionable for the boys and I.  When you haven't even had coffee, walked the boys or really even gotten out of bed and the bedroom door gets shut with both boys in the room... that is an ominous sign that baths are going to happen. Which means... mama is giving them their baths.  I sure wasn't ready for that today.  Neither were they.

We all survived, now we are waiting for them to dry off enough to go for a good morning walk, not a quick relief walk. Neeko is getting tired of waiting.  And truthfully they both needed it.  The pollen was kicking Neeko's butt and Gator has gotten rained on a few too many times lately.  It really was time.

In fact it's been pet care weekend.  The turtle's aquarium needed addressed yesterday.  We've gotten that down to a fairly reasonable time commitment and neither of us has to carry water anymore.  Although my fingers feel awfully wrinkly after that chore.


Never did get any landscaping done yesterday.  Noticed on Friday I had cracked the glass over what appeared to just be my flashlight on my phone.  It wasn't.  It was the wide angle lens on the camera. Cheapskate me didn't feel it was anything to worry about, I mean, I don't need to take wide angle pictures. Hubs did not agree. So off to AT&T we went.  Guess what, they don't repair broken lenses, but I do feel I was possibly manipulated, as Hubs has been really anxious to get DirectTV and get rid of Uverse.  Not really sure why that matters, still.

As I was using the wasted visit to question some sneaky stuff they did to my phone bill, Hubs saw his moment.  He even put out the cigar to come in and drive that conversation.  So any hour or so later, after a delightful conversation with a young man that reminded me so much of my son, we are switching services. Again, I am still not sure why.  As I really don't watch it, I guess I really don't care overly much.  Particularly since it is saving me almost $70 per month.  And... as he wants it, he has to deal with switching it, not me.

After hours searching for new workout shoes I was pretty excited to get two pair that I adore! Well... I did adore.  Until I went to put the ones I liked the most on this morning and realized that in the stores dim lighting I couldn't tell that they are not the same shoes.  I have two opposing colors, and as I didn't see another pair in my size I am guessing that someone else has the same issue.  They open at 9:30 this morning.  Guess I will find out then.  Have to admit I am a bit sad over this turn of events. I absolutely love this particular style of Asics and I bought the only two pair I found in my size.  Guess I am not the only one that loves them, wish me luck that there is another mismatched set of shoes hidden on the shelf... who knows they might actually sell an additional pair!

Maybe, just maybe after getting that all taken care of I will tackle a bit of the landscaping before we take off on the Harley for a bit.  It's going in the shop today.  Hubs is like a little kid before Christmas.  Again, I am simply not understanding!  I get the need for the 5,000 mile tune up. I am even excited about the install of the luggage rack (daughter bought him luggage for Christmas). I absolutely cannot wrap my head around the need to replace perfectly good, barely used (I mean it's only got 5,000 miles on it) mufflers.  He keeps going on and on about it not sounding like a Harley.  It's a Harley!!  Is he trying to tell me it sounds like a Honda? Of course it sounds like a Harley.... ya know what, if it makes him happy and keeps him smiling, then... new muffler it is.  Just kind of wished he'd voiced this concern when we bought it brand new a year ago today.

I am feeling accomplished this morning.  Yesterday I scheduled (on my calendar even) 3 training sessions for the coming week. Yes, I may very well regret it by Saturday or Sunday.  But I am recommitting! I really do have a goal in sight.  Nope, not sharing that one yet!

I am even getting ready to roast a turkey and make some fresh pasta for dinner and meal prepping for the week.  I might scare myself if I manage to get organized.  It could be frightening!

Well... it's time to finish off this coffee, take my boys out for their morning constitutional, and get busy tackling this day!  There is much to be accomplished and enjoyed before this day ends!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

the journey continues...

It's been a minute...

This crazy life I am thriving in is moving at warp speed.  And there are days I barely catch a breath.

Today, I've opted to slow down for a minute.  That truly is about all the time I have right now.  I'm enjoying the heat of my coffee on this particularly cool and wet morning.  It's even too cold to enjoy breakfast out on the deck under our HUGE umbrella, like we were able to do Monday.  Today's breakfast is being munched on at the kitchen island, enjoying the view and tastes of spring through the windows.

The rain appears to have stopped for a bit, so I might go and get my walk in, not sure if I am brave enough to risk it. I might use the opportunity of the wet earth to celebrate Earth Day in my own way and work on finally finishing the landscaping around my house.

Hubs and I are on a mission to eradicate all of the English Ivy that has been allowed to grow unchecked for over 20 years.  It has been quite a chore. After I finish fighting with it, I will attack the area surrounding the back patio. Evidently at some point it had black berries planted and sadly over years of neglect all it ends up being is a very large patch of brush with a few wild looking berries to feed the birds.

Who knows... today will depend on Mother Nature.

First off is a trip to the store.  I am on two missions.  The first, I need new workout shoes.  Even rotating my 4 pairs I have pretty much destroyed them all.  They have a bit of life left in them.  But simply a bit. And we have two 5K walks/runs coming up.  The Tulip Trot is next week.  I am really excited about it!

Yes I live in St. Louis. We have one of the best Botanical Garden's in the country.  I drive past it every day. I have NEVER been there.  Next Sunday, starting at 6:30 am, my shoes will be laced, Hubs, Daughter and the grand daughters will participate in the Tulip Trot.  Afterwards we have a full day pass to the gardens. Definitely getting our steps that day!

Second, I want some Adidas sweats... I am praying that I have finally worked hard enough to be able to get a pair.  I know that seems like a silly goal.  But... it's my goal! They have always been my favorites.  It's been far too long since I could wear them.  I want them.

I haven't given up on my health journey - been a bit distracted with other things momentarily - but recently I decided it was time to focus again.  I was finding myself getting a bit too complacent.  When I would get busy at work (because lately that is simply reality) the first thing that got erased from my schedule was my workout.  My focus shifted in that area and I needed to bring it back.

Well, it's back!  I hired an amazing woman to be the Health and Wellness Director at our new location.  She has an amazing background in fitness, has followed the same journey that far too many health seekers follow personally and her personality is DYNAMIC!  Her "nickname" (not from me, although I agree) is The Beast!

So... long story short, she was wanting to develop a staff fitness challenge and needed guinea pigs, at least that was her story.  I am thinking it was far more insidious than that, but I don't have any proof yet. Naively I agreed to be one of the guinea pigs as did one of the B's and the Hubs.

Today, I am feeling it.
How we feel... Beast!

But... I am also feeling powerful, in control and energized.  As soon as I can move without pain, I will tackle the last workout she sent me via text message. I want to excel, I want to rock it! More so, I want to see more of the changes that I am seeing.

I am only semi-joking when I say she is torturing me.  Note I said semi.  But I am finding that I want to watch my diet closely, why backslide with what I am eating.  I am finding I want to know what the next challenge will be, because I want to conquer it.  Nope, I don't want to become the person that weight trains non-stop and focuses on fitness 24/7.  I want to become the person that incorporates it seamlessly into my life, that isn't willing to cut it out of my schedule to accommodate other things.  Because I like me feeling like this.

Today, I am grateful for the push that The Beast provided.  Suffering a bit, yes, but grateful.

It's giving me the energy that I will need to tackle the next few months.  I'm closing a Y, I'm opening a new one.  My plate is full.  And I am blessed!

I am surrounded by positive, energetic, vibrant people.  At work, at home, in outside activities.  I am blessed!

I've missed writing, dumping my thoughts and clearing my head.  At least for a bit it will remain sporadic.  So much to accomplish. Professionally, personally, just all around in general.

My life is evolving.  I have had to leave people behind, they didn't fit where I was going.  I have had to leave habits and thought processes in the dust also.  They were holding me back.

This evolution is a blessing.  Those I love are still there beside me, some including Hubs are on either this full or partial parts of the journey with me.

I'm very excited about these next chapters... are you finding yourself excited by yours?



Monday, March 20, 2017

growth...

Watching the sun creep over the horizon on this beautiful morning, I needed a minute to slow down.

I have to work late tonight, but I am heading in early.  Too much to get done.  Then I sat down.  The sight of the sunrise and my steaming hot coffee beckoned, pleaded.  I had to listen.

It's been a crazy few months.  The clock is spinning out of control it seems and here we are celebrating the first day of spring. What?  It seems like the last time that I took a deep breath it was almost Christmas.  How on earth did this happen?

I have simply got to find a better work/life balance.  Hubs and I both do.  We haven't had time for a walk in... dang, I do not even know. I don't remember the last one.  I packed a bag for work today, I will be there for about 11 hours, I think somewhere in there I can find time to put on play clothes and go for a walk.

Hubs and I have been struggling to find time to just be.  I haven't been in my sewing room in months!  Even though I have two quilts to get made.  I have taxes to do and laundry happens in spurts with me ironing each morning to keep up.

Saturday was an eye opener for me.  It was already going to be a LONG work day and I was okay with it. But due to some miscommunication - mostly on my part. Hubs showed up with a fantastic lunch just moments after I let my desk person go on her 30 minute break.  In the grand scheme of things, 30 minutes is not really that long.  But when you feel like the person that you haven't seen in forever has put something else in front of you again, it feels like an eternity!  It felt like an eternity to me also. And the day dragged out a thousand times longer as in his hurt and anger he ignored all my calls and text messages all day.

I've felt that way.  There have been many times that I felt like his career got more of him that I did. Temporarily the shoe is on the other foot, but the last thing I ever want to do is cause hurt to the heart I love the most.  So... I need to do some restructuring.

I am reading and listening to a great leadership book right now.  And frankly, I need to do more than read it. I need to live it.  I know myself.  I know that I will insure that a task gets completed, regardless if the person it was assigned to completed it or not.  And I've come to realize that, it simply does not work that way.  In allowing others to shirk their duties and picking up the slack, I have enabled bad behaviors and I have unintentionally created more work for myself.


So while I watch Hubs leave for work this morning, on a day that it is expected to hit 80 degrees, on his Harley.  I felt a bit jealous.   I wanted to be on the back, I wanted to be heading out on an adventure. The stars aligned for him, he'd already scheduled a trip to Potosi, down those long winding country back roads, Mother Nature just gave him the gift of clear skies and warm weather.  He needs it.

I have to balance those scales out for me also... starting today...

This has been a year of "ah ha's" a year of understanding and growth.  I don't feel like it's anywhere close to done.

But I'm making progress...

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

i hate snakes...

Ugghhhh... completely lacking in motivation this morning.  Seems an odd statement from someone that has already caught up on emails, composed two letters, walked my dogs, fed my animals, taken care of my
daughter's zoo, watered her seedlings and been out in the snow flurries.

All before my first cup of coffee.  As I am sitting here enjoying it and contemplating breakfast, I know that I should be multi-tasking a bit more.  Frankly, I don't have it in me.  I need to steal a few moments before I climb the stairs to get ready for the day.   I need a few more moments of peace.  Watching the light flicker off of those big fluffy flakes that aren't even thinking about sticking around.  Listening to the water in the aquarium.  And drinking my coffee.

I didn't sleep great last night.  And I am paying for it this morning.  I hate the time change, it really kicks my FMS butt, to be perfectly blunt.  I feel drained and in need of 12 straight hours of sleep, or at least that is what my brain thinks. Between the time change and bad dreams, I don't feel like I closed my eyes at all.

I am pretty sure it was because of the stress at my daughter's house earlier in the evening.

Have I mentioned that I hate snakes?  Because I do.  With an absolute, overwhelming, terror-filled passion. Just thinking about one is enough to make my skin crawl.  I don't need to physically see one.


So... my daughter has a snake.  I can't remember what kind it is.  Frankly, it doesn't matter it is a snake.  We have an agreement.  I will watch her critters while she is on vacations, no worries.  I will NOT under any circumstances deal with that snake.  She needs to insure he has everything he needs when she leaves and as long as he stays contained, we have no problems.

Imagine my dismay when I arrived last night to take care of the "zoo" to find a fairly substantial part of his "nose" sticking out of the mesh covering.  I do believe that he and the mouse, that is supposed to have been his dinner, have been plotting their escape.

My daughter switched his aquarium to give him a bit more space to move around before she left.  He has been pushing at the mesh and has two large sections loose and hanging free.  This isn't going to work for me.

At all!

For now, I have two large sheets of plywood and a 4x4 blocking his progress.  I have no idea how long that will last.  He sure gave me an attitude this morning.  Putting his snubby nose and beady eyes up to the glass and flicking that tongue at me.

Ugghhh...

Tonight on my way home I stopped to take care of the zoo and measure the aquarium.  Needed to get a lid for that stupid thing.  I couldn't take the stress of it's existence any longer. At least he'd retreated to the inside of his rock and I no longer had to see him. Still didn't inspire a warm, fuzzy feeling reaching across that darn aquarium, knowing that he was lurking inside, glaring out in his arrogance.

Quick run up to the pet store to get a lid and I was feeling pretty darn confident that this day had finally gotten better.  Did I mention that this was definitely a high stress, challenge filled day?  Because it was.

Zipping along home, marveling at the utter lack of traffic and thrilled as I was starving having not ended up having time for lunch today, and I'd put off dinner until after I dealt with the snake issue. I was back at her house in record time.  All the while thinking, this daylight savings might not be so bad as it was still light enough to see what I was doing.

A quick check in the aquarium revealed that my nemesis appeared to be sleeping, at any rate he was not out slithering around.  I quickly prepared to swap lids.  Almost breaking into a cold sweat at the very thought of removing that lid.

I did mention that I am terrified of snakes, right?

I quickly pulled the old lid out, and popped the new one on.  And my heart sank!  The only size they had was just a bit too loose, I fussed with the lid locks for a few moments before realizing I had NO idea how to work them and not feeling to comforted by their "security".

No that was not going to do at all.  Thankfully I found the brick with the lid locks and for my peace of mind... I put the 4x4 back on top.

I loathe snakes!

Feeling pretty darn proud of myself, I reinstalled the "red" light and plugged it in.  I proceeded to ignore the demon snake and take care of the bunny.  Carlos is everything that demon is not.  Fuzzy, sweet, adorable, boned...

As I am walking back from the kitchen maybe 5 feet away... the demon snake is causing problems again. Okay, in all fairness I am pretty sure it wasn't him physically, but I am positive his sheer evilness caused it!  Just as I am coming back to the living room, there is a LOUD pop and flames shoot out of the light in 3 directions.  I dropped the water bottle and scurried under the aquarium to unplug the stupid thing.  Have you ever seen an ungraceful 51 year old scurry anywhere?  Thank you Lord that no one was filming it, that would have been a disaster scene!

Seriously?? As black smoke billows up from it, I am rushing to get it out of the house.  I am fairly certain the dog, cats, rabbit, mice (snacks for the snake) and the demon snake were all as terrified as I was.

Calling my daughter... well, unless you want laughed at for all the drama you are dealing with... don't bother. And she didn't have another light anyhow.

Rabbit's water reattached - check.  Living room checked on hands and knees to insure no live embers - check.  Exhausted stressed mommy taking herself out for dinner - check.  I really wanted a margarita, but with the day I'd had... one probably wouldn't have been enough and I didn't want to tempt fate.

So now the sun has set, Hubs should be on his way home, although I am not going to count on it. The demon snake was still in his rock when I went back by looking for my favorite scarf (and just to assure myself that I hadn't truly tried to burn down my daughters house). My boys have had their afternoon loves... and I am getting ready to call it a night.

What a day... Glad she's relaxing in one of the most beautiful places on earth...

Saturday, March 11, 2017

instead...

What?
So... I definitely have a few hundred things on my to do lists.  Both for home and work.

Am I doing them?

Nope.  

I think I am mentally exhausted.  It feels like the last two plus weeks have been a mind numbing emotional roller coaster.

So many emotionally charged highs, tempered by equally extreme emotional lows.  For someone that like their pendulum to sway gently in the middle, these extremes are wearing me out.

Heck even Mother Nature appears to be throwing a temper tantrum as the mild 60 and 70 degree days that we've come to enjoy this "winter" have given birth to huge snowflakes dancing around the Bradford Pear blossoms. It won't stick, just small little patches on elevated surfaces, but it is definitely distracting.

Instead of writing, I should be tidying the house, ironing clothes, or maybe even washing some.  I could do our taxes or even make a menu for the upcoming week. Or complete the two commissioned quilts in my sewing room. I could be using the quiet and calm to catch up on a million work items that would bring me a bit more balance.

Nope... instead I find myself a bit envious of my daughter who is scurrying around getting ready to head out for a nice spring break vacation.

I think Hubs and I need to manage to steal one of those before too long. It doesn't even have to be lengthy or exotic. Just peaceful. A bit of time to catch up on shows, play some cards, go for long hikes. A reset.

He's being amazing with the long hours I am putting in.  Walking the boys and keeping himself entertained. But it feels disjointed, off-center.  We are supposed to go out tonight, I am hoping we do, I'm very excited to go and "play".  He's been fighting a tummy bug, so it's possible that he won't be going.  That seems to be the story of our lives lately.

We're holding on to each other for dear life and chaos is swirling around us.  I know that is how life is, but then I have to stop and wonder... is it?

Some of the people that are causing me the most grief, are the very ones that are living a "balanced" life.  Is that how it works?  Are there some people that are more entitled to that balance than others?

Doesn't seem right, but... who knows.

The newest grand was under the weather for the past few days, when you are barely two weeks old, that can be a problem.  It wasn't.  She's okay.  But it's still scary and unsettling. The older grand is showing a few signs of needing a bit less of her sis... and a bit more of the life she used to have.  The adjustment period is going to be a bit of a struggle.  Hopefully this little vacation will help all three of the girls mellow and meld.

There is just too much turmoil and angst lately.  So many amazing things are being wrapped in a blanket of struggle and disappointment. So many people are deliberately hurtful, destructive and plain mean. Everywhere I turn I am surrounded by people that are pure takers.  You know the kind... do for me, do for me... and then in return... crickets.

All of this is making me tired.  Joy gets sucked out of life when you are surrounded by that.

So today, instead, I am chilling.
I am taking that long bath, the kind where you lounge and read until the water gets chilled and it's been so long that it takes a full minute or two for the water to come back up the pipes for your shower.

I'm putting my feet up with a hot coffee, enjoying the soft snores of my little old guy lounging on the sitting room couch.  Cherishing each gray whisker.  And treating him with extra strips of chicken when he does wake up and come find me.

I'm simply taking a bit of time to just be.  I need it.  I need to block out people that think it's okay to hurt other's because of something lacking in their character.

I need to not solve the world's problems, or even my own.

I need to relish the fact that I got a few hours with my daughter for her birthday, snuggling the littlest, and finally seeing the oldest.

I hope Hubs ends up being able to go out.  I need it.  But if not, I will understand.  The same way that he has to when I can't do what he needs.

I feel strongly that I need "instead" to balance out my world.... You?


Sunday, March 5, 2017

manipulated...

I'm tired Boss... Mostly I'm tired of people being ugly to one another. 


One of my B's sent me that in a private message the other day.  I don't know if she knew exactly how exhausted I was, I don't know if she could feel the pain in my heart and the exhaustion in my very soul.  But I am thankful that she sent it.  It perfectly summed up my feelings. 

I strive so hard to treat other's as I want to be treated.  I will celebrate you, I will treat you with respect, I will do anything I can to make your path an easier one to walk.  I will not judge you.  I will absorb the hurt you choose to give out, and still be there to pick you up when you fall.  Because I believe firmly that in this life that what we put out there is what comes back. 

I will take your call in the middle of the night, even though there are many times that I need that person in my life to find that no one is there. I have Hubs. I know if I reached out to the B's, they would be there for me. But oddly the people that I support and lift up the most are the ones that do the most damage to me personally. 

It's been a rough week.  I'm exhausted. Mentally, physically and mostly emotionally.  I am drained.  I have nothing left to give up to anyone.

If I could I would lock my doors, turn off my phone and put up a wall the size of a mountain.  

I can't. 

Somewhere in all the half truths and misdirecting words there is a balance.  Somewhere out there are people that have the emotional intelligence to be honest and not wrap it in deceit because they know that hurtfulness is not the way to say things.  That you can share your heart, feelings, ideas and concerns from a place of love and it will be okay.  

That simply being kind and honest is a welcome thing. 

How did we become a world where we've forgotten that it's okay to be different, that it's okay to not see eye to eye on anything or everything and still be kind?

I'm tired. 

I wrote that a week ago today.  While I was feeling hurt, devastated, drained and at my lowest.  It's been a week.  There have been important conversations and life is completely different.

Last week, during a highly emotional time, when my little family should have been celebrating the greatest miracle our little Panda's arrival.  We were being played by someone that never had that right.  Instead of having wonderful homecoming memories, we are the proud owners of hurt and pain.

A million times over the course of this week as I have sorted through my feelings about the situation that occurred and been angry at the callous selfish behavior that caused it, I have thought of a million different ways to respond.

We can never regain what was stolen from us.  The hurt was intention... to teach everyone a lesson.  Tell a truth that we "needed to hear".  Sadly, truth tellers with evil hearts should probably insure they have all their facts straight before they meddle.

Hubs and I will never again be able to recapture being part of Panda's homecoming.  Nothing can erase the brutal words that were spewed forth... in the name of honesty (really?).  New parents were left sitting for hours, prepared for a celebration that only one person knew they had "planned" but was never going to happen.  Anxiety was high, tears flowed, hatred festered.

All for what?  Truthfully, I have spent a week trying to figure it out.  I have tried during those quiet intimate hours of alone time, to sort out what kind of person could do that.  And then ride off into the sunset, mission accomplished, pain, chaos and disarray left in the dust.
I don't have an answer.  What I have is faith that we raised wonderful children and we are focused on loving each other and being there for each other.  We don't lie to one another, we don't hide behind falsehoods. We talk things out.

We hug and we move forward.

Love is far more powerful than lies, half-truths and I hate to say it, but... manipulative bullshit.

Last night rocking my sweet new Panda, while my mini-me was staying with friends and mom was having a moment to catch her breath.  I forgave.

Now, forgiving and forgetting are two separate things.  I forgave, because that was for me.  I will not allow the hatefulness to stain the love I have for my children and their children, their partners and friends.

The one that did this... Forgiveness does not change the fact that it was a final straw.

I can't change that person.  Nor will I try.  Karma will take care of that.  For decades I have allowed that person to be hateful and mean to myself and others.  Always listening to the "they need to hear the truth" line and choosing to be silent.  To walk away injured or aware of another person injured to avoid the wraith that everyone knows comes when you cross that person.

I spent years away from my family after being told "none of us even want you here, you only cause trouble". I heard the bitter, hateful words spewed at other loved ones.  All in the name of truth and "tough love".  I didn't take a stand.


I won't say I'm not feeling bitter, because I am, but in forgiveness comes peace.  Mini-me and Panda are going to be our partners in crime for the balance of our days.  My girl and I are stronger than ever due to the hurt inflicted. Hubs and I are blessed with the family that we have and strong enough to stand up to any storm.



Sadly, the result is that while I am a slow learner, I am not stupid.  I do learn.  An unending ability to understand and reason out another's actions, well... evidently it is not unending.

It ended.  Last Sunday was the final straw.  I have warned the appropriate people that I will not be involved with that person again.  That they are not welcome in my home nor will I attend anything they are at.  I started to waiver, until I found out that when confronted with their actions their response was an arrogant "they needed to hear the truth".

Nope, sorry.  "Truth" is always a gray area depending on the conversation, the people involved and the first hand knowledge of the situation.  And then it is still gray.  No one has the right to destroy based on their version of the "truth".

I'm starting to feel this burst in my own personal bubble is very reflective of what is happening far too often in our world as a whole.

How many times do each of us react to situations based on some version of "the truth".  When in reality the only people that truly know are the ones intimately involved and yet, it is still tainted by their perception of the circumstances?

How many times are people with their own agenda's destroying others simply because it isn't working out the way they want it to?

Do we often step away from the situation long enough to take a deep look at what is being presented to us? Or do we react out of anger, hurt of fear?

Does the misrepresentation of facts, with holding of information, and deceitful behavior taint reality for us?

I feel like it does.  I know in my personal bubble it cause terrible chaos, hurt, tears, and almost life long damage.  We can't unwind the clock, there isn't going to be a do over.  How often is that happening on a local, national and international scale.

How often are malicious people taking our fears and twisting them around to cause hatred, pain and more fears that suit their purpose? Is it something as small as someone that you should be able to trust, "sharing" with you that the people you love and would lay your life down for don't really like you, that they wish you would stay out of their lives? Or is it something as grand as on a local, national and global level that people are painting that kind of hurt between any factions they can, because hurt and pain feed on hurt and pain.

I don't have answers.

What I have is the ability to distance myself.  For how long, I don't know. Until it isn't a sore, red, gaping wound that is too large to bandage.  Until I can look in Hubs eyes and not see the devastation and hurt that I still see lingering at the edges.  Until I can't hear the ragged tone of his voice, echoing in my heart, that screamed "I guess I am just a 'step-father' and not a good one at that", until I know longer hear my girls asking "what did we do so wrong that you weren't there"... I don't know that forgiveness can make that day ever come.

What I have learned from it all is to question always. Not just in my personal life, but in my outside life as well.

Because sometimes that person reaching out that helping hand, they don't want to help.  They saw an opportunity to change you and they are going to do their level best to do just that.  Are you tired, down, lonely, sad, stressed, feeling unsure? That person is waiting for that moment in time.  I won't be giving it to them again.

And if you think I will always stay quietly in the corner and not say anything... think again. Sometimes people mistake silence for weakness.  I promise I am not weak.

I'm tired Boss... Mostly I'm tired of people being ugly to one another. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

waiting...

It's 2:24 am.  I've barely slept.  In fact I think I might have napped.  My heart feels like lead.  The worry is wearing me down.  I'm a mix of love, joy, anxiety, fear and a million other things that now is not the time to delve into.

So much has happened in the past week.  Culminations.  The past 20 hours, definite culminations.  I'm stuck in a do I stay, do I go spot.

The mom in me... she's screaming.  Tearing out my hair and causing me to feel like I want to throw up.  If you aren't a parent, you cannot imagine this feeling. As a parent I cannot imagine it. It's been 30 minutes since I called to check on my child. 30 minutes since I was told I would get a call back.  I wasn't asking for anything except for reassurance.

If I go will I be turned away?  Will I be stuck standing in a cold hallway still waiting for answers?

Life is funny like that.  It's brutal like that.

I wish I could be cold.  I wish sometimes that I had the ability to turn my head and harden my heart. I don't have that ability.  So instead...

I'm envious of the gentle snores I am hearing from Hubs and the boys.

Why can't I be a bit more pragmatic?

I should have known when I was told "...text you..."

There is a time, a place, and a reason for everything. I try so hard to understand and respect that.

I suck at it.

I hate that I can sometimes see things far too clearly.  This is one of those times.  Where the clarity is wrapped around a huge bubble of haze. Words, thoughts and actions are dancing around in my head and in my heart.

It feels like a giant ball of sharp glass.  It's painful and beautiful all at once.

I'm prayerful.




Tuesday, February 14, 2017

my valentine...

Coffee is just about ready on this early Valentine's morning.

Hubs is still snoring softly upstairs.  Usually he is the one that is up at all hours, I'm the one sleeping soundly.

Here it is Valentine's Day and I am feeling decidedly like a failure in the romance department. I always thought I was a romantic until I married Hubs.  And honestly, now I know that I am not.


I am horrible at writing down little notes.  I already have two of my gifts.  Because he is definitely a gifter.  I am not.  I am far too practical.  I love to buy gifts, but I do it whenever, not waiting for special days.  The reason I have two of my gifts, he spoils me.

He got tired of watching me haul a huge unwieldy briefcase around and when I mentioned that I wouldn't mind getting one like one of my co-workers has... poof it arrived.

In 2003 he started spoiling me for Valentine's day.  That was the day that I found out Stefanelli's delivers. Now I know my Erie family will let me know that Romolo's is the real stuff and I shouldn't be a Stefanelli's fan.  I've had both.  And maybe Romolo's is marginally better.  But... it isn't always strictly about taste. Sometimes the tie to the memory is stronger.  Two of the most important people in my life have always shown me they loved me and were thinking about me with Stefanelli's chocolate. My Grammie and my sweet Hubs.  For 14 Valentine's day's I have been given Stefanelli's sponge candy.  Because of a conversation.  A simple question answered during a period of getting to know each other and the dedication to not only locate it, but insure that it arrived in New Mexico.  A beacon of light and love.

I got to open that last night.  Evidently it hanging out wrapped up pretty was simply too much to stand, and we both wanted a snack.

The card that he mailed me was so beautiful and full of love.  He's a gentleman that way. It brought tears to my eyes.

And as I hear him coming up the stairs I am concerned.  He's been sneaking boxes down the stairs for weeks, plotting and planning.

Maybe I shouldn't be fearful, but... I am. He really is far too observant and keeps tabs on everything.

While I am running at the speed of light, trying to keep my head above water as I learn a new job, work to close and open a building and also conduct all three major fundraisers before May, he is watching me. Planning.

I am barely remembering to brush my teeth each day.  He is studying every thing I say or do.

About a week ago he mentioned that I was going to be mad on Valentine's day and that I needed to get over it, now.  I filed it away in the category of my brain that said he spent too much money on me again.  That I would be cranky and to simply get over it. He does that.

He frustrates me to no end with that.  I don't need.  I never get to the point of needing anything.  He looks for excuses to give.

So sitting here by my beautiful fire that he built to warm me this morning, listening to the television downstairs as he gets his morning Frazier fix, I could be upset.  But as usual he did listen, as usual he did notice.  And as usual he got me just what I needed but was too cheap to get myself.

My Chromebook has been giving me issues.  Turning itself off, freezing, being slow to open. In fact moving in reverse some days.  My dear Acer and I have been through much since I got it back in 2014, I've dragged it to Brazil and all around the US.  I have written over 500 blog posts on it.  And I have been mourning her failures.

I have also refused to buy another one.

Hubs took that decision out of my hands.  He bought me a shiny new Chromebook.  As it is updating I am writing a final blog on the old one.  It's bittersweet.

Yep, I feel like a failure in the romance department. I am not the gal that goes card shopping.  I am not the one that remembers the minutia.

I am the one that will come home from work exhausted and make a warm and nourishing dinner.  I always make sure his clothes are ironed and he is cared for daily.  I will always pack his lunch (although I rarely remember to pack an I love you note).

It must be hard for someone that is so romantic and always doing the sweetest things, and okay the deck of cards with our favorite picture of us on them is simply too sweet, to be married to someone so pragmatic.

The sweetheart of a man that picked out a package of my favorite pens in a rainbow of colors, because I am that freak that loves fun office supplies, has a wife that didn't even think to celebrate this special day.

I love him to the moon and back.  I cannot for even a second imagine my life without him.  Do you think he realizes that.  Does it take candy, flowers, a Chromebook?  Or does he feel that love in his freshly washed and folded clothing.  When he puts on his still warm pressed clothes, because I have been too busy to get them done in advance.

Do you think he knows in the little things I try to do every day?  Haircuts, trimming sideburns, straightening collars, a kiss, a hug?

I sure hope so, because the reality is, I am not a person that is ever going to remember in advance to buy the card or gift.  But I am the person that is going to be rock steady.  You can always count on me daily.

Although, I feel that I definitely should work on being more of a special day kind of girl... because it does make you feel special, loved and cherished.


I love you my sweet Hubs.  Through all my faults... please remember that you are now and always will be my Valentine.



Sunday, February 12, 2017

value....

This morning a horde of little 5th and 6th grade locusts came pouring up my basement stairs.  They were hungry.  They were remembering that I'd said last night as we tucked all five of them in bed that I would let them help me make breakfast.

They weren't overly concerned that I had not had my walk, that I had not had coffee and frankly that the Hubs was making me a yummy bloody mary to enjoy while writing this morning.

The energy was crackling.  You could feel it vibrating off each of them, each of them needing just a bit more of something.  Food, attention, validation, a morning hug, praise, a few just needing to matter.  It has truly been decades since I've had a house full of pre-teen girls.  Hubs and I were blessed for the gift.  For the silly, chaotic joy they brought us.

Lately I've spent a lot of time focused on the word "value".  On it's depths and meanings.

Many of you know I work for the Y.  Another of my many blessings in life.  As I have assumed a new role in the past few months I have been exposed to parts of my career that were vague and viewed through a smoky lens before. In the past few weeks I have been working with our Philanthropy group to identify grants for the communities we serve.

I love working for the Y, I love the ability to serve.  It fills my soul.  During one of our picture taking trips I felt my heart ripped out.  I felt anger and disappointment.  It was probably the first time the word value started ripping through my heart, my mind and my soul.

The playground these children were required to use during their school day was sad.  Truthfully that is the summation of what I saw.  Far beyond the fence was the green grass and open areas to run, roll and simply be.  It wasn't were the children were allowed to go.  Their domain was a large, dirty, damaged and soulless asphalt lot.  Surrounded with a fence (for their protection?) broken benches unusable and unsafe for sitting on, basketball hoops damaged and laying haphazardly on the ground.  The painted keys and hopscotch long since faded, only faint shadows showed where they had once been bright and vibrant.

Value...

How did those bright, energetic children, the lights of the future not feel defeated? Not feel less than?  How did they feel valued?

The school is in a very poor neighborhood.  Although I am finding that isn't the only place that kind of neglect exists.

I am pretty much starting to avoid social media and news.  I am struggling with all the rioting, tantrums, threats, etc.  I am struggling to understand how a country I love can be so close minded.  I don't care who votes for whom.  The color of your skin does not begin to matter to me.  My only concern with your religion is that I have a basic knowledge so that I do not accidentally disrespect what you hold dear and that you afford me the same courtesy.  Who you marry or spend your life with, again, not my concern, better question is are you happy? Do I believe in abortion, no, do I believe in your right to choose absolutely, it is not my place to make decisions for you.  Do you live in a mansion or on the street, by choice or not? I don't feel that makes you a good person either way.

But value... it's missing...

How do you make another feel valued?  How do you feel valued?

Earlier this week, I had to go see my orthopedist, the darn knee decided to misbehave again.  She made me feel like a million dollars!  The praise she gave me for my weight loss and the hard work that I had put into following her directions made my heart soar.  I felt important to her, and I am sure she felt valued.  She hadn't just given me directions to save my knee that I had ignored.  Instead I had taken her advice.  Advice that she had earned the right to give.  And I had saved my knee. It will probably require cortisone shots yearly to maintain, but that is so different than a replacement.  I valued her knowledge and advice, she valued me as a person.

There has been someone working hard to make our girl and grands feel less than.  It's been ripping at our hearts.  Hubs and I have felt powerless.  Still do.  But as my oldest sleeps peacefully upstairs in guest room. Hopefully catching up on the rest that she needs so badly right now.  The grand and her posse are down in the man cave.  The laughter, joy and singing drifting up the stairs makes my heart feel full.  They are being silly.  They are being 10 and 11.  The five of them are giggling, snacking, jamming out.  I will help Hubs clean it up when they go home.

I pray those small gifts of time, space and laughter make them all feel valued.  I pray that the sleep my girl has needed is making her feel valued.

The clean kitchen this morning, the pot of tea roses and the beautiful card made my heart soar. She didn't have to, she did it because of who she is.

I can't help but wonder, if we all stopped demanding our own way.  Insisting that because people think different, feel different, look different... etc... that they are not worthy.  That they are not valued. And started valuing ourselves and others what kind of a difference it would make in this crazy mixed up world that we occupy.

When the child runs to the playground will it be safe?  Will there be role models?  Will the adults in their precious lives value them.  Will they remember that not so long ago they were that noisy, clumsy, silly young person navigating life?  And instead of being the barrier become the bright shining star for them?

When will too many adults stop making harsh, cruel demands that are designed to steal love and joy from the innocence of childhood.

As I was climbing the stairs to cook breakfast this morning one of those silly little girls, that hadn't slept all night, thanked me for opening my home.  For allowing them to be kids.  She told me how great of a mom my daughter is (I already know this!) and how much she'd loved having time with my grand daughter. That her mom and grandma would have never allowed it.

My question... why? I remember having so many kids in my home growing up.  Our doors were always open to anyone that needed a place to be. I can't thank my parents enough for that gift. We learned that people just needed to be loved, that all the crap we use now to determine who is worthy of our time, energy and dollars just didn't matter.  I was blessed from a very early age.

I only gave birth to two children.  As they grew there were always so many children in our home, on our trips, surrounding us.  I remember the forts, the messes, the laughter.  Listening now to the beautiful music and young voices singing along, I realize that I might miss it occasionally in the silence that usually fills our home.

I remember dolls, legos, GI Joe, Pokemon, army gear for the raids outside, walkie-talkies, more pens, paper and secret notes than one can imagine.  I remember joy.  I remember "spats" where the parents all knew that before we were even aware of the "fight" they had resolved it and moved on.

We have to get back to that time.  We have to start valuing people more than things again.  I have unfollowed so much on social media, because I am tired.  I don't want to hear anymore pouting.  I want the people that I surround my world with to understand value.

A card, a call, a cup of coffee.

An honest conversation.

A messy child making breakfast, spilling without judgement, learning those messes are a part of growing up.

Or simply someone to sit by a fire and relax with.

I am tired of arrogance and anger.  I am tired of hateful people trying to control others.  I am watching it on a personal level all the way to a national, if not global level. Boycott this, don't watch that, don't buy that coffee, don't understand where that person is coming from.  The tantrums, the myopic views, the lack of love or compassion.  It's tiring.

Want to make a difference? Invite those children to all hang out together.  Let them be children.  Watch those beautiful friendships grow, nurture them.  Be kind.  Listen to them sing at the top of their lungs, smile at the cracking high notes and rejoice in the beautiful harmony.  Let them express themselves with gentle loving guidance not mean, aggressive, judgmental words. Let them discover who they are without forcing your own hatred and prejudice on them.

My niece shared about watching a truck dropping of kids at school and delivering a cup of coffee to each officer on the way.  Stop hating. Start valuing everyone.

Pick up that trash on the side of the road, who cares if you didn't drop it.

Maybe be more like Gandhi - be the good you want to see in the world. Use softer words, build up those around you.  Hear their small voices, until they are strong enough to be heard by all.  Remembering that it isn't always the child that is whispering.  It might be the adult with too much love and kindness in their hearts that is being stomped on by the arrogant, mean and hateful bully.  Be their strength until they are strong enough.

And it's okay to love that bully and pray for them.  But be strong enough to tell them no.  Because that "no" is the strongest form of love you can give.  It's hard.  It hurts.  And yet it gives that bully the ability to become human.

More than once I had to use "tough" love with my kids.  I don't know if they have figured out that it hurt me far deeper than it hurt them.  I am thankful I was strong enough to do it.  Because both of them are kind, loving, amazing humans!  I am proud of the people they have become.

Listening to the sounds coming from my basement, I am going to say my beautiful grand daughter is well on her way to becoming the same exceptional human her mom is.

Take a minute to truly VALUE another... the life you change won't be just your own.