Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wrapping Up the Year

For me, the hoopla around New Years is not about the New Year.  It's about the old year.  Wrapping it up. Coming to a close.  I can't celebrate the START of something - we don't know yet what it is going to bring.

I guess I can't really celebrate the ending of something.  Maybe I don't want it to end?  It's a wrap-up. Maybe it's a break-up that you aren't ready for.

For me, (and you can laugh if you want), my "fiscal" year, usually runs from July to July.  Not this arbitrary January to January stuff.  As I was born in June - my year runs until June.  I do better from July to July.  January though is a good way to look at my "calendar" year.

Of course, that whole time of your life that you are in school - your "calendar year" is September to June.  Taking a break from June to September.

The nice thing though - I look at the ending, not the start.  What I'm wrapping up.  What I'm finishing.  I can't really prepare for the "what is going to happen next".  I can just tell you what ISN'T going to happen next. What I'm finished doing.

I do have some goals for next year.  Because, you know what?  I really set no goals for 2013.  And you know what?  I didn't achieve anything.  I survived.  I don't like just surviving.

What I'm done doing:


  • Surviving - mentally, physically, fiscally, spiritually.  I'm done with "surviving".  "Surviving" has never been enough for me.  Why is "getting through all this" now enough for me?
  • Not planning trips.  I had NO adventures this year.  And no, Hawaii does not count - we "went" there - there was no adventure.
  • Wearing my workout clothes all the time.  I don't even work out all the time.  
  • Being worried about the next phase of my life.  The boys will be off in college soon - and just life everything else, there is something waiting for all of us.  I just have to be present.
  • Having the opportunity for sadness in my life.  I had the opportunity to attend 5 funerals this year.  I have one more left on January 4.  While, I only attended 3, that's more than I've ever attended in one year before.  It doesn't matter if they were young or old, it was sadness - and I just need to keep remember I was glad I was touched by so many wonderful people.
  • Not being in charge of my life.  It's amazing when I step-up in FRONT of my life, I have a great time.


My goals for 2014? Those will come next week.  When I'm not hungover.  When I've experienced some new traditions. When I'm in Denver.  When I've wrapped up 2013.  When I'm ready to thrive.....


Friday, December 27, 2013

Traditions

As much as I accept change, there is honor in tradition.  While I attended and graduated from Texas A&M University and understand ALL there is to know about tradition  - sometimes things still change.

They need to change.  Maybe just a bit - not major changes.  Just a few changes.  Honor thy tradition, yet accept modifications?

What happens when someone gets married?  Or moves away?  Or has a baby?  Or all of the above.  Yes, we are at the traditional time of year, but things do change.  It's not easy.

This year, I attended 3 Christmas parties.  It was a record year.  I don't think I attended any last year.  That different.

We had friends over Christmas day - 6 adults - 5 kids.  Last Christmas day was a different number, a different crowd - yet the same sentiment was there.  Friends together for Christmas.

The boys and I head out to Utah tomorrow to wrap up 2013.  A tradition we started several years ago.  We did miss one.  We didn't like it that year.

This year will be different too.  We aren't staying where we normally stay.  They have a new baby.  The mom seems a bit over-whelmed.  (Not is a good way). That's okay, we are going to let her adjust.  We are going to adjust too.  My sons friends (really, the ones whom are my friends), well, one of the brothers is staying with us.

A tradition we started a few years ago.  Now changing for the seasons too.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Photographs

Good thing/bad thing about digital cameras:

Good things

  • You don't ever have to worry about not getting the "perfect shot".  One of the pictures you take will have a great shot.
  • If you didn't get the shot, someone else will have - and it's easy to "share" with you.  There is no need to expect them to actually MAIL you a copy.
  • No more paying to "develop" film.

Bad things:

  • You now have 100 pictures from ONE day and can't bear to delete even the bad ones.
  • Those 100 pictures you took - are all on your computer, not in a picture book, not in easy accesible place for friends to look.
  • That "shoebox" full of pictures is now something on a computer.
Now we have, let's say 50 GREAT pictures (those on my camera, your camera, and the person next to you whom you give your e-mail address).

What about the bad photos?

But I like the bad pictures too.  I say that, but I'm the worst.  I've gained some weight and am really not inspired to do anything about it.  So therefore, I've been participating in the American Culture - of well, not participating - - finding me in a picture is a rarity.  I guess I like the bad pictures of other people.  Just not the not flattering pictures of me.

These kids are growing up with a "perfect" childhood.  Man, adulthood is going to really suck.  When they look back at pictures of their childhood - everything was perfect. Just look at the pictures.

The good thing about one of the bad things?  We are no longer subjected to "family vacation" videos. But now, I understand WHY people want to share their photos.  It's not to brag - in a "look what we did", "look where we have been sense", but more of a "I want to share with you, who I am, what I have become" moment.  It's not a jealous thing.  It's a proud thing.  And yes, I want to see your pictures too.  I want to share your experiences.  I can experience them with you.

However, it's no wonder we are more narcissistic than we used to be.  Every picture we keep, well, we look perfect. But this is a vow for 2014.  I'm getting in the picture.  

Because, I don't really remember pictures with me and my parents.  I don't have pictures with me and my mom.  Or me and my dad.  Other than special occasions. Until I was an adult.  It's okay, times were different. There were probably pictures on film that was not developed.

My kids are almost grown.  They aren't going to remember I thought I was out of shape at one point - and it was a couple of years before I was in a picture.  (Please don't tell me, "you look fine" - we all have our internal battles.)  They are going to wonder why I wasn't in the picture. They don't know about those internal  battles. They will just wonder where we were.  They will one day, they will understand - they will have their own battles.  Don't we all?

I love the surly teenage pictures where I take the picture of all the kids.  They need those photos too.

But this time, I'm including the mom.  The good photos.  The bad photos.  The I love/hate my life photos. I love/hate my mom photos.  Inclusive of all the love we have.  The wrinkles in the neck.  The "wow" she got old photos.  The "wow, that's my mom" photos. Because, they will have them.  

One photo at a time.

*****I tried, and I don't have a photo from my childhood I can find.  It's okay.  Or one that is on-line.  I can find a bunch with me and a lot of great people whom we all love.


But, here is me - in the middle of the ocean. With my arms open. Around people I love. To me, this picture is more valuable than all the rest.

No, I won't put it in a photo book.  But this, is me. With them.  With you.  Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday Cheer from the Past

****This post is from a year ago - and while not wanting to bring up sadness - just remember the good in people.  Merry Christmas*****  The original post is here or you can read it below.


Open me

I was at Target today.  The Target by the club where I work out.  I don't really like to go to this particular Target.  It's nice, but the parking lot is always crowded - no matter when you go.  I do end up at this Target quite a bit because it is convenient.  I just try to go to other ones.

Today, though, I'm glad I went to this one.

The boys former hockey coach is in town and what started as "hey, coaches, come over for lasagna" has turned into 18 people coming over for lasagna.  Which is fine.  In fact, it's more than fine.  I love it when this happens.  The more the merrier.  I'm going to need to make a couple of lasagnas. More stuff needed.

This is a Super Target.  Groceries, Alcohol, Household goods, etc, you know the drill.  I also needed some stocking stuffers.  Then I'm done.

I've done all the grocery shopping.  The stocking stuffers are in the basket and I'm headed to the check out.  I stop at the little section at the front of the store (the $1.00 area) to see if I need a couple of more things.  On the opposite side of where I entered the store. This is the section designed for you to stop at on your way in.  Oh well.

I'm looking through the bins.  And in one, is a light green envelope marked "Happy Holidays"  (Open Me) both hand-written in red ink.  I pick it up.  I turn it over.  It's sealed.  I look around. Puzzled. Hmm?  I wonder what this is?  It doesn't match anything in the bin and it was facing out.  I open it.  Thinking, well, if I wasn't supposed to open it, I'll pay for it if I made a mistake.  It's a note card.  Opening the card, printed is "Season's Greetings with all good wishes for the New Year".  Hand-written below in the same red ink:  "In honor of Charlotte Bacon".  There was a $10 gift card inside.

Smile. First thought "How sweet.  What a nice thing for someone to do in memory of someone."  Maybe I'll go buy me a little something extra.  Just for me.  Thank you. 

Oh wait, there is a typed folded over slip in here too.  "In honor of the lives of the 26 children and adults that were just taken from us in Connecticut, I offer you this random act of kindness in hopes of bringing a smile to your face this Holiday season."

It didn't bring a smile. I started crying.  There ARE good people in this world.  We think sometimes there is more evil, than good.  BUT, we are wrong.  Good will always win.  Then, I smiled.

On the back, the cards were produced by the "Child Welfare League of America"   Whomever our random act of kindness person is/was, really went out of the way - not only to purchase cards contributing to children (I haven't looked up what the organization is about), but then purchased the gift cards.  Then randomly placed them.

Thank you random person in Glendale, Colorado for taking the time from your hectic life to spread good and happy thoughts.  I looked around to see if anyone was watching a grown woman cry in the middle of the aisle, but if you were there, you didn't let me know it.

I don't know if there were more throughout the store.  I don't know if you spent a total of $260 honoring each and every victim or $10 honoring Charlotte Bacon.  Either way, it's all good. There ARE angels among us.

Thank you for showing this little piece of the world, there is still good.  Lots of good.  

To the family of Charlotte Bacon - she is touching lives still.  Her life wasn't in vain.  Her memory won't be either. 

I didn't spend the $10.  We might have to buy an ornament with the name Charlotte on it, to honor her.  Someone thought she needed to be our angel.  Or maybe, I need to read what she liked and buy another little girl a random gift to donate.

Or maybe, random act of kindness person, we might just take your lead:  we start sharing the joy of life in random little ways too.......

Thank you.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

MY friends

I've mentioned two guy friends of mine quite a bit.  They are brothers.  Brothers I met one summer, the summer I turned 20.  One turned 19 that summer, the other 16.

Brothers I'm still friends with today.  Of course, there was a gap in there.  This friendship was from the "pre-internet" days.  The only way you kept in touch, well, was to write letters or call someone.  Heaven forbid, actually, pick up the phone.  But it was LONG distance to call (meaning it would have cost money).  And, really, what would we have said?

We went on with our lives.  Their parents did come to my wedding.  (Their dad worked with my dad).  But that was really it.

I remember hearing from my dad that their dad had a heart attack.  That was probably 10 or so years ago.  I sent a card to their mom.  I could have asked her for their phone numbers or address.  But, once again, what do you say?

A couple of years after that, I was online - still before there was a Facebook - there was a place called "Myspace".  It's still around, I think, but now it is more of a place to find new bands.  (I think - I haven't been to the site in years).  A friend of mine had a nanny for his kids - I asked her to show me what it was all about.  You search for people.  You are connected to friends through friends.  Much like Facebook is now, but it was the "new" thing.

I do remember around the same time, or a bit earlier, there was a thing called "Classmates" and you could look up people you went to high school with.  For some reason, I'm thinking it was just your school - I digress.

Back to Myspace.  Long story short.  I found the older brother.  He was living in LA.  It was September.  What do you do?  Well, now everyone does this.  At the time - wasn't sure what to do.  But I do what I've always done.  I try.  I sent him a message through Myspace;  "Hey, how the heck are you?  Summer '89???? (maybe)"  I wrote a few more sentences.  I left my e-mail, my phone number.

He called the next night.  A friendship was rekindled.  We caught up.  His daughter is 6 months older than my oldest son.  We e-mailed.  We talked.  For hours.  For weeks.  Catching up from almost 15 years of an absence.

That same fall a friend of mine was dating a woman whom worked at DisneyLand.  The stars were aligned.  Santa needs to bring a trip to Southern California.  He offered us to stay with them.  I had us free passes to Disney.  Basically, a week long trip - free place to stay, free magic of Disney, all for the cost of plane tickets.

We go.  Of course we do.

My sons and I got on an airplane from Denver to Vegas to Orange County on New Years Eve morning.  To fly to a place to meet some "old/new friends".  It wasn't until we were landing in Orange County that I actually felt a moment of panic.  I looked at the lady across the aisle from me on the plane.  (I had told her the story).  I swallowed very hard.  And for the first time thought, "What the hell are you doing?"

We go to baggage claim.  We get one bag.  He calls to say he just pulled up curbside.  "Duncan, take this bag, and head outside - there is a guy in a white Land Rover going to pick us up".  Both of the other bags arrived before Duncan got out the door.  (Sure mom, don't talk to strangers, but go in this car???").  We get to the curb and say hello.  I introduce him to my sons.  His daughter was waiting at their place for us.

We had a great week.  Bits of it were awkward, funny moments.  Great moments.  Phrases they still repeat from that trip.

There have been many more "family" trips.  Camping.  More New Years. A tragedy. Some grown-up trips too.  A half-marathon.  A triathlon.  A weekend of 8 hockey games.  

Really, the story of meeting these guys - and re-connecting could be several more stories.  These guys are my family.  But, a funny thing has evolved during the last few years.  It's now been 24 years since I first met these two brothers.  Not only now, are they my friends, they are my sons friends.

A couple of years ago on one the camping trips - there was an "older brother/younger brother" bocce ball tournament - ALL WEEKEND.  The brothers and my sons.  I was told to go play with the girls.  Then they have taught them how to drive a stick shift.  The brothers have taught the brothers other bad habits as well. MY brothers now just call my sons.  They all text.  They plan things.

I do still hear from the brothers.  After all, they were MY friends. Of course I do, I still have to get this set of brothers to see the other set of brothers.  "My friends" are now my sons friends.

They try to tell me, "Mom, they are our friends now.  Not yours".  That's okay.  I think it's pretty cool these guys I met sooooo many summers ago are friends with my sons.  No one would have ever believed it.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

What you wish

I'm a true believer in putting out to the "universe" what you want.  Your "universe" might be God or a God or several Gods.  Your "universe" might be your friends.  You might be strong enough to "think about want you really want a lot", then it comes true.

What is the difference between WANTING and BELIEVING?  Believing you will one day get what it is that you have been wanting.  Do you just believe it?  And at what point does wanting become believing?

It's a fine line.  I read the book "The Secret"  What about all those things we REALLY believed were ours, and if we just believed it for long enough, it would come true?

What happens when it DOES come true?  Your wish is fulfilled?  We all finally have want we have wanted for years.

Is it okay to say we no longer want it?  It wasn't really him/her/it/the watch/the trip and on and on.  We became addicted to the "wanting".  Not sure if we really wanted what we were wanting, we were just so used to "wanting it", we didn't know how to survive "not wanting it"

Peter Pan is moving back to Denver.  Supposedly.  I've heard this before.

For some reason, it seems different this time.  He's really coming back.  Be careful for what you wish, it just might come true.

Only now, I'm not sure what to do.  It's been on again.  Off again.  When do I get to see you again?  I never want to see you again. I don't even know if we still like each other.  We just don't know how to go on, not "wanting" each other.

It's funny, when Lily's dad told me he was getting back together with his on again/off again love, I completely understood.  How could you NOT finally give it a chance? The stars were aligned, it was YOUR time. 100% I got it.

When I told Peter Pan the story, he understood too.  But could we actually say good-bye to each other?  We both agreed yes. In theory. We also both agreed, you have to go after the one whom set your heart racing, the way we set our hearts racing.  We will always love each other.  He will always be the one whom helped me save me.  But sometimes, that is all it will ever be.  And for that, I love him even more.  I always will.

With Peter Pan - I always thought he'd be the one I'd fight anyone for.  The one I would give up everything.   But I realized, I don't have to risk it all for him.  There is nothing to risk - that was all in my head.  He will always be there for me.  The love of my life.

He's not the one whom held me close.  He's the one, whom set me free..

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Some place in between

I'm sitting here drinking a glass of wine and eating some Godiva chocolates.

Just for the record, I don't like chocolate.  Well, unless it's Godiva.  It's not plastic.  It's real.  It's creamy. No wax.

Yes, it still makes my face break out.  That's not why I don't like it.  I truly don't like the taste of chocolate.  Unless, well, it's the real stuff.  The stuff that makes you think, "ahhh, this is what I've been wanting".  The chocolate that sets off that endorphin's that makes you want even more.  A Hersey kiss?  I've been known to spit those out.  They are gross.  Every once in a while, I try one again.  Thinking, "maybe, it's not as bad as I remember"  What we forget though, is that, well, we didn't like it in the first place.  Why would we like it now?

Yes, people change.  Things change.  Taste change too.  SOOOO, every once in a while, you have to try something you didn't like - just to make sure you still don't like it.  Really, it's called trying something new.  Only, we keep thinking it's the old thing.  Only, it's a new thing.  Just because we didn't like it the first time, or the second time, we keep trying.  Or we don't.  We won't try it the second time.  Well, because, we didn't like it the first time.  Why would I try it again?  Right?  Either I'm going to like it, or I won't.

I just left a party.  Our "parting" gift was a bottle of wine, a calendar and a box of Godiva chocolate.  Yes, each guest received this - this was our "parting" gift, while the valet was sent to get our car.  Graciously handed to us by one of the grand-daughters of the host and hostess.

The romanticized version of life.  The attendees:  The Opera director.  The head NFL football coach.  The society column.  The painter.  The mom.  The next door neighbor.  And me.

A gamut of people with a variety of backgrounds.  The place where you some how end up.  With a group talking of the "next marathon" we need to run.  A place where we never thought we would be.  Yet, not quite a place we would want to be.

A place in between.
 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Just a little more

As of yesterday, I wrote more this year, than I did last year!

Well, yes, I did spend an extra week (or so) in Hawaii from the previous year.  Regardless, I'm celebrating this as a win.

I'm writing more.  You are reading more.  I'm thinking I need to set some pretty incredible goals for next year.

Or maybe not.  Maybe just a little more.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Complete Your Life

When I started this story, the title was going to be "Ruin your life".  Only, after a bit of research, I realized I was falling into the void of everyone else out there.

Quite by chance, I ran across an article entitled "6 reasons Hawaii will ruin your life".   The really funny thing is, I'm not quite sure how I got to this article.  I'm sure the title intrigued me, and I do like to read The Huffington Post, but not quite sure what caused me to stumble across this one particular article.  Well, besides the fact that there are now all those "crawlers" out there dictating what we read.

A funny thing about me though - I read it all.  From the Huffington Post to Fox News - and everything in between.  To ME, the BEST thing about all the information out there is well, we CAN read/hear it all.

I love a good fight.  In the sense, back up your story, give it some legs then go to war.  But you know what, I want the other side to do the EXACT same thing.  I LOVE passion.  I LOVE hearing both sides of the stories.  Even if I don't agree.  Even if I don't agree with either side.

HOWEVER, people who have NO legs and just ramble their thoughts (much I like I do here), be prepared for other people to disagree.  That's why we live in America.  We are free to think our own thoughts.

I digress.

Not many times do I read an article, and think "you are wrong".  In fact, I completely disagree with what you are saying.  Usually, I think "well, that's one way to look at things".  But this time, I was ready to fight.  I felt I could.

But, then I got busy, and I did a couple of other things, then I tried to find the article again, then, well, I probably went to watch a football game.  Then a hockey game, then, well, you get the point.

THEN, I tried to find the article.  I went to the Huffington Post and searched for articles:  207,000 showed up for "ruin your life". (with the quotes).  I then went to Google and typed in "ruin your life" - 61,900,000 different articles showed up for "ruin your life".

I'm guessing here, but I know there are many that are "tongue in cheek" - meaning, good in a bad way. I'm guessing more of these things are actually positives - disguised as negatives.

I did find the article - and I will dispute in in my next blog, but you know what?  Here is what is really wrong.

When I searched for "complete your life"  (in quotes) on Google - there were only 40,800,000 articles with those exact words.  AND, on the Huffington Post?

THREE.

Yes, the number three.  I'm hoping this story will become number FOUR.  Because, I'm not here to tell anyone how to ruin that there thing you call life.  Just remember, it's so easy to focus on what we don't have, instead of what we do have.  Let's focus on saying it right.

I'm here, to help you, complete your life.

Fully.

Wholeheartedly.