Highlights of 2017/Positive Pursuits for 2018

2017 was quite the banner year for me personally. Looking back on the year, I feel like I’ve come a long way. Emotional maturity-wise. Self-esteem wise. My outlook has changed. My priorities have become more clear.

Suffice it to say, for me, 2017 has been a very memorable and transformative year.

Let’s see…in 2017:

I started this blog. This was a bit scary, as putting myself out there made (and makes) me emotionally vulnerable. A target for criticism, both self imposed and from others.  It’s been a very worthwhile pursuit for me despite that however. Through blogging, I have learned that the sky won’t fall in when I put myself out there in the blogosphere.

I started my weekly volunteer gig at the food bank. I have gained new friendships along with a deeper understanding of the plight of folks in Colorado grappling with food insecurity day in and day out. This has increased my sense of compassion and reinforced my belief that it is my duty as a capable human being to help others in all the ways I can.

I started a new job. I feel so blessed every day since I started. My new job is such a good fit for me on numerous levels. And very possibly the best part is that it is a part time job. Which gives me a good work/life balance as it affords me the time to pursue other passions. Like writing, for example.

I figured out my way around a new metropolis. By both car and public transportation, aka the RTD bus. I am now able to get to and fro, whether it be work, Target, the hairdresser, or the grocery store, without using GPS. It’s just one of those little things that gives me that sense of comfort one feels among familiar surroundings.

Hubs and I  hosted a crap ton of company, most of whom had never traveled to Colorado before. We had some great fun doing this and discovered lots of new places to go and things to do along the way. Introducing people I love to this beautiful, one-of-a-kind place is a truly awesome privilege.

I “co-facilitated” my dad’s move to the nursing home (ouch, that hurt). This 9 day foray spent with my family in northern Minnesota was by far, without a doubt, the most emotionally charged period of my entire life. I am beyond thankful that now my Dad is receiving such loving care in a safe and comfortable place. I learned an important lesson from this experience: that sometimes the right thing to do is also the hardest thing to do.

I was able to partake in lots of amazing travel. In fact, more in this one year than in any of the 49 previous years. Hubs and I went to D.C. twice. We went to Seattle. We traveled to Minnesota and Wisconsin a few times as well, spending time with our beloved family and friends. The fear of flying I once had is now absent because of this. It’s been replaced by an even stronger desire to travel.

I’ve got big personal goals for 2018. I’m not going to call them resolutions, because that’s such a loaded, not to mention overused, term.  I don’t think it’s healthy for me to have my goals set in stone, even if just in my head,  because I recognize that curveballs happen. Unexpected shit, like …..okay, I actually don’t want to put that out there because it freaks me out and I want to remain positive.


For 2018, my overarching goal is to build upon what was started in 2017. By growing my blog through higher quality writing.  By continuing to volunteer as I’m able. By finding and implementing ways to improve my workplace and the lives of the clients we serve. By branching out, driving-wise. Like hopping  on that scary I-25 and driving to Denver, getting over my still present fear of traversing freeways. By hosting more company, and exploring with them Colorado places we have yet to see. By doing more traveling with Hubs, both to visit family and friends, but also to new destinations (yet to be determined).

And finally….

In 2018, the Happiness Jar will become the Goodness Jar. As in, what good did I do today? Each and every day I will endeavor to jot down a short note about what good I put out there in the universe. Not to show what a great human being I am, because God knows I am such a work in progress. But to brighten someone else’s day, show them that they are cared about and valued. This will motivate me to be a better version of myself each day and hopefully  inspire others to consciously walk through life focusing on doing good. This might be overly ambitious, lofty even, but I think it’s worth a try. What’s the worst that could happen?

As this jam packed year comes to a close, I thank  all of you awesome readers for sticking with me on my blogging journey and wish each of you a happy, healthy, magically wonderful New Year!

Christmases Past, Present, and Future

Merry Christmas, one and all! ‘Tis the season to reflect on Christmases past, enjoy Christmas present, and dream a bit about Christmas future.

Christmases past:

Every single Christmas during my childhood, I watched as my mom sprayed the (always real) Christmas tree with noxious white spray from a can. Lord only knows how many of her children’s brain cells were unknowingly killed over the years. But the tree always looked spectacular.


Opening presents on Christmas Eve: Everyone at the same time. It was sheer, giddy, joyful, chaos.

Flash forward to my first Christmas with my in-laws, about 16 years later: Opening presents on Christmas morning. One person, one gift, at a time. This process took what felt like hours upon hours (that first year anyway). Especially with several in-laws who chose to open their gifts carefully to preserve the beautiful gift wrapping for future Christmases.

The funny thing about this, however, is that in the following years, on those Christmases when it was just the four of us at home (Hubs, me, and our two spawn), we chose to continue the Christmas morning gift opening, with one of playing “Santa”, tearing into each gift, one family member at a time.

Then there was that one Christmas spent at my in laws (about 2007?), who were living  in Iowa at the time, where we all gathered around the Christmas tree and listened to the tapes of Hubs and his younger sister that had been produced when they were kids for their grandparents who lived in Florida. Hubs and his sister told stories about what they were into at the time, like 4-H club and horses.  Listening to these tapes gave me precious insight into their childhoods and made me feel like a member of the Davis tribe. And we howled with laughter the whole time.

Christmas Present: Now we are two empty nesters winging it in a new state. Things are simpler, quieter, now. But we will make the very best of it nonetheless. We will be watching Christmas movies, making and eating high carb foods (we are currently in the throes of decimating a roasting pan of homemade Chex Mix) and (yahoo!) going out to the movies and out for dinner. And of course, missing our kiddos. And our almost 4 year old grandson. Like crazy.

This year’s Christmas tree


Christmas Future: We will be warm and cozy together in our cabin in the woods. There will be lots of Christmas lights inside and out. Christmas music will play softly in the background. Every family member, young and old,  will be there that can be there, God willing. Our two dogs, one a little pipsqueak mutt and the other a black lab, will greet guests upon their arrival. There will be good cheer and laughter, catching up, playing games. Ice cream drinks and hot toddies and lots of fun appetizers will be served. As a group, we will watch Christmas Vacation. And later, travel into town in a caravan of cars to see all the holiday lights. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? I’d say I can’t wait, but that would take away from enjoying Christmas present.

I hope that each and every one of you have the merriest of Christmases!



One Word Prompt: Enjoy

When I first started blogging, I often checked the daily word prompt, hoping for inspiration for a fresh and witty blog post. For the most part, I found myself coming up empty with the word of the day. So I would click for a new word. Ponder it for a moment. Nada. Then I’d clicked again, certain the next word would unleash the uber creative writer lurking inside of me. Bupkis. 

Having several sort of “meh” moments this week, it occurred to me that what I most need to do right now, in this moment, is to enjoy life. Savor it. Make the most of the ordinariness of it all. Laugh. Play. Enjoy. 

According to Merriam-Webster, the word “enjoy” is 1) to take pleasure in and 2) to keep, control, or experience as one’s own.

For my purposes this weekend, I’m going to focus on 1) what I’m enjoying, 2) who I’m enjoying it with and 3) how I’m enjoying my chosen subject of enjoyment. With the Christmas holiday upon us, this is surely not too complicated a task.

The what: Our church Christmas pageant rehearsal this afternoon. Hubs and I accepted a request from the mother of the writer/producer of this year’s production to play Mary and Joseph. I find this absolutely hilarious! Here we are, him just a couple of years and a few months from turning 50, and me, careening towards 51, playing Joseph (who I always presumed was in his 30’s when Jesus was born) and Mary (just a teen at the time). Hubs comment upon receiving this request was “I could see us playing Abraham and Sarah-but Joseph and Mary? Really?!”

More of the what: Watching Christmas movies. Eating good food plucked from our beloved crockpot. Making more Christmas cookies whilst jamming out to my favorite Christmas cd (Michael Buble). The simple things. Nothing fancy for this duo this weekend.

The Who: Hubs, of course. Duh. I intend to find that Santa hat he dons when he’s feeling especially merry during the holiday season. I’m going to insist he wear it for my enjoyment. He will tell me that his favorite Christmas song is “Silver and Gold” from “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”. He, the only human in this family of four who doesn’t possess a sweet tooth, will tell me that his favorite Christmas cookies are the spritz ones. He will mimic the character’s lines while we watch Christmas Vacation, telling me his favorite one is at the end, when the policeman tells the grinchy old boss that good old cousin Eddie kidnapped and brought to the Griswold’s with a big red bow tied around his torso, “That’s pretty low, Mister, if I had a rubber hose…”.

Santa Hubs, circa 2004

The How: With a joyful spirit. With music in the background. Dressed in comfortable clothes (wisdom of being 50 is that comfort trumps fashion). With a sense of playfulness.

What will you be enjoying this weekend? This Christmas season? As one of my Christmas wishes is to receive more comments on this blog, please share with me what you are or will be enjoying!

Inspire yourself with a Vision Board

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Ta-da! It’s my vision board!

Before I hit “publish” on this blog post, I must tell you that I wrote this post a couple of months ago. I was too chicken to post it till now because of my fear that I would come across as being self-absorbed and/or obnoxious. It’s not that I no longer harbor that fear; I have simply decided that 1) since this is my blog and 2) there’s at least a small chance that someone reading this may determine that they also should create a vision board which could improve their state of minds as it has done for me, publishing this is indeed something I should do. 

So there’s that.

Jen Sincero, in her book “You Are a Badass” (which I have mentioned a couple of times in this blog), inspired me to create a vision board. Since I have time on my hands at this point in my life (what a blessing), a desire to express myself creatively, and plenty of notions of what I want my future to look like, creating this was quite a worthwhile pursuit.

Let me give you a tour:

The quote that is smack dab in the middle expresses how I’m choosing to live now. I am sincerely seeking (for meaning, for joy, for good things in the world). And I am sincerely striving to be the best version of myself every day, with the choices I make and how I interact with people. I am also sincerely full of love for this blessed life I’ve been granted and my heart is open.

The picture on top of this is of a mini-camper with just enough room for two. Hubs and I  are enamored with the notion of hitching a little camper to our CRV and taking spontaneous long weekend road trips to parts unknown. We really dig the idea of being able to forego pricey hotel stays and having our own space. We also really love the idea of being able to sit around a campfire at night next to our temporary home on wheels, pondering life while sipping wine or craft beer amongst the stars.

While it may be difficult to make out, there are numerous small pictures of different kinds of dogs. Because dogs make me happy. We no longer have a dog, as our Homer, a bichon we adopted in 2008, passed away in 2013. We both miss him so very much. He brought so much joy to our whole family. And soon I hope to adopt another dog.

Of course I had to include a picture of the cabin that at least sort of looks like the one we will someday live in. It features a decent sized deck and a fireplace. It’s big enough for two, yet could comfortably accommodate up to 4 more people, when we are blessed with company.

Then there are the pics of places I wish to travel with my Hubs. I didn’t buy a big enough vision board to actually include all of the places I want to travel to (I would need to use an entire wall for that!),  but three of them are pictured on my vision board: New York City (that’s why Tina and Amy are also pictured because not only do I admire them both more than anyone else for their comedic work, but I simply must be in the audience at Saturday Night Live if I am going to NYC). There’s Napa Valley, California, aka wine country (though it may be awhile before we can travel there thanks to the recent fires). And there’s Hawaii, where Hubs and I have been wanting to go for years. I picture us around a campfire on the beach at sunset, sipping fruity cocktails out of pineapples while being entertained by traditional Hawaiian dancers.

Perhaps you think it’s juvenile to have a vision board. Perhaps it is. But I don’t think anyone is too old to dream, do you? And seeing my dreams every day on the wall next to our computer desk keeps me in my happy place. And I believe that when you can envision things you want in your life, you are more apt to manifest them in your life.

Do you have a vision board?  I think we can learn about and inspire each other if you are willing to share a picture of yours with me!

Perks of work

I’ve been at my new job for almost three weeks now. It feels so good to be able to type that sentence. I am so very grateful.

I’d like to take a moment to share the perks, some unexpected and some not, of being gainfully employed after a year and four months of being unemployed.

My job is part time, at 25 hours per week. I was always secretly envious of those girlfriends I had back in Wisconsin that worked part time. They seemed to be more relaxed as they had more free time in their lives to pursue other interests, like travel, hosting parties, and book clubs. Meanwhile, for the better part of 20 years, I was working full-time. And still hosting parties and partaking in some travel. I never was able to make time to belong to a book club. But now, thanks to my sweet part time hours, I probably could if I wanted to. “Doing it all” was, well, exhausting. With my new part time gig,  it’s much easier , not to mention more enjoyable because I am not exhausted,  to plan and participate in these extra-curriculars.

I have absolutely no intention of ever working full time again in my life. 

Hubs and I share our one vehicle. I very much appreciate the odd day when he’s chosen to work from home and I have the car all to myself. However, riding the bus or taking Uber to/from work has turned out to not be such a big deal. These modes of transportation involve a little bit of planning, hence,  a bit of extra time; but it sure beats having two car payments, two cars to insure, and two cars to maintain. No need whatsoever to purchase a second vehicle, in my mind.

I am using my knowledge and experience from my former career as a social worker in my day to day work now. I really dig not feeling being responsible for almost every aspect of my clients’ lives-from finding them a new place to live because they (and in one case their dog as well) were evicted, to trying to convince a chronic alcoholic that sobriety was the way to go. In my new position, I help them through the food pantry, respond to calls for handyman referrals, and loan out medical equipment. It’s uncomplicated, straightforward, helping senior citizens and sending them on their way.

I’ve always enjoyed fashion. I have a pretty decent collection of pieces, many of which are mix and match, to wear for work. Only I wasn’t wearing any of them for one year and four months. I didn’t realize how much I missed this simple thing until I started working again. I’m having some real “girly girl” moments these days as I peruse my wardrobe, picking out new combinations of outfits to sport at the office. And I’m so grateful that I didn’t gain a bunch of weight during my “Gap Year” so everything still fits!

During my “Gap Year” (and four months), I found myself often recalling the enjoyable conversations I had with my co-workers at my social work job in Wisconsin. I found myself often missing the little things, like my next door cube mate singing along with her Ipod while she was doing paperwork. And the co-worker who occasionally would bring in delicious homemade cupcakes to share. And just chatting with my nearby cube mates about our caseloads or even what we did last weekend. Now I have that camaraderie back, just with different people. And lucky me, they are a very kind, sociable, and for the most part, cheery bunch of folks.

Lastly, and perhaps oddly, I love the feeling when I get home at the end of my no more than six hour work day and I can get on my favorite comfy clothes, grab a glass of wine or a bottle of beer and sink into the couch with Hubs. I feel relaxed, good about myself, and deserving of the coziness of home.


About my DVD collection

I’m not one of those people who has an extensive library of DVD’s. I feel like I’m in the minority, based on the massive DVD collections I’ve seen from friends on Facebook, friends in real life, and even former clients from my days as a social worker.

My reasoning is that I believe there are better things (and experiences) to spend my money on. And seriously, if I’ve seen the movie already, I know how it ends. Why would I spend my precious time  watching something that will not surprise me in the least? And why would I spend $24.99 on a new DVD that I haven’t seen and may or may not even like? Seems like a silly waste of resources to me.

However, that is not to say I don’t have a DVD collection. I do.  It’s just a bit on the small side.

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My DVD collection used to be approximately 3 times this size, but we sold most of them at the garage sale we held prior to moving to Colorado. The only DVD’s that were actually difficult for me to let go of for a pittance of $3 was 2 seasons of Arrested Development. Funniest show ever, IMHO. I could re-watch episodes over again and laugh just as hard each time. Kinda like Seinfeld, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock, for me anyway.

You see, I have requirements for buying DVD’s. I will not pay $24.99 or even $14.99 for that matter for a new DVD. I will pay $5 at Target for one I always meant to watch but never got around to. I will pay up to $10 for a DVD that I absolutely, truly loved with my whole heart because I am certain I will watch it again.

The following is a justification/review of my meager DVD collection: 

As Good as it Gets: I think this is such a special movie.  Jack Nicholson is at his best, playing a cantankerous man afflicted with a severe case of OCD who despite everything, Helen Hunt’s character falls in love with. And Greg Kinnear. What an under-appreciated actor he is. I feel such affection for his character and the scene where he is beaten up by a group of punks broke me. And there’s that dog, a brussels griffon. This is the breed that won best in show at the Westminster dog show on Thanksgiving this year.

This is 40: Purchased this fall at Target for $5 (an example of one I had been meaning to see since it came out in the theaters several years ago). After finally seeing it, I can safely say I would have paid $14.99 for it in a heartbeat. It featured the great comedy duo of Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd in very often almost too close for comfort relatable married couple scenes. I loved it so much I tweeted at Judd Apatow.  Much to my chagrin, I got no response.

Forrest Gump: Need I say anything here? I think any right minded American DVD collector worth their salt owns this one, right? Absolutely charming, classic, and thought-provoking.

Love, Actually: This is an especially charming, feel-good Christmas-themed movie which I absolutely adore. And it features some of my favorite British actors speaking in their lovely British accents: Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, and Keira Knightly. It’s a great, heartfelt mix of romance and comedy. Must watch it again soon.

Christmas Vacation: This is Hubs and my favorite Christmas movie. We know all the lines, to the point where we find ourselves quoting from this movie year round. For instance, when I suggest to Hubs that we could adopt a cat, I hear “Well then we’ll have a cat running around the house”. Or when I am utterly shocked at something I just heard, I might say “I wouldn’t be more surprised if I woke up with my head sewn to the carpet”. Or if he can’t hear something I just said, I will channel Uncle Leo by emphatically mouthing “they want you to say the blessing”. One of these Christmases, we’re going to host a “Christmas Vacation” themed holiday party, with guests costumed as characters from the movie. I think, however, that Hubs and I should not do the obvious thing.

It’d be more fun to go as these two, in my opinion.

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Dan in Real Life: I think this is one of those movies I purchased impulsively from a clearance rack at Target or something. It was worth whatever it costed. It features Steve Carrell as a widowed father of three cheeky daughters who finds love during his family’s annual holiday gathering. It is heartfelt, funny, and charming. And the scene where the whole family is playing charades spend makes me wish I could have been there, perhaps as a long lost cousin or niece.

History of the Eagles: Hubs gave me this for one of my 40 something birthdays. I have always been a huge fan of the Eagles and appreciate seeing footage of them playing live and the behind the scenes stories from when they started playing together. Did you know that they lived in the same apartment building as Jackson Browne (who also wrote Take it Easy, which they later recorded)? Well, now you do.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: This is a movie I bought on impulse this fall, with the plan in my head that I would include it in a special Halloween box of treats and whatnots for our 3 year old grandson. I remember enjoying this movie as a kid, but hadn’t seen it since. When I came home and showed Hubs, he commented that this might not be age appropriate for little guy. Then I remembered the scene with the little girl who blew up chewing bubble gum and realized he was probably correct. So I think I’ll hang onto this one for a few more years.

Chocolat: This is the most romantic movie ever! Hubs and I first watched it on a very cold, snowy Wisconsin night several winters ago and we were enthralled. It features a very handsome and charming Johnny Depp. Be sure to have good quality chocolate on hand when you watch it, because I guarantee your chocolate cravings will be activated.

Legends of the Fall: Brad Pitt is looking his very finest in this flick. It’s a beautiful, romantic story about three brothers and one very sought after and beloved woman. I haven’t seen it in years, despite owning it forever, so I need to make time to watch it again soon!

American Hustle: Hubs and I first saw this one in the theater, a rare occurrence for the two of us. It features a great story line and memorable characters with a sweet 70’s soundtrack. I appreciate the detail put into the set designs in every scene as it brings one back in time. And Jennifer Lawrence is an absolute hoot!  I love it so much I’ve seen it twice since I bought it!

Hocus Pocus: This movie seemed to re-surface this fall, whether it be people commenting about it on Facebook or the t-shirts being sold online with quotes from it. I hadn’t seen it in years, but thought it’d be a fun one to watch this Halloween season. And for $5 it was totally worth it. After seeing it again right before Halloween, I realized it is the classic movie to watch every Halloween, just like Christmas Vacation is the one for us to watch every Christmas season.

Blue Planet: I bought this one for Hubs when we bought our first and only blue ray/dvd player. He is a scientist after all so he has an especially keen interest in the topic of climate change. It is quite an amazingly beautiful film.

Grand Torino:  This is a deeply thought provoking movie. Clint Eastwood’s character was so memorable, and it was amazing to see his character’s development from start to finish. This movie blew my mind and made me cry at the end.

So, fellow movie lovers, what’s in your DVD collection?