1 Mantra, 7 ways

Call me crazy, but I believe in the power of a good mantra. When you have one (or two or 16) that you connect with, not just in your mind, but in your heart and soul, you have an ability to focus on what’s most important to you.

KISS.

This is my most used and helpful mantra. What I think is especially fabulous about it is just how ridiculously adaptable it is.

Many of you already are aware of the  translation of this acronym as “Keep It Simple Stupid”. That was how I glommed onto it initially. You see,  I have a fantastic ability to overthink everything in my life-from what I should have said to so and so, to what I should wear to church on Sunday, to what kind of part time job I should seek. Geez, if only overthinking was a skill I could get paid for. I wonder how much I could get an hour for that? Perhaps it’d be a salaried position? Maybe I could get paid extra for not taking health insurance as I can stay on Hubs plan? Okay, there I go again. That was not useful. Deep breath….ahhhh…KISS…..

Okay, I’m good.

Other ways I use the mantra KISS:

Note: I have determined that I will refer to the last “S” in KISS as “stupid” very sparingly. Because I think it’s important to be kind to oneself.

Keep it silly, sister. Because I firmly adhere to the notion that in order to have a successful, meaningful, and happy life, one should not take anything too seriously. Or anyone, for that matter.

Keep it specific, sister. This one came to me while I was using my wicked crafting skills  creative energy to put together my very first vision board. I firmly believe that having a physical picture of what you want in your life increases the chances of it becoming reality. For instance, instead of affixing a picture of, say, a wine bottle or grapes to my vision board,  I affixed a picture of Napa Valley because that is a place I very much wish to visit with Hubs, asap. Seeing it every day will keep it fresh in my mind, which is good because, I am 50.

Keep it sincere, sister. Bottom line-I’m just going to be me. I will continue to write (and live) with my heart in the right place. Which happens to be on my sleeve.

Keep it succinct, stupid. Yes, I know this sounds super boring. But not nearly as boring as it would be for you, dear patient readers (or anyone I am conversing with in real life),for me to ramble on, stream-of-consciousness style, taking my sweet, pokey time in getting to the damn point. It’s the opposite of verbose. An adjective that has been used to describe me (and sometimes, unfortunately, my writing) which I truly abhore.

Keep it smart, sister. This is possibly the most challenging use of this acronym for me. Because all my life I’ve struggled with feeling that I’m just not that smart. Thankfully, the successes I’ve had in this life along with the people I love who love me back, have helped me to no longer be hyper-focused on it. Keeping it smart, sister, is important to my writing.  I believe that if I’m going to put my opinion out there for the world to see, especially if it’s about current events, I need to know what I’m talking about. That’s why I spend time doing some research if I’m not fully confident that the opinion I’m preparing to put out there is based on facts.

Keep it sassy, sister. Because. THIS.

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So, fellow mantra users, which ones work for you?

Jar of Happiness

I got the idea of the “happiness jar” from the author Elizabeth Gilbert. I honestly can’t recall if I read about it in “Eat Pray Love” or if it was in a magazine article. Either way, thank you, Elizabeth.

When Hubs and I moved to Colorado, I was determined to utilize my free time, which I hadn’t had much of in my previous life as a social worker in Wisconsin, to improve myself. I have always been a big reader with a curious mind so in combination with reading various self help books (Bad Ass by Jen Sincero is the best one), I decided I would create my own “happiness jar”. Here it is:

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With the happiness jar,  each day, you write down the thing that made you happy that day. Then you pop it into a vessel of your choosing. The idea is that you will open up your jar on 12/31 and read your blurbs about what made you happy each day throughout the past year. It’s a way to reflect and take stock of all the good things that happened, both tiny and gigantic, many of which you may have long forgotten about.

The most beautiful thing to me about this practice of mine is that it forces me, each and every day, to remain as mindful as I can be, so at the end of the day, I am able to record at least one thing that truly brought me happiness. On some days, I find myself writing down 2 or even 3 things. Those are the best days!

Instead of waiting till 12/31, and because I’m going on about this in this post, I’m going to share a couple of random happiness notes from my jar. I promise I won’t choose them selectively. I will be super random. So here we go….

2/16: Got one follower on my blog and wrote a new post today 🙂 Made quesadillas and listened to Santana too.

Sounds like a decent day to me! You can’t beat quesadillas and Santana! And getting a new follower!

6/8: Enjoyed helping people at FISH today. The time flew!

FISH is the food bank I volunteer at once a week. And I get so much more than I give when I’m there, it’s kind of ridiculous. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m coming home with free food. It’s the feels. The appreciation. 

5/19: I made the house smell like chocolate chip cookies today.

Say what?! How on earth did I do that? Must have been that new aromatherapy oil I had just bought. Nevertheless, the scent of chocolate chip cookies would make me happy any day of the week. 

6/21: Spent the day interacting w/nature and great FCC peeps. Good for my spirit. That was this day:

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Hubs and I met up with folks from our former church in Wisconsin at Rocky Mountain National Park , to volunteer. We spent the day pulling invasive weeds out of the ground. It was so beautiful that day. I felt honored to be able to spend a whole day visiting with old friends, while doing something helpful for the environment, amidst this awe inspiring scenery.

After plucking these 4 little notes from my happiness jar, I’ve just reinforced my decision to continue the practice of jotting down what makes me happy as I go through my days this year.

What’s in your happiness jar? I’d love to hear about it.

 

 

 

 

 

Frivolity and dark chocolate

Anyone who truly knows me knows that I have an abiding love for dark chocolate. And words.

In my nerdy heart of hearts, I love words. Mostly because of the power they have to evoke an emotion or convey a thought. And partly because some of them are just plain fun to say.

Like the word “frivolity”, for instance. It’s not a commonly used word in our vernacular (another word I love). Wikipedia tells me that frivolity means: “lack of seriousness; lightheartedness”. Methinks this is an important word given the current state of affairs in our world. I am choosing not to expand upon that last line. Today is Friday and frivolity is the word of this day for me.

The other night, I received a message from my piece of dark chocolate. It implored me to buy something frivolous.

So this is what I bought on my Target run yesterday, because when chocolate speaks I listen. 

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As a means to maintain my current state of frivolity, I told Hubs that we are playing Mad Libs on our plane ride to Washington, D.C. this week. I cannot fathom a more frivolously fun activity to engage in while I am sipping Chardonnay in a plastic cup 35,000 feet up in the clouds.

Maybe my frivolous spirit will continue into the week and I’ll be able to take a selfie with this dude:

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We shall see.

Happy Frivolous Friday, my friends!

Blessings for Bobby

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I would like to present to you the reasons for good lord that we as Americans need to offer blessings for Bobby Mueller.

I do realize his name is Robert. However, I recently saw Tim Weiner (pronounced “whiner” not “wheener” like this dude below) on Rachel Maddow’s show refer to Mr. Mueller as Bobby, so I’m going with that. It seems more relatable to me to refer to this potential American hero using this likeable nickname.

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Mr. Weiner is a former New York Times reporter, author, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. I think it’s fair to go with the assumption he knows Bobby on a personal level.

I write this post as a relatively well informed (politically) American, whose faith, often informed by my chosen religious denomination of the United Church of Christ, can’t help itself from co-mingling with my politics. Yes, my faith and my politics are colliding.

Not like the way a baseball bat collides with that dumb pinata from your kids birthday party that simply will not break open and supply you with all the sugar needed to line the pockets of your neighborhood dentist for eons. More like this:

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I am not telling you to pray to God. Or Yahweh, El, Allah, Dude, or any of the other monikers your religion dictates they be called.  But if any of those are your jam, by all means go for it.

I am by no means even directing you to pray. I believe atheists are good people too.

I am encouraging you to send this man positive energy, as you personally see fit. It might be in the form of meditating on a positive message for him along Boulder Creek on a cloudless August morn. It might be in the form of baking cookies that you deliver to him in person (I am going to be in D.C. soon). It might be making a giant, lit up, lawn sign that says “Find the Truth Bobby”. Whatever floats your boat.

My point is, this man needs all the good juju we can collectively send his way.

Fact is, he’s got a long, hard road ahead of him in his search for the truth. And regardless of where your political alliances reside, all of us as Americans will benefit from the full truth being brought to life.

So here’s my go at a prayer for Bobby:

Dear Infinite Spirit,

Are you there,  Creator? It’s me, Real Rhonda. No, this is not going to be me lamenting about my impending menopause.  As you are aware, I am fully ensconced in AARP land here in Colorado with my Hubs. And I believe in you.

As you undoubtedly are aware, the United States is in turmoil. The man narcissistic bully con-man serving as POTUS has turned everything upside down. He has recklessly pitted Americans against each other with his non-inclusive rhetoric and agenda. He appears hell-bent on taking this great country of ours down in flames. Most importantly, it appears he, along with his cadre of reprehensibles, have not only worked in cahoots with the Russian government to obtain the power they now enjoy, they are also likely benefitting financially from their evil endeavors.

Bobby Mueller needs your guidance, your strength, and your grace.

Please provide him these tools so that America can survive this assault on our democracy and begin to thrive again.

Please be present for him as he hires staff to help him with this investigation.

Please be present for him as he prepares the questions to be asked of those he subpoenas.

Please provide him with the physical, mental, and spiritual energy he will need for however long it takes for him to find the whole truth and present it to the American people.

Please provide him with the fortitude to successfully prosecute all of the individuals who are found to have broken the law.

Please, God, bless America.

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Can I get an amen?

Addendum

Oops!! In the excitement of being nominated for the Liebster award, I, the spaz that you know now that I am, forgot that part of the deal was to pose questions for those bloggers that most inspire/entertain me. To nominate them as I have been by this lovely blogger (it matters not that I do not know their name at this point in time)

The unnamed one

Like CJ from Feeding on Folly. The woman cracks me up every time I read her blog posts. And she’s totally down for drinking wine and munching on gourmet cheese and crackers with me. I think we kinda get each other.

CJ

Like Mitch Teemley, that grand storyteller.  He’s the talented writer behind the blog The Power of Story. He’s so creative. And positive. And just an all around great guy.

Mitch

Like Bitter Ben, from Ben’s Bitter Blog. He is the human bomb of bitterness, though something tells me he’s got a squishy center under all that snarkiness.

Bitter Ben

Like Kelly, my only friend in real life blogger. She blogs at The Transient Poet. I am quite awestruck of the beauty and clarity with which she writes. She most certainly has got the goods.

Kelly

Like Blair, the always hilarious blogger at The Shameful Sheep. She tells the goofiest and most amusing stories. Love this chick!

Blair

Questions I demand amusing answers to:

  1. If you could be any animal on earth, what would it be and why?
  2. If you had to write the soundtrack of your life, what would be the first three songs on it?
  3. If your death was imminent, what would you choose as your last meal?
  4. What movie that has not yet been made would you pay good money to see?
  5. What was your favorite age to be and why?
  6. What is the one book that you has inspired you most with your writing and/or life?
  7. If you could live anywhere you damn well please, without that pesky restraint called money (or lack thereof), where would it be and why?
  8. What’s your favorite number and why?

 

I will wait with baited breath for your answers!

National Sister Day

Did you know there happens to be a very big Holiday happening today? It’s National Sister Day! And a perfect excuse for this blogger to express her love and appreciation for her sister and her “sisters”.

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So, I only have one biological sister. Her name is Kelly and she’s 8 years older than me. She is also a very humble and fairly private person. In many circumstances, I would say she is easily embarrassed. So instead of calling her saintly, my protector, or my biggest life role model because I totally could, I’ll keep it simple.

Kelly is generous. She is a fabulous shopper, and shops year round for items to present as gifts to everyone she loves. And she has great taste in clothes and jewelry, which I like to think I got from her. Kelly is kind. She wears her heart on her sleeve and empathizes with people when they’re in pain. She possesses a great sense of fun and is always open to trying new things. She is strong. She pushes through life with a sense of purpose and goodwill, no matter the obstacle. I love her with all my heart.

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Me and Kel-Kel Poo Poo, 2010. Isn’t she lovely?

I am also abundantly blessed with other, non-biological sisters. They all hold a special place in my heart.

I hit the in law “jackpot” when I married Hubs. Not only because my MIL and FIL are the most kind, generous, thoughtful people in the world, but because of Mary Alice. Mary Alice, Hub’s younger sister, is a sweet, beautiful, smart, fun loving spirit who I adore. She and I enjoy doing lots of “girly” things together, like shopping, eating out, drinking good quality red wine, and talking about boys together.

When I was 17, my folks thought it would be a grand idea to take in an AFS (American Field Service) student for a year.  I was beyond excited to play at being a big sister for a year. Her name was/is Lisa and she’s from England. When she came off the plane in the summer of 1983 with her cool British accent, super stylish short blond hair, and tight cropped jeans, I knew she was going to be super cool. And she was. And still is. She brought a sense of fun and adventure to every day of my junior year in high school. She cracked us up with her imitations of how we Minnesotans spoke. She was the instigator of such shenanigans as conning me into drinking booze from my parents liquor cabinet (aka the space under the kitchen sink-man these people were trusting!) whilst they enjoyed their vacation. Good times. Good times indeed!

Gail was my “big sister” in our sorority during our college years. She had this superpower of always having my back, like when she would drag my drunk ass out of the bar after “Thirsty Thursday” so I could avoid getting lost on my way back to the sorority house or heaven forbid kidnapped and thrown into the Mississippi River. Or when she got into verbal fisticuffs with Hubs to ensure his intentions with me were pure. They ended up being great pals. As I mentioned in a recent post, Gail passed away from cancer 5 years ago, at the age of 48. God, I miss that woman so much. And cancer seriously bites the big one.

Sara is the “sister” that I’ve known the longest (besides Kel Kel PP) and she is my dearest friend. She was also in my sorority and one of my many roommates over the span of 3 years in the sorority house. She was the one who officially introduced me to Hubs (whilst the three of us were donning sheets togas after one of those crazy frat parties.) She and I were together, partying with a group of our friends at her family’s cabin when she met her now husband.  She and her husband are our closest and oldest couple friends. We treasure them (and their spawn) like family. Sara and I have shared so much together. The trials and tribulations of jobs/careers, the stress of relationships with crappy co-workers, the angst of mothering daughters (we both have two, but they are very far apart in age), and so much more. We were in each other’s weddings. She is simply the best.

So, to all you blogging sisters and bloggers with sisters and plain old sisters with sisters, I  wish to you the best National Sister Day ever!

Thank you for your consideration

So, I just got the shock of my life as a blogger. I was nominated by  for a Liebster award! Wow! Someone in the blogosphere actually thinks I’m okay at this writing thing. Who’d-a-thunk-it? Certainly not me.

My nomination came from this talented and kind writer:

Liebster Award

First question my curious mind requires an answer to is Who the heck is Liebster? Okay, stick with me here while I figure this out….

Okay, first thing I learn about Liebster is it’s a german word. Yay!! Though I have yet to confirm this through ancestry.com or other websites you send your spit to, I have it on good authority (good old mom and dad) that our ancestors hailed from Germany. So perfect, right? It’s a sign. I love signs!!

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Liebster, translated into English is “dearest”, “favorite”, and “my love”. Oh, I’m gushing!

Alright, now what does the award part mean in “Liebster award”? According to my extensive  research, bloggers are bestowed nominations for it when they are “up and coming” and have under 200 followers. Hey, I don’t think I’ve ever in my entire life been referred to as “Up and Coming”!! Makes me feel young again. Maybe I should print t-shirts. You know my artist kiddo does make and sell t-shirts. Hmmm…there’s a thought. And yes, I proudly have 25 followers, so I certainly qualify for this nomination based on that little factoid.

Okay, enough spazzing out (for now anyway).

This nomination does not come without strings. There are questions I am required to answer. Hopefully I’ll get them right because I like to win!! Especially if I get a trophy. I’ve never won one of those.

Question #1: Why do you write?

Because I have a lot of opinions and feelings and I feel a sense of satisfaction when I hit “publish”. And I don’t have any volunteers to hang with me all day and listen while I flap my gums about whatever happens to be on my mind.

Question #2: Is there anything in your life that fills the same need as writing?

Only thing that comes to mind is cleaning the house. But like, who in their right mind would spend hours upon hours cleaning their house every week? Not this broad, that’s for sure.

Question #3: Did you always want to write, or were you more like me and wanted to be the President of the lost city of Atlantis?

I always wanted to write. Always. Cannot recall a time in which this wasn’t something I wanted to do in my core of cores.

Question #4: What’s something you want to write about but haven’t yet for some reason?

I’d say it’s a toss about about that time I declined George Clooney’s offer of a night of Italian wine and unbridled passion and the time I won Survivor. Just kidding, peeps. Do you really think I’d turn down George?

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Oh George, you are one handsome devil

 

Question #5: What is your favorite punctuation mark?

Without a doubt, the comma. The meaning of a sentence can vary wildly based on the placement of a simple comma. Example: Rhonda’s inspiration comes from her Hubs cooking neighborhood bunnies. See what I mean?

Question #6: What is something you cannot stand?

When I’m talking on the phone and someone is also talking at me in person at the same time. Or when I’m really into watching something on t.v. and Hubs is simultaneously telling me a story. It’s information overload for my brain and makes me feel crazed.

Question #7: What is something you can stand, but you’d really rather not deal with?

People who have the audacity to wear two different socks in public. It seems to be a trend, I swear! The only possible way I could imagine addressing this fashion atrocity would be to carry multiple matching pairs of socks in my purse at all times. But I do not wish to carry a purse larger than a bowling ball bag with me everywhere I go. So I’ll deal.

Question #8: If you could burn any single building to the ground what would it be?

Well, as long as no living beings are in said building, I’d say an abandoned, dilapidated old barn, far from any trees (need to be responsible and not cause a forest fire), and right next to a beautiful lake. All my friends would be there, sitting around in Zero Gravity camping loungers, drinking craft beer and roasting marshmallows while Jack Johnson strums his guitar sitting on a stool amidst the revelry.

Question #9: What is the last thing that made you laugh so hard you made a noise you’re ashamed of?

I think I made a few charming guffaws last week whilst watching the episode of Seinfeld where George is gifted a doll that looks exactly like his mother. And his fiance insists on keeping this doll in bed with them during a nookie nookie session. That Susan was a twisted woman. Good thing for George she died upon licking those cheap wedding invitation envelopes. He dodged a bullet there.

Question #10: What would it take for you to steal a car?

First off, I would require the tank be full. And it’d have to be a really cool, fast car like a Jaguar. I’d say that there would have to be an iron clad guarantee that I would not be caught, arrested, or prosecuted. But seriously, that would take all the fun out of it amiright? All kidding aside,  I’d do it if it meant saving someone’s life. Or if the prize was a month long, all expenses paid trip for Hubs and I to visit Europe.

Question #11: If you had a spear, a potted plant, and an empty journal, what would you do to impress a date?

A pickle spear or a pineapple spear? I would enjoy either. I’d impress my date by sharing it with them. Since there is no mention of a writing utensil in this scenario, I’d rip up the journal and use it for confetti to celebrate the event. And then I would lead my date on a guided meditation on the potted plant.

 

 

Remember that one show about nothing?

Over the past few months, Hubs and I have taken to watching re-runs of “Seinfeld”, typically between watching our favorite MSNBC shows in the evenings. You know, to mix things up a little bit. I’m of the opinion that “Seinfeld” is one of those shows that people either love or hate. People either get it or they don’t get it. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground here.

I am one of those people who gets it. 

The secret to appreciate this show is this: you are not supposed to like the characters. This is not Friends, people. Unlike popping a cold one and hoping that Rachel and Ross get back together, you will not be rooting for Jerry, Elaine, George, or Kramer. They are not warm, fuzzy, likeable characters. That’s not the point of this show. What is the point is that the characters, the writing, and the storylines are consistently hilarious.

I’ve heard Jerry Seinfeld himself remark that “Seinfeld” is a show about nothing. That to me is not quite accurate. This is a show about hapless, clueless, self-absorbed, single-for-a-reason New Yorkers getting themselves into ridiculous circumstances based on poor choices.

Like any sitcom, some episodes funnier than others. To me, there are multiple character quirks, lines, and scenarios that never fail to crack me up.

Like when George interacts with his parents. These people communicate via loud yelling in most every circumstance. And usually the circumstance, in one way or another, involves one of them perceiving themselves to be wronged by someone else. Like this:

 

And then there’s Kramer. What an original character! I cannot imagine this role being played by anyone other than Michael Richards. His entrances are frequently quite spectacular. Like this one:

 

Kramer is even funnier here, using his physical comedy skills to the hilt:

 

Elaine’s facial expressions kill me! Like this one:

George and his ridiculous lies have been known to make me cackle hysterically, like this one:

And then there’s Jerry’s straight man one liners that are often comic gold:

“You kept making all the stops?”

This is what I imagine would happen with these four chuckleheads if the show had still been on the air during the Presidential election of 2016:

Kramer would be a big Trump guy. Jerry and George would be completely indecisive. Elaine would be all about Hillary. And all but Kramer would actually vote.

Elaine would try for sure. She would be volunteering for the Hillary campaign where she’d end up in some convoluted circumstance where she’d be competing to get supporters for Hillary against the “bra-less” candy bar heiress. Here she is: Image result for seinfeld memes braless

Somehow it would end with Elaine”winning” a truckload of candy bars for her efforts. But she’d get hung up somehow. Maybe she’d be so pooped she’d fall asleep on the train on the way to the voting venue and end up in New Jersey. Or Kramer would end up driving her and he’d get pulled over by police for throwing candy bars out the window, knocking out an innocent bystander, so Elaine wouldn’t make it to vote in time. It would be all for naught, similar to many endings of Seinfeld episodes.

I’m about 88% sure I haven’t seen each and every episode of Seinfeld, so tell me, fellow Seinfeldians, what’s your favorite one?

 

 

 

5 Things Learned Along The Way

Hey all! I’m baaaack! Yipee!

Our big road trip visiting family and friends in Minnesota and Wisconsin came to a close when we landed home last Monday evening. The trip had it’s share of ups and downs. The downs are why I have not posted anything on this blog since our return. I, for lack of a better term, needed a “vacation from my vacation”. I realize that is utterly a “first world problem” but given my emotional/mental state after this two week journey, it is 100% true. I assure you, however, that there were more ups than downs.

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Surely this was the biggest and bestest “up” of our vacay!

It is so absolutely flipping awesome to be back home again in my happy bubble in Colorado. Back to our own comfy cozy bed. Back to my wonderful microwave that pops my popcorn to perfection with one small tap on the “popcorn” button. Back to counting bunnies on my (mostly) daily strolls around our neighborhood. Back to my weekly volunteer gig at our local food bank, where I have the pleasure of directly helping those in need while not being responsible for navigating the day to day trials and tribulations of my clients’ lives (as I did as a social worker in Wisconsin for years). Best of all, I’m back to blogging.

Time spent in the car traveling through Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin provided me with ample opportunity to do some personal pondering. I took stock of the varied life experiences I’ve had and how they have informed who I am in the here and now.  That said, here is a by no means comprehensive list of lessons learned during my life as a girl and a woman. These lessons, in small and sometimes big ways, led me to become the 50 year old creative writer/optimist/politically aware and engaged/spiritual/feminist/truth-telling broad/hot mess I am now.

First lesson learned: There are truly good guys out there-you just have to be patient. And I deserve respect, dammit!

Moment: I was the girl in college who, thank-the-good-lord, chose to not stay with and/or marry the boyfriend who referred to my breasts as “clangers” (as in “hey honey, your clangers are looking fine today”). I shit you not. I met Hubs in the nick of time.

Second lesson learned: It’s okay to look like a fool. And you feel better about yourself if you resist the impulse to run away, crying in shame. And it’s okay that you just gave your fellow Zumba pals a funny story to tell over margaritas later. 

Spoiler Alert: I may have learned this lesson from a goofy lady who annoyed Bob Barker.

Moment: I was the woman who at 40-something  decided on a lark to join a Zumba class. Probably 2 classes in, I tripped over my own feet while attempting to keep up with a fast paced number, landing ever so gracefully on the floor with a thud. Shortly thereafter, I popped back up to continue the dancing festivities. I think this was the moment I decided to stop caring if I looked like an idiot in public. I imagine I may have looked a little like this:

 

Third lesson learned: God is among us.

Moment: I was the UCC’er (United Church of Christ) who experienced the most spiritual moment of my life when, at Hub’s and my one and only year of attending Lay Academy, our group was re-baptized under a sunny blue October sky in Wisconsin while singing the hymn “Here I am Lord”. The connectedness to the spirit and humanity in that place was palpable. Growing up, and as a young adult, I could not have imagined myself in this scenario.

Third lesson learned: You can survive the ultimate embarrassment of your mother doing this:

 

As a pimple faced, awkward 14 year old with a bad perm,  I miraculously survived this epic mortification. Even in spite of the knowledge that all of my high school classmates got to watch it when it aired during the school day (it was a moment of civic pride for our small Minnesota town), I managed to keep my head held (somewhat) high.   Thankfully I got to stay home with my family for a private viewing. I am ever so grateful my mother’s 15 minutes of fame happened in ye olden times before the advent of social media.

Fourth lesson learned: At the core of true friendship is kindness. 

Moment: I was the 13 year old girl who desperately wanted to follow her big sister’s footsteps and be a cheerleader (Go Agates! Yes, that was our sport teams’ name. You can only imagine how much crap we got for that).  My best friend, Therese, was also trying out for cheerleading. When she was picked and I was not (mind you, I had the voice and enthusiasm but absolutely no other cheerleading skills such as doing the splits or a cartwheel, so this shouldn’t have come as a surprise), she offered to decline the position in order for me to snatch it and bask in the glory of the cheerleading life. I refused her offer. To this day, this may be the single most kind thing another human being has done for me. Did I mention that all of the girls trying out made the team but me? We had a small high school. Don’t judge.

Fifth lesson learned: Choose your friends wisely, and treasure them always.  And cancer sucks the big one.

I was the bride who had the good sense to appoint the best possible personal attendant in my dear friend Gail.  She arrived armed with necessities such as safety pins and kleenex. She was a skilled wedding dress hoister-upper while I peed and smoked a cigarette to calm my nerves in the bathroom at our wedding reception. She passed away from cancer 5 years ago and I think of her often and miss her so so much. Cancer is such a cruel fricking bastard. This is why I will support political candidates who believe in financially supporting medical research. I wish everyone could have a friend as special as Gail was to me.

How about you all? What moments in the timeline of your lives contributed to the life perspectives you have now?

 

 

And so it begins

Hubs and I will be leaving this week for a road trip to visit family and friends in our beloved states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. I may or may not have opportunities to do any blog posts while we are away, but I will get right back into it upon our return to our still new Colorado home.

I have quite a mixed bag of emotions heading into this adventure: excitement, anxiety, and guilt are at the top of the list. I’m excited about the opportunities so see all those people I love and miss so much. I’m excited about presenting my mother in law, sister in law, and a dear friend their birthday gifts (all are in the month of July). I’m excited to give my dad a box of his favorite treats when we visit him in his new home. I’m excited to spend time visiting our friends at our favorite watering holes, restaurants, and backyards. I’m beyond excited to see our eldest daughter and our grandson.

I’m anxious knowing that this will be the first time at my parent’s home with mom living there alone.  It’s going to be so strange. I’m anxious about how my dad will react to our presence, as I’ve been made aware that he is farther into dementia than he was when I last saw him in April. I like to think he will know who Hubs and I are, but what if he doesn’t? I don’t know how to prepare emotionally for this possibility. I don’t want to cry in front of him because I think that will be confusing and upsetting for him. I must for his sake keep it together. Dementia is such a bastard.

The guilt will inevitably sneak it’s way into my brain too, I expect. Here I am, living the dream in wonderful, beautiful Colorado while my family is experiencing the hardship of my parents aging and the stress that comes with caregiving. I’m an unemployed (by choice for now anyway) housewife (domestic goddess?) with the time to pursue my love of creative writing via this blog and enjoy a decent social life.  Currently my life is virtually stress-free, which is a new state of being for me. I worry that my family might think “Who does she think she is?”.

But go forth we will. Much time and energy has been spent by Hubs and I in the planning of this vacation. That fact ought to optimize the chance that things will go smoothly.

I will savor the good times, which I have faith will be plentiful. Like having chats with Hubs in the car about the past, the present, and what hopes we have for our future. Listening to Al Franken’s audio book “Giant of the Senate”. Listening to the plethora of channels on our Sirius XM. Sitting in motel hot tubs with a cold beer at the end of a long day in the car. Trying new restaurants. Sitting out on my parent’s front porch reminiscing about the good old times with mom and Hubs. Morning walks along the shores of Lake Superior. Taking the dumpling (our 3 year old grandson) out for ice cream and to the zoo. Splashing in the hotel pool with him and reading him the Sesame Street book I recently bought. Having a nice long, heart to heart chat with my beloved eldest daughter.  Sitting out on my in laws deck, chatting the afternoon away sipping wine and smelling the barbeque my father in law is cooking on the grill. Having girl time with my sweet sister in law, laughing and shopping our way through Stillwater, Mn. Catching up with dear friends while sampling craft beers. Spending time at one of my very favorite places on earth: my sister’s home on the Baptism River. These simple things in life are what makes it worth living.

I am so fortunate to have all these people that I love so much and who love me back. I hope all of you, dear readers, are as blessed as I. Happy summer everyone!

Finding silver linings, lifting others up, sharing positively good stuff