Category Archives: Blogging

Random and Uncategorized

 

Lately, I’ve been wondering where Shameful Sheep, the blogger named Blair, has been. She seems to have taken a hiatus from the blogosphere. I hope she is okay. She’s such a good egg.  I miss her witty anecdotes and funny stories. She sometimes pens “random as shit” posts, like this one. Today I’m feeling extra indecisive about topics to blog about, so I’m going to take a cue from Blair and unload some thoughts I’ve had recently about stuff. So here I go….

If I could be any one of the Trump family members, who would I be? I’d pick Tiffany. Because first and foremost, she seems to be out of the fray. Kind of like Barron (but he’s just a tween so he should not be in the fray in any capacity. That poor kid. I hope he has someone in his daily life who is kind to him).  Tiff has no official titles at least that I’m aware of.  She seems to have a cool mom which I deduced not because she married the Donald (massive error in judgement no doubt),  but because I watched her on DWTS where I learned that she’s a super health nut and very fit for her age. I thought she generally just had a cool vibe about her.  It seems to me that Tiff is able to pretty much do as she pleases (go on tropical vacations, hang out with celebrities, stay in swanky hotels) while the rest of her family makes asses out of themselves in the Oval Office.

Hubs has been encouraging me to share my blog publicly on Facebook. I’ve been a chicken when it comes to that. While it very well could boost my stats, I’m worried that some off hand remark I inadverdently made in one of my posts would make them think less of me. That they’d think I’ve lost my marbles or worse yet, that I’m a massively untalented writer. On the other hand, they have the power to choose not to read my blog posts. Just like I have exercised the power to screen calls on my cell phone and not answer when I don’t want to talk to whoever it is that is calling.

Speaking of Facebook, I find it interesting, maybe even a little surprising, that my favorite Facebook friends are actually my cousins. It’s weird because I can’t honestly say (okay, with like 3 exceptions) that growing up I was personally close with any of them. There’s a lot of reasons for that: many of them lived far away so I didn’t get to see them but once, maybe twice, a year. And many of them are either much younger than me or much older than me (on both sides of the family). On Facebook, they often make me laugh and teach me a thing or two about our family’s history that without Facebook I would be completely unaware.

Two things I feel like I really struggle with when I’m working on blog posts are 1) coming up with an appropriate, catchy title and 2) deciding what “categories” to check. I’m intrigued by the “uncategorized” category option. I feel like that for better or perhaps worse, that one word captures my entire blog. Sometimes I post about my passion for music, once in a while I throw a recipe in there, sometimes I can’t help but get all political on your asses, and sometimes I just write about what or who is in my heart in the moment. I’m all over the place, I know. Kind of a hot mess, but hopefully in a good way. I could go ahead and just pick one lane (cooking/baking, music, relationships, politics) and go with that for eons, but Geez Louise, that would be such a yawn fest after a while.

Because I’m stubborn and maybe a little cheap frugal, I primarily rely on a combination of RTD (city bus) or Uber to get to and from work each day, instead of buying a second vehicle. I can’t fathom forking over 1/3 to 1/2 of my monthly earnings for a car payment and insurance. It’s been, to say the least, interesting to use alternate transportation. The Uber drivers vary so much. I’ve ridden in tobacco scented cars with crumbs on the floor and pristine cars where the driver offers me a free bottle of water. I’ve had some drivers who seem to have zero interest in chit-chat and some who have essentially talked my ears off (I prefer the latter). Yesterday, I missed my second bus, which was to take me to my volunteer gig, because the first bus was delayed. Why you ask? Because one of the riders on that bus was arrested. I watched the drama unfold from my perch at the bus stop, about a block away. When I finally was able to board the bus I remarked to the petite, female bus driver that there had “apparently” been some drama. She explained that the dude was intoxicated and “laid his hands on me”. As a result, I ended up having to cancel my volunteer gig with the food bank. But at least I didn’t have to deal with that drunk fool myself like she did.

Random shit happens, right folks?

About my jar

Image result for quotes about kindness

 

As I talked about here, in 2017 I kept a Happiness Jar. It helped me stay positive each day as it forced me to notice all the little and sometimes big things that brought me happiness.  I’m glad I did it. Reading all of my scribbled notes from my Happiness Jar on 12/31 brought back to mind moments that I had forgotten about. Doing this gave me a healthy dose of the warm fuzzies and made me realize what a great year overall it had been for me.

In this post, I grandly proclaimed that 2018 was going to be the year of the “Goodness Jar”.  I thought it would be fun to keep this jar thing going, just in a new way.  My plan was, at the end of each day, I would jot down something I did or said that exemplified “goodness” to me. I started this practice in earnest on 1/1. After a few days, I came to the conclusion that the “Goodness Jar” was not meant to be. It felt like everything I came up with was, for lack of a better descriptor, lame. I found myself obsessing about what “goodness” looks like in my day to day life. The word “goodness” quickly became meaningless. I mean, who am I to determine what “goodness” is? It was all just too much for my 50 year old brain. While I certainly had good intentions, I simply didn’t take enough time to think it through before leaping into it.

So I’m scrapping this idea. Perhaps my jar would be better put to use by using my creative culinary skills to make homemade “hootch” to store in this jar. Perhaps I could bedazzle my jar, stick a candle in it and set it out somewhere as home decor. Perhaps I could fill it with skittles and send it to one of my most favorite bloggers. I think it would help her to get through whatever time is left on the Trump presidency.

As worthy as those ideas may be, I have instead decided to re-christen my former Happiness/Goodness Jar the “Kindness Jar”.  The thing is, the Happiness/Goodness Jar was really all about me. What made me happy. I think it’s time to focus more on others. Like doing something to bring a smile to someone’s face. Or clearly conveying to someone that I see them and hear them and believe they have value in this world.   As long as I resist the urge to overthink it, this might work.

To make this more doable interesting, I’m going to include not just what acts of kindness I believe I bestowed upon others, but the kindnesses that were gifted to me by others. I like the idea of documenting kindnesses both given and received. And while I’m at it, I think I’ll jot down acts of kindness that I simply witness in my every day life, whether it be between co-workers and clients, strangers on the bus, or folks out shopping at the grocery store. The setting matters not, while the actions will.  With this three pronged approach, I figure that I have no option other than to be hyper focused on kindness each and every day.

I recently saw this clip below, and it really resonates with me. I believe my blogging community is chock full of kind-hearted people who just might agree with me.

 

Cheers to kindness, people!

 

 

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.

Ahem….

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!

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…”.

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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!

Gratitudes

It seems fitting to me, with it being November, the month of giving thanks and all, that I share what I’m grateful for, aka my gratitudes.

At this particular moment in time, I thankfully have an abundance of things for which I am sincerely grateful. 

Without any further ado, here we go:

#1: I am grateful for employment.  I started my new job last Wednesday, working part time as a program assistant in a non-profit serving senior citizens. And all signs indicate this is going to be a very good fit for me.

#2:  I am grateful for our early Thanksgiving celebration with our two lovable spawn. We had a wonderful time with them last weekend, when they came out to visit us here in Colorado. We had our traditional Thanksgiving dinner, spent time cracking each other up playing board games, and saw a few local sites. It was all so very good for this mom’s heart.

#3: I am grateful for my friends, both old and new. Like my friend Kevin, who is like a brother to me, who appreciated the Google playlist I made for him when he came for a visit last month. Like my newest girlfriend here in Colorado, who has such a good heart and a fun loving personality. I’m looking forward to spending more time with her.

#4: The mild climate here in Colorado. Let’s just say I don’t recall being overheated in a long sleeved shirt outside in mid-November when I lived in Wisconsin or Minnesota. It’s actually supposed to be 70 degrees here on Thanksgiving!

#5: I am grateful for Hubs’ support of me working again, which he demonstrates by doing things like staying on top of the laundry and the dishes, and cleaning the house.

#6: I am grateful for our church family. They are a kind, welcoming, supportive and faithful bunch.

#7:  I am grateful for nature shows on t.v. Hubs and I have allowed ourselves to consume an unhealthy amount of MSNBC the last couple of months. Nature shows, like the one we watched about sea otters the other night, are such a welcome and delightful respite from all of that bad news.

#8: I am grateful for blogging. Not just the process of writing and publishing, but the community. Lately, when it comes to blogging, I’ve been reading more than writing due to time constraints from having the job I am so grateful for. It is a bit of a Catch-22, so my future posts will not be as frequent as a result. Here’s a few posts from other blogger’s that I particularly enjoyed that I think you should check out:

This one inspired me to sprinkle cinnamon on my hot cocoa and it was fabulous!

Perfect mug of cocoa

This one introduced me to the concept of Hygge, which I really appreciate!

Hygge

What are you grateful for? Please comment and share your gratitudes!

 

Where my head’s at: Jobs, Life, and Gun Violence

You may have or may have not noticed that the frequency of my blog posts has declined as of late. It’s because, well…life. Other bloggers are surely familiar with this predicament. You get on a roll, posting with regularity, reading other blogger’s posts and providing commentary. You are in your groove.

Then, life rudely barges in, forcing you to shift your focus and re-assess your priorities. Like when circumstances force you to acknowledge in your core of cores that your parents are aging for real as illnesses and surgeries grow in their frequency and severity. Like when you begin planning for your young adult spawn’s overdue visit to your new-ish home in your new-ish state and potential snafus in this plan begin to emerge, leaving you to ponder an alternate plan. Like when you realize the amount of time and energy spent on blogging will not equal the satisfaction of working outside of the home with real live people and earning actual money.

That said, this is not me declaring that my blogging days are over. What I can declare, however, with relative certainty, is that change is afoot in my life at the moment. For better or worse. 

I have made some headway in my search for employment.  I updated my resume and applied for a job as a para-educator in the special ed department of a local elementary school. I have also applied for another job, for which I have an interview this afternoon.

So as not to jinx it, I’m going to supress my urge to provide details about said job interview and the anxious thoughts rattling through my brain as I mentally prepare myself for the first job interview I’ve have in 10 years. Gulp.

Then there are other happenings that are taking up space in my brain and especially in my heart. One week ago today, I awoke to the news of yet another fatal shooting. Only this time it happened a mere 5 minute drive from our home, at the Wal-Mart in Thornton, Colorado. I can honestly say that for the first time since all of these horrific shootings in this country of ours began, this scared me on a personal level. I’ve been to that Wal-Mart. I’m much more aware of my surroundings when going out and about as a result of this. Three innocent lives lost, for no reason whatsoever.

What angers and sickens me the most about this is that there does not appear to be an end in sight with these shootings. 

I pray, as many others in this country and throughout the world are. I pray for the families left behind but even more importantly, I pray that the jokers representing us in Washington, D.C., will take action, once and for all, to reduce the likelihood that mass shootings will continue to occur. The only way, I believe, for this epidemic to have any chance of being remedied, is for stricter gun regulations to be enacted.

A good friend of mine here in Colorado shared a video on Facebook today with the pictures and stories of all of those folks who lost their lives in the mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, last Sunday. I appreciate that, because I think it’s much easier to say our prayers and then get right back to living our own personal lives when we only pay attention to the sound bites offered by the media.

I don’t believe in taking the easy route. Not when it comes to the mass shooting epidemic in this country and not when it comes to how I live my personal life. Because a meaningful life and a more harmonious society is not manifested by making easy choices.

I’m going to go forth and do my best to seize this day. I will count my blessings, which are many. Likely more than I deserve. And tomorrow, I will strive to do the same. Day by day.