Category Archives: Blogging

8 Things I Can’t Get Behind

I haven’t published a blog post in a couple of weeks. That makes me crabby. Other things in my life are making me crabby as well. I have faith I will get through it, however, and the crabby-ness will dissipate over time.

In the spirit of crabbiness, I present to you the 8 (random and completely unrelated to each other) things I cannot get behind. If you’re feeling crabby like I am right now, I encourage you to share in the comments the things you personally cannot get behind as well.

Misery loves company and all that.

This post might indicate a need for me to trash my “tag line” on the home page of this blog, which reads: “Tales from an optimist transplanted from Wisconsin to Colorado. Finding silver linings, lifting others up, sharing positively good stuff”.

At the very least, I promise to publish a less pissy post next time.

  • Grown adults wearing cartoon character clothing. I think they look ridiculous. Not that I don’t like to frequently wear my brightly colored LuLuRoe leggings purchased from a local thrift store. So you can take this opinion with a grain of salt I suppose. Just know that if you see me in a Goofy (the dog) sweatshirt in public, something is terribly wrong. I’ve either been kidnapped and forced to wear someone else’s clothes or all my clothes burned in a fire.
  • The phrase “SorryNotSorry”. To me, it’s snotty sounding. Privileged. I do think it was bourne out of good intentions though, as too many of us women run around apologizing all day long for every little thing. I once met someone through a former workplace who wore a necklace with this phrase on it. It made me want to barf.
  • Angry white men. Seriously dudes what in holy hell do you have to be so angry about? You have carte blanche in this world. A free pass to do as you please. Opportunities galore based on being born male and white.
  • Businesses spelling their names incorrectly in a “cutesy” way. Certainly this is done to stand out so that potential customers remember them next time they’re in the market for a new “kar”. Maybe it’s just me but when I see big signs on the highway with purposely misspelled names I cringe.
  • Gender Reveal Parties. You’re having a baby, people! Why put the focus on gender like this? You’ll love the baby no matter the gender, right? If not, you’re just an asshole. Just call it a baby shower FFS and let the gender be a surprise. Don’t even get me started on the phrase “we’re having a baby.”
  • When people wear mis-matched socks. This drove me nuts when my kids did this as teenagers. I assumed they did this because they lacked the motivation to find matching socks (aka laziness). But now when I’m out and about in the world I am seeing people well over the age of 14 wearing two totally different socks on their feet. Why, just why??
  • When people who I am certain have at least finished the 12th grade use poor grammar. Prime example: I should “of” instead of I should “have”. It floors me how often I come across this on social media.
  • Sweet Potatoes. Potatoes should be salty, peppery, buttery…not sweet. I feel like a real weirdo about this because it seems 9 times out of 10 when I’m engaging in foodie conversations with others and I state my disgust of these things, I’m met with “really? Oh, they’re so delicious, especially with brown sugar and marshmallows”.

Ch Ch Ch Changes, Part Two

My first ever post on this blog was entitled “Ch Ch Ch Changes”.

I wrote it as a way to introduce myself. To share the major life transitions that led me to where I was in that particular moment of my life: unemployed and living the “empty-nester” life with Hubs in a new state.

As of April 1st of this year I again am unemployed (by choice). Because of all the things that need to be done. Addressed. Thrown out or given away. Packed.

Our move back to Wisconsin is slated for late May/early June. Between now and then, my mental and physical energy will be split between reviewing the past, savoring the present, and planning for the future.

I, along with my family, are in the throes of transition. I am a bit freaked out and searching for the balance in all of this.

Reviewing the past will include playing the “should it stay or should it go” game with all of our worldly possessions and the reminiscing this will bring about. There are countless pictures and assorted memorabilia to go through. You can no doubt expect blog posts to come out of this.

This is a good thing, because I’ve got some catching up to do. I’ve all but ignored my blog for the last couple of months. Case in point: my 5 year blogging anniversary came and went with zero fanfare.

The present: practicing self-compassion and actual mindfulness, which I now realize I’m only beginning to grasp after using it as a buzzword willy nilly in the recent past. Making memories with my daughter and grandson, as these two will not be living with us indefinitely. Come summer 2022, they will most likely be living in their own place again. Spending quality time with Kid #2, who intends to remain in Colorado while the rest of us are moving to Wisconsin.

The future: staying on top of the housing market in the area of Wisconsin we plan to settle in. Finding the house that will suit us best. One on the waterfront, large enough to host friends and family on the regular. Familiarizing myself, via the internet, with the area and getting a feel for the job market there.

Time is of the essence for me right now. I aim to use it wisely so I can avoid being overwhelmed.

At almost 55

Super self-indulgent title, right?

Yet I think it works.

Buckle up while I summarize my current status:

Tomorrow I turn 55. I don’t recall freaking out inside about my birthday since the day I turned 31 (for real). But, I accept it. What’s the alternative? There is none.

Shit, I wouldn’t want to turn back the hands of time even if I could.

While “balance” is my word for 2022, “Moving Forward” is my new mantra. Or “Progress, not Perfection”. It’s a toss up.

In that spirit, off I go.

Hubs and I’s empty nesting status has been on hiatus for the last 13 days. We are now a household of 5, for the time being. It’s nothing I want to delve into on this platform at this time. But it’s important for you to know if you’re going to stick around, because my whole world is in the most transitional period since 2014, and because I know that part of my self-care routine (I despise this overused and abused term but am in the flow and choose not to google synonyms right now) is writing these blog posts. Because it’s going to affect everything you read here from this point on to some degree or other.

I’m determined to focus on the present moment. One day at a time. While of course planning for the near future (aka our move back to Wisconsin). Along with simultaneously doing my best to wrap up the Colorado part of my path in the neatest, most colorful bow, with the exception of my talented artist kid Rabbie and Karl the cockeyed cat, who intend to remain here, work-wise and beyond.

One thing I don’t believe I have done a good job of communicating to you about on this blog is that I love numbers. I find meaning in them. I enjoy making mathematical calculations in my head. I notice numbers all the time. It’s kinda weird.

That, among other reasons, is why I’m going to simply share the Top 5 things that are making me happy these days.

  • Hearing and seeing my almost 8 year old grandson laugh at his own jokes.
  • Having the support of my employer with reducing my weekly hours.
  • Listening to books on Audible (Jen Mann’s most recent one simply spoke to me while making me laugh).
  • Witnessing the bravery of my adult children amidst life’s changes and challenges.
  • Blogging, and the fact that I feel great enthusiasm about writing on topics I haven’t covered in the almost 5 years since I started this blog. The primary topic I’m feeling now is under the umbrella of “Work”.

This song is dedicated to my kids. I think you might like it too.

Recovering, Reflecting, Revealing

Since my last post, I’ve been gradually recovering from the chaos that was December 2021.

Anyone else?

I’ve also been reflecting a lot lately. Reflecting on my recent past as a blogger, my current work life, and what I’ve learned and accomplished, not only in 2021, but since moving to Colorado with Hubs in 2016.

I am in a better frame of mind than I was when I wrote the last post of 2021. Time and the quiet space of my home have made that possible.

Checking some major things off my “to do” list at work has also made that possible. Grant submitted. Inventory done.

I guess you could say that right now, I’m breathing a long sigh of relief.

Lucy Relief GIF - Lucy Relief Pfew GIFs

And I’m ready to begin to share in this space what I’ve learned so far: as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result of living, loving, and working in Colorado since 2016. As a result of parenting adults and being someone’s grandma. As a result of the meaningful friendships I’ve had (and still have) in my life. As a result of this being the year in which I turn 55.

Not to be dramatic or anything.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go into all of that right here and now. I think it’s safe to say that I’ll get into it when I get into it. In 2022.

Because I have had a big old pin in something I’ve wanted to tell you all for the last couple of months.

If I was going to be dramatic and ridiculous here, I would show you this image before I spat out what it is that is housing (ha ha) the pin. Was that a pun?

Coffee Breaking News GIF - Coffee Breaking News - Discover & Share GIFs

Okay, so here it is:

I’m certain that for at least part of this year I will reside in Colorado. I will have a new zip code before the end of 2022. The license plates on the truck will be changing.

You get where I’m going with this?

Yes, of course you do. I know you all are not morons.

Hubs and I are moving. Our time in the great state of Colorado will come to, what feels to me, while not entirely pleasant and actually sad in some important ways, a natural end.

In 2022. To either Minnesota or Wisconsin; closer to both of our families and life-long friends. We are making some updates to our town home here, selling it and heading north.

So that’s my big news. I couldn’t just write a regular old post this week and ignore this major life decision I was holding in.

I’m going to buckle up, and if I was going to be dramatic, I’d tell you, as a reader, that you may want to as well.

2022 is bound to be quite a trip.

About 2021

I’m eager for 2022.

I feel all of this, written by Rachel Hackenberg for the United Church of Christ’s daily devotional on 12/28/21:

“If you are eager to throw your 2021 calendar in the trash, and you have all of your incense and candles and rituals prepared to sweep out 2021 and bless 2022, remember that even when the year is new: there is still rage and death and dreadful absence that haunts our collective spirit and needs to be healed. 

Make room for the rage. 

Welcome it like a weary traveler who can’t find a room in the inn. 

Give it space where it can cry and groan. 

Light a candle if it labors through the night. 

Do not be quick to console it, only keep it company to be sure it doesn’t harm others. 

Amplify its voice. 

Let it be messy and imperfect”

I appreciate this devotional because 2021 threw me for a loop (especially that last month or so). The events in my personal orbit as well as events in this country and world in 2021 have left me feeling older, feistier, and tired.

I don’t know of a better way of putting it, but I feel messy. I need time to process it all because of the emotional whiplash. I need time to recuperate.

There were happy moments for me, however. Photographic evidence:

My “Elfie Selfie” at my employers “Santa Shop” this year.
Rabbie and I at Thanksgiving
Me with my favorite 7 year old in Wisconsin on Halloween weekend
The Hubs and I in our finest at my employer’s “Adult Prom” fundraising gala

A truly inspiring and prolific blogger who I follow, Jenny, of Jenny’s Lark, asked a question on her blog recently. I have been pondering it ever since.

Here is my paraphrased version of it: if there is ONE lesson you learned in 2021 that you can keep for yourself, while all of the other lessons disappear into thin air, what would it be?

A tough, yet interesting question to consider, don’t you think?

I’m going to make a list of the lessons I’ve learned in 2021 right now. I will edit this down to just one however.

  • I realized in 2021 that my life was out of balance: too much working in all it’s forms and not enough writing and publishing.

And this is exactly why, for me, 2022 is going to be all about one word.

BALANCE

Here’s the song of the year for me. I’m pretty sure you all will appreciate it, going into the new year.

How Are You Rolling These Days?

I ask this as a sincere question.

Like, I can take it. Be real.

Think of it as a “check in”.

I also ask this because I have a full blown complex about coming across on this blog as self-centered, self-involved and driven solely by self-interest. Like “me me me me me” obnoxiousness.

Please God tell me I am not alone in this.

However, I know the nature of a personal blog is that it is personal. Attached at the hip to who the blogger is as a person. Like, no one is paying me to write news articles here. I am not beholden to anyone other than myself (and you) in this space.

It’s really quite the conundrum, don’t you think?

Also, I am not in the right head space to finish and publish the post I most recently started about work and career and me (of course).

Because of Christmas. Because of Work. Because I have the crud (aka sinus and possible ear infection, and yes I should get my ass to the doctor’s office).

So, tell me, how are you feeling physically these days?

Aside from the crud, my shoulders are aching more than usual. Likely because of the physical activity my upper body has been up to, with all the Christmas cookie baking and packaging I’ve been doing. I am hop Blah .Blah. Blah.

I freaking love baking. Christmas cookies especially. My secret? I keep it simple. No high-falutin Martha Stewart shit going on behind the scenes over here.

Though someday, I think I’d enjoy simply trying some of Martha’s recipes or DIY tricks. Maybe when I have this kitchen to cook and bake in.

How’s your attitude?

Currently, I am waffling between “let’s get Christmas wrapped up, mmmkay?” and “Christmas is my favorite!” Depends on the day. I am very much looking forward to making some merry though. Especially this weekend when I’ll be dressed as an elf while working at my employer’s “Santa Shop”, where donated presents, food, and hygiene products are given out to low income families.

How are you feeling emotionally?

Good question. Hard to answer actually don’t you think? I push those emotions of mine down during times of extreme stress. So much so that I can’t properly answer this question. Once I start seeing the light at the end of this Christmas tunnel I have faith that my body will relax and those emotions will come to the surface. I’ll sit down on my couch with Radar, sip some wine, and let it go.

All of the above and more is why I’ve determined that I’m going to choose one word to focus on in the New Year: “Balance”.

I was totally going to end this post with the loveliest Christmas music video I could find on YouTube.

Instead, I’m going to share two of my newest favorite songs; both of them stick in my head as I go about my day and lift me up. Maybe they’ll do the same for you.

I have been a fan of this dude for about 8 years or so. Can’t wait to see him at Red Rocks (or anywhere else) someday.

Doesn’t this just make you yearn for a tropical vacation this spring????

What Sticks

I’ve decided to put a pin in the post I planned to publish today. It’s about this guy:

Radar, snoozing in our camper. Isn’t he a beaut?

I want to take my time with that post and get it right. Give it the love and attention it deserves.

Anyway, what this post is actually about is words. Lyrics, specifically.

Now, as the melophile I aspire to be (because I mentioned it in a sort of recent post but quickly realized that many, many, other people are way bigger melophiles than this gal who needs to fricking catch up), I’m going to share with you some song lyrics that have stuck with me from the moment I first heard them.

From Alanis Morissette’s “Isn’t it Ironic?”: “Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you when you think everything’s okay and everything is going right… and life has a funny way of helping you out when everything’s gone wrong and everything blows up in your face”.

It’s like, we make plans and God laughs, which I wholeheartedly believe is true. We have the illusion that we are in control, then, in an instant, we are reminded that is not the case at all.

Gotta love that little “boop” on the nose!

Not necessarily “ironic”, but as you are reading this, there is approximately an 8.8% chance that I, at that precise moment, am rocking out to a live version of Alanis singing “Hand in My Pocket”. This is on account of the fact that Hubs and are will be seeing her perform tonight, on the first day of fall, in Denver.

Here’s a great cover of the quintessential song to usher in this new season.

Now, back to those lyrics…..

From the Avett Brothers “Head Full of Doubt”: “Decide what to be and go be it”. Very inspirational, while simplistic. But maybe that’s the point.

Liz Phair was supposed to be touring with Alanis this year, but a couple of months ago suddenly pulled out for personal reasons (I hope she and her family are ok). That really, truly bummed me out. I was so looking forward to seeing her play live as I’ve been a fan of hers for years now. The song lyric I’m choosing here isn’t from a song on her critically acclaimed and wildly popular “Exit in Guyville” album, but a track from a later one.

From “Somebody’s Miracle”: “There goes somebody’s miracle, walking down the street”.

Why do I love this lyric? Because it makes me happy to think that it’s true: that when I’m engaging in one of my favorite activities-people watching-I can think of this line and imagine that every soul I’m seeing is somebody else’s “miracle”. That someone in their lives adores them that deeply, no matter what they look like, how they behave, or even how they smell. I know it’s corny, but I think if we can all try to do this when in public, we can soften our hearts and suspend judgement.

So, I ask you, fellow readers and/or melophiles, what lyrics have stuck with you? Please don’t overthink this-that takes the fun out of it! I look forward to your comments.

***Header image courtesy of https://www.bigwhite.com/events-activities/events-calendar/dont-forget-the-lyrics

But It Involves Fire

The latest activity I’m interested in pursuing involves fire.

But I’m chicken shit when it comes to flames. My brain goes to all the bad things that can happen when you play with fire: you could burn your house down. You could burn yourself down.

I suppose this is all on account of being highly over-protected as a kid. I am the youngest by more than 8 years. A favorite story of Bonnie’s was when I was still in diapers, sitting on her lap (back before car seats, people) in the passenger seat of the family car with Babe at the wheel: a semi truck passed us (no doubt because Babe was going under the speed limit, which was his norm as an uber-cautious-in-all-things person), and he hollered at Bonnie to keep a tight hold on me so the draft from the semi would not suck me right out of the open window.

My healthy (or is it unhealthy?) fear of fire is on my mind these days because of Crystal’s blog post. In this post, she talked about a cathartic experience she had, which was found online on Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop website. Essentially, as I understand it, you set a timer for 12 minutes. During this period of time, you take pen to paper and write about all the stuff that’s blocking your sense of peace. You are supposed to do this exercise for 5 days in a row. They call it “purge emotional writing”.

This post spoke to me. I started thinking about all the things emotions I’ve been going through these past couple of months on my blogging sabbatical. There’s frustration. Anger. Feelings of helplessness and confusion. You know, the stuff as a “Pollyanna” I tend not to write about, especially in this public platform.

So, I really want to do this exercise. But it involves fire.

I was thinking, maybe there’s an alternate method I could employ to get the same results. Customize it for myself, you know? A method that does not involve fire but provides the emotional release I seek. Then maybe I can relax a bit. Find the fun in blogging again.

One option is I could eat the paper after I’ve done all that emotional writing. I witnessed my kiddo (Rabbie, the artist) do this once during the pandemic. They wrote down something they wanted to manifest in their life, wadded that little piece of paper in a ball and down the hatch it went. Their theory was that consuming the word of the thing they wanted to make manifest would become part of them physically and therefore increase the odds that it would come to fruition.

On account of the fact that not only in my proposed emotional purge writing exercise would I be producing reams of inky paper, I wish to preserve my digestive system and not end up in the emergency room, so eating paper is a no-go for me.

If I had a fire pit along with a back yard, I could ask Hubs to build me a campfire 5 nights in a row in which I could, from a safe distance, toss my emotional writings into. But, alas, we live in a town home community where personal backyards do not exist, so that is not exactly an option here.

But what about those “smash rooms” I’ve heard about? The ones where you pay money to smash shit with a baseball bat while yelling incoherently about everything that pisses you off? That could be an interesting way to release my negative emotions, right?

Instead of obsessing about playing with fire, I could also choose to write all the negative shit in my head in a draft folder and then immediately delete it.

So…I guess I have some choices. Options I can choose to get it all out.

Between now and the next blog post I publish, I will choose one of these options and let it rip.

***Header image courtesy of https://www.hamblyscreenprints.com/how-to-burn-paper-at-home/

Reasons Why I Blog

As any of you that read my blog on the regular are aware, I’ve been in a funk for about the last month. Especially blogging-wise.

You may have noticed that I skipped publishing a blog post yet again last week. But this time, I didn’t mentally beat myself up as much as I usually do. That could be due to some of my followers comments on my last post telling me not to berate myself about it. That they also skip a week or two or three every so often.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for that, Christie and Rebecca.

So with that and the increased busyness of my life in general (not complaining here, folks), I’ve working on taking myself off the hook.

I feel like I need to hit the re-set button with this blog. Like in my bones. Because I want to keep blogging, really. But sometimes…not so much.

The overthinking is dragging me down. The indecisiveness about what I want to write about is grating on my nerves. I’ve allowed it to take too much of my mental energy. It’s not as much fun as it used to be.

So I think it might not be the worst idea to ponder why it is that I’m still blogging.

How about you all? Have you ever just thought “Why am I doing this?” Well that’s where I am right now as a blogger.

Bear with me as I share with you the reasons why I blog. I encourage you to share in the comments the reasons why you blog as well. Your honest perspectives would truly interest me.

  • Blogging helps me to make sense of what I think and how I feel. It’s cathartic for me sometimes. I like the sense of release I feel when I hit that “publish” button.
  • I selfishly enjoy knowing that when I’m long gone, I will have left words from my heart and brain for my family and friends to access anytime they wish to feel my presence. Kind of like the little notebooks Bonnie wrote in and her recipe box that I nabbed after her funeral. I miss her so much.
  • The encouraging comments I receive from my readers. They often warm my heart. Often they make me feel understood and validated. Sometimes they make me think of things from a different perspective, which is very valuable to me as a person who strives to enhance my worldview in this crazy world of ours.
  • Blogging sometimes presents new opportunities for me to pursue. For instance, the newest option of adding a podcast. I’ve always been intrigued at the thought of working as a deejay, and this is a harmless way to give it a shot.

All that being said, the re-set button is being set right now. I’m choosing from this point on to not force myself to publish weekly. But I’m also not quitting this blogging thing.

My hope is that once I stand back and re-assess things for a bit, I’ll come back invigorated and enthusiastic about blogging again.

****Header image courtesy of https://rhondawilliamsnow.com/how-god-uses-an-interruption-to-reset-your-life/

It’s Wednesday and I’m Still Here

I’m neurotic.

It truly bothers me that last Wednesday I failed to publish a post as per usual. I don’t have any good reason for that other than that I didn’t feel I had anything new or remotely interesting to say about anything really.

Hence the reason you find yourself reading this post today. I was not willing to skip yet another week. The anxiety would be too much. I’ve committed to this blog like I’ve committed to a relationship (which I suppose this is-between me and all of you wonderful, patient readers). I’m determined not to flake out on you guys.

It’s not like I was feeling depressed. Quite the opposite, really. Life has been peachy as of late. Rabbie has been making more and more sales on their online site and is positioned to take Karl the cat and move on out of here. Like soon. As in we’re heading downtown Denver tomorrow actually to view the first new potential pad.

The other kid, despite being unemployed (directly related to the Covid-19 pandemic) is doing well also. She’s enjoying having more time at home, more time to herself. She’s making ends meet thanks to unemployment benefits and actively searching for solid employment. She had an interview recently for a job that she is very excited about. The pay is higher than her previous job and the benefits are quite outstanding.

Our 7 year old grandson is thriving! He’s been in a new school for a couple of months now and for the first time is excited to go to school every day. His mom held a birthday bash for him last month at the local roller skating rink and it was reported to have been quite the fun bash.

Work at the food pantry is going well. My boss and I are continuously procuring food and distributing it to those in need. I scored us a hefty sum via a state sponsored Covid-19 grant and will be procuring even more food over the next several months.

As far as writing for this blog goes, I’ve gone back to writing whatever it is I’m thinking about each morning directly after I hit the shower. Before I allow myself to go down any social media rabbit holes. And I’ve been writing more at night, after work and before supper. Luckily, my family is agreeable to eating supper as late as 7 p.m.

I am working on a new blog post. It’s the kind where I challenge myself to delve into a topic that piques my curiosity. The kind that takes some actual time and effort, unlike this post you are currently reading. The hope is it’ll be ready for publication next Wednesday.

As Bonnie would say to me over the phone after breathlessly telling me all the latest in her world, “that’s my stories..how are you doing?”

Let me leave you with a new little ditty from one of my all time favorite singer-songwriters, Carole King. Can you believe she is 79?