Category Archives: Blogging

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?

Recuperating from The Christmas Crunch

I realized between Thanksgiving and the first week of December that something had to give. Often after my workdays I was too exhausted to do much of anything. Yet, with Christmas on it’s merry way, I still had things that needed to be done. Like purchasing all the presents. Making the cookies. Sending out the Christmas cards. Sending out the cookies and presents. Coming up with gifts and clues for “Secret Santa” week at work. Decorating the house. Wrapping the gifts. Planning the menu for our holiday feasting.

The “something” that had to give was writing and publishing blog posts. It was time to chill out about blogging. Put it on the back burner for a bit.

I wrote one post where I put a happy spin on it all…because I do sincerely enjoy every part of doing all this. And I wanted to share the merriment. But now it’s over and I’m (I am wincing as I write this) glad. Part of me feels that makes me sound like a horrible person. A bona-fide Grinch. But most of me chocks it up to being human. Putting it all together on top of working full time (yep, I’m up to 32 hours per week now) was exhausting!

The only non-exhausting part was watching all my favorite holiday movies. “Love Actually” continues to be my favorite (not just for Christmas but Of. All. Time.).

Yesterday morning, I did something I haven’t done in godonlyknows how long: I slept in until after 8 a.m. and then thoroughly stretched out all my limbs and laid in bed, my mind going gently from one thought to the next. I marinated in the fact that at least for this one day, time was of no consequence. There was simply nothing that needed to be done beyond a bit of grocery shopping, though certainly no one here was going to starve if I chose to skip that chore.

How delightful this was. Pure, unadulterated lounging. I think this was the Christmas present I needed the most.

So, I’m back, folks. I don’t know that my streak of publishing two posts per week will continue; however, you can expect a weekly post for certain.

For the rest of this weekend and into next week, I shall be thinking about the future. What changes 2021 may hold for me and mine. But it’s also the time to ponder what 2020 meant to me, what it taught me (in spite of the general suckiness of it all thanks to Covid-19). The words I want to focus on in the new year.

Right now, there’s just one in my mind:

Image courtesy of https://www.pixtastock.com/illustration/14556836 It was the best of the few I could find that were not attached to that Disney movie.

How I’m Rolling These Days

I’m in a funk mentally and tired physically. Covid-19 has worn me down. No, I don’t actually have it. Thank God.

Both my eldest and my sister had it though. Both have recovered. Thank God for that too.

Wearing a mask all the time bites the big one. I get overheated and my nose is always itchy beneath it. Working more hours is sapping my energy for all the other things I want and need to do. But I am employed at a place that does amazing things to help those in need and I have wonderful, hard-working co-workers. Thank God for that too.

There are no fun plans on the horizon for me and mine because of Covid-19. But I’m certain there will be fun times further ahead, probably next summer when we have had reasonable adults in the White House for a bit who believe in science and ensure everyone has been vaccinated against this monster. Thank God for that!

I’ve not been as consistent as I like to be with writing and publishing blog posts lately because my energy is going elsewhere. But I managed to write this today. Thank God for that?!

I can’t see my church friends I miss in person because of Covid-19. Yet our pastors and talented musicians and volunteer tech support has come a long way with their ability to put together a virtual service over these past several months. I plan on watching the service this morning cuddled up on the couch with Hubs and Radar. Thank God for that.

Despite not spending as much time blogging these days, I’m still getting views, comments, and followers. I am so grateful for that. It’s heartwarming for me. Thank God for each and every one of you.

I wish all of you a blessed day. I hope you are all well and are able to find things to be thankful for in your lives. Even if you have to work through the things you are not so thankful for first.

Please share with me how you are “rolling” these days. You know I love to hear from you!

Going Straight to Gems

For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, you may recall me mentioning the term “Gems”. I believe I at least alluded to my plan for writing about “Gems” on an ongoing, regular basis in a recent post.

The reason I’m bringing it up now is because I am ready to start this series.

One small thing that you ought to know about this new endeavor of mine is that I have decided to go against what I said here about who “Gems” are to me. After thinking about it for a bit, I realized there is no good reason to exclude those of the male persuasion from being a “Gem” that I write about in this little blog.

I mean, not everything I think, say or feel (or publish) is written in stone. I’m subject to change (fyi-the original title for this blog). Isn’t that a good thing?

So here I go. I’m going to start with a recent “Gem” story. Diving in here.

I have been a fan of the online shopping site Etsy for several years now. I love the act of thoughtfully purchasing a handmade gift for those I love. Because unfortunately, unlike Bonnie and Rabbie (both Gems to me), I possess little talent with arts and crafts. And I love to support small businesses and artists.

I started shopping for gifts on Etsy back when I lived in Wisconsin, in our “Grandma house” on 30th St.

Fast forward to now. Living in Colorado. Still ordering on Etsy when the moment strikes. So I’ve got some wall space that needed to be filled in my living room. I found the perfect item on Etsy and placed the order.

A couple of weeks passed and I thought to myself “it should be here by now”. Then I got a call from Linda, the realtor who sold us our house on 30th St., then 2 years later sold that house for us to a nice divorced woman named Kathy.

Linda said that Kathy called because she received a large package via Fed Ex for me. Kathy wanted to know our phone number so she could contact us and figure out how to get the package to us in Colorado.

Oh my! I was embarrassed, as it was then I realized that in my excitement about obtaining this particular wall art, I apparently failed to notice that the address box checked for shipping was the one on 30th St. and not the one here in Colorado (that address on my Etsy account has since been deleted). Of course I told Linda to please give my number to Kathy and we’ll work it out from there.

So Kathy calls me. She noted it was a big package and it came from Lithuania! I told her that I loved shopping on Etsy for handmade items like this and apologized for my screw-up. She said she spoke to Fed Ex and they told her the easiest thing to do is just have them ship it to me. I told her she could go ahead and just return it to sender and I’d re-order it. I didn’t want her to go through any hassle.

Her response? She said it was no big deal, she was going somewhere that Friday and she would pass by Fed Ex so she would just send the package to me. I thanked her profusely and told her that I’d reimburse her the cost.

So how nice is this lady? She’s a gem, that is what she is. In our conversation, we talked about how much we both loved that little old house. She updated me on the next door neighbors, who now have a baby who is just starting to walk. She said she regularly sees the neighbors who lived across the street, Larry and Helen, at the assisted living facility where she works. They sold their cute little house, where they lived for 35 years and raised their 5 kids, shortly after we sold ours and moved out to Colorado. Kathy also shared that after seeing *now* her house her friends declared that the large unfinished basement was the perfect party spot. She said every year now she hosts a Euchre tournament there on New Year’s Eve.

I loved hearing all of this. I love knowing how much she loves and appreciates that sweet little house that was once ours.

About a week after our last conversation, I received my lovely new handmade wall art and put it up above our living room couch. I sent Kathy a check to reimburse the $19 she paid to have it sent to me. I included a gift card to Olive Garden that I had won in a silent auction last year. It was the least I could do.

Me, perched on my couch this weekend under my lovely new Etsy wall art