Category Archives: Life

At The Moment

Is it starting to feel like summer where you live? Are the kids you know and love all graduated and working towards getting ready for their next chapter? Are you eagerly anticipating the next great summer pop song?

I’m cautiously optimistic about this new life that we, as a couple, are going to craft beginning this summer, in Wisconsin.

Hubs, our good boy Radar, and I will be hitting the road in less than 24 hours.

Towing this:

Our summer home!

But for this brief moment in time (aka me trying to remember that #thistooshallpass), things in these parts are super wonky.

Examples:

There is a box of cleaning supplies sitting on top of Hubs’ office chair at this moment.

My dining room table is filled with a combination of disposable grocery bags filled with clothes that need to be put in our camper, 2 old computer monitors , recently found plastic easter eggs with jelly beans inside them (score!), and a parking ticket courtesy of the city of Denver (my bad-but hey I got it paid online just now!).

We cannot park our Tacoma in the garage any longer. It’s filled with stuff for the movers to put in their truck, stuff for the junkyard dogs to pick up, and whatnot.

But that’s the sucky part of moving, right? And it’s almost over.

Did you know that prairie dogs are plentiful in Colorado? Well, now you do!

Hubs and I will be celebrating our recent 32nd wedding anniversary on the road, as we make our way to our next (and final?) destination. To find our “forever” home, as they say. The home we will die in. Or maybe not actually physically die in. I will just say the odds are that it’ll be the house in which we reside when we take our final breaths.

Ok, that’s just dark. Sorry folks, my anxiety is showing.

Really, what Hubs and I will be doing on our cruise through the upper Midwest is a lot of talking. We collectively have some shit to process. Stuff to discuss. Ideas to share. Plans to make. Pages to get on.

But also: the two of us have this unfettered opportunity to cut loose and have some fun. Maybe try some new food and drink, discover new places to rest our heads at night, and just sort of savor the quiet.

I am trying to resist the temptation to segue into how I hope for things to turn out beyond this road trip. Once we’ve landed in small town Wisconsin and reunited with our family and old friends.

At the moment, however, I’m going to make the wise choice and live in the here and now. Give myself and Hubs the “present” of being plugged into our present.

Raise a glass with me, friends! Cheers to a happy, fun, and safe summer!

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”.

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.

Pooping at Work

One of my Facebook friends posted about a “genius” idea they learned about: “pooping shoes”.

These are shoes you change into at work prior to using the facilities to, you know, take a dump.

My Facebook friend was in the camp of people who nevereverever poop at work. They find it abhorrent when others do. They have a poop schedule to which they adhere. If their schedule is somehow off and they have no choice but to poop mid-day, they would hop in their car, drive home, do their “doody” and come back to the office.

This Facebook friend of mine also shared that they are grateful that at this point in their career, they work from home. No special shoes needed to poop there.

Yet, if they did still have to work in the office amongst other people, they’d have a special pair of shoes hidden in a drawer…just in case.

Or maybe they’d be like Zahid from the Netflix show “Atypical”.

Thoughts on this?

Here’s mine:

Who really takes the time to peer under the bathroom stalls and register exactly who is using the shitter? Weirdos, that’s who.

Now, a quick glance just to ascertain if there is someone in the stall, to prevent oneself from attempting to gain entrance-that’s normal.

If one were to change their shoes at their work station, then make the trek to the restroom, wouldn’t there be a decent chance that someone would notice the change in footwear? And furthermore, would there not also be a chance that the one who noticed the new shoes would also need to use the facilities approximately 20 seconds after one has plopped their ass onto the porcelain throne?

Because I’m pretty sure that would happen to me.

I’m just not that smooth. Or that sneaky. I’d change my shoes, then on the way to the toilet, I’d be distracted by a client in need of something or a co-worker with a question. Someone, no doubt, would take notice of my new shoes and perhaps ask why I changed shoes. Shit (ha ha), then I’d have to come up with a believable lie, like “these are more comfortable”. Then I’d have to wear my “pooping shoes” for the rest of the day, hence resulting in a need to find a new pair of “pooping shoes” to bring into work the next day.

It’d become a whole ridiculous fucking thing.

Instead, I’ll continue to be grateful for the fact that I do have a pretty consistent “poop schedule” (every morning after my first cup of coffee, in case you wondered). And if I simply must poop at work, I will flush first; right at the moment I am certain that those unholy sounds are about to start coming out of my tushy. Then, if someone else enters the stall next to me, I will finish up, wait it out until the coast is clear and then disembark from the toilet seat.

And if someone else is pooping when I’m peeing in the stall next to them, I will speed things up, wash my hands according to the instructional sign hanging by the mirror, and make a quick exit to give that person some space and some respect.

Because the fact of the matter, is we all poop. That is what toilets are for. Even the ones at work.

Looking Forward

This past year, I found myself in a place where, for the first time in my life, I believe I understood what depression feels like. I put full blame for this on the Covid-19 pandemic. It really threw a wrench in my moods and my attitude.

I think it showed in some of my blog posts. Sorry about that.

Sure, I started a new job back in August and that lifted my spirits, infused me with some energy and ambition. But the days became the same it seemed. While for the most part, I liked (and still do like) having a daily routine, I often felt bored. Uninspired. Unmotivated. My interest in things I historically enjoyed doing waxed and waned.

I believe one reason behind this is that I didn’t have anything to really look forward to. No concrete plans. No fun activities on the immediate horizon. Unlike a post I penned back in 2018.

You can all relate, right?

What helped, especially on those particularly “blah” days, was saying out loud what I am glad about. Sort of like the “Glad Game” I’ve heard about from the “Pollyanna” movie which I have not yet seen (what is wrong with me???!!)

Typically I would spout this out while driving our truck to work. Naturally, doing this was harder some days than others. But once I did it, my spirits lifted. My attitude shifted to one of gratitude. I recognize that sounds cheesy-but it’s the truth, Ruth.

Let me give you an example. As I started backing out of the garage one morning, I said “today I am glad that after work I’m getting a massage. And I had a good night’s sleep last night. And I started a new blog post”. It’s all just simple things, specific to that day. Focusing on what is truly good in the moment and not wishing things were different or thinking that they ought to be.

But now things are really starting to look up for me. For you, too, I think. We’ve got a new administration in the People’s House who is taking this pandemic head-on. Covid-19 cases are starting to plummet. More and more of us are getting vaccinated (for me, as an essential worker, I ought to be getting my first dose by mid-March).

I may be jinxing it, getting ahead of myself…but I think it’s *safe* to begin to think about what there is to look forward to in the near-ish future. You know, those things we couldn’t do because the pandemic kept us home for the most part.

What’s on your list?

Here’s mine:

  • A date with Hubs, the scientist who has been far more informed and conscientious re: Covid-19 than most, to shop at Trader Joe’s in Boulder and have lunch at the nearby Panera.
  • Visiting our favorite local brew pub, Twenty Brew, which I am thankful is still in business. It’s been too long since we’ve been there to try new brews and visit with the owner, Dave, and his charming bartenders.
  • Chatting in person with our church friends at church. Hosting “coffee hour” where I get to share sweet goodies I made in the little kitchen in our townhome the day before.
  • A weekend in Idaho Springs with Hubs. Where we get to soak in the communal hot springs and check out the local cuisine and quirky shops. Maybe we will stay at Ms. Vicki ‘s B&B again.
  • A day trip to Estes Park. Hiking. Taking in the astonishingly beautiful scenery, both on the drive up and while hiking amidst it’s majesty.

Now I know that realistically some of these things will not happen anytime soon. If I’m extraordinarily fortunate, they will all take place before the end of the summer. But if only a portion of them happen, it’s all good.

If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s to appreciate what is and to keep my expectations reasonable.

The Year That Was

Pardon me for using the most frequently uttered word of 2020 here: but what an unprecedented year this has been. For me, for you, for all of us. All because of a virus, whose name shall not be mentioned because I know we are all sick of hearing it.

I am ready to usher in the new year, as I know we all are.

Beyond (or in some cases because of) this pandemic, plenty of unprecedented things happened in my world the last 12 (or should I say 9?) months:

I unexpectedly lost one job and gained another. Now I’m back to running a food pantry again, a job I never knew I could love so much.

We bought a camper! It was as much as “seizing the moment because we’ve always wanted one and who knows how many moments we have left” as it was “now we have the security of a home on wheels if we need to flee the country”.

I broke my first bone! On account of falling onto the pavement due to a rare combination of poor judgement and general clumsiness. I was fortunate in that the bone healed up pretty darn well after wearing a walking boot for 6 weeks. Who knew that in 2020 I’d gain such an appreciation for wearing two matching shoes?

I learned that sometimes gifts I give to someone can wind up being a gift for myself and both sides of my family as well as my spouses side. Yep, I got Rabbie, that kid of mine who studied history for almost three years at a state university, a subscription to Ancestry.com for Christmas. Now on the daily we are hearing fascinating stories about how my great great great great great great great great Grandmother Mary Chilton came over on the Mayflower. And other stories like how brothers Ira and Samuel Dickenson (Ira being my great great great great Grandfather, on my Dad’s side like Mary), came upon a bear in the woods in 1832 and proceeded to beat it with a cane. Word is their beating of this bear led him to become so docile that he became an exhibit at the zoo.

Don’t be surprised to read more stories of my ancestors adventures as 2021 unfolds.

Then there was the death and resurrection of Karl the cat. Back in November, he came down with a double ear infection. Poor little dude. Shortly thereafter, despite having started antibiotics, he developed pneumonia. Apparently it may be true that cats have 9 lives, because this one actually died on the couch one morning when I was at work. Hubs came to the rescue however and performed mouth to mouth resuscitation on him, inflating his little kitty lungs with enough air to revive him. He was rushed to the pet ER where he spent the night on oxygen. He came back home sassier than before, ready to climb on everything and taunt Radar.

All in all, it wasn’t for me the worst of years I suppose. It surely was an interesting one though. Let’s hope 2021 is interesting too. But in different, better ways, right?

Happy New Year!!

***Header image courtesy of https://cdacmohali.in/goodbye-2020-welcome-2021-images-quotes-wishes-status-whatsapp-dp/

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.

Embracing The Merry

I think for those of us that celebrate Christmas, whether in a secular way, a non-secular way, or a combination of both (like me), we can all agree that this year the holiday season is different.

Obviously, the reason it’s different this year is because of Covid-19. No in-person holiday parties like in years past. Worries about loved ones who may be alone for the holiday. The inability to travel and employment uncertainty.

Out of spite, as in “screw you, Covid-19, I’m not going to let you steal my joy”, I’m embracing this Christmas even more than I have in the past. Like it’s a life boat. Doing this, I think, is a healthy coping mechanism for these times.

We here in this house are gorging on all the Christmas movies. Not so much the cheesy, predictable, brainless Hallmark channel varieties (though they do certainly have their place). I’m talking the classics: “A Christmas Story”, “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”, “Elf”, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “Christmas Vacation”, “Love Actually” and more. The ones we all know the best lines to. The ones that fill us with a giddy joy and warm our hearts.

Our little townhome has been properly adorned with all the Christmas decorations inside and soon Hubs will be putting up the lights outside. We’ve even chosen to string multi-colored lights along the periphery of our living room and around the windows. We didn’t do this the previous years we lived here.

All of the Christmas cookies have been made to send to our loved ones in three different states. The presents have been purchased (online) and received. Names have been picked at work for our “Secret Santa” exchange.

Special desserts will be made. A drive through the local holiday light display for charity is happening this year.

One of my blogger friends, Crystal, wrote this lovely post which prompted me to read Luke. I was compelled by the passage in Chapter 3:
John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”, to do a quick clean out of my kitchen cupboards to donate to the food pantry I now run. I think it’d be so cool if others did the same.

I’m determined to suck the marrow out of this Christmas season.

Who’s with me?

**Header image circa 1984 posing with a friend as Christmas elves/mannequins in the front window of Bonnie’s Clothes Bar**