Things that make my heart smile (in list form)

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  1. Communicating non-verbally with babies in public (think church, the airport, grocery stores)
  2. The alluring smell of Thanksgiving turkey coming out of my oven.
  3. Listening to Stevie Wonder songs. Literally any of them.
  4. Looking at funny pics of my spawn in their younger days.
  5. Watching news stories about faith communities helping each other out in times of trouble (think recent stories about Jews helping Muslims and vice versa after experiencing vandalism in cemeteries and fires in mosques). These stories increase my faith in humanity and in God.
  6. Watching quirky, uplifting movies (ex: Moonrise Kingdom, St. Vincent, Love Actually)
  7. Petting dogs.
  8. Positive adoption stories (both the two legged and four legged kind)
  9. Shopping at thrift stores (often it’s a win-win as many, such as Goodwill or Arc employ people with developmental disabilities and I save tons of money and reduce my impact on the environment).
  10. Gazing at the beautiful Colorado skies.
  11.  Sipping a lovely glass of red wine at the end of a long day.
  12. Finding a great self help book and actually getting something out of it!
  13. Older women in public that are dressed to the nines. Reminds me of my Grandma on my dad’s side (my cousins nicknamed her “Pearl Pearl the Party Girl” but “Glamma” would have been an appropriate moniker too).
  14. Exploring new cities with my exceedingly amazing other half.
  15. Sitting  with the other half in a boat on a lake in Wisconsin or Minnesota on a warm sunny day. Or on a beach in Florida on a warm sunny day.
  16. Volunteering (food banks, Habitat for Humanity, serving meals to the homeless)
  17. Redheads (not sure what that’s about to be honest)
  18. When I make someone laugh!
  19. When I see strangers doing kind things for other strangers in public (holding the door for an elderly person, people that  happily allow someone that has way fewer things in their grocery cart cut ahead of them,  those awesome millennial gals who were providing free hugs to those of us on our way to a rally supporting Muslims a few Saturdays ago).
  20. The smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning.
  21. Spending quality time with the other half of me, our  spawn, our beautiful grandson, extended family near and far, and all those friends we’ve collected along the way.

My sincere hope for anyone reading this is that you are able to, despite all your personal day to day stressors and the fear inspired noise going on in the world today, remain in touch with those things that make your heart smile too. Your heart and soul will be so much better for it. Trust me.

 

Let me get to the point here

So I’ve been charged as a student of Blogger University to write a post about why I’ve decided to start a blog.

And here I go….

I love writing. I have kept a journal throughout much of my life, with some breaks here and there to focus on more pressing projects, such as raising two kids with my husband and working full time as a social worker for several years. I found this practice to be useful in capturing my feelings and sorting them out. I also spent a good portion of my childhood, from about age 10 to 16, sitting in solitude in my bedroom atop my yellow and white gingham checkered canopy bed, writing SNL inspired sketches, song lyrics, and some pretty dismal poetry. I also enjoyed some time in high school on the newspaper staff. I even had my own little advice column called “Dear Agnes”. It’s fair to say that writing is an essential part of who I am.

Lucky for me, I have been gifted with the blessing of time at this point in my life. I am a free agent. For the moment at least, I do not have a need to produce any income, which is thanks to my husband  and his super big and smart brain that he uses to earn a good income with his job, where he uses science to achieve the ultimate goal of saving lives from severe weather. So in the words of the Rolling Stones, “Tiiiime is on my side, yes it is”. At least for now anyway. Change is always afoot in my opinion (see previous post entitled “Ch ch ch Changes” for more on that).

Another important factor which motivates me to blog is that I want to connect with other people out there in the world. I am a very social being. I get much of my energy from interacting with other people and I’m very curious about people by nature. Blogging allows me to engage socially in a way I could never have imagined possible.

My hope with this blog is that I can inspire someone. Even just a little bit. This inspiration could be something as simple as a post about how I, a novice wannabe home based “chef”, created a delicious tiramisu cheesecake. Or a post about how I started volunteering in my new home community at the local food bank. Or a post about the self-help tricks I have come up with that have allowed me to start getting over my own shit.  I believe wholeheartedly that every one of this on this great big planet called Earth has their own shit to deal with and stands to benefit by hearing the stories of others, such as myself, to assure them that they are not all by their lonesomes.

I also fervently hope that I can make my readers laugh. I am a big believer in the power of laughter. Nothing can change my attitude quicker than a good solid belly laugh, the kind that induces water works from at least one if not two orifices.

Above all, as Vincent Van Gogh stated many many moons ago “I am seeking. I am striving.I am in it with all my heart”.

 

 

 

Calling b.s. on “Live each day as if it were your last”

Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius is credited with the quote “Live each day as if it were your last”.

While many may believe this is a powerful, inspirational, motivating quote, for me at least it’s bullshit.

If I personally were to take this literally, my last day on earth would include the following:

As I would only have 24 hours to work with which doesn’t allow enough time to get on a flight to Minnesota, Wisconsin, or anywhere for that matter, I would call or video chat everyone I love to tell them goodbye. It would be terribly emotional and heart wrenching.

Once I collected myself from that activity, I would proceed to consume the following food and drink (in no particular order) : french fries, gourmet chocolate cake, lasagna, pizza, twizzlers, red wine, hot fudge sundae, chicken quesadillas, cheesecake, craft beer, warm chocolate chip cookies, Starbucks coffee, and cinnamon rolls.

Then after thoroughly puking my guts out, I’d listen to my favorite music. Picking artists and songs and listening to them would take up quite a large part of whatever is left of my last day on earth. However, the music would give me energy to press on to more important activities. Like spending time outdoors with my other half/best friend/best hubby ever. And then of course, a little hanky panky would be in order.

I would then proceed to spend time furiously writing checks to all of my favorite charities along with my two spectacularly wonderful adult children.

At that point, I would be ready to engage in having some fun and laughing so hard I’d be peeing my pants, such as watching favorite SNL clips from years gone by or random YouTube videos of toddlers, puppies, kittens, and goats doing hilariously adorable things on camera. That would then prompt me to seek out the nearest neighborhood dogs and small children so I could pet and interact with them (okay, maybe I wouldn’t actually pet the small children, that’d be wacko).

I would cap off my last day on earth with singing songs with or to Christopher (my beautiful grandson who turns 3 today) via video chat.

Then I would call it a day and presumably croke.

However, I would quite likely wake up the next  morning (okay noon, but let’s be real here, yesterday was jam freaking packed!). So would begin another “last day on earth”.  Oh the anxiety!! Good Lord!

So….this is my alternative to “live every day as if it is your last”:

Love as if every day is your last”

As in…..as much as humanly possible:

Be kind to everyone you come into contact with.

Bake something yummy to share with friends/neighbors/co-workers.

Tell those you love what you love about them.

Give something you have (something you really love) to someone who needs it more than you.

Pass on favorite books, movies, or music to someone you know will treasure them as much as you do.

Smile and say “Hi” to strangers

Be radically hospitable to visitors to your home.

Pet stranger’s dogs

Lift up the good deeds others are doing.

I, for one, prefer to love as it if was my last day as an earthly being. Living “as if” it was my last day is far too exhausting. To me, loving every day as if it was your last is better than living as if it was.

 

 

Deep Thoughts about Turning 50 (in list form-I love making lists!)

  1. 20170131_185008-1Holy crap!! I’m 50?!
  2. Fun fact: Sometimes I pee a little when I sneeze really hard now.
  3. Reading glasses are now a permanent part of my daily ensemble.
  4. Wearing sweatpants in public is now completely acceptable to me.
  5. As a married woman with a not too shabby sex life, I no longer have to be worried about becoming pregnant (‘course that ship sailed long ago..but still, it’s a pretty cool perk).
  6. I now think before I eat so I make better food choices than I used to. With the exception of the piece of gourmet chocolate birthday cake which was  most certainly bigger than my head (and possibly my ass, combined) when I thought “I’m going to eat this whole thing because, well, it’s my birthday-duh!”)
  7. Regular massages are simply. The. Best. Thing. Ever. (well, except for gourmet chocolate birthday cake).
  8. I’m cool with being a grandma now. Way more fun than being a parent for sure! As my mother in law has said “if I had known how much fun being a grandparent was, I would have done that first!” Not like that makes any real sense of course, but you get the gist.
  9. I have way more to write about at age 50, than let’s say, aged 27 and 3/4.
  10. I’ve got less time to waste (which can be anxiety producing or motivating as hell, depending on my mood that day).

It’s all about perspective, right people?

Ch ch ch Changes….

I believe that change is a constant. It can be your BFF or your enemy. The choice is up to you.

Change can be exciting, scary, heart-wrenching, excruciatingly painful, uplifting, and, without doubt, stress inducing.But, for better (or for worse), IT’S GONNA HAPPEN. Nothing you can do about it.

You see, my life has changed in some pretty significant ways in the last few years.
The first and perhaps biggest change happened one fall evening while dining out with my oldest daughter (who was 21 at the time) and her then-boyfriend. Amanda called me to say she had some news to share with my husband and I. I assumed that this was to announce that she and Rob were engaged. We decided to take them to dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants. Amanda was clearly nervous and excited about sharing her news with us. As I was enjoying a lovely glass of chardonnay and anticipating what she was about to say (all the while thinking in my head about how I would and should react), Rob blurted out that he and Amanda were going to be parents. Within literally seconds of this announcement, with my jaw on the floor, our kind waiter asked if we would like another glass of wine. I naturally responded to this in the affirmative.

Fast forward a couple of months. While my sweet hubby and I were simultaneously selling our house in the suburbs, purchasing a sweet “Grandma” house in the city (we had made the decision that summer to downsize and buy an older home now that we were in full “empty nester” mode) and planning for our move to this sweet new house just before Thanksgiving, we were also planning a wedding. Yes, these two soon to be parents were adamant that they would be married before the birth of their first child. Despite some misgivings, we decided to support this decision. So, in January of 2014, I became a mother in law (Change). Then in February of 2014, I became a Grandma. This was a doozie of a change for me. It took me until the day Christopher was born to get over my shit (OMG-I’m only 48, I can’t be referred to as somebody’s grandmother. For Pete’s sake! was the primary theme for me here). But when I saw my Amanda in that hospital bed with this perfect, beautiful, healthy baby boy I realized all my angst was for naught. Amanda had never looked more beautiful to me. She was quite literally glowing, with a relaxed, peaceful smile on her face, she introduced me to Christopher. I remember telling my hubby that I had witnessed in that moment two people falling in love. The look between our Amanda and that precious baby was one of pure, true, forever, love.

Further changes were afoot , however. Around this same time, the hubs had changed positions at work. He was now under the supervision of a new boss, who was based in Washington, D.C. and told that there was an expectation that he move to D.C. or Boulder, CO. within the next couple of years. So after having a lovely couple of years in our sweet “Grandma” house, becoming friends with our neighbors and just enjoying living in the city, we put the house up for sale and moved to Colorado in July of 2016. Big change, people!! Scary-yes. Exciting-totally! Heart-wrenching (saying goodbye to Amanda and Christopher), excruciatingly painful (saying goodbye to all our wonderful friends, neighbors, and church family we had known for 16 years), uplifting (no longer employed as a stressed out social worker), and stress inducing (scheduling the move, packing, unpacking, trying to find a house we could afford in a very different housing market).
As one of my most favorite artists, Sheryl Crow, sings “A change will do you good, yeah a change will do you good”…..

I hope you will stay tuned as the constant churn of change continues for me.

Happiness and love to you,

Rhonda

 

Tales from a 50 year old optimist recently transplanted from Wisconsin to Colorado. Finding silver linings, lifting others up, sharing positively good stuff

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