Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I'm not very good about this blog thing, am I? I should have known that I wouldn't be able to keep up. Like I mentioned in the last post, I tend to run out of words. My work requires a LOT of writing and I may have mentioned that I'm also in school. It's an on-line course that also requires a LOT of writing.  I think we're supposed to be on day 9 now and I've only written 3 blogs. I pulled up my list to see what topics I was supposed to write about and none of them interest me today. If you don't mind, I'm just going to ramble.

I moved away from home when I was 18. I tried college for a while, because that's what you're supposed to do after you graduate high school. Sadly, I was miserably unsuccessful. I lived there (in Wilmington, NC) for three years, but was only enrolled for 1 1/2 years. After that, I moved to Colorado. I picked Colorado because 1. I'd never been to Colorado and 2. a distant cousin offered me a place to stay until I got my feet on the ground.

When I left North Carolina, I was actually running away. I still don't fully understand what I was running away from, but I wish now that I hadn't run so far and so fast. I think that by going so far away, I alienated myself. I will never again belong in North Carolina, but at the same time, I think I will always consider it my home.

I go back to visit from time to time--my family still lives there. One sister lives with me in Colorado and a second sister just moved to Ohio. Everyone else is in North Carolina. (By "everyone" I mean my folks, 8 siblings and their spouses, and 20 nieces and nephews.) I've been gone for 18 years now. That's 18 years worth of holidays, birthdays, "barn raisings", personal achievements, and heartaches that I missed out on. I missed weddings and anniversaries and births and all the celebrations and bonding associated with those events. I wasn't there to help pull the stump or rebuild the deck. When I go back, I am reminded of how much I missed. I am reminded that I no longer belong there. It makes me sad. I am an outsider in my own family. I am a stranger to my nieces and nephews.

But in Colorado, I'm great. People like me and they invite me to holidays, birthdays, and "barn raisings". I help celebrate weddings and anniversaries and births. I volunteer at the school in throughout the community. People recognize me in the grocery store and stop me to say, "hi" and ask about day. I exchange keys with my neighbors and send over warm cookies from every batch. People here know me. I belong here.

That's okay, isn't it? For a long time I didn't think it was. But I've changed my mind. North Carolina is not my home, it's just my home state. Colorado is my home now. It's a pretty cool place to call home.

Friday, July 27, 2012


I only made it two days into a 30-day challenge. That, my friends, is the story of my life. I’m a total slack ass. It was actually a little after 10PM on Day 3 when I realized I missed the boat. I was in bed trying to go to sleep. That’s when I replay my day and think of all the things I did right, wrong, or—as in this case—didn’t do at all. The next day I saw that I was supposed to write about something I have to forgive myself for and I realized that it was a subconscious mental block. We all have skeletons in our closet—things that we are ashamed of—things we wish we could either re-do or totally erase. In a perfect world, we forgive ourselves of these unspoken crimes. I chose not to. I don’t think I will ever forgive myself, but make no mistake: I spend Every—Single—Day—Of my life trying desperately to write those wrongs. I believe that if I do enough good and bring enough light into the world, then maybe…just maybe I can make up for it. But I don’t expect to ever forgive myself. I knew better.

 Day 04 (yesterday) I was supposed to write about “Something you have to forgive someone for.” I spent the day researching and writing an assignment for school. By the end of the day, I had run out of words. I have writing assignments that I have to do for work today, so I figure I better get caught up on this blog before I run out of words again.
I’ve been told many times by many people that I’m a good writer and I believe it to be true. But it doesn’t come easily for me. I might spend an hour or more writing just one paragraph. I will read and re-read an email half a dozen times, tweaking a word here, adding a comma there. I don’t know that I’ve ever really pleased with my writing as much as I just think it is close enough. I usually just get tired and run out of words.

Back to the blog writing assignment—I don’t think I have anything I need to forgive another person for. I don’t have space in my heart, mind, or life for grudges. Aside from that, I think the world’s been pretty good to me.
Day 5 (today) is the day I write about something I hope to do in my life. I mentioned that in my address to day 3: I truly aspire to make the world a better place and I believe I have the ability to do so—we all do. We make the world a better place with random acts of kindness. When I (or you) smile at a stranger on the street, I (you…we) spread kindness. If I see someone wearing a pretty dress, I tell her and she usually lights up. If I’m in the elevator with a man who smells nice, I tell him and he usually stands a little taller. In both instances, these strangers walk away feeling a little more confident. Chances are, they will pass those compliments along to someone else and slowly, but surely, we bring joy to people’s lives and make the world a better place.  We all want to be acknowledged.

So the next time you’re in the elevator with someone who smells good—tell him or her. I dare you.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 2: Something you love about yourself

I love to live! I have an almost unquenchable thirst for life. I’m almost always up for an adventure—whether it’s a cross-country road trip or a newly discovered park in an adjacent neighborhood; a lick of my daughter’s sour candy or an exotic new ethnic food; I want to taste it, smell it, hear it, see it and feel it. I want to fill a pool with it and bathe in it—wallow around like a pig in slop and cover my entire physical being with life!
I think the greatest testament to my love of life is that my love is unconditional. I may not “like” all things about my life or my life experiences, but I accept and love them as my own. My willingness to open my eyes and my heart to the inevitableness of discomfort has allowed me to live life even harder.

I offer you this as a lighthearted example: I was cleaning my house on Sunday and sweating profusely. It was HOT and I don’t have central air conditioning. I was already crabby because—as I mentioned yesterday—I do NOT like to clean. That it was so hot was only making me more crabby. At one point, I flopped down in a chair and took a long drink of water. As I drank the water, I could feel the sweat beading on my head and running down my face, neck, and back. It struck me as amazing that I could actually feel my body sweating. As the droplet of perspiration swelled on my forehead, I resisted the urge to wipe it away. My patience was rewarded as I soon experienced the sensation of several small droplets joining into a gentle cascade down the contour of my face, leaving behind a trail of damp, cool skin. Twenty seconds ago, I was hot and sweaty and pissed off. Now I’m marveling at the mechanisms of the human body to cool itself. I look around my small house. I’m almost 40 years old and my furniture is still mostly a collection of cast offs from friends and relatives. No matter how much I clean and straighten, my home retains its cluttered, somewhat shabby, “lived-in” look and feel. But it’s mine. It represents who I am and what I stand for. And I love it just as much as I love the feel of that cold water rushing down my throat, into my stomach, and throughout my body. If I keep cleaning house, I might get to feel that same swig of water dampen my hairline.

Monday, July 23, 2012

30-Day Blog Challenge: Day 1

The 30-day blog challenge suggests that I spend Day 1 writing about what I hate about myself. Well, for one thing, I don’t hate anything about myself. Fact is I’m pretty awesome. Secondly, why would I start a blog by talking about bad things? I don’t want to write about bad things any more than you want to read them! Of course, no one is perfect. I have nothing to fear or hide, so how about I introduce you to some of my characteristics that might be somewhat less than desirable during certain situations. As you read, please understand that I embrace these idiosyncrasies as part of what makes me so awesome.

1. I cry when I’m happy or excited. No joke. Like, really cry…tears, snot, hic-ups…I go all out. Have you ever been to the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH? We were there 14 or 15 years ago—the summer after the Denver Broncos won their first Super Bowl. We watched highlights of the Bronco’s season in some super fancy theater. When it was all over, I was clapping feverishly and sobbing like a baby, “GO BRONCOS!!” I still don’t think my then 10-year-old stepson has forgiven me. He was so embarrassed; he practically crawled out of the theater on his hands and knees.
My husband and I played hooky from work one day and drove up to Georgetown, CO to ride the steam train. After we loaded the train, the conductor blew the whistle and yelled, “All Aboard!” I burst into tears. I may have frightened some of the small children.

I cried at the rodeo, too. It was right at the very start, the lights went out and the coliseum was almost completely black. The “Beef—it’s what’s for dinner” song started blaring, lasers were everywhere and about two dozen people came into the arena on horses—both people and horses had lights all over them. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen and I showed my appreciation with a flood of tears. We were about four contestants into the bull riding before I pulled myself together again. My husband won’t go to rodeos with me anymore.

2. I always have to be planning something. I scour the internet for free family activities I can do on weekends with my daughter. I am always thinking of what needs to be done to the house next. I spend almost an entire week planning the next week’s menu. I can’t go into a store without a list. I will spend months planning a vacation. The last vacation we took, we met my husband’s family in Missouri. I got everyone to agree on a date and location and I made all the arrangements. His sister drove from TN, his brother and dad came from NE and we drove from CO. It took about 3 months to make all the arrangements, including planning meals and what to pack. I spent half of the ride to the vacation planning the next vacation. My husband said, “PLEASE—one at a time!”

3. The only thing I dislike more than cleaning my house is a dirty house. That’s right—read it again.

4. I do not like being wet. I’m the freak at the swimming pool walking around with my hands sticking up out of the water. I can’t be in the water for more than about 10 minutes at a time. It freaks me out. Of course, there are few things that I enjoy more than the feel of clean skin. So much so, that I often take two showers a day.

I think that’s about it. Not bad, eh? I told you I was awesome.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Last night, I finally made good on that 2-year-old threat to move my alarm clock across the room. Then at 5:10 this morning, my husband was very conveniently returning from the bathroom at the exact time the alarm clock went off. "Hey, Babe. Be a saint and push that snooze button for me, would ya?" Unfortunately, when the alarm sounded again at 5:19, he was snug as a bug in bed with me. UGH!

But I did it. I dragged my happy ass out of bed and I stayed up! I have always said that the hardest part of my day is the part when I have to get out of bed. Once I'm up, I'm up. I brushed my teeth, pulled on a t-shirt and shorts, laced up my sneakers and was out on the trail by 5:32.

I love being outside at the crack of dawn. It's a fresh day, and the possibilities are endless. Everything feels crisp and clean and in Colorado, even August mornings are brisk. And the trail I walk is right across the street from me. The area is full of wildlife. I always see deer and today, I saw a big ole fat raccoon. Sometimes I see coyote, fox, rabbits, and there are hundreds of birds. I'm also amazed at how busy the trail is at 5:30 in the morning. It's quite obvious that I am not the only one who enjoys this time of day.

So anyway--I got in two miles. Now, let's see if I can keep it up. My goal is to average 7,500 steps a day. That may not sound like much, but if you consider that I sit on my butt for 9-hours a day, 7,500 steps is a LOT!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Long time no write

Wow...It's been awhile since I blogged, huh? My first reaction is to claim that not much has happened, but we all know that's not true.

My husband lost his job in March 2009 and we have since decided to start our own business. It's named, "Mark Made It". Mark (my husband) builds bird houses, bird feeders, bird baths, and butterfly houses. We have a Web site (www.Markmadeit.com) and are at the Parker Farmers Market part-time this summer.

So this bird thing has really started to consume us. I have a crabapple tree outside of my kitchen window. Its a beautiful tree and we filled the tree with whimsical nick knacks and a variety of bird feeders. We've started sitting at the kitchen table longer and longer every night to watch the birds. Then, after a few weeks and a couple hundred arguments over what type of bird is feeding, we bought a couple bird books.

I can honestly say that since March, bird watching from my kitchen table has all but consumed the entire family. We have a pair of binoculars, two bird books, a camera and tripod on the table at ALL times. We almost wet out pants the first day we saw a grosbeak. Then a few days later, I swear I saw an oriole. Seriously--that window gets more attention than the television.

So, anyway. Go check out my Web site and order a feeder. Meanwhile, I'll think of something funny to write about.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

...a snip it from my mind...

My husband has his grandfather's kitchen table and buffet. He's has it in storage for years. He finally decided to get rid of it, so he packed it all up and hauled it to a furniture consignment shop. The owner of the shop cleaned the hell out of this furniture. It didn't even look the like the same stuff. It was amazing. So the furniture sat in the shop for 3 plus months and didn't sell, so we brought it home and stashed it in the garage until we could figure out what to do with it.

This furniture is really pretty. The buffet is in good shape, but the table is fragile. I mean, it's a hundred years old and it wasn't the sturdiest table to begin with. So anyway, we completely fell in love with the polished up pieces and shortly after getting the Christmas decorations down, we decided to re-arrange the front room so we could accommodate it. The plan was that we would get rid of the book case and move the couch to where the book case was. We'd set the table under the front window and keep a picture puzzle on it all the time. The buffet would replace the hutch.

I emptied the dang-blasted six-foot book case (that was packed to full capacity) and hutch (where I kept everything that I didn't know where to keep), hauled the "old" stuff to the garage, swept, moped and dusted, then we hauled the "new" stuff in. It didn't fit. Not even close. I mean, we measured everything before we moved it, and it fit, but it didn't "fit"...know what I mean? The wood was too dark, the table stuck out into the room too far, the balance was all wrong...it just didn't work. It looked like crap.

We hemmed and hawed and bickered, then hauled the "new" stuff BACK into the garage and the "old" stuff BACK inside. I busted my butt all afternoon, cleaning and moving and I have nothing to show for it. We did end up moving the couch and the chairs around a little bit, so it does look different, but it isn't what I expected. And those dust monsters that resided under the couch have been evicted. And my floors are moped. And my hutch and bookcase are clean. Aside from that...

But let me tell you something, people. I scored BIG brownie points. How many women would re-arrange her main room (which is 1/3 of my entire house) to accommodate her husband's grandfather's cheap, old furniture? Unfortunately, these days, my brownie points are worth about as much as a Zimbabwe dollar. (For those of you who may not know, earlier this week Zimbabwe released a new 50 BILLION dollar note--it's worth $1.25USD.)

Meanwhile, I have a substantial pile of "stuff" next to my bed that needs a home.

Where does all this "stuff" come from? And why do I have so much of it? I just don't know what to do with it! Do I keep it, do I throw it out? What if I throw it away, but then find out that I need it?

Side A: NO! No. I don't need it. "When in doubt, throw it out!" That's what I always say! Why do I need a 10-year-old map of Washington DC? If I go to Washington DC, I'll get a new map. Dang-blasted things are free for crying out loud.

Side B: But it's a souvenir from our two-week, cross country road trip. I could put it in a scrap book along with the 8 rolls of 36-exposure film that we got double prints of. And those pictures are stored in those boxes along with every other picture I ever took over the last 14 years.

Side A: Okay, then fine...keep the map. But what the hell are you going to DO with it?!?!

Side B: You're right. I'll throw it away.

Side A: NO! WAIT--you could decoupage the back of that bookcase with it!