Category Archives: Life

Scar Tissue

Today, the scar on my heart burns.

The memories are not painful anymore, they are bittersweet. Today, though, today they ache and burn something fierce! The need to have you here is an all too familiar feeling, but today it is one that no words seem to be able to dispel. Life is tough and I have learned to live it in-spite of it’s rough edges. I have found joy in between the waves of pain. I have found strength in laughter and in tears. Life has not been easy but it has been doable.

Today, however, I feel as though I am putting on a facade. I have walked through the day with a burning scar heating up my chest, with an emptiness that is difficult to fill. I have smiled but not really felt happy. I have a bone deep weariness weighing me down. I’m not sure why this date this year is particularly hard. I have been thinking about you a lot of late. Not that you are ever very far from my mind. I feel the need to talk to you and hear your thoughts but you are not here. Friends and family are always willing to help. I love them for the generosity of their time, love, and patience. I’m not sure I would be where I am now if it were not for them. Unfortunately, they can not give me what you could. I miss your shoulder to rest my head on and your hand in mine.

Today will pass and you will still be gone, so I must attempt to quiet the pain in my heart. Ease the burn of the scar tissue. I have done it before and I will again, but the scar will always remain.

Love has a price but it is worth every penny.

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Growing Up

My daughter is my only child. When she started preschool it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, Kindergarten was harder. Kindergarten meant she was growing up. Yesterday my little kindergartener graduated from fifth grade. She is no longer an elementary school kid. My heart is heavy.

I am trying to figure out why her moving to middle school is having such an effect on me. Don’t get me wrong, I am so happy that she is doing well in school right now and is able to move up a grade, but at the same time, there is a cloud of profound sadness swirling around this milestone. Is this something every parent feels?

I am proud of my Baby Girl! She is growing into a wonderful young woman. I just wish that time didn’t seem to go so fast. Here is my girl,

One minute she was making goofy faces at me and singing into fake microphones the next minute she is helping with her baby cousin and swinging a sledgehammer during a kitchen demo. Kids grow up so fast! I sometimes wish I could have those little years back, but I know that the middle years will be just as interesting and challenging as the little years.

As much as I wish for those little years, I am just as excited to see what kind of person my Baby Girl grows to be.

Confused

Have you ever made a decision thinking it was a good one and then a week or a month later began to think maybe it was not such a good decision? That’s where I am at right now.

I took a promotion at work with some trepidation. I had been offered the job twice before and declined each time. I didn’t feel prepared to take the job. My daughter was still very young. She is a few years older now. The time I can spend with my daughter is very precious. I am lucky that I have a very supportive sister and mother who will care for my daughter anytime I ask. Being a single mother I worry about babysitters and child care services, I am not always trusting when it comes to my baby girl. Not to mention the money those services cost. When I was offered the job this time I considered it briefly before accepting. I asked for a 90 day probation period, I was given 60 but told they would prefer 30. After almost 30 days I spoke with the owner and received a salary offer that wasn’t quite what I hoped but was sufficient. I waited a few days and then accepted the offer. It has been 4 days and I am now wondering if I made the wrong choice. The scope of the work is quite a bit more than I have handled in several years. I am capable of doing the work, I just am not sure that I want to do the work. I was also hired with an assistant. She got a new job and will be leaving, no new assistant to be hired at this time. Looking to the future I wonder if a new assistant will be hired and worry that if one is not hired that I will not be able to keep up with the work my assistant did as well as my own work. I want to be fair to the Center Director and the owner and let them know how I am feeling. The truth is I am not sure I really want this job. I thought I did, but second thoughts are creeping around inside my head.

I feel like I am in one of those cartoons where the character has to decide between doing two things and the little angel and the tiny devil pop up on each shoulder. Instead of an angel and a devil, my little people are my daughter and my checkbook.

My checkbook is constantly yelling at me about the bills I have to pay. I feel like there are alarm bells ringing all the time, “IT’S TIME TO PAY ANOTHER BILL”! That damn checkbook always reminding me that there never seems to be enough money to pay for every necessity, every bill and still have a little fun. When I think maybe I have bit off a bit more than I can chew by taking on this new job my checkbook begins to whisper in my ear. Well, it starts whispering and then begins to scream a list of everything I am responsible for paying. House payment, gas, electric, car insurance, car maintenance, gas for the car, groceries, pet care, student loans, medical insurance, co-pays, clothes, shoes, camps for my daughter, debt relief program because at one time I couldn’t control my spending, Dad’s funeral bill that, according to my Aunt, should have been paid off awhile ago, the kitchen remodel that I started (and now have no time to keep working on because I am working more hours), school field trips, and next year school uniforms and the list just keeps going and going until I feel like I am drowning. Oh, how that checkbook makes me feel so damn guilty!

On the other shoulder is my beautiful, smart, loving daughter. She is backed up by my writing wants and needs, as well as at least one of her aunts. When I was trying to figure out if I should take this job I considered the impact it would have on my daughter. She is my priority, always. I thought about it and the bulk of my working hours are when she’s in school, with the exception of school breaks. I talked to her about it and she was all for me taking the job. Now I am left wondering what I am going to do with her for part of the summer. She has 3 weeks of day camp, but then what? Summer break is 9 weeks long. I am working extra hours and I feel like I cannot make some school functions and as though I am not spending much time with her, not like I was able to before. Despite the fact that I am at work mostly during the day while she is in school, I feel that I am taking something away from her. Then there is my writing, something that I really want to make a priority in my life. By the time I get off of work I am so tired that I am ready for bed after dinner is made. There are dishes in my sink and I haven’t done laundry in 2 weeks. One of my daughter’s aunts told me that she wouldn’t accept the job if she had social security like I do, she would stay home with her kids. If you are new to my blog I receive benefits from social security until my daughter turns 16 because my husband died 6 years ago. I can understand the aunt’s point. It was my intention to only work part time until I was no longer eligible for the social security and then go back to work full time. I don’t really care about money. My daughter isn’t going to remember all of the things that I buy her but she will remember the times we spent together. For this reason, it was a difficult decision to go to work full time. A decision that I am now struggling with.

I realize that in the grand scheme of things, my dilemma with work is small potatoes, but I could really use some advice. I feel like I have been deceptive to the owner and the Center Director and unfair to myself and my daughter. I am conflicted because I want to do well at this job and not give up so easily and yet I want to be able to give as much of my time to my daughter as I can. I don’t have another half that can pick up the slack for me when I fall short. I have a wonderful family that helps out, but it isn’t the same. I have roughly 2 months to make a decision before I will lose my social security benefits. I feel that taking those 2 months would be very unfair of me, so I am trying to do my best and decide what it is I want and make a decision within the next week. I am so very confused.

 

Change is in the Air

Hello! It has been awhile since I have written anything :(. Big things have been happening around my house :)! I am considering a promotion at work, I have started the process of publishing my second children’s book, I have started writing a for all ages book(sort of) and I have contacted a plumber to try to get the ball rolling again on my kitchen remodel. Lots of things happening!!!

I am really excited about my upcoming children’s book! It is called No More Hugs and is super cute! I get to meet with my illustrator, John Olmstead, towards the end of May to go over some of the rough drawings. I am hoping everything will be completed by the end of June so I can have it published by September. YAY!!!! I have also begun work on a book about enduring the loss of loved ones. The book is my story of loss and how I found my new normal. It is a hard story to write so it may take me awhile. I think it’s time to write it though, maybe someone else can benefit from my perspective.

The plumber is going to come to give me an estimate on moving my dishwasher sometime this week. I am not sure why the dishwasher was across the kitchen from the sink and not next to the sink in the first place. If I find out that it can’t be moved I think I will have it completely removed. I have found this amazing piece at a great local store that is handmade. It’s a bit rustic looking and I think would fit great in my house! With a kid and animals I don’t want to feel like things have to be pristine. I want that loved/used look that let’s people know I like to cook and makes my house feel comfortable and inviting. I have never felt comfortable in houses with formal living rooms and formal dining rooms. You know, the ones with the furniture you are afraid to sit on because you might break it or get it dirty? The houses where you feel like you can’t relax and sink into the furniture, instead you sit on the edge of the couch or chair to make sure you don’t somehow mess it up. I am glad that I can start that project within the next month! I told myself that I am not in a hurry and can be patient, but I am ready to start the next phase of this remodel!

I was recently offered a promotion at work. I have been considering taking the position for about a month. During this time I have been training for the job on a probation period. I think I will be decent at the job. My struggle with taking the promotion has several layers. Layer #1: I have had social security benefits since my husband died six years ago. This has allowed me to work part-time and be home more for my daughter. By taking this job I won’t always be able to take off work for day time school functions. On the flip side, I will get off most nights between 5 and 6. Which means I will be home to make my daughter dinner and help her with her homework. If I officially take the job I will lose the social security. This means if the job doesn’t work out there is no getting that back, I will have to get another job. Another job that may not be as flexible with lunch breaks and child illnesses. Another job that may not allow me to pick my daughter up from school and bring her back to sit in the office until I get off work. This is a scary prospect. An unlikely one, but one that must be considered.

Layer #2: I like teaching and working part-time as a tutor allows me to teach. Becoming the Director of Education will not leave me much time to teach. I have spoken with the owner and the Center Director and I will be able to teach a couple of hours a week. It isn’t the same as being a teacher, but at least it’s something.

Layer #3: I like to write and would really enjoy making that my full-time job. Taking this job will make writing more of a part-time job. On the other hand, taking this job will make it easier to pay for my illustrator. At least I think it will. I have not yet spoken to the owner about salary. During my probation time I am considered hourly. I have an appointment tomorrow to discuss salary. I am crossing my fingers and sending out as many prayers as I can that we can come to an agreement about salary that will make it worth giving up the short-term financial stability that I have with the social security. Social security isn’t much and there are some months when I wonder if I am going to be able to pay all of the bills and put food on the table, but it is a guaranteed amount of money coming in every month. Taking this job means losing that stability. Which in turn means that I need my salary to be more than what I get from Social Security after taxes to make it worth losing the benefits and the ability to be available for my daughters school functions.

Layer #4: Since 2011 my priorities have changed. That year I lost my husband, my grandmother and my Dad. Making money has never been first on my priority list, but that year made me realize that life is too short and too precious to not spend time with the people I love. My daughter comes first. She always will. I realize though that money is needed to provide for my daughter and living on social security and a part-time job does not always provide her with opportunities to experience life and learn new things in interesting ways outside of the classroom. As I said earlier, there are times when paying for food trumps paying the electric bill. Taking this job might mean that I can take her on vacation or send her to a summer camp. It might mean that she can join after school programs like track or take a martial arts class or purchase the drum set she wants so she can learn to play the drums like she’s been wanting to do for a year now.

That’s it! Big things happening here! Decisions to be made and lessons to be learned. Life is bittersweet and losses sometimes happen with gains. Until next time my friends! I hope your life is filled with a great mix of ups and downs. May the downs not be too low or too long and may you always be grateful for the ups and everything in between. As someone wise once said, “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you have.” Lots of love friends.

A Budget of $0

Hello, family and friends and readers of my blog. This is just a note to let you know that I am not crazy or in an irrational state of mind :). I am, however, in a mood to do something that I have been wanting to do for a long time, remodel my kitchen. Here are some pics

I have been watching DIY shows and looking through Pinterest and HGTV magazines for years and I finally have an idea of what I want to do to my kitchen. No, I do not have a budget. I am a single mom with a part time job and the dreams of being a professional writer. My bank account frequently screams in agony and every time I use my debit card I hear alarm bells sounding. This will not stop me and here’s why.

Life is really fucking short! It’s too short to wait until the “perfect moment” and definitely too short to wait for my bank account to always be in the black. Life is too short to sit around and whisper “someday” into the air. My someday is now. To some of you, this might seem foolish, stupid and perhaps a bit absurd. I mean who starts a remodel without having a budget in place!

The answer to that, perfectly understandable, question is this: someone who doesn’t need near instant gratification, someone who plans on doing most, if not all, the work herself. Yes, I do have big plans. Yes, I do know that not all of those plans will work. After all, I am not a plumber or an electrician. I do know how to hang drywall and swing a sledgehammer, I can use a saw and put down tile. I plan on doing things slowly and scouring places like the Habitat for Humanity Restore, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army for materials. I also plan on using some material from my basement that will no longer be needed down there. I will price and shop around for needed supplies and buy them as money comes available. I am in no hurry. In fact, I want this project to take a little while. Believe it or not, this project is helping me deal with stress as well as satisfy my desire to remodel. I am not perfect and I am sure there will be times when I curse myself for even starting this project. Mostly, though, I am happy. I am adding to my coping skills. In the past, I have used retail therapy and food to cope with stress and feelings of inadequacy. Today I am using my writing, the gym, and now home improvement projects to cope.

The last, almost, 6 years has been rough. I have walked that long, lonely road of grief and I have done and said some stupid and crazy things. Through it all, I have had my family and friends standing beside me letting me know that I am safe and loved. These past 2 years or so I have finally decided it is ok to be happy and I am figuring out what that means. I have had to rediscover who I am and who I want to be. Please try not worry, I am ok and I do know what I am doing, for the most part ;).

Just so you know, I will still complain about not having any money. That is a never ending situation no matter what I am or am not doing. Love to all! I will continue to share my Remodel on a Budget of $0. Demoing is kind of fun, the clean up not so much.

No Money, Stressed, But Positive

I have done it quite brilliantly this time! I have managed to put my finances so far into the toilet that there is no way for it to be fixed. Yep, about negative $500 in my account and growing. Went to Walmart with the charge card to get a few things and it was promptly declined. Now I am in panic mode. WHAT IN THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO?  Did I mention that the outlet in my bathroom doesn’t work, my dryer is near death and my stove is acting up? Yeah, I am in one hell of a shit storm right now. Again, what the hell am I going to do?

I am going to take a deep breath, get as many hours as I can at work, have a garage sale and remember that as life goes, mine is actually very good. I have had some craptastic moments but I also have a bunch of wonderful people in my life who are there for me in those moments.

What I am not going to do is sit around feeling sorry for myself or blame other people. It is no one else’s fault that I am not good with money. It is no one else’s fault that I use loans to dig myself out of holes, temporary fixes. Now all of that has caught up with me and I have to do what I should have done in the first place. Pay bills and quit spending money.

Please do not think badly of me, I was, at one time in a more financially stable place. Truth be told I would still be there except I went ahead with the publishing of my book when I should have waited. Shoulda woulda coulda will not get my money back and neither will sitting on my ass crying about it.

The point, my friends, is that when life throws up rough spots you can either boo hoo or you can stand up and take action. You can blame others or you can take responsibility for yourself and your life. I have always believed: You can’t control other people but you can control yourself and how you react.

Living in a constant cloud of negativity makes me feel like crap. I don’t mean feeling bad for a day or even a week, I am talking about constantly complaining about life. I think that if a person continually focuses on the bad things then that is all they will ever see. If instead, a person looks for the good things then the rough stuff becomes easier to work through.

Life is full of big bad stuff that is harder to overcome and takes a lot of people working together to change. Why then would I choose to focus on the little things all the time? Be angry, friends, be sad, shout some curse words, sheds some tears, then take a deep breath and let it go, because life is too short to hang to the little things that anger you. Instead, hang on to the little things that make you smile. Life is much better that way :).

Just a few little things that make me smile. There are much more 🙂

 

My Book!!!!!

I wrote a children’s book! And I published it! Holy S***!  I am so excited!!! I am so nervous!!!! I keep thinking “what if people don’t like it?” and “what if people love it?”. AHHHHHHH!!!! DEEP BREATHS!!!! Ok…I’m alright now :). I am just so excited. I wrote this story about 5 years ago and finally decided to go for broke and publish it. It took me a little bit to find an illustrator. I found a good one, I think anyway. He was great to work with and really understood what I wanted for the book :). After several meetings and a couple of reworks the book is finally complete and ready for sale. Below are the cover and the first page of the story for your perusal, a sneak peek. You can buy my book (my book…eek!) at http://www.createspace.com e-store or from Amazon.com and this weekend it will be live on Kindle.  I plan on donating a minimum of 10% of the royalties to  a children’s charity. I have not yet decided which charity. I am still doing some research. If anyone has a suggestion or a favorite charity please let me know :). I hope you enjoy my book! Yay! Have I mentioned how excited I am? Ahhh!! So excited!!

The Learning Curve

I got ready for bed about 10 o’clock last night. Decided I would check my bank account before turning off my phone for the night, I wanted to make sure I had enough money for essentials this week. To my great surprise, there were five charges that I did not recognize! I start to panic thinking that someone has gotten ahold of my bank information. I took a deep breath and looked at the places the charges were made, the next word that came out of my mouth was my daughter’s name. All of the charges were made this weekend on iTunes. I was sick all weekend so my lovely daughter was on her iPad pretty much from the time she got up until she went to bed. Now, normally I would have an issue with this and tell her to go ride her bike or do something else for awhile, but as I said, I was sick. Never in my wildest dreams did I think she would charge $122.36 in in-app charges on iTunes. We have had extensive discussions about how she is not to purchase anything without asking me first. She has had her iPad for about five years and has known the password for buying apps for about two years. Never have we had an issue. Until this weekend.

To say that I am furious is an understatement of the grandest proportions. I have been struggling financially since my husband passed five years ago. I have also been trying very hard to overcome this financial difficulty while still being able to be at home when my daughter is at home. I have always felt that it is more important for her to have me around than to have things and be raised by babysitters. I have wonderful family and friends so I have, for the most part, been able to give her complete access to my time and attention. This is not an easy accomplishment in this day and age and sacrifices have been made. That is a story for another time, back to the issue at hand. I have not always been the best at giving punishments. There were times when the punishment outweighed the crime and times when the crime outweighed the punishment. Last night when I discovered the infraction it was late so I was tired and still not feeling the best, because of this I ended up screaming at her and grounding her for the week from her iPad. When I woke up this morning I decided that this was not enough, though I was feeling a bit guilty for the screaming at her part. I had an hour before I had to get my sleeping beauty up for school so I thought about what should happen. I started planning. I woke up my daughter and I gave her the first part of the plan. Then I dropped her off at school and I contacted my sister and a friend because I needed help working this out without being completely over the top or too lenient. It helps to have a sounding board or two when you are a single parent. Not to mention I was ready to smash her iPad into smithereens and ground her for the foreseeable future and possibly use corporal punishment just to drive my point home. Luckily I chose to go to sleep last night instead and took some quiet time to think this morning. I am happy to report that the iPad and my daughters booty are still intact. Let’s get to the plan shall we?

This morning: After waking my daughter up this morning I calmly explained to her that her actions have caused a serious problem. I will now be negative in my account unless I can find a way to put back the money she spent. Instead of going to visit her uncle, aunt and cousins in a couple of weeks I will now have to work. In addition, I will have to pick up some extra hours at work to cover the loss. Her mistake has cost me not only money but a trip to see my niece for her birthday. Her punishment is not being able to use her iPad, YouTube or play any video games for the entire week. She will have to do all of her chores and any additional chores without complaint. I have changed the password to the iTunes and apple store accounts, she will no longer be allowed to have the password. I explained to her that because of the problems with the roof, the need to pay bills and put food on the table was going to cause us to be negative in the account in April and due to her actions we are now going to have twice as less money. I accept responsibility for the first part and had already taken steps to remedy the situation, however, I will now have to figure out how to remedy both situations. This not only entails me canceling the trip north and picking up more hours at work but may also mean that we will have to turn off the internet and all tv services until the situations are fixed. While I understand that mistakes can be made she made the same mistake five different times on the same weekend, four of them in the same day. More importantly, she broke a rule. There are consequences for every action. Boom! Done! But wait! There is more! Here is what awaits my precious love this afternoon.

The Lesson in money: Under the advice of my friend I reached out to iTunes store and they graciously agreed to reverse the charges. Yep, all $122.36! Happy Dance! 🙂 Do you think I am going to tell my little one about that? Heck no! Baby Girl keeps telling mom she isn’t a baby anymore, did I mention she is about 5 months from double digits? Yep, she’ll be 10. I guess it’s time she learns how to earn money. Here’s what she is going to find out this afternoon. I have made a list of chores and assigned them a number in minutes. For example, sweeping and mopping the floors will earn her 30 minutes, dusting 15 minutes and dishes 15 minutes (we have a dishwasher), etc. She will earn $8.50 per hour. We will keep track of her time with a time sheet, at the end of the week, we will add up her time and figure up how much she has earned and then deduct that from her debt. If she does her job without complaining she will receive a raise. If she complains or gives me a hard time about the chores there will not be a raise. If she refuses to do the chores she will extend her grounding by one day for every time she refuses to complete a chore. Bam! That’s right mama’s got her dancing shoes on! All done and without a single smack to the ass or slap upside the head!

Thanks, Sister and C for the listening and assisting! What do you think my blogging friends and loyal readers? Too much? Too little? Am I completely off my rocker or on the right track? Constructive criticism only, please! Being a parent is tough friends so let’s not have any hateful words, only helpful ones :). Thanks all!

Flirting, Dating, What’s That?

Time for a confession! I cannot flirt and I have never been on a real date. My husband was really a good guy but we didn’t really go on a date, at least, a traditional date, until after we moved in together. Let me define what I mean by date. To me, a date is when you go to dinner or coffee or drinks or a movie, something of the sort. Justin and I went for walks or talked on my front porch or in his apartment. He never picked me up in his car and took me to dinner or a movie. Not judging, truth is, I never missed the dates. I liked our conversations and walks in the park. I have only had about 3 boyfriends in my life. My first real boyfriend was in middle school, my second was in high school and my third would later become my husband. In middle school, I was only allowed on group dates. In high school, I was more focused on school work and the guy I dated never took me out, he did bring me breakfast once. In college, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, making friends and didn’t really want a boyfriend. Then I met Justin and my life changed and everything was good :). When I lost him everything changed again and I thought I would never want to date or anything ever again. Fast-forward to five years later and I find that never again is unrealistic.

So here is the situation, I seem to be attracted to a guy at my gym. Cliche, I know! Since I don’t really get out much I guess the gym and the grocery store are about the only places I will meet a guy. I suppose it might be time to mend my hermit ways ;). Anyway, I met a cute guy (so, high school sounding) and I have no idea what to do next. I have never been able to flirt without sounding like a total goob and even if I could I have no idea how a real date goes. Oh and there is the whole widowed single mom thing that doesn’t do much to turn guys on. It’s a lot to handle. You may be asking yourselves why I am even mentioning all this. Well, because I have no idea what I am doing so I am seeking assistance from all available avenues! Friends, some family, and you all. I am not even really sure I am 100% ready to date. I guess if I am now looking at guys going hmmmm….I wonder, then it is probably time to start figuring out how all this crap works. You know, at the young age of 37 it might actually be time to figure out to flirt or what to say and not say on a date, especially a first date.

So my blogging friends, tell me, how does this all work? Please don’t say dating websites because I am definitely not ready for all that jazz. Who asks who? I am almost in a place where I am confident enough to do the asking but I have a fear of rejection. It stems from a lack of confidence in my appearance. I was made fun of a lot when I was a kid, weight problems, glasses, socially awkward. Yeah, not much has changed. I am a bit more confident but I still have the glasses and weight problems. For those of you who never had these issues, it sticks with you, even when you believe that you are a well-adjusted, self-confident adult. Self-doubt is  a little monster that must be fought at all times.

Give me your thoughts friends, I look forward to hearing from you :).

 

Good Wine, Good Food, Good Friend

Five years ago I felt like my world collapsed. I honestly thought I was only surviving so that my daughter wouldn’t have to lose both parents. I didn’t want her to feel any more pain than she had to feel. Then in April, I was slapped by death again as I lost my grandma. I kept going because I couldn’t do anything else. In June of that year, death beat me down again as my Dad lost his battle with cancer. Keep moving, wall up the heart and close the gates of emotion. Ha! Not easily done. Honestly? It was probably the worst thing I could have done. But let’s fast forward five years, I think I have dwelt enough in the past.

This weekend I spent some time with friends. It was great! It usually is, I have pretty good friends :). We went to the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard in Mackinaw, Illinois. It was the second time I had been there and it was just as nice as the first. The first time I went with a group of friends to a wine and chocolate tasting, this time, we went and saw a murder mystery. It was so much fun! Dinner was tasty and the company was great! The little murder mystery play was put on by a small company of 2 people, a married couple, with the assistance from audience members. All of this with dinner and dessert in between. The wine you could purchase by the glass or by the bottle from the vineyard. I am partial to the sweet wines and really enjoyed their Edelweiss and Diane’s Desire.

All of that was great, but the nicest and scariest part of the night was when a person that I had gotten to know during the horrible year of pain came up to me and said hi! I haven’t really seen much of anyone from that year in person for quite some time. I was a mess that year and not my best me, so when I run into someone from that year in person I have to stop a second and try to remember through the fog. I remembered her right away of course and was happy to see her. I’ll call her K for the purpose of this post. K looked happy and was with her husband. It was really great to see her happy and to get to spend time with her. The scary part, for me, is the question. The question that everyone who hasn’t seen me since that time asks, “How are you?”. My standard answer is I’m good. I found that this time it’s true. I really am doing good. I mean my life isn’t cake or anything, but it’s good :). I have a great daughter, a wonderful family, awesome friends and a life that I didn’t think would be possible 5 years ago.

The second question I hate getting when I meet someone after a long absence is “What are you doing now?”. I hate this question because when I explain my current life to people I get mixed reactions. I was not able to secure a teaching position after I finished my Master’s in Education degree. I know why and it stings horribly. I have been told by several that I would make a good teacher, so why don’t I have a teaching job? Well several reasons possibly, lots of people looking and few jobs in my area are at the top of the list. But I know the real reason and it bothers me tremendously. That, however, is a story for another day. The main reason I hate this question is because there are those who see my lifestyle as lazy or irresponsible. My choices are my own, for the most part, and I weigh each one heavily. Some do not agree and others just nod as if this all they expected of me. While I don’t always like the path that I have been forced to forge on my own, I am ok with my decisions. Yes, even the ones that I later regret.Why? Because I know that life isn’t easy and it so frequently lobs rocks and digs pitfalls and tries to drown a person at every turn. I have a choice, I can constantly bemoan those rocks, pitfalls, and tons of water, or I can see past all of that to the rainbows, the helping hands, the green trees and the blue skies. I can choose to see the smile on my daughters face or hear the laughter of my friends rather than the tears I have cried and the pain that I endure. Life is about choices and I accept the responsibility of all of my choices, the good and the bad.

My lost acquaintance/friend asked this very question and I asked it of her in return. K seems to be doing well and really likes her job. I am so happy for her! When I told her what I am doing now there was no judgment in her face and for once I didn’t feel worried that this knowledge would cost me a potential relationship. This was also the first time that I called myself a writer, so that was a little scary. I am so glad that I ran into K and her husband! It was nice to see someone from that year of hell and not feel awkward or like an utter failure. K is just as nice as I remember her and I look forward to getting to know her again.

As for the other stuff. I think too much! Here is me, my friends, down and dirty! I am a mother, semi-hoarder(I’m getting better at that), an artist, a teacher, a writer, a gym goer, a pescatarian, an art lover, a B-movie watcher, wine drinking, cussing, animal loving, goofy, middle-aged, young at heart, emotional,  thinks too much about herself and not enough about the world around her(working on this too) person. This is me, unapologetically me!

This weekend taught me a little bit more about myself and I am good with what I learned. Also, this weekend rocked! I had good friends surrounding me, good food to eat, good wine to drink and it was amazing!

So here is to you, my friends! May you always have enough of everything! Love to all!