Category Archives: Life

Thank You

Tonight I attended a wedding reception. I missed the wedding ceremony due to a couple of delays. If I’m going to be honest though, I wasn’t sure if I was going to the wedding.

The decision to go or not had nothing to do with the bride and groom. This indecisiveness has been part of my life for nearly eight years. During most of these years I wanted to hide because everything was emotionally painful, even the moments that were supposed to be happy. This is no ones fault, I lost a part of my heart and the rest of the world kept turning while I was crumbling into little pieces. I was invited to places and out with friends and for a bit I tried but it was so tiring to look happy when I was still broken. I stopped accepting invitations or found reasons to not follow through with plans.

Over the last several years I have been rebuilding and figuring out who I am again. I haven’t been much better about accepting invitations or following through but I have made more of an effort. Today was one of those days that I had to fight through the hesitation and feeling that it would be better if I just stay home. I am so happy that I made the decision to go. I am so thankful that the bride invited me.

Thank you to my friends who keep inviting me to things. Thank you for not giving up on me. I know the last nearly eight years have been frustrating for you because it’s been frustrating for me as well. I want to feel normal again, whole, like I belong and it frustrates me when I end up feeling out of place. Thank you for continuing to extend invitations even though you may not have completely understood why I rarely accepted. Thank you for reminding me that you are all still out there and ready to welcome me as though no time has passed. I am making my way back into the world, it’s a slow progression. I cannot promise that I will accept every invitation or that I won’t leave a bit earlier than the party breaks up, but I promise you I am trying and I am so very thankful for your friendships.

I did leave the wedding reception a little earlier than I expected but I also stayed much longer than I thought I would.

Thank you for being my friends and accepting me with my brokenness. Thank you for being understanding of my hesitations.

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Hello again!

Oh my goodness! It has been way too long since I last posted here!! I could make excuses, but I won’t. I have been a horrid blogger!

Here are some updates if you are interested:

  • Life is still moving forward
  • the kitchen is still not done
  • I have applied for some teaching positions (cross fingers, say some prayers, make a sacrifice(just kidding) or do what you do).
  • Writing is not currently making me money so it’s back to the real world
  • My little girl is turning 12! Ah! I am not ready for her to be anything but my Baby Girl 😦
  • I have finished writing my 3rd book but have no idea how I am going to get it illustrated
  • I have an idea for a series, I want to start that now
  • Life continues to move forward dragging me with it. I sometimes go kicking and screaming along and sometimes skipping with a foolish smile on my face
  • I need to blog more, writing helps me live!
  • My cat is bathing on my desk and I really wish she’d wash her butt somewhere else
  • I have to lock my front door now because the neighbor kids whose bikes I helped fix keep trying to come in without knocking. They don’t understand that you shouldn’t walk into a strangers house no matter how nice the stranger was while sitting on the sidewalk helping with the bike.
  • I have been eating horribly and I am back to drinking soda several times a week
  • My cat just tried to sit on my keyboard, guess it’s time to wrap things up
  • I worked as a teacher this summer, that was really nice 🙂
  • I think I am going to plan a launch party for Anastasia’s book, she wants to make cactus pillows that say Hug Me 🙂

Well, that is it for now. I hope all of you are doing well in whatever life is currently throwing at you! Lots of love friends.

 

Lost? Or Temporarily Misplaced?

It is that time of year again! Yes, the time of year when I am not sure who I am or what I am supposed to be doing. Like a college student trying to pick a major or a preschooler trying to decide what toy to take for show and tell I am floundering. Have any of you ever felt this way?

I used to say I felt lost. I felt like I was wondering about in the dark with no real purpose. Now, I think of this time of year as a temporary misplacement of myself.

I know the direction I want to go, but I have taken a wrong turn. I just have to back track and find my road. Easier said than done. Especially, when the doubts are screaming directions in your ear, “You can’t go that way!”, “are you crazy! How are you going to make a living doing that!” The ever present doubt of “What are you going to do when you fail?” Finally, the kick in the stomach, “Maybe it would be better if you tried something else.”

Those doubting voices are all too familiar. They come and go through out the year, but this time of year those voices take up residence in my soul. The unwanted guests make me question every choice I have ever made. The result is a feeling of being lost and alone.

I could blame a great number of events or a handful of people for these voices. I could, it would be so very simple to blame outside factors for the doubts that run through my head and my heart. In truth, these people and events are contributors but they are not responsible for my actions. Only I am responsible for my actions.

In the past I have let these doubts control my every thought and action. I let them harass me and tear me down. Not anymore, things have changed, I have changed. I am no longer lost. I am simply temporarily misplaced. I invite the doubts in for a conversation. They are welcome to stay for a little while. They fire their concerns at me and I answer each one as thoughtfully as possible.

“You can’t go that way!”

Why? Why can’t I go that way? If there is a barrier maybe I can bypass it somehow. Why shouldn’t I at least give that way a try? What’s the worse that could happen?

“Are you crazy! How are you going to make a living doing that?”

I don’t know if I can make a living at this, but I currently have a small amount of means and a whole lot of determination. Why shouldn’t I try?

“What are you going to do when you fail?”

Failure isn’t something to be feared. If I never fail how am I going to learn what won’t work? Failure is a very good teacher. I am 39 years old, by now failure is a familiar acquaintance. In fact, failure and I have had many good conversations.

“Maybe it would be better if you tried something else.”

You might be right. My feelings could get hurt, I might put more money into this than I should. Life just might be easier if I did something a little safer, more solid with a guaranteed income. There are many things I can do that will be “better” for me than writing books. I know, I’ve tried a few. Life is often too short to continue waiting for the right moment. The amount of time, the right amount of financial stability. I have learned that the right time is always now, because tomorrow may not come.

I have my answers and my direction. I just need to find my road again. It’s not that far away. Along the way I drop off each doubt, give a little wave and a see you next year .

I’m not lost. I’m temporarily misplaced.

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.

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!!