Four Days In…

57403-New-Year-New-Beginning

It’s now four days into the new year. Four days have already passed in this new year “full of promise and potential.” 

I feel a little overwhelmed already… I am reminded of the old Weight Watcher’s mantra, “If you fail to plan, plan to fail.” Ugh.

There is a certain burden I feel whenever the year changes, a responsibility to “make this the BEST year ever.” It weighs heavily on me, this responsibility to be, oh, I don’t know – super human or significant or special. I am not sure what I am “supposed” to be in this big, bright virgin new year. Sigh. I am in my mid-fifties; you’d think I would have a handle on all this by now.

I remember from my expensive-but-now-largely-under-utilized Franklin-Covey training that most people are good at the “big rocks” but the little ones just get lost by the wayside. This year, I want to address both my big AND little rocks.

So, call them resolutions, call them goals, call them objectives – whatever! – I have a few things on my 2015 “list.” I have to admit, I was inspired to create this list in no small part by my beloved husband Martin, who went to the trouble to create a personal “pin board” of all his plans for 2015. (He inspires me in so many ways, that guy!) Anyhow, here is my short list – just five, in honor of five – a blog – for the remaining 361 days of 2015:

1. I want to be healthier; to that end, I WILL lose 50 pounds by the end of June. Health is the main goal, but weight loss also plays into my next objective.

2. I want to travel. I WILL go to Europe with my Sweetie this summer, spending one week in his native Poland, meeting his family (finally!) and experiencing where he comes from, then spend an additional week – just the two of us – exploring France or Germany or England – somewhere. Once I lose fifty pounds, I will look sexy as hell in a bathing suit on some European beach, am I right?

3.  I want to live in the moment. I WILL acknowledge the past but leave it there and not let it define me in the present. Listen, 2014 SUCKED for me, personally and professionally. Were it not for Martin, I would have probably off’d myself. (Just kidding, kinda’). But, point is, I will not dwell on my suck-y past year and, instead, embrace the coming year with hope and optimism.

4. I want to spend more time with people I love. I WILL engage with friends more, and let the people I love know how important they are to me. All too often I am happy just being with my Sweetie but have come to understand that this behavior is a bit of laziness on my part, coupled with a fear of “falling short” – maybe I can’t cook as well, or maybe I am not flush enough to go out to fancy restaurants or maybe our sofa is a bit faded. The truth I need to remember is that with true friends, one never falls short. Bringing in Chinese take-out with true friends is as wonderful as dinner out at a four-star joint.

5. I want to remember to always be grateful. I WILL cherish every great thing that happens to me, every day, whether that is just driving home and getting all “green lights” or finally (potentially?) winning the HGTV Two Million Dollar Dreamhouse (OMG, please!!!) I sometimes forget that my life – as imperfect as I think it might be – is probably envied by many. I have a reasonable job (granted, it could pay more), my Sweetie and I have a pretty great apartment, we have some kick-ass friends, I have my health and I have a man I adore that adores me back. I often need to remind myself of these realities…

So there you have it – my “short list” for the coming year. I feel confident I can make all these things happen. I will definitely keep you posted and you remind me, too, if you catch me falling short. In the mean time, have a GREAT new year and always remember this:

find time

Monday Memes 30

There are a number of changes happening currently at my workplace – most good, some not-so-great, but all accompanied by emails that – at some point or another – includes one of these statements:

“Your compliance will be greatly appreciated” or

“I/we trust that it is understood that compliance to (insert whatever change here) is a necessity” or

All employere will be required to comply with this new policy.”

I kinda’ hate that word – compliance – and, as a result, “rule-breaking” has been on my mind a lot lately. And so, given my recent frame of mind, here is today’s “Monday Memes” post for your contemplation and enjoyment. Please read and comply, LOL!

break the rules

BTW – Deliberately is “dileberately” spelled incorrectly in the meme above (think about it).

go left44

break-the-rules-quotes

Monday Memes 29

OK, let me begin by apologizing for the late post; as I write this, it is actually TUESDAY, not Monday. But, I had a jam-packed “day off” today, getting ready for Christmas and all the festivities happening next week. In fact, reflecting on my own personal Monday Madness provided the inspiration for today’s post…

I wish I could say this was a list I had “edit-ed” myself, but I didn’t. That said, I plan on taking this list to heart this season:

Holiday ListI mean, can you imagine how great the holiday season would be if we all wrapped one another in hugs? Or actually were the light, instead of seeking them out? It.Would.Be.Amazing.

I also see this graphic, or some version of it, every year and every year I come to identify with its message more and more…

Christmas list

This holiday season, I hope everyone can connect with what really matters, what is important and what will make your life – and the lives of others – better year round. Is an X-Box 360 a great gift? No doubt, but visiting a shut-in, helping clothe others less fortunate or donating the money you would have spent on a fancy Christmas dinner out to a local food bank will make the world a better place and nourish your soul and spirit.

Isn’t it time you revisited YOUR Christmas list?

Giving Thanks, 2014 Edition

It’s Thanksgiving Eve. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays, a day to consider how we are blessed (in a fortunate way/not simply a “Christian” way) and a day to consider – honestly – just how lucky we are.

It would be easy for me to say that 2014 has sucked so far, and ask The Universe just where the hell my “blessings” are.

In August 2014, I closed my business after almost seven years of (literally) blood, sweat and tears. Mostly tears. The closing of my business was a bit devastating emotionally and certainly was, and continues to be, somewhat crushing financially as well. With the closing of my business came my return to the employment market as a job SEEKER – I hadn’t “filled out an application” in more than probably twenty years; each of my jobs before opening my own business was the result of scouting by my then-future employer – I got ASKED to work with them. Reciting my high school GPA and “Other Interests” was something very alien and foreign to me.

The summer and fall of 2014, I stood by and watched as state after state achieved marriage equality, while my state CONTINUES to maintain an almost pre-Stonewall attitude around this issue. And earlier this month, somehow my state granted the madman that is our governor the power of four more years to destroy our state. And don’t even ask me about what happened in the Senate.

Probably saddest, in October of 2014, I lost my father, my beloved Pop-pop, to a long and valiant battle with cancer. I lost Grammy (my mom) six years ago and, during the time since, my Dad and I had become closer than ever; in fact, it was like getting to know him all over again. I called Pop-pop every day. I miss him, and I miss my Mom. A lot. A well-intentioned friend called me an “orphan” upon finding out my Pop-pop had passed away. I am NOT an orphan. I have two AMAZING parents – they are just away from me now, for the time being. They are now two amazing guardian angels.

Those are just the “highlights” of 2104 for me but – you know what? The year has been pretty great to me as well…

While I closed my business, I embarked on not one but TWO new endeavors, one at a cherished public institution in my adopted hometown and one in a new design venture with a new partner who is, in fact, my husband. Both careers look bright and, while I am “starting on the ground floor” at both, good things are already happening at each. Two days ago, I got promoted at “my day job” and assumed a new position within the organization, a position that suggests career growth and a stable, secure future. As far as my new design venture goes, working with my life partner/husband is a joy and our new firm is already developing a following. Hooray!

Even though Ohio (my state) is in The Dark Ages as far as marriage equality goes, I am legally-married to my husband and we will soon be celebrating the one year anniversary of his Green Card approval (that was a L-O-N-G journey/struggle, chronicled in many previous posts here on this blog). If it is possible, I think that guy loves me more every day – and I love him more, too. Eventually, Ohio will “see the light” and finally join the 21st Century with regard to LGBT rights and equality.

Finally, while I miss BOTH my parents every day, I am happy to know that they are reunited and happy. And contrary to what I feared, being “parent-less” has not left me feeling rudderless or adrift. Rather, I feel empowered and almost a bit reckless (but in a good way). The state of answering only to yourself for your actions (and your spouse, of course!) is actually a very liberating one. I like it. I miss Grammy and Pop-pop terribly but the freedom they have given me is a great, great gift.

So all in all, 2014? Maybe NOT so bad so far… Sure, heck – I hope 2015 will be even better but we still DO have almost a month of 2014 left. Who knows? It may still turn out to be the best year ever…

It’s funny. I was looking for a profound, “deep” quote about being thankful and ran across this sage advice from Oprah Winfrey herself. Who’da ever thought I’d be sharing inspiring Oprah quotes on my blog? Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thanksgiving Oprah

Monday Memes 26

So many things are happening at this moment in my life – most good, some challenging, some yet to be “defined.” With all that said, I still believe my life is exactly as it is supposed to be at this moment, which leads me to this week’s “Monday Meme” offering  – a quote from one of my personal heroes, Oscar Wilde. I hope this resonates with you as much as it did with me. Enjoy, and today? Celebrate you, and your life…

Oscar Wilde

Monday Memes 23

Sorry – I have been “away” for a while… I often joke that all that stands in the way of me living a fabulous existence is life itself. Sigh. Being a grown-up can be very tedious.

Today’s Monday Memes offering focuses on the past, the present and the future – their importance relative to one another and how we can help choose the path and shape of our future through a little self examination, some honest consideration and planning and a lot of self love. Enjoy!

bad things best

Just a story

future self

life you want

Destined Emerson

 

Poor poor me

Im Poor

I have never understood the seemingly discordant relationship between the amount of time it takes to MAKE money versus the amount of time it takes to SPEND money. For example, I need a new set of tires for our car, and suspect four new tires will cost between $600 – $800 dollars. It has taken me a bit of time to earn/save that money and yet, it will be spent in the blink of an eye. One debit card “swipe” and “POOF!” that money is out of my account. Gone. As though it never existed there.

That sucks, I think.

It seems like you should feel good about spending money for at least half as long as it took you to earn and/or save it. Another example: many of my friends save all year to go on a one week vacation. Saving? 358 days. Enjoying? 7 days.

That just isn’t fair. Plus, who gives a sh*t about new tires, I mean, none of our friends have ever invited us over for dinner and to “take a gander at their new tires.” Ugh. I hate being poor…

Universe? Could you possibly send me the winning Mega Millions numbers in a dream? I would be the kindest, most generous and most humble mega-rich person ever. Promise.

No, really… Give me $200 million dollars and just watch all the good that I will do. I am waiting…

Monday Memes 22

So, it has almost been a MONTH since my last Monday Memes post; sorry, I have had a “lot” going on lately. Anyway, as I was researching memes for today’s post, I came across this image:

dream

Given all that has happened for me this year – closing a business, burying a parent, all in addition to the other daily BS we all endure – I kinda’ lost myself, and my “dream” for a bit. Good news? I have taken SEVERAL deep breaths and am, as they say, BACK in the game. Thanks to my friends and family for all your love and support, not only recently but over the course of this whole year. Thanks to my beloved Martin, and his unconditional love and support. He IS my dream… And thanks to my parents for allowing me the opportunity TO dream while I was growing up.

For me, now? The dream continues… 

Revelations About Grammy and Pop-pop

On Sunday, I began the task of organizing and clearing out my parents’ house, readying it for sale after my father’s recent death. My Mom passed away six years ago and my Dad (Pop-pop) pretty-much left the house intact since – I mean, my Mom’s cigarette case is still on the coffee table and a pack of Kool 100’s is in the freezer (now six years old). Anyway, today was the first few hours in what I can see will be a lengthy process.

My goal today was to organize my parents’ living room, making it look as though they still lived there – not for any creepy reason but out of respect to their memories, and the house they loved. My father spent his final few weeks at home before he passed away there. Since the hospital bed got picked up, there has been a “hole” in the living room and the coffee table became the unofficial sponge bath staging area, holding towels and bedding. It was important to me that the room be returned to its former semi-glorious state, more or less as an homage to my parents and the house I grew up in.

As my project got underway, the first thing I noticed was that, in the final few months of his life, it appears Pop-pop replaced household cleaning products with household disinfecting products, as if Clorox Wipes and Dow Scrubbing Bubbles would make his cancer disappear. I wound up dusting the furniture with a damp cloth (goodness knows, my Mom accumulated 1000+ dish towels in her life, LOL!) Then I began the “clearing-and-straightening-up” process. I immediately determined three things:

1. My Mom never met a silk flower she didn’t like. Or a candle ring. Or a garland of silk ivy…

candle ring

I must have tossed three or four candle rings (all seasons, BTW), more than a few garlands of silk ivy (my Mom had taken to wrapping them around curtain rods; it is a look for sure) and two silk arrangements from her OWN funeral – saved by my father after – now all dusty and faded. Don’t get me wrong – my LOVE for my parents is boundless BUT my Mother definitely had her own ideas when it came to “home accessorizing.” Which leads into revelation two…

2. Grammy had an addition to burgundy key tassels. A serious addiction.

tassel

I must have “liberated” about eighteen of these today from my parents’ living room, They were on door knobs and cabinet pulls, hanging off the dining room chandelier (not even kidding!) and pinned to curtain edges. Again, I love Grammy, but Mom, please – enough with the key tassels already. And finally, Pop-pop’s answer to key tassels?

3. The Yellow Pages. My Dad was a phone book “hoarder.” I cleared 2005 thru 2013 out of the house today.

phone booksMy father’s attraction to phone books is odd – he hated talking on the phone. I suppose he just always wanted to ensure he could find a number when he needed one.

So anyway, when I left, I was quite pleased with how the living room “looked” – it was neat, organized and clean. I was not happy, however, with how the room “felt.” Sad thing is, in my efforts to make it look like someone “lived there.” I made it look like a model apartment: stacks of books here, strategically-placed pillows on every piece of upholstery and – forgive me, Grammy, forgive me Pop-pop – I also re-arranged the lamps.

I know – I am a horrible son (and anal retentive/ mild OCD, too!) And, know what was REALLY missing from the living room, the one thing I cannot “fix” or glam up? My parents are gone.

I’d stack those phone books, re-hang all those tassels AND wind faux ivy around any length of chain, rod or rail if I could only have my parents back. I missed them today, BIG TIME. And while I relished pitching those excessive things out, I’d be the happiest child on earth if I could hear my Dad ask for a phone book, or have my Mom ask me which candle ring I liked better.

I miss you Mom, I miss you Dad. Please look after each other, OK and, if you could, give me a glance every now and again, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks in advance!