Thursday, November 29, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Day Twenty-Nine

Yesterday, I celebrated my fiftieth trip around the sun, which, is a nice way of saying that I entered old age. I’m not complaining; growing older certainly beats the alternative, which is dying young. It’s also true what they say: with age comes wisdom. Today, I’m grateful for the years that I have had on this planet, gaining that wisdom. That said, here are 50 truths that I have discovered…

Family first. Always.

A day without laughter is a wasted day.

Worrying about tomorrow steals joy from today.

True friends are a rare commodity; cherish them.

Much like a garden, love requires careful tending.

This, too, shall pass.

Time heals all wounds.

A glass of wine, a bubble bath, and a good foot massage go a long way in righting a day that has gone wrong.

Your word is the most valuable piece of currency you possess; share it judiciously, and honor it when you do.

You have to take care of yourself, if you are to take care of others.

Having healthy boundaries is not the same thing as being selfish; it’s ok to say no without explanation.

You cannot curate a perfect life.

Strive to gain trust from others, not envy.

Your opinion is exactly that: YOUR opinion. Not everyone will share it, most people don’t care to hear it, and, it certainly won’t kill you to keep it to yourself.

Confidence is quiet, insecurity is loud.

Not everyone will like you. You won’t like everyone.

You don’t have to like someone, or be liked by them, to be nice to them.

Broken trust may be rebuilt, but a permanent fault line will remain just below the surface.

Moving your body can get you out of your head.

Some of the best decisions you will ever make will come to you in your sleep.

If you can’t laugh at yourself, you’ll always worry that other people are laughing at you.

With life comes heartbreak.

With heartbreak come opportunity for growth.

With growth comes new love.

Love is cyclical, just like life.

There is no such thing as a free ride.

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.

If you aren’t contributing, you are just taking up space.

If you can, travel.

If you can’t travel, read.

Words can sting like arrows; be certain of your intentions before you draw your bow.

If someone has to apologize to you for the same thing frequently, they aren’t actually sorry and you aren’t required to accept the “apology”.

If you think you can, you can. Reversely, if you think you can’t, you probably won’t.

It never hurts to try.

Often, the hardest part of any task is starting.

A really good belly laugh is more effective than 100 crunches, and, you won’t break a sweat doing it.

Sometimes, you have to fake it ‘til you make it.

Never assume that you know what someone else is going through and never judge based on assumptions.

Don’t start a fight, but, if you find yourself in one, finish it.

Don’t let your mistakes define you; acknowledge them, learn from them, move on.

Liver is gross.

Working with your hands in the dirt will ground you. Literally.

You earn respect, you don’t demand it.

Know your core values, live by them.

Time spent with family and friends is time well spent.

Always listen to your intuition.

There is a higher power and all things happen in His time.

It’s important to have a job, but it’s more important to have a life.

Growing older is a privilege.

Liver is gross (this one bears repeating)

And, there you have it; far too many words of wisdom from your elder.

Throw up. In my mouth.

But, cheers to the next half century, anyway!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What's Up Wednesday, 30 Days of Gratitude Edition, Day Twenty-Eight

I am participating in my eighth link up with SheafferMel, and Shay Coincidentally, today is my birthday; the two are unrelated, but, I only get to say that once a year, so, yeah, today is my birthday. How old am I? Well, let's just say that I am now eligible for discounts on meals at Denny's, thanks to my new AARP status.

I totally just threw up in my mouth a little.

What We're Eating

Currently, we are working our way through alll the Thanksgiving leftovers. I hosted again this year, which means that I got custody of the orphaned stuffing by default. No complaints, here. We did take a brief break from All Things Turkey to enjoy dinner at a favorite local restaurant, where I had the pasta primavera with chicken, which was delicious. I've also made Asian turkey wraps recently; they are a favorite of Hugh's and easy on the waistline (we're going to be enjoying a lot of those types of meals in the immediate future, just to undo the Thanksgiving damage).

What I'm Reminiscing About

It's probably too early to reminisce over, but, this past Friday, Hugh and Queen B threw me a surprise birthday party. It was an amazing night and I still can't believe that they pulled it off; I really had no idea. Seeing so many people who I love in one room, for the sole purpose of wishing me a happy birthday was special in ways that I cannot adequately express, but, I attempted to in this post.

What I'm Loving

One of the many gifts I received at my surprise party was this Alex and Ani bracelet from Hugh and the kids. I love it and will be wearing it on repeat.

What I've Been Up To

Once the last crumb of pumpkin pie was polished off and the good china washed and stored away, I busted out the Christmas decorations. I currently have the entire inside of the house decorated, with the exception of the tree (Queen B is coming down on Saturday to help decorate it), I've finished the front porch, and I've planned the decorations for my office door for the company door decorating contest. Long time readers may recall that my three-year winning streak was broken last year, when my co-workers down the hall brought in a ringer, but, this year, I'm confident that I will reclaim my crown.

What I'm Dreading

Well, I'm already kind of dreading putting all of these Christmas decorations back in the attic come January 2nd. It's a lot of work, y'all.

What I'm Working On

Queen B's college graduation is just over two weeks away and I have been working on her graduation party. We are throwing a celebratory luncheon at a hotel near the school immediately following the ceremony, so, pre-planning is going to be especially necessary. Luckily, I will have a lot of help with the execution.

What I'm Excited About

The Man-Cub comes home in twelve days! I'm looking forward to having him back under my roof for awhile. I'm also looking forward to watching him re-acclimate to Colorado temperatures after spending almost five months in Hawaii; that should be entertaining.

What I'm Watching

Our Dish network has been tuned into The Hallmark Channel more often than I care to admit. I'm also catching Christmas classics as often as I can...

...and, just to take the edge of all that saccharine-sweetness, I've made sure to catch the newest episodes of Outlander, the latest episodes of Manifest, and the new season of Midnight, Texas. Apparently, I have eclectic taste in my television viewing.

What I'm Reading

I haven't had a lot of time for reading lately, but, I am partway through Kristin Hannah's Fly Away, which is the sequel to Firefly Lane, which I read last month, or the month before. I'm enjoying it so far, and, Kristin Hannah continues to be my current favorite author.

What I'm Listening To

My car sound system is currently set to Serius XM's Holly Channel, so, when I am in the car, I am rocking the Christmas carols. I don't spend a ton of time in the car, so this is just the right amount of holiday spirit.

What I'm Wearing

I got the cutest dress recently and have received many compliments on it; it's warm enough for the colder weather we've been having and yet light enough that I'm not sweating my ass off indoors, and, the unique plaid pattern has the magical effect of making me look thinner; who doesn't love a magically thinning dress?

I'm also wearing a lot of layers, plaid, and boots. This is my uniform for the winter, and, I'm digging it.

On occasion, I do shake things up, and, these dresses are a fun change.

 I originally purchased them for the Rodeo Princess's wedding (I wasn't sure which color I would like best, but ended up loving both, so I kept them). I have gotten additional use out of them by adding over-the-knee boots and a scarf, making each appropriate for our colder weather.

I'm also wearing allll the Christmas pajamas in my wardrobe, and, friends, I have a lot of Christmas pajamas. This is due to the fact that we have a tradition of opening new holiday pajamas every Christmas Eve and have done so since the kids were babies. I haven't saved every pair I've ever owned, but, I have a large collection, nonetheless.

What I'm Doing This Weekend

As I said earlier, Queen B is coming down for the weekend to help me put the ornaments on the Christmas tree. We will also be decorating her graduation cap and finalizing plans for that graduation party I mentioned earlier.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month

Queen B's college graduation! Having both of my kids under my roof! Christmas! I have a lot of things that I want to do as a family for the holidays, but, mostly, I am just looking forward to being together, doing nothing at all, except for soaking in my time with my babies.

Question of the Month: What Are Your Elf on a Shelf Ideas

Since my kids were older when the EOAS fad started, I never had a chance to really dig into the fun. I did purchase elves, however-one for each of my kids-and, I've been collecting outfits and accessories for each of them ever since; one day (far, far from now), when they have kids of their own, they will have a full EOAS collection to start their own tradition with. And, that's the best idea I have: if you are a parent on the "older side" (Throw up. In my mouth), you might consider stocking up for those future grandbabies.

Monday, November 26, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Days Twenty-Five and Twenty-Six

Today I am grateful to my body for having the stamina to get through the past weekend; I don’t take my health lightly and I am thankful that I have had so few health issues in my lifetime.

That stamina certainly came in handy, what with the marathon cooking day on Thursday, the climbing up and down the attic ladder for decorations on Friday and Saturday, my surprise birthday party Friday night, and a second decorating frenzy on Sunday. On the bright side, I am now 90% finished with the hall decking (Queen B will be here Saturday to help hang the ornaments on the tree) and can sit back and enjoy the twinkling of a million tiny lights. And, I’m hardly even sore!

I will, however, need to get back in the gym, if I am to continue to be healthy and to have the stamina that I will need when it comes time to put all of those decorations away, which…let’s not think about that right now; let’s just enjoy the above-mentioned twinkling lights.

And, wine! Let’s also enjoy wine, which, coincidentally, is good for your heart!

Huh. That probably goes a long way in explaining my good health, now that I think about it.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Days Twenty-Three and Twenty-Four, and, a SURPRISE!

Several weeks ago, Hugh casually informed me that we would be attending a non-tradition Thanksgiving dinner at the fire station the day after Thanksgiving and asked that I prepare a seven-layer dip as our contribution to the feast.

At the time, I thought it was odd that we would be attending a function at the firehouse, since Hugh had only recently retired from his position on the Fire Board, but, his dad also retired about a hundred years ago, yet he and Emily still attend events on occasion, so, I didn't read too much into it. I wasn't thrilled with the timing, though; I set the days after Thanksgiving aside to make my house look like the North Pole threw up all over it, and, every second counts. Leaving for even an hour upsets my agenda, if you know what I mean.

But, I'm a team player, so, last night I grudgingly threw together a seven-layer dip, slapped some lipstick on, and accompanied Hugh to the firehouse, where... say I was surprised would be a vast understatement. Queen B and Hugh have apparently been planning this since June, and, it showed; the room was filled with people I love, messages from people who couldn't be with us, and more wine than in all of the Napa Valley (ok, maybe not quite, but, friends? I got a LOT of wine!). It was an absolutely awesome night, and, will go a long way in taking the sting out of turning 50.

I am so grateful for all of these amazing people. I'm thankful for the circumstances that have brought each and every one of them into my life, and, I want to be able to spend another five decades loving them. God willing.

We missed the Man-Cub, but, he was able to join us via Facetime, so, it was almost like he was there. Almost (he's coming home on December 10th!).

 This lady, right here, made this all possible. And, I swear I felt Dad with us, too.

Phoebe and Petey made the trip from the Valley, which was so incredibly special; she was representing The Girls, and she did it in style, by presenting me with a blender and a bottle of Kahlua, which, is a nod to the night we all first bonded over kahlua shakes and completely burned-out my blender. Thirty years of friendship; how did I get so lucky?

Chris and Jana have been on the road a lot this past year, and we have missed having time with them, so I was so happy to have them at the party. One of the greatest blessings in my life was meeting Jana twenty years ago, and, I'm so thankful that, when she and Bobby divorced all those years ago, she got custody of us. I'm also grateful to God for putting Chris in her path so that we would have him in our lives, as well.

Oscar and Emily did an amazing job of keeping the party a secret, and, since Oscar only recently had surgery on his shoulder and is still in quite a bit of pain, it was especially good to see him having a good time. I definitely got lucky in the in-law lottery.

The Rodeo Princess and her Prince spent Thanksgiving with us and helped to sell the whole charade of getting me to the firehouse. I love these kids, and they did a great job of representing the family.

And, then there are the people who, while unrelated by blood, are family by choice...

...I ask you again, how did I get so lucky?

Last, but certainly not least, are my babies, the children of my heart, who, have been in my life, in my home, in my thoughts, and in my prayers, since they were tiny. I always wanted a big family, with lots of kids and constant chaos, and, thankfully, God delivered in a way that I did not expect, but, for which I am forever grateful.

I can't believe that, on Wednesday, I will have toured the sun fifty times. It's gone by in a blink, and, it's really true what they say: The days are long, but the years are short.

As an aside, after some thought, we all concluded that, of all the people at the party last night, with the exception of my mom, Marty and I have known each other the longest...

...since kindergarten, to be exact. He's also the next to turn 50; I hope he has as much fun doing it as I am having.

I've said it all month, and I'll say it again: I am so blessed, so thankful, and so very, very grateful.

I'm also still 49.9999. At least until Wednesday.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Day Twenty-Two, AKA: The Superbowl of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you and yours have had a wonderful turkey day, assuming that you celebrate Thanksgiving. If not, I still hope you had a tremendously awesome Thursday, regardless.

Our Thanksgiving has been lovely. We started the day with our Bellini taste-testing, and, after consuming two bottles of champagne, one bottle of Prosecco, one carton of pomegranate juice, a package of frozen mangoes, a package of frozen berries, and one whole pomegranate...

...we crowned the ultimate winner...

Pomegranate Bellini- The Official Signature Cocktail of Thanksgiving 2018!

It will also be the drink of choice for Queen B's graduation party in December, which surprised me, given Queen B's love of all things mango. Well, almost all things; she definitely did not care for mango Bellinis.

After the tasting, we moved on to noshing on the charcutteri board that I put together, and, then  started on the turkeys (I picked up the smoked turkey at Oscar's yesterday). While we were eating, I fielded Facetime calls from the Man-Cub, who is struggling with the twenty-six pound turkey that he and the roommates are prepping for their Friendsgiving celebration later tonight.

I talked them through the thawing of the bird yesterday, and, as I'm typing this, I have also had to pause twice to answer additional questions; I'm proud of them for giving the dinner a shot, but, man, I'm a little scared for their welfare.

Anyway, our dinner turned out great! Both birds were tasty, and I will have stuffing left over for days. It goes without saying that I am eternally grateful for the food we are able to put on the table, as well as for the family that gathers together to enjoy it. Thanksgiving is a day to count our blessings, but, in my opinion, every day should be Thanksgiving.

I would pass on the stuffing everyday, though. No need to be a glutton, after all.

Happy Thanksgiving (or, happy random Thursday! Whatever floats your boat)!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Day Twenty-One

Tomorrow, once the turkey leftovers are tucked neatly into the fridge, the dishes have been washed, and the last crumb of pumpkin pie consumed; I will break into full-on Christmas mode, with tree trimming and hall decking and Sirius XM Holly channel on repeat.

But, for today, I will revel in my Thanksgiving decorations.

I'm so thankful to have the ability and resources to decorate my home for each holiday. I'm eternally grateful for a home to decorate, and for people to enjoy that home with me.

I'm thankful.

I'm grateful.

I'm blessed.