I’m Totally Not Ready

You know, there are moments in your life that seem to take forever to arrive, and then suddenly they are upon you and you think…”I’m totally not ready! How am I not ready? I had all the time to be ready!”. Yep, That’s pretty much where I am at on this cold, overcast day.

Last week I wrote about choosing joy, and doing things you WANT to do. As soon as I wrote it, I missed out on a party I wanted to go to because my back went out. The irony of it was that I had just told a friend how grateful I was that I’ve had very little back pain in a long time. It took me bending SLIGHTLY to get shampoo whilst in the shower, and next thing I know is searing pain up and down my back and hip. It hasn’t been quite right since. Now, I’d like to say that the reason that all the things has crept up on me this week is because I’ve been a little gimpy, but the fact is, I’ve been overtired, sore, but also pretty busy. Now my total procrastination is catching up to me.

Today was the last day of school. I picked up my little one from school only to have her jump in the car and burst into tears. I thought someone had hurt her, and I was ready to pounce. The truth was, she was sad to leave her teachers, school, and friends behind for the summer. This, coming from a child who in years past complained about how she disliked school. She always loved her teachers, but she never much enjoyed school. I think mostly because she found it a bit hard and challenging. This year, she moved forward quite a lot, and seemed to really enjoy herself. So much so that she was sad to leave. This made me happy. I’ve always felt education is key to more opportunities, and I had always hoped she would find her niche in school. Despite some hard changes this year, she did really well and I’m proud. The town recognized her efforts in helping me with the Closet project, which I thought was really awesome. I think it added to the positive feeling she felt about the year. We started the year with most of her old friends getting pulled out of school. She made some wonderful new friends. She also got bullied a couple of times. Surprisingly, she turned the situation around (despite hauling off and kicking one of the bullies) and even making good friends with them. I’m so proud of her, but I’m not ready for her to go up a grade. It feels like it’s going too fast.

Which leads to me to something off topic, but so be it. During the redistricting, I got into a debate with a gentleman who had an opposing view. We had a bit of a heated conversation. He wanted the redistricting, and I didn’t. So be it. He approached me at the end of year party to thank me for all I have done at the school. I told him that even though things didn’t swing as I had hoped, I wanted to make the very best of it for all of the kids. I also told him how impressed I had been by his and his wife’s frequent presence at the school. They had stepped up and stood by their word, and I admired it. We ended the year with a hug and a joined goal to continue to make the school the very best it could be. I wasn’t prepared for the sunshine and happiness moment, but I am sure am glad it happened. It ended the year on a really nice note. He’s even agreed to join in and help me next year, so that’s pretty awesome!

Aside from kids growing up (which I doubt I shall ever be quite prepared for), I’m also trying very hard to get used to continue my “free range” parenting idea. I am trying to loosen the reigns on the kids more and more. The boy child goes off with his friends more often than not, and he seems much happier. He has been great with checking in, being where he is supposed to be, and letting me know when he is going from place to place. I have a tracking app on his phone so I do periodically check it to make sure where he says he is. The better he does, the more freedom he gets. Even the little one is doing well. Both kids are enjoying added responsibility and freedom. They also know it can be taken away if they don’t follow the rules. It’s a work in progress. Compared to me hovering over them all the time, it’s been a positive experience to let them spread their wings. I notice they are much more street smart now as well. It’s not easy letting go and allowing them to go off on their own but as I remember from childhood, it’s SO important. I still remember when the little one went to her friend’s house and I thought I lost her. It was terrifying. Yet I remember the cops’ words to me “You are doing the right thing…you HAVE to let them roam and do things so they learn to be independent”, so that’s what I am trying to do. I’ve heard comments about it, sure, but I’m doing what’s best for us. As a child, I flew across the Atlantic by myself, navigated numerous airports, and never blinked an eye. I’m not at that point yet with the kids, but I remember the confidence and happiness that independence brought me as a kid. I felt so comfortable in my own skin knowing I could travel half way across the world and navigate the process by myself. I want that for my kids too.

Another thing I am not ready for, yet mentally so ready for? Vegas.

I have packed nothing. I have to do all the jobs around the house, prep father’s day gifts, mow the grass, and pack. Nothing has been done. I’m a slacker. I was going to come home from the year end beach party and do some jobs before heading out to another party, yet here I am, writing. I feel like I want to sleep for a week, yet I am gearing up for a week of very, very little sleep. I’m not ready for anything.

The nicest thing about the Vegas trip? Well, there’s a few things. The first is the daily countdown email I get from my friend each day. I haven’t told her, but it makes me laugh every day because I can FEEL her excitement about this trip, and I am just as excited. I will miss my husband and kids terribly. That being said, there is something so cool about being responsible for just myself for a few days. As a parent, I am constantly responsible for the health and well being of multiple people and animals in our household. To be able to just be responsible for myself temporarily is just a strange sort of luxury. I am excited for our planned events. These include, but are not limited to, a Cirque show, Riding dune buggies in the desert, ziplining, swimming through a shark tank, and one truly amazing fancy dinner. Doesn’t all of that sound amazing? I swear, I am so incredibly lucky to have such awesome friends. That being said, we are cramming tons of things into just a few days, and I’m struggling with the fact that I want to do ALL the things, but I am getting old and I love sleep. Look, 10pm you will usually find me laying in bed. I love bed. I love sleep. They are my favorites. You can’t go to Vegas and sleep it away though! I gotta be ready to hang. I did take the day after come back off work though. Wasn’t planning to, but I have the time and frankly, I am gonna need a recovery day.

I’ll fill y’all in on how things go, what I loved, what I liked a little less, and much more when I come back.

I think when I come back there will be some life changes going on. I’ve got that antsy feeling. Sometimes when that feeling hits, I make a small change or two, and sometimes it’s a huge change. Then again, I could spend a week away and come back feeling right as rain. I got the itch to shake things up.

I may get suddenly inspired to write before I go, but if not, see you all on the flip side.

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Waving From the Chaos Whilst Finding Joy

June is one of those months where it seems like there is always a million birthdays, a million things going on, and no money with which to do all the things. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE all the celebrations, parties, events, and end of school things, but I feel like I am in constant chaos all month. I find myself constantly checking the calendar to make sure I am not missing anything.

It’s funny, I was never a calendar person. I simply kept everything in my head, like a giant mental Roladex. Then I saw other moms who seemingly had it all together, and these women had CALENDARS. Big, paper calendars with millions of things color coded and organized. I wanted to be like them. They seemed relaxed, despite their crazy calendars that gave me anxiety. I thought perhaps it might be freeing to go ahead and try this whole “organized mom” thing. I started out with a paper planner, and wrote everything super important down. I then started using my phone, putting in my work schedule, kids’ schedules, birthdays, events, anniversaries. I now live by the calendar, but spend an awful lot of time panicking that I may have forgotten to put something on my calendar and it will bite me in the ass. All too often I grab an appointment card with best intention to get the info on my calendar, but life is chaos, and sometimes I forget. Businesses that do reminder calls? I salute you!

This weekend, I need to find time to mow the grass, start work on clearing my patio, go to a gymnastics show, celebrate 3 birthdays, one graduation, prep for the week, as well as do all the laundry that I got behind on. Oh yes, and pack for an upcoming trip, get necessary items from the store, and figure out what sunblock a British lass with ultra fair skin should wear in the desert so as not to spontaneously combust. Hell, I went outside in the Northeast of the US for an hour and ended up with a sunburn! Also, what does one wear on a dune buggy in the desert for multiple hours so I won’t get a melanoma, exfoliate all my skin off, burn, or overheat and die? Do you know how much time these thoughts and concerns have consumed me the past few days? Way more than they should. I surmise I am going to overpack and still not have all I need.

So if you’ve been reading a while, you know I love a good story where I make an utter ass of myself. If you can’t laugh at yourself, it’s a sad life, really. So in the midst of my chaos, I stopped off to pick up some paperwork this week. I walked in and notice that there were security cameras around, which most businesses have. I walk in and find where I need to go. I see there is a little bell to push for service, and I look down and ring it. As I looked down to press the bell, as I am pushing it, I see that I have a situation. The button on my pretty flowy shirt with buttons has decided to unbutton itself. It also appears my boobs have decided to look out to see what it is I am up to that fine day, glad to be freed from their cotton button down prison. Now, I’m wearing a bra (big boobed girls rarely have any choice in that matter) but still we have a clear situation at hand. I begin to frantically try to rebutton myself before someone comes to assist the bell ringer. I am anxious though, and fumbling about like I am having a medical situation. I get my shirt buttoned at JUST the last second before the woman comes to help me. Now I am laughing at myself and cackling away, while looking like I am touching my boobs as I try to button up. I then realize this is all on the security cameras. #NotWinning.

My mom has been on my mind a lot lately, and I remembered looking in a closet while she was ill and remarking that she had some wonderful lotion in there. She commented she was saving it “for best”. I think we all have things we save for a special occasion. The problem was, however, that after she died I found that same lotion, untouched, in her closet. There were multiple things I found like that. It got me thinking how much she would have enjoyed that lotion, as simple as it was, and how by saving it she never got to savor it. It made me so sad. It also made me think, this past few weeks, how easily we often let joy slip through our fingers because we deny ourselves simple little pleasures for a myriad of reasons. Maybe it’s because we were taught it wasn’t appropriate as kids, maybe it’s something we are saving for “best” like my mother did, or maybe it’s because we feel we have to be a “good person” and do things we don’t want to do because “we should”. Why? The other day I wanted ice cream, for breakfast. I know, I’m a savage, right? So you know what I did, despite being told my whole life that ice cream is not an acceptable breakfast? I had ice cream for breakfast, because I’m a grown woman who can do that if she chooses. It seems so silly, so minute, but it brought me joy. My new goal is to find joy in small things at least once every day, even if it means “breaking the rules”. I had multiple conversations with various people this week who got put in a position where they were doing things they really didn’t want to do. These weren’t things they HAD to do. I responded by saying “so don’t?”. I get we all try to fit into social norms, or make people happy, but at the end of the day, nobody gets a martyr award for doing things we don’t want to. Look, I am all for kindness and doing kind things. But do them because you want to, and because they bring you joy. Why? Because the joy flows through to the recipient. If I show up and hand you something you need with a smile and light in my eyes, it’s a much different experience than if I show up looking like you disrupted my day and you’re a burden.

A prime example of joyful giving is totally evident with two of my friends. I mentioned in an earlier post that my friend and I are going to Vegas. She is basically taking me for a girls’ trip. I am utterly beside myself with gratefulness and excitement about this trip. I NEED a vacation, and honestly, I need a few days where I don’t need to be responsible for anyone but myself. Being a mom is the very best thing I have ever done. That being said, being responsible for the well being and keeping two other human beings alive and well and raising them to be productive members of society is HARD. Hard in a good way, but still hard. I have trouble keeping plants alive, but here I am, keeping two humans alive, healthy and kind. Being able to take a few days to be responsible just for myself is a strange kind of freeing. That being said, I’ll probably get out there and be missing them like crazy. My husband is a top notch dad so I don’t fear anything happening. Anywho, back to joyful giving. My friend is treating me to a trip, yet she also emails me daily with an excited countdown of how many days we have before we go. She excitedly tells me about all the things she wants to show me. She makes me feel like my presence on this trip will make her trip better, and that is an amazing feeling.

This morning, my other friend messaged me to say she had dropped off some tickets to a show in my mailbox. She asked if I was awake and I said I had just woken up as I needed a lazy morning. She texted commenting it’s the perfect day to sit outside in the morning and enjoy a coffee. A few moments later, she showed up back at my house WITH COFFEE. I can tell you it was AMAZING and awesome and SO appreciated. We stood outside catching up for a few moments, and then I sat on my steps outside after she left to do all her errands and I SAVORED that coffee. It felt like it set the tone for the whole day and I felt absolutely joyous.

Yes, I have amazing friends.

Yes, I appreciate every single one.

Yes, my circle is small, brutally honest, full of kindness, feisty, and I could call on them for anything. How awesome is that?

What else is new? (Well, it’s been a few weeks so I am feeling quite chatty today, plus I am extra caffeinated).

Oh yes, my much beloved cousin, who is like a little brother to me, is off scaling the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales this week as part of an event to raise money for charity. Over 1000 miles of driving, 3 mountains to scale, and a ton of physical endurance. I’m amazed and proud and am cheering him on from 3000 miles away. I am also sitting here eating cheese puffs and chocolate, drinking my coveted coffee, and realizing why I am probably chubbier than most of my cousins. Ha! I miss my cousins terribly. They were the siblings I didn’t have as kids, and even as adults. I miss my UK family to bits and I think another trip is in order. That being said, this year so far is currently stacked with trips and things to do, but maybe next year. I asked my kids where they would like to go for a next big family vacation, and they both chose to go back to England to see their family. It made me so happy to see they love it there as much as I do, and that they had such a great time on our last trip. .

Well, I’d better get moving. I’ve done a load of procrastinating today and it’s time to get rocking and rolling.

I leave you with this…find the joy in the mundane, find time to laugh at yourself and the world around you, and know that tomorrow is always a new day. Treat yo’self. Use the expensive candles or lotion, dress up just because, and find the happiness in the little things.

Waving from the chaos!

Ain’t going anywhere, well, not yet.

So it’s been a hot minute. Time is racing past and I find myself fading into summer. Actually, that’s a lie. I feel like I am being shot into a summer from a cannon. I’ve been keeping myself busy with work, end of school year activities, and planning trips, shows, and possibly a life change or two. Life is exciting! I see that even while I’m away, folks have been stopping by my blog (one way more than others but hey, that’s ok…glad I could entertain) and I wanted to let you know I’m still here.

I have some posts planned/started but finishing them has been crazy with everything going on. Never fear, I’m still here. The blog may be moving but I’ll let folks know via Twitter most likely where I land. Still making decisions. I think the hot weather makes me waffle and less decisive than usual.

Big changes are a’ comin’!

Neighborhood Mama

It’s been a week, y’all. I knew yesterday was going to be one of those days when I spent the entire first part of the day fully content it was Friday and looking forward to the weekend. Then I realized it was only Thursday. Outside of teasing myself that the workweek was nearly over and I could plan to get some stuff done around the house before spending a day with the husband, the day went pretty unremarkably for the most part before gearing into high drive.

For starters, a text came in from the mom of one of my daughter’s friends. I only just met her recently, and I met her at a chaotic event. I don’t know her well and am trying to get a feel for what she’s like. She very friendly on one hand, but again, it’s always an odd feeling when you meet new mom friends. Turns out we live close to each other, which made me happy because the girls can play in the summer. She invited my daughter over for a playdate after she got out of school. I figured it would be a nice treat, so I said sure. When my daughter got home, she was super excited to head out to her friend’s, and I said I would walk her over on my break.

I clocked out for lunch, and all hell broke loose. I was just about to head out the door when I saw my friend’s children come running up to my door. I know they are latchkey kids in the afternoon until their mom gets home from work, and it was odd that they would be at my house. I instantly ran to the door and opened it to find her daughter crying. It turns out someone had taken umbrage at a comment my friend made on social media and had had a high schooler threaten my friend’s young kids, who are in elementary school. WHO DOES THAT? I now had two frightened kids at my house, and I knew that their mom didn’t have phone access for about an hour and a half. I put the kids in the car and drove down to see if the person who had threatened them was still there. They weren’t. I went back into the school and explained what had happened to the principal.

The principal sat down and asked my friend’s daughter what happened, carefully taking notes. She then put a call into the police, made some calls, and somehow figured out who the high schooler was. Within minutes, she had his picture, full school record, and more in her hands. I was impressed. I had to email in to my job that I had had a small emergency and would not be returning, as I had to wait for the police to arrive.

The police took ages to get there, but the officer was lovely to the kids. It was nice to see how he handled the situation and spoke with them. He spoke with me and commented how happy he was that the kids had a safe place to go to and a safe adult they knew they could trust.

I won’t lie, it made me happy to know that I’m that neighborhood mama the kids know will look after them. I’m the tough mom, but the mom they know will make sure everything is ok. It also made me feel happy knowing the other parents trust me to tell their kids to come here if they need to. I think it takes a village and it’s always a comfort to know that if my kids need anything, there are some great neighborhood moms that will band together.

While I was at the school getting things sorted, my other neighbor volunteered to take my son to the teen night at the school, which I was inherently grateful for. I had dropped my daughter off at her playdate and the girl’s mom was happy to keep her as late as I needed. I waited at my friend’s house for her to get home so her kids would feel comfortable and unafraid. I got a big hug for looking after her babies, and headed out to collect my kids. I picked up my sweaty, red faced daughter from her friend’s, tired after playing on the trampoline and running around outside. I sat and chatted with her mom a while, and decided she’s pretty cool. I then had to race off to get my son, who called me because he had a migraine. The three of us arrived home and decided to order a pizza to unwind.

While an unfortunate situation happened, I am so grateful for the neighborhood mamas. All of us banded together to take care of kids that weren’t our own, and each played a part in making sure kids were safe, happy, and being kids.

New look, same old me.

Well, as you can see, I’ve updated things a little around here. It’s a learning process so it will be a bit messy for a while. Then again, I’m sure that judging by the name of my blog and the posts, you expect nothing less. I know I do. It was about time to switch things up, and I suppose I’ll continue to until I get things the way I want them. I’ll also be updating my “about me” page, although to be honest, I’m not too much different after all these years (although my television habits have changed quite a bit since I first started this blog). While I’ll update it a bit, I figured there’s no time like the present to lay out a bit about me for the newbies, and even for those who have been reading a while.

First, yes. My house is usually on the messy side. It’s true, and not a schtick. Is it a hoarder house? NO. Would I love it to be magazine perfect in every way? Well, no, not exactly. I’ll never be that girl. My mom was, and I admire her every day for it. But I work full time, have two kids, with multiple interests and things to do. I have a dog, a cat, and two guinea pigs. I have too much stuff. I am always in chaos, always running here and there. I’m the mom who will get it done, maybe not in a pretty way, but it will get done. I am more the mom that screeches into the parking lot at the last minute, and with a wild look in her eye because I’ve had to argue about what my 8 year old will wear, but I’m there. With my husband working opposite hours, even I am impressed by what I DO get done. I can’t get it all done, and unfortunately I’m a little domestically challenged. Balance, my friends. It’s all about balance.

I’m a little bit of an asshole. Just a bit. (Aren’t we all?) Not a full on asshole.I’m bluntly honest (although I’m trying to work on the whole filter thing) and I try to surround myself with people like me. While having VERY blunt friends is often hard, it’s often the best. There is something completely freeing about surrounding yourself with honest, no bullshit, no drama people. If there’s one thing I have no use for, it’s a liar. Why? Because while occasionally my memory fails me on the every day things, if someone lies to me, I don’t forget it. As I’ve gotten older, I’m clearing those types of people right on out of my life and it’s very freeing. I like people that I always know where I stand with them, and vice versa. Anywho, back to me being a bit of an asshole. I have a sarcastic, sometimes dark sense of humor. I don’t stand for nonsense, and I have the mouth of a sailor. I swear a LOT, although I do try hard here not to. Sometimes, like on this post, I relax and they tumble right on out.

To compensate for being a bit of an asshole, I try and do kind things. Not because I think I’ll get into Heaven for it, or because I want accolades, but really because it makes me happy to be able to help people. It makes me happy to see someone’s day be just a little bit brighter because of me or something I did. Imagine if we were all just a little nicer. Wouldn’t things be better all around? Of course. I also try to do kind deeds because I have two kids, and my goal is to raise them up to not be assholes. How can you teach a child to be kind if you don’t model the behavior itself? How can you teach a child that they can make a difference, no matter how old?You show them. So I take on “projects” as we jokingly call them. Sometimes they go amazingly well, and sometimes they blow up in my face. I write about both, and laugh when they fail miserably. Gotta be able to laugh at yourself.

I’ve learned that the only people who are afraid of the truth are those living a lie. Some folks will go to all kinds of extremes to try and prevent you from telling the truth and exposing their bullshit. I’ve learned that I don’t care, I’m going to speak the truth anyway. There is no law against telling the truth. Folks get real nervous when they know they are caught in lies. Sometimes I enjoy watching the show, other times, I prefer to expose it for what it is. I’m a grown woman and I don’t back down to bullies and threats. More on this to come.

I’m a British country girl, living in the suburbs. I used to think I wanted to live on the beach, because I love the water. I’m happiest by the water, to be honest. Oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, a hot jacuzzi….I love it. That being said, after watching some of the destruction after a hurricane, I now wonder if I’m not best suited to rural, more country life. I’d love to live where the life is cheaper, houses are more spread out, and there’s lots of land. The Northeast is expensive and I need a little more space, but not too cold of weather.

If you came here and read I follow Real Housewives, well, I used to. I watched most of the franchises for several years before finally stopping. I liked NJ and BH the best and hung in the longest with NJ, but I missed the last season. I’m not interested in the manufactured drama. If I wanted that, I could have it IRL here. No thanks. I don’t really identify with women who have packed their faces with fillers, have fake friendships, and live in mansions with endless money to blow. That’s their choice, but I struggle to remain interested these days. These days I’m surprisingly into dramas like This Is Us and a Million Little Things. My favorite? RuPaul’s Drag Race. Yes, y’all, I love drag queens. I find it all fascinating. I love the artistry of drag, I love the designs and makeup and wigs. I love all the illusion. I’ve been a fan since season 1, back when it was real basic, and I’ve watched every episode since. I go to Drag Con, I’ve made it to a couple of shows, and am booked in to go to a show in the fall. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing some Drag Race posts here in the future!

So that’s it for now. Thanks for stopping by!