Thursday Ten: Netflix Binge Edition

1. I finally wrapped up Friday Night Lights so the obvious next step was to dive into something else immediately. The Princess and I have started watching Gilmore Girls. Given how she ridiculed me when I turned the first episode on, I find it amusing that she’s so engrossed.

2. Coming home to nice mail is a fun change of pace. Yesterday was StitchFix day. Unfortunately, I don’t necessarily have the budget to buy a bunch of clothes so fortunately there were some fit problems: I am far too long waisted for the blue dress, the denim jacket had a fit I didn’t love, and the orange top – though I loved the color – just wasn’t worth the $54 price tag to me. I’m keeping that funky cardigan on the bottom – when I pulled it out of the box, I was sure it was a sofa pillow but it’s funky and warm and will probably be ideal in the super cold Michigan months we’re about to dive into.
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3. A client visit yesterday meant that I was on the road by 6:30. In the morning. While I’m usually awake then, I’m not usually up, ready and out the door then. And then there were no convenient coffee shops on the way. And then everything was awful. Actually, it wasn’t that awful, just early mornings with PMS and no coffee don’t really bode well for my general demeanor. Sorry.

4. I finished antibiotics for a sinus infection a few weeks ago and well… I think the damn thing is back. That’s probably not really helping my mood either. This morning I woke up feeling like wet cement was poured near my sinuses and then hardening and expanding and blowing up my sinuses. Pretty picture, huh?

5. I have been on a reading frenzy lately. I went to the library a few weeks ago – picked up six books. While there, I told myself I wasn’t going to berate my choice in books and if I want to read even if they’re not rocket science. The result? I have entertaining speedy reads to pick up after a long day. It’s been nice to want to read again.

6. I actually bought Halloween candy to pass out this year instead of turning my lights out and pretending I’m not home. Actually, last year I wasn’t home – but that’s neither here nor there – usually, I avoid it like the plague – and this year I HAVE CANDY.

7. But I’m hoping no one comes so I’ll have enough candy left over to make the Leftover Halloween Candy Vanilla Bundt Cake I make every year.

8. I have no concrete plans this weekend but to get my shutters back on my house and I’m relieved and hopeful for a moment or two to breathe. Feels like life has very much been gogogogogogogogogogogo lately and I just want to stop moving and catch my breath. I want to not have to do anything or be anywhere at least for a little while.

9. I’d also like to sleep in and not be on the road at 6:30 a.m. Last weekend, i didn’t have anywhere to go and yet I was up just after 6. Ridiculous. Body clocks are absolutely ridiculous.

10. Isn’t it nice that I’m not talking about elections?

Thursday Ten: What 38 Years Has Taught Me edition

Oprah is kind of known for many things, but in recent years, she’s done a lot of the whole “What I Know For Sure” bit – she even released a book about it, which is cool and all – you can do that when you’re Oprah. But the thing is, what I know for sure is that there’s very little that I truly know for sure.

Today, I turn 38 and I find that there are far more mysteries than certainties – and I’m trying to reconcile myself to that fact. Perhaps I am not meant to have all of the answers.

But here are some things I’ve picked up along the way.

1. Plans are just that. Plans. Sometimes plans change.

“Make a plan, god laughs.” I think that’s how the saying goes. Anyway, I’m a planner – I like to have a path – I like to know that I can put one foot in front of the other confidently in the direction of my goals and that I’m going to get there. Except…sometimes you don’t. Sometimes things change, plans change, and you have to adjust your sails and change along with it. I thought that I knew where I would be at this point in my life – 38 feels dangerously close to 40 and I still feel like I’m muddling through sometimes.

The thing is, as difficult as it may be to change your course, sometimes – plans change for a reason.

Not knowing the direction you’re heading towards is scary, but it’s a lot less scary than moving in the wrong direction.

2. Priorities – you really should have some.

I am a parent – first and foremost, probably – I am a mother and so there’s an ever present realization in my mind that there are two amazing children who come before me. It means that sometimes I am at the absolute bottom of my list – but having people counting on me means that I need to be dependable, reliable and someone they can trust to be there.

Because I am a parent, because I am an employee, coworker, teammate, because I am someone that people count on, there are times that life gets complicated because I’m juggling so as to make sure things are taken care of.

And not to be all judgey (but I totally get to be all judgey because it’s my birthday and it’s my blog) but sometimes I see people acting with no real sense of obligation to anything except their own self and it boggles my mind. Ditching plans with your children, calling in sick to work because you don’t feel like it, waiting for someone else to take care of you rather than trying to find your own solutions.

I think I was born an old soul. It’s not to say I always do the right thing – but generally I know what is most important and all else falls in line behind that.

3. There’s a huge difference between being alone and being lonely. And it is possible to feel lonely, even when you’re surrounded by people.

I wrote this on a scrap of paper for this post and then had a conversation with a friend who basically said to me these very words. It is possible to feel lonely when you are surrounded by people. What I’ll add to that is that loneliness is one of the worst possible feelings in the world.

I’m all about my alone time – I am every bit an introvert – and being around people nonstop eventually wears me out. That alone time to recharge, recoup – it is as essential to me as air some days.

But lonely is different. Lonely doesn’t feel like a choice. Lonely is feeling like someone chooses not to see you. Lonely is an ache that seems to build in the pit of your stomach and leaves you hunched against the wall wrapped in sadness.

I’ve been alone and I’ve been lonely and I’ll take being alone over being lonely – any day of the week.

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4. Bacon and maple syrup. Grilled chocolate sandwiches. Dipping fries in milkshakes. Warm french bread. Deprivation = bad. Moderation = good.

When the South Beach diet was the rage, there was nothing that sounded quite as miserable to me as a life where carbs were a no-no. And now there’s paleo and whole 30 and voluntarily going gluten-free {Hey y’all with legit gluten sensitivities – chill out, I’m not talking about you}. I’ve had my days of counting fat grams and calories but ultimately, every time I hear the phrase, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” I just feel sad for those poor lost souls who have never had a decent piece of cheesecake.

I cannot imagine my life without warm cinnamon rolls, or garlic bread. Without margaritas in a salt-rimmed glass. Chips so fresh that they’re warm and a spicy salsa.

I don’t want to imagine my life without them – so I don’t. I just eat them. Maybe not as much as I want, or as often – but at least I don’t have to live without. (I haven’t yet worked out how to not feel guilty about it yet. Ask me again next year.)

5. Break a sweat daily.

Maybe this is why I can say with such certainty that you shouldn’t deprive yourself of the yummy stuff – because you should also be moving. Not only is it better for you health wise if you are active – but if you’re anything like me, you’re probably less of a jerk face when you’re exercising regularly.

6. You are not responsible for other people’s emotions.

When it comes to emotions, it may not always be easy to understand but essentially what you feel is what you feel. No, someone didn’t “hurt you” – your hurt stemmed from your reaction. Someone didn’t “make you sad” – you just WERE.

If you are one who avoids conflict then you’re familiar with the feeling of trying to not upset people – but this is the glorious thing: YOU CAN’T. If you could control the emotions of other people, MY GOD! Imagine the power you would have. But… you can’t. You can’t and I can’t and he can’t and she can’t. We just…can’t. Feelings are what they are and you can’t go through life trying to protect people from their negative feelings or expecting them to protect you from yours. Sometimes you will be sad. You’ll hurt. You’ll also be okay because everything will get better. Feel what you need to feel for as long as you need to feel it and then find a way to move onward. Sometimes other people will be sad or mad or whatever they happen to feel.

Feelings don’t always make sense, but it’s up to each of us to own our own feelings.

7. Sleep isn’t as easy as it should be.

All the science says that there are big time benefits to getting enough sleep and huge detriments to your health and well being when you don’t accumulate enough zzzzz’s and yet so many people I know (and myself!) struggle with insomnia, at least occasionally. You would think that for how lovely and enjoyable and good it feels, it would be far easier to do. It’s not.

When the girls were born, I thought I was done with insomnia – I was just so worn out at the end of the day that I slept HARD. These days? I fall asleep easily… I just often end up waking in the middle of the night and then an hour before my alarm in the morning. I’m tired. I shouldn’t be mad at sleep but I am more than a little bit mad at sleep.


8. Sometimes you just gotta go through the yucky stuff.

As much as you want to avoid anything negative, sometimes you can’t. And as much as you want out once you’re in, sometimes there’s no way out but to slog right through it. It’s this yucky stuff that builds our character and all that stuff. It’s the badge of honor, the sense of pride, the “lo hicimos! We did it!” Dora-The-Explorer moment. Sucks when you’re in the midst of it but life doesn’t let us move in reverse. Onward.

9. Money can’t buy you happiness but a lot relies on that stupid green stuff. There’s nothing wrong with you if you think about money. A lot.

Yes, money can’t buy happiness.

The best things in life are free.

Things are just things.

And all of those little platitudes would have me believe that any emphasis I put on money or my lack of it is superficial or wrong, or that my focus is in the wrong place and I’m not truly appreciating all of the blessings ahead of me to which I say: Uh. Whatever, bub. Like it or not, money is what keeps the roof over your head, the food on the table, the clothes on your back, the lights on above you. It is what fills your gas tank so you can drive to work so you can earn money for said roof and all that other jazz.

And really most of us are just getting by. Or so it seems.

I can’t begin to recount the number of conversations I’ve had with friends and family – and there’s probably not a single one of us who would turn away from a money tree in our front yard. But trust me, there’s also not a single one of us who doesn’t see how blessed we are in other ways. You can feel blessed AND stressed.

Trust me. I know.

10. I’m not done learning.

Think I’m done learning? Think again. I’m learning new things all the time – about myself, about my kids, about the people in my life, the world around me. I joke that I am older than dirt, but I’m still at the beginning. There’s so much more to learn, so much more to see, and so much yet still in front of me.

I’m a spring-mother-clucking-chicken. (I cringed as I typed that, I hope you know)

I’m not done yet.

Here’s to another year.

Here’s to love and learning and hope and slogging through the yucky stuff. Here’s to saving my pennies and bitching over the energy bill. Here’s to margaritas and cookies. To alone time without loneliness. To birthday cake and wrinkle cream.

Alright, 38. Let’s do this…

Thursday Ten: Okay, You Saw the Art Now Go Home edition

1. I’m at the point of Art Prize where I’m tired of it. I’ve seen all the pieces I want to see. I’ve voted. The jurors have told us what pieces they think we should care about. And now I’m tired of all the people crowding the sidewalk with their slow walking, art gawking, pausing in the middle of a cross walk as if suddenly confused about where they’re going. I’m tired of the cars with drivers who think that looking for pedestrians is an optional activity. Basically – I’m just annoyed with it. I get to this point every year – and so now that I’m here, it can be all over please.

I Am Not Who You Think I Am | Salvador Jimenez-Flores

2. The weekends seem to fill with STUFF and I am getting nothing done around my house. I painted my shutters ages ago but they’re still propped up in my garage. Everything is a mess and I CANNOT STAND IT. I have vacation time to burn before this year is up and I’m thinking about how lame it will make me to take a week off to un-mess my house. I’m also wondering how much it costs to rent a dumpster so I can haul this crap away. TOO. MUCH. JUNK.

3. So. GONE GIRL. Saw it Saturday night. It was amazingly well done and left me so tense I was jittery in the dark parking lot afterwards. I read the book so I wasn’t really surprised, but kinda sorta, I was surprised.

4. The Princess called me to the window yesterday morning to watch the eclipse. It was pretty awesome and I am glad she knows about these things so she can tell me and I can start my morning with the amazing things that the world can do instead of just a cup of coffee.

5. That thing where you have zero traveling budget but scope out airfare anyway. As if. We’ve already established I need to use my vacation time cleaning my house.

6. So, I’m thinking I may finally take the plunge and CANCEL CABLE. So tired of paying for it. Plus, they just put Rehab Addict on Netflix so it may just satisfy my HGTV-addiction.

7. Not that I have time to watch anything else while I’m still in the midst of binge watching Friday Night Lights.

8. We’re getting into gymnastics season. As much as I love watching my kid compete, I hate meet fees. October’s meet fees are kicking my ass. Is gymnastics season over yet? (It hasn’t even started. Only the paying for it has started.)

9. I really should watch less Netflix and START READING AGAIN. Or, y’know… cleaning.

10. One week until my birthday. Just so y’all know. A week until I’m Even Older Than I Already Am. That’s old.

Thursday Ten: That Thing Where You’re Tired And Can’t Sleep edition

1. I used to get insomnia quite a bit when I was in high school and college- I’d have these nights where I just couldn’t sleep. Once i had kids, that sleeplessness completely went away. Until recently. For the past month, I’ve been struggling to stay asleep once asleep. Those last few hours before the alarm goes off, in particular. I’m so tired. I. Am. SO. Tired.

2. The weekend trip to Traverse City helped a bit, but now I’m back. Hard to not feel peace when you’re looking’ at beauty like this. Also? Delicious wine.
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3. Sometimes you see things on the internet and you’re like, “WHOA. I have to do that.” I imagine it’s how my daughter feels when she’s scrolling through Pinterest. Anyway, last week I kept seeing posts of tator tots cooked in the waffle iron as a waffle/hashbrown thingamabobber and yep, I have to report: Darn. Good.

4. Second week of antibiotics for a sinus infection and I still don’t feel 100% yet. I hate taking antibiotics.

5. YAY! October. It’s now my birthday month.

6. I was supposed to go to New York this month. Yesterday as I was scrolling through pictures of New York in the fall, my heart broke a little. I hate that I can’t go. I know it’s life an life happens – between finding the funds to go and the fact that there is unavoidable work stuff during that time – well, it just wouldn’t work. But I really really wanted to go.

7. Why do I even have cable anymore? All I need is to be able to watch Food Network HGTV and Project Runway. For that privilege – for the use of THREE channels I pay an absurd amount of money each month. Ridic. Wish cable companies could come up with an a la carte business model that made money for them and saved money for me.

8. On television shows, people are always going to college visits and college interviews and is that really a thing because… I didn’t do that?

9. Gone Girl hits the theaters this weekend. I don’t love Ben Affleck but I’m looking forward to this one.

10. I was never a Gilmore Girls watcher but apparently it’s on Netflix now. Can’t start that one until I’m done with Friday Night Lights. I’m not sure how many seasons I have left of FNL but I don’t want it to be over. I’ll be sad when I’m done.

Thursday Ten: Slow Like Molasses Edition

1. I’m typing this while I’m on hold with the internet server provider people to talk to them about my INSANELY SLOW AND SOMEWHAT UNSTABLE internet connection. It’s kind of become a huge pain in the ass to have my internet essentially stop functioning for an hour and a half every evening around 8:30.

2. This is the kind of thing I can do while I work from home this morning because my iPhone is still full of peanut butter and so I can only use it when I’m on speaker on have headphones in. And I can’t find my headphones (or I’m lazy – I have a pair in my purse, a pair in my camera bag…). [Update: Booyah! A technician is coming out!]

3. I have to go to the dentist today. I haven’t been in ages because of that whole not having insurance for a long time thing. I hate the part where they floss my teeth. My dentist uses cheap, hurty floss.

4. It’s beginning to look a lot like ArtPrize! Pieces are starting to appear around the city – like this one spotted in front of the Grand Rapids Public Museum yesterday.
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5. I’ve been having an epic battle with a gross head cold since Saturday evening. While I’m up and around now (Sunday I was like a bump on a log), I’m still feeling less than a hundred percent and I’m very underwhelmed by how absolutely miserable I am. I do NOT like being sick.

6. One of my favorite things about Friday Night Lights binge watching is finding all the people from the show Parenthood in the cast.

7. I have not yet updated to iOS 8 because I learned a few years ago that updating my operating system on the first day of its release is a quick way to temporarily brick my phone. Maybe I am getting more patient with age.

8. Or maybe it’s just that I’m too busy trying to restore normal breathing through my nose.

9. How is it even Thursday already? Crazy how some weeks fly and some move so slowly. This one is flying – it’s been busy and productive and well, I’ve been sick for most of it, but still. Flying.

10. It’s getting chillier. The chill in the air makes me want to bake. Lemon squares, anyone?


There’s something about realizing that twenty years ago right around now, I was just beginning my freshman year of college. I got a flash of memory lane over the past weekend when Chris and I made it to Ann Arbor for a Michigan football game (Go Blue!) – because twenty years ago, right about now, I was attending my first game at the Big House as a student there.

And I have a flash of that all being twenty years ago because my 20-year high school reunion is in two weeks and the invitation is sitting on the bookshelf in my bedroom and as of today I haven’t RSVP’d nor have I declined the invite.

They all have husbands and wives and children and houses and dogs, and, you know, they’ve all made themselves a part of something and they can talk about what they do. What am I gonna say? “I killed the president of Paraguay with a fork. How’ve you been?”

I’m pretty sure I’m not going. I mean, originally, I was all, “Oh yeah, I’ll be there!” but now, I don’t think I’m going and the reason I’m pretty sure I’m not going is that the RSVP deadline passed two weeks ago and I’ve also ignored a text asking if I was going and I am filled with this…weirdness about it all. A weirdness that I am not even really sure comes from any reasonable place that I know, but I’m choosing to listen to it and to not ignore it, because I do know myself.

And I know from knowing myself the way that I know myself – whether my sense seems to have any rhyme or reason (or not), it is what it is.

Everybody’s coming back to take stock of their lives. You know what I say? Leave your livestock alone.

I actually didn’t mind high school. I wasn’t a popular kid. I wasn’t bullied. I was a nice middle-of-the-road kid, good grades, nice to most. I’m guessing I didn’t register with enough people to be much disliked, though I guess I could be wrong. When I look back on those years, I am not filled with the dread or loathing that some have when they remember high school. It was…okay. I wasn’t tormented. I wasn’t miserable. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t wishing the years away.

Oh but how I couldn’t wait to fly away when it was all over – couldn’t wait to find my wings – couldn’t wait for life to start. While I was there, while I was in it – I enjoyed myself.

I passed notes in class. I made legendary index note cards for chemistry exams. I played the flute badly in band. I wore a scratchy peach dress in our high school’s performance of “Oklahoma!” It was a fate worse than death to be home on a Friday night. I went places. We drove around town, yelling “Beer!” if we passed a car with a headlight out (I later learned that most people say “pediddle”? I have no idea. It was what they did so I did). High school dances. Slipping notes in locker vents. At lunch eating square pizza seated at round tables.

I just find it amusing that you came from somewhere.

In the age of Facebook, I know how most everyone is doing. I know what they do for a living. I know if they’re married or not. How many kids they have. What sports teams they root for. What side they prefer when they’re taking their facebook profile selfie shot. If they have pets or not. If they like pumpkin spice or not. I know what sports their kids play. I know their political affiliation. I know who has heard of Snopes and who hasn’t.

In short? I know more about these people now than I ever did.

And many of us didn’t go far – I don’t mean that in the metaphorical “What have you done with your life?” way, but geographically? Most of us are STILL. FREAKING. HERE.

I went to my kids’ open houses – and ran into a good portion of my graduating class. And I’m not saying that like it’s a bad thing – but it seems to me that it used to be that reunions were to bring people together that lost touch and now? You can’t lose touch. Social media has you so extensively IN TOUCH that good luck trying to cut yourself off from the world.

Not that I mind. Because I like knowing what they’re up to and what they’re doing. I do.

But. Sigh.

Hey Jenny Slater. Hey Jenny Slater. Hey Jenny Slater.

And you would think, “You know these people. You went to school with them. You’re connected with them on Facebook! This should be fun!” But.

I’m still an introvert. I’m still socially awkward. I’m still me.

I am the me that – while I cannot imagine that there is anyone who harbors any lingering hatred towards me – also cannot fathom that there is anyone who would cross a room to speak to me. I have this vision of sitting at a table eating my overpriced plate of rubber chicken and not talking to anyone. And – that’s somewhat humiliating to admit. I’m not the type to cross a room to start conversations.

And say someone did approach me – how do I want to explain the years since I saw them last at our ten year reunion? Stabbing the President of Paraguay with a fork would be infinitely more amusing than the reality which is that life has happened since I saw them last – life with its ups and downs and divorce and job hunts and finding my way and finding a job and finally finding a little peace again and that’s awfully deep for a conversation over rubber chicken and it’s not a conversation I want to have with anyone. And I don’t want to talk about the weather.

Some people say forgive and forget. Nah, I don’t know. I say forget about forgiving and just accept. And… get the hell out of town.

I wish them all well. I do.

And maybe I’d feel differently if I hadn’t just seen over half of the expected attendees three weeks ago. Maybe I’d feel differently if I had a big personality and was less of a wallflower. Maybe I’d feel differently if I truly believed my glory days ended twenty years ago.

And so it goes.

I’m making other plans, plans that don’t involve rubber chicken and a cash bar. Plans that don’t involve sucking in my gut and forcing myself to stand up straighter for hours on end.

Maybe in ten more years I’ll feel up to it. Right now, I’ll just plan to get the hell out of town.

Thursday Ten: It’s Been A Few Weeks edition

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1. I bought myself flowers this week – including this amazing dendrobium orchid. I love its vibrant blues and purples. Love photographing this orchid. And they usually last forever if forever was more like three weeks.

2. What’s been going on in my world that’s kept me away for two weeks? Well, the girls started school again and I’ve stopped sleeping. Well, I sleep – just not well. I’m tired. Gotta find our groove again schedule wise because whoa nelly the mornings are a bit more chaotic now.

3. Apple’s announcement this week and I have to say I’m… on the fence about the iPhone 6. I mean, I need a phone seeing as how mine has peanut butter in the receiver – but… do I invest in bright and shiny or save some money and buy a 5S which still sounds perfectly lovely? I need a phone, yes, but… which one. (I know me, I’ll go for the bells and whistles and then kick myself for spending money I should have saved because THAT IS HOW I DO.)

4. The kids are in the second week of school – glad the school waited that long before they sent home all their fundraiser gobbledygook. Anyone want to order a bucket of ready made cookie dough?

5. Could fall weather be coming? Oh goodness, I hope so. I just want that one perfect first fall day so I can get that one perfect salted caramel mocha. Gotta give in to that craving once – and only once – each year.

6. The Princess is already in Christmas mode and has been scouring Netflix for Christmas movies. It’s September. OY.

7. Pumpkin is on a mini-crusade to teach people that pitbulls aren’t bad and that any aggressive behavior is learned and based on bad owners. I haven’t done any research on any of that – but I do appreciate my kiddo’s love of four-legged fur-friends and her passion to educate and advocate for animals. Her handwriting is messy as hell but her heart is a good one. Works for me.

8. I feel like I should say something profound about it being the anniversary of 9/11 – but I have nothing profound to say. I cannot believe it’s been 13 years.

9. It’s amazing to realize that it’s September, and that the end of 2014 is creeping towards us or we’re creeping toward it, rather. This year started one way and has turned around and so you know, I’m excited to see how it wraps up as we approach autumn. Oh how time flies.

10. Watching heavy metal rock stars talking about tofu is one of the reasons I love Top Chef Duels.

And August Oozes its Way Out with 1000% Humidity

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Six more days left of August. I say that as if it means something – as if September 1 rolls around and the weather will flip the switch and the temperature will be tolerable, my allergies will abate and I will no longer have hair so frizzy that it can only be contained by finally succumbing to the ponytail.

But six more days and as we near September first, the temperature has kicked up a few notches as has the humidity and OH MY GOD IT’S THE WORST.

(Snow and sub-zero temperatures are also THE WORST so as you can clearly tell: I have weather issues.)

But August is almost over and I AM SO GLAD BECAUSE UGH.

Let’s cross our fingers that it’s 65 and sunny on Monday.

Thursday Ten: One Foot In Front Of The Other Edition

1. I made it through his birthday and the anniversary of his passing and well, it hasn’t been the easiest week of my life but on Monday, several of us were sharing memories of him on Facebook and it was nice to have people to share that with – we all miss him so much and we all have such amazing memories — to pool them together was really a bit of a relief.
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2. And then I stood in the same spot where I stood a year ago and watched the sun set. My last goodbye to my grandpa was on his birthday last year – we had been sure that “that was it” that we said our goodbyes. Somehow he had managed to hang on another day and I couldn’t bear to say goodbye again… so last year on his birthday I watched the sun set. This year I did the same. He’s still with us. Still with me.

3. Sigh. On a lighter note… Just a week and a half left of summer and it’s BACK TO SCHOOL for the girls. They are bickering at toxic levels right now, though, so… it’s about time.

4. Because I was tired of my wretched burgundy door – after 12 years of hating it! I finally painted it this past weekend. Behr’s Cloudless. I sort of love it. I haven’t yet painted my shutters and I know my neighbors are wondering about that – if I’m going to leave those nasty shutters clashing forever (no, I’m not) – but I’ll get to it soon.
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5. It hasn’t been a very summer-y summer, weatherwise so I should feel guilty about complaining about normal summer weather but UGH THE HUMIDITY. (No: I don’t feel guilty). I was just not cut out to sweat so much. Give me that 70 degree weather back please.

6. Protein drinks with powdered peanut butter is an actual thing in my life now. Sigh. Concerted effort to get back into shape and that means eating less garbage. I miss garbage eating. KETTLE COOKED POTATO CHIPS NOM NOM NOM.

7. Realizing the window between driving in road construction and driving on ice is very very small.

8. Checked out a bunch of books from the library. They were all awful. I love that I can just shut them and return them without any guilt or wasted money. Love the library.

9. I don’t think that Facebook is going to suck my brain out through their messenger app but ugh I don’t want to download another app. (Also, my nearly dead phone with peanut butter in the receiver has limited space and not worthy of an app I don’t need).

10. Already making plans for the weekend and those plans involve TACOS. I win.

Happy Birthday. I Miss You.

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Dear Grandpa,

I have had a lot of thoughts in my head over the past few weeks – well, over the past year even, if I’m really being honest – and as today drew closer, I found myself overwhelmed with an odd mix of extreme sadness and determination that I would not let today get the best of me. It’s early yet, and time will tell, but I will do my best today to honor you in a way that would have made you proud. Perhaps, I’ll duct tape something.

It seems unfair to have to endure both your birthday and the anniversary of your death within a 48 hour span, but perhaps that’s just a way to rip off the bandaid and get all the truly hard hurting done at once, and then find a way to put one foot in front of the other until the next hurdles – holidays.

Which is not to say that it’s only difficult on those big days – but those are the days it’s worse.

Most of the time, though, when I think of you it’s with love and I am able to put away the sadness of a year ago at this time. The sadness of saying goodbye.

Most of the time I think of things like potato pancakes and duct tape, of you shoveling the driveway even though everyone offered to have it plowed for you, how you always had Lifesavers in church, and how you pronounced my youngest daughter’s name funny. How you were so proud of them. How you were so proud of me. How you sent me postcards when I was a kid living in California and when we’d talk on the phone we’d race to say “Gotcha!” to each other. How you taught me to start my car with a clothes pin. How you were such an awful driver (you were. Grandma said one day, as we sat by your side during those last weeks, that she always figured you’d perish in the car – those were her words: Perish in the car. She followed that with, “Not that he was a bad driver” but yes, yes you were). The sound of your voice singing. When you called grandma “babe” when you were planning to renew your vows on your 60th anniversary.

You were and are so very loved – and I miss having you around. I hate that you’re not here. I wish you could see my daughters. I wish you could see that my life is coming back together. I’m glad you got to meet Chris and he got to meet you and these are all things I probably said last year right around this time but if I say them twice I must really mean them, right?

You were the glue that held us all together and since you’ve been gone there have been so few occasions where everyone’s been in the same place.

We didn’t get together on Father’s Day but we were all heart broken.

The thing is, you were so amazing. You were so strong for us. You were funny. You made us smile. You – just by being you – captured a permanent place in each of us and without you, it’s very clear that something’s absent.

And I don’t want to fill that void – but I don’t want to be sad either.

Sad feels ungrateful.

Some people are never as lucky as we were. Never as lucky as I was to have had someone like you in my life for so long (I’ve forgotten, grandpa, how old I am – isn’t that the funniest thing?).

We were blessed.

We were loved.

We miss you.

I miss you.

Forever grateful to have had you in my life.

i still love you.