Monday, August 6, 2012

Rolling with the Homies...

I'm sure all homes and families have their quirks. It always makes me feel better to hear/read about other people's "issues," kind of how after watching Hoarders, I always feel so much better about my house keeping skills.

So, as a public service to you all, here are a few of our "issues:"

1) Son #2: Mom, are we out of bread?
Me: Yes.
Son #2: Mom! Even criminals get bread everyday!
Me (thinking to myself): Problem solved, go live with them.
Me (out loud): Sorry. I think there are some pizza rolls left.

Update: I bought a loaf of bread, so Son #2 will not starve, or be forced to join a band of criminals to find nourishment.
                                                                        Son #2

2) Son #1 started summer band today. This rudely interrupted our waking up at 10:00am summer schedule, since he had to be at the band hall at 8:30. So around 7:30am he and I tried to load his sousaphone into my car. This thing is heavy, and when it's in the case, is about the size of a baby elephant. We got it in the car, but the back hatch barely closed, so I had fears of driving down the highway at 70 mph and launching a baby elephant sized torpedo at the car behind us.

When I went to pick him up at 4:00, he was whining and walking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The first few weeks of marching band are apparently hard on his shoulder. I only mention this because: Son #1 is over 6 feet tall, very solidly built (not fat at all, very muscular) and his section leader is a girl that is very thin and about a foot shorter than him. She looked like she was ready to do another 4 hours of band, no hunchback, no whining. Girls Rule!
                                                        Son #1

3) My husband and I have a standing bi weekly argument. He seems to wait until I am on the road going somewhere and then calls me and "reminds" me to buy lottery tickets. Ok, not a huge issue, but here's the problem. I think that buying more than one lottery ticket at a time for the same drawing is pessimistic, so I always buy one ticket per drawing. He insists on five tickets per drawing, and cannot be persuaded to change his ways. Grrrrr....

4) I had this idea the other day and I thought it would make a really good book. I told the boys about it and they ran with it and had some really great ideas, then...somehow Son #2 and I got in this heated debate on the merits of Language Arts class. Not sure how we got there, but he seems to think that after 8 years of Language Arts (he's going into 9th grade), and the fact that he reads A LOT, he knows all there is to know and could write the Great American Novel right now, if he wanted to. I said, "I think not," and he was highly offended. Oh, this child!! I love him dearly, and he is brilliant and creative, but he thinks he knows it all at 14 years old. There is a fine line between pumping up their confidence and self esteem and crushing their dreams with my disbelieving laughter at their misplaced superiority and arrogance.

Oh yeah, and for some reason my house smells like stinky feet and sweaty boys today. Is raising girls any easier?


Boys are beyond the range of anybody's sure understanding, at least when they are between the ages of 18 months and 90 years. - James Thurber

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

If you do what you love, you'll love what you do, right?

The title of this blog post sounds like lyrics to a 70s song.  

With summer upon us, I have a lot of free time on my hands. My job is kind of on hold, so I started thinking...what do I love doing? If I can figure that out, maybe I can find a way to use that to occupy my time.

What do I love to do? What is my hobby? If I have nothing to do, what do I choose to do? (I'm pretty sure eating sugar cookies and drinking Sonic slushes mixed with rum, isn't the answer)

Books.   I read.   A lot.

So, I decided to start another blog for book reviews. When I'm looking for a book, topic and theme mean a lot more to me than the author, so this blog is organized by genre, but searchable by any key word: theme, author, etc.

Jen's Books

If you like books, and you want to take a look, please come on over and visit. If you like books and you like to write reviews, PLEASE come on over and visit. Keep in mind, it's still a baby so there aren't many reviews...yet.

Read on,

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. - Confucius

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sports Bras and Pity Parties

I have a love/hate relationship with sports bras.

Today I had a rip roaring pity party, with only one

Now I love sports bras because they are comfortable, keep everything in the right place, and function well for their intended use: support during exercise. Yeah, well here's the thing, I don't exercise. If you ever see me running, you better run too because there is a seriously scary mofo chasing after me. If you ever see me doing yoga or weight lifting there will be a copay for physical therapy involved because that's only going to happen because my doctor is making me. Still, I love sports bras.

Correction, I love my 10 year old, grey, seriously in need of mending sports bra. See, I only have one. I also only have one "fancy bra," too. I know, I need to turn in my girl card. By the way, I have less that 6 pairs of shoes, too (but I do have 4 pairs of cowboy boots). True story, when I went to get the steroid injection in my back and the nurse saw my holey, grey sports bra, she just looked and me and said, "Oh, honey. Really?" Sigh.

Anyways, that's why I love my sports's comfortable. Here is why I hate it. Have you ever tried to put a sports bra on after you get out of the shower, even Houdini couldn't have managed this feat. It's seriously a 2 person process, but it's too embarrassing to ask for anyone's help, so you have to do the after shower sports bra dance, dislocate at least one shoulder, and pull your bra into place and then pop your shoulder back into place like Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon. Very challenging stuff.

On to my pity party...hang with me there is a connection.

I had a really bad morning. Nothing serious, just a lot of little stuff that piled up and finally overwhelmed that Chinese torture method, Death of a Thousand Cuts. Well, not quite that bad, but it forced me to take the ultimate girl therapy treatment: Crying in the shower. Not sure why, but crying in the shower is better than any therapist's couch. I guess as the hot water washes the dirt and tears away, it also takes most of the stress and anxiety with it. I was crying because my job is basically nonexistent and I can't find a different job with the flexible hours I need having 2 super busy kids, my computer was being difficult, chores were piling up, and on and get it, right? Stupid little stuff, that just piled up and bitch slapped me, thus the crying in the shower therapy.

After the shower, I felt a lot better and then I realized I had taken a really long shower, I was really hot and the bathroom was really steamy and staring at me from the counter top was my ancient grey sports bra. All I could do was laugh, between the sweat and the steam it was going to take a miracle and a crow bar to get that damn bra on, but I did it, yes I did. At that moment I realized that if I can get that sports bra on in that perfect storm of sweat and steam, I can do anything. Moody problem. Job issues...I'll figure it out, eventually.

So there you go. You never know what is going to put your life back into perspective, sports bras...showers...laptops...whatever. Look for the small things to laugh about, they make the big things more manageable.

Party on,

Men are governed by lines of intellect - women: by curves of emotion. - James Joyce

Monday, July 2, 2012

Strings Attached

We have all heard the saying “no strings attached.” When you hear that, what do you think of? Is “no strings attached” a good thing or bad thing? It really depends on the situation. When it comes to buying some thing or signing a contract we WANT no strings attached, but when you really stop and think about it, we have strings attached to everything.

We have strings attaching us to our family. We have strings attaching us to our jobs. Just about everything in our lives has these strings attached, sometimes they lift us up and sometimes they pull us down. Imagine your life with no strings, alone and adrift in the Universe with no tether. No bad “strings attached” but no good “strings attached” either. Not good.

Now close your eyes and imagine all the strings that are attached to your life. Picture the good things attached with beautiful gold strings. Picture the bad things attached with the thinnest wisp of thread. When you want to rid your life of something negative, first picture that thin thread snapping and the thing slowly drifting out of your life. It might seem silly at first, but visualization has its place and can be a powerful tool.

The reverse also works, too. Sometimes I feel my teenagers pulling farther and farther away from me. I know they need their space, but it's really hard to let them go and live their own lives. In my mind, I picture them attached to me with that beautiful gold string. I imagine that string as unbreakable and then I start making it longer and longer in my mind. This shows me that my kids might be pulling away but they will still be attached by that unbreakable bond.

Decide what you need and want in your life and what you don't, then get out your golden lasso or scissors as needed. Don't forget some silly string in your life occasionally, too!

Speaking of string...don't forget to floss,

The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Moments of Greatness

Having kids isn't easy. As babies, we labor with them. As toddlers, we chase after them. As little kids, we worry as we send them off to school and watch them grow. As preteens, we chauffeur them around and put up with less than stellar attitudes. As teenagers, we fear for them and watch them struggle to find out who they are and what they want from life.

But, amid all of this there are moments of greatness. Moments so sweet, it makes you weep with love, pride, or joy. When they are babies, sometimes it is just that wonderful baby smell or the pure innocence and promise of a life just beginning. As little kids, it can be watching them play with pure joy or the way they hug you so tight and never want to let go. As preteens, it's that quick hug they give you when no one is watching, or the wonder in their eyes as they discover talents they didn't know they had.  As teenagers, it can be the pride of watching them excel at something they worked very hard for, or the bittersweet feeling of knowing they can take care of themselves now.

I didn't really put much thought into karma or yin and yang before I had kids. Now, I see it everyday. I feel the joy and pain they bring. I see the light and dark in them. I hear the kindness and bitterness in their words.

All this light and dark, love and pain, pride and disappointment can make being a mom seem like a constant roller coaster ride. These kids keep us on our toes. You never know what they will bring home with them when they walk in the door after school: homework, detention slips, school projects, hugs, smiles, tears, dirty gym clothes, trombones, girlfriends/boyfriends.

But guess what? I love roller coasters! Bring it on, kiddos. Give me your best and I will cheer for you, give me your worst and I will cry with you and help you in any way I can.

I Love You,
Mom (Jen)

If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been.  ~Robert Brault

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bear Security Test

Tonight we tested the alarm system at our house. System is functioning perfectly, test was successful. Here is what our alarm system looks like:

This is what we used to test the alarm system: very odd son #2.

Spike went crazy when he saw a tall polar bear in our house. Good Dog! Now I can sleep soundly knowing that we are safe from tall polar bears.

My children have decided that it is their mission in life to get animal masks and dress up in costumes. This is the first endeavor: Formal Polar Bear.

I mean, really, what do you say about this? Son #2 informed me that he was buying the mask today with his own money. OK. Son #1 says he wants a unicorn mask, but he's not sure what he would wear with it. Huh? Sort of like what shoes go best with my unicorn mask? Sigh.

I'm not sure how these kids got so strange. I do have to thank them though, after six weeks of being stuck at home, this is the best entertainment I've had in awhile.

Formally yours,

What is a home without children?  Quiet.  ~Henny Youngman

Monday, April 30, 2012

Let's Make It a True Daily Double

Sorry, I've been away. Not away physically, but mentally. This blog was intended to be a place for positive thoughts, and I'm nowhere near positive right now. In fact, I need a passport to even get back from where I've been, I'm so far away from positive.

But you know what? That's OK. Life is not always positive. Life is hard, anyone that tells you differently isn't doing it right. The fact that life is hard is what makes it so rewarding when you get it right.

Quick update on me: I injured my back a few weeks ago. The pain got worse and worse, until it was almost intolerable and causing my blood pressure to rise. Tried oral steroids, didn't work. Finally an MRI showed a herniated disc with disc material floating in the vertebral sac. This caused inflammation and the resulting pressure caused severe sciatica. This is pain that radiates down the back of the hip and thigh. In my case, sitting triggers the pain. Do you know how often you sit? Driving, working at a computer, eating at the table...a lot of things involve sitting, and I can't do any of them. Driving is the worst. I have two busy teenagers and I can't pick them up or drop them off. I've really had to rely on my family to help me. They have been wonderful and I am so thankful to them.

Oh yeah, and two days after the intense sciatica started, I got bit by a spider and had a major reaction. At one point the inflamed bite area was about 8 inches across and hurt as bad if not worse than the sciatica. So, yeah, staying positive has been a struggle. My husband will tell you that cranky is sometimes a polite way to put my mood.

But, thankfully, the spider bite is completely healed and after a round of epidural steroid injections my sciatica seems to be improving. I can sit in a chair for five minutes instead of two minutes before the burning, ripping, tearing pain starts. Baby steps, but positive steps none the least.

What I have had is a lot of time to think. I have come to the following conclusions:

  1. I am extremely lucky. I have a support system around me that can step in when I am incapacitated.
  2. Being sick or injured is very lonely, even when you are surrounded by people.
  3. Get Well cards or simply a phone call or text, mean a lot. Take the time to contact someone that is sick or injured. It may seem like a small thing to you, but it means the world to them.
  4. I am a game show addict. GSN (game show network) is like crack, and my day revolves around making sure I catch Jeopardy at 4:00.

That is about it. Not feeling very creative or pithy today, but I did want to check in just to let y'all know I am still here. Hang in there, and if you get a spare minute, send a little healing energy my way. I really appreciate it.

Pass the pain pills,

Sickness comes on horseback but departs on foot.  ~Dutch Proverb, sometimes attributed to William C. Hazlitt

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Play Ball!

I was fixing to watch a baseball game downstairs, and this conversation took place:

Son#1: How are you feeling Mom?
Me: I'm good.
Son#1: Are you going to watch baseball down here?
Me: That was my plan.
Son#1: Looks like your back still hurts, Mom. Why don't you go upstairs and lay down. You can watch the game upstairs.

Oh, such concern and care for their mother...NOT! They just wanted the TV so they could watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, maybe a Myth Busters thrown in.

So, I've been sent to my room by my children.

Works for me,

There are three things in my life which I really love:  God, my family, and baseball.  The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.  ~Al Gallagher, 1971

The Big Pause Button of Life

Apparently the Universe decided that it was time to hit my Pause button. I'm a busy mom, I rarely take time to take care of myself, I take too much on at one time, I am usually running on caffeine and sugar...not this week.

I am down for the count. After 4 weeks of off and on back pain, I finally went to the doctor on Monday. I should have gone sooner, but usually my back hurts and 3 to 4 days later it's fine. Not this time. Something is definitely wrong. I can't sit up at all. That means I can't work at a desk or drive. All I can do is lay flat or stand.

Unfortunately, my family's life isn't on Pause, it seems like it's on Fast Forward. Son #1 has UIL Band Competition and Sight Reading tomorrow. Son #2 is currently in 2 plays AND tried out for the talent show. One or both of them need to be at school early or stay after school almost every day.

From time to time I complain about all the running around I have to do. It's exhausting sometimes. But, after 4 days of complete rest, I can honestly say, I'd rather be out and about picking up kids and running errands, than flat on my back doing nothing.

I hate asking for help. I'd much rather do something myself than ask someone else to do it. Well, I've also been enrolled into a crash course of Asking Friends and Family For Help 101. It's hard. I know people want to help, and they don't mind doing things for me, but I'm just not good at asking for it.

Also, I don't know how long this is going to last. The current medications don't seem to be working. What if I can't drive or work for an extended period of time? What then? So frustrating...

Ok...deep breath...I have a great doctor. He will figure this out. I have wonderful, generous friends and family that will step up and pick up or drop off kids for me. I have a loving, patient husband who has done everything he can to make this week easier for me. It will all work out and at the end of this, I will have learned some new skills and put my life and schedule in perspective.

I just have to let go of control and let others help. My job right now is figuring out how to get better and take care of myself. If anyone has any extra healing prayers or positive energy, please send some this way.


If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?  ~Milton Berle

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Go Get 'Em Kiddo! Part 1

Just yesterday, I swear son #2 looked like this. My sweet, creative, moody wild child. This morning, he looked like this:

Today he is headed to UIL Choir Contest and Sight Reading. Good Luck, sweet boy!

I took this picture this morning because he seems to grow and change overnight. I don't think I'm imagining it either, because this weekend he outgrew ALL of his  jeans and I had to break into the hand me down stash from son #1 so he would have something to wear.

As I drove him to school this morning, I felt bitter sweet. I'm so proud of the young man he is becoming, but I miss the little boy he was. About half way to school, fighting back the tears, I looked over at him and he was curled up in the front seat (all 6 feet of him) sleeping, getting all wrinkled, but who cares. It's moments like that when the little boy shines through. Those moments are getting very rare, so I treasure them and pack them away in my heart to hold onto.

I may not have won the Mega Millions lottery this week, but I absolutely won the Universal lottery 14 years ago when I was given this beautiful soul to care for. I am the luckiest woman ever and I am truly grateful for everyday I have with him.

Sing pretty, sweet boy!

Son, you outgrew my lap, but never my heart.  ~Author Unknown

Monday, April 2, 2012

Happiness Seed Packet

Lately it has been tough to stay positive. Over the last 3 weeks I have noticed that my thoughts, words, and actions have slowly become more negative. I won't bore you will all the details, but it started with the whole house getting sick, then prolonged back pain, and culminated in the Great Air Conditioner Repair War.

Plus...we didn't win the 1/2 billion dollars in Mega Millions. Oh well.

This was really starting to concern me. I don't want to go all negative again, been there, done that, bought the T shirt. But today I read this, by Rhonda Byrnes:
Do not worry at all about negative thoughts, and do not try to control them. All you have to do is begin to think good thoughts each day. Plant as many good thoughts as you can in each day. As you begin to think good thoughts you will attract more and more good thoughts, and eventually the good thoughts will wipe out the negative thoughts altogether.
Ahhh...I can do that. After I read this, I started thinking of a "good thought seed packet." I picture my existing life being sprinkled with good thought seeds. They start on the surface and then slowly start to sink in. Soon the good thoughts will thrive and multiply.

Happiness Seed Packet

I already feel lighter and have a smile on my face.

Have a great day,

I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.  - Audrey Hepburn

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's Just a Harmless Little Bunny, Isn't It?

Remember the scene from Monty Python's Holy Grail when the knights are trying to get in the cave and it's protected by the evil rabbit? They end up trying to kill it by throwing the Holy Hand Grenade at it. Absolutely one of my favorite scenes from that movie. Read on to understand why...

A few years ago my son wanted a bunny. I agreed thinking it would teach him responsibility and really, how much work can a little bunny be?

Yeah, news flash parents, don't buy an animal to teach a kid responsibility. It doesn't work. And rabbits...not a great pet. As Tim in the Holy Grail so aptly describes "That's no ordinary rabbit. That the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set your eyes on." So true.

Our "bunny" is now five years old and lives in our freaking living room! His name is Buster and he can read minds. I'm not kidding. He picks up on thoughts and emotions. When someone near him gives out a negative emotion, he thumps his back leg...hard...LOUDLY. Scares the pee out of you! He does this with us AND he does it with the TV. So everyone in the house can be feeling great, happy, lovely...then THUMP...there was a car crash on TV that upset Buster. Oh, and when I get upset and yell at the kids (yeah, it happens), Buster will start thumping, then I yell and him and I feel like an idiot yelling at the damn rabbit, which makes the kids laugh, and I get even madder...vicious cycle...evil rabbit!!

I have a friend that has girl bunnies and wants to mate them with Buster, and I said, "Hell, no!" I don't want any more evil mind reading bunnies on this planet, it's just creepy!

Hop on,

It's Wabbit season, and I'm hunting wabbits, so be vewy, vewy quiet! - Elmer Fudd

Battle Weary

I have been very busy the last two weeks fighting the epic, Air Conditioning Repair Battle. It involves the installing company that installed the inside unit in a way that it cannot be serviced without being disconnected and moved (huge labor cost). The local company that we had transferred our extended warranty to that is either incompetent or unethical and the new company that has so far saved the day and been the voice of honesty and information.

The installing company: never called back after repeated calls and messages...shocker. They will get a strongly worded letter to make it right and if that doesn't happen they will be seeing us in court.

The local company: never could find problem/leak but told us we were low on freon and we had a freon leak, so opted to change out the coils (because that's usually the problem...blah blah blah). Never bothered to run further tests to correctly diagnose problem, told us that we either needed to move inside unit ($1000 labor charge, not covered by warranty) or cut a 30in x 60in hole in our wall so they could access the coils.

New company: came out and checked out the whole system for a flat $69 service charge. Tested the freon pressure, said is was fine (NO LEAK!!) but after about 15 minutes of searching and testing confirmed that we had a bad compressor. He ordered the part and will be installing it on Friday and the WHOLE THING will be covered under our warranty.

I've been dealing with this for almost 2 weeks now and I'm so glad it's mostly resolved. I have learned a few things:

1) Kill them with kindness. I have been pleasant with every person I've talked to, even when I knew they were wrong and might be taking advantage of me. There is a time for being "not nice" but I find that people shut down and stop listening when that happens.

2) If you feel like something is wrong, it probably is. Trust your instincts.

3) Get a second opinion. If your looking at a big expensive repair and you're not knowledgeable about the subject, ask someone else to take a second look at it. For a small service charge, you'll have peace of mind. If the original company gets offended, red flag, they shouldn't mind if they have nothing to hide.

4). Reward skill and honesty with loyalty. If you find someone that is good at what they do and treats you honestly, stick with them. Also let them know how you feel verbally and follow up with a letter. Let them know that you will tell your friends about them and recommend their service whenever you can.

This is a new skill for me. In the past I usually asked others to help me with stuff like this, but I got all this done on my own. I'm very proud of the outcome and how I handled things. I'm going to take a few days to breathe and cool down (literally, we will have a/c on Friday!) and then I'll go to war with the installing company. Nice to know that it's not urgent and I can do things slowly and correctly.

Keep cool,

A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large. - Henry Ford

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Men vs Boys

The only difference between men and boys is the cost of their toys.  ~Author Unknown

I found this quote proved somewhat true today.

When my kids were little they wanted lots of little stuff. One year for Christmas, I bought them a complete set of Pokemon figures. There were hundreds of them and they were about an inch tall. They also loved legos, Pokemon cards, Hot Wheels, and so on. I spent a fortune on all this crap stuff. The stuff was cheap but there were so many versions of each toy and they “gotta catch 'em all.” It adds up.

Today on Facebook a friend of mine posted something about her son and mentioned something about Bey Blades and Hex Bugs. I have no idea what these things are, never even heard of them. It got me thinking of the difference between little kids and teenagers.

When someone asks me what to give the boys now, I just say “Cash.” They don't want little, easy to buy things anymore. They still want stuff, only now it's big stuff, but the names are at least recognizable.

Guitar, Violin, Laptop, X Box, Car, Car, Car, Car, Car

Back to the quote, if I were to ever speak that quote it would be “tongue in cheek.” There are a lot of differences between men and boys. Thankfully, my boys are turning into wonderful men.


Boys are students: Men are teachers

Boys are consumers: Men are producers

Boys play with toys: Men work with tools

Boys break things: Men make things

Boys ask questions: Men give answers

Boys are disruptive: Men bring order

Boys run in gangs: Men organize teams

Boys play house: Men build homes

Boys shack up: Men get married

Boys make babies: Men raise children

A boy won’t raise his own children: A man will raise his and somebody else’s

Boys invent excuses for failure: Men produce strategies for success

Boys look for somebody to take care of them: Men look for somebody to take care of

Boys are present-centered; Men are time-balanced, having knowledge of the past and understanding of the present and a vision for the future

Boys seek popularity: Men demand respect

Boys are up on the latest: Men are down with the GREATEST

- Rev. Clarence L. James

A List: 5 Random Things

It seems like a lot has been happening lately, but most stuff isn't big enough, or truthfully, interesting enough for a blog post. Here are 5 random things that will probably not impact your life at all, but might make you smile, cringe, shriek, or laugh.

1. Yesterday, I told you about my unfortunate problems with our air conditioning unit. I was hoping that the a/c fairy would magically solve them overnight, but nope she must be on vacation, still have issues. The interior unit is in a tiny attic and the way it was installed (5 years ago), there is no way to access the motor or coils without detaching and moving the whole unit.

Stay with me, I know this is less than exciting stuff. Here is the kicker, we either need to pay A LOT of money to have the unit moved, or cut a 3 ft x 5 ft whole in the wall in a very visible area. If we do this, they can access the unit, the parts and labor will be entirely covered by the warranty, and the a/c will work properly again (which will be very important in a few weeks).

“Honey, please get the saw out and cut a huge whole in the wall.” “Yes, dear”

2. Son #1 had a good time in Branson last week, but he was “that kid” on the trip. He threw up in the hotel room the first morning at 5:30 am and had to wake up the band directors. He hurt his back on the go carts and needed several doses of Tylenol, he had a nose bleed (several, actually) on the Grand Stairway in the Titanic Museum...sorry chaperons, at least he was well behaved.

3. Which leads to... Son #1 got in a bit of trouble last night. He lent his phone to a kid on the school bus and forgot to get it back. I found this out because this kid used the phone to text Son #1's contacts and had odd conversations with them. I got several texts asking when Son #1 had gotten hurt, did he hit his head, and why is he acting so weird. After several rounds of questioning, he finally confessed and told me what happened. When I asked who had it, I find out it's the same kid that took his phone last year and downloaded over $200 worth of apps and games. Oh, I was not happy.

I ranted and raved at him and he just sat there and then calmly said, “Mom, I'm 15. I get good grades, I don't drink or do drugs, I've never gotten in trouble at school. Really, Mom, let's put this in perspective, I lent my phone to, admittedly the wrong person, and forgot to get it back. If that is the worst problem you have with me, I think you're pretty lucky.”

Well, yes, son you're right, I am VERY lucky. Never mind.

4. This morning my mother texted me all in a panic. Apparently, Son #2 had called her on his cell phone twice this morning and no one was on the line. She was ready to start calling the school and send out a search party for him (He's 14, but to her they will always be her babies). When I told her he was right next to me and had accidentally “butt dialed” her, I had to explain what butt dialing was. After she stopped laughing, she said, “I keep my phone in my bra, does that mean that I've been boob dialing people?”

Yes, Mom, it does.

5. Our dog Spike does not like men. He's ok with them when he is out and about, but he will not let adult men in our house without growling, slobbering, and snarling. He's a lot like me in that respect. Just kidding. Sorta. Anyways, when the repairmen came the other day, they were going to be inside and outside so the only place we could put him is our upstairs master bathroom. When I tell you this next part you may have more insight into why I'm sometimes cranky and insane. Our upstairs MASTER bathroom is so tiny that our dog (admittedly he is rather large) had to stand in the bath tub. This bathroom contains a full size tub/shower and a toilet and the floor space left over is, and I'm not exaggerating, 2 ft x 2 ft.

Feel my pain, at least I always get the bathroom to myself, only one person fits in there.

So there are some glimpses into my last few days. I told you it wasn't terribly exciting, but thanks for hanging in there with me.


For marriage to be a success, every woman and every man should have her and his own bathroom. The end. - Catherine Zeta-Jones

**Uh oh** 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bring it on!

Amazing...I am truly blessed.

Yesterday...well, to be quite honest, yesterday sucked. The air conditioner broke, it was installed incorrectly 5 years ago, the repair company couldn't find warranty paperwork...blah...blah...blah, on and on, things just kept going wrong.

All that bad energy spilled into today and I just felt awful when I woke up. I felt so full of “bad stuff” that I didn't know how to even begin turning it around so I could start to feel better. On top of all that, the person I really wanted to talk to isn't here anymore (well, at least not reachable by phone).

I did have a gentle nudge from her yesterday (for this blog's purpose, we will call her Ellie). The boys and I had just ordered our obligatory Tuesday mass quantities of food, and I commented on the logistics of getting all this food and our groceries in the house. Then I told them the story about how Ellie would never eat at Sonic because she thought they were listening to her through the speakers, after she ordered. I told her she was being ridiculous and paranoid, they didn't care what was going on in her car. But, by God, the minute I said that, the speaker turned on and the car hop laughingly asked if we wanted a drink holder to carry our sodas home it. Ok, fine Ellie, you were right, I was wrong.

Back to my original point...I woke up in foul mood, without Ellie to call and vent to, and I didn't know how to fix it. Finally, I decided to put myself in my friend's hands and posted this on Facebook:

ok Peeps, feel like I'm drowning in bad juju right now, please tell me something good, funny, or wonderful. I need happy!!

Well, my wonderful friends delivered. Within minutes, they sent funny stories, Bee sent two hilarious pictures, and best of all Ellie's mom called to check on me and make sure I was ok.

Thank you all! I am truly blessed to have all you there to pick me up and carry me around for awhile when I feel like I can't get through. So, bring it on, whatever life wants to challenge me with, that's fine. I've got an angel beside me and the best friends a girl can ask for behind me.

Crisis averted,

Angels descending, bring from above,
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
~Fanny J. Crosby

Monday, March 19, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness?

I saw the dark side of my children this morning, and I didn't like it.

My boys have to be at the bus stop at 6:15am.  None of us are at our bests that early in the morning, so we usually just sit quietly (they sleep) and wait for the bus (I watch for bus). This morning a storm blew in very quickly and it was raining steadily and there was LOTS of lightning.

We drove to the bus stop this morning because of the rain, and when I pulled up all the kids, but two, were also in cars. These kids (brother and sister) were sitting out in the open, getting rained on and it was obvious that the lightning scared them (it scared me, too by the way). I asked the boys if we should invite them into the car to get out of the rain, and both my beloved children said, "No. They are annoying. I don't like them." I was shocked.

I sat there for a moment, hesitating. My kids are usually pretty good judges of character and they are usually very kind to others. If they don't want to help these kids during this dreadful weather, there must be a good reason. This indecision lasted about 30 seconds, then I thought, "Screw it! Even if my kids were annoying heathens (jury is still out on this), I'd still want someone to help them in this kind of weather." So I rolled down the window and asked the kids if they wanted to get out of the rain. "Yes, thank you!" was of course the response.

We have a small SUV, so I opened the hatch and they crawled in the back, now completely out of the elements, safe and sound. They turned out to be in middle school (boy 6th grade, girl 7th grade), and while they were a tad annoying and due to a few of their comments and stories, would not be my first choice of companions for my children, they were polite and grateful for the shelter.

I'm not really sure how to handle this situation. I'm disappointed in the choice my boys made, and I'm ashamed at myself for even momentarily supporting their decision. Perhaps I have not been a good enough example to them. I think some random acts of kindness are in order, so they can see how good it feels to help others.


If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.  ~Bob Hope

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bueller? Bueller?

Frye?     Frye?

If you were born before the 1980's you will should understand the above Ferris Bueller's Day Off reference.

If not....Are You There God? It's Me Margaret. Crap! That was another 80's reference, and my name is not Margaret. Hmmmm....

"Is Anybody Out There?" Damn! An 80's Def Leppard lyric...but wait! Ha! It is a Maroon 5 song, too, and I think from the current decade :)

Anyhoo...just wondering if anyone is reading this? If you read the comment on the previous post, you can see that I have resorted to talking to myself and that's never a good thing. We usually get into arguments. That chick is crazy!

I was told that the comment option wasn't working for everyone, so I turned off the security features. It should work now, so unless you want me to fight with that crazy chick some more, pity me and start commenting.

I am all alone here,
there is no one here beside me,
all my problems they are gone,
there is no one to deride me...

Uh we are in the 1970's. (Donkey doesn't count!)


We can stay up late, swapping manly stories, and in the morning, I'm making waffles! - Donkey, Shrek

Concerned Mom or Stalker? You Decide...

As previously discussed, Son #1 is in Branson, MO with his high school band. I'm a very involved parent (not enough to chaperon the trip, you have to be dedicated crazy to do that), but I like to think that we communicate well, and I know most of what is going on in his life. We talk. At least I thought we did...

Fast forward to today, he's almost 700 miles away from me and on a trip that I've spent 6 months paying for. I'd like to know how he's doing, is he having fun, how was the drive, is there a tornado about to touch down, is he still alive, you know, silly things like that. I've gotten one text from him and it was to ask me where I packed something. When I text him, I get one word responses...yep, nope, fine. At least I know he is healthy enough to text back 3 to 4 letter responses.

So, if you're keeping score: Concerned Mom, 1 point   Stalker, 0 points  (yay!)

But we can't just leave it there can we? No.

That is where Facebook and 15 year old girls come into play. You see, I'm Facebook friends with a girl in the band who is also on the trip. This girl is awesome. I've known her most of her life, and I enjoy being Facebook friends with her.

One huge difference between 15 year old boys and 15 year old girls is that boys text their moms one word updates, whereas girls post pictures, check ins, and LOTS of comments on Facebook. I know everything that Son #1 is doing, but only because I am stalking following this girl on Facebook.

So, keep the one word texts coming kiddo, so I know your still alive. And keep the Facebook post coming, sweet girl, looks like a fabulous trip so far.

Concerned mom: 1 point    Stalker: 1 point

Tied! I can live with that,

I tell my child, if I seem obsessed to always know where you've been, it is because my DNA will be found at the scene.  ~Robert Brault

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sick Flick

If you know me, or you've read the rest of this blog (which I highly recommend, of course), you know a few things about me:

1) I have 2 boys (teenagers).

2) We have been sick.

So far only son#2 (once again, numbered by age, not preference, because if so, right now he'd be son#10) and myself have gotten sick. We have been sick for over a week and we've been trapped at home together by our snotty, sneezy, coughy selves all day. Throw in intense back pain cause by said coughing and sneezing, and it's been a long week.

Another fact about me:

1) I love movies.

When I find a movie I really like, I can watch it over and over. This leads me to a quirk that my family has and I'm wondering if other people have the same thing. We have a "sick movie." This is the movie we put on when someone is sick and stuck in bed.

When the boys were very young and had little say in our viewing choices, my "sick movie" was The American President starring Michael Douglas and Annette Bening. After son#1 was born and I was on maternity leave, I think I probably watched this movie at least 3 to 4 times a day. It's crazy, I know, I can't really explain it but it is what it is. President Andrew Shepherd and I spent a lot of time together. I should have joined his re-election campaign.

But time moves on and now we have a new "sick movie." Don't judge or be a hater, it's not the greatest movie ever, but it is one of the funniest. "Sick movies" should basically be brain candy. You put the movie on and it takes you away from everything for awhile, without a lot of thinking involved. That all said, our current "sick movie" is Galaxy Quest starring Tim Allen, Alan Rickman, and Sigourney Weaver.

So I'm curious...are we the only ones that do this? Do you have a "sick movie? If so, what is it? Well, I must much coughing, sneezing and snotting left to do today.

Never give up, never surrender!

Lewis Rothschild: Who're we calling, sir?
President Andrew Shepherd: I'm calling the Organization of the United Brotherhood of It's None of Your Damn Business, Lewis. I'll be with you in a second.
- Michael J Fox and Michael Douglas, The American President

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Not Firing on all Cylinders

Some sort of The Plague has hit our house.

It just so happens that choir and band directors schedule a lot of events during the week before Spring Break, so this is not a good time to be sick.

Also, did you know that extra strength extended release Mucinex makes you loopy as a lopsided kite? Yes, it does, which made the middle school choir concert last night much more interesting than normal. Turns out giggling during an acapella ballad sung by 40 teenage girls will get you severely glared at. Oops.

Another thing, a bad back + sneezing fit = trip to back doctor. Be warned.


I reckon being ill as one of the great pleasures of life, provided one is not too ill and is not obliged to work till one is better.  ~Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh, 1903

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Loving and Letting Go

I love these kids. These boys bring out the best and worst in me. They bring out motherly love and also annoy the crap out of me sometimes. They bring out the mama bear protective instincts and then sometimes I wish I had ate them when they were young like lions do. They challenge my creativity with school projects and they also suck the energy out of me with constant bickering like toddlers rather than teenagers. Some nights I'm inspired to create healthy tasty dinners for them and sometimes I yell at them when they ask me what's for dinner and tell them to just cook a frozen pizza. Yin and Yang, Peace and Strife, Sane and Crazy.

Then there are times when I have to let them spread their wings and go live their lives without me and I'm scared to death. In the above picture, they had gone on a cross country RV trip with their grandparents for 2 weeks and then flew home by themselves for the very first time. My husband had to take this picture, because I was a puddle of crying goo on the floor, recovering from the fear of them being gone and the joy of them returning.

Next week my older son is going on a trip to Branson, MO with his high school band. It is a 14 hour bus ride and he will be in a hotel room with 3 other boys for 4 nights. Part of me (the crazy, mama bear part) doesn't want him to go, I want him by my side forever and always so I know he is safe. The other part of me (sane, very rarely seen part) is so excited that he gets to take trips like this and spend time with his friends. Then...sigh...a tornado hit Branson last night. Crap! I wasn't even worried about weather related problems, UNTIL NOW!

Letting them go live their own lives is so very hard. I know I have raised them right and they have the skills to take care of themselves (unless they have to open a package of frozen waffles...long story). But it's so hard. I've loved, protected and sheltered them for so many years, it feels unnatural to let them go. I know growing up is hard for them, but it's hard on me, too.

Oh yeah, and someone please find a way to erase from my mind the fact that I'm putting my younger son on a plane to Washington, DC in June.



Little children, headache; big children, heartache.  ~Italian Proverb

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spike The Wonder Dog

This is our dog Spike. He is such a handsome boy. We rescued him from a local animal shelter about 4 years ago. I love him so much, but he's about the hairiest damn dog ever. His mother was a German Shepherd and his dad was probably a Husky. Oh the hair! But he's worth it.
Recently, I made the mistake of trying to teach him to talk. When he first wakes up he howls when he stretches. It's like he's telling everyone "Good Morning!" I think it's cute, so I tried teaching him to talk with hot dogs and pretty much the last bite of whatever I'm eating.

Big mistake! Now whenever he wants something to eat, he barks...loudly! He's only doing what he was taught, so it's not his fault, but when you are getting a midnight snack, he will wake up the whole house! Oops, maybe I stumbled upon an unintended diet plan.

It's ruff,

If dogs could talk, perhaps we would find it as hard to get along with them as we do with people.   -Capek

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chain of Events

It's amazing how thoughts and actions build off each other. Here is the chain of events that led to today's realization:

My house was a mess. We had to declutter the whole downstairs just to start cleaning.

I asked my son to put on some music. He tried to start Itunes but it wouldn't open. It had a DEP error, whatever that is.

I tried debugging, I tried repairing, but none of that worked. Last resort before uninstalling was a Windows System Restore. Restore basically takes your computer back in time to a previous date to undo damage to system files.

Here is where actions and thoughts collided. I can restore my computer to a earlier date, wouldn't it be great if there was a Life System Restore?

Just imagine being able to restore your life to a previous point in time to undo damage to life system files. What time would I go back to? What would I change?

My son was sitting with me while I was pondering all this, and once I stopped and thought about it, I realized I can't go back and do things differently, but I can teach him what I've learned.

Don't wait until the time is right to pursue your dreams, the time will never be ideal, just do it, even if it's baby steps. Save money and live beneath your means. You don't need the best new latest gadget. Buy quality things that last and take care of them. Brush your teeth everyday. Floss. If you don't enjoy vacuuming, don't buy a hairy dog. Never buy a pet rabbit, they stink. Back up your computer.

Ride lots of roller coasters. Whee!

What would you do if you were not afraid? - Oprah Winfrey

Friday, February 24, 2012

Love and Rebuffering

I have a confession, I'm addicted to Netflix. I love being able to instantly stream a whole TV series and watch years worth of shows in a few days. I've become so spoiled by the absence of commercials that it is very hard for me to watch regular TV anymore.

And the medical dramas, oh how I love the medical dramas! ER, Grey's Anatomy, Mercy, and so many more! They fascinate me, I get so wrapped up in the story. I've watched so many episodes of Grey's Anatomy lately, I feel like I live in Seattle.

There's one fly in the ointment, rebuffering. I get so wrapped up in the story and then the dreaded red bar shows up. I don't even know what a "rebuffer" is. At least with commercials, you know when they are coming, but not with rebuffering. It just sneaks it's crappy little self in when you're least expecting it.

All in all, it's worth it. Maybe I need to find a hobby that only requires a short attention span that I can do while rebuffering. Any ideas? Knitting scarves for chihuahuas. Reading great works of literature through Cliff Notes. It just feels like I'm wasting so much time, while I'm wasting time watching TV.

Not an earth shattering problem, I realize, but if you have a Netflix account I know you understand.

Rebuffering victims unite!

I wish there was a knob on the TV so you could turn up the intelligence.  They got one marked "brightness" but it don't work, does it?  ~Leo Anthony Gallagher

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Magnetic Chili Dog

Yesterday was another in a series of crazy days. I had to do the intricate evening ballet dance of getting two boys to two activities, grocery shop and pick up dinner. It was suggested (by my ravenous children) that instead of getting a pizza and cooking it when we got home, we should get Sonic instead, and "Hey Mom! It's half price burger night!"

This suggestion was made at about 5:30pm and from that moment on, all I could think about was a foot long chili cheese dog. I know they are probably the least nutritious bad for you food on the planet, but I really wanted one. I was craving one. It's like a chili cheese covered frankfurter parasite crawled in my brain and took up residence there.

We proceeded through our evening, picked up #2 son (rated by age not preference, because goodness knows the ranking would change frequently) from the bus stop, drove into town, renewed library books, picked up #1 son from band practice, drove #2 son to choir practice, dropped off recycling, short grocery store run, pick up #2 son, and then headed to Sonic.

At this point, it's around 7:30pm and my stomach isn't feeling too well, so I squash the chili dog parasite craving and order a kids meal instead. Of course there was a lot of other food ordered once the two bottomless pit kids and husband got done ordering. They bring the food out in a BIG shopping bag...its a bit embarrassing. I mean, come on, one car load of people does not need that much food!! Oh well, I just point to the teenage boys in the car and everyone understands.

So I'm handing out the copious amounts of food and there is one bag left over. I look inside and it's a freaking foot long chili cheese dog!! I didn't order it, I swear. Somehow it got mixed in with our order (which was complete). My husband's eyes lit up when he saw it, because he knew I wasn't going to be able to eat it. Damn it! I attracted a foot long chili cheese dog and don't even get to eat it. He and the dog ended up splitting it. I couldn't even finish my dried up kids burger. Sniff, Sniff.

Today I'm going to think about a chili cheese covered winning lottery ticket!

Winner winner, chili cheese dog dinner,

May the dragon of life only roast your hot dogs, and not your buns. - ??

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Last First

I've been gone about 4 days...sorry, it's been a rough weekend. Now, I know I promised not to go all negative on y'all, and I'm really not. Life can't be all sunshine and roses. If you don't have dark times, you truly cannot appreciate the light times. This weekend was a time of mourning and reflection, but also celebration and fellowship. I spent Saturday with my dear departed friend's family to dedicate her headstone and lay her ashes in their final resting place. It was sad, yet beautiful.

Today is the one year anniversary of her death. I realized something today that brings a closure to this year, we are on our last "first." The first Christmas without her, the first birthday without her, and now the first year with out her. Starting tomorrow, we have all survived that particular day of the year without her. There is a certain comfort in that.

Last February 20th, none of us knew how we would go on. How could we get through our days without that beautiful woman in it? But we did. We all survived what was probably the hardest year of our lives, so far.

One year. So much has happened in a year. So many things she didn't get to do and see. So many things I didn't get to tell her and laugh or cry with her about. There is this new mascara out that she will be so pissed off that she missed (if you know her, you'll appreciate that, she LOVED mascara).

Don't take any day for granted. Don't waste anymore time on fear or doubt. Take control of your life and live with intention. Choose love. Choose joy. Share these with others so the energy is multiplied and more love and joy are drawn to you.

What did I do today? I took care of me. I went to the doctor for a checkup. I had lunch with my husband. I hugged and laughed with my boys when they got home. I shared dinner with my family. I told them I loved them, then I spent some quiet time and pictured my sweet friend in my mind. I told her all that she has missed and all that I have learned since she left us. I'm sure she is a busy girl, as there are probably a lot of people doing the same thing today.

You never know what tomorrow brings, but I promise you, you cannot regret any day that you spend in the state of love, joy and/or gratitude.

Carry on,

Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend.  - Plautus

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Joy: Positive Thoughts

Facebook is an amazing social experiment. In one day, you can read about what has happened to hundreds of your "friends." It sometimes shocks me at the details some people reveal on Facebook. One thing I have noticed is the power that positive thinking has on a person's life.

I have a few friends that only post about what is negative in their lives. I don't think they realize they are doing it, but their posts chronicle the bad things happening to them. These post range from everything to illness, job loss, marital problems, financial problems, and much more. What these people don't realize is that by focusing and posting their negative thoughts, they are amplifying them, giving energy to them and attracting more of the same. Things are not going to get better until they change their thoughts and focus on the good things in their lives. Everyone has SOMETHING they can be grateful for, even if its just the fact that you were able to wake up this morning. If all else fails, start with that.

Then there is Bee. I'm not going to use her real name, so I'll just call her Bee. I met this wonderful woman a couple of years ago and from that first day, I knew she was something special. She is absolutely the most positive, upbeat person I have ever met. She draws you in with laughter and joy. I have never seen her with out a smile on her face. Do bad things happen in her life, sure. Is her life perfect, probably not.

Here is what Bee does that truly inspires me. Her Facebook posts are 100% positive. She writes about all the great things that happen in her life, what wonderful friends she has, and a whole lot of jokes and funny pictures. Everyone comments about how much her posts cheer them up or make them laugh. Not only does she focus on the positive, but she lifts up and inspires others.

Good things happen to Bee because that is what she focuses on and thinks about. She gives energy to the joy in her life and therefore she attracts more joy. I am so thankful that I can be a small part of that joy.

Give energy to what you want in your life. Its simple physics: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Give out joy, get back joy. Give out negativity, get back more negativity. Start small and be thankful for small things (sunshine, clean water, a hug).

Thanks Bee, keep on making me smile, I love you!

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.  -Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Gratitude: Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day

I've never been a big fan of Valentine's Day. It's a made up holiday that encourages us to buy (sometimes expensive) gifts for our "Valentine's." But even I'm not immune to the feelings of love and gratitude that today can evoke.

Last night, my oldest son bought his first Valentine's present for a girl. He used his own money and picked out a stuffed puppy holding a heart. It was sweet, and this morning he got on the bus with his huge, heavy back pack, trombone, and the stuffed puppy. Awww, I hope she likes it.

This morning, I surprised the boys with cupcakes (and sausage) for breakfast. I hid cards and chocolate kisses in their lunch boxes. There were also extra hugs and kisses this morning.

In a few minutes, my husband is coming to pick me up for lunch. We get to spend a few precious minutes out and about on our own. With our busy schedules, a date night is almost impossible, so we treasure our date lunches.

I am so grateful that I have these wonderful men in my life. I've never known as pure of love as I get from my sweet boys. They are truly a gift from the Universe. I am ever so grateful for their father, the most honest, kind, loving man I have ever met.

I may be a Valentine's Grinch, but I think my heart grew 2 sizes today.


All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt. - Charles M. Schulz

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love: What do your kids see?

Motherhood is the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done. I have two teenage boys and they truly are amazing young men. I know that I've done more good than harm to them, but it is not always easy.

As moms we want our kids to be perfect. When they come into breakfast in the morning, my first reaction is to tell them to button this or tuck in that. Thankfully, early on in their lives I heard a interview with Maya Angelou and Oprah and Maya asked, "What do your children see on your face when they walk in the room? Do they see you taking inventory and finding them lacking?"

I am guilty of this sometimes, but I try to keep my face open and welcome them in the mornings with love. Who really cares if their clothes are perfect? If it's important enough to them, they will figure it out. In our house it's hugs and kisses first thing in the morning, then breakfast, then we talk about the events of the upcoming day and I tell them to do their best and have fun, then if they need it, I'll suggest maybe a gentle "comb your hair" or "zip your pants" (that is a pretty important one).

In the afternoons, I make an effort to be super excited to see them when they get home. Sometimes I am tired or in a bad mood, but I want them to know how happy I am to be with them again. Then we talk about their day, I ask about any homework or projects that need to be done, and then I ask them to tell me at least one good thing that happened to them today. This last one shows me what is most important to them. With one son, it's almost always something that happened in band, and the other, it's usually something that happened in theater.

All parents are different. All kids are different. We are all human, and we all crave love and acceptance. Now that you are aware, what does your child see when he/she looks into your face? Let it be love and you will both be the better for it.


If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, and then go out in the street and start grinning "Good Morning" to total strangers.  - Maya Angelou

Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm learning as I go

I'm new to this Blog thing, so I apologize if there have been any problems with the site. Here are things I think I have fixed:

1) Follow Me By Email button is now working. If you would like to receive an email when there is a new post, sign up in the box on the right.

2) I moved the Share It button up where you can see it. If you enjoy the post, please feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for reading,


We made too many wrong mistakes. - Yogi Berra

Goodbye orange duck tape!

If you've read the previous posts, you know that I try, as much as possible to fill my life with love, joy, and happiness. That's true, but in reality, problems do occur and frustration does mount. In the past I've let these problems get to me and ruin my day, but today something magical happened.

We have a hole in our bathtub. It started small and I put clear sealant over it. It got bigger and I put duck tape over it (all I had was bright orange, truly an uglier bathtub could not be found). Yesterday, it got much worse and sealant and orange duck tape were no longer a solution.

I really don't like calling repairmen. I like fixing things myself, doing lots of research and watching videos until I feel confident I can do it. In the past I have learned that I can change out and do routine maintenance on the hot water heater, replace the heating element in the oven, replace the belt on the dryer, and most recently changed the brake pads and rotors on my car. My husband just shakes his head at me and probably wishes I wasn't so stubborn about fixing things.

Back to the tub, he told me to call a repairman, but first I did my research, watched dozens of videos, and located an online store that sold do-it-yourself kits. I pondered awhile, but finally admitted that although I probably could fix it (poorly), it would be better to call a professional. After calling 3 places and leaving 3 messages, frustration started to set in. I want to fix it, but I can't. I called the repairmen, but they didn't answer. The frustration was mounting, and in the back of my head was the thought that this is going to cost way too much.

Finally, someone called me back. He sounded capable but not very friendly. He was annoyed about driving out to where we live, but there was nothing I could do about that, the tub ain't coming to you, buddy! Then he quoted $550 and after a small panic attack, I grumpily made the appointment, for next week.

I really wasn't happy about this, I pondered replacing the whole tub and putting up tile instead of the shower surround, but that was just too scary and if there were problems, it was going to cost a lot more than $550. But of course, I watched videos about installing tubs and tile. Then the magic happened...

I found a video that featured this very cheerful, kind hearted man that refinished and repaired tubs. I watch several of his videos, and I was so excited about them, I'd start another one before the previous one ended. I really wished THIS GUY could come fix my tub, wishing with all my heart that he lived near me, but what were the odds of that? About that time, the phone rang and while I talked on the phone, the current video was coming to an end and I saw the location of the company out of the corner of my eye. What? Where? Oh my goodness, this guy's company was in the large city next to us and said it serviced the surrounding cities!!

I immediately called the number and Jose, the man in the videos answered the phone. We had a wonderful conversation, he said I might not need such extensive repairs and he would be very honest about what we needed once he came out. We laughed and shared stories and talked about the videos and then he asked me if I wanted to schedule an appointment now. YES, of course! Then he checks his calendar and says they had a big job that got cancelled for tomorrow and could they come out on Saturday? Abso-freaking-lutely! Then he quoted me the price, $130 less than the previous quote.

It's still expensive, but I am so excited! I don't have to take a day off work, it will cost less, and I get to support the business of this wonderful, kind owner. It sounds corny, I know, but if I'm going to spend the money, I'd much rather support Jose's business than the grumpy grump that I first talked to.

Trust your instincts, take your time, follow your heart, and say good bye to orange duck tape!


To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity. --Douglas Adams

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happiness: A Choice

I have always heard that happiness was a choice, but I never understood what that meant. I didn't get it. I thought you were either happy or not, sort of like being hungry or not. Looking back, I was a happy child, with a great life. My parents were wonderful, school came easy for me, rarely did I get sick, and I had a small circle of great friends.

As I got older, a few speed bumps came into my life, but nothing that I couldn't handle. I lost grandparents, but they all lived full, wonderful lives and although their passing was hard, it was not unexpected. I lost boyfriends, but in the end, that was a blessing in disguise, and I married a kind, honest, loving man. My life was blessed, but it was my normal, it's all I knew.

Then came 2011. It started great, with a fabulous 10 day trip to Italy. Then 2 weeks after I got back, my world fell apart. I had one truly close friend. She was the person that knew all the bad stuff about me and loved me anyway. She was the one that knew all my "inside" jokes and thought I was one of the funniest people on the planet. We spent hours on the phone without really saying anything, just "girl talk." One day she was there, the next day she wasn't. Gone, just like that, and I was the last person that she ever talked to.

How do you deal with a loss like that when your life had been so easy. Nothing prepared me for this and I did not handle it well. I spent most of 2011 in tears, in panic attacks, in sad isolation, overeating, lock in nightmares, and just plain miserable. I'd never been this sad. How do I get happy again, I'd ask my husband, over and over, but he said he didn't know either.

Then in December, I read somewhere that happiness is a choice. What?! If happiness is a choice, does that mean sadness is a choice, because I certainly didn't want to be sad. Maybe I had been sad long enough, certainly she wouldn't want me to feel like this. So, I decided that in 2012, I was going to CHOOSE happiness.

Here we are two months later. It really has been amazing what a difference intentional happiness has made in my life. I still have difficult moments, and sometimes I let them come, but most of the time, I stop and acknowledge the sad feelings and then let them go, take a deep breath, and smile. At first, I kind of had to fake it, but that was OK, all new skills take practice. Now, it is so much easier and the positive energy in my life attracts happy memories of my friend. What a gift.

Life is going to happen one way or the other. If you choose happiness or not, your future still unfolds. My experience shows me that one act of joy, happiness, or love snowballs and attracts more. If you give out happiness, it returns back to you. Grief has it's place, and I learned a lot from it, but it needs to have a beginning and an end. It ends when you choose. Choose happiness, smile, give thanks...breathe.


What is the meaning of life? To be happy and useful. - Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Gratitude: Thank You

The two most powerful words: Thank You.

Thank you. How many times a day do you say it? It's polite to say, "Thank You," but do you say it as an automatic response, or do you really mean it and feel the gratitude that the words convey? I would wager most people fall in the automatic response category, but to truly feel gratitude and mean it is a magical thing.

Challenge yourself to feel the gratitude in your words when you thank someone.  When others say Thank You, smile and say with deliberate intent, You're Welcome, and mean it. The exchange of gratitude and appreciation is a magical thing if it is done with feeling and intent.

Thank You. Thank you for reading this, thank you for contemplating deliberate gratitude and appreciation, but most of all, thank you for just being you.


If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.  ~Meister Eckhart

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Welcome to Over Joyful. This blog is intended to be a place to learn and share ideas through love, joy and gratitude. There are plenty of places on the web to read news (good and bad), gossip, and editorials...these are not my intentions.

I was looking for a place to read about love, joy, and gratitude. Books that brought joy, movies that promoted love and gratitude, stories that inspired. I needed to find a place that made me feel good every time I went to it. I couldn't find a site or blog that fit the mold I was looking for, so I created one.

Please feel free to share with your comments. If you feel you have a great idea or post to add, email me and I would love to have guest contributors. This blog is intended to be a place of sharing. In the future, I will share my story with you and how I came to live in a place of love and gratitude through intention.

Thank you for visiting, I look forward to "seeing" you again,

"Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into." - Dr. Wayne Dyer