The Crazy Crew

The Crazy Crew

Saturday, December 25, 2010


It is Christmas! A wonderful day each year, that is filled with love and joy. It means family, great food and cuddling on the couch all day in our jammies. It is remembering back when we were little where the miracle of the season and thoughts of Santa made your soul just about burst open with anticipation. Each year I relive those feelings as I look at our tree, wrapped gifts, and stockings.

It has officially been a year since I adventured into blogging . . . not very many entries after 365 days. Maybe my goal for 2011 will be to have a few more than my previous year. I must remember that it doesn’t have to be a special occasion or special date on the calendar to have something good enough to share. Sometimes the more random the day the better the entry can be.

Today while my heart was full of blessings the day was also full of the following things:

Food: We have twice been in food comas today. First for breakfast, with a sausage, egg, and cheese casserole as well as pumpkin pecan French toast (thank you Brave Girls Club for the recipe.) Second with our Turkey dinner that included stuffing, corn, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and croissants. We cooked for 10 even though we are three!

Gifts: While we had the true gifts of this day . . . a roof over our heads, money to pay our bills, food on our table and a healthy family we also received presents from one another and our family. I received from Alex a silver open-heart necklace, a symbol that will remind me to allow love to flow in and out freely. From my loving husband Lester I received a silver key necklace with an open heart in it. I think that means I have the key to his heart, but to be sure, you would have to ask him. : ) I also received lamps so I don’t have to craft in the dark and a new baking dish to replace my favorite one that was broken earlier this year. I was lucky enough to be given a stuffed Christmas moose (they know I am still a child at heart), music and a movie (two of my favorite pastimes.) I was also blessed with wonderful gifts from my father and Sue, which included a beautiful shirt and jewelry for wearing to work. Lester, Alex, Moose and Penny also received many wonderful things for which they are appreciative and currently enjoying.

Family time: By far my most favorite part of Christmas is togetherness traditions. Starting with everyone getting into their Christmas Eve jammies the night before to watching holiday movies together, cooking alongside one another in the kitchen and laughing . . . I love the laughter as we do all the things of the day together.

I hope that each of you had a Christmas full of what you and your family find wonderful. I wish for each of you that the spirit of the season and the true reason of the day, Jesus, was found in each of your homes today as you tended to those things that make you feel just a bit more together than you do on the other 364 days of the year.

Merry Christmas to each of you!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Miracles happen . . . anyway.

I asked for a puppy for Christmas. We will be moving in the next few months so I knew it wouldn’t happen but as with all miracles they happen . . . anyway. Last Wednesday at 5 am my husband and I were heading to work and there was a little dog walking in very heavy traffic. My husband said you want to get that so I jumped out of the car, ran into the busy road and scooped up the dog. We took her home and put her in our back yard while we headed to work. I called my daughter who was sleeping at home and told her about the little dog. She gave it a bath and took it to the vet to see if there was a microchip . . . there was not. We checked with all shelters, local vets and all over Craig’s list, no luck finding anyone looking for this little sweetie. The next day we took her to the vet so she could be checked out while we still looked for the owner and found out that she was about 10, had an injured eye, which needed medicine, her teeth were bad and needed medicine and she was a bit dehydrated and underweight at 8.4 lbs. We left the vet with medicines and special food to help her gain weight while we continued to wait for someone to be missing her . . . It is now 6 days later, which in our state is the waiting period before a stray dog can be considered yours. It will be a little while before she is completely healthy, she heads back to the vet on Christmas Eve for her blood work, but she has perked up considerable with a bit of medicine, food and water. I don’t know if she was my miracle Christmas “puppy” or if we were her Christmas miracle family. It is funny how things work out . . . anyway. By the way, we named her Penny and she has a home for Christmas.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Recently I have been thinking about traditions. Specifically holiday traditions. Last year since we had just made the move to Arizona and we were exceedingly broke, we didn’t follow many of the normal traditions that we have had as a family in years prior. There was no shopping the day after Thanksgiving, we didn’t hold our annual Colcord Kringle Mingle, we didn’t have family near and couldn’t afford to go home to attend the festive events, our decorations were minimal and we all felt displaced and a little less holidayish in general. Of course, some traditions made it through. I am not complaining at all though. Chirstmas may have been lean but that does not mean that it was a lean Christmas. Does that make sense? We really reconnected last year with the meaning of Christmas and not the commercialism of the season.

I have a bit of experience with moving, changing, and letting go of holiday traditions. My Mother was the one who demonstrated changing a tradition will not kill you . . . even if you think it will. When I was little we used to open up our Christmas presents from family and friends on Christmas Eve. The thought was it was then less hectic when we went nuts over the Santa gifts on Christmas morning. Christmas Eve could be civil this way, we could take notes on what was received so our thank you notes could be sent in a few days. Christmas morning could be more chaotic because everything came from Santa.

Why am I telling you this? Well one year my Mother decided that the Christmas feeling was often gone much too soon on Christmas day and decided that now we would open one gift on Christmas Eve (it took us forever to choose the “one”) with the remaining gifts being opened on Christmas morning along with the Santa presents. My brother and I went along with this, we had no choice. It was a year later when my Mother decided we would all now go out to breakfast on Christmas morning BEFORE opening any presents. My brother and I thought we may actually die from the waiting! We still got that gift on Christmas Eve to open, but now we were told which gift we could open . . . new pajamas. I now understand this theory . . . with new pajamas you ensure your kids do not look like ragamuffins in the Christmas Eve and Christmas day photos. Well played Mom!

Now, this going out to breakfast thing turned out not to be too bad and I very clearly remember one snowy and icy Christmas morning when we were returning from our breakfast that we came upon a family who’s car has slid off the road. My Dad was able to help pull them out of the ditch and get them on their way. Talk about feeling Christmas spirit. I was still in grade school when this happened but to this day, that memory makes me proud of my Dad. My theory is that we went to breakfast that morning so we would be in the right place to help that family. Changing traditions isn’t so bad. Thanks to my Mom for this lesson.

So, let’s move years ahead and talk about how sometimes traditions change with marriage and divorce. Gosh knows I have been down both these roads, a couple of times. With my first marriage, I learned about Christmas Tree compromise. I like an artificial green tree, multicolored lights and a hodgepodge of ornaments, which I have made, been given, and collected over the years. My first husband wanted a real tree, flocked completely white with all blue decorations. I gave in because you just can’t blend those two tree dreams. Needles fell off, I had to water it, flocking was everywhere. To this day, I think it was awful. I have no doubt he thought it was beautiful. With the exit of the first husband also went the flocked and blue tree. In its place was a little 4 foot tree my parents bought for Alex and I. Perfect for our little duplex and lives. We had that tree and used it every year until . . . marriage # 2. With the second husband again came the real tree (Hate it) but this time no flocking and I was able to put my wide variety of decorations on the tree. Then shortly later bye bye ex and bye bye real tree. That year I upgraded to a 7 foot prelit tree. Multi-colored bulbs of delight on a fantastic green tree. This is the tree I use to this day.

My point? Well, the point is some traditions are really deep in you. The green tree with the multicolored lights and hodgepodge ornaments is what I grew up with. It looks like Christmas to me and that is what makes my soul happy. My mother also loved that stringy tinsel that you found around the house until Valentine's Day but since I didn’t I tweeked the tradition just a bit. That is ok too. Keep what you love, toss what you don’t. I know single parents who do or do not keep doing something because their ex did it even though they don’t particularly like it. You know what let you ex keep doing or not doing that thing . . . you do something else. Even if you have kids! Give your kids the gift of knowing the things that make you feel Christmas in your heart. If there is a special cookie, bake it. If there is a special movie (Miracle on 34th Street, Thanks again Mom), watch it. If there is something that makes you feel grinchy and not holiday (fruit in stockings), toss it. The sooner you do, the more of that Christmas joy you will feel.

This year the Colcord Kringle Mingle is back, the house is festive from one end to the other, we made it home to Idaho for Thanksgiving, did a bit of shopping the next day and those Christmas Eve gifts are waiting under the tree . . . only one for each person, you know what they are, they know what they are but it is a tradition worth keeping. We still have to figure out what our new traditons will be now that it is the three of us and Moose in Arizona. I may not know exactly what those will be at this minute but I can promise you if the idea doesn’t jingle my bells it will be tossed out. This time of year, I want all those festive words from my Christmas music obsession to be in my life. Holly, jolly, joy, holy, merry, faithful, wonderland, Rockin’, family and home.

Let your traditions stay a while or evolve with you. Know that traditions are not written on stone tablets they are written on soft hearts.

Wishing each of you a holiday filled with wonderful tradition old and new.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Final Countdown to 39 . . .

Halloween . . . and the final countdown of my 38th year. In just 9 short days I will be 39. This is my very favorite time of year . . . from Halloween through New Years. This time of year more than any other is about family, friends, delicious food, and crafting. How can you go wrong? But as we approach the end of another year of my life I began wondering . . . Have I learned much in the last year? I think so. I have focused on being less critical, more forgiving, and letting go of things (thanks in part to the TV show Hoarders.) I have worked hard to make sure and say I love you more, I am disappointed less, and no to buying things I don’t really want or need. This honestly is an accomplishment, thinking much more of others and a lot less of myself. I believe the older I get the softer I get on the inside, as well as the outside. LOL

Part of my softening up on the inside had me feeling like I needed to be more a part of something bigger than myself. I have always done volunteering in small bursts or when options came available at work in the past. I have put together Thanksgiving baskets and handed them out, adopted families or taken tags off of Christmas angel trees and bought gifts, participated in Rake up Boise and other community events but never done something that is continual . . . until now. Before I left Idaho I had looked at becoming involved with the Junior League there. For those of you who do not know, Junior League is an organization of women who better their communities through a variety of projects and volunteerism. My last several months in Idaho were a whirlwind and I did not end up joining.

My desire to give back was even stronger after those many months where my own family (with only myself working) struggled to make ends meet. I began to wonder how I could become more involved in a city where I was new and did not know many people, outside of work, my thoughts returned to the Junior League. I found the Junior League of Phoenix (JLP) online and as fate often does it stepped in. I happened to email them the last week they were accepting applications for new members this year. I attending my first provisional member meeting and quickly found out that JLP was a great place to get started giving back. The JLP president talked about being kind, humble, and about how an organization of women all choosing to better the community and volunteer was fallible . . . she spoke of how because we were all volunteers we must have extra kindness and care with each other. This struck me because often people coming together to do something good become angry at one another when things do not go as they themselves planned or pictured it to be. I liked that she was cautioning us to be aware of this and remember we each were part of the Junior League for our own personal reasons and to lift each other up, not tear each other down.

Since joining I have not only been involved with a variety of projects and volunteer opportunities with JLP but I have been introduced to many great organizations that run because of volunteers. I have been able to help out with book drives, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and Girl Scout events. I continue to find additional ways to be involved and love that the feeling to do and to give to others becomes even stronger. I have noticed my life blessings are so abundant, not that they weren’t before but I have a much higher appreciation and notice each and every one of them now, no matter how small.

So what will I do with my 39th year of life? I think I will spend the year doing my very best to love completely, give freely, be grateful and content, and remember every day to be thankful for the blessing of wonderful friends and family in my life. The rest will take care of itself . . . I have faith that fate and God have me right where I am meant to be.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sometimes they come home . . .

. . . and the return to the nest is bittersweet. Terribly sad that the dreams and hopes that were originally held have not come to pass . . . thrilling because a part of your heart returns to you even though you know it will not remain with you forever and you will feel the loss again in the future.

A year after dropping Alex off at college she decided the real world wasn’t as bright and friendly as expected. She decided to pursue new options and build a new path for herself back at home . . . another new home, in Arizona. So much big change for a new adult learning the way to fly on her own. I am proud she made the tough decision to change direction when something was not quite right in her life, so many people never learn that skill.

I always tried to make sure she knew that when you make a wrong turn or mistake in life, and everyone does, the best thing to do is reassess and find a new direction . . . a better direction. Heaven knows she has seen her mother make enough U-turns in life when it comes to relationships, education, jobs and any other subject. For so many of my moments blurred by some mini life crisis, mostly brought on by my bad choices, there was one thing that was a constant . . . for 18 years there was a bright spot even on my darkest days . . . that was Alex. She is a major reason that today I have the happiness in life that I do. Whether she ever knew it or not she was often the one reason to get out of bed and try again . . . find something better, be better.

Now that Alex has returned to my home and my heart is all plump and happy I am ready to help her to try again . . . my mother and father did it for me, so many times, and I will do it for her. I will bandage and help her strengthen her wings, encourage her to keep flapping no matter how harsh the weather is that blows her back, and I will be there every time squawking and flapping my own wings hoping the words I can share and the examples I set are helpful as she creates her own path across the sky.

Just in case any of you were wondering . . . I will tell you what I know from experience and what I have told my daughter often, Life allows do overs. Don't be afraid to use them. Some of the best things in my life happened on a do over!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Things that I thought may never happen.

My life has not exactly taken the most straight or smoothest of paths to where I am today. You could say I like to learn some, ok most of my lessons the hard way. Would you like some of my top examples? It took me 17 years to get my bachelor’s degree. In 2004 when I finally went back to finish what I started I realized I had wasted 6 years of time in classes and so much money and I had nothing to show for it . I have been married 3 times; one I can say I was too young to know better, blame it on young love, but that second one . . . man, I should have known better. I had a 2 year old when most people my age were looking forward to turning 21 with their whole lives ahead of them. I spent years jumping from crappy job to dead end job and needing the support of my parents into my late 20’s, they bailed me out of more dumb decisions than I care to even remember.

Do I regret all the wrong paths I took to get where I am today? No, I do not. Would I recommend my path to my daughter who at 19 sometimes makes decisions that make me want to beat my head against a wall . . . never in a million years. This was my path, good, bad, and hellatious though it may have been at times! It is the path that leads to me today, happy . . . a bit crazy, but ultimately pleased with what life looks like at 38.

So here it is, a list of some of the things I thought might never happen in my life.
1. A 5-year anniversary with a husband. There for a while I had three marriages that did not add up to 5 years!
2. Own a car that was not given to me but purchased brand new and completely paid off. Love that little ION!
3. Earn a college degree. I must give so much credit to Alex and Lester for their support as they picked up all the slack while I did schoolwork. Today I have 3 degrees and I am putting those degrees to work. In addition to my full time position, I also teach college courses.
4. That I would pass a math class. Thank you to Merla (the best math teacher ever) I passed both my college math courses with As!
5. Take my daughter on a real vacation. Anyone who knows me knows I have more than taken care of this area! Much to Lester’s dismay many times.
6. Move more than an hour from the town I grew up in. 33 years later, (I lived in Mountain Home from the time I was 5) here I am in Phoenix, AZ.

This is just a small list however; this is the list that makes me believe against all odds that things I think will never happen, do. It gives me hope that small miracles happen and life works out sometimes in a way that is more interesting than you could imagine. Did most of them also take a large amount of hard work? You bet your butt! I can honestly say that every one of these things meant something huge to me, no matter how small or simple they may seem to anyone else. To me each one meant I had achieved a level of success that came after a long path of stress, tears, laughter, and sometimes long talks over beer with some great friends. These were my dreams that have become reality. Therefore, to all of you I say, Never stop believing in things, people, and miracles, you never know what may happen.

Faith, trust and pixie dust can often take you places you never imagined! (Though I really think pixie dust is code for patience and hard work!)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day! Today was my first Mother’s Day spent without my Mom or my Daughter to celebrate with. My first “alone” Mother’s day if you will. It was a good day, just different. My mother Carole passed away many years ago and still I miss her terribly. My daughter Alexandrea, well she is simply growing up, creating her own life and decided to stay in Utah and work over the summer so she can live in an apartment instead of the dorms this fall. So why blog this? Well without the usual Mother’s Day activities it left me with time to think and contemplate . . .

There are Mothers that we have that gave birth to us. I happen to think I had the best one ever. Mine taught me what being a good person was. She showed me through her actions how to be a friend, what true love looked like, and about sacrificing yourself for the happiness of your child/children. She also taught me one of the things I value most, how to be silly. That may sound strange to you, but to me it meant being comfortable in your own skin and liking the person you are on the inside. When I was a teenager my Mom would dance around the house (she called it exercising), she would sing and lightly tease my brother and myself. She would make us breakfast for dinner, she would watch old movies with me, and she would come up with crafts that used items like black trash sacks or old readers digest magazines. She was creative, humble, and more loving than any person I have ever known. My mother was a role model . . . patient, kind, and loyal . . . everything I want to be and more. I give her so much of the credit for the wonderful person my daughter Alexandrea has become. If you ask Alex she will likely say that I am silly. To me this is one of the greatest complements I could receive. I also hope I have done my mother proud in passing the wonderful traits I learned from her on to my daughter. I miss you Mom . . . every day and every day I am grateful for the woman you helped me become! Happy Mother’s Day!

There are also Mothers that we choose in our lives or they choose us. I am extremely lucky to have just such a person who stepped in after my mother passed away and offered up her love just as if I was her daughter. Sue married my father a few years after my mother passed away. She was one of the few true friends my mother had in her life. One of the only people I remember my mom buying Christmas and Birthday gifts for. She came into my life and gave love to my father and daughter. She accepted us all as her family. The people who step into circumstances such as this take a huge leap of faith. They jump in with both feet and often take more criticism than necessary. Sue has been a wonderful addition to our family and has taught us all how accepting a heart can be. I know that the term is “step-mother” however this gives a connotation that I cannot subscribe to, a feeling of a step away from being a real mother. Who says we can only have one mother? Mother in my opinion is an action and not a title. Sue has stepped in and taken on one of the hardest jobs in the world. Worrying, caring, loving, helping and accepting two additional children and two grandchildren. She has two children and several grandchildren of her own and chose to add us to her family. We are fortunate to have such an amazing woman in our lives and I am thankful each day that I was lucky enough to be blessed a second time in my life with a wonderful Mother. Sue, Thank you for being you and for everything you have done to help our family grow and heal! Happy Mother’s Day!

On Mother’s Day there is one other person who I have learned so much from that needs to be acknowledged. Without her I would certainly not be the person I am today. Alexandrea, you make being a mother a very rewarding experience. You have taught me more in your nearly 19 years than I could ever list. You are the reason I work at being a better person and often the reason I accomplish my goals. Because of you I am a college graduate, I have learned to take risks, and have found much more joy in everyday life. Thank you Alex for being such a wonderful daughter. I am proud everyday to be your mother! One day I hope you have children who will tell you that they think you are silly . . . and I hope you will say you got that from your mother.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Welcome back old friend!

Tax day, the day the government sticks it to each of us in our own unique way! This is a wonderful day for this blog about how just this once due to some cunning “re-stikery” I was able to beat the system, not with the government but equally fulfilling, with the tech ninjas at work!

The loveliest thing happened on Monday. (Have I ever mentioned I am honestly fairly easy to please?) Patience and some stealthy maneuvers have brought back to me my original large monitor! Oh, how I missed it and wished every day that it would return. Last Friday afternoon was the day our team was to pack up all our things and move from desks on the 2nd floor to our new location on the 3rd and this time, of course the damn IT Special Forces unit decided our current monitors would move with us! This meant my small monitor that I hate, but after our time together I had learned to tolerate and even curse at less with each day would go to my new work home with me. DRATS!!!!

Side note . . . we seem to move a lot in my department, no one quite knows why but who am I to complain, here I get a box to move to a new location not for termination purposes. Besides this move came with a stellar view and the ability to watch planes come and go all day! Have I said lately how much I love and am thankful for my job, my boss, and really my whole department? Well if not I should have. There isn’t enough space in online blog land to accurately express how grateful I am. Gratitude of this level is a wonderful feeling!

Meanwhile back to my story . . . the last 4 days have been wonderful, even more so than usual. No more sitting 12 inches from the screen to read my emails, no more side scrolling to see all the columns of the forms I work with, and no more 1 o’clock headaches! Can you all say Woo-freakin-Hoo with me . . . say it really loud and with much joy and you will have a small idea of how thrilled I am. I am even now thinking I should name my monitor. Suggestions anyone? I am thinking that maybe you want to know how my large monitor ended up back on my desk when the small one was headed there per the tech ninja’s instructions . . . well I will tell you.

There is a team that sits next to our team. One member of that team was the possessor of my large monitor due to the previous move. This person didn’t even use the monitor as they used a laptop full time so could have cared less if there was even one on the desk. My monitor was obviously so sad without me and the love I would give it Monday –Friday each week, dusting it, making sure finger prints were removed and appreciating its largeness. It was time to rescue the poor darling. This team happened to be doing a team function all afternoon on Friday. Hmmmm . . . a fellow co-worker of mine who for the sake of privacy will be called Smart Lady said, “We should get your monitor back.”

Each of us was to put stickers on each of our pieces of equipment that would, over the weekend, route all our equipment to our new desks. Smart Lady said, “When that team leaves for the day we will put your sticker on your old monitor and that sticker on yours.” It was worth a try. The worst that would happen is that Monday morning small monitor would be sitting at my desk taunting me in a cruel way. But alas, not to worry, Monday was a beautiful day and when I arrived at 6 a.m. there it was . . . the most beautiful piece of office equipment ever . . . my large monitor.

Take that you rotten tech ninjas!! Round 2 goes to me . . . I have won, at least until the next move.

Dear large monitor,
Welcome back! You were missed.

Dear small monitor,
I hope you like your new desk . . . and stay there!


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Resolutions . . . on Easter????

April 4, 2010
How are all of you doing on those New Year’s resolutions??? Me . . .well I am still in the starting phase on most of them and here we are at Easter!! I have 2 books partially read, have purchased more exercise items that haven’t been used, have thought many times about organizing things, and have watched too much TV. Wow, at this rate nothing would be done by Dec 31st this year.

This got me thinking, we all get caught up in the freshness of a new year. Somehow the number flip from one year to another makes us think of being better people and improving ourselves inside and out. Yet here we are at Easter and I am no softer on the inside or firmer on my outside!!! So much for the “listen more” and “eat less junk” I swore would be the new me and was exactly what I wanted to aspire to back on Jan 1st.

I now think that Easter may be the day to begin anew and make resolutions for the year. My theory is that Jesus rose from the ashes and I am fairly certain he would want us to do that as well . . . or at least try to drag ourselves out of whatever personal ashes our New Year’s resolutions crashed and burned in during the last 3 months. We should honor ourselves enough to rise up and out of the self doubt, unwarranted fear, and complacency and give to ourselves all those things, or at least a couple of them that we wanted so badly only three short months ago.

Maybe it is Spring more than any other time that screams NEWNESS and BETTER to us all. For me Spring certainly means change. We change wardrobe from bulky and overpowering to anything light and breezy. There is cleaning, organizing, purging, flowers bloom, trees bud, warmth returns to our day, and the days lengthen blessing us with more sunshine in our lives. Easter is the day in this wonderful season of renewal that symbolizes the extent of the possibility for newness and grants us all a huge opportunity . . . a New Year’s resolution DO OVER!

To everyone I say . . . Dig out that resolutions list, cross out where it says “New Year” before resolution and write in “New Me”. Start a new tradition with me. Pick yourself up, dust off those ashes and take full advantage of starting fresh today!

Maybe I will check back in on July 4th and let you know what I did when I decided to give myself a second chance at 2010’s resolutions! Here is to having some great things happen or I will have to come up with one hell of an “Independence from resolutions” talk to cover up!

Happy Easter everyone! Be thankful for what you have today and even more thankful for what you don’t! I know I am. I truly am blessed.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I have not been blogtastic lately. I have been running in circles and really have had quite a few adventures that should have been documented. I have braved the DMV to license, title, and register our cars. I have received my new Arizona driver’s license and have completed what I hope are the last of my “movecations.” For those of you who are not sure what a movecation is, it is where you do a bunch of work like pack, hold garage sales, clean, load moving trucks and drive long distances in those moving trucks but when you mark down that time away from work you use your vacation hours.

I am here to tell you movecations are not relaxing. While they are nice for seeing friends in small doses regular old vacations are way better. In fact, I have decided when one must take a movecation it really should be immediately followed by an actual vacation, preferably on a cruise ship with someone giving you a massage and bringing you an umbrella drink.

This final movecation was to bring the rest of our stuff from Idaho to Arizona. I am now in a house consumed by boxes full of things I haven’t had for 6 months. This weekend will likely be like Christmas in April as I open all the boxes and reacquaint myself with all my clothes, shoes, purses and everything else that mysteriously was left behind in storage . . . funny since I remember marking all those boxes as “go to Phoenix”.

I suppose at this time I am completely official, I am an Arizonan or whatever they call us living here in the land of sun and heat. Lester has finished his first college class in his bachelor program, I have finished my first classes teaching as a college instructor and now we are waiting for our next adventures, new classes for both of us and a lot of unpacking. Hopefully I will be back on the blog soon updating you. If not send someone to find me it is likely I am trapped under a box of socks or t-shirts!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Who knew there would be mid-terms?

I keep thinking that I need to have something really profound or funny to say in order to post a blog on any given day. Unfortunately with this rule the blogging will be going downhill quickly so I have had to change my theory on what is “worthy” of being part of the blog. When I last left you, I was having some issues with faith . . . I can’t say that my faith has been repaired and that everything is right in my world. It isn’t. My life right now is a bit off center, off kilter, and off in the distance. I say this because the way I choose to cope with the things I don’t want to deal with is to push them away. Not too far . . . I don’t want “it” completely out of site, I just want “it” over there. We all have our way of coping and for me a smile and laugh can push something just far enough away to dull the pain. The more distance the more comfortable I can fake the situation into being, but I don’t ever want to be delusional about the reality of any situation I find myself in. So, “it”, which I guess is reality, can sit at the front of my crazy bus and I will sit in the back seat. We will ride around together and I will watch “it” quietly, just in case “it” randomly or suddenly makes a move or changes again.

I started thinking about coping and how dysfunctional we can make the entire coping process when I heard today about a situation a very dear friend of mine is in. Since this is a blog about me and not someone else, I won’t detail their situation but I will tell you it made me look at myself to see if my way of coping is causing dysfunction to the level I am seeing in this other person’s situation. You know, clarity at a distance. I was wondering if I am just not realizing that I am causing more problems by avoiding the screaming, the crying, the shaking my fists at the world and all the general bitching about what currently ails me. By not expressing my displeasure, confusion, anger, and pain about “it” am I causing myself to become more crazy?

I want to now know why smack in the middle of my mid-life crisis I am having a mini-crisis. Now I don’t know about you but nowhere did I ever read about or hear some TV talk show host talking about how to deal with a special edition crisis that shows up when you are already in mid-life and fully in your scheduled crisis. Here I am, already in my full-blown crisis of what to do with my life, just starting to settle into the new choices I have made and WHAM! Mini-crisis upside the head!! I think I must have been very naughty in my past lives . . .

I am beginning to think that mid-life is where we take our mid-terms for life. The subjects seem to be: Faith, Patience, Love, Gratitude, Acceptance, Understanding, and Forgiveness. These are subjects I am not sure I prepared properly for . . . and today I am not sure which, if any I actually have the ability to pass.

For any of you reading and wondering about this mid-life crazy crisis situation because you feel “it” coming on for your own life . . . watch out for the mini-crisis, it’s a doozey and maybe brush up on your soft skills . . . you’re going to need it!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Does Crazy Ever Leave?

As you know, I started this blog because I found myself without answers and heading in unknown directions and figured if I had to make the journey, I might as well share the experience with others. Sometimes the trip is funny, sometimes it just is what it is, and I am starting to see that sometimes it is going to be hard, really hard. These are the times when I start to wonder if the crazy ever leaves. Some people are blessed with paths in life that steer away from crazy . . . I apparently have an enormous crazy magnet deep inside me that no matter how hard I try cannot help but attract to me situations that not only would I rather avoid, I didn’t know existed in my life. I knew these situations were out in the world, somewhere . . . but always far away. The classic “It will never happen to me,” way of thinking . . . apparently, I didn’t outgrow this either.

There are times in life that require a little faith . . . my question is, where does one get this faith when you simply don’t have any? This isn’t a religious question. I think there are different types of faith. I have plenty of faith in God . . . there is a reason for everything and so on . . . what I need right now is faith in the everyday, faith in the fact that things sometimes should just be what they seem. I want to have faith that what I know to be true is in fact true. I want a break from the crazy. I make a lot of jokes about being crazy, having crazy things happen in my life, and attracting crazy but I am very serious about wanting to know how one can turn off crazy . . . just for a moment, just so I can breathe.

How do you breathe when the crazy in life is squeezing so hard . . . how do you move forward when the adrenaline is running out and all that remains is emptiness? I need to know where I get the faith that one day when I close my eyes I will simply fall asleep without all the nightmares of the day being there rolling round and round in my head.

What I do know . . . funny thing about faith . . . you have to have it when there is not a reason in the world to. You have to dig very deep sometimes and despite all better judgment believe that it will be better tomorrow . . . that one way or another you will end up exactly where you were destined to be. In the meantime, though I am not going to lie, I am having a hard time having faith . . . faith in my decisions, faith in what is, faith in what I thought was my life, and faith in ending up some place I am proud of. I tried all day today to find a bit of faith. Today it didn’t happen, faith eluded me. I will try again tomorrow . . . I suppose that in and of itself is the seed of faith.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why do we hold so tight?

I have been wondering the last couple of days why we hold so tight to things that may be ok but could be incredibly wrong. So many of us seem to think that the tighter we hold onto something the better it will get . . . unfortunately what tends to happen is we squeeze what little happiness, joy and life there is left in it out and the process leaves us feeling worse than before. Now we are left still squeezing something even though we squeezed it to death. It just lays there flat and lifeless and we wonder why.

I am guilty of this in so many situations. I have done this in a marriage, with a boyfriend, at two jobs, and with countless bad habits including the way I have dealt with money. Holding on too tight when the right thing for far too long was to just stop and change direction. I once heard a quote and I have no idea who said it but it goes something like this, “When you find yourself beating your head against a brick wall . . . stop.”

Why do we do this? It certainly doesn’t make us feel good or bring out the best in us. I think there are different reasons for different people and we can even change our reasons depending on circumstance. Fear of failure, the pain of letting go, fear of the unknown, and even the work it takes to move forward and do something different all keep us from making a change. Now, I am not saying that everything that gets uncomfortable in our life requires us to simply let go and not hold on. There are certainly times and situations when we should all hold on and give it our all. How else could we possibly determine when something is good enough to continue working on and when something is just on the other side of crappy and should be let to fly away into our past clearing out our present and opening up our future.

Big changes like what I recently took on are not for everyone but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make some little changes. Say no to something you hate doing but feel you have to . . . you don’t. If you hate your job, look everyday for a new one. Be active in finding the change you need so that you don’t have to hold so tight to things that don’t want to hold back . . . it is exhausting and it eats you up inside. I used job as an example because it is something that I used to “get through” 40 hours a week. That is a lot of time spent not living my best life. This applies to everything you do. Try something new, give someone a chance, and do not resign yourself to the life you are now living if it isn’t what you want. We all deserve better . . . we deserve contentment, happiness, and joy. We all deserve do overs! It was true in kickball and it is true in life. Pencils come with erasers, mistakes can be undone, and we can release our grip on the insanity in our lives.

Every day we make choices and for years, I, like so many of us, chose complacency. I just kept doing the same thing day in and day out and yet I kept expecting some different results. Now that was just crazy . . . this is in part what led to what I am calling my mid-life crisis. The more I do without and the more I analyze the years that brought me to where I am today the happier I become. I am more broke than I have been since my daughter was a toddler and I was a single mom. Overall I am more satisfied with the entirety of my life than I have been since as long as I can remember, and this feeling is priceless!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It all hurts!!

Exercise sucks! Do not let the crazies who partake in these satanic rituals of running, jumping, and climbing trees fool you. Every year or two I get some crazy thought in my head and think, “Oh, I should really get some activity in my life. It would be super good for me, maybe even fun.” I think this happens after someone slips some type of work out roofie in my drink and I become completely insane thus signing up for a gym, exercise classes and even tap dancing once. I come out of this drugged coma shortly after the first session has ended wondering what the hell happened and why I feel so terrible . . . like I have been violated!

My most recent moment of insanity had me sign up (with my two carpool buddies) for two, not one, but count them one . . . two beat me to hell all while listening to fun music classes through the local community center. The first one is called Butts and Gutts and as an science experiment of how quick a person can wish for death perhaps, we signed up for a Boot Camp too. Did I mention these two doses of hour-long hell happen back to back??? So, every Tuesday I bend, twist, lift, lunge, balance, run, plank, squat for about 20 minutes. About that time my mind goes numb as my limbs turn to Jell-O and I spend the other 100 minutes looking like an idiot as I try not to fall off the ball, drop the sand bag, or hit anyone with my heavy bar, likely drooling on myself in my coma like state.

Afterwards I go home, eat something, shower and fall into bed knowing that the next day it will hurt . . . it will all hurt. The only thing good about it is I know it is 7 whole days before I will do it again . . . there are 9 weeks left and I am telling you now, the end can’t come fast enough.

Quick FYI: If any of you think after nine more weeks, I will have found a new appreciation for this type of activity I would say you are quite mistaken. Let’s make a quick list . . . Things I will never find an appreciation for no matter what . . . tomatoes, dog fighting, grey hair, squash (the vegetables), my second ex-husband, paying taxes and exercise, there are likely more but you get the idea.

I would write more but my . . . well, everything hurts.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I hate my monitor . . .

If there is one thing, I know for sure it is that I hate moving. I don’t hate the idea of being/going somewhere new. I am not afraid I will not fit in because frankly, I am the “fun one” most places I go and am a quite likeable person. It isn’t even the time or cost that comes with it. For me the loathing of moving comes from the physical process of having to pack up my stuff and move it somewhere else because I tell you what . . . I have a crap ton of stuff. This goes for my house and my desk at work. Having set the stage you can guess how happy I was this week to be moving desks at work. I moved approximately 30 feet. Three cubes down from where I was already sitting. Lucky for me I have been here for less than 5 months and never even brought all my desk stuff from Idaho to my new desk. Therefore, I had to only move a half crap-ton of stuff 30 feet. Oh goodie!

When it came time to start the move I had to lead off. I was headed to an empty desk so it only made sense that my stuff could go there and then the person moving to my desk could begin after I was moved and a round robin of crazy moving madness commenced. What we do not move are our computers and equipment. A Special Forces unit comes to take care of this much-classified stealthy process. The equipment is actually chained and locked to the desks allowing for no funny business or unauthorized equipment tampering. Now, this being my first big desk move here at my new job I was unaware of the process so when the tech ninjas showed up and I was on my way out for the day I made my first mistake . . . I asked a question! These ninjas are all knowing and all powerful over hard drives, monitors, keyboards, mice and phones so when I questioned them they took offense.

I asked if our monitors would be going to our new desks with us. They stared at me as if I had asked them to eat my cube neighbor . . . alive. The ninja master then came closer and said, “The monitors stay.” Oh, no . . . here comes mistake number two, I pointed out the obvious, followed by another question. “Well,” I say timidly, “I was only wondering because the desk I am moving to has no equipment and I was curious if at my new desk I would have the larger monitor.”

I must interject here that I ask this for a very specific reason. I am blind. Not like eye patch, glass eye, can’t get a driver’s license blind but blind in that if the screen is too small I have to stick my face right up to the damn thing in order to actually read my work.

Ok, so back to the story. I ask about the larger monitor and the ninja master looks at his ninja posse disgusted with my question and says, “You get what you get.” I think, ok maybe they have the option and possibly, if they understood about my blindness they would take pity on me and give me a larger monitor. WRONG! Mistake number three, ninjas want no explanations. One of the posse ninjas in the special forces of all that is IT and holy says, “We will back fill with whatever we have so you just get what you get.” This conversation is going nowhere and I should have left work about 15 minutes ago, so I give up and leave, figuring maybe, just maybe when I come in tomorrow by some miracle there will be a big monitor for me.

Morning comes and when I arrive at my desk what do you suppose I find . . . did you say large monitor? Well if you did you are wrong my friend. I found on my desk a small monitor and a ninja pubic hair . . . no lie. How does that even happen???? From now on I will not piss off the ninjas.

Dear small Monitor,

I hate you!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Saying Goodbye . . .

Today I dropped my daughter off at the airport. She is heading back to her real life (well as real life as college dorm living ever can be) after 3 weeks of sleeping in and hanging out. Winter Break the college kids call it . . . to me it was my Alex time. It was a strange situation, as she wasn’t really “coming home.” What she considered home was back in Idaho where we lived when she packed up to head to college back in August 2009.

I welcomed her to Phoenix (new home . . . for the holidays) on December 17, 2009. Since the airport is so close to my work, her first adventure was to ride home that day in the carpool with the gals and me. We (Alex, Lester, and I) then spent the next three weeks laughing, eating her favorite foods, getting icees, celebrating Christmas, going to the Fiesta Bowl, playing Wii and board games, watching Christmas movies and taking an occasional moment to lovingly Ka-Pow! one another.

These were three weeks that went by far too fast. The minute I unloaded her bags onto the airport curb I was reminded of the weight of sadness when it lies on your heart. It was the feeling I felt in August when I drove away from her dorm building, tears engraving themselves onto my face, knowing it would be December before I would see her again. Now the feeling has embedded once again. I expect it will stay heavy for some time and then start to ease up into a dullness that I can bear until I get my next dose of Alex time. I hope the plan will remain that she will return to Phoenix for the summer.

I have only had tears off and on today and not as terribly as I did in August so I am improving. I know she is growing up and I must learn to let go as I have years of this to come . . . I just never learned to say goodbye to my daughter. I never had to . . . she was always with me, just away for a few days at most. Alex had always been the one constant in my life for 18 years; the one thing I knew was always there and made sense when the majority of my life never has.

It is her time. She is off creating new paths, I am so much older, not so much wiser, and it is time to create new paths for me as a mom with an adult daughter. It is a scary process for me, I won’t lie. For three weeks while she was here with me in Phoenix, I pretended I could avoid that process . . . pretend it would stay this way and she would always be here when I got home from work, that we could laugh and cuddle up on my bed, me pretending she is little, maybe her pretending too. . . just for a little while.

Unfortunately come 9 a.m. this morning I left her in the Skycap line at the airport I struggled with letting go again. I had to say Goodbye. I didn’t want to, but I did. Tonight I am taking a little comfort knowing that before she left (me knowing today would hurt my heart) she helped me to set up Skype on my computer so we can see each other via web cams while we talk online. We have already texted and I am sure we will be in touch by phone. I wonder how moms from the past did this without all the technology, how painful it must have been for them. See . . . I am already looking on the bright side of things. Well, I am trying anyway.

So, until I see her again I will work on planning how to pack the most joy and laughter into whatever time I can get, maybe a spring break, maybe the whole summer, and hope that the refill of love I received in the last 3 weeks from my daughter lasts until Southwest Airlines delivers her back to me!

To all of you out there with children that have not left for the real world yet . . . go find them right now, hug them, play a game with them, cuddle if they will let you. It is all over far too fast. Eighteen years is not enough . . . trust me, goodbye gets here faster than you think.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Too Pooped to Post!

Today was my first official grading of assignments day. 2 classes, 38 students, lots of papers!!! I am sick of the computer today so officially calling this a too pooped to post any more day! See you all later . . . my bed/couch/floor are calling me. We will see which one I get to first!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Here I am, almost at the end of day 2 of our new year, still working on my resolutions. I have reviewed last year’s list o’ resolutions and I actually accomplished two, I think . . . out of 16-ish. One I accomplished by working toward it all year. The second one happened when I ran out of money right at the end of the year, but I am still taking credit as accomplishing a resolution. Now, the one that I have accomplished due to my due diligence all year was reading 24 books. I had finished school the previous November so figured two books a month would be no problem. I actually came in at 25 books so I felt good! I had finally completed one New Year’s resolution!! Yippie!! The second one was to do away with smoking for good. No more beer and socializing smokes . . . at nearly $8 a pack, and being a lousy smoker anyway, this was a habit that had to go. Therefore, 6 days before the year ended the smoking ceased and resolution #2 was realized. Ta-da! This still left 14 very important things on a list of life changes I wanted to make that weren’t even touched. Not Ta-da.

For years and years I have made lists of resolutions that were basically the same, lose weight, exercise, eat better, don’t smoke, be more patient with my family, eat out less, save more money, budget, reduce debt, and all the great things that I really wish I would have done year after year. I never accomplished any of them. (Exhausting just to read them.) However, 2009 I accomplished two so now I am really serious about what goes on the 2010 list. I am on a “resolutions do come true” roll. What if 2010 is the year I actually accomplish three of 16? I want these suckers to be good. My resolutions are like eggs hanging around in the uterus of the world waiting and hoping that sometime, over the 365 days of 2010, some crazy “resolution sperm” will fertilize a few and we can make some magic! What will be on the list? I have a feeling there will be one that has been on every other year’s list . . . be thinner. This is the one I really want to happen . . . this is one that is going to take a lot of work . . . and this folks is probably the one you will hear me complaining about. The resolution that causes me to swear (due to lack of food and sore muscles), and in the end the one I will pray that the strongest resolution sperm swimmer gets to first so I can be sexy earlier in the year!

Now what will my 15 other resolutions for 2010 be?

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Day Math

Daughter + Husband + Gift Cards = Mall

Welcome to a New Year! Today we went to the mall. It was Christmas gift card shopping day! The husband and the daughter each had some gift cards that they had received on Christmas and we decided they had been cooped up in the house for too many consecutive days so off we went. With the gift cards, and some Pac-loot Alex had received from my boss she ended up with double the amount to spend at Pac-Sun (a teenager type store with clothes that are super cute but wouldn’t even fit around my arm.) While gift cards are incredibly fun to get and spend, they do pose a bit of a problem for people of limited cash who cannot “go over” that amount . . . well, at least not by much. This means that the shopping takes much longer than a normal shopping trip with a teenager . . . so we were there awhile.

I was without gift cards for myself, or the size needed to fit into anything so I was the holder of the things “we may get.” I would figure out the amounts of each item based on the sale price, the additional discounts, and how that worked with our Pac-loot and gift card amounts. The key was we had $50 and two $25 Pac-loots. Pac-loot is where you spend $50 and get $25 off so it is like a 50% off coupon. I think today is the closest I have ever come to using those Algebra classes they insist you have in order to have a college degree. We were deciding if we buy X flannel shirts and Y pants would that equal us being able to also acquire T-shirts squared? In the end, the equation worked out almost perfect. We only had to make a minor adjustment quickly, right at the end with a + headband multi-pack which all = $6.43 cash owed. Whew . . . what a workout.

Thank heaven that Lester’s shopping was much easier. JC Penny gift cards and he spent less than the amount, with no tricky coupon things. He picks up a couple things puts some back down and heads to the register. Man shopping is so much quicker! After our shopping excursion, we were hungry and headed home, had dinner, and settled in for the night.
Boredom + Yarn = Scarf

Alex and I in a quest for more fun, on a tight budget, decided to dig through moving boxes the other night to find all my crochet/knitting stuff. I had decided I needed a blue and orange scarf for the Fiesta Bowl on Monday so I got out my crochet stuff tonight and found some Bronco colored yarn and went to town. It is not like riding a bike . . . I hadn’t crocheted since before I started back to college in 2004. This is a skill that did not come right back. I have now fumbled my way through however and have about 1/3 of a scarf that will not win any prize at a state fair but will do for showing my support of the BSU Broncos at the bowl game on Monday. Originally back in 2002 I went to crochet class (my daughter went to class too) so that when I am old, if I go blind, then I would have an activity to do.

I am not a fan of boredom and normally have many activities going on at once. Currently I blog, write in a journal, crochet, teach classes, read, and keep thinking I need to use my sewing machine, scrapbook, and get to exercising. My goal is to do as many things as possible . . . try everything and see what I enjoy. I never know what I will learn in 2010 that will turn out to be my next habit, obsession, or hobby but I am excited to find out. If you have any suggestions, that can fit in amongst my already crazy busy life be sure to let me know . . . I am always open to suggestions! Just keep in mind for now I am broke so anything that can be crafted out of recyclables would be best.