8.18.2016

65.


This is a celebration year.  This is the marking of the 2nd half of my life.  Yes I can do math but I'm planning to live to be a hundred and thirty.  And now of course I won't because I said it out loud!

At this age, I feel like I've had enough experience with failures and successes to know what I'm getting into.  I can now mostly weigh the consequences and calculate the recovery time.  I have recently determined the possible upside of actual success, and quite frankly the exhilaration of the pursuit, outweighs the failures.

I don't need the "for your own good" speech.  I don't need the dream police. I don't need the drama.

As I'm getting older - this is finally coming into focus.  I don't have all the time in the world and...

Life is the adventure of a lifetime.

I'm actually feeling good for this momentous marking.  Way better than I had ever dreamed. Not like the last decade big hurrah.  The year I turned 50 was an unmitigated disaster.  I never saw it coming.  Yes I saw the birthday coming but I didn't see the psychological mayhem that would accompany it.

For some unknown reason I ended up with some bizarre facial metamorphism.  It literally started the day before my birthday, getting ready to go to the "surprise" party my friends had planned for me.  I had a break with reality.  Each time I looked in the mirror, I saw only my grandmother's face. I kept touching my face.  What was wrong with me?  Was anyone else seeing this?  I couldn't shake the feeling.

This birthday feels nothing like that.  This might be the fresh outlook on life I now have talking but I am feeling so much more content about my age.  I've crossed over.  Wait, no! that's another thing right?  But I am older~ish and it's okay.  I'm not the hot young chick in the room (unless it's a room full of ninety year olds, then I kill) but I might be the one with the loudest laugh or the funniest quip and that's something.  I hope I'm the one who hugs the hardest. 

I'm figuring out who I am and who I'm not, just as important to know.  I'm going to enjoy these next five years.  I'm saving my next traumatic disorder for turning 70.  I think that's fair. I'm kinda tired lately, but truly content.  I'm really looking forward to the beautiful freedom of having made it over this hump and feeling as good (or even better) as I have felt in years.  I'm excited about what's in store.  About the new adventures that await me.

They say you come into your own and gosh darn it I hate cliches but seriously, there may be something to this one.  I'm not fully embracing every piece of the physical aging stuff.  You already know my position on wrinkles, (I'm against them) but my grandma hands are actually starting to make me giggle and I am feeling just a teeny bit more at home in my saggy skin and creaky knees.

A new journey has begun and you are here with me.  You are filling my life with joy and I am continually enveloped by those loving bonds.  I am saved by continual grace and I hope you know it too.

I am so thankful for this day.

you know about my deep love for making lists, so in honor of my birthday I have written down 65 of the many lessons life has taught me, in no particular order, of course.

1. If you feel a thing in your gut, pay attention. It's true.

2. Lipstick can boost your mood, immediately.

3. Regrets are good teachers.

4.The book is almost always better than the movie.

5. High heels have to be the single, most cruel and absurd invention. Ever.

6. You never know what you don't know.

7. Most people don't listen. They're biding time until they get to speak.

8. Putting something off makes it instantly harder and scarier.

9. Infidelity murders trust.

10. It is easier to stay organized than to deal with the consequences of being unorganized. Getting truly organized can vastly improve anyone’s life.

11. Life isn't always fair, but it's still good.

12. Falling in love is a lot easier than staying in love.

13. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree. 

14. People who make you laugh are important to have around.

15. Religion doesn't make you a better person. Your actions do.

16. Whether you feel really good or really bad, it usually doesn't last for long.

 17. Spend as much time as you can with your parents, while you can. (Or for that matter, anyone you love).

18. Smug is ugly.

19. High school is absolutely not the "best years of your life".

20. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

21. Breakfast is not essential. But caffeine is.

22. Prejudice buoyed with righteousness is lipstick on a pig.

23.You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

24. Children teach their parents far more than parents teach their children.

25. You are either an ocean person or you are not. Forever. It's in your blood. And if you love the sea, don't move to Ohio.

26. Be realistic. Believe in miracles.

27. It is much easier to stay in shape than to get back into shape.

28. A sense of humor is way sexier than six pack abs.

29. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

30. Show don't tell.

31. Living an authentic life unburdens your children.

32. If it seems too good to be true? You know this already, right?

33. Laughing really is the best medicine.

34. When cooking for company choose a dish you can make ahead of time, so you can enjoy the party.

35. Getting up early is more fun than staying up late.

36. Every person believes their own point of view is the correct point of view. Accepting this can free you.

37. Don't assume anything. Not one single thing.

38. If you don't value your time, no one else will either.

39. High fructose corn syrup and MSG are evil.

40. When it comes to health, there is no one size fits all. What works for one person may not work for someone else. Except for the things in #39.

41. No is often the most life affirming, loving choice you can make. Learn to say it out loud. Practice.

42. Perfection is overrated.

43. Curiosity keeps you young.

44. Words actually can hurt a lot more than sticks and stones. Words are immensely powerful. One cruel remark can wound someone for life.

45. We become what we behold, so choose your focus well.

46. I can be instantly calmed by looking at the ocean or the stars.

47. Always say please and thank you.

48. Cards that come in the mail are more fun than e-cards any day.

49. I regret most those things I didn't have the courage to do.

50. Karma. Enough said.

51. Hope is more important than belief.

52. Forgive yourself.

53. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

54. There is no one, right way. There are an infinite number of ways. Diversity is the dance of the divine. Not to mention, creativity.

55. Yelling always makes things worse.

56. Always be kinder than necessary.
57. If you have bad news to deliver, the only fair way to do it is in person.
58. Don’t gossip. Just don’t. It eats away at your soul, and it’s poisoning another one. People who talk about other people to you are probably talking about you to other people.
59. I could not imagine life without my puppies.
60. Shoes that aren't comfortable are never a good idea, even if they are on sale.
61. Not everything about getting older is enjoyable, but it beats the alternative.
62. Killing time is an atrocity. It’s priceless, and it never comes back.

63. Popcorn and wine for dinner can be more romantic and satisfying than an expensive chef prepared meal.


64. Gluten free sucks. 

65. I can live without TV but I'll miss Charlie Rose.


......and one to grow on.

All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

just sayin'.

8.12.2016

wishful thinking.


Radishes. I was going to write about radishes.
I may still.
Not today, though.

I was also going to paint the front door.
I bought paint, mid-May.
I brought it in, Monday.
And by in, I mean finally out of my trunk.
Also, I was going to have coffee with friends. Because we live in the same city and I miss them.
I so didn't do it.
Because: life.
And so, instead, I was going to see them the next weekend.
That was two weeks ago.
Haven't seen them, still.
I didn't bother to plan for last weekend. Superstition. Experience. Call it what you will. I wound up calling it wishful thinking.


so here they are, my 101 wishes...........(in no particular order!)


I wish for...........endless sunny days......crescent moons and shooting stars.....blue skies during the day, starry skies at night......compassion.....to be the best daughter, mother, wife and sister I can......rainbows......laughter {my own and others}.....that my feet never get cold....white roses.....the sounds and smells of the ocean....that I always hear the music......strength......a long walk on a crisp fall day......a nap in the sunshine......to always be with someone that is kind to me......to tread lightly upon this earth......picnics on the beach......many more things to learn......to continue to be blessed with good health......to always choose a meal I like when I eat in a restaurant......fireflies......that no matter what age I am, I still feel like a child at times......a long lazy morning with nothing to do......fresh tomatoes......peaceful dreams......the smell of lavender......a good night's sleep......a front row seat at a Broadway play......crusty French bread......to never be without the joy my puppies bring me everyday......that I always remember to turn off the oven......singing birds and dancing rabbits......health and happiness for my loved ones......ice cream on a summer day......fireworks......guardian angels......happy memories......trips to places I've always wanted to visit......that I know where the fuse box is when the lights go out......to always know that money does not buy happiness......self knowledge......that I can find joy in simple things like mist over a meadow, sunlight in the leaves, the path of the moon over the water......that there is nothing stronger than being gentle......courage......to not be afraid......a good doctor and a gentle dentist......happy surprises when I need them......being able to laugh at myself......mistakes so that I can learn from them......to do things I think I can not do......to have no regrets......to live my life as if every day were a gift to cherish......to never loose my sense of whimsy......that I always know what to do with myself on a rainy Sunday afternoon......to remember that no matter how long the winter, spring will follow......glorious sunrises and breath taking sun sets......snow angels in the winter......confidence......joy......family is the most important thing, always......that I am never the last one to laugh......to use all the colors and fill the page when I draw......choices......big fluffy clouds that billow like dreams and change into shapes of angels and animals......curiosity......be blessed with old age with beautiful memories and a mind that is still alert......lemon pie......old movies to watch......an end prejudice......always have a song in my heart......remember that no one is perfect and that is okay......heroes......that my parents always know that my childhood was perfect because of them......I never stop believing in magic......never to be tormented by thoughts of past events......random acts of kindness......to always feel safe, warm and loved......to sing at the top of my lungs in the shower......that I always see the good in others......to ask what I need and not assume people will know......to always get the seat by the window......a passport photo people won't laugh at......to always see the wonder......to swim with the dolphins......laugh lines, not wrinkles......to know that I am not alone......to smile, sometimes for no reason......fat snowflakes in the winter, tulips in the spring, blue cornflowers in the summer, brilliant leaves in the fall......snow on Christmas day......may my deeds always reflect beauty......to keep my heart open and filled with light......hope......imagination......to hear the soft voice of wisdom......may I always believe......to be gentle with myself and others......to forgive those who hurt me......trust the goodness of life......contribute what I can to make this a better world......appreciate the wonder and miracle of all creation......that I always have one more wish......

just sayin'.

8.03.2016

twelfth of never.



Have you ever needed a mulligan?  I have. I am grateful for the grace given to me by someone in the cart throwing me an extra ball.  I knew if I got another swing, I'd hit it straight.  I knew the mistakes I made the first time around. This time I'll stay out of the rough.  All I needed was one more chance.

 I had done this marriage thing once before. I was so much younger and in love in the way that's reserved for the innocent.  The pre-cynical. I was blissfully blinded to the fact that life could hand me a big bag of no good.  And, honestly, it's really how it should be.  It's how I am. Heart on my sleeve kind of optimism.  But the downside was, I just never saw it coming.

We didn't stay together. We just could not make it. Maybe we were not ready for all that responsibility.  And so early one morning with my babies at my side, my life took one of those turns that I was not sure I would ever recover from. In the arms of my family I tried to figure out how I would breathe each day. But, I always knew I would. They only thing I ever wanted was to be a Mama and have a family.  My heart was broken.

But time is the disciplined healer of all wounds and each day became each day.

And then one day he was there.


  My mulligan.


He was just what I needed.  A brand new beginning.  We were still just a bit too young when we met,  but he was already remarkably stable.  He was raising a boy and he too was meant for a family life that hadn't panned out.  It was serious business for him and it showed.  He seemed to be where he was supposed to be.  And he was supposed to be there looking for me.

He restored my faith that there exists a man who will stay.  He gave me back my dream of being a loving wife to a loving husband and of raising a family together. It wasn't completely a story book start for the two of us.  It was one of those less than desirable beginnings where our young and foolish selfishness upended innocent by-standers.  It's not the kind of story you ever feel comfortable recounting, it had apologies and a price to pay.  Those things tend to live with you forever.  and, rightly so.


We added to the mix an accelerated courtship and ended up living together twelve weeks after meeting and how do you do, my name is... do not try this at home.  This has extreme high risk of broken hearts and shattered lives and despite the happily ever after, it's wasn't one of the best decisions we ever made.  A year is the minimum anyone  should date before embarking on forever.  This is what I preach now.  This is what I've told my sons.  This is what I'll tell your son.  Unprompted usually. We took it slow and steady after that and waited years to tie the knot.  Five years in fact.  I can't say for sure but it looked like I measured each step of the way carefully making sure that no point looked like the one before. the one that had failed.  It was impressively mature thinking.

When we finally got hitched, we found ourselves alone. In Boston. It was lovely. The day was radiant and trusting, the way it should always be.  He cried when I walked towards him because I was his mulligan as well and he knew it.

The hubs and I celebrate our twenty nineth wedding anniversary last today.  Twenty nine. It's not one of the glitzy or glamorous ones.  It doesn't have the bang of 25 or 30.  It's just quietly nestled right in between "we made it" and trip to Bermuda. But there may be jewelry. white roses. and dinner. sigh.

As we eat lobster and fried angel food cake and laugh together (like we always do),  I'll wonder out loud about making it this far, because quite frankly the odds were against us.
as we wine and dine at a fancy pants steakhouse, we will contemplate our lives and the things that have kept us together. The biggest being sheer determination. Don't get me wrong.  Love lives here. That's a fact.  I won't bore you with the soulmate business or the two hearts that beat as one and the you complete me living room scene but suffice to say there is a love connection. (If you don't know us, you'll have to take my word for it).

But almost every divorced couple I know started out in love.  Chances are, they still are. It's just not always enough.  Even if you start out with the required one year engagement, a list of common values, and live together for five years.

The truth is, the hubs has a natural penchant for staying.  Me, I'm more runaway bride.

If things aren't going just right (and by that I mean you've hurt my feelings and made me feel insecure, unloved, abandoned), I'm the first one to disregard the "determined to stay married" clause in our contract.  I'll usually refer to my escape rider.  Section 4 paragraph b.

Because if anyone's doing the leaving around here it's going to be me.  What?  No one else mentioned leaving?  I've got an itchy trigger finger. I drop the D word like it's a hot potato.  It's my defense mechanism.  I know it's an unfair weapon of mass destruction that should never be used unless you are actually ready to use it and are walking out the door for good.

The hubs, he sees right through me. Thank goodness.  He lets me vent and throw a tantrum like a five year old, threatening to run away to join the circus.  He waits for a couple of hours while I cool down, then apologizes for whatever thing he did or didn't do that made me feel unloved, real or imagined.  He reassures me that we are a forever couple and that there will be no further discussion on the matter.  He convinces me once again that love lives here and always will. Until the poets run out of rhyme, until the twelfth of never.  And that's a long, long time.

He's determined for us to stay married and after all these years, I'm right there with him.  We've had our bags packed, sometimes for real (that would be me) and sometimes mentally (that would be the hubs). 

 We've had to make choices. hard ones.
 

As I look back behind me down the road we've traveled,  I don't mind that we've sometimes stuck it out for the sake of the institution.  I can see the value in being a rebel for a cause.  I'm happy to be determined to stay married.  I want the longevity.  I want someone to grow old with (that train is boarding as we speak, dude).  I want The Notebook, falling asleep in old age holding hands, but without the dementia.  
 
I want to stay.
 
It turns out that there's a lot of sea out there, both rough and deceivingly calm.  There are storms that you won't see coming and there are lulls that would have you praying for the storms once again. sometimes the danger is in the lulls.  It's amazing the ways in which love will be tested.  I like to say that every marriage has it's warts. Ours has been no exception.

The hubs, is a natural born backer. He always has my back.

He supports me whole heartedly in my actual endeavors and those just blurted out at the drop of a hat with no real intent.  Anything I want to do - he's in.  Move to the beach?  Let's go.  Buy a house sight unseen?  Let's do it.  Take a trip to another country?  Obviously. When do we leave.

Someone has hurt my feelings or God forbid talked bad about me?  Give him their number.  No questions asked.  He doesn't need to know the story. There isn't a single thing in twenty nine years of marriage that he has not taken my side on or believed in me for.  Right or wrong.  He's the ultimate backer.  And believe me when I say, the magnitude of that has never been lost on me.

 If you want longevity, you're going to need dedication. to each other, and to something outside of each other.  You're going to need more than your love.

You're going to need a bigger boat.

just sayin'.


 
Take a quart jar and add 1 T salt, 1.5 T sugar, 1/4 t black peppercorns (heaping), 1/4 t mustard seed (heaping), 1 T chopped garlic (about 4 cloves), 1/2 cup white vinegar, and "fresh dill to taste" (I did one head of dill and a 3" section of the feathery stuff).

Note: If you don't grow your own dill, you can usually find it at a farmer's market or stand this time of year. Or ask a gardener friend. She will probably give you some. :)


Add sliced cucumbers. (This was about 4 pickling cucumbers from the Farmer's Market, each about 4" long. You could also use the English cucumbers from the store, but not the regular larger kind because the skin would be too tough.)

Fill the jar with warm water, screw a lid on, and shake until the sugar and salt have dissolved.

 Stick the jar in the fridge for about 24 hours, but don't beat yourself up if you can't wait that long.

  Pickles will keep for up to 3 weeks, but empirical evidence shows that they generally only last about 2.2 days, on average.