Thursday, February 16, 2017

Currently . . . February 2017

Well, y'all, there's nothing quite like falling off the wagon before you even get all the way up on it!


Back at the beginning of January, I had this surge of writing inspiration and reinvigoration. I was on a roll! Then, February rolled in and life got crazy busy. I thought about blogging but haven't had two seconds in the last couple weeks to sit down with my computer and type something up. I had fully intended to write a "Currently" post and publish it on the second Monday of February as I said I would last month, but, obviously that didn't happen - until now! Oh well - better late than never, right?!?!

Currently, I'm . . . . . . 

Deciding  a new vehicle. The lease on our minivan is up next month and we've got to decide what we are going to do. After three minivans over the past 12-ish years, I think we are ready to go the SUV route instead this time. However, we are still "shopping" and exploring the different options. What do you drive and do you love it?

Preparing for spring and summer - at least at work. Since I work at our church, I am in the midst of planning for Easter events and Vacation Bible School which will be in July. It is several months away, but takes a lot of planning! 

Reading . . well, I just finished The Secret Life Of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams. I gave it 2 stars. The book has a great story line which is what drew me to it in the first place. Vivian, a 1964 independent young woman full of sass receives an unexpected package and discovers that she has a long lost aunt, Violet, she never knew about. Being a reporter, Vivian is determined to uncover the mystery of her Aunt Violet. The book alternates back and forth between 1964 Vivian and 1914 Violet. So why just 2 stars? There's so much gratuitous sex in the book that it totally overshadows the actual story. The strong plot and the unexpected twists are the only thing that keep this book from being filed in the trashy romance category - which is fine if you like a trashy romance novel, but it's not my cup of tea.

Contemplating what to read next. I'm thinking about The Zookeeper's Wife, Swimming Lessons, The Momry of Us, or Commonwealth - which were all on my list of books tor read this year.  Have you read any of them?

Trying to wrap my head around the fact that, last week, I signed my oldest daughter up for Drivers Ed. ðŸ˜ģI can't decide if I'm looking forward to her getting her license (so I don't have to drive everywhere) or if it absolutely terrifies me - probably a little lot of both. She won't actually get her permit until August when she turns 15 and, then, of course, another year to get her full license. Even then, in North Carolina, it's a graduated license so they don't have full privileges immediately. Anyway, this seems like the first step to much bigger things.

Watching "This is Us." Do you watch this show? I don't watch much TV anymore, but this show has me hooked. Every single episode leaves me with my mouth hanging open anticipating the next one. 

Wondering daily what the weather will be. I've lived in north Carolina all my life and I know the weather here can be little nutty, but this winter has seemed to be the absolute most fluctuating and unpredictable. This week alone we have had temperatures all the way from 80's (Sunday afternoon) to 20's (Thursday morning). We've had rain, gusty winds, and blinding sunshine. It's just crazy! I like winter and I'm in no rush for spring and summer, but I do wish Mother Nature would make p her mind. 

Thinking about summer plans. Despite the weather, summer is coming and, while I hate the heat, I do love the lazy days and the chance to travel. I asked the girls the other night where they might like to go on vacation this summer. Their choices were, in this order, Bora Bora, Sydney Australia, or an African Safari! All excellent suggestions, but probably not in the budget in the near future! 😜 We'll have to keep giving it some thought and, hopefully, settle on a destination (or two) soon.

Anticipating turning 40, but I already wrote about all that! 

Eating Girl Scout cookies. This is the first year I've actually had a girl scout because my youngest decided this fall to give it a try and she loves it. So, we've been selling cookies and eating plenty. My favorites are the Caramel Delites which is good because nobody else in my family likes them, but also bad because that means there is no one else to eat them but me! Our other favorites are the Lemonades and Thin Mints. What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie flavor???

I'm still not sure if this will take off as a linkup - would probably help if I actually posted on the regularly scheduled date! I'll throw the linkup out one more time to see how many participate, so if you have a current currently post, feel free to add it or write one up! The linkup will be open for two weeks.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Angst of Almost 40

"Do you realize that we are the oldest people here?" my husband whispered in my ear.

"Yes!" I replied. "I was just noticing. When did THAT happen?!?!"

We were attending our niece's third birthday party. As David and I stood together looking out over the rest of the scene, there were swarms many little ones running around dressed up in princess dresses and superhero costumes. There were moms wearing sleeping infants and dads bouncing or bottle feeding babies. Meanwhile, our three daughters were the "big kids" who were helping with princess hairdos, temporary tattoos, and painting tiny fingernails. On the way there, we had been discussing the oldest one's impending Driver's Education classes. Now, as we stood there, we found ourselves in some kind of alternate universe.

Age never used to bother me and I always used to say that people just need to relax about birthdays and turning the next big number. Until recently, anyway. 

You see, my 40th birthday is just around the corner and, suddenly, my "age is just a number" attitude has turned into a  "Screw you, 40!" outlook. I want to flip 40 the bird, cuss it out, and punch it. It's messing with my mind and my emotions and I really just want to fast forward a few weeks to my birthday and get it over with - or, better yet, to a few weeks after my birthday when I can look back and say I survived. 

What makes 40 so bad you ask? Well, I'll tell you.
For starters, I started gaining weight a couple years ago. Despite dieting and a gym membership, I gained more (and didn't lose any). Good news - after two years, it seems that perhaps I have "settled in" to my new weight and stopped gaining. Bad news - that weight is 40 pounds and 3 pant sizes larger than I want to be. 

Next, is the crazy hormones. I get so grumpy that I get on my own nerves and the next minute I'm tearing up over some song on the radio. It's not just once a month, either. It's ALL. THE. TIME. It's like I have PMS 24 hours, seven days a week! ðŸ˜Ŧ I'm sure my husband and kids think that I'm completely losing my mind. Maybe I am. 

Also, it's like my biological clock has morphed into a ticking time bomb. After having my third baby, I was completely done having kids - never any doubt about it for me. I've never had any desire since then to have another baby and I've enjoyed the changes as my kids got older. In the past, if I was at a birthday party surrounded by a billion toddlers and crying babies, I'd be thinking "Better you than me!" Now, it's not so much that I want to get pregnant and have another baby (Heck no!!), but that I really, really miss when my girls were babies instead of the moody, surly tweens and teenager they have become. I miss my days being filled with dirty diapers and nap times, instead of precalculus, teacher conferences, and slamming doors. I want to zap my girls back into squishy little nuggets of pink and cuddles again. 

Then, there are these stupid hearing aids. Yep - you read that correctly. Early onset hearing loss runs in my family. Two years ago, I started having a constant ringing in my ears. When I went to the doctor, I was told that it was because I had some hearing loss and the ringing was actually my brain trying to replace the sound frequencies it could no longer hear. The only way to fix it was with hearing aids. I wasn't even remotely ready then, but after 24 months of the incessant ringing, I was seriously losing my mind. So, I decided that I had no choice but to at least try the hearing aids. I've had them for about 3 weeks and so far, they are not helping (as far as that tinnitus is concerned) and pretty much every minute of every day I loathe the discreet little devices and the fact that I need them. The timing of it all is like rubbing salt on the gaping wound of turning 40. (Also? I deleted and re-typed this paragraph three times because it's something I totally avoid talking about and try to hide as much as possible. Ultimately, I left it here out of spite and contempt for the whole thing.)

Finally, there's the ironic slap in the face that my 40th birthday will fall on Ash Wednesday this year. Seriously?!?! I work at a church so my schedule pretty much revolves around the Christian seasons such as Advent and Lent. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent - a season of 40 days that traditionally involves the giving up of something (fasting) in preparation for easter Sunday. While Easter is a joyous Christian celebration, the time of Lent leading up to the celebration is considered a time of reflection, penitence, and darkness. On Ash Wednesday in particular, the tradition is to have ashes imposed on the forehead in the shape of a cross while a pastor recites Genesis 3:19, "You are dust and to dust you will return." So, hearing that repeatedly as we enter a period of darkness on my big 4-0 day will just be AWESOME!!! 😜 (Ok - maybe this is being a little overdramatic, but please reference the previous paragraph about perpetual PMS.)

For many of my friends and family, turning 40 is a memory in their rearview mirror. They all survived, perhaps with the help of some new reading glasses or vitamin supplements and the addition of a few extra pounds, but they survived. I'm sure I will, too. I will conquer 40 and everything that comes with it. I'm hoping to discover that the angst of being almost 40 is actually much worse than the reality of being actually 40. Eventually, I'll hit 50 or 60 and, then, 40 probably won't seem so bad. For now, though, I'm going to wallow in self-pity, keep cursing under my breath, and go apologize to all the people I ever said "Age is just a number!" to.

Have any big birthdays been hard for you to swallow? 

Friday, January 20, 2017

40 Totally Random Questions and the Answers You Never Knew You Wanted To Know

Last Monday, my girls were out of school for Matin Luther King Day. Since the kids can't seem to drag themselves out of bed before noon these days (there's another blog post about that percolating!) and my hubby had left early that morning for a business trip, I had some quiet time all to myself. I wanted to write, but, once again, was struggling to find a topic. Ironically, I remembered that a couple years ago, I wrote a post about how to keep your blog content "fresh," so I decided to dig it out. As I was searching through the archives, I stumbled across this 48 Questions post. That type of post seems to periodically make its way around the blogosphere and I always think they are fun, so I decided to create my own. 

I did a little internet searching of some lists of random questions and used several lists I found to compile the following list of my own 40 completely random questions. Then, I answered them! 

Check out my questions and answers, then join the fun by copying and pasting into your blog (if you have one) and filling in your own answers instead mine! Give me a shout in the comments or on Facebook when you do -I'd love to see how others answer these questions, too! 

Do you usually see the glass as half full or half empty? 
I think I have a tendency toward the "half empty" perspective, but I make a concerted effort to have a more "half full" outlook on most things.

What is something that would be really hard for you to give up on?
My kids or my husband. I'm proud of them and can't imagine how they could possibly disappoint me enough to cause me to give up on them. 

Would you give a homeless person CPR if they were dying?
Last year, I took a CPR certification class through my job. One of our trainers was extremely adamant that you should NEVER put your mouth on someone else's mouth without a protective shield (unless they were an immediate relative) and told some horror stories about diseases EMT's and police officers had contracted by not following this advice. So, with that in my mind, I hope I would have the courage to do the chest compressions, but I would not do the breathing. 

What makes you bored?
Ha! What is this "bored" concept? I haven't been bored since my first daughter was born over 14 years ago! 

What is your favorite four-legged creature?
Of course, our dog, Sophie! I've always preferred dogs over cats and I'm allergic to cats. Two of my daughters ride horses and they are pretty spectacular creatures, too. I also love giraffes because they are so quietly graceful.

Do you like spicy food or not? Why?
Not especially. I can handle a little heat, but nothing crazy. It gives me indigestion!

Do you consider yourself old-fashioned?
Yes. I am pretty conservative in many ways which, these days, is often equated with being old-fashioned.

What is something or someone you miss from childhood?
My paternal grandmother, MamMaw. We had a special bond, but she passed away shortly after my first daughter was born. I've always wished she could know my girls. 

Are you usually early, late, or right on time?
Before kids, I was always early. Now, I am usually a little early or on time.

Are you happy with your life - at least for the most part - right now?
For the most part, yes. There are always things I wish I could change, but overall I am happy.

Who is someone you envy.
Carrie Underwood. She is beautiful and she can really, really sing! 

What is your all time favorite book?
My favorite kids' book is Guess How Much I Love You. My favorite adult book is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It is amazing! 

What is something you are proud you have achieved?
I'm not perfect, but I'm a good mom with good kids. They will always be my greatest achievement. I also have a strong marriage and I'm proud of that, too, because it's not always easy, but we make it a priority.

What was the worst punishment you received as a child?
I don't really remember anything specific. My parents would send us to our rooms when we misbehaved and on very rare occasion we were spanked. I remember spilling fingernail polish remover on my mom's dresser which took off the varnish when I tried to clean it up. I think that's the most scared I ever was and probably the maddest my mom ever got, but, ironically, I don't even remember how or if she punished me! 

If you could change one thing, ONLY one thing, about your appearance, what would it be?
If I could only change one thing, it would definitely be my weight. I'm not overweight, but I'm certainly not skinny and I've gained more than a few pounds in the last couple of years. I have a very difficult time losing weight, too. I'm at a better place with it emotionally speaking that I was a years ago, but if a genie in a bottle could magically alter my metabolism so that I was slimmer and could more easily maintain that size, I certainly wouldn't refuse! 

What are three things in nature that you find beautiful?
Snow, sunsets, beaches, and mountains. (Yes - that's four!)

If you could do it over, would you choose the same career? What else might you choose if you did it again?
Probably not. I was a preschool teacher, then stay at home mom, and now work part time in children's ministry. I love kids, but if I had it do do over, I think I might have chosen something different. If I was going into college now, I would probably be looking into graphic design, marketing, or journalism.

What is the hardest thing you have ever had to do?
Saying good-bye to my MamMaw, saying good bye to Squirt, becoming a mom, and telling our girls their great-grandmother had passed away would be on the list. There will be harder things to come in the future, I know. 

When was the last time you lied? Why? To whom?
Hmmm . . . I honestly don't know - no lie! It was probably something to do with my kids' Christmas presents. I purchased a family gift certificate to an escape room activity which was so much fun (you should try one!), but not inexpensive and I didn't tell my hubby. Does that count?

What are you listening to RIGHT NOW?
Pandora Today's Country Radio station which is playing "Nothin' Like You" by Dan + Shay.

What is the last thing you ate?
Breakfast - Nature Valley Baked Oat Bites Cereal. Getting ready to eat some of last night's  leftover Chicken Pot Pie for lunch.  

What is something you would happily do again if given the chance?
Go to Paris or Key West! 
I love a good snow day, but this is pretty nice, too! 
What are your five favorite foods?
Pizza, pasta, chicken, Mexican, cereal

What is your astrological sign and do you fit the description? (Click HERE to find out!)
With a March 1st birthday, I am a Pisces. I have never put much stock in astrology, but, overall the description is pretty accurate. Some things that are correct: I am compassionate, overly trusting, faithful. I also like being alone, sleeping, and music. I don't handle being criticized well and I cringe at cruelty. Some things that are incorrect: It says Pisces are artistic, especially musical. I like music, but have little to no musical aptitude and I am one of the least artistic people I know. It also says Pisces like swimming (of course), but I don't like water and only call myself a swimmer when I'm wearing al life jacket! It also says that Pisces are nonjudgmental and tolerant, but I am not nearly as much those things as I should be.  

Do you have a lucky number? What is it and why is it lucky?
When I played high school sports, my number was 12 and I got married on 12/12, so that would be the closest thing I have to a lucky number, but I've never been superstitious about it. 

If you could have two super powers, what would you choose?
Invisibility and super speed. I could do things (like cleaning) and get to places super fast, but when I wanted to be left alone, I could just disappear! 

What is the last dream you remember having?
I rarely have dreams I remember, but for some reason I've had a couple of them in the last week. In the most recent, most vivid, I dreamed that I was in the car with my oldest daughter. (She's 14.) In the dream, she was driving and quite obviously pregnant! ðŸ˜ģðŸ˜ģðŸ˜ģI was in the passenger seat and, of course, very upset. I kept asking her "when did this even happen?!?" She wouldn't tell me who or when and just kept saying, "It's not a big deal, mom!" (All very ironic since she has been getting emails from colleges lately and stressing herself out about choosing a major. She currently says she has no desire to ever get married or have kids.) 

Where did you get married? If you've never been married, what do you envision?
I got married in the church where I grew up. It was a small church and a small wedding. Because it was in December, the church was already decorated with white poinsettias - their tradition - so, all the bouquets and boutonnieres were white roses and the bridesmaids dresses were dark green. We had a small reception in the fellowship hall with heavy appetizers and, of course, wedding cake. No DJ, band, or dancing.

Have you ever been hospitalized for anything other than childbirth?
Just once for gall bladder surgery in October 2003 when my oldest daughter was about 14 months old. 
**My mom reminded me that I was also hospitalized when I was three years old. I was being tested for leukemia, but, fortunately  did not have it. I have always known about it and heard the stories, but I do not actually have any memory of it - probably a good thing as it sounds pretty traumatic! 

What is the appliance you would most hate to live without?
Probably my washing machine. Lately, the kids have been out of school a lot for Christmas break and snow days, and I swear I run my dishwasher at least 2 or 3 times a day, but dishes would be a lot easier to wash by hand than clothes! 

What is the last movie you saw in a theater? Was it good?
During Christmas break, I took the kids to see Sing. It was cute!

If you could ask your future self one question and get a truthful answer, what would your question be?
I go between wanting to know everything and not wanting to know anything! I think if had only one question, it would probably be, "are my kids okay in the future?". 

When was the last time you dressed up in "fancy" clothes and what was the occasion?
It's been so long, I don't even remember! I dress up for church regularly, but the last time I wore a cocktail dress was probably on a business trip with my hubby. This one is the last "special dress" I remember buying and the picture is labeled 2012! Has it been that long, really?!?!? I did go with him to a business conference in New Orleans last spring, but everything there was pretty casual.

How do you like to eat your eggs?
I'm not a huge fan, but if I eat them, I eat them scrambled.

Is there anything stuck on your refrigerator door? What?
Ours is stainless steel, so magnets don't stick to the front. I do stick stuff on the side including a calendar, a small dry erase board for listing groceries to buy, and various appointment reminder cards.

What is the last picture on your phone?
Ha! A picture of the dry erase board that is on the side of my refrigerator so I knew what to get at the store! 

Can you speak a second language? If not, what language would you like to learn?
I took two years of Spanish in high school and remember some words, but I certainly don't speak it. If I was to learn a language, I would probably continue with Spanish.

If you were playing Monopoly, which playing piece would you be most likely to choose? (topcoat, thimble, Iron, shoe, battleship, cannon, racecar, purse, scottie dog, wheelbarrow)
For some reason, I always used to choose the thimble.

Are you good at keeping secrets?
No! Having a secret is like money burning a hole in my pocket. I find myself desperately wanting to tell someone! 

Rollercoasters - love them or hate them?
Hate them! I don't like heights and I don't feel safe on them. 

Whew! That took quite a while over a couple different sittings, but it was fun! Did any of my answers surprise you? What would your answers be?

I'm linking up with Finish the Sentence Friday this week. FTSF is hosted by Kristi of Finding Ninee and this week's sentence was, "If I could only change . . . ".

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