Time flies…

I wrote the following a few years back. Eight, to be precise. Eight years and a few days. Now this little bundle of joy is on the edge of 29. She’s a college graduate, working on her Master’s degree in social work. She’s in a happy and secure relationship. She’s got a circle of friends that is amazing. Her family adores her. She continues to be a complete joy to everyone who is lucky enough to be in her inner circle. As for me? I continue to be the proudest momma ever. This kid. She’s mine. My first born. I don’t know why I got so lucky, but I certainly did. So while it’s not a new post, it still rings true…

In 7 days, my first born baby girl turns 21.  TWENTY ONE!!!!  How in the blankety-blank has this happened??  And how did it happen so fast???  It seems like just yesterday that I was days overdue, anxiously awaiting the arrival of this little miracle who had resided so contently inside me for the past nine months.  I didn’t know “its” name, didn’t know if I needed pink or blue, didn’t know if I was even remotely prepared to become a parent.  But in spite of those unknowns, it did happen.  And now here I sit, one week shy of 21 years later.  In shock.  But more than that,, in total and complete awe and admiration for the fabulous being that I (with some help!) brought into this world.  Things have not been perfect for her, she’s had to work hard and overcome many obstacles, some of which were and are due to the choices of her parents, which she had no control over.  But in spite of obstacles, she has remained loyal and amazing and loving and sees the good in all.  And here is where that weird part of life begins.  She’s a young woman.  And yet, she’s still my baby.  And I am her mommy. I was not the best mom, or the nicest mom, or the coolest mom.  But above all, I was and I continue to be her mother.  I have never tried to be her best friend, to buy her love, or to so completely cushion her from the world that she doesn’t have a clue as to how to take care of herself.  I don’t “fix” things for her, I show her the way.  I don’t buy her everything, I taught her how to work and how to save.  I taught her how to scrub a toilet, and how to make deviled eggs. She shares my love of horses, and yet she is a far better rider than I will ever be.  We don’t always see eye to eye,, she’s too much like me.  But one of the best and most amazing things about my kid is that she never, ever forgets that I am the momma.  She can, and will, disagree with me.  She has yelled at me.  She has called me names. She has called me on my own stuff.  But at the end of the day, she recognizes that I never want anything but the best for her and even after a huge disagreement, I (without fail) end up with a call or a text or a physical snuggle and a “I love you, momma”.   We don’t just put it all aside, we learn and grow and gain experience from these situations, making our relationship stronger and more,, real.  So this whole thing is just to state how great my kid is. She is smarter than smart, self sufficient, tough, hard working, and funnier than anyone I know.  Some of that she gets from me, some from her dad, some from others along the way, and a huge portion is just her.  She will succeed in whatever she puts her mind to, she will be an amazing teacher, and she will remain a spectacular daughter and sister (real & step), granddaughter, niece, cousin, friend.  She will laugh loudly and often.  And she will continue to make me proud to say “THAT’S MY KID!”   And, in all honesty,,  a little bit of this is to pat myself on the back and say “Hey, momma!  You did a good job!”  

Have a great day everyone.

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Don’t call me, I’ll call you.

Remember the olden days? You know, when we actually talked to each other? Face to face? Or on the good old land line? I do. Lots of days I miss that connection. I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of often times being unavailable. Not answering texts, ignoring facetime, and most often not answering calls on my cell phone. Remember the days before EVERYlittleTHING was linked to electronics and social media?

Today’s musings are related to these things: communication, social media, and electronics. Linked together, and because of the times, often times so intertwined that you can’t see the forest through the trees.

There are positives, to be sure. Knowing where your loved ones are, being able to catch up on day to day activites, sharing your life, watching babies grow, etcetera etcetera etcetera.  But here is the thing. A couple of weeks ago my phone had a very unfortunate mishap. Due to no fault of it’s own, or me, OR my hubs, the poor innocent phone was inadvertently crushed between the tailgate and the bumper of my truck. This accident occurred literally as we were hooking up 5th wheel and horse trailer for a long weekend out of town.  It will be fine, I thought! The hubs had his phone and we quickly texted the key people in our life that may or may not have a need to get in touch with me. You know what? I survived. My people survived. Was it easy? Yes and no. Was it nice? Overwhelmingly yes. I missed being the one to take all the pictures. I didn’t miss social media. I missed my daily check in with my girls. I did not miss spam calls. Being without my phone showed me some interesting things.

Communication: this can occur regardless of having your phone with you 24/7. The people that needed to get in touch with me amazingly enough did so, in spite of my broken device. It was a miracle!! We spent days communicating (gasp) face to face with friends. All of the so-called emergent situations that pop up in our day to day life were reduced to things that could absolutely be handled in the following days. Incoming calls that were truly important became voicemails that could be responded to during the next week. Oddly enough, one of the most positive things was that calls or texts that you may be waiting for (concisously or not..) are not at all an issue, not a worry, not a concern. The other thing about communication is tone. Facial expressions. Body language. When you are face to face with someone you get to see and hear what is real. A look is seen, a tone (good or bad) is heard. When you go back to the basics of communication in a face to face manner there is far less of a chance for someone to say “well, I didn’t mean it that way” or “you must have misunderstood”. That, in my opinion, is a freaking modern age cop out.

Social media: you can live without it. I won’t say that we completely did, but I know that I did! The hubs posted some awesome pictures and thoughts. There were no political posts, no recipes, no ads, no quizzes that were so important that we had to stop what we were doing to check, read, or even respond. I was with true friends. Old friends and new friends. And you know what? I didn’t feel the need to unfriend any of them! No matter what goes on in your day to to day life, people come and go for a reason. Does unfriending make them go away? Does it erase your history? Does untagging yourself in a less than flattering picture change how you look? Does deleting a post or a comment mean that it will be forgotten? Yeah. Uh. NO. However, that is how many people chose to live their life. A slave to likes and followers. Posts and pictures trying to capture and convey a life that we all know can never, ever be as perfect as a person intends to portray it as.

Electronics: there are times when they are completely unnecessary. We went for four days without watching TV. There were kids in camp that (gasp!) played outside and got wet and muddy and found frogs and tadpoles and skipped rocks and chopped wood. They got worn out by good old fashioned play and went to bed early every single night, with no issues and no arguments. How freaking refreshing is that? We talked, we rode, we cooked, we laughed. Heck, we gossiped, we told secrets and we rolled our eyes at things! We played cards, we read books, we took naps. I know that, of course, this was a holiday weekend, but really. Why is the “real world” any different? There is a time and place for these things, this I believe. You can’t be plugged in all the time and actually experience real life.

The world we live in is so good and so bad. Communication is sorely lacking. Dependence on social media and electronics has taken over. It has become a society of unfriend and delete and block. I know that works well for a lot of people and their situations. It is so EASY. I don’t view it that way. I like to get my point across, even if a person doesn’t want to hear it. I like to listen to the other side, even if I don’t want to hear it. Does it always work? OF COURSE NOT. I have a damn phone. At this moment, I honestly don’t even know where it is. If I go pick it up, there will most likely be a text from one or the other of my babies, asking what I am doing, asking how I am. The hubs is out on the ocean fishing. I could text him to check on him. I am not doing that today. I am going to get dinner prepped, I am going to play with my baby chicks, I am going to curl up on the sofa with a book (yes, on my Kindle…) I will pause and think about how lucky I am to have the friends and family that I have in my life. I will have sympathy for my hubs for the lack of communication that he has with his family. (I have to, it’s my fault..) I am going to continue to ignore phone calls when they come in. I am going to strive to enjoy life at face value and cherish all that it contains that makes me happy! Will there be negatives? Of course. Did I immediately get a new phone when we got back? Yes. Did we watch TV last night. Yup. It’s called balance. I’m trying to find mine.

Fun fact: my oldest literally just came through our front door saying “I TEXTED YOU!” As she left I found where I had set my phone and there was a text from my hubs telling me thank you for bringing his jacket to him earlier this morning. A missed call from my baby. See? I get it! It’s necessary!!! Now put your phone down and do something productive!!

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What a time to be alive!

Or what a time!

Or just… time…

Lately we’ve all had lots of time. As for the hubs and I one would think that this whole shelter in place situation is not much different from our normal retired life. This is as far from reality as it can be. Oddly enough, being together pretty much 24/7 because we choose to be is vastly different from being TOLD we have to be together. At home. Without other people. Just the two of us. And the dogs. Why is that the case?? My belief is that it is just due to the fact that honestly, neither one of us like to be told what to do! Mine is obviously the ongoing control issues that I have and the hubs is oftentimes still in his managerial mindset. All in all, it’s not been a bad thing. We’ve done some much needed home and property improvements, cooked a lot and gained a lot of weight, ridden horses (yes, even the hubs!) and just generally worked on enjoying and making the best of this crazy world we are all experiencing right now.

Time. And what stays the same in spite of being different. Everyone that knows us also knows that quite a large portion of our time is devoted to Gma. (As always, here is the disclaimer: We adore our Gma and while there are often some incredibly challenging times, we do not ever begrudge the time we share with her.) Really and truly, besides us and our family and friends here in town as well as the loving and caring staff at her assisted living facility, there is NO ONE else. We are her world and we try as best as we can to keep that world as large and colorful as we can for her. Here is the interesting thing. The home is on lockdown. At the beginning of this, they had a “soft” closure, meaning that “essential” visitors could still come and go. We fell into this essential group as the last 11 years have shown that if we go missing from Gma for over 3 to 4 days, she assumes the worst. As things progressed with the pandemic, the home had to revisit their plan and for the last 60 days absolutely no visitors have been allowed. Of course, our initial reaction was WHOOO HOOOO! LET’S GO!! This was quickly followed by OH DAMN. THERE IS NOWHERE TO GO.

Time. And grief. When you have lots of extra moments to ponder things, it is hard to stay positive all the time. I am sure many of you are feeling that as well. We have been grieving the last few days. A lot. We are grieving the second year of life without my baby girl’s beloved friend. We sit and try to smile. That’s what she’d want us to do because if you knew her, she was literally ALWAYS smiling. Happy, sad, hungover, frustrated, tired, hungry. Smiling. As anyone that had the joy of knowing her would say “That was Sarah.” Even as I write this, I am smiling through my tears because there isn’t a bad or negative memory that I can conjure up. Not a one. Seriously, not a single one. So smile. Just do it.

Time. And estrangement. Not for me, but for my hubby. Lots of history, lots of emotion, lots of different versions of the reality. Those that know, you know. Those that don’t know, you speculate. It is what it is. I know what my is is. It is remaining positive and supportive in what is an absolute no-win situation for the love of my life. No-win because the “reason” for all of it is ultimately blamed on me. As we spend more time at home looking at each other questions arise. What to do? The short and simple answer is keep on keeping on. We’ve fought long and hard for the relationship we have today, 17 whole years of ups and downs. I ain’t gonna quit now. (That “ain’t” is for the hubs..)  It has become especially glaringly apparent in these last months who is here for us. Who is checking in regarding Gma’s wellbeing, who is worried about my honey and his wellbeing. Again. If you know, you know. Thank you to all that know.

Time. And change. I don’t think there is a person out there that could have predicted where our world is right now. I know I couldn’t have. What to do? Change. Adapt. Modify. Most of all? Remain positive. Try to perfect gluten free bread, if you can find yeast. If not, try a different recipe. Try to make someone smile, even if all you can see is their eyes since their face is covered with a mask. Make your bed every day and put that bright yellow pillow on it, even though it may be raining or the last thing you feel is sunshine in your heart. Put your makeup on even if you have nowhere to go, because who doesn’t like to look good for your mate, and more importantly who doesn’t like to look good for themselves. Or don’t put your makeup on, and let your skin and soul rejuvenate. Have a Thursday Family Dinner instead of a Sunday Family Dinner just because you can. Make sure that you are reaching out to those that are missing out on important milestones in their life that have been canceled. (Shout out to my favorite extra niece on her CR GRADUATION. Here she comes, HSU!!!)  Be nice when you don’t feel like it. Cry if you need to. Play with your goats and if you don’t have goats, go find someone who does and play with their goats. (Trust me on this one..) Be appreciative of the people in your life who care for you. Love each other and more importantly, love yourself. Look for that silver lining that just may be hiding in the most unexpected person, place or thing.

I am going to go prepare for a Friday night social distancing party of no more than 10 people with plenty of hand sanitizer and toilet paper at our property. Yes, the horses are invited.

Thanks for reading.

Love,

Me, living my best life.

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The Belle of the Ball or…

Not.

Here in our little town there are not very many opportunities to dress up. I mean, really dress up. Like prom dress up. Only an adult prom since we are now adults!

This month is one of those times. The Crystal Ball is a fundraiser for our local CASA. Since my daughter and niece are both in the Social Work field, this organization has become near and dear to us. It is truly a worthwhile entity. (And yes, they really put on a BALL!)

I am not one of those women who dresses up often, nor do I enjoy shopping for a dress that I will literally wear only once. Therefore, finding a dress that’s appropriate AND fits is somewhat of a chore. I thought I would take the easy route and wear the dress my daughter wore last year. It showed a little more boob than is totally acceptable for me, a 54 year old, but hey, the hubs will like it!

So anyway, my sister and my oldest were over the other day so we could all try on our gowns. Sis has a beautiful one from my niece’s wedding last year, kiddo has borrowed a fabulous one from a friend, and then there’s me. I come out in said gown and my amazing family members both get “that smile” on their face. I know this smile because as family members we have all mastered it… “It looks GOOD!” they both exclaim. However, I know differently. It doesn’t look BAD, but I know that GOOD is too kind of a description. My daughter has darker hair, darker eyes, bolder looks. She can pull off rosy cream with sparkles. I can not. I blended allll into the dress. I was a rosy cream blob.

They tried. They really did. I said “I am too old for sparkles.” Kiddo says “M. wears sparkles!” I said “I blend into the color too much.” Sis says “Get your hair done!” These are honestly the only two positives that they could come up with, other than “Your boobs look great!”

The moral of the story is this. I adore my family. They are loving. They are honest even when they try not to be! I know that when I decided to not wear the dress they both secretly breathed a huge sigh of relief. Kiddo and I are going shopping this next weekend.. I won’t be a rosy cream blob!! (Please send all the dress shopping success vibes my way!)

Additional details: Yes, I had my fuzzy slippers on. Yes, I got a new duck for the hubs to replace the one that the raccoons ate awhile back. Yes, my kid caught this moment on Snapchat… Damn, I love my life!!!

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Winner, winner..

Wait. There is no winner. I don’t even know if I will get a chicken dinner.

Today was tough. The culmination of 344 days of stress, heartache and hard work.

When I say there is no winner, that may not be a true statement. I think (absolute speculation!) that the other party involved in this debacle feels as though she has won. Realistically, other than a few minor changes on our end, our life will go on as it has for the last 10 plus years. Yes. TEN. PLUS. YEARS. That is the amount of time that has passed since Gma had her stroke and came up here to live. TEN. PLUS. YEARS. Of illness, doctor visits, surgery, church services, falls, lunches, birthday parties, dog care, dinners, fights, frustration, loves, cuddles, holidays, trips to Florida, trips across town. The list is really endless. What has been consistent in this list and in the care of Gma is MY HUSBAND. When he was working more than full time in an extremely busy and stressful position, he was there. When we went on short little weekend trips away so that he could be available, he was there. When he basically altered any type of “real” retirement plans so that he could not miss any days with his momma, HE WAS AND IS THERE. Yes, I am there as well. I can rattle off the list of meds that mom takes, I know how to help her up and down and into the car. I can take her to church or out to lunch. There is my kid, there is my sister, there is my buddy and even her kids, they are all available at the drop of a hat to help out.

Is anyone catching the theme here? Who is NOT here? You know. I don’t have to say it.

344 days ago the hubs offered up a solution that was more than generous and beneficial to all parties involved and offered it to his sibling. Unfortunately, the party that it helped the most (i.e. financially) took a crap on the offer. Not only took a crap on it but rolled it up and kicked it to the curb of the house that she didn’t own. The house she had been living in rent free for 9 plus years. The house that she wasn’t maintaining. I could go on and on but hey, who needs details?? Those of you that were close to the situation know what it was all about, and for those of you who weren’t all I can say is that I hope and pray that you never have to go down the road that we had to go down. Attorneys, eviction, estrangement, heartbreak. All unnecessary, if only the sibling who was benefiting could have stepped back a moment and seen things for what they were.

Here are things that were NOT occurring. My husband didn’t once threaten anyone. My husband didn’t once “lose his compassion” for his mother. The home where Gma lives didn’t do anything but take amazing care of an often cantankerous old lady.

Here are the things that WERE occurring. Again, please note: this is said with not an ounce of ill will towards Gma. My hubby continually says that he’s been blessed by the time he has been able to spend with and give back to the woman who gave birth to him and raised him through some tough times. However, the reality is this. It has been tough. Our lives are connected to Gma. I understand that assisted living homes can sometimes be a dumping ground for failing relatives, but that is not the case in our situation. Now that the hubs is retired we visit on an average of 5-6 times a week. Sometimes 7. As in every. single.day. Sometimes twice a day! Not that the home can’t handle things, it is OUR choice to help with bathing, laundry, meals, etc. The longest that we have been away was for 3 weeks a couple of years ago, and during that time my oldest only missed ONE day of visiting. So if not hubs, then me, then extended family and of course framily.

So here is the culmination of those 344 days. We lost the sale of the house as the sibling placed a Lis Pendens. (Google that, I had to!) We spent thousands in attorney fees. The worst part of it was to watch my hubs live with the stress of dealing with the situation and yet never slowing down on the care of his momma, meanwhile, he was feeling extremely guilty about having to bring an end to the financial drain the other party’s housing represented to his mother’s finances. Inside of the legal wrangling it was stated to the Court that the hubs had not only lost his compassion but that he was denying his mother’s transfer to the Memory Care Unit (a higher level of care) as if this were an all-expense paid trip to Disney World. This in itself demonstrates the lack of connection to Gma and what goes on in her day to day life. To take her to the MCU would be a difficult transition and reduce the interactions Gma is able to have significantly. It is one of the most infuriating aspects of this whole situation. Opinions and accusations were spouted, but they were wrong, dead wrong, and honestly seemed as though they were driven by spite and anger. Also listed in the court papers? I was referred to as the Hub’s “third wife”. While I am that, did it need to be said? Also apparently “everyone” knows that gma doesn’t like me. I myself have at times referred to this relationship’s difficulties in my prior blogs, but again (and again and again) all of these things, allegations, slams, whatevers, really just point to the fact that the other party involved HAS NO CLUE OF GMA’S DAY TO DAY LIFE.

Want to know where we ended up?? It was a matter of control. To stop the misuse of funds last year we had a new Durable Power of Attorney drawn up. Legally. Properly. Due Diligence. All of that and then some. We also had a new medical POA done because the reality is you need to plan for what if’s in this circumstance. (In this part of it in particular, I am the hub’s back up, the 2nd one to get a call in the event of an emergency or an incident.) In the Court monitored mediation, I was deemed quite appropriate for being a Medical Power of Attorney, you know the one that says, “Stop the CPR” but I am not appropriate for the durable POA. It is interesting to me that the focus is yet again on the financial aspect and not at all on the care aspect.

So to bring it all home.. We won? We lost? I don’t know if it can even be quantified. I keep finding myself pondering what circumstances or life experiences would cause a person to basically shoot themselves in the foot, what kind of mindsets can bring a person to view the circumstances from such a myopic vantage point that they can no longer see the forest through the trees. What we WON was this: We still have Gma here. She will continue to live as she’s been living for the past 3,430 days. Good days. Bad days. Holidays. Church Days. Lunch Days. The hubs and I, along with the caring staff at Gma’s home will be there for her daily. We will rub her feet, comb her hair, watch Spanish TV & the Hallmark channel, miss our little Peggy Sue. Eat snacks, talk about the old days, look at family pictures. LIVE. Make Gma’s days the best damn days that they can be in spite of her circumstance. In our eyes, it’s not about the money. It’s about Gma. Isn’t that the way it should be?? I think so.

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The real deal… or not!

It’s been a bit since I wrote anything other than notes to myself about blog topics. A couple of days would pass and that topic was so last week, but now here we are!  It’s been a hell of few months. All the stuff going on in our life has got me thinkin’. How hard do we “try”? Do we really “do our best”? Does “I’m sorry” make it all better?

Our last few months have been a bit of a shit show. Lots of reasons, all pretty personal. We have a core group surrounding us that have gone above and beyond to listen and advise and even laugh and cry with us. It’s been stressful and sad and just not a good time. (Not to imply that we haven’t thrown some VERY GOOD TIMES in the mix!!) This morning I was in one of those moods where I just wanted to hide under the covers all day. Maybe the weather had something to do with it, but mostly I was just in a piss ass mood.  I finally got up out of bed, showered and pulled myself together. Went and had a great lunch with my oldest, sent lunch to my niece, played with granddogs, went to the property, and then headed home.

Enough about my lazy and somewhat grouchy day. Back to my thoughts that shall become a blog post rather than notes to be tossed in a few days.

In our crazy life, I have recently had to defend myself, and even my hubs, to various people. I don’t often feel the need to do that. I like to look at things as they are, and if someone wants to see it differently, let them! You can’t change a person or a person’s perception of you. All you can do is try. Hahaha, just kidding. I don’t believe in try. I think try is an excuse, and a means for someone to do or say anything they want and then say “Well, I tried..” Oh, but did you? Did you REALLY? Did you do everything in your power to get the desired results? Did you look long and hard at yourself and your actions? Can you really say you TRIED? Most of the time, I believe the answer is no. That falls right into “I did my best.” Again, did you do everything you knew how to do to obtain the results you were looking for? Did you explore and act on a new course of action if your original “best” wasn’t enough? Or did you just stop. Stop at the roadblock and use the words of “I tried” or “I did my best” to justify an attempt. Did you repeat words and actions that have failed in the past? Did you research new ways to get a different result? Did you try everything in your power to make a change? Think about it.

After you tried your best , what happened next? Was it an apology? To yourself, a friend, a relative, a child.. “I am sorry” things didn’t work out, “I am sorry” the results were the same this time as last time (or the last hundred times..) In case you are wondering, I also don’t do well with “I am sorry.”  In the past I have been accused of being close minded, hard headed, not open, etc etc. due to the fact that I don’t “accept” apologies well. That’s really not the truth. I don’t accept insincere apologies well. I don’t accept apologies for actions that have been repeated time and time again with the same apology repeated over and over.

For those of you who like to know the meanings of words:

try
/trī/
verb
make an attempt or effort to do something.

best
/best/
adjective
of the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality.

do (or try) one’s best
phrase of best
do all one can.
synonyms: do one’s utmost, try one’s hardest, try as hard as one can, make every effort, spare no effort, do all one can, give one’s all, be at pains

apology
/əˈpäləjē/
noun
a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure

I think the above definitions are pretty clear. I know that those who don’t believe in a black and white meaning may look beyond good old Webster’s for clarification, even though these are really such tiny words. Tiny they may be, but they pack a punch. I don’t believe they should be taken lightly or tossed around like confetti. I guess I should add my somewhat standard disclaimer here! This is my belief. You can love it or hate it, take it or leave it, read my blog or don’t! I think we all can relate to my thoughts, maybe not all the time, but at least some of the time.

So that’s all I have to say today! It’s still raining, I am still a little out of sorts, and I am ready for a glass of wine. I hope my words are beneficial to someone reading them, but even if they aren’t, it’s ok with me. Tomorrow is a new day and I hope to wake up refreshed and raring to go!

raring
/ˈreriNG/
adjectiveINFORMAL
very enthusiastic and eager to do something.

 

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Hey, Vickie! What’s your secret?

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I recently had an interesting situation with Victoria. You know, Victoria and her secret. I want to know what the damn secret is!

To start with, here is a bit o’ booby history. Once I finished “growing” back in the 80’s, I was a solid 36C. Up until I got pregnant with my first baby, I didn’t waver from that. In spite of the normal girly weight gains and losses, I just stayed at that same size. I popped out a couple of babies in the early 90’s and of course those years of pregnancy and lots of nursing caused my size to be all over the place. Thank goodness nursing bras are so forgiving! After settling down into a post baby body, those two gems of mine actually went right back to a C cup. It was a bit of a different shape, but overall the same size. I did, however, move up to a 38. That’s all good.

So back to my buddy Victoria. She’s taken quite a bit of my money over the years. So many years, so many bras. I accepted that I was now a 38C instead of a 36C and forged on. Ms. Macys told me the same thing, so I knew Vickie wasn’t lying to me. Until she lied to me… Here’s what happened.

I run into the store one day because my faves were on sale for “2 for” whatever the sale was. As I perused my selection, super friendly sales girl approaches and kindly asks if I need help. I asked her if there was any backstock on a certain style because as you 38’ers know, we don’t get all the good stuff like the other gals! She looks at my girls and says “how long has it been since you were measured?” It’s the kiss of bra size death, I tell ya. Don’t fall for it! Next thing you know, I have been whisked into the dressing rooms and she whips out the measuring tape and tells me I am certainly NOT a 38C, I am a 36. TRIPLE D. Oh,,,, hahahahaha, “NO, I am not!” I reply! She insists and informs me that what I call “fat” under my arms is actually “breast tissue” and it’s apparently kind of overflowing because I am clearly wearing the wrong size bra. She then tries to sell me the $80 bra and actually talks down the cheaper more affordable ones that I came in for. I nicely argued with her that a) weird that a store would sell something they don’t have faith in and b) I’d rather have two bras in super cute colors and styles than one super expensive one.  We have a bit more of a conversation over size and discussed that the racer back ones seem to run super small in the band size, so if I were to order one I should go with 38D or possibly 38C. Wait, wait, wait. Why have I now gone down a couple cup sizes? I get a vague “that’s how it is..” answer.

I scamper back to the drawers and pick out two lovely bras in my new found size. I am pretty excited because the 36 stock is wayyyyyyyyyy better than the 38! I get a cute mint green and a sweet mocha and once my new things are in the striped bag securely wrapped in their pink tissue paper, I leave the story, quite happy with my boobs.

Fast forward. There’s a sale online. Previously mentioned racerbacks are on an even better sale! I already have a few of these, so knowing what I know now, I order a 40, because I know that even the 38’s tend to be tight in this style. Keeping with what my saleslady friend told me, I order the C cup, since I am confident that I won’t be anywhere near a D with a bigger band. The day my package arrives I rip it open and pull out my new beauties! I strip down and try on the first one!!! Umm. Excuse me. Where are my boobs????? All we’ve got here is a molded cup and a huge gap of air between it and my “breast tissue”. WTF. Second one, also a racerback but different style, same exact thing. Next time I am out in the real world shopping I dejectedly trudge into the beautifully scented and tastefully lit Victoria’s Secret. Another super friendly sales girl helps me at the counter. I explain my problem and she smiles and says “Oh my, you totally should have ordered a B cup! THAT’S what you would have needed in a 40!” (Insert frustrated emoji face here!!!)

Moral of the story. I think Victoria is full of crap. I think she’s switched up her sizes to the masses of women who will feel better being a double or triple D instead of a C. That’s not me. I like my C. It’s been with me a long, long time. Will I still shop at the VS? Of course… I like their stuff, especially 7 for $25 panties! However, I will only order online if I have free shipping and I will tell myself to not be frustrated if things don’t fit. In the end, I will still have wayyy too many bras and panties than I could ever need and I will still probably buy more. No one at home complains!

Happy shopping, y’all!

OpqN3ac

 

 

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Independence & museums.

The hubs and I were recently cruising the open roads…

Just kidding. We were stuck in traffic.

As we sat on the garbage strewn freeway near Richmond (RichWHAT?)  he looked over and saw the sign for the Rosie the Riveter museum in Richmond and said “I’d sure like to take your girls there. They are so independent!” It got me to thinkin’…

I don’t know what made me more happy/proud in that moment. The fact that the hubs recognized my girl’s independence or the fact that he wanted to take them to a museum or the fact that my independent girls love museums. All of the above, probably.

I love museums. And zoos. And roadside attractions and landmarks and such.  I was raised on that sort of thing and not the typical amusement park childhood. In turn, I have taken my kiddos to more places such as that than I can possibly count. The cool thing is, they like it. They are used to whipping off the road at the sight of a sign that promises cool things. They jump in with both feet and explore and ooh and ahh along with the best of them. My youngest went to Disneyland for the first time the year she graduated from high school. My oldest? She’s never been. However, name a historical landmark and they can say they have been there and they can tell you the history behind it. Tombstone, Donner Pass, the great Salt Lake, Oregon Museum of Mental Health, Fort Humboldt, Steinhart Aquarium, the Ponderosa. Some cheesy, some informational, some just plain fun. The best thing about it is that as they are now adults, they find them on their own and are so excited to share their find and share my joy! It is the best thing to hear one of them say “Mom, I found a place!!” And we go.

So, how does that all fit together with independence? I asked my hubs what he meant by his comment. His reply was that my girls had not only a sense of adventure, but a sense of self. Along with that, their love of history made a place such as the Rosie Museum a sure fire win in the cool places department. He said he felt like the strength of the women and the history behind the person & place & time was something that would interest them and that he always enjoys their enthusiasm and fun loving approach to new experiences and would love to share that with them. Um. Yes. He’s a cool and amazing stepdaddio. He’s also jumped into finding the cool spots along the roads of our travels. Surprise picnic at Seabiscuit’s Ridgewood Ranch? He’s on board with our ways.. So back to fitting it together. In my head and heart it just does.

As always, the ghosts of the past must show up and take a bow. In this case, it’s actually in the form of a compliment to my parents. One of the things that they instilled in us at an early age was that you can learn and have fun at the same time. That sometimes the best experiences are not the coolest nor do they cost the most money. I am thankful for that lesson, as it is something that I not only enjoyed and embraced in the chaos of my younger years, but something that I count as a positive from my childhood. Both of my parents, if only for some moments in time, took an interest in our interests. They showed us things off the beaten path, made us notice rolling tumbleweeds and small town attractions. For all of things that I dealt with as a child, and all the things I steadfastly said I would never do as an adult and as a parent, these experiences rose above the negativity. I get to embrace a part of my childhood and share it with my babies, and the joy of them finding happiness (and knowledge) is awesome.

So honestly.. do the two things really go together? I give it a resounding yes. In spite of my flawed childhood, my failed first marriage, and my other shortcomings, I have (with the help of so many..) raised two pretty cool kids. Pretty and smart, tough and wise, curious and independent. I am beyond proud of them. And if we happen to be traveling all together and we see a sign.. you can bet we are going to stop and take a look, no matter what it is. That’s part of life. The stop and smell the roses life. You know, at a roadside rose garden. I am so thankful that this is part of the life that we all choose to live together.

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Love & loss. Oh, and grief…

Everyone is different and yet there are fundamental and inevitable components of life that we all have to deal with. This year loss has touched many in our family. Some of the loss has been expected, some of it has been sudden and tragic. It hits us all. It hits us all so differently.

As a mom, loss has touched me on some extremely different levels. It is, I have learned, extremely difficult to mourn a loss and watch your child mourn at the same time. It is extremely difficult to be a mom and watch another parent mourn the loss of their child. It is extremely difficult to watch a sister mourn the loss of her sister when you are a sister and you are the mother of sisters.  I know that the above statements are somewhat obvious. I know that anyone reading this is probably thinking “Um. Duh.” But you know what? I didn’t know. I didn’t know it would be so freaking hard.

The latest to hit us was the loss of one of my daughter’s best friends. Her college roommate. A young woman whose flame was brighter than you can imagine. Loving, caring, funny, smart, beautiful… The words to describe her just go on and on.  Here’s where one of the hard parts of this blog starts. With a mom fail. My baby called me to tell me about the tragedy, but at this point it was only what she had heard, and no solid information, and it was coming via text message while she was at work. She was hysterical. She was choking out the words. Guess what I did? I HUNG UP ON HER. I now realize that I did it for a number of reasons. My own disbelief, my need to confirm the information, and yet the number one reason was that I had to compose myself before I lost my shit. I had to pull it together and be a mom first. A mom that said soothing and loving words. A mom that could make sure that my own baby was safe and that someone was coming to get her because she couldn’t drive. A mom that said “Baby, I will be there as soon as I can.” while throwing random items of clothing into a bag. This kind of mom couldn’t be the one sobbing louder than her child…

Side note: my tribe was and is amazing and supportive. My home was going to be watched, the multitude of animals taken care of, Gma time taken care of, and even extra attention to my baby lemon trees I’ve been trying to grow to tree adulthood. Literally every aspect of my life at home was just left behind and I didn’t have to worry at all about it. Can anyone truly comprehend what an incredible gift that is? Unless you have experienced it, unless you have those people by your side, you just don’t know.

After a long and mostly silent drive, the hubs and I roll up to the barn where my baby keeps her horses, because of course, that’s where you find grieving horse girls. My girl and my extra girls who are usually so exuberant and happy were teary shells of their normal selves. I was going from girl to girl, doling out mom hugs and yet taking in the hugs of these amazing young women. The hubs stood by, silently weeping himself. This was a time when there were literally no words to be said. The next few days were a blur of more tears, more mom hugs, more horses, and yet slowly but surely a few smiles started emerging. A few smiles turned into some giggles and even some genuine laughter. This isn’t a surprise really, if you had the pleasure of knowing their amazing young friend. She was a breath of fresh air. You just looked at her and smiled. I learned over the next week that no matter what amount of time you had known her, no matter how you knew her, no matter if you were young or old, you loved her.

There really isn’t much more to say. Your time on earth is not a given. What you do with your time is a choice. Your choice. Let shit go. Love each other. Do what makes you happy. Make sure that those who are important to you know that they are. Never stop being who you are because you think someone or something is more important than your true self. Strive to be positive. As my baby said about her dear friend, “I never saw her mad.” Live with that kind of love and enthusiasm. It’s worth it. You will never know whose life you touch or possibly change for the better just by being yourself.

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You are my favorite child..

Just kidding. YOU are my favorite child.

How many moms go through this??? For the record, I really don’t have a favorite. I have two, and I love them equally and yet differently, as they are as different as night and day. Don’t think for a minute that they don’t each believe that the other one is the fave child though!!!

I have an older and a younger, and yet both are still my babies. The oldest is so very much like me. This is good and bad. The good, because, well,,,, I like to see the good in me displayed in another human, one that I created and raised. The bad? Welp, she’s got my bad traits too. Those aren’t always so pretty to look at!!!! The younger, she’s like her dad. Sometimes I don’t get her, but that doesn’t mean that she’s any less my baby!

When I had my first baby, I was amazed at what a “good baby” she was. Nursed great, slept great, great mood almost all the time, happy, smiley, social. Even as she grew she kept up with the golden child persona, strong willed, but just a super amazing little one. The day I gave birth to my second and she popped out into this world, my picture of bliss changed. Still blissful, but a different version of it. I often joke that I jinxed myself with the whole “I am such a great mom of girls!” That second one? She screamed, she yelled, she growled at people, she didn’t want to talk. So very confusing! And yet, I love them both..

As the years have passed and my babies are now grown, things are changing and evolving. Not so much parenting to be done, and more friendship to be created. I love them both with ever fiber of my being, but truth be told, I do love them differently. I still worry that one or the other will think that they are my favorite. These days, as one is 20 miles from me and the other is 260, it’s hard to make them both feel just as loved as when they were under the same roof. It’s probably more ME worrying about it than them, but I wouldn’t ever want one to feel “less” than the other. This last weekend was a perfect example of the struggle. Saturday I had lunch with the oldest and two of my nieces. Sunday has turned into Sunday Funday with the oldest as I take Me Time instead of lunch and church with the hubs and Gma. Oldest and I went for a hike, then headed back to her house for lunch and mimosas and movie watching. During the whole time there was the little tap tap tap on my conscious that I was somehow neglecting my youngest. Is that true? Of course not. Do I still feel the sting of guilt? Absolutely.

So what it all boils down to is that I have two girls, I love both fiercely and equally, and that mom guilt is going to be present regardless of what I do or don’t do! I spend as much time as I can with both. It’s different due to logistics, but that doesn’t prevent me from being the best mom that I can be to each daughter. Time well spent is the important thing, knowing that I am conveying to each in my own way and in a way that they best understand that I am their momma. It may be an afternoon hike, or sitting in a certain section at the ‘Bee’s, or watching some Netflix, or wandering the aisles at Wilco, it may be a few hours after one gets off work, or a whole weekend of being together. It’s a “Good morning, sunshine!” text or a bowl of egg salad. It’s a curled up on the sofa in leggings, giggling or talking about the hardships of adulting. It’s just being there, and more importantly, them knowing that I am always there for them.

And at the end of the day, they will each think I love the other more and tell me so, and I will smile and say “Of course that’s not true.” It’s just different.

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