Month: July 2014

My Unfinished Project(s)

I have this disease of sorts.  The symptoms include knowing precisely what I want while never, ever, being able to find it.  It’s painful.

Thanks to one very wonderful friend and my equally wonderful parents, I find myself childless this week.  With few commitments outside of work, I decided that I would use this time to finish decorating all of the half-decorated rooms of my home.

It’s not going very well.

As was the case with my sixth grade “graduation” dress and my prom dress and my wedding dress, I visualize exactly what it is that I want weeks in advance.  The image burns itself into my brain and, eventually, the vision cannot be altered.  There’s one small problem with that:  I create these beautiful things in my mind, but nobody else seems to be able to replicate them.  So, my sixth grade graduation dress became my mother’s choice of practical multipurpose dress.  My prom dress also became my mother’s dress of choice – I wanted the red one.  And my wedding dress, well that was all my doing.  I absolutely adored the beautiful little satin buttons that extended down the back of the gown and continued down the short train.  The back of the dress was perfect.  The front of the dress?  It was meh.

This seems to be the cross that I’m meant to bear.

I have searched through dozens of stores in the last two days, searching for the perfect piece of furniture, the perfect wall decor, the perfect accent piece to complete just one room in my house.  My efforts have been generally useless.  It seems that even the right outlet covers have managed to elude me.  Ho-hum.  I think I’ll play lotto tonight so that I can torture some well-paid but unsuspecting interior designer with my seemingly insatiable whims.20140731-205441.jpg

I did manage to fill the back of my car with a few minor purchases.  You can barely make out the desk that will go in my daughter’s room – I chose the unfinished one, of course.  I know exactly how it’s going to look when it’s done.  And in the foreground you can see the two new side tables that will sit in our TV room.  Of course, now I need a lamp to sit on those tables.  The base should be a sea blue, but I don’t want one with a seagull or starfish on it – no sea motif.  I just want the right color of sea blue.  Is that too much to ask?

What am I happy about today?  Well, I am happy to be a woman who knows exactly what she wants – even if I don’t know exactly where to find it.

 

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Halfway There

 "Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


“Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s hard to believe that in just 3 short weeks I’ll reach the midway milestone of this 365 day experiment.

Go Me!

Truth be told, I wasn’t convinced that I had the will to carve out time in each day to make this possible. I was almost certain that I would allow myself to be distracted by shifting priorities and lack of time. But, as this slowly became my new habit, I realized that I didn’t want to be distracted and I could always find the time.

Now that I’m coming up on the midyear anniversary of my blog, I’m beginning to think about what happens next. Where do I go from here? What happens on day 365? Do I log off, bid farewell and wish everyone the best? With each passing day, that seems an unlikely scenario.

I listened to a commencement speech given by Jim Carrey recently and I can’t seem to shake his message.

So many of us choose our path based out of fear disguised as practicality….
You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love…
Risk being seen in all of your glory….
You will only ever have 2 choices: love or fear. Choose love and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart.

I’ve been choosing what I love for 162 days. I’ve been letting go of the fear that comes with being seen in all your glory. I’ve been reigniting my playful heart and I don’t want to let the flames burn out.

I’m not certain what comes next. I only know that I’m halfway there and I’m thoroughly enjoying the journey.

Look Into The Turn

“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” I’ve always liked that saying. I’m still trying to figure out why my driver’s education instructor came into my life.

I was driving the twists and turns of the Taconic Parkway this afternoon when I started thinking about my former driver’s education instructor. I can’t recall his name or what he looked like, but I remember well his stern, no-nonsense approach to teaching us how to drive. He was quiet and terse, seemingly correcting us at every turn. He made me nervous.

When it came time to prepare us for highway driving, he simply said “Look into the turn.” Everyone nodded their head in agreement, indicating that they understood what this meant. I nodded along with them, fearing I was the only one who didn’t understand.

Week after week each one of us took the wheel and slowly began to accelerate onto the highway ahead of us. And week after week our instructor repeated his advice: “Look into the turn.” Initially he was calm, but his voice grew louder as his frustration built. Weeks went by like this. He continued repeating, “Look into the turn,” and we numbly nodded our heads in agreement.

Finally, one day I took the wheel, strategically placing my hands at 10 and 2 before nervously asking what we all needed to know.

“I’m sorry,” I began, “but I don’t know what you mean by look into the turn.

He looked at me in silence for, what seemed like, an eternity before finally directing me to put the car in park. I did as I was told and then listened to his explanation.

“You can’t always see the road ahead of you,” he began. “This is especially true when you need to follow a turn. You won’t be able to see the road beyond that turn. When that happens, look ahead, where the road seems to disappear beyond that turn. Look at it and follow it. Don’t slow down because the road will roll out in front of you as long as you continue to look into the turn.”

Finally, the words made sense. I followed his instructions and I began looking into the turn. Expressionless, he would say only “Good,” before directing the next student into the driver’s seat. When it seemed we all grasped the idea of looking into the turn, he instructed us further.

“When you hit a straight-away,” he said, “be sure to take a moment to look around. Be certain that you are headed in the right direction and take note of how much further you have to travel. This will help you concentrate on looking into the turn when you need to. Another thing,” he continued, “be aware of the cars around you. Give yourself an out. Make sure you have room to move to the right or to the left. This will help you avoid becoming the victim of another driver’s bad decision.”

I thought about all of this as I looked into the turns of the Taconic. I thought about what a great teacher he turned out to be and I thought about all of the advice he shared:

Look into the turn.
You can’t always see the road ahead.
Don’t slow down.
The road always rolls out ahead of you.
Take a moment to make certain that you’re headed in the right direction.
Give yourself an out.
Don’t become the victim of another’s bad decision.

These seemed more like life lessons than driving lessons.

My driving instructor was part of my life for only a season, but he was certainly there for a reason and that has stayed with me for a lifetime. That makes me happy.

Prepubescence

My prepubescent daughter is challenging my happiness today.  I’m guessing that this is the training ground for the real challenge that lies ahead.  There’s a slight possibility that I’ll run away before then.

Searching through old photos today, I was struck by the thought that my oldest daughter always seemed to require extra attention.  Of course, it could be argued that her father and I were responsible for that, but I am absolutely, positively convinced that nature is the guilty party in this scenario.  Her dreamy, head-in-the-clouds, free spirit has always seemed an inborn trait.

I like to believe that her free spirit will serve her well, cause her to dream big and follow her wildest inclinations towards happiness.

I’m going to hang on to that thought for the next 7 to 10 years.  That will make me happy….and hopefully it will keep me from running far, far away.

 

Do Male Dogs Have Nipples?

Where, exactly, does the conversation lead after you’ve discussed the relevance of the male nipple? And did you know that male dogs do, indeed, have nipples?

I never knew.

These are the conversations that happen when we’re allowed out past our normal bedtime.

We’re out of practice.

Obviously, we need to do this more often.

Summer Reading

20140726-215921.jpg“We had an author’s dinner last night,” my husband said as he dropped an armload of books on the table.  “I thought you might like some samples.”

The timing was perfect.  Summer was here, I had just finished my latest book and I needed something new to occupy my thoughts.  After looking them over, I shrugged, unimpressed but happy to have some spare reading material.  They weren’t books that I would have chosen for myself, but they would do.

The first book, a story of four unlikely friends who find themselves in the throws of midlife, was a quick and almost disheartening read.  I moved through it and was ready to pick up something new.  Next up was a book that I probably would not have chosen for myself, but one that I’m glad I had the chance to read.  It caused me to consider my dreamy tendency toward wanderlust and my reasons for choosing a life of practicality.  It’s unlikely that anyone else whose read this book – The Arsonist – has taken away those same thoughts from it, but I suppose every book is like a work of art:  we all see something different.

Yesterday I started reading another in the stack of books that my husband brought home.  Truthfully, I started this one out  of pure desperation.  It just didn’t sound like a book that I would enjoy reading – certainly not one that I would willingly choose to bring home on my own.

Sometimes those turn out to be the best books.

I’ve barely cracked the spine on this one and I’m hooked.  Every chapter seems to start with a memory – a short conversation that, years later, seems somehow poignant.  Immediately, this drew me in.  This is how my mind works.  This is how I remember.  Most days I can’t remember where I was yesterday, yet I might recall a note, a gesture, a conversation from a month ago, five years ago or even twenty five years ago that somehow seems relevant.  A moment that now, looking back, seems like a pivotal moment in the life that has become mine.

I like this book.

I’ll offer my notably unprofessional opinion on The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair when I’m through.  For now, I’m off to do some late night summer reading.

It’s the simple things that make me happy.

It’s Like We’re Poor

I’m struggling with my writing choices today.  Should I write about my latest accessory, my surprise inspiration, the fabulous camp my girls are spending the week at, the sweet surprise that awaits my oldest daughter?  Decisions, decisions.

I think I’m going to scrap all of those ideas to share this amusing story of how we are trying to turn lemons into lemonade this week.

I had a rough day on Monday.  It was a day during which it seemed the universe had summoned a giant power surge and thrown it in my direction.  A day that sucked the wind right out of my sails.  If you happened to read my post on Monday, you were probably keenly aware that something was amiss in my world.  In truth, there seemed to be quite a few things amiss that day.  My internal disarray was somehow manifesting itself in external chaos.

Note to self: clean up internal disarray.

Among other things, the universe managed to zap both our television and our refrigerator all on the very same day.  On so many levels, this just seemed wrong.  Naturally, when the TV is out, we eat.  And, of course, should the refrigerator go out, we watch TV.  What in the world were we supposed to do now that both the refrigerator and the TV were out?

Note to Universe:  go pick on someone your own size!

Of course, my husband and I immediately understood that our very survival hinged on a working refrigerator.  That understanding was based more on the transformation of two sweet, little girls into frightening demons when they are not fed than it was based on the actual food we normally store in the refrigerator.  We had to work quickly to ensure that the demons wouldn’t emerge.

As for the TV?  Well, in many ways, I am my mother’s daughter and I simply don’t care if the television is in working order.  There are plenty of other things to keep us busy – plus, the house is so wonderfully quiet without it.  Of course, I also have a general dislike for Cablevision and could certainly live happily-ever-after without them in my life.  It’s possible that I am the only one in my house who feels this way though.

Feeling frustrated with our interim refrigerator (a cooler filled with ice) and her interrupted access to the latest SpongeBob episodes, my youngest daughter dropped to the floor, exasperated.  “It’s like we’re poor,” she wailed.

20140725-144431.jpgI chuckled and suggested we curl up with a good book.  We read for a bit, we talked about our day and we shared a room-temperature orange.  My oldest daughter created this adorable basket of vegetables and a cutting board filled with fruits out of clay.  While she was busy doing that, my little one crafted this note to her dad and I.

It’s possible that their inspiration came out of hunger and, possibly, the delirium that comes from lack of food, but I believe we all need something to inspire us.  20140725-144445.jpg

Thanks Universe, for a little unexpected inspiration.