I Guess This Is Goodbye

I was late to my college graduation.  No joke.  I was so late that my classmates grabbed me by my graduation robe, squished me into the procession line between them and collectively crossed their fingers, hoping this wouldn’t lead to an unfortunate reading of mismatched student names and diplomas.  The dean peered at me through glasses perched on the tip of his nose, shook his head in frustration and reluctantly handed me my diploma before sending me along to shake the hands of my professors.  The whole thing happened so fast that I never had time to really appreciate the moment.

Of course, I suppose I should have simply appreciated the fact that the dean didn’t toss me out on my late butt, but I really wanted the moment.

I haven’t thought about my college graduation in years, quite possibly since the day after my college graduation.  But as my 365 day writing experiment began winding down to this – the final day – I started thinking about that missed moment.  I started thinking about how I should have given myself time to savor that walk across the stage.  I should have appreciated all of the hard work that I did to get to that moment.  I should have bowed slightly at each handshake, graciously accepted the congratulatory remarks of each professor and I should have turned to the audience with a satisfied grin and a princess wave.  And then I should have thrown my graduation cap in the air and stood basking in the glory of the I did it moment.  Yep, I should have done that.

Unlike my college graduation day, I’ve had some time to absorb this I did it moment.  There were no final exams to cram for this time around, no papers to write, no projects to complete, no commencement ceremonies to show up late for.  There was simply the anticipation of achieving a goal that I thought about and dreamed about for years before finally committing to it.  This time around I am truly appreciating my moment.

Today is my blogging graduation day.  Today I have officially achieved my goal – a full year of blogging about the happier things in life.  Today I am taking in this moment, bowing slightly and graciously accepting all of the congratulatory – and completely unexpected – remarks from so many friends and family, acquaintances and co-workers and even complete strangers.  If you could all see me now, you’d see that I am facing you with a satisfied grin and a princess wave and I am holding my laptop up in the air, basking in this moment. 

I don’t know where I go from here.  I don’t know what will become of my blog or what form my writing will take in the months ahead.  I only know that today I happily crossed the finish line on this personal journey, and I just want to revel in that for awhile.  I just want to take some time to look back before looking forward again.  And so, I guess this is goodbye…..for now.  Thanks for joining me on this quest for daily happiness.

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Thank you to everyone who has cheered me along on this year long journey.  Every note, every email, every comment, every text helped push me along and was appreciated beyond words.  What started as a very personal endeavor transformed into a very public adventure.  I’m thankful that you welcomed me and my crazy thoughts into your world.  A special thank you to my husband and my two lovely little ladies for their eternal patience while I indulged myself in this project – you guys always make me happy. ❤  

I May Be Understaffed

A few years back, the ‘powers that be’ sent a time management expert into our office to assist us.  The expert encouraged us to journal how we spent our time, forcing us to become a bit more cognizant of our productivity peaks and valleys.  He also made some suggestions to help us improve our focus on given tasks and projects.  It was an interesting experiment;  one that I was open enough to learn from but, in the end, one that simply highlighted the fact that, as we suspected, we were not short on time – we were understaffed.

Time seems to be the single most elusive thing that we collectively find ourselves forever chasing.  Time to spend with family, time to laugh with friends, time to do the things we love, time to do the things on our ‘to do’ list – it seems that there is just simply not enough time.

On the day before the last day of my 365 day writing challenge, I find myself eagerly anticipating all of the time that I will get back.  Time for reading with my little one and chatting with my oldest.  Time to spend with my husband and time to catch up with some old friends.  Time to focus on new projects and time to complete a few of the old projects.  Time to just indulge in having time. 

Irony strikes me now.

At the start of this blogging experiment, I simply wanted time to write.  I wanted time to indulge myself in this passion that has always bubbled at my surface.  I didn’t have the time.  I didn’t know where I would find the time.  I just wanted the time.  And so, I made the time.  I made the time and I committed to the time and I took the time to do what made me happy.  And now, as I wind down, I understand something that I didn’t at the start:  I am understaffed.

Maintaining this daily record, while simultaneously maintaining a happy, daily life, requires a small army. I want to write, but I also want to spend quality time with my husband, my kids, my family, my friends – I want to do other things that make me happy.  I want to find a way to, somehow, balance my happy without paying an entire support team to help me do so.

It’s been a hell of a year, but I’m ready now.  Ready to find a better balance of my time – without adding any staff – and indulge myself in a myriad of things that always make me happy.

Saving Us All

20150217-231430-83670005.jpgPicture this.  It’s another scorcher of a day in the northeast with temperatures hitting a high of 20 degrees.  The kids finally had a full day of school and I finally got a full day of my own to catch up on all of the stuff that needed catching up.

Stuck in the house, glued to my computer and phone, it wasn’t long before I started searching the place for a little pick-me-up.  Thanks to my husband, there was no shortage of food in the house.  He braved the cold just yesterday so that the cupboards would be full….but he is a man.  Of course, he’s a man who is a chef, but he is still a man.  And he simply does not understand that chocolate is considered an essential in a house full of girls.

Why doesn’t he understand??

I managed to busy my mind with non-chocolate related tasks until my girls came home from school.  My oldest, who is just now beginning to enter the chocolate is essential to life stage, walked in the door and began searching for her own pick-me-up.  With no chocolate to offer her, she rolled her eyes at me and stalked off to start her homework.  Enough is enough, I thought and then I got to work.

Dumb luck (and a kind universe) seemed to be the only explanation for a stray bag of chocolate and peanut butter chips found buried on a back shelf.  I quickly got to work, melting the entire bag down and pouring the melted chocolate into miniature muffin molds.  My youngest came in while I was working.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Saving us all,” I responded.

Within the hour, we were nibbling on small bits of chocolate/peanut butter delights and happiness was, once again, restored.

Thank you universe and thank you chocolate.

Look Out Imelda, I’m Makin’ A Comeback!

It was a had-to-have bracelet and must-buy-now shoes that were beckoning my lovely ladies to the mall this afternoon.  I indulged their desires today simply because I’ve been feeling a bit stir crazy since the temperature dipped below the 0 degree mark

Mother Nature is one nasty b…….

Anyway…  Once upon a time, I dreaded the mere idea of shopping with my little ladies.  Every attempted mall outing ended in disaster when they were small.  The screaming, the crying, the wailing was just too much to take – and that was just me.  My girls were skilled mall evaders back then, but all of that has changed in recent years.  Suddenly I find that they’re begging to go to the mall, begging to take me along on their thrifty adventures.  I appeased them today mostly because it was shoes that they were after.

Once upon a time, shoes were my thing.  I had shoes to match every outfit, every style, every emotion.  Shoes (and purses too, of course) took up every last square inch of space in my closet.  Once upon a time, I was Imelda Marcos’ biggest rival.  But that was a long, long time ago.

It was my girls’ new-found love of shopping that had me reaching into the depths of my former self this afternoon.  Standing in the shoe store with them, I felt that familiar spark reignite.  I felt that familiar pull to just try a pair on.  I felt that familiar need to fill my closet.  The shoes were all around me and they were on sale!

Needless to say, there’s a fabulous new pair of shoes sitting in my closet tonight.  I’m still giddy.  🙂

The Yellow Sponge

My, now 18 year old, nephew was once SpongeBob SquarePants’ biggest fan.  He could sit and watch that wacky sponge and his starfish sidekick for hours on end.  While babysitting for him once, I actually wished for the bravery to claw my own eyes out.

It was painful.

And then I became mother to my youngest and realized that I had given birth to the leader of the next generation of SpongeBob SquarePants Fan Club members.  Damn genetic flaws.

Over the years, I’ve grown fond of that little yellow pant wearing sponge.  On multiple occasions, he and his Bikini Bottom buddies have had me in stitches, doubled over with laughter while sitting next to my youngest daughter.  She often makes reference to their ridiculous humor and is often heard growling “livin’ like Larry” – a salute to her favorite episode.  Led by my little lady, it seems that we have unknowingly become a house full of SpongeBob SquarePants devotees, so it only made sense that our Valentine’s Day weekend would include a 3-D viewing of that wacky sponge.

Our family outing to the movie theater this afternoon had all the makings of the perfect day.  Both girls were excited and, I will admit, my husband and I were a tiny bit excited ourselves.  We sat down, put on our 3D glasses and anxiously awaited the yellow sponge.

Boy, were we disappointed!

The movie was terrible.  Awful.  Two hours of our lives that we’ll never get back.  But we were, admittedly, still laughing about that ridiculously happy sponge and his brain full of rainbows and unicorns at dinner tonight.  It made me think that perhaps my nephew was on to something 18 years ago – because when you can lose two hours of your life and still be happy – well, that’s pretty cool.

Stay Home This Mother’s Day. Thanks.

Ya know what stinks about being married to a chef on Valentine’s Day?  It’s kind of a busy work day for him.  But, do you know what day being married to a chef is even worse?  Mother’s Day.

If I have to give up a holiday to my husband’s busy work life, I will freely offer up Valentine’s Day.  It’s a silly holiday.  A made up, Hallmark holiday that inevitably sends those who are missing a significant other in their life into a depressing, downward spiral.  Seems somewhat mean if you ask me.  I could live without this holiday.

But then there’s Mother’s Day.  Mothers, if you ask me, make the world go round.  We give life to the world…literally.  There should be a day to celebrate us.  And men who are married to mothers, or who have a mother who gave birth to them, should be home celebrating them.  Chefs, though, don’t get to celebrate their own mothers or the mothers that they are married to.  Chefs get stuck at work – from early in the morning until late in the evening – cooking meals for moms whose husbands and sons couldn’t get their act together!  Sheesh.

Listen fellas – Mother’s Day comes but once a year.  This year, it is on Sunday, May 10th.  Take a moment to write that down.  Now plan accordingly and, for God’s sake, give a chef a break and stay home this Mother’s Day.  Please?  It’s really not too much to ask ….. and it would make me really happy.

Thanks. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day Ya Dork

When we were dating, my husband and I were that couple.  The couple that was always together, always holding hands, always exchanging glances across a crowded room, always referring to one another by some adorable nickname.  During our wedding song, we shuffled to the right and kissed.  Then we shuffled to the left and kissed again.  Yep, we were that couple.

It’s amazing how 20 years can change a relationship.

A house, careers, 2 kids, a dog and 1 dragon later, we’ve grown fairly comfortable in our relationship.  These days, we’re more likely to exchange sarcastic comments than sexy glances across a crowded room.  I can’t recall the last time I held his hand and, just last night, I suggested that we invest in two double beds:  one for each of us.  We could keep them in the same room, of course, but I just think we’d sleep so much more comfortably if we had our own space.

You must understand, he’s a tosser.  I’ve been hit in the head by his sleeping elbow more times than I can count.  Twenty years in, you begin to wonder if that’s really an accident.

Of course, there are some things that haven’t changed.  Those pet names we used to have for one another?  They’ve morphed a bit over the years, but we still have them.  I was reminded of that just this afternoon while texting my husband.  He was wondering if I was having an affair with the ice cream man.  My response?  “No dopey.”  His?  “Who you calling dopey?  Ditz.”

Ah.  Just like the old days.

Twenty years into this relationship thing, sarcasm, dry wit and name calling is just our way of saying I love you.  So, if you’re reading this my dear husband, Happy Valentine’s Day ya dork. 🙂 ❤