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Monday, November 21, 2011

Fall Reflections

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. I love the crisp air. The need for scarfs and warm fuzzy sweaters. How the leaves change to a variety of warm colors on the trees before they cascade down to the ground and decorate the land in a blanket of red, yellow and gold all around them. Simply gorgeous. I love all the smells and aromas lingering in the air, from the smoky fireplace to the freshly baked pumpkin or apple pies! This season brings out the warmth and homeyness in people and, I think, that is a beautiful thing.

I know that it is November and Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and I shall share my thoughts there, but let me take a moment to reflect on my all time favorite month of the year. October! October is by far the most glorious month. It is the beginning of so much joy and festiveness for me. October signifies many things. Perhaps I am a little biased of this month for one particular reason but I like to think that it holds more than just that one thing. I am going to get a little sentimental for a moment so please bear with.

My dear sweet and infinitely flawed younger brother Brandon was born in October. In 1999 he left this world to return to where we all come from and grace us with his self in other ways. So every year around this time I choose to honor him and his spirit by celebrating and choosing to acknowledge his birth, not his untimely and tragic departure. He has been gone for 12 years now and I sometimes find myself struggling to remember his laugh or his smile or to even remember certain things we did as children. And when times like that are far too frequent and when I feel they are all I have, fading memories, a childhood friend remembers something he did or said and shares that precious moment with me. I feel blessed that he touched their lives in such a way! And even more blessed that they chose to share it with me when I needed it most. Perhaps Brandon knows when I need it and finds a way to bring that person around at the right time and right place or maybe it is just coincidence. Either way, it is beautiful.

Every year on his birthday I go to the cemetery with flowers and a birthday balloon and give an update on my life, more for myself than for him of course, but it makes me feel better so I just go with it. I wish you could have known Brandon. He was a high spirited individual with a great sense humor and a gigantic heart. His capacity for love and his ability to show you just much he loved you was... well it just was! He had a way of burrowing into your heart and making it easy to love him. "Hey big sis, I love you", warms me every time I think about him saying those words and the huge hug that followed it. I miss that most of course aside from his smile. But I know he is with me every day, locked safe in side my heart. And so one main reasons I love October is because I choose to honor him and his life, his light, his love and his joy every day of that month making it my favorite because it was when he graced this world with his presence.

I know that because it is his birth month is one of the most significant reasons I gave as to why I love October but those ARE NOT the only reasons! Um, HALLOWEEN! DUH. Yep, Halloween is another fabulous reason I love this month. The decorations, the candy, and all the fabulous trick-or-treat'er costumes. Kids are so adorable this time of the year! Their excitement and zest for dressing up and getting that coveted candy is so cute. I also think the children are an excuse for some parents who secretly love being a kid all over again and can dress up and trick-or-treat with out being harassed too much for it, is pretty entertaining too! I love all the great theme movies for this time of year. Hocus Pocus with Bette Midler is a great one. Also Charlie Brown and The Great Pumpkin a classic cartoon that gets me prepped for the coming holiday season.

But one of the MAIN reasons why I also love October, as I stated earlier, is the weather. The fall trees. The crisp air. The smells. The home and hearth of the month in and of itself is something I find so comforting. There are so many things that can help create that feeling. I shall give my top two.

First, baking is one thing that makes this month so special for me. All the yummy food that goes along with the fall and winter season. Oh my, so many favorites. Right now my new found obsession is Cake bites. Yeah baby. So simple and fairly quick to make. I am on a mission to try all the holiday fall tasty ones I can muster. Tomorrow is pumpkin cheesecake. So far the fan favorites are Apple pie and Caramel apple. I share all I can and use family and co-workers as taste testers! They love it and who knew bringing in yummy goodness would create so many happy faces! I did! *inner chuckle* Second, is Soups and Stews. These have come to be my other new found obsession. I made the most amazing Chicken Sausage and Lentil Stew the other day. Holy cow was is delicious. I also made a Roasted Beef and Barley Stew that was so unbelievably easy and tasty too. So now I am on a quest to come up with some of the most fabulous, quick and easy soup recipes I can muster. I shall be sure to post a few of my successes as I can.

November is a great month as well. It brings a time of ultimate reflection and of course, thanks. It also is a time for gathering and family. This time of year is a fundamental need for us all, I believe. Each of us needs to remember the year and years past. To be grateful for where we are and all we have been through. To appreciate our lives and what grace we have been given. Each road taken has brought me to where I am now. Some roads have been extremely rough and painful, but that road has brought me here to this moment. And even though I may have hurt along the way I have learned so much from the path taken and yes even the path not taken. I am a wiser and stronger individual today compared to yesterday and that in my mind is a gift. A gift of wisdom and experience I can share with others who care to listen and perhaps even heed some of it for their own journey.

I have learned to be grateful for the stumbles and the falls. Those have taught me so much more than many of my successes. I see what is important and what is not. Who is uplifting to my life and who I am better off without. To learn to accept faults and mistakes in others as well as myself. To remind myself that judgement is toxic and not nearly as beneficial as seeing a person or situation for what it is. That we all live in glass houses and throwing stones can often ricochet back upon us and generally with good reason. And that most of the time those judgments are merely a projection of what I am unhappy with in myself, not necessarily who or what I am criticizing about. It is all about Fall Reflections and what those reflections hold and have to teach me about the year and what the following new year shall potentially behold!

Yes November is a grand time. Ultimately, for perhaps us all, it is about the fourth Thursday of the month, the day to be most grateful for, Thanksgiving Day! A day to celebrate with our loved ones and friends. To eat til we pop on the most decadent and delicious of dishes! To gather around a common area and celebrate the love we have for each other and to bicker and banter and laugh about anything and everything one can think of. To cook and cook and cook some more. And then on the day after, for those who love to shop, BLACK FRIDAY! A day to get the most awesome deals imaginable for those gifts most desired to be received on Christmas morning. The day to begin or even to finish off the holiday wish lists for the last glorious month of the year, December!

I won't go into what December signifies for me because in my mind December is the beginning of Winter. And Winter is a whole other fun-fantastical topic to delve into! And this post is all about Fall Reflections!

I shall give one last reflection before I finish. There may not be a tomorrow, so even if life is giving me the most challenging moment ever, stop and be grateful for even the smallest of things. Sight to enjoy beauty, sound to hear a bird sing, voice to say anything at all, hands to touch and feel and do, arms to hold and comfort, legs to carry me to anywhere I need to go, a smile to brighten anyone's day; those are just a few I chose to  write here, there are many more of course. I am alive and living, so I must take a moment to be grateful of that and then go share that gratitude with someone else. For tomorrow is tomorrow and today is today and as the saying goes. Today is a gift other wise they wouldn't call it the present, so honor that gift and live the best life I possibly can and share that awareness with those I treasure most!

My Fall Reflections are those.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Caught up in the whirl wind of life

It has literally been MONTHS since I last posted or even had time to think of posting anything.
Interestingly enough my last post back in April is where it actually begins.

I mentioned that I went to lunch at a restaurant called Atomic Ale Brewpub with my dad Kelly and nephew Liam and Lili my "kid". Well after that lunch I was curious if Atomic was on Face-book and poked around. I found them and proceeded to comment about how a "love it" button was needed for such wonderful places such as Atomic. Not sure if I mentioned it in my April post, but I worked at Atomic as a server from 1997 to 2000 and already had a partial bias to the place. Nevertheless I loved the food, the beer, and everything about it.

Well that little Facebook comment lead to my former boss contacting me and we chatted about our lives and where we've been, etc. And to my surprise and delight he inquired as to when I would be coming back to work for him. I wasn't sure what to think or what to say. I had some prior obligations to family members but really wanted to get back out there with people and of course have some extra change in my pocket and NOT feel guilty about a pedicure or eyebrow threading! *smiling at those splurges*

I quickly figured out a way to make the scheduling work to our benefits and a few short months later I was WORKING! Ah the feeling of interacting with new and different people throughout the week was refreshing and needed more than I even realized! I was steadily regaining my edge and flow of the business and it felt grand! Knowing I still had the strength and tenacity to hold on when it got crazy and not lose it was so exhilarating and comforting all at the same time. And knowing that I am able to still be there for my family is wonderful.

I am so much more busy now then I ever was before. I rarely have time to catch up on any of my favorite TV shows, all of which I have to DVR. I am becoming more and more unplugged from the electronic devices and more and more in tune with the lives around me.

I LOVE IT! And yet there are those moments when I have time to settle and relax and remember I have to, HAVE to put some of me first. And this is one of those 'me first' things I hope to reconnect with and integrate back into my daily if not weekly life. Among a few others, like getting back to the gym or starting yoga, again. And learning to meditate, even if it is only for 5 minutes. To get back into making weekly dinner menus and cooking them! I know myself I tend to get side-tracked and certain important things for me get lost and forgotten in the whirlwind of daily life. Well, today is a new day and tomorrow brings the opportunity to keep up the momentum.

I am making some new soulful and enlightening decisions, and with the help of my inner voice and the wisdom of some great influential and positive individuals I think I am on a good path to becoming a brighter, lighter, and more fabulous me.

So here's to taking it one moment, one choice, one situation at a time. To find my joy and bliss as often as I can when or where ever I can. To making the best out of whatever life shoots my way and to follow my instincts as I make the path to wherever I am meant to tread however long I am destined to.

May this moment right here, right now be one of many that I can repeat as often as I can and may it help to remind me when I feel like I am caught up in the whirlwind of life that I have some desires and goals that need attention and may it bring me back around much sooner than before so I can forge on and reach my dreams.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

You say it's my BIRTHDAY!

Ha- ha, little psych there because it isn't my birthday today. It was, however, a few days ago and yup another year older... thirty-seven (37) to be exact! I KNOW, WOW! I don't feel 37. Sometimes I forget exactly how old I am. It's not until I see myself in the mirror that I am reminded of how time flies by. It feels like only yesterday I was 17. And yet 17 feels ages ago! But despite my age I wouldn't change a thing! I truly love my life. My family and friends, and most especially my husband Garrett. He is an AMAZING man who makes me feel the way every woman should feel by her husband; loved, appreciated, beautiful, sexy, special and wanted!

This year as my gift to me, I am learning to appreciate all the wonderful things life presents. Big, small, easy, and the difficult each is beautiful as long as I remind myself to bathe in it. Allow all aspects to seep into my soul, to breathe and see what I am supposed to learn! Man life is exciting so long as you SEE it and EMBRACE what it is trying to show you! Every challenge is a gift and I am learning to receive it in the manner it is given. To be more open and positive, to refrain from negative thoughts and energy for all these do is taint what has been presented to me, I lose the point and the meaning. I am working toward living a more optimistic life. I want to lead by example and be the best version of myself for myself! And the family and friends I am surrounded by make it so much easier to accomplish! Having a good support system makes everything easier!

Speaking of support system, I did have a very lovely birthday! It wasn't anything like my 36th which was spent coincidentally in Maui! OH YEAH! That was one memorable celebration! Great people, gorgeous views, delicious food and my family! Who could ask for better! This year may not compare location wise but it has been a wonderful one nevertheless! An early dinner with the in-laws on the 1st. An evening party with some family and friends on the 2nd. Sushi lunch, frozen yogurt, and Red Riding Hood movie with my Mom and Sister on the 3rd. On my birthday day of April 4, a yummy lunch with my dad, Kelly, my nephew, Liam and Lili too at my favorite pizza place Atomic Ale Brewpub & Eatery. Then dinner at 6 Degrees with Lili and my Garrett, oh yeah Pop Rock-tini's delish! And interestingly enough the celebrations aren't over just yet! Hooray! I am going out with two very special friends for  belated birthday adult beverages tonight at White Buddha, tasty tasty! I feel so fortunate and quite blessed to have such good family and girlfriends in my life who have made this birthday year a fabulous one for me.


May this year bring, not only me but all who surround me, joy and love and laughter and delicious memories!
Thank you with all my heart to the amazing people in my life who've gone out of their way to make a person feel loved and appreciated on her birthday!  MMMWWWAAAHHH xxxooo

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bootie Cravings

Yes. As the title suggests I am experiencing this craving. And it is like nothing I have felt before, ever.

Many times in my twenties I contracted what is know as the "fever", BABY FEVER to be exact. Baby Fever can be best explained as a sudden rush of want and need to have a sweet bundle of joy from exposure to a newborn. You think you want one and shortly the feeling passes for most of course and yet for others not so quickly. For me it always passed quickly. Once I was married Baby Fever ebbed and flowed over 7 years. Yes I wanted one. No I didn't. Yes. No. Yes. No. Now as I have grown older I have begun to differentiate between "the fever" and "the craving". For me I basically relate these two to infatuation and real love and the fundamental differences between them.

I do get that both fever and craving are temporary in every essence of the words, but in this particular instance I see them as two polar opposites. With fever being immature and wanting something for the novelty of it vs craving being an honest desire to truly embrace a new chapter in one's life and fulfil a particular need to the most extreme. At thirty-six years old and frighteningly close to turning thirty-seven with no children my biological clock has gone from a soft inconsistent tick to a very loud non-stop buzzing alarm, with NO snooze button in sight!

Everywhere I look I see babies and women with pregnant bellies and I feel my desire growing. I hear gossip of "oops" and wonder when I get to say those wonderfully fulfilling words; "I am pregnant." Then I finally came to the conclusion that sitting on the fence and waiting for life to grant me this gift, at my age, isn't going to happen. I have to make a conscious effort to get pregnant. I am not any of those other women who seem to get pregnant effortlessly, we are going to have to put some serious dual effort if this is ever going to happen. We haven't been preventing nor really trying for over 5 years. That's a long time for no accidents, but my friends have told me that it may be due to timing. As many know the window to get pregnant is very small and the percent each month is less than 15 for a woman my age. So no need to panic, yet, because if we weren't trying then no need to fret. It is only once we begin and after a trial with no news is concern warrented. Which leads me to this...

... We are officially trying to get "preggers"! And DAMN! I have never wanted something so much in my life. I used to be scared of the stories of needles and tearing, all the horrors that you see or hear about child birth. All of it terrified me. But I am now completely confident in my decision because all these things that frightened me before just don't matter anymore. The want and desire to see our baby is so much stronger than any fears I may have harbored prior. You see I am terrified of needles, I have veins that are so small a pediatric needle has to be used to draw blood, and when you're pregnant there is a lot of blood that has to be drawn and tested throughout the pregnancy. It is so bad drawing blood from my veins that I have a tendency to bruise very easily and often times will go hypoxic. Which is where you loose oxygen and get all dopey and slow and it takes a bit to return to normal. That knowledge alone for me was so scary, but now.
I want to be nauseous and pee all the time. I want to feel my breast growing and the baby moving around pushing all my organs into tight spaces making me completely uncomfortable. I want to spend hours pouring over baby name books and picking out all the baby room furniture and arguing with Garrett over what style is cuter and which name is perfect! I am SO ready for it all. I want the ablility to call a child MINE! To have him or her snuggle into my neck fall asleep and drool all over me. To cry at that first step and rejoice in that first word. Its like this song, "I want it all, I want it all, and I want it NOW" I don't remember who sang this but at this moment it speaks volumes! And says a lot as to what I write next.

So, I know patience is a virtue but when it comes to trying to get with child and you are in your late thirties, patience tends to be on its very last legs! But I am not giving up hope or faith! I am staying positive, telling myself that it is early in our journey and there is nothing to worry about for the next six months. So until then Garrett and I get to enjoy the efforts we put into this endeavor! And hopefully sometime soon within the next few months a very happy post will be brightening the world!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ah say... WHAT?

"WHAT?!" That was exactly the words out of our mouths.

Let me explain. My husband's family celebrates each person's birthday by going out to the favorite restaurant of that person who's birthday it is. It is always a really nice and fun time (I got particularly lucky with the in-laws). We eat, open gifts, eat cake and catch up on what is new or not.

It's February 15th, my nephew Anthony's birthday, we meet at a place called Bob's Burgers and Brews a new dining establishment in town. There are 14 people in our party and because we were so large the hostess seated us in an area made for such groups. There also happened to be another large group of people dining in that area as well and in their party was one ueber cutie patootie baby boy.

Throughout the evening we never really paid much attention to the table next to us but as the evening progressed the baby started to get a little vocal. My sis-in-law Chrissy and I looked back once or twice because we weren't sure if he was "talking" or fussing. She and I commented quietly that he probably just wanted to be picked up and felt bad for the little guy and once someone did he was fine. We weren't annoyed or irritated, really, no one paid much attention, in fact, we were busy talking and eating and celebrating that when the other table left we didn't even notice. So it came as a ginormous surprise after we asked for our checks when our server came back and stated that our dining neighbors paid our entire check, ALL 14 OF US. The waitress said "They felt bad for the baby screaming and wanted to apologize by paying for your dinners!"

That brings us to the beginning of this post...


Oh my god! The baby wasn't screaming, fussy maybe a bit, but not annoyingly fussy and like I said when someone picked him up he quieted down.

Talk about over the top GENEROUS!

A lesson for sure!

There are blindingly good people out there who do good things (and in our case was totally unnecessary but nevertheless it is humbly appreciated) and that in and of itself requires a moment of pause and staunch consideration on how one could be more aware and definitely find ways to do something like minded to PAY IT FORWARD. Necessary or not lifting someones spirit by doing something generous and thoughtful is, in my mind, the epitome of a beautiful and kind soul.

So this post I dedicate to the wonderfully thoughtful dining room companions and I say THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I hope I can find a way to honor your generosity and pay it forward in some similar and grand way!