Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I am inspired by...

  1. People who succeed despite ANYTHING THAT HAPPENS IN THEIR LIFE. People who don’t make excuses for where they are. People who get back up no matter how many times life knocks them down.
  2. Hearing that someone is going back to school to finish their degree! I was 37 when I graduated college and I'm ALWAYS the head cheerleader for anyone who decides to better themselves and pursue a degree. It's such a great feeling of accomplishment.
  3. New associates at work. Their happiness, anxiousness, excitement, hopefulness...all inspirational.
  4. Reading. More specifically reading and learning things that I never knew I didn't know! Finding out WHY or WHERE or WHO...figuring out a better way to do something or an alternative way to SEE something. I LOVE that!
  5. Baseball. It ain''t over til it's over. I remember hearing Joe Torre say that the key to his successes all those years with the Yankees was that they played, "all nine innings." They didn't give up when they were behind! They didn't get discouraged.  A good lesson for life.
  6. Technology. I love learning how to do something new. The NEW system for self service at the Post office (genius!), Instagram, using the voice memo on my phone...finding NEW things that my iPad can do.
  7. Getting older! I LOVE who I am now at 50. I am SO much smarter than I have ever been. So much more positive and secure in myself. So much more filled with joy. I am proud of who I am and where I'm going. I love taking care of myself and figuring out how I can do it even better in the coming years. 
  8.  Checking off my to do list! From all the little errands I have to run on my day off to blogging to walking to wrapping gifts and writing cards for the upcoming month's birthdays and events...being productive makes me feel BETTER and more ALIVE. That feeling of accomplishment after a long, hard SUCCESSFUL day of productivity actually inspires me to get up the next day and make it happen again!
  9. Dave--he makes me want to be a better person. (Who knew that really existed?) He makes me want to work harder and rest more! He makes me want to save money yet splurge on little delights during the week. He makes me want to LOVE more than I ever thought possible. He's silly and amazing. Hilarious and handsome. Fun and friendly. He loves people...all the time.
  10. A good cup of coffee. A great conversation. Chocolate chip calzones and Bananas Foster! My nieces and nephews. My friends' blogs. Creativity. One of Dave's home made meals. Traveling. A great view! New York City. Girls' Night Out. The Dodgers' current season. Love. Smiles. Joy. My life long girlfriends. Change. Quiet. Elton John's old songs....
Let's face it. Life is full of inspiration. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now...

I have no trouble admitting, I have a very good life.
I have a job that I love and have learned to live very happily with very little.
I have two grown kids who are college graduates, self sufficient and very good, fun, loving people, if I do say so myself.
I own my home (which I finally love) and it's always clean. And quiet. And I've been able to decorate it exactly the way I like it.
I take a nap nearly every day...and a bath nearly every night--with a glass of wine or (most recently) a glass of flavored vodka. Mmmm...
I go to breakfast a couple of times a week with my best friend, get to hang out with sweet horses, go for long walks, have long talks, relax, read, write, watch baseball...and I smile. A whole lot.
Yes, it's a very good life and I am OH so grateful.

It certainly wasn't always this way and perhaps that's why I enjoy every minute of it so much.
Often times, I think back, and remember where I was 10, 20, 30...even 40 years ago...and I stop and take a look at Julie at that point in time. And, OH SO often, I enjoy THIS life for HER!

Sometimes, I will sit down with a book in the afternoon and think, "This is for YOU, Julie circa 1978 or so..." With four younger sisters there was always a diaper to change or a Barbie to dress or someone who needed to be driven somewhere. You'd be hard pressed to find a photo of me after age 5 or so where I wasn't holding a baby. "I relax a LOT in your honor, Sweet Juju.  
Hang in there! It's going to be a really good life!"

When I get in a hot bubble bath at night, I often cry out, "This is for YOU, Julie 1987 or so! Yep, you with two babies of your OWN under each arm now. You in your waitress uniform, doing homework in the break room and coming home to cook and clean and change diapers and give baths and read stories to your sweet toddlers. I'm enjoying this bath as a reward for you, Julie! You were such a good mommy! Keep it up--your kids are going to turn out GREAT!"

I love the fact that I can grab a (low carb) yogurt and call it dinner these days! I SAVOR each bite and send out a message of gratefulness to Julie (pretty much) 1982-2005...who worked the 6am shift each day, got off just in time to go pick up the kids from school, rushed home to throw in a load of laundry or two, get the house in order and make dinner before her husband got home. In her spare time she work the snack bar at the Little League games, was room mother nearly every year for one of her kids, was Soundsation Vice President at El Toro High School, worked bake sales and car washes, chaperoned field trips and built missions in the living room...while taking two and three classes each semester, diligently chipping away at her Bachelor's degree for 17 solid years! She even used the time between her classes at school to hem Karate uniforms, write thank you notes, make grocery lists, catch up on her homework and then rush to pick up kids from school, get them to various activities...and get THEIR homework started! And then of course make dinner every night and keep the cleanest house on the block...and be the best employee, wife, mother, student.
And smile the entire time. "I am enjoying the fruits of your labors, Julie. Thank you SO MUCH for working so hard!"

I do have a drink nearly every night too, and TRULY send up a toast to Julie she risked it all to start a new life. I say, "Here's to you, Julie, as you moved from 3000 square feet to 300 and lived alone for the very first time in your life! As you got a new job, new friends, a new car, a new neighborhood--basically a new identity--and through tears and pain, you found a whole new way of thinking and got a fresh start! And found REAL smiles and GENUINE of all, you got to start a brand new life! 
Thank you, Julie, I am reaping the benefits of your hard work, your perseverance and for all the changes that you BRAVELY made that year! It was absolutely worth it!!"

Yep, a big thanks to ALL my younger selves! You were diligent and disciplined--and smiled constantly!--through adversity. You finished school and helped your children do the same (in a quarter of the time it took you!) You have always been organized and determined and a persistent and productive hard worker...
and someone that everyone could count on.
I really am the culmination of all of you and all you went through to get us here.

As I look back at my former selves, I realize that I am exactly where they--
where I--always hoped I'd someday be:
Genuinely happy, very healthy, amazingly peaceful and absolutely full of joy.
I'm sitting and relaxing and typing away in a quiet, clean, very pretty little house...
feet up, with a glass of wine and a great big smile on my face.
I know, if they saw me now, they'd all wish they were me.
Oh...they are.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Nectar from a hummingbird

Right now (and hopefully for not too much longer), I am living on the third floor of an apartment building. Don't get me wrong, I am certainly grateful to have a place to live, but now, after three months of being here, I have yet to have the feeling that I am 'home.' I have put an offer in--over two months ago actually--on what I feel would be a more permanent place for me to BE, and apparently the bank is still working on it. Of course that only adds to the 'temporary, not-quite-home' I am feeling, being here.
If nothing else, as much as I don't feel quite comfortable here, it has allowed me some much needed time to sit down.
I no longer have three stories and three bedrooms and two bathrooms to clean. (God knows I vacuum this entire place from one plug.) My patio here is about 1/4th of the size of the one at the other place, and (the biggest bummer for me,) I no longer have my two car garage, which, amazingly always gave me something to do! I can't tell you how many times I just went down there to rearranged those rhino racks and reorganized the work bench and clean out the rafters, one more time. I took many photographs of my fabulously organized garage. I LOVED it.
I have a carport now. And most of the things I rearranged all those many years have found their way to Goodwill or were sold, with much help from Craig and his ever-ready list of buyers.
Again, please know that I am not complaining, but today, right now, I kinda feel in a state of limbo. I know this is not where--or even HOW--I am supposed to be living. This is not the home that I once SO loved to decorate and fix up and have people over for dinner in. And this is not yet the home that I hope to so love and decorate and fix up and have people over for dinner in...
So why am I here?
Today, as I looked out on the (yes, I must admit, magnificent) view from my back window, I saw a hummingbird just sitting (ok, hovering) outside. I swear he was looking right at me through the window. Again, remember, I am on the third floor, so I am above most of the tops of the trees, just a few in the distance are a bit taller and there are certainly not any flowers up here. I have never seen a hummingbird outside that window before.
So why is this hummingbird here?
I sat down to read a bit and the bird showed up again. And then again! You know me, I figured it was a I did a little online research on hummingbirds...and realized exactly why the sweet little bird was there for me today.

A hummingbird symbolizes timeless joy and the Nectar of Life.
It is a symbol for accomplishing that which seems impossible and will teach you how to find the miracle of joyful living from your own life circumstances.

Hummingbirds are considered to be symbols of
peace, love, happiness, resilience, perseverance and patience.

As I look around this apartment right now, I realize that everything in it 'made the cut.' My photo albums and 45s and my yearbooks and Bobby Sherman lunch pail. I've decorated it with the furniture from my last home (including the curtains that I took right off the walls) and lots of suitcases, Dodgers stuff and Eiffel Towers. The place definitely looks like me. It's quiet. It's peaceful and, ever so subtly, it really has allowed me the time to relax and has even encouraged me to be patient. (Two things that I am, admittedly, not very good at...)
I'm doing quite a bit of writing again these days...even catching up on a whole lot of reading.
Maybe it's OK to live in a (temporary) state of unsureness. This place of not exactly knowing where I am to be or why I am here or where I will be a few months from now. Maybe, just maybe...I'm suppose to just be accepting of what is. For now. Perhaps I'm being reminded to live in a constant state of timeless joy--not in wishing for the past to be changed or in being too anxious about what the future holds. Maybe I'm supposed to enjoy and accept each day as it comes...and not ask so many damn questions.
As I am finishing this up, the bird appears at the window again! I swear he wants to come in. And I realize...he has. The room is full of love and happiness...and undeniable peace.
I am resilient, and full of always.
I just needed a little reminder.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tattoo too much

Ten years ago today, I got a tattoo.
Not a good idea in the first place, it became the symbol of all my regrets rolled into FOUR COLOR RIDICULOUSNESS...on my lower back.
In 2007, I decided it was time to put the past behind and put my behind through laser tattoo removal.
Expensive and Painful...and an on-going reminder of how silly I'd been...

 Here are a few shots of post-laser treatment from over the years.
Pain, swelling, blisters, itching, burning. Unable to sleep at night. I had two babies with NO medication and it was not NEARLY as painful as this...
Lovely, huh?

This picture was taken last night. Ten years later...
Obviously, it has faded immensely. But maybe, much like every other regret in life, a little bit of it lingers on--long after the actual event is over--to remind me not to go there again.
To be honest, there are some things that just won't ever fade away.