Collections of Collectibles

So much more than displayed

I believe everyone, young and old alike, share an inherent need to collect things. No? Just me? It’s fascinating why we do this. There’s a premise called “concept of collecting” which allows us to relive our childhood, among other reasons. For me, this is very true. As a child, I regularly visited my paternal grandparents in the Dallas, TX area. Somewhere along the lines of age 7, my ‘Granddaddy’, as we called him, settled on I Love Lucy for me to watch. The very first episode I saw was “Lucy’s Italian Movie” (Season 5, Episode 150). I was hooked!

Black & White, just like I watched it

I can’t name my favorite episode because I truly love them all. May I mention I do a great impression of “Lucy Does a Commercial”, specifically Vitameatavegamin? I even crack myself up!

Thankfully, my family really encouraged my collecting habits of all things I Love Lucy. Presently I own posters, photos, glassware, trinkets, movies: both VHS and DVD, and any other memorabilia you can think of. I have it all. The few photos I have included here are but a minimal illustration of the huge totes and areas in my home showcasing how much I love Lucy.

Every episode

Even thought I named this post “collection…”, I really have only one other thing I collect. Clocks. Warning! Although it may not be funny to you, in writing this post I realized the importance of spell check because if you miss a particular letter in the word clock and then proceed with explaining how you collect them, perhaps this blog format is not doing you any favors. I don’t remember what prompted my love for clocks – spell check don’t fail me now – but I own more than is acceptable in most rooms. Who wants a clock in every room? Me! I do!

Truth be told, only a small percentage of my clocks are in working order. And even if they are I usually remove the batteries. The times are set to important dates in my life, i.e. birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Neurotic? Probably. Creative? I like to think so.

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I ask you –

Favorite childhood cartoon?

What do you collect?

Is my crude humor too much? Nevermind. This isn’t a real question. Rhetorical at best. Forget I asked.

All the Randomness

Anyone else have a deep love for burnt foods? I can already tell this is an unpopular opinion. Burnt tortillas, popcorn, bread. Maybe it’s just a carb preference? Burnt meat is no bueno though.

Cheese quesadilla

I like to play this little game where I stress out about future events. For example, I realized I will one day be responsible for teaching my child how to drive. I’m a great driver so that isn’t the problem. Don’t hold the totaled car against me; there were a lot of factors and not all of them were under my control. The concern is my need for perfectionism. And control. Let’s focus, shall we? To think I will have to calmly sit in the passenger seat while she drives is unnerving. Literally, I feel my heartbeat speeding up as I consider it. I’m sure it will be fine. Side note: Dear Mini’s Father, this is not an invitation for you to take the reigns. I’m perfectly capable to ensure my sweet love will be a conscientious, safe driver. Under no circumstances are you entitled to take this life lesson upon yourself. Don’t get it confused. I know where you live.

Lastly, unless allergic to the key ingredients, I can think of no reason why someone would not love banana pudding. It’s iconic! My Southern roots (Pause. Roots autocorrected to toots and if that doesn’t tell you who I spend most of my time thinking about, then I don’t know what will. Unpause.) demand I make this tasty dish at least twice a year. But why stop there?!

It’s work to make sure I keep the random posts to a minimum because I can’t count the number of times in a single day I consider sharing what pops up in my head. Trust me, I’m doing you a favor.

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I ask you –

What’s your take on burnt foods?

Bets on how many nights’ sleep I will lose and gray hairs I will earn when my mini is of age to start driving? The gray has already started and I don’t sleep the best anyway so please be lenient.

Name your favorite classic dessert! And share the recipe, too!

Well, this wasn’t included in the brochure

Until recently – shortly over a year ago – is that considered recent? I don’t know – home ownership was only a future possibility. Yes, it was always my dream and something I envisioned would happen eventually, but it was on the medium-to-long-term list. Semi-suddenly, the possibility of moving back to our home state was a very real decision and one we literally jumped at.

Texas, my Texas

Fast forward to today: home owners! But it’s been a rocky ride. For example, no one explained how much work goes into owning a home. It was easy to be complacent when we knew the landlord was only a phone call away and was legally required to fix whatever issue was in question. Now? If I was to pick up the phone and call myself, it makes sense why I refuse to answer!

No one explained to me potential issues. I mean, how could they?! No one shared the underlying expenses. Grass seed. No one gave me a list of all the things that could go wrong. Hello, $700 water bill. No one will be at your beck and call. See “calling myself’ above.

Am I complaining? Yes, but good naturedly, I promise! Investing in something to call my own, to watch my mini grow up in, to be a reflection of my personality and lack of decorating technique: priceless. Until I see the mortgage statement each month. Holy crap. But when I consider the amount of money paid in rent each month for the past, oh, 15+ years, I could have paid for a whole house. Well, back in those days when a house didn’t take 30 years to pay off. Again, I’m not complaining! Just a little.

The real story here is new appliances. Rightfully considered an investment, the available options are overwhelming. Colors, sizes, functions, and the list goes on. Thankfully we bought a home which included all appliances, minus a washer/dryer. Being the realist I am, I fully expected to purchase other appliances as the need arose. So within the first 3 months, we installed 2 new water heaters. I concurred the idea of waking up to a water-logged floor because the over 10 year old water heaters had leaked/exploded/whatever water heaters do when they die was not in my best interest. Price tag: $1200.

Then came the above mentioned water leak issue. I hope you’re seeing a pattern because I’m not done yet. After getting over the initial shock the bill wasn’t a cruel joke, we discovered the culprit. An underground water leak the previous owners probably knew nothing about because they had been paying the minimal water bill while the house was vacant for over a year. As angry as I was about the bill, I was more worried about my home sitting atop an underground swimming pool I didn’t have the luxury of splashing in. Excuse me, where’s the ladder to enter said pool? Price tag: $1800, not including water bill.

Enter my superstitious mind. The power of 3. Approximately 2 months ago, the refrigerator began spewing ice upon kindly asking it to please drop a select number of cubes into my glass. The spoiled nature of this story can not be overlooked. I guess it just had enough of being nice as ice cubes continued to flow from its confines, long after my glass was full. I must share my mini human has a fantastic sense of humor because watching me panic and yell and rush to find a large vessel to collect all the ice was quite comical to her. Even I laughed at what I thought was my own look of utter defeat. In an honest effort to remedy this error, I cleaned and consoled the refrigerator. Begged is more like it. For a time, we figured out how to get ice without the excessiveness. And I began shopping around because I know my luck.

6 weeks later, ta-da! Shipping delays, par for the course.

My first choice was the ocean

Did I mention I own lake-front property? I’ve already encountered my 3 water-related issues. So I should be good now, right? But, just in case, I have great flood insurance. Superstition only takes me so far.

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I ask you –

What was your biggest surprise upon owning a home?

Barring the differences, or because of them, do you have a preference: rent or own?

Share your favorite story of appliances gone wrong!

Keys to Success – the Parent Edition

As luck would have it, I’m an early riser. Have been since I was a little girl. Despite the luckiness, some would say a curse, my body has a difficult time sleeping in, or whatever you mortals call it. So during times of inherent sleeping late events – say, Mother’s Day or after a very late night – I magically awake during the wee hours with no further recourse. A drag, I know.

The true magical fruit

Some might ask what exactly the problem is here? Answer: I have created a miniature version of myself who does not understand the respectfulness that is allowing her parent figure to have these early morning hours to herself.

I enjoy solitary time with my cup o’ caffeine and a rousing game of Gummies. Occasionally I check email but that tends to look like work and I will have none of it. But when the smaller person awakes it suddenly becomes a very tiring endeavor to do anything alone.

She hoards my coffee cup of magical beverage, she invades my personal space, and she politely demands to watch her favorite cartoons. There goes quiet time.

Our love of classic cartoons runs deep

But being the resourceful mother I am, I have devised a few ways to circumvent the invasion. 1) Hide. This rarely works because my child has some sort of built in mommy-locator radar. Reminder: look up patents. 2) Give in. You sit beside me, I’ll sit here, you do your thing and I’ll do mine. Ridiculous. This never works. 3) Compromise. Get back into bed, prop up with pillows, and ensure my body is sufficiently touching hers enough to give the illusion I am still sleeping beside her so she won’t wake up to search for me. Eureka! I’ve found the keys to the castle!

At the time of this writing, I have been laying here for approximately 1 hour, have just finished my coffee, AND have entertained myself. The day can now begin. I’m ready for anything.

Except mindless cartoons. I’ll never be ready. Snuggles, however, are much different.

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I ask you –

Wise parents, what have you done to balance your needs with your child’s?

Early riser or all nighter? What’s it like sleeping in? Tell me!

Are children naturally prone to get up early? Nature vs. nurture? I’m like my dad. My mother and sister could sleep all day if allowable.

Some things

Reading of other great moms and parents who devote themselves to their children’s artistic and mind-blossoming activities, I decided to jump on the proverbial bandwagon. I promptly fell off. In January, we began asking my knowledge-thirsty, small human what her favorite part of the week was. Each Sunday, I pose the question, then draw her memory on a much-too-small piece of paper, date it, then drop it into the unicorn bucket. Mostly, she recalls whatever was done within the past 48 hours; occasionally she surprises me with something from earlier in the week. Let’s be real. It’s my job to remind her of the week’s highlights then she chooses.

I believe it’s going well! The plan is to read all 52 weeks sometime around New Years. Give or take. The joke has become “She tried her best!” I’m the ‘she’ and, yes, I do my try my best but clearly I’m no artist.

My animals look like their evil counterparts and even the stick figures are lacking in depth. I can draw a really great tree, though! Is there anyone who can’t? Nonetheless, maybe I’ll look back on this upon the great unveiling of each week and see how my skills have improved. Just in case, I’m not holding my breath. You shouldn’t either.

Bring on the tacos!

Anyone else have a love affair with cilantro? I absolutely understand it’s a love/hate relationship with this particular greenery. You either believe it is heaven sent or it is what one may envision Dawn dish soap tastes like. I’m of the former. Small favors. Interestingly enough, there was a short period in my life where I was an unwilling participant in cilantro’s soapy side effects.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved cilantro. Raw, in foods (hello, salsa!), I would eat it to my taste buds’ content. However, during pregnancy, and unbeknownst to me, something awful happened. As I sat down to eat one night, I placed a heavy dose of cilantro on my taco, took a bite, and probably made the worst face of my life. Hubby, who can’t stand cilantro in any form, looked appalled. As I stuttered and mumbled along the lines of “It tastes like soap”, I registered complete sadness. I wanted to cry. How could my beloved cilantro turn on me? And during my time of need!

For many months post-pregnancy, I recounted the terrible taste, afraid to try it again. What if it never returned to normal? As anticlimactic as this post is, it should be clear now that my love for cilantro returned. I’ve never had another soap experience. Hallelujah. But all this does lend itself to the fascinating way our bodies and hormones work together.

So what’s the moral of the story? Draw pictures, laugh at yourself, and, for the most daring, try cilantro again.

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I ask you –

Do you have any talents, hidden or otherwise?

Name your most/least favorite vegetable.

Thoughts on cilantro? Bonus points if you’ve been through a similar situation.

Broadcasting Live from Storm Central…

Lake Waves

I know all about tornado alley. I live there. And there’s really nothing scary about it until tornado season. Or any month of the year. Any day of the week. Take no prisoners. So when I received the alert regarding a tornado warning – remember, that’s the one where they say a tornado has either been spotted or impending – I took it seriously from the comforts of my cozy couch. But I did peruse accuweather. Surprise, surpise. A huge storm sort of headed our way.

Next, I did what any tornado alley-inhabited person would do. I went outside! As if “meteorologist” adorns my name. It definitely does not. As a no less than 46mph wind gust nearly blew me off the back porch, I moved my precious flower pots to safer territory and retreated inside. But not before capturing the above photo of the lake covered in white caps and churning like the open ocean. If I was any dumber, I would’ve got out my kayak and gone for a ride!

Thankfully, the tornadoes never showed their ugly faces near my home but I know many were not as fortunate. In 2 small towns near mine, they experienced golf ball, softball, and bowling ball sized hail. Let me repeat. BOWLING BALL. Can you imagine a bowling ball being chunked through your roof in a +/- 100 mph downdraft? The sound of it would probably have killed me before the impact. These towns are now recovering with the help of saintly volunteers and residents. No doubt the history in some of these places is forever affected.

Double Rainbow

After the wind and rain had passed (or was just beginning for the remainder of the night), I, again, took to the outdoors. A beautiful double rainbow was the only prize for such crazy weather. And some grass in my ears and hair. Just wonderful.

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I ask you –

Ever seen a tornado or know someone who willingly lives in tornado alley?

Being in the US Navy, 46mph winds really isn’t that big of a deal. But it is when it’s unexpected!

Anything you’d like to add to this wild tale?

To Thine Own Self Be…

…the truest you can be.

Amazingly enough, there are still people in our world who feel like they can’t be their true selves. As if society dictates how/what/whom they should look and feel, it’s a very common occurrence.

In recent conversation, it came up that a woman I know, after expending emotional energy, allows herself to cry and mourn what she has lost. It struck me as profound because how often do we let ourselves just feel? Believe me, it can be a terrifying journey to embark on – with the scariest of turns and very little sustainable food sources. At the end, however, you will be rewarded with soul food beyond anything you’ve ever tasted. So how do you get there? You simply start.

Please pause for a random thought:

Exercise does for the body what feeling does for the soul. It hurts! True. It really does hurt. You won’t catch me lying about the pain. But so much good can come of it. The mind and soul need ample time to process; without this time, it’s much like complacency – everything starts to feel the same.

For example, do you know what food tastes like when you rapidly inhale it and don’t take the time to enjoy it? Sure, you taste it but you don’t really taste. There is a means to an end.

The above was an awe-inspiring documentary I am better for watching. Truly unbelievable are the men and women whose souls flourish in bringing people together for a common goal. As the caption states, the hope one witnesses in others who have faced a tough set of circumstances really proves how much we need one another. Try not to feel moved while watching this movie; I dare you.

And now back to our main content:

In being true to yourself, I believe it’s also important to be – what these hip young people call and I know as a buzz word – transparent. Transparency doesn’t exist in my vocabulary. (The word doesn’t, the idea does.) It’s not so much about being see through to others; who cares what they think. Easier said than done, I know.

There was a time in my life when perception was reality. Loathing. In the real, wide world this isn’t necessarily true. As a child, I didn’t know why I was different. The pressure on myself to be perfect and have things just so was, frankly, debilitating. At the age of 6, when I’d visit other friends’ homes, their bedrooms would be a wild mess. How I envied the randomness of it. In an effort to curtail my perfectionism, I’d go home and ransack my dresser drawers to make my room look “lived in”. But each time I did this (yes, multiple times), the experience would end in tears and my returning the room to its former cleanliness.

Coloring is calming. Try it

It took many years to embrace my Type A personality. Today, I’m comfortable with it. It’s just how I am. Things have a place and belong somewhere. I take pride in a clean car and home. Sure, bordering on compulsive, this behavior isn’t always healthy but it’s who I am. I do my best not to impose myself on my mini’s way of living because obviously choice is very important. But if I’m being completely honest, her lackluster care for order in some things but not in others drives me insane.

You know that emoji with both arms up and a big shrug? Just insert that right here.

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I ask you –

When was the last time you dove into your emotions?

Any buzz words you’re sick of hearing? Transparent is definitely the biggest for me.

Type A? Type B? Thoughts on this?

Puns and Problems

Similar in nature to the dreaded freshman 15 is what I’m not-so-lovingly referring to as the covid 19. Get it, get it.

HOLY TOLEDO!

It would appear my favorite pair of shorts are becoming…ummm…snug. The scale also seems to be inching upward, as well, even in the face of a training schedule and some at home strength workouts. Yikes.

My only saving grace (can it even be called that?) is I see others, mainly elite runners, struggling with the same issue. Not only are we moving less, but we’re also stuck at home surrounded by baked goods. Wait. Is that just me? It’s clearly become a big problem. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, so why is it now?

I need less of this…
And more of this!

Working office half days every other day means I’m at home more than 60% of the time previously. And if you count when I worked at the gym, I’m home exponentially more now. This has created a pocket of daylight where I simply sit – either on the couch or at a desk working remotely. Sure, I have a mostly sedentary job even at the office but there are many instances of movement from office to office or going upstairs. Now? I walk 10 feet to the kitchen for more water or 20 feet to the bathroom. I really need to correct this. Pronto.

With a vacation, a marathon, and every day whatever-this-life is on the horizon, I really need to get my sh*t together. At the time of this posting, ideally my gym will be reopened. Sometime this summer I expect to return to in-person work full-time. As for life? I’ll leave this open ended with maniacal laughter. I can’t change the inevitable heat wave I’m sure to encounter which will render me inside and shaded more than, say, fall or spring-like temperatures, but the few things I can control I will. Let’s start with portion and dessert control, shall we?

Perhaps I scale back on the sugar-laden sweet nothings I imbibe in regularly. Or maybe I don’t inhale 3 servings of pizza. I’m not saying I will; I’m just saying I should. Let’s all get real here. Most likely I’ll keep on the same track currently on and complain the entire way. Sounds reasonable enough.

The scale does not control me! Those shorts, however…well…that’s another story.

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I ask you –

Same boat? Just me?

Do you work from home more now? Truthfully, I’m extremely lucky to have a job and my deepest worries go out to those who have a very limited source of income, if any, due to circumstances. Please note I’m not making light of this situation.

Any tips for making this crossroads a bit more bearable?

Pardon Me, Ma’am, Have You Seen the Crabs?

Much like this

Ahhhhh. The smell of sun, salt, and decaying ocean creatures is on the horizon. It only took 8 years. Yeppers, my vacation is officially booked!

Contrary to popular opinion, I snagged a condo rental when the price was well below market value. And I think my opinion was deemed unpopular only because of uncertainty in our current times. I don’t care; I did it anyway. And these people will be thanking me in a few months. I shall reward myself with tiny umbrella-infused drinks.

A short walk from the beach, close to all my favorite eateries, and on the best island in the word. South Padre, I’ll be seeing you soon! My excitement was contagious because even the little munchkin got in on the list-making action. The kite she has been promised is icing on the cake. She wasn’t too keen on the 13 hour commute, but we regularly traveled over 25 hours from Virginia to Texas so this sounds like a quick jaunt to me. Note to self: we need more coloring books.

My apologies on the briefness of this post. I’m off to bathing suit shop and I’ve heard the dressing rooms aren’t yet available. Wish me luck. The curbside delivery people are in for quite a show.

I think my footprint is larger

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I ask you –

Where’s your favorite place to visit/vacation?

Are you partial to warm or cool weather climates?

Offhand, does any one know the fine for public indecency? I seem to recall getting warned of this mid-race last year. Long story. Will share some other time.

Running Update

We’ve barely touched May and the mercury is already nosing 100°. Ugh. FML. The show must go on.

Occasionally I can get in an early run outdoors, but usually I’m relegated to the treadmill. Honestly it isn’t so bad because at least there I have about an hour to devote to mindless television. Foreword: apologies to all my friends who recommended shows for me to watch. I continue to watch the same I have been watching for years. First, I finished Brothers & Sisters. Then, I watched Younger (currently awaiting the next season). Now I’m on Revenge.

I’m more of a Hulu fan

The truth is this: besides Younger, I’ve seen the other series at least once before. Creature of habit much? I just have a problem committing to a new show with several episodes I have to figure out. I’m sure that’s the whole point, but when I’m running, I want to sink into the show with little extra effort.

Seems staying at home does have its perks. Like running for alone time.

But also seeing this amazing sight! I really really really don’t like geese, but seeing the cute little babies before they become angry, drab creatures is exciting. I’ve heard geese babies typically stay where they’re born. Dammit. They just poop on everything and drives me insane. Yuck.

Why did the goose cross the road?

The most important reason to run is so I can continue imbibing in the bakery madness my home has become. Comfort foods extend to bread, old-fashioned favorites, and the like; mine is cookies. Guess it could be worse, right? And when mini-cookie maker gets started, we just can’t stop. Needless to say, I’m enjoying it immensely! My heart and blood sugar are overcome with happiness. Remember this for when I need an intervention.

Unicorn cookies

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I ask you –

Shows you’re watching now?

Recommendations? I probably won’t watch them, but I enjoy you trying.

What’s the summer average temperatures where you live?