Matters of the Heart

Quite possibly there may be nothing more difficult than repairing a friendship. Even running very long distances doesn’t compare. Physical work can be trained for; emotional work requires time and patience. If it was so easy to chalk it up to a simple misunderstanding, perhaps we could do the I’m sorry routine, hug, and all would be right in the world again.

This is us

Adult human relationship just aren’t this easy. Or if they are, I have not located them. Believe it or not, I don’t share everything here. If you thought I did, so sorry. Long story short, my best friend of over 15 years and I disagreed on some fundamental beliefs. Now before you wonder how these belief systems could have never come up in all the years before, rest assured they did. She and I agreed to disagree; best friends are like that. As with any strong relationship, we vowed to support the other while remaining true to ourselves.

Upon moving back to Texas, I began to see things I wasn’t comfortable with and I felt impacted the small girl I am responsible for raising into a strong, capable, independent woman. I believed her fairy godmother was on a path impossible to continue overlooking. In all fairness, I have also been down some troubled paths and was never truly confronted about them. For this I’ve asked much forgiveness.

Maybe unforgivable though was my best friend was facing a complicated, unfair time in her own life. One I promised to be there for her through. Instead, I bowed out ungracefully. Be kind. I’m no saint. And so this brings you up to speed on the last 10 +/- months.

We may be clowns but guaranteed we have the most fun

The repair part of this discussion is slow going. We have short bursts of conversation and try to leave the past behind. Our tone is guarded. As to be expected. Will we ever find a new path, together? I honestly don’t know, but I have hope. One doesn’t quit a decade long relationship without giving everything they’ve got to make it successful.

Best night of our life

I realize this isn’t the post many of you are accustomed to; however, on the off chance my best friend finds it, maybe it will serve its purpose. Love finds a way.

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I ask you –

Words of advice?

How long have you and your best friend been a part of each other’s lives?

Tell me how you and your friend met. She and I worked together. I was responsible for training her (I think) and she got in my face to demand why I was “talking sh*t about my family”. I hadn’t said anything about her family, my ex-husband had but you know how small towns are. From then on, we were inseperable.

Fickle Life

Literally nothing but net

I didn’t realize how short this post was until I got ready to publish. As much as I debated on editing this to make it longer, nothing came of it. Better luck next time.

Bad news. The mud volleyball tournament is cancelled. Well, rescheduled to Labor Day. Still gonna be hot so what’s the difference haha I was disappointed for a minute, then I remembered this past weekend’s long run went to hell within 2 miles so now I need to ensure the next long run doesn’t do the same. And if I was playing volleyball all day the chances of running anywhere except to get snow cones was nothing short of nada. It works out.

I’m just filling the time with activities until my mini comes back from her Tennessean summer with her dad. Typically we alternate months but after the stay at home order radically changed our plans we had to make up for it on the back end. Happy to report she’s healthy, happy, and spoiled. And she’ll be home in a few weeks, just in time for vacation!

Physiology, not pictured

PSA. Did you know the average person can’t answer 5 random questions on 5th grade anatomy? I made up the stat; thought I’d join the club. Seems par for the course lately. But this is clearly true because the amount of people who don’t know the nose and mouth are connected is staggering. Otherwise why would their mask be covering the latter and not the former?

Stay tuned for a post on things that annoy me, currently in development.

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I ask you –

Name your favorite flavor of snow cone! Dragon’s blood, I think.

Submit your thoughts on things that annoy you so I don’t sound like a complete ogre when I make my own list.

Should I go play volleyball by myself this weekend or run? Don’t answer that, I’m easily swayed.

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.

Hobbies and Hot Weather

Growing up surrounded by four walls and forestry, all the benefits of country-living have been experienced. Minus what is affectionately referred to as cow tipping. You people are insane. I’ve been involved in not only the stupidest activities but also many that have no statute of limitations so we won’t be speaking of such. One and the same. If you’re like me, you are no stranger to mud. You know, the yucky brown or red stuff that plagues your vehicle and clothing the minute it’s considered.

That being said mud can be a secondary word in some sentences. For example, mud running, mudding (you have to say this with a southern drawl and drop the ‘g’), and something I’m particularly interested in, mud volleyball!

Add a little water to the fields of happiness above and magic will happen! Basically what I’m saying is I joined a mud volleyball tournament for July 4th weekend. Aptly named Pig Pen Mud Volleyball, the entry fee is donated to charity – though I do think there is a monetary prize for the winner. My focus on winning could best be classified as zero. I’ve never played mud volleyball, but surely all my years on a junior and high school court will easily translate, right? I know for sure this same tournament happened last year – from what I hear this is year 5 – but I was working a million hours a week and driving about as much so there was no way I could participate.

Fast forward to 2020: things are starting to look up! I’m incredibly eager to play with my teammates whom I’ve yet to meet and most likely won’t until day of. Upon sign up I was informed there would be no practices, the only requirement is to have fun, and most, if not all, my team will consist of city employees, presumably with a median age of 50. I’m not judging. If I wanted to form a more similar to my age team, I would have recruited them. Who has time for that? Alas, beggars can’t be choosers and I’m content to meet new people and not break any bones.

Do love some sand volleyball

Will I be keeping you all abreast of the tournament, complete with mud-attired non-uniforms and lots of alcohol? So glad you asked! Indeed you can count on me to provide a figurative and literal play-by-play of the day’s highlights. If any of you have a desire to travel to this remote area of Texas to cheer me on, I will gladly welcome you with a cold bottle of water and muddy hand print on your rear end.

Good game, everyone!

___________________

I ask you –

How many “muddy” activities have you ever participated in?

Does volleyball appeal to you? I adore playing volleyball.

Gordon Lake and Oscar Park Volleyball Courts, 10am, July 4th. In case you need something to do.

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!

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.

________

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.