Jackson Square ~ Mason Jennings

The first time I heard this song was in the quiet of a springtime afternoon via earbuds. I was consumed by it’s haunting beauty.
It’s gray here this morning and I feel this song fits the feel as I wait for the sun to break through the heavy clouds.

Please listen responsibly.

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when porch life is work

Saturday was one of those rare gorgeous summer days. Sunny and breezy temperatures in the 80’s no humidity to speak of. Of course I took advantage of the beautiful weather by spending the day on the porch but not in the way you might think.
There was no lounging about. No day drinking. No journaling.
It was work work work!
Wanna see?

This reclaimed red oak needed a little love in the form of stain before it becomes our outdoor dining table.

Fence posts are the perfect choice for this bar height table’s legs. A coat of Sikkens is about to protect them even though they’re pressure treated.

Remember I said it was breezy? The plastic blew right over that last post…once I put down the camera, I was able to sort it and got quickly to work.

These “flaws” are what drew me to this piece of wood in the first place. I believe it makes them even more lovely.


Once I got everything finished and lined up to dry, I took a much needed break.


With a little “House Wine of the South” and my special birthday birthday Queen straws from Sundance.
But wait!
There’s something even more exciting!!
I realized that I could “have my cake and eat it too”!
I wanted to be outside in the breezy weather. But I also wanted to be in front of the TV watching the Nats game.
Oh my goodness!

To my surprise and delight, I realized I could sorta-kinda see the game and have porch life at the same time!

The table top wood was still drying Sunday afternoon, so we moved it into the house and set a fan on it. Everything else was already dry so it went back into the garage. It’s raining today, and supposedly tomorrow also, so there will be no actual construction for a few days.
I’ll keep y’all posted on the progress…right after I go shopping for chairs, and perhaps a sail cloth for shade over that part of the porch. Might need some pillows too…guess we’ll just have to see.

Categories: around the house | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

cardinal rules

I have a friend who’s second unbreakable life rule or, “Rule # 2” is that no one is permitted into his home.
I find this fascinating. No one in his home. Ever. (my suspicion is that emergency medical providers are the only exception)

I don’t know that I could ever have his second rule. Let us disregard for a moment the fact that I share a dwelling with YBW and his children (part time).
I need that energy that people bring…and I like to be in my own space. So, that would never work for me. I occasionally want to be around people while also remaining in my own physical space.
And that’s OK. I’m me, not him.

That got me thinking: I’m so me. Like, all the freaking time! And that me is an unholy mess of a girl, as well as put together AF.
I like that about me.
I embrace it, and I celebrate it.

It occurs to me that so many people don’t embrace and celebrate the “me” they are. Folks are so busy trying to be something they may not be because of any number of outside influences, societal rules, or even to impress a potential mate.
In trying to become something else, bits of the me get lost.
Some of those could be OK to lose, crap bits to bid a “good riddance” to. But some of those are important pieces. Invaluable and irreplaceable.
The me is the best and most important piece of the puzzle. Even if you haven’t completely figured out your me.
I learn about the me I am every day.
I learn stuff I love, and want to keep, I learn stuff I feel ambivalent about but realize may have value. I learn stuff I know I can chuck in the bin because it’s bad for me and anyone I come in contact with. But even the chuck it in the bin stuff can be embraced, because I learned something from it. At the very least, I learned I didn’t need it…at most, I may have even learned why.

Some folks are so concerned with improvement they don’t stop first to examine what’s there that might be handy. They just dump it and begin searching for new stuff to fill the void.
That will never get anybody anywhere!
If folks are externally motivated, they’re never going to experience the all-important A-ha! moments. Never experience the all-important I did it! moments.
I believe you lose the most important aspect of the me when you’re externally motivated. When you need to be filled up by other people, or things. It doesn’t seem to me that you’re even aware of the me inside you, much less embracing and celebrating it. That makes me so sad. I cannot stress enough how much that (those) someones are missing out!

Embrace and celebrate what you have within you. Learn it and learn from it.
Accept and release some of it. Accept and embrace other of it.
But, above all, celebrate the “me” inside you.

I’m me.
I’m a hot mess and a tight ship. And that is the way I like it. I’m so over trying to be what external influences expect me to be.
I’m just the me I expect me to be.
I’m amazing and wonderful because I’m flawed.
Each lesson I’ve learned, the good, the bad, the indifferent have made and continue to make me this wonderfully flawed woman.

I think that’s the most important of my Cardinal Rules.
If I decided to create unbreakable rules for my life they might look like this.

1. Embrace and celebrate the me I am.
2. Live my intention.
3.

(yeah, I sort of borrowed that one, but I feel it keenly)
4. Communicate with honesty.
5. Know my limits.

That’s just off the top of my head…I might mix it up a little, I might keep it the way it is. But, over all, that’s how I intended to live my life.
Cardinal Rules.
It occurs to me that I already lived them, just never stopped to write them down.

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my girls

After being here with me for nine days, Thing 1 left Thursday to return home to her sweet husband, N.
I woke Friday to an empty house.
Normally I’d love that, but after Thing 1 being here, I didn’t. I was sad. No, not really sad, more disappointed. Kind of empty feeling.
But it was fleeting.
I got to work. Only I was missing someone to talk with. Even missing her crazy habit of following me everywhere.
I’m feeling that nagging sense of missing out. I know they’re meant to grow up and leave home and all that jazz. But I’m selfish! I want to spend more time together.

The way I’m feeling reminds me of that Abba song Slipping Through My Fingers.

That’s what it feels like to have grown girls.
I miss them in ways that cause me physical pain.

I get my hackles all up and think, I shouldn’t have to miss them. Only that would be impinging their natural development. But it’s funny, it seems to me that in my natural development, they should still be mine and not yet their own.
Children grow at their own pace. Parents are left in the dust.
Logically, I get that. I understand that I did my job. That I gave them the best foundation I could and now it’s up to them to build upon it.
Emotionally, I want to still be active in their lives, I want to listen to troubles and joys and giggles and have great snuggle-fests in my bed.
Parents should evolve at the same rate their children do. That they don’t doesn’t seem quite equitable.
Alas, it was always thus. (or was it?)

Thing 1 is an amazing woman. I don’t say this because she’s my daughter. I am truly awestruck by her. She is smart and funny. She is more strong and capable than she actually realizes. She speaks of not feeling “adulty” enough and looking around for someone more “adulty” than her. But she’s got this. She’s absolutely “adulty” enough to successfully live her own life. And really, what more could a mom want for her child?
We had such wonderful conversations, some seriously examining our relationship and life, some just plain silly. We talked about raising children and healthy relationships. We talked about baseball. (She’s a convert! She decided to love baseball after her first trip to Nats Park!) Oh happy day!
Spending that time with my firstborn was precious to me. No, more than precious. Our time together was sacred.
At one point in our lives I wondered if we’d ever truly be a part of each other again. Yet, here we are.

At the ballpark, the couple behind us told us that we were a “precious family”. That we were “so blessed” and it was obvious that Thing 1 was “adored”.
That moved me so. I’m not sure Thing 1 believes she is adored. I hope she learns to remember that more each and every day.

Before Thing 1 came here, Thing 2 and her boyfriend J spent two weeks with Thing 1 and Husband N.
One thing that makes me happy is that the girls being together seems to have been especially good for Thing 2. Though, it was really good for Thing 1 too. And I enjoyed listening to her talk of their time together while she was here.
Thing 2 is dating a guy that Thing 1 absolutely adores! That’s a big deal for Thing 1. Those external relationships must function successfully within their internal sisterhood.
She’s said that if Thing 2 hadn’t liked Husband N, she never would have married him. She expressed that she’s closest to Thing 2 over anyone else in the world, and that is her most valued relationship. I know not with certainty if Thing 2 feels the same, but I sure hope she does.
It seems the time they spent together was healthy and positive for both of them.

Thing 2 is becoming so much more aware of herself. I love that for her!
She is a tricky sort of girl…filled with acute self-awareness, yet seemingly unable to put it into action. This causes her much trouble. To know, yet be unable to do much about it is a tricky place to be.
But, I think she’s making some positive changes for herself. I also believe the time with her sister was beneficial to reinforce that.

We had an interesting text conversation late last week.

Thing 2’s friend Anna was critically injured in a car accident last summer, in all honesty, we’re lucky that she’s still with us. She just had a follow-up surgery to assist in the healing of one of her legs that’s a bit shorter than the other from the accident.
Anna lives with Thing 2 at her father’s house. Thing 2 has been her primary care giver since the accident. It took a toll on their friendship, but it seems as though they’ve been able to come out the other side stronger.

This one came immediately after the first one, before I even had a chance to respond.

“I was full of shit.” Yes, my darling, you were. But, owning it is the first step to changing it.
I told her that communication is difficult, but becomes simpler with practice.
She wondered if it was “shitty to say I’m proud of me?”
I assured her it was not, that she should be proud of her accomplishments.
Then I told her ‘life = perpetually learning more about yourself’.

Y’all, I’m forty six years old and I do that every single day! My twenty year old daughter is wondering if she should be proud of learning more about her self.
Um, YES PLEASE!

Being a mom is the most gut-wrenchingly painful experience of my life.
Being a mom is the most joy-filled, awe-inspiring, rewarding experience of my life.
It’s no wonder I feel like I didn’t evolve at the same rate as my girls. How could I possibly?

I find it hard not to focus on “missing out” when they continue to become such unbelievably cool human women! But, I have their lifetime of love and joy and being together deep within me. It sustains my sadness at being apart from them. It keeps me from missing them more than I can bear.
But we’re lucky enough to have a love that is unshakable. We’re lucky enough to be able to call each other out on her shit. We’re lucky enough to carry on real conversations about important issues with love and compassion, and even a bit of understanding.
Communication. Who knew?

This is what Husband N had to say in response to me thanking him for helping celebrate Thing 2’s birthday. But more importantly, expressing to him how much it means to me that he loves both my girls.

Amen to that!

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

love-filled, lemon-scented paradise

Y’all know I am absolutely obsessed with porch life. This spring and summer have afforded me loads of time to spend on the back porch.
Currently it’s just too damn hot to even consider going out there. We hit a heat index of 105 yesterday, and it’s not much less today at 101.

Over the weekend and earlier in the week though, I was out on the porch a great deal.
Monday afternoon I went out with my journal and sat writing for the longest time.

I was having a really lovely day. I was productive and felt fully present in my life. I was truly living my intention that day. And while I was writing, the most amazing (albeit obvious) thing occurred to me.
My love of porch life is me living my intention!
I feel like there should be a great big, “Duh!” at the end of that statement. Only I’m not going to judge it. I’m just embracing the hell out of it.

Little reminders. Little things. Little pleasures. That’s the love.
When I’m writing about how I’m feeling, what I’m thinking, and how it impacts my daily life, I experience the love.
More times than not, it’s about paying attention.
When I’m present in my life, I mean actively living, and open to the world around me, I’m living my intention without even trying.
Enjoying porch life is a way I can express love for myself. It’s a way of living my intention of love for me.
Life on the porch is a peaceful, love-filled, lemon-scented paradise and if that’s not living my intention, I don’t know what could be.

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twenty years of muchness

Thing 2 is twenty today!
Twenty years of the muchiest muchness you ever saw!
That girl.
Sometimes she’s the most precious angel. Sometimes she’s the devil incarnate. I suspect that could be said about many girls on the planet, only this one is my girl.

At the Udvar-Hazy there, is a missile with Thing 2’s name on it. Whenever I see it, this is what I think, ‘Thing 2 missile, blowing shit up with sass!’
Because that’s kind of what she does. She just goes around blowing ship up with her sass. I actually love that about her.
She wears a bit of an armor, going around like a bad ass, but she’s got a kindness to her that she keeps close to the chest.
Like Veronica Mars, Thing 2 has a marshmallow center.

We’ve had a tricky time of late. She’s trying to figure out how to be a more grown version of herself. I’m trying to feel connected to her as she develops this new version of herself.
It’s easy to let miles and time create a hole in our relationship. We both do it.
The hole in our relationship doesn’t mean we don’t love each other, but it sure feels icky to have to traverse that hole to connect with each other.

Five years ago, she wrote this:

Truth is: You are the best mom I could ever ask for, even when I’m all messed up-you fix everything! Love you.

I want to be this mom still. Only that ship has sailed. I can’t fix everything for her anymore. I know that. Knowing it and accepting how that feels are two different things. I will always be her Momma. Only in an entirely new and less active way.

Last month she wrote this:

Oftentimes it feels like you’re reaching out to and calling for a Thing 2 that I’m just not anymore. Be it that you want different things for me, or just different things in general. I can’t be “your Thing 2” anymore. I have to be the person that I am, even if that’s still flaky right now.

You will always be my mom and I will always be your daughter. I need you to respect that your role in that isn’t going to be as active as it used to be. That doesn’t mean that I don’t need you, and it’s ridiculous that I don’t want you in my life–I just want you to let me go a little.

In my response I wrote the following:

As for being “my Thing 2”, well, you will always be “my Thing 2”, that’s just because I’m your Momma. The Thing 2 you are is a constantly growing and developing Thing 2, that’s natural. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

What you don’t know is that I don’t judge you. I believe you think I do. But in all honesty, I don’t. All I want is for you to get your muchness fired up and be the Thing 2 you want to be. That might look like something I never even expected. And that is OK! I know the Thing 2 you’ve been isn’t the Thing 2 you want to be, I know you want more for yourself. Only you can decide what that looks like.

We will always be connected because you are my daughter and I am your mother. I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world. I long to be connected to you as a human being. I want to know the Thing 2 you are now, the Thing 2 you are becoming. Not only because I’m your mom, but because I have a burning desire to know you as a human being.

Today, as we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of her birth. I’m reminded of the sick baby she was. I’m reminded of the precocious preschooler she was. I’m reminded of the sweet girl she was. I’m reminded of the sassy teenager filled with “wizard angst” she was. I’m reminded that through every illness, joy, sadness, laugh, tear, hair color, and fight, she is my baby.
She is the love I never even knew I needed.
She is my heart outside my body.
I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Woo Hoo! Birthday Birthday! Happiest day to you, Moo! I love you more than the moon and the stars.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Baby Driver, GO NOW!


Y’all! I saw Baby Driver earlier this week!
I’m so serious when I say, “Run. Do not walk to go see this!”

When I first left the theater, I was feeling as though I had so much more to digest. That meant I couldn’t really formulate an opinion. (somebody write that down, stat!) Seriously though, I’ve been thinking on this movie every single day since I saw it.

Edgar Wright did a movie I love, Hot Fuzz. Also Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which I enjoyed. Also Shaun of the Dead, but I didn’t super love that one.

But Baby Driver was something else!
The way everything was timed to the soundtrack made the whole thing for me!
I went in blind. Thing C and YBW were all, let’s go see this movie. I was game so off I went. I knew nothing about it other than Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx were in it. And that kid who died in TFIOS. I pretty much agreed to go because YBW asked me specifically and sweetened the deal with the promise of popcorn.
As I sat in the dark with my popcorn and Coke, I realized how freeing it was to watch a movie for which I had no anticipation or preconceived notions.
I loved it!
Y’all gotta go see this movie!

Here’s something cool about the music in this movie.
Beware: contains spoilers!

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flying by the seat of your pants

Here’s a random thing I like about YBW: his ability to fly by the seat of his pants. That’s isn’t a trait I’m especially good at and he’s teaching me how to…be inclined to try it. Isn’t that fortunate? Flying by the seat of your pants isn’t as anxiety inducing when you’ve got somebody holding your hand.

Yesterday we went out with the plan of visiting a (new to us) winery, with the possibility of stopping to take photos as we might be moved.
Turns out we had old information because when we pulled up to the vineyard, the gates were locked and a sign told us the hours of operation were Friday – Saturday – Sunday 11 to 5. So much for open daily 11 to 5.

In that moment we had a choice.
Let disappointment suck the air out of our sails, or quickly regroup and come up with a plan.
When I suggested we go to “our” winery, YBW asked if I really wanted wine. Not so much.

So we drove along route 55 for a while and found this abandoned barn.

Only this farm wasn’t abandoned, it was just dilapidated. It was actually home to some cows, and a (fairly) modern tractor was parked near the fence.

Since we were nearly there and neither of us had recollection of ever actually being there, we decided to check out Front Royal to see what the little town had to offer.
We ate a yummy lunch before wandering Main Street. It was mostly antique shops, but we had fun. You never know what you’re going to find.
I bought an old glass phone line insulator.

I haven’t yet decided what I’ll do with it, which should always be the first step in purchasing something you don’t really need. But I love the color of it. The history. The fact it has the company name on it.
It’s probably just something that will need to be dusted, but I don’t care. I wanted it. And I spent less than $20 from my babysitting money to own it.
(Is it funny that a grown ass woman talks about her babysitting money? Yeah, it kind of is. But two of my sweetest friends both celebrated their wedding anniversaries the end of June and needed someone to look after their children.)

Anyway, my sweet husband and I had a lovely day together just flying by the seat of our pants.

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people are dumb panicky animals

I can say this stuff to Sundance. She knows me well enough that the meaning is understood in concept without concerning herself with the actuality of it.
Am I a misanthrope?
Not really. I just can’t stand being around ignorant people out in public.


When the squinty eyes come out, you know there’s bound to be trouble.

You ever have days like this?
Days when you just know that if it was up to you, the world wouldn’t be full of

I don’t know what gets me rattled, I should probably just ignore more of what goes on around me. Only I can’t seem to do that. I hold others to the expectations to which I hold myself. How to properly behave in public is something I feel like should be a no-brainer.
I mean, it’s pretty simple, right?
Just don’t act like a dick.

I know my mom was a hard ass, a no-nonsense kind of dictator parent. But she taught me the importance of how to behave around other people.
Sure, I’m a sarcastic bitch. But I don’t act a fool.
Some of these people out in the world need to tighten it the f**k up.
Ugh!

I feel like I’m forever making this face.
The things they say. The physical space they take up. The absolute lack of awareness of the world around them. These rampant packs of fools milling about.
I’m going to need for y’all to get it together already!

Do I simply need more patience?
That wouldn’t be a bad thing…
If folks would get their shit straight out in public, I would attempt a bit more patience. It’s a two-way street, people. I’m just sayin’.

Over all, I believe Kay had it right.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

sisters

My heart is full of love.
I got a snapchat from Thing 2 late last night.
She’s at her sister’s!

The idea of my two Things together makes me so happy!
They have a uniquely precious friendship. It’s been through it’s share of troubles, but what sister relationship hasn’t?

They’ve lived through every moment of their lives (well, Thing 2’s life anyway) together. Every joy. Every sadness. Every fear. Every love. They’ve been each other’s best friend and worst enemy. Though they are quick to get at each other, each girl would kill or die to protect her sister from an outside threat. Even now, after time and events and miles have created a distance between them.

Am I jealous?
No, that’s not the right word.
Do I feel like I’m missing out?
Absolutely!
But not in a selfish way.

Being able to witness their complicated love of the last (nearly) twenty years. To see how their relationship has evolved as they become women. To listen as they speak their own personal language, when they finish each other’s sentences. To laugh at age-old jokes, or family stories they love to share.
I love the relationship my daughters have with each other. They are so blessed to have it. And they know it.
Sure, they take each other for granted. Sure they annoy each other if they’re together for too long. But when it comes down to it, they belong to each other in a way they belong to none of the rest of us.

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