all this tricky day planning

This is how I’m feeling about summer!
All this tricky day planning!
That’s why I created a schedule.
That’s why I prioritized my tasks.

House- and schoolwork fall under the challenging catagory, while porch life is without doubt in the seductive.
It’s about marrying the two.
Sure, it makes it difficult to plan your day.

This morning I woke late, mostly recovered from a headache. I’m choosing to set aside my schedule. It’s not about seductive or challenging for me this morning, it’s about paying attention to my body. It obviously needed the rest.
So, my plan of attack for this Saturday will be set aside while I feel out how I’m going to function.
You know what?
It’s fine with me to let the day sort of plan itself.

There will be time for challenges and seduction as the days move along.
Will I plan? Pfft. Do you have to ask?
Will I deviate from those plans? Possibly.
The days we have in this world are a gift. And whether it’s to enjoy or improve, I intend to utilize them to the fullest.

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in the summertime

We had company in the form of YBW’s cousin, her husband, and their three year old daughter the week after school let out. This delayed my “first week of summer” plans. To finish the base cabinets and photograph all my lula merch. Of course porch life plays a big part in how I spend my time. But, every hard working bird needs a lovely place to perch in the afternoon.

I’m not following my schedule
Though I have prioritized my larger tasks.
*finish kitchen
*photograph lula
*finish building outdoor dining table

I’ve completely neglected my school work. And to be quite honest, I’m feeling a bit like Alice when it comes to that.

Only, I know I’ve got to kick it into gear and make some progress.
Oh how I despise being in a degree program I no longer care for.
Means to an end, sister. Means. To. An. End. (That’s what I keep telling myself.)
So, in times of stillness as I work on and complete my larger tasks, I will do homework.
Two courses are nearly in the bag. I just have to tighten it up and hit it out of the park. Effort is where it’s at. I’ll throw effort at it when I get my hands on some.

Tomorrow is the beginning of July! June flew past as I stared open-mouthed.
I’m expending effort into the large projects. Will save a bit for the smaller ones.
I shall prioritize my smaller tasks.
*homework
*writing
*camera time
*reading

Now, I say June flew past, but I have managed to enjoy a bit of the beginning of summer.
A solo trip to NGA where I discovered a wonderful photography exhibit, East of the Mississippi, Nineteenth-Century American Landscape photography. (And yes, I totally bought the exhibition catalog.) Thursday mornings at the farmers market with Meredith, Beau, and their sweet Mommy. A spur of the moment lunch date with Nora on Tuesday. Cider on the porch with Sundance Monday evening. I even managed to squeeze in a mani-pedi.
YBW and I have divided our time between porch life and watching the Nats play.

In the coming week after the kitchen is complete, I’ll spend some time with Catherine. There will be more porch life, (natch) and I’ll be ticking things off those lists. Even the things I don’t want to do.
In the meantime, Mungo Jerry is in my head, so I’ll share with y’all.
Summertime is where it’s at!

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porch life

Though I fully agree with Azrael, that (there is) “No pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin greater than central air.”, I’m completely obsessed with porch life.

I ran errands Friday last. Garden center for more lemony herbs to deter mosquitoes, and Home Goods for new planters to put them in.

Then to Lowe’s where I found absolutely perfect outdoor rugs!

It’s a work in progress.
I’ll find other things we need as time goes on. I’m building a bar-height dining table from gorgeous reclaimed red oak. Then I’ll have to shop for chairs and possibly an umbrella too! Aww dang, won’t that be horrible?

I sit out here every chance I get. YBW came home yesterday and I holler into the house, “Come have porch life with me!” Then about an hour later, Sundance came in through the front door and straight out the back door onto the porch.
It’s my current favorite place to hang out. Sometimes we come out here with beers or hard cider. Sometimes just a Coca Cola. It’s a place for great conversations. It’s a place to enjoy good food and company.

I’ve got my freshly brewed peach tea in a glass filled with ice, and I’m heading out.
Porch life.
I’m telling y’all, it’s the only way to live!

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time to cull the herd

Don’t you find as you get older that you just have less f**ks to give?

If we’re to believe Alice, I’m not the only one.

I want a simpler life.
I want strong relationships with the people in my life.
I grow weary of the drama.
I’m not drama, so why have it in my life?
It’s time for a cull.
Time to rid my life of unnecessary complications and weak relationships.

My life won’t look different to others. (Unless ‘others’ is among the culled.)
My life may not look that much different to me.
But I can assure you I’ll feel so much better.

The f**ks I give are mine.
And I’ll be holding on to them, thanks.
So I bid unnecessary complications and weak relationships a hearty:

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don’t f**k with Mr Zero

Years ago, I adopted a saying from the movie When Harry Met Sally.
“Don’t f**k with Mr Zero.”
I am Mr Zero.
Do not f**k with me.
And for your own good, do not f**k with my kids.

We were at the U.S. Capital building on Monday. A tour with YBW’s cousin, her husband, and their three year old daughter, who are visiting us from out of town. Joining us, YBW’s brother and Thing G.
All was well until YBW’s brother displayed a bit of “hangry” behavior. Y’all know what hangry is, right? Means you act like a great big dick with the excuse that you’re hungry. (note: that’s my definition, not Webster’s or OE’s)

Now I know something about hangry…only I never actually called it that. Thing 2 is hypoglycemic and can become grouchy when her blood sugar is low. A quick protein-rich carbohydrate snack to bring her blood sugar up quickly and keep it up, and boom! She’s right as rain.

Anyway.
YBW’s brother needs to eat. Like, yesterday.
So Thing G offers him a piece of gum to tide him over. Well, the gum is declined. Not rudely, but not exactly with politeness either. Thing G being the Thing G he is, is happy to accept the decline of his offer, but wants to explain why he offered the gum. His uncle doesn’t want any part of hearing it. He turns to the kid and just shouts, “NO!”
And that’s when my hackles go up.
Don’t talk to my kid like that, mother f**ker! (Only I don’t say that out loud.)
What I do say is, “Whoa, how about no thank you?”
I take Thing G by the hand, who is still trying to explain…
His uncle says, “I’m just hungry!”
I reply, “I understand that, but don’t take it out on us.”
So I hold Thing G back a moment as his uncle keeps walking.
Thing G says, “I just want to explain why I offered the gum.”
I got close to his face and said, “Let it go, bud. He doesn’t want to hear it. But you can tell me instead.”
By this time YBW has caught up to us, I signal to him that I’ve got it.
Thing G explains that sometimes when he’s hungry, chewing a piece of gum will tied him over until he can eat.
Makes a kind of sense.

I’m freaking livid.
Don’t you talk to my kid like that. I don’t give a damn if you’re hangry or not.
But I calm my heart and take Thing G’s hand and we go down the stairs together.

Meanwhile, YBW’s brother has eaten and has returned his normal likable self. So instead of letting this eat me up inside, I let it go. I protected the kid when he needed back up and he’s safe so I can retreat from momma-lioness mode. And we talk and joke and move on about our day.

A bit later, YBW comes to me and says, “Thanks for defending my kid.”
I look him in his eyes and say, “He’s my kid too. But, you’re welcome.”
Thing G sees this. He has a little smile on his lips as he takes his next bite.

Now, I ride that kid hard, and sometimes we don’t see eye to eye.
But I will cut you before I let you be unkind to that kid, or treat him with disrespect.
I love him.
He is part of my brood. Therefore under my protection. Now, I might kick his ass, but I’ll go down swinging before I let somebody else do it.

Of course, Thing G will eventually need to learn that he won’t always be able to express his own point of view. He’ll have to figure out how to accept that and function through it. He’s grown so much in the last four years. And I don’t just mean he’s now taller than me. I mean he’s beginning to advocate for himself. He’s beginning to show how capable he can be. He’s beginning to figure out his place in the world. This is trick for any seventeen year old, but especially so for one with his diagnosis.
But Thing G isn’t his diagnosis. It’s taken his family quite some time to really understand and accept that. It’s taken him a bit longer to understand and accept that. He’s a work in progress. (Like every single one of the rest of us.)

When it comes to the children in my brood (however grown), listen well. All of you.
I am the Mistress of All Evil and I. Will. Cut. You.

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occasionally I burst into song

Standing in the bathroom yesterday morning. YBW is shaving and I’m doing my hair.
I begin to sing about what I’m observing. Just belting it out, making it up as I go along. The tune comes from nowhere, the words are silly and mostly make a kind of sense that doesn’t.
He chuckles.
I say, “See! Real people sometimes burst into song in their daily lives!”
He nods, “Yes, but you’re not singing verse after verse.”
“Neither do I have a choreographed dance number.” I say with a wink.

Folks really do sing at random as they go about their day.
Sure, huge orchestral music and background dancers aren’t involved. (At least not in my random song bursts.) But there are times that life really is a cabaret, old chum, and one must burst into song.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to have the Sherman brothers

or Stephen Sondheim

be our personal lyricists.
But that’s OK. When you’re moved by the situation and need to create a little music about it, go ahead. Belt it out! Sing as though MGM has created an entire technicolor soundstage as a place for you to stand.
Sing the song of your life.

After I sang about personal grooming, I switched into Libertines mode and sang I Get Along

So sing your song. Sing loudly or quietly. Sing on or off key. Sing with your eyes wide open or shut. Sing the song of your life. Sing the words and tune that happen in your soul at any moment.
It’ll make you feel good and if someone gives you grief or causes you to feel embarrassed, just remember my favorite line from I Get Along:

I get along just singing my song, people tell me I’m wrong.
F**k ’em.

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(not) punching people at Costco

Ran to Costco yesterday.
Big mistake.

Everyone and their third cousin was up in that joint.
Nobody knew how to drive a buggy. Nobody knew how to load their items on the belt.
Bunch of freaking lollygaggers!

And I’m on the phone with Thing 1 having an absolute fit about it!
She is howling with laughter about how she learned to drive from me (fuming and cussing without really being mad) because that’s how I was rolling through the big ol’ warehouse store.
In the checkout line, the woman in front of me parked her buggy at a 45 degree angle instead of moving it straight up. That was the last straw for me.
I whispered into the phone, “The chick in line in front of me. I’m going to punch her right in the back of her head. Hard.”
Thing 1 laughed and said, “One day someone will hear you and you’ll get in a real fight. I’ll have to come to come see you at the hospital where you’ll be handcuffed.”
We laughed and laughed.
Though that would be just my luck…

I said goodbye to her before I checked out. (I may be a bitch, but I’m not rude. I think it’s so disrespectful to cashiers to be on the phone while they’re helping you.)
I did call Thing 1 back to report the ridiculous way the cashier backed my box. Eggs underneath peanut butter? Really, bitch?
Thing 1 had quite a laugh at me!

Of course I wasn’t quite finished with my spitting rant, so I called Sundance. If there’s anyone to join you in a crazy, spun-up rant, it’s Sundance. And that was just what I needed!
I’m all screeching and shouting and cussing and she’s feeding me with a spoon. At one point only dogs could hear us.
And then it stopped.
And I said, “This is my anxiety manifesting itself.”
And just like that (finger snap) I was calm.

This is something for me to pay serious attention to.
And I mean Serious Attention.

My anxiety is heightened right now. My stress levels are elevated.
I know this. I’m working to manage this. But sometimes it manifests in shopping rage. And in reality, nobody was harmed. I didn’t punch that woman. I avoided handcuffed hospital visits and possible jail time.
Managing my anxiety is an active process.
I’ve got good help.
I’m learning to let go. I can’t control everything, however much I long to. I’m working at not taking things so seriously. I’m working at making sure my expectations are realistic.
So…sometimes I want to punch strangers in the back of their heads. And sometimes I want to stab people with my ice pick. (It’s metaphorical, I swear! I never carry one in my bag or anything…I’m not remotely shifty…)
But wanting to punch or stab is not actually doing either.
So it’s cool.
Maybe.
Just gotta keep paying attention. Knowing I feel stressed or anxious is good, knowing why is better. Knowing how to manage those feelings is best.
Right now I’m at better…gives me something to strive for.
For the moment, that’s good enough for me.

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paying attention to my gratitude

I’ve been thinking about what it means to feel gratitude.
What it means to appreciate what’s important in your world.

These thoughts have been bouncing around for a few days, inspired by my therapy appointment, another with the acupuncturist, and a long-overdo conversation with my beloved sister in law. And though these thoughts are not as fully formed as they might become, it feels to me that they’re ready to hatch.

In living my intention, I’m inclined to believe that in love, all things are possible. But somehow I think it’s more than that. Well, perhaps not ‘more’, as much as ‘in addition to’. (Remember up there where I said these thoughts might not be fully formed?)
Nothing will ever convince me that the word with which I intend to live my life is not love. But…I’m always open to adding new meanings to my personal definition of love. And that’s the pinball of thought that’s been bouncing around in my brain.


A woman I love so dearly commented, “I just love this pic and your life.” in response to this photo.
And you know, for the first time in a while, I stopped and actively thought about it. I love my life too!
I mean I really love my life!
I’m grateful, thankful, and joyful for who and what I have in my life!

I get stuck in my head so frequently. So damn frequently that I don’t actually stop to look around me. And I miss it. I miss all the little things. Sometimes the big things too. And in those moments of recognition, gratitude bursts forth from my heart like a dam breaking.

I don’t think the people in my life experience my gratitude. How could they really, if I don’t?
I told YBW how much I appreciate him. How grateful I am for him. Not only as my husband, but as a human being. His kindness, his patience, his ridiculous sense of humor. My life would be lacking without him.
I’m not sure he feels it. So I’ve charged myself with being more mindful about showing my gratitude, especially to him.

I’m grateful for new and different healthcare providers that have helped me feel well for the first time in years. Thank you for helping me move from a place of being actively sick, to being actively getting healthy!

I’m grateful for my nieces and nephews, none of which are my blood kin. The love we share is sacred. Each one of them is so precious to me. And when I get a random voicemail from one announcing he’ll be in the area with his boyfriend and best friend looking for a place to stay, there is no hesitation. I simply open our home to them. Wherever I am will always be home to my giant brood of children, grown as they are.

I feel gratitude for the relationships I have with my stepsons. My love for them is much bigger than I think any of them understands. Thing C and and Thing G are a blessing in my world. They’re teaching me how to understand boys in a way I have never experienced. And though I’m quick to say I need more estrogen in my world, I’m grateful for the life lessons these guys share with me.

I’m grateful for the women I love. The ones that call me when they need to be talked off the ledge, or that I call for the same reasons. Though we may not see each other or talk as often as we’d like, not a moment has passed in the in between.
That by my precious Sally saying she loves my life, I remember to stop and love it too.
That when Nicole calls me from across the country because she can’t break the cycle of chaos in her brain, I can tell her that she can’t fix it. And it settles her because she knew it, but needed to hear me say it to get there. That Jessica and I can speak of all our joys or troubles with love and understanding.
That Sundance and I are able to communicate oftentimes without even using words.

I’m filled with gratitude when I see my grown girls living their lives. That Thing 1 has become a woman I am constantly awed by, yet retain the feeling of knowing what it’s like to hold her in my arms and keep her safe.
That even though my relationship with Thing 2 feels more like navigating a minefield at the moment, my heart fills with gratitude for all the years of loving each other.

I’m so much more grateful to YBW than he can even imagine. I took a leap of faith all those years ago, and trusted him when he told me he thought he was falling in love with me. That leap of faith has brought me great joy and some pain. But mostly it’s brought me love. A new and different way of loving. When I think “hashtag love my life” so much of that is because of him. I’m the me I am now because of my relationship with him.
Now, I’m the first to admit this me is still me in progress…but I’m a pretty damn good me.

Huh! Looks like Destination Girl is learning to be grateful for the Journey after all.

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what I learned from crayons

I discovered that there is was a water leak. It seems to have started in the boy’s bathroom and run under the wall into my work area of the bedroom.
As I work at tables, I lack storage space. The solution for that is stylish (yet affordable) storage boxes. Constructed of sturdy cardboard, the boxes in direct contact with the floor absorbed the water. I didn’t discover this for some time. And last night when I did, I was sad and disappointed.
The box that took the most damage was filled with boxes of crayons. Now this may not seem like a big deal to most people. But it is a terrifically big deal to me. All the crayons were “collector” boxes. Most of them were standard Crayola cardboard. Some of the crayons have never even been used.
I carefully removed everything from the box, salvaged what I could. Some of the boxes were damaged beyond repair, so those brand new crayons went into quart storage bags. I labeled the bags based on the boxes, “Crayola’s 100th Anniversary 100 colors collection.”, “First edition box of 96 crayons.”, “Crayon color names retired in 1990 special edition box.” And so on.
Now here’s where it gets real.
I know crayons aren’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.
But in the Roby scheme of things crayons are of a most big deal.

I was feeling frustrated. In all honesty I was feeling a bit defeated.
Does that sound dramatic?
I suppose it does.
Yet that’s how I felt.

I asked myself why it is that so many of my things have been destroyed since moving into this house.
My family photos.
My dishes.
My crayons.

Is this house out to get me? Is it retaliating because I call it a “hand me down house”?
This stimulates that awful feeling of sacrificing everything to come here and attempt to make a life. That I continue to sacrifice parts of *my* life to be in this one.
Those feelings had subsided. I finally felt as though it was all for the right reasons.
Yet here they are. All shiny and new because some cardboard got wet.

It’s hurtful. To give up everything you’ve spent your entire life creating. To turn simply walk away from it. Even bringing some of your “things” along doesn’t make it simpler, or feel any less painful. And then those things are broken or damaged…
I feel angry! Must everything be stripped from me? (This is super dramatic, but I’m serious about the way it feels.)

So I went to bed feeling…alienated.
But I woke up with a different feeling.
A sort of peaceful understanding.

Perhaps it’s OK that photos and crayon boxes get ruined with water. Perhaps it’s OK that dishes break.
Perhaps it’s part of the process.
Perhaps I’m still evolving.
Perhaps I still need to shed bits of that old life as I work at building this new one.
Perhaps crayons are simply colored wax wrapped in paper. (My ass! Crayons are magical and that’s the truth!)

I realize that we all “have a past”. I realize that we carry through our lives the things we hold dear. But they are simply things. Things that are emotionally tied to, or are physical representations of experiences from our pasts.
Perhaps the trick to building a new life is to somehow keep the emotions while being able to say goodbye to the things.
All in good time, my little pretties. All in good time.

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Another Day of Sun (from) La La Land

It’s raining here again. And to be quite frank, I tired of it.
I’m sharing with you a little song from La La Land to perk us all up.
If you haven’t seen this film, you’re missing out on something wonderful!

Please listen responsibly.

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