November 29, 2013

Finding thanks

I've never liked Thanksgiving a whole lot. The visions of overeating in front of the football game, and having fun playing board games was never my Thanksgiving. That's because my childhood memories of the holiday include a musty town hall, paper plates that always dripped on you at some point, little to do in terms of fun, nobody near my age to talk to, and a freezing bathroom that you didn't dare use unless you absolutely had to lest you spend the rest of the evening trying to get warm again.

My mom's family was too large to fit in a house, so this became the fix - someplace everyone could gather that was near enough to my grandma's house that she didn't have to travel, and in the woods so that the hunters wouldn't show up too late. It was probably a fine solution for the adults who wanted to talk about adult things and didn't mind the dank smell of old person that permeated the entire place. But for someone young, waiting in that awful place for hunters to come in (who were ALWAYS late), it was almost torturous. And it, combined with a lot of food I never really loved, made me learn to dislike the holiday pretty intensely. That feeling stayed with me well into my adulthood.

And yet, finally, I've found a renewed appreciation for the holiday. I am still not a big fan of turkey (What would be so very wrong with a Thanksgiving ribs?), but I have finally turned around my thinking about it as a holiday. Because I've become fortunate enough to be a part of one with football games on, babies toddling around, hugs, laughs, pies made with lard crusts, beers, cribbage, a giggling kids table, and love everywhere. (Not to mention, barns and sheds that are just begging to be photographed!)

This year, I realized, I am intensely grateful for this. Thankful, if you will.

November 28, 2013

Happiest Thanksgivings

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. May your heart be open to those who need it the most.

Oh, and Go Pack Go!

November 25, 2013

Thankful week

It's thankful week. And while I haven't been itemizing my thankfulness on Facebook or elsewhere, it doesn't make me less appreciative of what I know I have. It's just been harder this year to articulate. And I'm not sure why. Maybe the pain, maybe the work being crazy, maybe I'm just less grateful overall. I feel like this has all come at me a little too quickly this year. Like it's speeding toward me, and I wasn't prepared. Which is silly, because the holidays have been right there on the calendar all year long.

So anyhow, I'm thankful for so much. For my family - near and far, immediate and non; For the food on my plate and the roof over my head; For the experiences of a lifetime we've been able to give to our son this year; For the warm fuzzy Harry belly and the happy Mr. Pickles fins; and For the love I feel. It's all more than enough and just enough all at the same time.

Happy Thankful Week!

November 23, 2013


I always find the holiday extravaganza a little disgusting. And yet, I play along with it - overindulging, overspending, and over-everything. I don't want to do that this year. I want it to be a special time, a memorable one for C-man. And  yet, I look back at photos of Christmases past, and look at all the waste - the gifts that were barely touched, the excesses that were just too much.

So this year, I'm on a mission to make it simpler. The gifts will still be there. And so will the food. But this year, I want to do something special to make it actually all mean something too. Maybe even a tradition of sorts so that C-man remembers that instead of the gifts. Something to consider as I sit knee deep in the middle of the retail commercialism.

November 22, 2013

Dashing High Hopes

Mr. Pickles and the entire tank is sick. Harry started the day by throwing up. And C-man was complaining of a sore throat. I do not have high hopes for this weekend.

November 21, 2013

Happy for Happy Fins

  • Mr. Pickles gave me "happy fins" this morning. So despite looking like he rolled in flour, he seemed in good spirits. (You'd think this would be a strange comment about a fish, but you're going to have to trust me when I tell you he's kind of like a dog in the body of a fish.)
  • I do not have happy fins. I have hurty back.
  • I have a half-day tomorrow, and I'm really thrilled.
  • This weekend, my goal is to get the outside Christmas lights up. You know, just in time for Hanukkah.
  • This winter, my goal is to start curling. I could use a new hobby.
  • Besides the new knitting project I've started. Because we all know how likely I am to finish that.
  • I'm so glad it's almost weekend.

November 19, 2013

Random thoughts on a random day

  • Mr. Pickles is still sick. We've started a treatment on him for a different thing than the pet store told us it was. He wasn't hungry yesterday, but ate this morning. As long as he's eating and moving about... Is there such a thing as a prayer circle for a puffer fish?
  • Work is still hellish. I'm starting to make peace with it a bit. I'm almost going numb to do it. I hate that.
  • While I hate that it's turning to winter, and that it is pitch black night by 4:30, the November sunsets are always so spectacular. So I will be grateful for those.
  • I won $40 in the school's Calendar of Cash. Only one more win to break even on the investment.
  • I'm going to get my hair highlighted on Friday. It is 3 weeks overdue, and all the stress and age are making my greys pop out like crazy. ACK!
  • I have a facial scheduled for Saturday. I love facials.
  • C-man has new snowpants ordered. I ordered him a pair, but they were too big. I was going to send them back, but decided to keep them for his next growth spurt. The way he's eating, it'll probably be next month anyway.
  • Christmas is the first week in December with my family. I need a personal shopper to get this all done.
  • My photography has really stunk lately. I think I need to take a class to get my mojo back.
  • I've been trying to get our Christmas card photos done, but Beerman keeps stalling me. Going to have to cattle prod him this weekend!
  • Is it the weekend yet?

November 15, 2013

Hello, Friday.

Dear Weekend. Thank you for coming.
The Management

November 14, 2013


It has been an awful week. Not in someone died kind of awful. I at least have that perspective. But seriously, when you have to compare your week to it not being so bad because you weren't diagnosed with cancer or a loved one didn't die, it's a pretty bad week.

It's one of those weeks that I'm totally on edge. My heart won't stop racing. I can't sleep. I can't eat. I get up early to check on Mr. Pickles, who is not getting any better. I am worrying constantly. And the final straw was last night - after I was racing to get out of work because a meeting went way over time, and I still needed to get C-man by 6 - I couldn't find my car keys. As in, I did not have them. Security did not have them. Gone. Thank God for amazing coworkers. The ones who drive me to get my kid and take me home, the ones who pick me up in the morning, and the ones who find my keys in the bathroom where they must have fallen out of my purse before heading home.

The added bonus is that all this craziness is causing an arthritis flare.

I am a wreck. A total and complete wreck.

Guess my question about how long that 3 day weekend bubble would last has been answered. I need the weekend. And I need a change in a big, big, big change kind of way.

November 12, 2013

Operation Heal Pickles

We're on Mr. Pickles watch. The pufferfish showed up with a bunch of white spots on his body and fins two nights ago.

And so, we have researched. I have spent hours in fish stores. And last night, Beerman installed a ridiculously expensive UV sterilizer on the system.

The fish people tell us it's a virus, and we just need to "baby" him. How in the world do you baby a fish who already gets his selected meal of shrimp fed to him with tongs? I don't know, but I do know this fish cannot die on us, because C-man loves him desperately. (We had a real discussion about why Mr. Pickles cannot be on this year's Christmas card.)

And so, operation baby Pickles is underway. Twice daily feedings of vitamin-soaked krill, lots of chit-chatting, and constant monitoring of the water. Check.

November 11, 2013

To-do and To-done

The weekend was filled with the mundane - the laundry, the cleaning, the organizing. And it was amazing. All those things on my list of nagging to-dos have been accomplished. While it wasn't anything glamorous, it was entirely cathartic. My nerves had been on edge because there was so much I knew needed to get done, and it was there, lingering, giving me anxiety.

It's like that, though, isn't it? So often, it isn't the big thing giving me heartache, but all those little things that paralyze me into submission. And then when something larger does happen, it's like I can't take on one more thing - almost like the unstable, teetering tower of to-dos comes crashing down on top of me.

So now, my to-do list is pretty clean - right down to the car's oil changed, C-man's Wolf Badge being purchased, and the oil and vinegar cabinet organized. The fact that I have the day off while the snow is softly falling down outside isn't so bad either.

Now the trick is to hold on to this bliss until next weekend!

November 8, 2013

So close I can taste it

  • C-man got his report card last night. Best one ever. He even got decent remarks on his neatness - something he'll ALWAYS fight about himself.
  • We had donuts in the office this morning. Seriously. Amazing.
  • This weekend is supposed to be beautiful weather. C-man and I will enjoy it. Beerman is stuck inside cooking for the volunteers at the school rummage sale all Saturday.
  • I'm looking forward to getting outside, getting my house and car in order, and maybe watching a movie with some pizza.
  • My hip still hurts like crazy, but the new pain reliever I've been given is amazing. Too bad I can only take it at night though.
  • It's almost the weekend, people. It's so close I can taste it!

November 7, 2013

The road ahead

My to-do list for the weekend is becoming extra long. It's full of all those things that I need to get done, and just haven't been able to accomplish. I know I said I was going to slow down and not multitask, but I swear this is part of it! I am going to take the time to clean the house and get the oil changed in the car and winterize the yard/house and maybe even bake a pie. In other words, get my life in order a bit so I can see through the chaos. It is kind of liberating, thinking of everything I can accomplish. Come on, weekend!

November 6, 2013


Yesterday, I caught myself making the dog's dinner, emptying the dishwasher, responding to a work email, and helping C-man with his homework - simultaneously. This concept of multitasking has gotten so out of control, I can't seem to focus on just one thing anymore. I know it's not good for me, mentally or physically. It certainly doesn't help me do anything any better. But I just can't seem to stop. What makes it worse is that everything, including my heart, seems to be racing a million miles and hour and doesn't want to slow down. It isn't thrilling like an addiction, but it has become just a way of life. I wake up at night, frantic about something I haven't remembered to do. I wake up in the morning, exhausted at all the things on my list I need to accomplish. And yet, I still can't seem to stop.

I need to focus. And instead of making it one more thing on the list, I need to figure this out. More reading, less garbage time, less TV. More exercise, less sitting, less eating garbage.

Time to find an inspiration. Time to make things feel more fulfilling. Time to find some happiness.

November 5, 2013


We've been spending quite a bit of time at the local beach lately. Dogs aren't allowed, and it's patrolled pretty heavily in the summer months. But in the Fall and Winter months - it's too cold for anyone to care.

But my friend Harry doesn't mind the cold, so he's happy to oblige me. Because I love the views - how those vibrant summer turquoise blues of the water and stunning yellows of summer sand turn to into a faded blue-grey. Even the sand changes color, becoming almost a reflection of the water, giving off that same greyish tone. Harry loves the wind in his hair and water on his toes. And I love the almost deafening to the point of making it feel quiet wind in my ears. Except not quiet at all. An unquieted stillness.

I love my Harry walks.

November 4, 2013

Winter is coming

  • C-man's football season is done. It's too bad his team was coached so poorly. But he loved it, and had a great time. Next year, Beerman and another dad have vowed to coach the team.
  • It was great having family over this weekend. Tonight, probably during the Packers game, it'll be laundry and cleaning, though. Thankfully, that extra hour of sleep still feels like an extra hour!
  • Go Pack Go!

November 3, 2013

Lions, Tigers, Arthritis, Oh My!

We spent the majority of the day at the zoo doing the Jingle Bell Walk benefiting the Arthritis Foundation. It was a beautiful day, and we had a larger than typical group come to join in the fun. I definitely feel blessed and loved and happy.

November 1, 2013

Happy almost weekend

I've been so busy lately, work has been a bit crushing, and the weather has turned dismal. I always seem to lose my voice here a bit this time of year when that all happens. I'm not sure what to say, because it doesn't feel like I have much time for free thinking. And what time I do have to spare, I end up in bed trying to sleep away the pain that creeps up.

But this weekend is almost upon me. My parents are arriving tonight. C-man is beyond thrilled they are going to watch his football game tomorrow. It's only flag football, but it means so much to him, and he loves the extra-added attention when people are there just for him. It tends to be the downfall of living so far from family, I suppose, that it doesn't happen often.

In addition to the football game, they're here for the Jingle Bell Walk on Sunday. I wish it didn't happen at 8:30, so that we could sleep in the tiniest bit Sunday morning, but that's okay. I like the walk a lot, and the weather is looking like it should be typically fall. I'll take it.

And somewhere in-between, I have to read at 4:30 mass Saturday night and turn in a bunch of old stuff for the school rummage sale that I am NOT chairing again this year. Which, thank God, because I'm not even sure how that would happen, with my hip the way it is right now!

Anyhow, happy weekend to you!