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A little help for the holidays

Holidays can be tough – especially when you’re a single parent who has lost their full-time job and is struggling to make ends meet with Christmas and Thanksgiving looming.

Please take a look at this link and help if you can. https://www.gofundme.com/help-make-the-holidays-brighterAfter-Christmas-Ornaments-347980

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It’s almost party time!

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From the Facebook post my friends Trish and Cara posted inviting people to the party. They rock.

So very close!

2. I’m such a kid.

I know, I’m going to be 50 in just two days – it’s been a while since I’ve been a kid. But my birthday party is tomorrow (3-6 p.m. at Beer Burger in North Liberty – come on out!) and I feel like a 7-year-old. I’m a bit excited.

OK, that’s a lie. I’m a LOT excited.

Don’t get me wrong:  I’m not excited because people are coming out for me – I mean, I am, truly, because I’m looking forward to celebrating with everyone. But I think the real root of my excitement is that I’ve been anticipating 50 for awhile, and it’s finally here. It’s kind of like looking forward to college – not knowing how it’s going to go, you’re a little scared because it’s something new, but a lot excited because you know you’re going to be learning a lot and be a different person – a better person – when you come out the other side.

I’m not the first person to turn 50, and God knows I won’t be the last. It’s just a number, we all add one every year on the anniversary of our birth. And to be honest, I don’t know why I’m so excited about 50. I was excited about 19 (that was the drinking age in Iowa back then) and then about 21, but I don’t think I’ve been excited about an age since. I love birthdays, but it hasn’t been about the number in 29 years (OK, that realization kind of stung. It’s been 29 years since I turned 21?).

I was kind of depressed about 25, and 30 was good in that I was “finally a grown-up” and not a 20-something. When 40 came along I’d been divorced for five years and was raising two kids on a very limited income – and I had no idea how much that decade would change me.

But 50? I don’t know what it is, but I’m excited for what it has in store for me.

So go ahead, 50. Bring it.

 

 

 

 

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Learning to hold onto my f*@#s

Walk away

Learning to walk away when you just don’t give a f*@# is energizing.

Ohhhh, so close now! (Oh, and if the headline didn’t warn you, there may be some offensive language here. Just sayin’.) (And my apologies to my parents, my Aunt Patty, my sixth-grade teacher Mrs. Sellens, and to a few pastors who I know aren’t fond of the language contained here.)

4. A while back a friend posted this blog on social media, and it really resonated with me.

Not because of the photo – although it really is a great illustration – and not because of the language – although, as anyone who knows me is aware, that is sometimes one of my favorite words.

The reason I held onto this blog, and have shared it so many times I think Mark Manson should give me a promotional fee (kidding!), is that what he says is true: We really shouldn’t be so reckless with the fucks we give.

So I’ve started holding on to mine.

That’s not to say I’ve become cold and callous – far from it. What it means, instead, is that I don’t get worked up – or let go of a precious fuck – about things that really I have no business getting worked up about. Things like how other people raise their kids, how people choose to package their garbage, whether someone parks in the spot I normally use.

What I will give a fuck about – without end – is how other people are treated, how we serve and help each other, how my kids grow into adulthood and how they treat other people, how you treat animals.

When I was younger I was often curious as to why I didn’t have anything I was passionate about. I mean, I knew I wanted to be a writer from the time I was 12, so I was passionate about that, and I had my kids, and was passionate about them. But hobbies, pastimes – I’d see people passionate about baseball, or stamp collecting, or rock climbing and wonder why I didn’t have something I was that enthused about.

The last few years – and Mark’s blog – have helped me see that I am passionate about something – I’m passionate about expending energy, or giving a fuck, about something that helps or benefits others, that gives voice to the marginalized, that works to level the playing field.

That’s how I plan to go into my 50s: saving those precious fucks for things that really matter.

 

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Heat, humidity, and Willie Nelson

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Willie Nelson, the stark white figure in the center of the photo (blame my Samsung 7 – I’m not a photographer) singing, “Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.”

Just a few days left to 50!

5. When you get a chance to see a living legend, you take it.

That’s pretty much what my bestie and I decided when she offered to get us tickets to see Willie Nelson – at an outdoor amphitheater – for my birthday. I cautioned that the tickets were too expensive, she argued that 50 is a big birthday and, really, how many more chances will there be to see Willie Nelson? He’s an icon, for crying out loud – and one that is 84 years old.

Besides, the concert was scheduled for June 12 and we’d had a pretty mild spring – how hot could it be?

In Iowa, it depends on the time of day you ask the question.

I admit, I wrote the headline for this before I went to the concert last night. I had just checked the weather – no clouds on the radar, temperature of 94 degrees, high dew point. It was going to be gross. I got home, changed into shorts and a tank top (you KNOW it’s going to be hot if I go out in public in a tank top – I make “pale” look tan!) and headed out.

We had no more gotten to our seats when a front started passing through. Winds picked up, a few (I felt four) raindrops fell and temperatures and humidity levels dropped. There were actually a few moments I was actually a bit chilled. It. Was. Awesome.

This Birthday Week has been pretty awesome, to tell you the truth – and it’s only Tuesday.

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Laugh a little … or a lot

Woohoo – getting closer!

6. My 2-year-old Lab mix, Ceili (pronounced KAY-lee) and I have a game we play every morning when I’m getting ready for work. When I get the hair dryer out, she goes into a frenzied search for her tennis ball and then brings it to me. The whole time I’m drying my hair – it takes about 20 minutes, unless I haven’t let it air dry for a while, then it takes longer – she brings the ball and drops it at my feet. I then kick it into another room, or sometimes right to her, and she fetches it and brings it back.

Laugh it offIt’s a pretty harmless game, and lets her work off a little extra energy.

Well, most days it’s harmless. This morning I got a little close to the door when I went to kick the tennis ball and ran my left pinky toe smack into it.

Ceili was a bit skittish after the flow of obscenities that escaped (but she did keep bringing me her ball).

I share this as yet another instance of where I have the chance – and so, now, do you – to laugh at myself.

It’s something I’ve gotten a fair amount of practice doing, and I like to share, so … yeah, people have laughed at my missteps, oddities, clumsiness, etc. for some time. I don’t mind. I refuse to take myself so seriously that I miss out on the funny stuff.

In case you missed them, here are a few stories I’ve shared over the years:

Life’s an adventure, folks. You just gotta laugh and enjoy the ride.

 

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Ummm, I fell asleep

canstock5452281It’s Birthday Week – we’re getting closer.

7. A few years ago I met a man online and our first date was the day after his 50th birthday. Part of me felt a little weird. “Am I really old enough to be dating a 50-year-old?”

I was 45. So yes, I really was. But it just seemed a little weird to me.

We went out to dinner for our first date, and the next night we went to a bar and played pool in a torrential downpour (it rained so hard he waded out in water up to his knees to “rescue” my car from flooding).

Then came our third date.

We were going to go out to a nicer Italian restaurant for dinner. He got off work mid-afternoon, so I was to text him when I was home and we’d go from there. So I texted him when I got home a little after 5. No answer. I texted him again at 5:30. And at 6.

At 6:30 I got an apologetic call. “Are you still hungry? I’m so sorry, I fell asleep.”

I laughed it off, but part of me was really questioning this man-over-50 thing. Is 50 really that old? He fell asleep? It was still daylight, for crying out loud!

Karma sometimes takes her sweet time, but she does eventually make her point.

My lesson came yesterday.

A friend and I were going to go shopping for my birthday present. I had taken the dog for a long walk in the morning, then ran some errands around lunchtime. Through texts at around 1:30 p.m. we determined that my friend would take a quick shower and get ready, then she’d text me when she was ready to head my way.

She texted me at 2:30. Then again at 2:45. She broke down and called me at 3.

I’d fallen asleep in my chair playing Words with Friends, phone still in hand.

Hello, 50.

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It’s Birthday Month

Hello

Wow – we’re really getting close. Bet you can’t wait until I write about something else.

17. Well, it’s June. And, like every June for the last 49 – OK, probably only the last 45 – years, I started the month with butterflies in my stomach. It’s probably something I should have gotten over long ago, but I just didn’t.

It’s my birthday month, dammit. It’s special.

I didn’t realize just how much I’ve always enjoyed June until I was at a wedding reception on Memorial Day weekend and a cousin I only get to see once every few years made a comment something to the effect of, “I know how you love June.”

And I do. I really, really do.

That’s not to say I – usually – make a big deal about my birthday or really want anyone else to, either. A group of friends got together for dinner for my 40th, and I’ve had a small gathering with just a few friends a couple years since then, but I can’t even remember the last time I had a party to celebrate getting another year older. My birthday comes, I usually have lunch or dinner with the kids, and then my birthday goes. No biggie.

But not this year.

To be honest, I do feel a little goofy talking about my birthday party, asking people if they’re going to come, blah blah blah. As extroverted as I am, and as much as I may joke otherwise, I really don’t like to make things all about me.

No, really. I don’t.

Except this is 50. Fifty. Fif. Tee.

It’s kind of a big deal.

So I’m all about the birthday party, and the plans, and hoping a lot of people can make it. Not because I want them to focus on me, but because I want to have a big party, for whatever reason. An afternoon (we’re doing a happy hour party – great idea, eh?) where a bunch of friends – and some strangers – get together and eat and drink and laugh and have a good time. THAT is what I want for my birthday this year. Fun and frivolity, food and friends, laughter and libations.

That doesn’t seem too much to ask. 🙂

 

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