Ebb and Flow

I often think about the comings and goings of people in my life…whether good or bad. Plenty of bad and plenty of good have infiltrated my little universe, with several planting themselves into my garden. How I tend that garden, whether getting rid of weeds or accidently pulling a beautiful flower, is my responsibility….and sometimes I don’t do a good enough job.

Taking the Meyer’s-Briggs personality test, whether you believe in those things or not, exposed a few things about me that I didn’t realize about myself. I’m an ENFP…the life of the party with a hatred of mundane tasks, and idea person who wants everyone to get along. The downside is that I internalize things more than others. I went over my hyper-sensitivity in a previous post – sorry Sarah McClachlan, I can’t watch your commercials.

Of particular note is the mourning of friendships. Talk about a gut punch.  Unfortunately I have a hard time letting go of people…no matter good or bad…but especially the good. I’m a friend for life person, loyal to a fault in some cases.  I think of what I could have done better or what circumstances I could have controlled for quite a long time. It’s not something that goes away, but reiterated when memories surface or when I see them.

I realize that I need to put more effort into the relationships I cherish.  Better effort.  More flowers.

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My Mom Got Ran Over By Her Own Truck

So 2015 ended weird, just like the beginning. The first few months were full of hospital visits as were the last few months. I swear I’m going on vacation this year. I have to. It’s the law.

Leave it up to my mom to have the story of the year. First off, she’s fine. Walking with her gangster lean right now, but she’s going to pull through. I thought for sure we were going to have to put her down like a retired race horse.

I envisioned a biker gang shootout and bears coming out of the forest to drag my mom to safety, but no. She didn’t put her truck in park before hopping out. She fell getting out, it ran over her leg. No broken bones, thanks to our German/Dutch heritage. Probably just the German. No offense Dutch.

After a couple of days in the hospital, she was back at work to close out the books for the year. There she was, two monitors on the kitchen table, elbow deep in facts and figures, closing out 5 different companies to get year end done. Oh, those bonus checks, she did those, too. On pain meds.

You see, I’m just like my mom. I was recently off for 3 days with no plans but to watch movies/tv. By the second day, I might as well had my eyes burned out with steak irons. I can’t sit for two days of tv watching. I’d like to, but I have life to experience. Places to see, people to hear.

Moral of the story: Putting yourself in Park doesn’t keep your life interesting.

What/Where Do You Want To Be?

I can’t count how many times I’ve had this conversation with my siblings, nieces/nephews, or just any kid: What do you want to be when you grow up? I’m that person who is interested in what they foresee as their future. It’s not that I expect them to keep the idea, to not change their mind. Moreso, it’s to gauge interest, a peek into their world.  Do they even have an idea? Is it a ludacris (which btw, the spellcheck makes it capital “L” in ludacris…I didn’t realize it was a hip-hop fan) choice? Are there inclinations? Math, sports, rapping, etc. I am intrigued with the answer, no matter what it is.

When I was in second grade, I addressed this question with the answer of being a nurse. My favorite color was also yellow (really??). My grandmother and aunt were nurses at the time, so I figured I would follow in their footsteps. It wasn’t because I liked helping people or wanted to donne a white hat; I didn’t know very much about nursing at 7 years old. I wanted to emulate them. My grandmother was an OBGYN nurse. I only knew she was off all the time and had time to fish. And by “off all the time” I now know it means off work to sleep. I didn’t know, I just thought she didn’t work very much since I didn’t see her at nights.

As I got older (tween years), I dreamed bigger. A beautician. This was my calling. Back when it was called beauticians. I thought it was a creative job that allowed me to work and talk at the same time. Boy do I fancy talking. Every beautician I went to with my mom listened to the radio, drank Sun Drop, and did an “easy” job! I’m in just so I can drink on the job and jam to Richard Marx!

Then it hit me. High school. I knew I liked math. What classes were available as electives? I wanted to take them all. Shop, drama, art, drafting, etc. I knew I liked working with my hands or with ideas. I didn’t want to skate through school, I wanted to learn something “cool”.  I didn’t have time to take shop, which looking back would have been wonderful for me.  I wanted to design something. My drafting class was really neat, using T-squares and several types of pencils. The following year, I took drafting using CAD…auto shop was still not available for me. Stupid English and health classes were in the way. CAD was fun, so I put it in my tool bag of “things I like”.

Senior year, I was chosen to tour an engineering facility at a local Air Force base. I learned jack shit about engineering on that tour. No one really did or said anything cool to make me want to be one. At the end of the tour, we all received a CAD drawing of the Starship Enterprise. Great. I’m no Trekkie so this was not my cup of tea. Long story short, I became an engineer. It was the job that made the most sense to me, given my inclinations to math and design. However, I still have dreams of what I want to be when I grow up:

Rigger – I think the physical demands, working with my hands, and continuously moving would be amazing. I like building and taking apart, I like to be busy, and like to travel. Let’s be clear that I do not fancy working for a carnival just yet. Maybe when I’m older.

Universal Studios employee – I don’t care what it is, that place is my “happy” place. Something takes over me when I go there. I marvel (get it?) at the design, the creativity, and the mechanics of the place. I enjoy the work put into that environment, the thoughtfulness of the experience, along with the relevance of everything.

Beach restaurant worker – I’ve seen Sharknado and realize this probably wouldn’t be a great choice. But everyone is on vacation, so they should be in a decent mood, right? Mixed drinks and the ocean always sounded fun ever since I saw Cocktail.

I often think of retirement, mostly where do I want to be? Here, there, everywhere? Maybe one day I’ll have the ultimate answer. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll see me scanning your ticket with a huge smile on my face.

Be yourself, everyone else is taken.

I get it from my mama. She makes me laugh more than anyone else in the world. She gives zero f’s and makes sure she has fun wherever she goes. Lord forbid she and I go somewhere formal together, like say a doctor’s office, hospital, a wedding (toooo many stories here) or even funeral. She always makes the best out of horrible situations in life. She taught me to look on the brighter side, don’t take yourself seriously, and be kind to everyone. She’s a special lady with the quickest wit to boot!

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My father, on the other hand, is one to make the most insane comments at the most inappropriate times…so I guess I get it from him too!  He’s a product of my previously mentioned Halloween-enthused grandparents…so the apple doesn’t fall far in my family.

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In order to honor my family genes and to make them proud, I have made a habit of dressing up for different occasions in order to make people laugh. I don’t care how ridiculous it may be. Here is me driving to the Cinqo de Mayo celebration at my football game.

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Speaking of football, during the times I was not playing, I was the water girl/cheerlearder complete with cheerleading outfit and cheerleading run (have to keep in character).

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Sometimes I cheer for people running marathons.

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I also enjoy themed parties. Here are my takes on the 80s.

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Available for some but not all parties. I may be inappropriate for children. At Sara’s bachelorette party, my mission was to wear a swim cap. And I rocked it.

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Carson’s birthday at the Mexican restaurant…complete with fun saver cameras (that I need to get developed)

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Maybe you had a poker game going on. I will put my poker face up against Lady Gaga anytime.

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Did you want to go work out together? Vintage Donnie Wahlberg shirt included.

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Rocking my LA Gear and tights…

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I attended my brother’s wrestling match in full gear.

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I also wanted to get my photo made during a Meet N’ Greet with the wrestlers…at Kmart. Here I am meeting and greeting the championship belt outside of the men’s section.

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I also showed up at a match in my gangster attire. I’m really not sure why, but I guess it was to showcase my love for Ice Cube.

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So what’s the point of this post?  To remind everyone to be yourself…be memorable. And laughing at yourself and making others laugh can sometimes be that little nudge to making a person’s day brighter.

So when life hands you lemurs, for the love of God, do NOT make lemurade! (not my joke but I find it hilarious)

Thank You For Being A Friend

Each stage of my life thus far has been defined in girlfriends. From the cool ones in elementary school to the ones in my future, girlfriends of mine have picked me up, dusted me off, laughed and cried with me. I am loyal until I die (that’s a Leo for you ) and learn from each of them. SO…this is a dedication to my ladies.

Elementary school (kindergarten)Tabitha, sorry I gave you a black eye. However, you did question whether or not I could skip instead of run. I shouldn’t have punched you and I’m sorry. And to the principal, thank you for paddling me. I needed it. I’m the last one in the green in the second row. Tabitha is back row, third from left.

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Elementary school continuedDonna, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, and Kim…ya’ll were too cool for me. I thought it was cool to have two Elizabeths for friends. I was the weird kid on the bus and you took me in to ya’lls cool camp. Kim, I’m sorry I stole your New Kids on the Block cassingle. However, this was the catalyst to my obsession with Donnie Wahlberg. I kissed that man. My dreams came true. Kim is the first one on the second row, starting from left. I’m on the bottom row, third from right. 21876_1339487524406_2362557_n

Junior High to High SchoolShannon, Elizabeth (a different Elizabeth), Kathy, Marsha, Melissa, Beth. You all made me pretty smart. I mean, we studied and took honors classes together. If it weren’t for you, I would probably not be where I am today….striving to do my best. Those junior high years were full of sleep overs, football games, and crushes. Shannon…there are no words for how much I miss you. You are still with me and I can still hear your advice whenever I question what the hell I’m doing. I saved your thank you notes and college letters so I can read your words back when I am ready. Elizabeth…I’m proud you became a psychologist because we all were crazy back then, especially you. Melissa – Mo, you are brilliant. I’ve never heard you say anything bad about anyone…ever. Like…ever. You are one of the most positive people I have the pleasure of knowing. You are a magnificent role model for your kids and you give me hope that this world isn’t so bad. Beth, we were the only Democrats of that entire bunch and you stuck by me. You were the daydreamer who enjoyed the theatre with me. I cherish those times with you. Here is Liz, Beth, and Mo at prom.

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Michael – My first guy best friend who loved to dance, smoke, and get into trouble. You gave me some wicked dance moves and possibly emphysema. You taught me to shake what my momma did or did not give me. I couldn’t have made it through college without you. Marsha – you were so innocent and sweet. I love that even though you moved to Amsterdam, we still visit and keep in touch. You are the globe trekker and I enjoy watching you grow. You taught me to get out and travel. Michael, Marsha, Shannon and me at my house on a crazy exercise bike night.

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Kathy, my twin cousin…YOU were the one that made me feel ok about being different. We dressed alike, we obsessed over the same guys, we burst out into song complete with hand jives – we just did not care what anyone thought. I still don’t. Forever grateful.

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CollegeKatrina,you were my only roommate. You taught me how to flirt and that living with crazy people isn’t the best for me. Your dog was sweet, though. I’m glad you have your family and have become a great nurse. Your boys are going to need it with all of those scrapes and bruises. Kami – my travelling ride or die friend. We tore up Panama City with our mix cds. You taught me to say what I mean and that being nice could sometimes get me into trouble. You never sugar coated things and I needed to hear it.PCB 2001 baby

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Dana, you were my college/football travelling partner. I miss our lunches and your babies. So many babies. You taught me that anyone can fall down and get right back up. And that French wine is stronger. And you really like it. 1917236_534499477383_7880284_n

Football – Ah, my football friends. Being so close to so many women who fight in the trenches was an amazing thing. Char, Carson, and Carly, these were my rocks. Vegas, Pittsburg, Florida, heck anywhere we could go, we did. Char taught me that being an girl engineer was cool and Carly taught that a quick wit always got the laughs. We laughed so hard, some may have peed their pants. Carson came along later but continues to be one of the best friends I have. She overlaps into work and CF too! Carsy introduced me to CF and I’m forever grateful. She’s a magnificent listener, advice giver, and all around football junkie who I love! Char, me and Carly in Pittsburg

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Carsy and Brady!

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WorkSara is my NKOTB ride or die! My café eating, kickboxing, marathon running friend. Sara is one of the most thoughtful people I know. She’s up for adventures, listens to my incessant ramblings, and can cook! She taught me to live life because you aren’t promised tomorrow. She continually amazes me with her dedication and discipline to running.

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CFBurrito Feet, Kerri, DaniBurrito Feet (Marisa) is addicted to Mountain Dew and cursing. Her spirit is so free and her heart is so big, I just want mine to grow to the size of hers. That girl has a lot of love to give. I love seeing the world through her eye. Here she is helping me not die.

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Kerri, my OG, she’s the one I want to be. Patient…so patient. This is a weakness of mine and being friends with Kerri has taught me to love the wait, enjoy the moment, and to think globally.

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Dani, my little sister. I have two little sisters already but I feel Dani would fit right in with my family. I love watching her take life head on and accomplish things…like real legit things. She makes me want to set goals again, wear headbands, and get a dog. Her smile lights up a room!

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Future – Hey old ladies, I hope you lift, laugh, and love because you have some big shoes to fill.

The wise and not so wise

There is no question that I am a child of divorce. My mother is very independent, strong willed, witty, caring, thoughtful, and brave. She planted the seed, fertilized it, and watched me grow. The greatest compliment I’ve ever received is “you are your mother’s daughter”. This was when I came prepared to decorate a wedding reception armed with tape, scissors, ruler, protractor (ok maybe not), ribbons, pipe cleaners (ok that’s pushing it), and other accoutrements. My mother, who was helping as well, donned the same items on her person. That woman is wise.

Fast forward in my life to 15 years ago when my dad’s third wife entered the picture. I would say she is the opposite of my mother in some, if not all ways. At one point, she invited my mother to her own baby shower (mind you she and my father were yet to be married, so essentially she was my dad’s baby momma). My mother politely declined. There was another instant for which she asked if my mom could be a reference on a job application…again, my mother, not knowing this crazy ex-husband’s baby momma, declined. That woman is wise.

Christmas, as mentioned previously, is not my most favorite time of year because…well…of this woman. Granted, she and my father are nice enough to host Christmas at their home for my family…roughly 15 or so of us are packed in the living room, watching all the little ones open gifts. It’s not bad, except for the lead up to Christmas.

In years past, I am often told what others in the family would like for Christmas, specifically my little sister. I believe I am a good gift giver, carefully picking out items that suit each individual. It is rare of me to ask about what to get others. So unsolicited emails are abound this time of year, reminding me that she wants a gift card to her favorite store. And my third cousins, whom I see once a year, would really enjoy gift cards as well. I don’t foresee three little boys “enjoying” gift cards, but who am I. My polite response to these emails is usually a thanks for the heads up. This past Father’s Day (JUNE), she pulled me aside from speaking with my father to tell me of a book collection he would like for Christmas that was at a local book store. I politely told her it was JUNE and that I would try to keep it in mind. (For the record, I NEVER get the things she tells me for these people. No gift cards, no book collections). This past November, I had someone very close to me in the hospital for a long period of time. I received a phone call from my father’s wife talking about Thanksgiving plans. Mind you, I am exhausted from taking care of this person and family. I told her what had been going on and she felt bad. However, after passing the phone to my father, I hear her in the background telling my father about what Christmas presents to get my sister. My reaction was calm to my father. “I haven’t even thought about Christmas yet”. He understood and agreed. These are examples of what happened this year alone. Try 15 years of this.

Now the fun part. With hosting Christmas, there are several items that are doled out between me and my siblings. One year I received a phone call four days prior to our get together, asking if I would mind picking up a 6ft. long sub from Subway. We would just have that for Christmas dinner. Oh, and no onions. My Ford Focus wouldn’t be able to hold such a monstrosity! After researching said sammich ($100 or more), I politely declined and suggested other food which we ended up getting. Another year, the sides were already parsed out. Guess what I got? Mashed potatoes, dressing, corn, beans, macaroni, and any other hot side item on the menu. My brother got salad; my sister…cookies. Everyone was to bring a case of cokes. Mind you, I live the furthest away (40 miles) and was supplying ALL of the food that year sans the ham. There were 11 cases of cokes that year. Luckily, my saint of a mother made food for me in town so I could pick it up to take. That woman is wise.

The stress of dealing with crazy family members reached a head in 2010, when it was decided to leave during Thanksgiving and Christmas to go to Europe. The only regret I had that year was leaving my very, very sick step-father-like person who ultimately died the night I returned home after 5 weeks of travel. I felt very guilty not being able to stay with my mother during that difficult time.

This year, I have politely reminded my dad’s wife that I cannot foretell what I will be able to bring as I am still dealing with the family issues. My sister let me know she was on the hook for mashed potatoes and dressing, and she lives far away now. I couldn’t help but laugh.

There are numerous other stories, like inviting me to her saucy lady party where she talked about my father (YUCK), or when she decided wearing Toms in a wedding was sufficient enough to go with tea-length dresses I had purchased for the wedding party.
That woman is not wise.

My mother, however, continues to surprise me with her patience and charisma as she laughs at these stories. Tears come down our face as we laugh so. I enjoy bonding with my mom, even over these stories. She encourages me to take things with a grain of salt, and that I am to be patient. That woman is wise.