Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says "Oh shit, she's awake."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

All I Want for Christmas

Dear Santa,

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written, in fact it’s been since I sent my “I WANT” letter last year. I apologize for not keeping in touch, but it’s hard to find five free minutes on any given day, what with all the screaming at my daughter to clean her room and trying to get the endless pile of laundry done. I’m sure you’re busy as well, so let’s not dwell upon the fact that I have neglected our relationship. I’m sure you’ve had more important things to be concerned about, such as keeping those pesky elves out of the spiked eggnog, and making sure the reindeer don’t shit in the front yard. I know those two points would be at the top of my list of endless crap to worry about if I were you. I saw you at the mall last weekend. Looks like you’ve been hitting the cookies a bit too hard, and the liquor too. (I believe you’ve gone from rosy-cheeked to full on “gin bloom.) You might want to cut back on both…just me being concerned about your well-being. See how caring I am? I’m not always a bitch.

This year, I’ve compiled a very concise list of things that I would like for Christmas. My letter to you last year was quite “wordy” and mostly I just bitched about all the stupid things and stupid people that annoy me on a constant basis. By the way, thanks a lot. I asked for patience last Christmas. All I got was another set of bath products and a jolly “good luck with the patience thing.” Way to go. Thankfully I killed no one this past year, which I think should automatically put me on the “good list”. Go ahead, argue that point as much as you want, but in the end, you know you did not keep up your end of the bargain. Oh, and I hate bath products that smell like cupcakes. Cupcakes are for eating, unless, of course, you have someone fun to lick them off of you.

Anyway, here is a sampling of all that I am longing for. Feel free to pick and choose as you like.

1. I would like my daughter to stop rolling her eyes every time I ask her to hold up her end of the household chores. I would also like her to stop acting as if I have no brain in my head. I’ve gotten this far in life, so I am fairly certain that I am not an idiot. She would be well-served to take note.

2. I would like to stop putting on exactly two pounds every single freaking weekend. My eating habits during the week are about the healthiest out of anyone I know. I should be rewarded for my efforts by being able to eat and drink whatever the hell I want Friday night through Sunday afternoon. I hate having to lose two pounds every damn week...annoying.

3. I would like the work week shortened to three days. Seriously, don’t you think everyone would be a lot less stressed if we simply had a four day weekend and a three day work week? The mental health benefit alone makes it worth a try.

4. I would like a year’s supply of duct tape. There are too many people that I run into on a day to day basis that really just need to shut up. Telling them this doesn’t seem to help, and a smack upside the head is equally ineffective. So I am thinking that perhaps a good strong piece of duct tape across their flappy lips would be useful. I know my ears would LOVE it.

5. I would like Justin Beiber, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga to just go away. Forever.

6. I would like a year’s supply of wine. Good wine. I’m tired of being relegated to the cheap stuff. You can also drop off a few bottles of Pinnacle Whipped Vodka. While you’re at it, drop some off at my friends’ houses too. They keep drinking all of mine.

7. I would like the Kardashians’ television show to be cancelled on E!. You can drop that bimbo Kendra as well. I’d like more E! True Hollywood stories, and I don’t mean about the Kardashians…or Kendra. Let’s try to take it up a notch, shall we? We’re all stocked up on shows about rich useless dumbasses.

8. I would like a one year unlimited subscription to TouchTunes. That way I can play Andy Gibb’s “Shadowdancing” as many times in a row as I want on the local jukeboxes from my phone, which will drive my friend Rich out of his mind. It’s one of my most favorite things to watch. I’m waiting for his head to explode.

9. I would like a “free weekend” – one that I can use any way I want without any demands on my time. I’d like to specifically spend it watching Law & Order SVU or Criminal Minds...naked and in bed. Oh and I’d like that to come with a weekend supply of takeout Chinese and chocolate chip mint ice cream. And I don’t want to gain any weight from the food/doing nothing combo.

10. I would like that very big metal bobblehead chicken I saw at that store in Lucketts. And I would like it cemented into the ground in front yard so my friends can’t kidnap it and torture me like they did with my LAST metal chicken which I lovingly named "Shakira." I’d also like the new big metal chicken to be electrified so it will zap their dumb asses should they actually try to kidnap it.

Well, that’s about it for this year. I think I’ve been pretty conservative in my “wants for 2011, so pony up big guy. When I’m happy, everyone is happy, so it will be like a present to them as well…win win I say.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I love happy endings...

But more than that, I love happy beginnings – the beginning of something beautiful, something that lasts a lifetime. I wish I saw it more often, but happy beginnings are becoming very rare these days. They do happen though, and since they occur less frequently, when one does come around, it’s that much more special.

Such was the case today. Two really wonderful people – one of them that I have known since high school – got engaged today. There was something so magical about it for me that I have yet to wipe the stupid grin off my face. It’s not that people never commit to marriage anymore, but these two people, both of whom have walked a sometimes difficult path in their respective lives, just kind of stumbled into love. They knew each other before the “love thing” hit them in the head like a bat, and they suffered through nagging doubts and trepidation because, let’s face it, the whole “sex/love/marriage” thing can be incredibly scary and overwhelming. It was for me when I met Bill, and subsequently started a relationship. But somehow, I always knew he was the one. I think my friends have had a very similar experience.

When you’re “slightly beyond 29,” you learn quickly what works and what doesn’t. I’ve tossed countless “first dates” aside because honestly, there was no point in pursuing something that was obviously pointless. It’s there or it’s not. You know instinctively, like when you know a thunderstorm is about to hit, or when you know that your child needs you, even though there is no outright indication. Instinct...more people should trust it, follow it. I wish I had trusted my instincts more in the past. After enduring the shame of two failed marriages though, I realize that it was my "path" to walk, my life journey. What I took away from those relationships was incredible learning experiences that lead me to exactly where I am supposed to be. Everything serves a purpose.

Bill has never been “work.” And while our relationship has not been picture perfect, our love has been rather effortless for me. He grounds me, centers me. He reminds me that sometimes I’m just a freaking nutcase who needs to stop and remember what’s really important in this world. I wouldn’t swear to it, but I do believe that I am the one who reminds Bill of similar things, as well as the fact that HE is important. He neglected himself and was overlooked in a loveless marriage for so many years, but now it is my mission to make sure that never happens again. For the most part, we waltz along our chosen path, content with each other and the life we are building together, for each other. It’s an amazing feeling, one that I never thought I would experience. Sometimes I have to pinch myself, just to make sure I remember that this real and remind myself that I deserve this...Bill and I both have earned it.

Congratulations Marie, and Wayne. I wish you EVERY joy and happiness together. May the thought of “growing old together” be as pleasant a thought as it has become for Bill and me. What you have is so special. People wait their whole lives for it and never find it. Nurture it, treasure it, and above all, remember that you have earned this.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's just a couple swirls of paint, but it makes me happy...

I need to paint again…and I’m not talking about changing the color of my living room.

This thought occurred to me as I was thumbing through someone’s photos on facebook...wonderful pictures of flowers, butterflies, wonderous scenes and incredible sights. There was a time when I would turn photos into paintings, but it’s been so long that I worry I’ve lost my ability to recreate such things witht he swirl of a paintbrush. It also reminded me how much I miss my DSLR camera, a constant source of subject matter for my painting projects. I used to never be without it. Since my camera’s “demise” over a year ago, I have felt lost without it. I keep meaning to replace it, but then something else comes up. It’s always something else that take priority. It’s a shame, really.

My need to paint is not because I am fantastically talented, or my secret desire to be an aspiring artist, but simply because it soothes my soul. There is something so calming about painting that it allows me to find my focus not just on whatever project I am working on, but in other areas of my life as well. I used to paint all the time, like some sort of manic female Van Gogh (although not nearly as giftted.) My specialty? Decorative painting – mostly in the form of floral work, strokework, zhostovo (Russian folk) painting, as well as anything else that caught my attention. I can remember periods of time in my life when I would paint until late at night, only to set my alarm for four or five o’clock in the morning to begin again. I would scour antique stores looking for furniture that I could turn into usable works of art to adorn my house, or give as gifts. People love a gift that is a direct reflection of the person who presented it. And I loved being able to give family and friends something so deeply personal, like a little piece of my heart.

It’s hard to make time for the things in your life that bring you back to center. I’m living proof of that statement, believe me. Most of my days are spent whipping around Manassas at breakneck speed. I’ve said before that I need to take time to breathe...painting and using my creative spirit is part of that process. Creativity allows us to focus our energy on something that provides joy and self-satisfaction. You need not be inordinately skilled, you just need to have the courage to try something new.

I have more hobbies than I can count – painting, photography, knitting, quilting, cooking, drawing, gardening – but the common theme in all of them is my hobbies allow me to reach deep down and find that certain something that makes me happy. And for me, that “something” is color. All my hobbies revolve around color. Color makes me light and carefree. Color makes my heart sing in ways that nothing else can. Of course, this all seems strange coming from a woman whose wardrobe revolves around the color black. Only in my fashion choices do I purposefully leave out loud and riotous colors. What can I say? I’m a product of the 80s and 90s, destined to forever dress in dark colors, always looking to appear ten pounds smaller than I am. Maybe when I am “elderly” as my daughter likes to say, I will be different. Maybe then I shall wear lots of color.

So for now, my challenge comes in the form of time. Time to paint, time to create, time to learn new things to challenge myself. I have always been good at making time for a lot of other people – some deserving of my time, and some not so much. Maybe a requisite re-evaluation of what I am doing with my time is needed. Maybe?

Definitely...time to reawaken my creative side and find that joy and focus again.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The art of breathing...

I have forgotten how to breathe.

Not in a literal sense, but the art of being able to slow down long enough to simply take in the air, let it out, and relax. I’ve become accustomed to moving at such a rapid pace all of the time, that I have literally forgotten how to enjoy the moment. I miss those moments.

When did life become such a conglomeration of chaotic interactions, stitched together with all the things that drive us crazy, such as the endless list of tasks that are unfinished, birthdays that were forgotten, phone calls that never seem to get made. I’ve become so inherently bad at remembering anything, that I am start to wonder if I have early onset Alzheimer’s. I never expected to have “senior moments” at 46 years old, but they happen with alarming frequency these days, causing me to write everything down on haphazard slips of paper, or leave myself notes on my cellphone. A fair amount of stuff just falls through the cracks.

I can remember when sitting in my living room and having a cup of tea while picking up my latest knitting project was one of the great joys in my life. Or filling the tub with hot water and Mr. Bubble, and slipping in with a glass of wine was pure unadultered heaven. Those peaceful snippets of relaxation have all but disappeared from my day to day existence. It’s my fault, really. I could still have those moments if I would simply stop scheduling my life from sun up to sundown, and started leaving some open time on my Outlook calendar. I am missing those quiet times with Bill as well. Our weekends are packed with social obligations, household to-do lists, and running around in all directions. I remember when we used to just take a nap together. We haven’t done that in months. Well, he has napped, but I’ve been too busy to nap. Again, my fault, not his. I should make more time for the man I love. It’s so easy to think “we have the rest of our lives” but the truth is, if we don’t make up our minds to make the time now, one day we’ll open our eyes and there will be no more time.

I think, this year I will make a heartfelt New Year’s resolution to SLOW DOWN. I need to reclaim my “me” time, my “Bill” time, and my “Tricia” time. I want to be able to stop and focus on the little things, because in the end, it’s only the little things that matter – the softness of my daughter’s hair on my face when she hugs me, the sound Bill’s snoring when he’s sleeping. I want more long weekends to walk the beach, and less of the constant hustle and bustle that fills my days.

I think it’s a good New Year’s resolution, one that matters, and one that will add immeasurable joy to my life. Most importantly, it will make a difference to the people I love the most.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'll knock your socks off...

It’s taken me several weeks to recover from the trauma of our yard sale. I can only now just start to review the events of that day. It’s over now, and Bill and I are $730 richer than we were before it started. I met some really interesting people, and some that flat out defied explanation, but I made it out the other side intact. GO ME.

After two weeks of cleaning out closets, the basement, the attic, and everything in between, we were ready to begin our foray into the wonderous world of yardselling. I planned everything meticulously, placing a post on Craigslist at just the right time when it would appear at the very pinnacle of the yard sale category. We placed ads from Tricia’s and Bill’s email accounts as well, so I’m sure our event was ingrained in the collective yardsale psyche of everyone within a 20 mile radius of Manassas. Our items were clearly priced, and priced to SELL. We had enough cash to make change, although I failed to come up with the requisite fanny pack to keep the cash. We had enough tables to display our sh$t in the most desirable and effective manner. We placed easy to read signs at all the major intersections. I even researched yardsale advice online. We were ready, more ready than I had been for the birth of my daughter, more ready than I had been for my driver’s exam when I was 16. Dammit, I would sell it all!

I had no idea what I was in for.

I was still setting up my priceless treasures on tables when they began to show up, like the zombie apocalypse. Seriously, we posted that we would start promptly at 7am, only to have people begin to dig through our stuff at 6:45am. Some of these yardsale aficionados even helped me set up. The early risers were mostly senior citizens, who not only wanted to buy our crap, but also wanted chat about things I knew absolutely NOTHING about. Still, they bought, with great gusto, excited at the yardsale “scores.” Several informed me that we had great junk. I was buoyed by their admiration.

My totally loyal friends showed up, with liquor and supplies to make margaritas. I love my friends. Only they realize the true value of drinking while trying to sell mountains of useless crap. We sat on the steps of my house, in complete awe of the ability of people to buy sh$t that serves no use, or purpose. The Latino population followed the senior citizen crowd. That is when I discovered Latino women will jew you down no matter WHAT the price is…

Latino woman “How much you want for these socks” (insert broken English here)

Me “They are a quarter a pair”

Latino woman (after long and thoughtful pause) “Ooohhh, that too much, you think? I give a nickel.

Me “They are BRAND NEW socks, with the tags! A quarter is as low as I am going.” Instantly I was sorry I hadn’t priced them at 50 cents a pair. Then she would think a quarter was a bargain.

She walked away. Are you kidding me? A brand new pair of socks for a QUARTER, maybe the best deal EVER. Screw her I’m not selling them for a nickel. I went back to my margarita drinking friends and took a slug of my ice cold delicious tequila-laden breakfast beverage. I could see her looking at me from the corner of my eye. It was ON. She would not wear me down. I would not yield to her nickel demands. Pretty soon she was back, this time with the entire BAG of white anklet socks…all new, all with tags.

Latino woman “I give you $5 for the entire bag.”

I knew there were about fifty pairs of socks in the bag. I snickered.

Me “Deal, yours for $5.”

She handed me a five dollar bill. HA! Suck it Bitch, I just got TEN cents a pair for those socks that you only wanted to pay a nickel for. I WIN I WIN!. I gloated, and nearly moonwalked back to Sherrel and Rich, who were obviously very impressed with negotiating skills. They shook their heads and refilled my cup.

This went on all day, well, at least until 2pm. Out of the $730 work of stuff sold, less than $200 of it was prices at $10 or more. That means we sold approximately $530 worth of crap for $1 or less…most of it less. I’ve never work so damn hard for my money, ever. But they wore me down, this relentless, bartering, yardseller crowd. In the end we sold about half of what we were trying to sell (you have no idea just HOW much we started with – believe me, it was a LOT) and the rest went to charity. It didn’t even come back into the house, which was my goal in the first place. I think I saw our house breathe a sigh of relief.

Will I have another yard sale? Well, given that most of the junk is gone, probably not. But should you decide to embark on such an adventure, I have a bit of advice for you.

1.Make sure you have friends present to keep you sufficiently supplied in alcohol.
2.Preparedness pays off, so do your homework.
3.Don’t let the population of Latino mamas lowball you. Don’t give in. Better to meet them somewhere in the middle than have them win.