Photo Books = Frustration + Mom’s Tears

I know I love my Mom because I spent over five hours creating a photo book for her tonight.

These hours, I might add, are after I uploaded pictures a year ago and created the formatting a year before that. Four hours to place pictures and over analyze who she might want to see in the book and who might provoke her to make an “ew” face.

It is done. If only my email confirmation will come, so I can review the totally overpriced gift that she totally deserves. I’m a good person; even if I promised her a photo book of our wedding four years ago; even if she asks where it is about every two to three months. I just stopped answering her about it because I dreaded the tedious task. I know, it sounds terribly selfish, but I’ve done very heartfelt things in the meantime to make her feel loved and I’ve brought tears of joy several times. I would buy almost anything to not have to create this book.  It’s not even a difficult thing to do, it’s just time consuming to get it right.  Maybe I try to hard to make things perfect, once I finally get around to working on them.

In the middle of my upload tonight, the program froze. I walked into the bedroom and woke my husband, (yes, another selfish move) and asked that he keep me calm and tell me I’m a good person before I went ballistic and threw the computer across the room. I tend not to be violent in nature but I despise when things don’t work like they are supposed to. So clearly I’m prepared for being patient in life. It’s just gadgets; I don’t have patience for flawed technology that costs me a fortune.

Needless to say, I’m 98% uploaded, even though the company already took my money.

I’m expecting tears of joy when this arrives to her door. I’m praying for tears of joy but I’ll likely get a “well, it’s about time” speech. I’m hoping for happiness and I hope she knows she was worth each agonizing second because I know she’s put herself in excruciating situations hundreds of times for her kids.

And with that; thank God that is done. My job as a daughter is done here; till her birthday next month.

If only I were the kind of person who gave giftcards.  My gifts may be late, but I have really good intentions and put a lot of sincerity into them.  They are just very very late.

Photo courtesy of Paul Avery Design.

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Pep Talk to Myself

I know I’ve hinted at this before, but life is going to change for me (for us) in two months.  It’s the whole “giving up security and chasing dreams” thing.  At this point, with my husband by my side, it has been decided and I’m going to take a leap.  I’m luckily enough to have the support of family, friends and fellow dreamers/bloggers to do this, even if my head tells me I’m slightly crazy.  (Thank you.)

I can’t help but notice that now that I’ve mentally made a decision, the rest of my body needs to follow along; and it’s not too eager yet.  The next phase of my life will be very challenging, though the hardest part will be regaining and maintaining willpower that I’ve had in years past.  I have slacked for some time now and I’ve done what I wanted, when I wanted (outside of the hours of 8am to 5pm that is).  I’m not the Superwoman I once was.  I’m lazier and my body, energy and wallet suffer because of it.  Soon there won’t be room for gluttonous activity, at least not on a daily basis.

I had major surgery last March and it physically put me out of commission for several months.  I’m not sure I’ve been back to myself since before that happened.  There’s absolutely no reason to let this continue.  I’m at that turning point that I usually question in other people; “How did they end up there? What happened?”

Goals to get Shannon back:

  • Try harder at everything; AKA stop skating by.
  • Put down things I don’t need to purchase.
  • Eat less and eat better.  Stop eating what makes you feel ill and don’t forget your vitamins.
  • Show more love to others by loving, not by buying things.
  • Be a better friend.
  • Sit up tall, get to sleep earlier and stop telling yourself you’re tired.
  • Have faith that no matter what happens, it’ll work out.

No jokes today kids, just the sad reality that if I want things to change, I have to make changes. I like to think that if I publicly commit myself to something, it might be easier to succeed.  Sometimes honesty outplays humor and this is all I’ve got to give during an evening of contemplation.

I have this quote in my “Ultimate Purpose” page, and it’s time to live by it:

“To change your life: Start immediately, do it flamboyantly, no exceptions.” ― William Jones

At Peace With Paper

This week has been anything but exciting.  My highlight (so far) came from the fact that I perused our little town newspaper and found an ad that all county residents can drop off all personal documents they need shredded, during a free recycling event Saturday.  This is very exciting.  Do you know what this means?  It means that I can avoid sitting in front of my cheap, hand-me-down shredder for a few hours, while I destroy receipts, bills and credit card applications, to the sound of a whiney and overworked motor.

It means no paper cuts.

It means no more piles of “I’ll get to that”.

It means silence – less frustration – and no overheating small appliances.

I try to be organized, but my ambitions and lack of time only take me so far.  I have a file box with hanging folders that are appropriately labeled and organized.  Instead, I usually end up with a three inch pile of paperwork that is crammed between the tops of the folders and the lid.  Eventually the lid doesn’t close; I drag the box somewhere and it spews all over.  Not today.  I spent the last couple hours weeding through the least eighteen months of paper we “might need to reference one day” and I’m so ready for Saturday.

You can say I’m lame and ask why I’m actually wasting even more time on this by writing about it, but it’s truly exciting to me.  Just a couple months ago, I dreamed of having myself an office and a workable and clean workspace.  I’m so close.  My walls still need to be painted and my books are in Rubbermaid tubs for the moment, but my desk is perfect, as I’m not pushed up against a wall and I’m not seeing scattered piles of paper to distract me from the calm demeanor this room is supposed to enable.  I feel at peace with paper.

Now, what to do with my hoards of greeting cards that I’ve saved…

Sometimes I wish I were heartless.  My house would be so much less cluttered and my basement would be empty to build our dream pub.  For another day, I’m feeling too accomplished to put that kind of weight on my shoulders tonight.

Photo courtesy of rangershredding.com.

Yogi: I Say “Bear” and You Say “Namaste”

When life is chaotic and non-stop, we all need a moment to sit and relax.  My mind is always going, even when I get that opportunity.  I’m in total envy of those people who can sit and meditate or just focus on one’s breath.  My mind just jumps from one thing to another.  And although my Evernote app has taken a fair share of constant “to do” lists out of constant rotation in my brain, I can’t get the wheels to stop spinning.

Groupon had a great deal on a set of ten yoga classes at a studio near my house; such a great deal that it would be like paying for three regular priced classes.  Who doesn’t need an hour to just sit on the floor and zone out?  I always liked the idea of yoga as a hobby, because I’m realistic to know that I’m not the kind of girl who could become a true yogi and live that naturally peaceful lifestyle on a day to day basis.  As appealing as it would be, I’d be kidding myself to think that was likely.  But I did like the idea of keeping my mat in the car and wearing my cute yoga pants to class here and there, and getting a nice and exaggerated session of stretching to calming music.

I aspire to practice a regular activity that calms me rather than burdens me.

I was given three months to use these 10 classes.  Guess who used half my classes and has a little less than two weeks left to keep going?  This gal.  I truly think I psyche myself out when it comes to yoga.  The fact that I can’t get my mind to relax and focus on the ultimate goal of yoga is so frustrating for me.  Though I am usually proud that I’m more flexible than I thought, I’m also a klutz.  I also don’t follow verbal directions well since I’m a visual learner.  That being said, I always get an outgoing teacher who wants to try some new and complex activity during a beginner class, which causes me to strain my neck to focus on where my body parts should be.  Oh yeah, and meanwhile I can’t forget to focus on my breathing.  Before you know it, I’m slightly stressed, my hands are slippery and I can barely stay in the downward facing dog without panicking that I’ll face plant into my mat.

This is not relaxing.

There is a meditation class option coming up.  I think this could be a possibility.  The less focus on movement and the more focus on easing the mind there is, the better off I will be.  I respect what yoga is and the practice, I think maybe it’s not my thing.  My biggest takeaway from my last class what getting the instrutor to give me the artists on her playlist, because it had been driving me crazy the entire session. Maybe I could just go back to listening to a peaceful album with headphones on to mentally drift, like I could in high school.  I’ll even throw in a stretch once or twice to make it a little healthier.

Image courtesy of yogaworkouthq.com

I Can Eat a Quart of Ice Cream Because I Ate an Apple Yesterday (and Other Excuses)

I did it again.  I woke up in the middle of the night, eyes wide open.

“Damn, I didn’t post!”

But, Tuesday hasn’t technically started for me, even though its 3:00am, so I can write now and it will still count for yesterday.  It’s still Monday night, right?  I mean, I didn’t mean to fall asleep, I had plans to write.

Then I starting thinking how late I’ll be if I woke up now and became functional, only to go back to sleep for two hours until my work alarm goes off.  So I got up, turned the TV off, lights off and hit the shower.  Better to get ahead of the game, plus I do some of my best thinking in the shower; except that I usually get on a mental “roll” in there and forget what I was going to write by the time I’m done.  I started thinking that I should keep a recorder outside of the tub in case I have any ideas that are earth shattering.  Then, because it’s 3am, I came up with a silly line about I can make a joke about those plastic flute-like recorders 4th graders get, and how that wouldn’t help my blog writing.  Sure glad I didn’t use that one.  Whew.

But really, I’m sure I’m not alone in the incessant excuse making.  I don’t think I use them when it comes to others, pretty much just for myself.  I’m a selfish excuse maker.  Here are some of the best I’ve come up with in the last week.

  • I’m not going to the gym.  Those people who never go and make a New Year’s resolution go and it gets too crowded.
  • I’ve gained a few pounds.  It’s probably because I’m stressed at work or my metabolism is starting to slow down at 28.  It can’t be because I’ve been on a cookie diet since Christmas.
  • (To my husband)  Yes, I saw the apples went bad.  Why didn’t YOU eat them?  I didn’t eat them because I didn’t want leave you without any.  (Ok, so maybe I’m not so selfish with myexcuses after all.)
  • I had to buy those boots, because they sent me a $10 coupon and then there was another sale ad for 20% off.  It would be like wasting money if I didn’t use them.
  • I know we just bought the Girl Scout cookies, but if we don’t eat them it’ll be like the tragedy of 2011, when we forgot about a box of shortbreads on top of the fridge and they got stale.  (Reference second excuse here)

At least I’m not murdering people or doing harm to others with my excuses.  They are really harmless.  Oh man, I just tried to validate my excuses.

My Life is Like My Eyebrows

As I got ready to leave the house the other day, I did a quick check in the mirror.

“Geez, when is the last time I plucked my eyebrows?”

They’re horrendous.  There is barely even evidence that two exist.

I started thinking about how often this happens.  I realized how many correlations there are between my eyebrows and my life.  These aren’t exactly highlights of my existence, but it’s the truth none the less.

  • I neglect my eyebrows until they are so horrible, that I need to spend thirty minutes to pluck and fix them up, only to repeat the cycle all over again later; no matter how many times I promise myself that I won’t wait so long next time.  I take care of everything in my life timely and appropriately, but myself.  I neglect myself like I neglect my eyebrows, putting us both off and taking care of others until it’s so obvious that I need some personal attention that I become my own hassle to fix.  It’s painful.  For both of us.
  • My eyebrows are naturally pretty wild.  Wild doesn’t fit well in most of the environments I find myself in, so my eyebrows and I fix ourselves up to fit in.  We trim up; conform to get ourselves in shape.  Who said a unibrow isn’t sexy anyway?  I bet French women could pull it off.  Who said two was fashionable?  I kid, of course.
  • Thick.  No matter how thin I’ve ever been, no matter how much I wished for my Mom’s eyebrows instead of my Dad’s, my eyebrows and I are thick.  My Mom told me that she plucked her eyebrows when she was twelve and they stayed that way, she never had to touch them again.  I might as well have caterpillars above my eyes.  And even at 120 pounds, I was dense, just never quite light as a feather.
  • Dark.  I’m pretty positive, and I produce optimistic outlooks for almost every situation typically, but I also think there’s a dark side.  My eyebrows and I are dark.  Sure we lighten up when it’s bright and sunny, but we know that deep down, we’re a little different and sometimes I think things I shouldn’t.  Nothing illegal, but definitely embarrassing.
  • Long.  I see girls with cute little eyebrows, made up of short little feathery hairs.  We’ve already determined that my eyebrows and I are thick, but we are also long.  Long limbs, long eyebrow hairs.  Part of what makes keeping the brows and I in shape, is dealing with the awkward combination of our qualities.  Sure, trim a little here, trim a little there, and then pluck.  Sounds simple.  Not so.  Every time I pick a hair to go, I have to think, “If this hair goes, will a little bald spot be left behind?”  Being long limbed and having these long eyebrow hairs is awkward.  Nothing quite fits and the slightest wrong movement and I look like a goofy and ungroomed idiot.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the brows have good qualities, as I know I do but every now and then, who doesn’t need a critical evaluation?  If I can figure out a way to maintain consistent care, instead of “all or nothing”, we’d be a happy pair.  Yes, that’s a joke, a pair of eyebrows instead of one.  Did I tell you my eyebrows also can’t tell jokes?  Funny, neither can I.

Picture courtesy of http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/

Christmas time is here

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For those of us who celebrate Christmas, it really is the best time of the year.  There is a warm and sentimental feeling that encompasses the soul.  But like everything else, time passes so quickly and before you know it, the lights are gone and the cookies stale.

This year, we didn’t wait to celebrate.  And I wouldn’t let the Grinches force us to hide our spirit, with their “Are you serious? The mall is decorated for Christmas already?” comments.  Well, excuse my French, but screw them.  As a matter of fact, we’ve been watching Elf since September.  (Who am I kidding, we watch it all the time really.)

I learned my lesson from this summer, when too many tomorrows passed us by and my plans for making real fresh jam went by the wayside.  I’m going to dig out the most sentimental family cookie recipes I have and get going.  Even the ones that seem too complicated and require odd ingredients will get a fair shot. 

As we hang our handblown ornaments and get out the old cookie press, we wish you a Merry Christmas.  Don’t forget  that “the best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear”.