The Joy of Decaf

CAM00040Right out of high school, I worked as a hostess at a restaurant called Shari’s.  For those unfamiliar with the chain, it’s like a Denny’s or Perkins.  My main duties were to greet people with a smile, seat them, bring them water, and ask if they wanted anything else to drink.  Coffee was the drink of choice.  Might have been because we were in the heart of Coffee-Town: The Greater Seattle Area. But, my guess is that coffee would have been THE answer whether we were in Seattle, in our adopted home of Orlando, or anywhere in between.

Very rarely, would I hear a request for decaffeinated coffee.

The coffee snob in me would think, decaf?? Why in the world would anyone want decaf when they could have the real deal! I’m picturing myself saying this with a villainous tone, hands raised up, shaking (from caffeine-overload)

There were some exceptions to my rant here such as those who need to cut back on caffeine for health reasons.  But for those who “look like coffee drinkers” (yes, I guess I’m stereotyping here), the word “decaf” may trigger a smirk on my face just for a micro-second until I can regain my composure.  MY idea of “coffee drinkers” would look like fun-looking people, smart-looking people, anyone older than 17…. they all get a decaf-requesting-smirk…. and of course, if you’re going to get a coffee drink without the caffeine,  why not get something obviously different? Like juice??

 If I could give my early-twenties self any useful advice, I would tell her (nicely, because I am a feisty one), “instead of smirking, smile, and maybe offer a hug.”

My older, wiser, infertility-struggling self now knows better now to even THINK of judging a decaf drinker!  Because a Decaf Drinker is not a weak one! She may be holding on to her last bit of the fun life she had BEFORE she started fertility treatments.  She has already given up wine (another vice that grape juice just won’t EVER mount up to), girl time (because her meds are driving her bonkers), and zumba (if she’s going through IVF, her doctor has told her to lay low for a bit)!  The ONLY thing she has left is a drink that TASTES like coffee!

So decaf drinkers, be proud! You have found something to fill that little hole in your morning routine.  And one day, hopefully one day soon – you will reunited with your beloved drink of choice: Regular Medium Roasted Caffeinated Coffee.

Holiday Blahs

It’s been a while since I’ve posted…. I’ve truly neglected my blog.  But a lot has happened over the past year – some I just can’t begin to writhe about…. yes, I meant “writhe“…. others I would love to share (and I will make sure to update my Empty Nester’s Bucket List).

So, as far as the good stuff:

Over the summer we took a road trip to New Orleans. It was awesome, fun & exhausting… I MUST write about it before the year ends!

I got promoted in my job! Something I’ve wanted, but didn’t know how to do…

Started a Mary Kay business. Phew, owning a business is Hard Work but surely has it’s rewards!

As far as the writhing, here’s a brief synopsis:

No buns in the oven yet.

Lot’s of difficulties in our marriage – can I call it the Terrible Two’s?

And, ’tis the season for the Holiday Blahs…..

I know for sure I’m not the only one who experiences holiday blues.  And everyone has their own reason why…. this is my reason.  Not sure if I’ve written before that I moved across the country at the age of 19.  With my (ex)-husband, and 2 babies.  But, let me just go back in some history – after all, this is my blog, and I’ve committed to be entirely transparent in my writing. When I was about 6 or 7, I was in love with my Dad.  As any youngest daughter, I was completely fascinated with my dad, I wanted to be an engineer like him, “we” had a song (“It Might Be You” from Tootsie), “we” had a favorite restaurant (Arby’s)..the list goes on.  I was truly a Daddy’s Girl.  And to this day I can still remember as vividly as it was yesterday, my dad bringing me to the Seattle Center to walk around and pick up fall leaves… we put the leaves in a photo album (the kind where you peel off the top layer of plastic, then place the photos on the sticky side of the page).. that dreaded day.. my Daddy told me he was moving away and I was not going with him.  My parents were not getting divorced. And looking back, I’ve wondered if it was just the times that kept them together. The word “divorce” was still taboo. But, all I knew was that my Daddy was moving away. I recall the night my dad left, I ran under the kitchen table and cried my eyes out and my mom yelled at me to stop crying. It was the hardest time of my life. Months passed and the times my dad came home were for maybe an evening and I didn’t get to see him.  He spent the time with my mom..then left early the next morning. Not sure how long my dad was gone (2, 3, 4, 5 years??) Not sure… but it seemed like an eternity but he came back… and then he left again… and then he came back. My mom tried her best to take care of my sisters and me.  But I didn’t know any better, she wasn’t very affectionate, so I looked to my friends to “get away” from the home I loathed so much.  By then – my teenage years – I grew to push people away. Especially my dad.  And especially the people I loved the most.

A couple years after I graduated high school, my (ex) husband and I decided to move across the country. At that time, I was done with Seattle.  My family back home meant nothing to me… as I thought I meant nothing to them.  But, now, 15 years later, they mean everything to me… and I still mean nothing to them. I call, text, email, connect on Facebook.  But get little response. I try to send gifts, but get little response.  What I have done and said to push my family away …worked.  So, the holidays are the hardest for me.  It starts with my mom, nephew, & sisters’ birthdays all wrapped up into the fall season.  Then as the holidays roll around, I get to see pictures of their get-togethers and family events posted online.

While I get to enjoy my own family of 4, it is most difficult to get into the holiday spirit… Outwardly, I decorate the house, cook the big meals, take lots of pictures.. but inwardly, I want to sleep the winter away…  I pray to God who mends all broken people to heal me and my relationship with my family.

If you, too, have the holiday blues.. I pray that you find those who love you and hold them close.. and if you find no one – seek them.  Seek a church, a network of people, a meetup group, get connected.. WE will get through this..

Florida

Ahhhh…. Florida… Fresh Orange Juice, Sunshine, Beaches, Football, Theme Parks…and One Big Gigantic Elephant. They say… elephants never forget… and boy, oh, boy I could not agree more.  I love Florida, but my head hurts right now.  No, I’m not even going to speak on the Sanford case(s)… you know what I’m talking about.  I just needed somewhere to share my thoughts freely… and since I know none of you personally, I think, it would not matter to me if you agree with me or not.

Do you know where I’m going with this??

I was recently on Facebook, reading comments to articles that have recently been posted. Having no opinion on the articles, themselves, I scrolled down to find out what others might have to say.. Being a blog reader, you probably have done the same, I assume.. It never fails, anything that has to do with an African American citizen… ANYTHING… is followed by hundreds of degrading, derogatory, and outright racist comments.  The thing is, I noticed one of the commenters was the cab driver that takes my son to his golf practice every week.  This man, who answers the phone “yes ma’am”, “how are you doing ma’am”, very politely comes across as a completely different person online.  How is it, that we can greet the people we meet with a smile, then turn to the computer and bare our ugly souls to people we think we will never meet in person?

I’m not White nor Black… but it hurts my heart to know that everyday normal-looking people, people I might wave to when I pass them in the hallway.. may have some dark, bitter way of thinking when they look at me, my children… or my husband… or (hopefully, one day) my future bi-racial baby.

I feel sad… My heart hurts.. The “Happiest Place on Earth” is just a façade, friends… And it feels like that big elephant is not going anywhere.

Super Sonics Dancer Dreams

What are your dreams??

I’ve recently had a conversation with my 14-year old son… what do you want to be when you grow up?  His answer: a football player or music producer.  My first thought was, he’s getting too old to be “dreaming” .  What came out of my mouth was, “what is your ‘Plan B’?”

Now, what an awful thing to say, isn’t it?  “What is your Plan B??”  What a tarnished, grown-up, lousy response to a young, fresh-minded dreamer!

After all, I’ve had some pretty cool dreams in my school years..  In Elementary School, I remember watching my big sister with her High School Dance Team.  They were SO cool, with their big hair and sequined outfits dancing to Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation.  My best friend and I watched in admiration and plotted to be Dance Team Captains when we got into high school!  And we did…..  It was awesome!  WE had our own dance moves, our own style, outfits, and higher dreams to be Super Sonic Dancers!

In my Junior Year, I was all set for college.  I wanted to study Engineering (like my Dad).  Excited for my future, I had pretty good grades and was active in the community. And I was getting ready to start applying for scholarships…

Then, the summer going into my Senior Year, everything happened so quickly.  I reconnected with my first “crush” – in an October flurry, I found out I was pregnant. One thing after another, after another, and after another… dreams started turning into goals, goals started turning into to-do lists, to-do lists started turning into tasks… and tasks started turning into responsibilities…. know what I mean?

Now, 16 years later, obviously, I’m not a Super Sonics Dancer (here’s to hoping we get our team back, someday!) and I’m not an Engineer…. However, I did manage to put myself through college. I have a decent job, nice little home, family, and pets.  But, that vision and anticipation for what the future may hold has singed by … what can I say…. “LIFE”!

Graduation 2004 (Just Me and My Boys)

Graduation 2004 (Just Me and My Boys)

Will my son make big mistakes?  Will he have huge hurdles in obtaining his dreams?  No doubt, YES.  But, he’ll at least have the chances I never had to, at least, try.  Why let the obstacles I’ve encountered – though my own faulty decisions – affect my view of my children’s future?  It shouldn’t.

So, here’s to joining my son in his dream to become a football player, a music producer.. a TV star, a drummer, a break dancer (do they still have those?) whatever he wants to do!

And as for my own dreams… I am choosing right now to re-evaluate my vision.  Forget about that 5-year-plan! I just want to dream.. My dancing days are over, folks… no Orlando Magic Girl left in me… but, perhaps, instead of being a dancer, I can start that business I’ve always wanted.  Or own that “that’s my car” type of car, I’ve had my eye on.  Who cares what stage of life we’re in… we NEED to dream.  We need the anticipation of what the future holds..  and it’s there for all of us…  What do you want to be when you “grow up”? 

Slacker

I’ve been neglecting my blog…  In my head, not so much. I’ve had things I’ve wanted to write about almost every day.  But, time flies so fast and now it’s been 4 months since my last post and I have so much to say!  In 4 months:

Infertility: We have tried.  I took the last round of fertility meds I stored in my closet from before our hiatus in September.  Needless to say, no news to report.  We are still trying, naturally.

Empty Nest Bucket List:  I’d like to report some progress in this area! I have a lot of updates to my bucket list… and a family road trip coming up.  More to write!

Newlywed/Marriage:  Yesterday, June 23rd, was our 2-Year Wedding Anniversary!  I give all long-term married couples HUGE kudos and welcome ANY marriage advice you can give.  Year 1 was very difficult… and Year 2 was hard work!  I can say that our love for each other is stronger.  But I am gearing myself up for Year 3… let the battle (for a love-filled lasting marriage) begin!

I promise myself I will write more this week, lots to say and lots to read… can’t wait to catch up on with my fellow bloggers.

Facts of Life

Well, it’s 3:52am and I’m wide awake. Despite the long day ahead. Tomorrow we will be celebrating my younger son’s 14th birthday. Such a joyous occasion which I am very excited for, yet I lay in bed counting expenses in my head. How am I going to pay for it all? Don’t get me wrong, my salary is decent and I don’t spend extravegantly, but circumstances cause me to pinch a little bit, I mean a LOT more nowadays.

So, I lay in bed and calculate… literally… cake, food, drinks, games.. it adds up very quickly… now what can I eliminate? Not much.

So, naturally one’s mind would wander in the dark of night, with spouse peacefully sleeping away.  Did my parents deliberate as us 3 sisters grew up? When children are young you want to give them the world at their fingertips. But as they get older, you want to give them the future you never had.

So for now I’ll try to close my eyes and try to stop counting dollars and start counting sheep. Wishing my baby boy a very happy birthday and a much brighter future!

To The New Year!

Me and DP

Me and DP

This bottle here…. this is no typical 1990 bottle of Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon.  The value of this bottle went far beyond the lengthy reviews and the name on the label.

It was symbol of a lifestyle I challenge my children to steer clear from and, instead, remain focused on their goals.  Me? A bad girl? No… I was a typical good girl who fell for a bad boy.  His “boss” gave us this bottle as a gift to celebrate the birth of our first-born son. In short, to get away from his “bad boy ways” we moved to sunny Florida.  And since, it has been resting cozy in a tightly sealed box at the top of my kitchen cupboard, it was never intended to be consumed.

But this post is not about that gloom-and-doom story.  It’s about this bottle.

Well, being that we had such a challenging year, I decided that we should finally open this bottle.  Our little group of friends got together for dinner and my contribution… Dom Pérignon, of course! The hour leading up to dinner, my mind sort of wandered..  Fleeting thoughts of anticipation.  Will it be good? Will I be amazed?

We shared our dinner stories and laughs as usual and then the time came to pop open the bottle!  They asked me who gave me the bottle, I explained my past a little and that it was time to let it go.. We toasted: To our Friends…. To the New Year… To a Birthday…. and To Letting Go of the Past!

They let me have the first swig…  I swirled it, tried to capture any fragrances, and took a little sip. Folks, my jaws hurt.  I took another sip, tried to swirl it around my tongue a little, my tastebuds complained.  My friends tasted and we agreed, we were not ready for the “dom”!

But one thing I can say, my past is FINALLY and COMPLETELY in the past.  And with no expectation at all, I am excited and looking forward to the future year and all of its new stories!

Happy New Year to All!!

Holidays and the Sports Fanatic’s Wife

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I am a Sports Fanatic’s wife.  No, he doesn’t paint his face and scream at opponents’ fans as they pass us in the stands.  But he wakes up and goes to sleep to the lullaby horns of Sports Center on ESPN.  One day, he frantically looked through the house for a “Let’s Go Bucs” light that flashes like a stop-light because “WE need it so the Bucs will win.”  Most recently, I watched the start of a game in which I left to run errands as they were leading 10-0 and upon my return they were down by two touchdowns… as soon as I sat down they made a touchdown and my husband would not let me leave the couch until the last second of the game because “the Bucs played better when I was watching them.”   They did end up winning that game, by the way 😉

Now, I’m not one to complain.  I enjoy watching the games myself.  Having a teenage football player of my own, I am known to yell and jump a little when the games get interesting.

Another thing about this guy is that he needs a little nudge to get into the holiday spirit.

So this, my friends, is how I got my husband to pose with me and Santa for one Christmas picture:

Our Picture With Santa

Our Picture With Santa

Notice, Santa must be a Bucs fan too.

We also have a tradition in which we each put up one ornament every day from the day after Thanksgiving until the tree is fully decorated… hubby’s first ornament, can you see it?  You may have to squint…

Our Tree 2012

The good thing is that while football is an integral part of our family-life, we have learned to incorporate it into the holidays, which I SO love!

Now, excuse me as I see him turn on the “let’s go Bucs” light and I am now needed to watch this game so they can win.

On a side-note: GO SEAHAWKS!!!!! They just won in over-time, they are my home team, after all. 🙂

10 Days of Thanksgiving

If you’re on a social network I’m sure you have been bombarded with “30 Days of Thanksgiving” daily posts.  I tried it one year and by Day 10 I ran out of things to write.

My only Thanksgiving “status” of the month went like this:

“This year, hands down, has been one of the hardest for me. That being said, I’m thankful for reliable transportation, food on the table, a roof over my head, friends and family, and WINE”

In which I got several “Lol’s”, responses of agreement, and some dear friends who suggested I go back and count my blessings.  Without boring you to death about the basics (Water, Electricity, Technology. Highly grateful for, by the way) here is my 10-Days-of-Thanksgiving wrapped up into one post.  Note: You can probably skip through the top half of my list, as these are the necessities I’m sure we are all truly thankful for.

I’m Thankful For…

Day 1: My family. Without these people who have no choice but to deal with me day in and day out, I think I would be one lonely person.

Day 2: Friends. When my family gets tired of me, or vice versa, I can always turn to Happy Hour, spa day, and 2-hour phone chats.

Day 3: Job. A source of income. Food on the table. Health benefits. And an outlet for all my Excel spreadsheet ideas.

Day 4: A Home. We have lived here for several years now.  It was built in 1985, it’s a nice well-kept neighborhood and I like my neighbors.

Day 5: Faith. I try not to be preachy, I am far from a saint, but I am a Christian sometimes I go back and forth on things but the verses I have memorized through the years have kept me going. Even if you’re not a Christian some of the most inspiring quotes and poems are in the Bible.

Day 6: Florida. The sun, the beach, the football, and the ability to look from your far right to your far left and see nothing but blue sky and splashes of clouds painted across it.  Nothing like it.

Day 7: Food. Not talking about basic staples, which I am also thankful for.  I love to cook because I love to eat.  Some express themselves through dance, painting, etc.  I express myself through cooking. My kitchen is my sanctuary.

Day 8: Blog-World. I’m not just saying this because I’m posting on my blog. Seriously, at the starting-point I was one foot over the cliff into Crazy Town.  Fertility issues, “pre”-empty nest syndrome, and loss of an income in the household. The blog-world allows you to connect with people who can relate to you, and you can still go out and smile at the world.  Really, you brought me back to life… ok, enough mushiness, moving on…

Day 9: Coupons. Did I just say that? Yep.  This year, I have saved over $4,000 in grocery and household item bills.  Granted, I was one of the people who went into Target to buy one thing and came out with a cart load of non-essentials.  My trips to the store now have purpose and we use what I buy (with the exception of bird seed)

Day 10: Special Days. I aim to live life to the fullest, however, I often get caught in the whirlwind of schedules and errands. Something about holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries brings people together.  Plus I love to decorate the house!

Well, there are my 10 Days of Thanksgiving!

Bon Appetit!

Glitches

The thing about glitches is that they push you back farther, and the more glitches, the farther back you go….  For this reason, this post has been saved in the ‘Drafts’ folder for a week.

I’m good at a lot of things: Organizing, Shopping, Party-Planning… but I am terrible, pitiful when it comes to dealing with change.  My reaction always goes like this:

Step 1: I receive news of change. Fight or flight…. Fight! I’m ready, bring it on!

Step 2: I prepare. I have my to-do lists ready, new processes in place

Step 3: Oh my goodness, this is not how I thought it would be! I want out NOW!

Step 3 (Cont’d): <<BSHHHHHHH>> (This is where the connection cuts off, usually followed by short flashes of consciousness)

Step 4: Ok, I got myself into this mess, I need to deal with it.

Step 5: Put new processes into place, re-work my To-Do list

Step 6: All is back in order, once again.

This reaction is not exclusive to bad news…. I begged and begged for a kitten last year (to keep my then 6-year-old cat company). And when hubby finally gave in, he brought home TWO.

Step 1: YAYYYY How Cute and Cuddly!
Step 2: Off to the store to get all their necessities.. litter, kitten food etc. Still excited!
Step 3: Hold on, they keep jumping on the counters, oh no they’re tearing up the the speakers! Vet bill costs what?!?
Step 4: Hmm..Let’s ‘google’ how to train kittens. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?
Step 5: They stopped jumping on the couch, this is a good start
Step 6: Ok, I think I handle this, we can keep them!

Now that I’ve detailed my reaction to change, I hope you can understand why I haven’t been online in a few weeks when I explain that a month ago, our assistant quit.  Which was traumatizing to us because (a) we LOVED her, she was awesome from day one … and… (b) the day she gave her notice was her last day.  To look at it objectively, she got an amazing offer with the state so I can’t be mad at her…. but REALLY??  There was Zero preparation time.  Then a couple weeks ago, our boss took a personal leave.  In her case, she gave us a few days notice but STILL, not enough time to prepare! On top of that, my cell phone died!

I’ve had about a week to recoup from the catastrophe of November and am EXCITEDLY looking forward to a few days of fun and (hopefully) relaxing vacation.  Hope everyone in the blog-world enjoys the upcoming week and holiday! 🙂