Summer Bliss!

Every year, I save all my favorite book releases for my summer vacation reading. However, this year I don’t have any time for summer reading. I joined a book club at the end of last year, so that means I must read a book a month. However, since then I began working on my master’s degree. This has caused my book club reads to become a bit of a chore. Finding time to squish them in has been tough to do with all the “expert reading” that I must complete on a weekly basis. Some might say I should just drop out of the book club until I have more time on my hands, but I feel that it is a must for me to interact with people in a new community. It is nice to hang out with a group of women once a month talking about books and life.

For pleasure, I have discovered that reading magazines is a great form of entertainment. Short snip-its of information, lots of photographs, and great of ideas on how to decorate my home. I have decided that subscribing to a magazine or two is a must at this point in my life if I am to “enjoy” reading. Hopefully my magazines will arrive in the mail soon!

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Published in: on June 10, 2008 at 6:25 pm  Comments (3)  

Covetous thoughts…

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Traffic was very slow moving on my way home from work today. It took about ten minutes for me to go half of a mile. As I neared the end of the road, I discovered the hold up. The road was being patched. That wasn’t so surprising. What was surprising were the thoughts in my head as I drove by. As I watched the workers flip their signs from STOP to SLOW, I thought to myself, “Wow! I bet that’s a cool job to have!” Yep, it’s been a rough week…

Published in: on May 17, 2008 at 3:39 am  Leave a Comment  

The Unexplainable Teens…

I have noticed that there are no good books that give good, practical parenting advice on the teen years. Like, what do you do when you catch your child cursing? What is the appropriate punishment for that? What do you do when your child acts as if he/she hates you? How do you react? Do you ignore or reach out to them more? So many things pop up during this trying stage of life, and I notice the gray hairs on my head are quickly multiplying. When my kids were little, every thing came to me so naturally. Now that they are independent thinkers my hands are full and I’m at a loss on what to do. Why do kids not come with handbooks? I need a handbook, darn it!!

And we want to have a second batch of youngsters. Can I raise them for the first 9 or so years and then send them to a camp for the next 9? Now that’s an idea…

Published in: on May 11, 2008 at 2:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Going crazy…

I officially started working on my master’s degree this week. I sort of decided to enroll last minute, and man, has the roller coaster begun! I am obtaining my degree online, and this concept is taking some getting used to. I am in constant fear that an assignment has been posted and I have overlooked it because I forgot to click on a link. Today I discovered that my fear was justified when my coworker who is working on the same degree showed me a tab I never knew existed. The result was another paper due by Sunday. And I was beginning to think I had things under control.

The oddest thing in all of this is I forgot how crazy going to school makes me. It is so hard managing classes, work and family. I noticed this afternoon that I had ripped my classroom apart pulling things to get ready for teaching next year instead of working on an assignment that was due tonight. Oh, the art of procrastination. I have finished the assignment, and gotten a head start on another one, but more work awaits me. I can already feel my blood-pressure rising, my food cravings beginning, and I am already beginning the snapping. By snapping I mean snapping other people’s heads off. My poor family has eighteen or twenty months of this to look forward to. Let’s hope they are more patient than me.

Published in: on May 1, 2008 at 3:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Fashion crisis for near 30 year olds…

For the last year or so, I have felt that my clothes just don’t look right. I cannot find anything that I feel is comfortable, looks good, and expresses my personality. I have been trying to figure out why this is. I think I know the answer. It has dawned on me that most clothes are either way too young and trendy, or they are way too old looking for a 32 year old woman. I have style, but I also want comfort. Why is it so difficult to find clothing that fits these criteria?

My closet is full of blouses from one or two summers ago that I do not want to wear this season because they are already outdated. They must have been the latest style when I purchased them. I’ve figured out that the latest styles go out of style much faster than they come in. I cannot spare the extra time or money it takes to keep up with the latest trends. As I get older, I want my clothes to carry over year to year. This means they need to hold up: they need to remain stylish while still holding their shape for much longer than one season. Older people are able to do this. Why am I having such a difficult time?

Unfortunately, I’m not quite ready to fall into the “older” category just yet. I’ve been looking around, but I’ve yet to find the best solution. I do know that classic stores like Eddie Bauer and Ann Taylor Loft work well for a lot of people my age. But these stores are still not the perfect fit for me. Ann Taylor doesn’t always have clothes that I feel are the most comfortable to wear day to day, and some of Eddie Bauer’s clothes can be a bit older looking or too sporty. Eddie Bauer does have some great jeans that fit short, curvy women with tiny waists and fuller hips. The jeans are made one size smaller in the waist than in the hips and even have boot cut legs. The downside to their jeans is the thick denim they are made out of. I know this durability is what makes Eddie Bauer clothes such high quality, but a lightweight denim fabric that is a bit more worn would be nice for those of us that still want to look a little young and hip without feeling restricted by the heavy denim.

Today I found an awesome website that will design jeans for you based on your style and measurements. You get to design everything about the jeans: the color and weight of denim, waist and leg cuts, the type of pockets, and even the size of the hems. The jeans look awesome! They are a bit pricey ($135 a pair), but if you have a body shape like mine, then you have probably spent much more than that on a drawer full of jeans that really don’t fit. You buy a pair here and another pair there in hopes they will suffice, only to discover that they don’t. There is nothing worse than an uncomfortable or ill-fitting pair of jeans.

I’ve designed my own customized pair, but I’m waiting a bit before I order them. I am hoping to lose some more weight first. I think they will be how I reward myself when I reach my goal weight. Gives me some extra motivation. Heck, while I’m at it, maybe I’ll throw in a boob job too! Kidding! Or am I? ūüôā

Published in: on April 27, 2008 at 4:23 am  Leave a Comment  

There’s No Place Like Home…

I feel as if I haven’t posted in about 10 years. Though it hasn’t been that long, there has been enough happening lately that could easily span over the course of ten years. Some of these things I can blog about, most I cannot because they don’t involve just me, so they’re not my stories to publicly tell. I do wish I could blog about them because I have been doing a lot of research lately, and would love to share what I’ve learned online. Maybe someday…

Things are finally beginning to feel settled. Chris and I will have our one year anniversary next month, and I would say I do all over again! Our home is beginning to feel “finished” and like a home to me. There are still many things we plan on doing to the house over time, but things are falling into place.

Work is the same: it’s beginning to feel normal as well. The change was tough at first, but now I feel adjusted. It’s funny that it has taken about a year for all this to happen.

I am hoping that by this time next year things feel even more like home. That will be a wonderful feeling to have, because to me, there’s no place like home…

Published in: on April 19, 2008 at 3:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Coming Soon to a Life Near You: The Holiday Rush

Well, it’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving is in 4 days. Then the day after Thanksgiving: one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and a few weeks after that, Christmas is here, then New Year’s…you get the drift. This year I have so much to be thankful for. A new husband, a new home, a new job, and I look around me and for the first time in my life I have little to stress over. Things are good.

I still want to go into wig-out mode though. Why? I’m still searching the answers to that one. I think it’s just the holidays. I’ve been trying to get things ready around the house for a couple of months now, and the list of things to complete is too large to complete by Thanksgiving or Christmas. Why is it that I feel everything must be Martha Stewart perfect in order to entertain guests? Why can I not be comfortable and just let others see my home in its daily disarray. Not too messy, but not too neat either. A load of clothes left unfold that needs to be put away. The day’s pair of shoes tossed underneath whatever table I settled into first at the end of the day. These are the things that make a home feel like a home.

The houses I enjoy visiting most aren’t those that look like the cover of a Better Homes and Garden magazine. They are the ones that have the clutter, the imperfect decorating schemes, dust on pieces of furniture that were overlooked the last cleaning round. These are the houses that I want to take my shoes off in and stay awhile. They are the ones I feel at home in. They’re lived in. Why can’t I obtain this same attitude when it comes to my own home? Is it because I read too many books by Emile Barnes years ago? Though her methods are tried and true by many women, the techniques she teaches almost drove me to insanity. I guess the answer is just finding your own middle ground.

While I baste my turkey, prepare my dressing, and prepare my house for entertaining, this is what I’ll be focusing on: trying to discover my middle ground. If you stop by, don’t expect to see everything in order ready for a photo op. But do come by expecting to kick off your shoes and visit a while:)

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 5:27 am  Leave a Comment  

“The Tweenager Years”

Maddie will be 12 this Sunday. For some reason, this has felt like¬†a milestone.¬†She¬†will celebrate the last of her “tweenager” years.

In an attempt to understand the “New Maddie” that’s been developing the last year or so, I’ve tried to remember back to when I was her age. Oddly enough, I don’t even remember turning 12. The only way I can¬†remember being¬†her age is by reflecting to the sixth grade and seventh grades. What thoughts did I have then? Who were my friends?¬†Where did my interests lie?

Basically, my memories sum up to this: Friends were a big thing to me. The more hip they were, the better.¬†Although I don’t know where¬†any of them live now or what they do for a living, at the time my world revolved around them.

We didn’t¬†have razor phones, ipods, Hollister hoodies, Abercrombie jeans, or Nike Shox, but there were Swatch watches, Coca-Cola shirts, Guess blue jeans, and Converse high-tops.¬†Countless morning bus rides were spent oooohing and aaaahing¬†over each other’s new items.

And of course there were boys. We were just beginning to notice that the male species wasn’t created just for aggravating the snot out of us.¬†We had crushes on many, and the¬†comments we would make about them¬†make me blush as an adult. We were beginning to experiment with sexual jargon and profanity¬†even though the meanings were unclear.

As I monitor my daughter’s internet usage and try my best to stay connected with what’s going on in her life, things are really not that much different. We didn’t have computers and the internet, so we were a bit more¬†“sheltered” to the outside world, but the dangers were still out there. Kids were having sex and getting in trouble for things like vandalism and drug usage. These are not new issues. Perhaps they’re just more publicized today.

So, the next time you’re tempted to say, “When I was¬†a kid, we didn’t…”, stop and think about it. Are you for certain that things really were¬†all that different? Or is it just our memory that’s changed?¬†

A Weekend in Paradise…

This weekend I was supposed to fly out to Jamaica for my brother’s wedding. However, my flight dates¬†had been changed, and¬†the resort I was supposed to stay at neglected¬†to pass this information along. Their¬†negligence made it no longer feasible for me to go.

Needless to say, a trip that I had been planning and excited about for months, was cancelled practically overnight. I was bummed, to say the least, but the chaos the resort put me and others through diminished my desire to go.

However, despite all the disappointment, my weekend turned out to be more wonderful than any trip to Jamaica could have ever proven to be.

I came in very late Friday night after putting in a late day at work. (The hours I had spent making arrangements to be out of work had taken its toll on me.)

Chris was coming to visit and had called and asked me to pick up a few items on my way home because he too was running late. He beat me to the house, and¬†as I approached the front door, I¬†heard Jamaican music coming from¬†inside. I knocked, and after¬†he didn’t answer, I¬†went on in.

What I saw took my breath and brought tears to my eyes! My livingroom had been turned into a tropical island. On the chair laid a silk Hawaiian shirt, a grass skirt, and a silk lei. My house was cleaned up, and on top of the coffee table were two stuffed animals completely surrounded by a mound of Hawaiian flowers. I noticed when his dogs ran up to greet me, that they had tiny leis wrapped around their necks.

Then, out of my kitchen, through a newly-constructed grass door, came Chris already dressed in island attire. He slid the items he had laid out for me on top of what I was already wearing, reached out and grabbed me, kissed me and just held me tight for a few minutes. He then began to dance with me. Even as I type this, the tears resurface. It was the most beautiful thing anyone has ever done for me!

We danced many times throughout the night, made ourselves margaritas from scratch, chatted, and just enjoyed the evening to ourselves. It was a perfect way to end a stressful and disappointing week.

There was nowhere else, or with anyone else I would have rather spent that time with. Thank you, Chris, for making it possible for me to spend my weekend in paradise!

Published in: on October 9, 2006 at 1:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Love and Marriage…

This weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a bachelor/bachelorette party for two very special people. My brother and best friend. It’s not every day that your brother and best friend get married.¬†Despite the fact that each have been an important part of my life for so long, they had not met one another until earlier this year. However, when they did meet, it was love at first sight! I¬†instantly knew that my best¬†friend would eventually be my sister-in-law.¬†I have watched their relationship¬†grow¬†throughout¬†this past year, and¬†it was a¬†joy to celebrate their soon-to-be union. I wanted to tell the story of the night, but I do not believe¬†it’s possible for me to capture the moment¬†better than my¬†beloved Christopher did. I only hope Kisha knows what she’s getting into. She is marrying into no ordinary family…

http://chris.sheppard.name/index.php/archives/21

Published in: on October 3, 2006 at 12:21 am  Leave a Comment