A few more off the list

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If you’ve been following my blog for a bit, then you are aware that I have a Bucket List that I am constantly adding to. And when I give myself the time to, I also complete a few.

I managed to mark a few off of the list this past year, which felt like a challenge, considering the year I’ve had.

166.) play beer (or wine!) pong

My father passed away 3 days before my birthday, but the night before he passed away he told me that he wanted me to celebrate my birthday, as he didn’t want me to be sad, and he wanted me to celebrate my own life. So with the help of my boyfriend and some amazing friends of mine, I had a great birthday party. This party included my guy and I building a beer pong table, and me marking this off of my list. We built the table using unused sheet rock, a couple of cans of chalkboard spray paint, and a can of glow in the dark spray paint. Once we painted the “table” we used my dads saw horses to put it on. We bought the necessary “parts” and we had a late night full of laughter and semi-drunkenness. Some of the chalk drawings were incredibly lewd and I wish we had taken more pictures! I did have a breakdown at the end of the night, but I had an amazing amount of support to help keep me strong, and to remind me that my dad would have been proud of trying to have fun despite my heartache. My favorite part following this night was having cuddle time the next morning with my guy and one of my best friends, while chilling in bed and sharing music with each other. Open, honest conversations, and a joint effort at breakfast which led to singing, dancing, and laughter. I still feel the echo of the love that filled this house that morning, and will forever be thankful that this bucket list item helped create those moments.

157.) Make crepes

My oldest son and I decided to give this a shot together, a couple of weeks after I left a really stressful job. It was a bonding moment for us, helping us return to a norm we once had, where it was just the two of us trying out something new. We picked the simplest looking recipe we could find, and made strawberry filled crepes. The first few didn’t quite come out the way they should have, so we tinkered with the recipe until they came out perfectly. The littles were more impressed with the whipped cream and strawberries, but the oldest and I enjoying finally having a chance to reconnect after having spent many previous months not having enough time to do much that was fun with each other. That, and od’ing on whipped cream, were the best parts, haha.

131.) learn to play poker, win a game

After dad passed away, mom and I needed distraction from our thoughts. My boyfriend came to the rescue by teaching us how to play poker. (He also taught my oldest.) As seems to be the norm, my oldest caught on the fastest, and repeatedly kicked all of our asses. (This is why I refuse to play monopoly with him anymore, board game or on the Xbox! He’s pure evil, hahaha.) But, one night, I managed to win. Without help, without anyone sharing chips to keep the game going, and with me bluffing more often than not. It was lovely to take my teenager punk down a notch. Granted, I haven’t won any of our games since, but the one time was all I was looking for. I will not try to make a living playing it, that’s for sure.

114.) take a creative writing class

Last spring semester I finally bit the bullet and took the creative writing class my college offers. I wasn’t sure what to expect in all honesty. Maybe writing short stories and reading a lot, but even those were only guesswork on my part. Which we did do. But we also learned about various poem styles. We learned about perspective. We read about other authors, listened to NPR interviews, and read New Yorker articles. We had discussions, group projects, and reflective writing. It was the most writing I had done in quite a while, and it was helpful with stress relief, as I was going through many changes in my life at the time. It reminded me to pursue my passions, and it gave my dad and I several deep conversations before he died. It helped relight the spark I had buried with paying bills, and taking care of my kids, and all of the other speed bumps life throws at us. It reminded me about how much I love poetry, and it gave me an idea about a way to go about writing my next poetry book, that I have every intention of trying within the next few weeks.

71.) learn to make pottery

Last semester I thought I didn’t have enough extracurricular credits to put towards my degree, so I signed up for a ceramics class. A couple of weeks into the semester I found out that some of my social science classes had completed what I needed in that department. I thought about dropping the class as it required me actually going to the college, and I had a pretty full plate at the time anyway. But I talked to my boyfriend and my mom, and they both told me I should keep the class, as it got me out of the house, and may provide me with some stress relief. So I ended up keeping it. There weren’t enough pottery wheels for me to learn pottery in that fashion, but I did learn how to create it by hand-building. It was awesome. I had no idea what to make in most instances, so I just went by blind instinct on most of them. Ironically, the only piece that I had planned out, as I wanted to make it for myself, was also the only piece of mine to be stolen. One of my favorite things about this class was a field trip to Santa Fe, which my boyfriend joined me for. We toured various art galleries for the day, hit up Trader Joe’s (a first for us both), roamed a street market, and had lunch together while talking about art and life. It was a wonderful date that allowed us to get out-of-town and our comfort zone for a bit.

That’s the few that I managed to complete last year, and I still don’t know which ones I will be marking off of my list this year. I guess I will see where life takes me. That’s the fun part of living out loud, I just enjoy the ride.

My Never Ending Bucket List

gothhicgoddess:

Some people have New Year’s resolutions, I have this.

Originally posted on Goddess, Living Out Loud:

As the title states, this bucket list is never ending, which means I am constantly adding new things to it. As of this moment it has 173 things on it, and some of those numbers have multiple things involved in the one item. Honestly, I will never die at this rate. ;) When I check something off of it, I will create a link with its item that will lead to a blog about it. Even for ones I have already marked off of the list. There are a few that would make the average person blush to admitting to wanting to do, but I’m a Goddess, so I’m okay with sharing. These are in no particular order, but they are all things I want to try/do/see/experience. Here goes:

1.) Stay the night and do a ghost tour at the Stanley Hotel. Get awesome pictures.
2.) Spend 2 weeks in…

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Breakfast For One

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Every so often I decide to treat myself to something. Sometimes it’s a movie. Sometimes it’s dinner. Sometimes it’s a cup of yum at a coffee shop. Yesterday it was breakfast at IHOP’s.

Every time I do these things, I inevitably receive a look. This look says “You poor thing, all on your own, can’t get anyone to join you.” There is always the question when at an eating establishment, “Just you?” or “Only you?”, and these are always asked in a surprised or pitying voice. It bothers me that we have placed these rules on everyone about how eating out or going to the movies should be done.

If anything, the looks and questions tells me more about them than my choosing to be alone tells them about me. I am in a relationship. A happy one. I also have kids. And friends. And family. But sometimes, I just need time with me.

I go out alone because I like me. I like spending time with myself. I find eating alone to be freeing. I enjoy my own company. I don’t have to depend on other people to have a good time. I am fully capable of having a blast, without needing a witness to it.

Hellooooo, I did go to the Texas Showdown Festival on my own, just so I could see a band I love. Could I have gotten someone to go with me? Certainly. But sometimes, I like to experience the world and its offerings all on my own. I’m perfectly fine with being the only witness to my own happiness.

Maybe this is my independent streak. Maybe it’s my inner rebel raising her fist to the stereotypes that society tries to force upon her.

But it never feels like that to me. To me it feels like spending time on someone who needs my attention the most. Myself. In order to love the way I do, to love the people I do, requires that I also love myself. In turn this requires that I spend time on, and with, myself.

I tend to place myself on the back burner more often than not. Not because it is required of me, not because I am a rug. I will let those in my world heap their troubles onto me, because I know I can take the added weight. And I know I can handle being last in line, and the added weight of my loved ones problems, because I know who I am. I am comfortable in who I am. I love the person I am. And when I need to lay the weight down and move to the front burner, I know I will do it. Then I can pick the weight back up, and it’s not nearly as heavy anymore.

Instead of judging that woman or man for choosing to eat or enjoy a movie on their own, ask yourself why it bothers you so much to see someone else be comfortable enough to do these activities alone. Maybe you’ll learn something about the person you are, and see that maybe you need to spend some time with yourself. Become a witness to your own happiness. Your needs, likes, and desires matter too, and it’s perfectly okay to deliver them to yourself.

Bibliophile Narcomania aka One Day I’ll Need My Own Library

I love writing. I love reading. I am forever in love with books.

I was die-hard against going digital with books. There is something about a books texture. Smell. The riot of butterflies within my tummy when the story absorbs me, and I slide my finger under the page in anticipation of flipping it to continue the story.

And then I self published my poetry books. The option to also publish it digitally was given. As my goal is to be read, I decided to do it.

My mom is also a book addict, and she needed something to access the web with. So for Christmas one year I bought her a Kindle Fire. I could buy her gift cards to continue feeding her book addiction, and she has the web at her fingertips, how was this not a winning combo?!

After that I finally caved and bought myself a Kindle Paperwhite.

But I still have my love affair with books. My shelves are lined and stacked and filled. Their spines catch my eye as I walk by. I finger old leather covers as I pass. Some of them have been read by me a hundred times. I have my go-to’s for when I’m sick, scared, sad, happy, in need of escape, in need of understanding.

Lately I’ve been addicted to books about the writing craft. How to books, books about viewpoint, about finding my tribe, about improving my skills… Most books I devour within hours or a few days. But these ones? I breathe, I read, I highlight, I dog ear and sticky note. I want to absorb the words held within their pages.

They inspire me. They nurture me. They guide me. And one day I hope to share with you the muse they have made of my mind.

For my writer friends, what books do you use for writing assistance? For my reader friends, what books are your addiction?

The Nitty Gritty

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The semester is finally coming to a close. I have one math test left. I have one geology test left. I have one ceramic vase left to glaze in my pottery class. I only need to stop by my philosophy teachers office to find out my final grade. I’m so very close. I have two math classes left to take, over the next two semesters, and I’m done with this degree.

I have been working as a substitute teacher where I can here and there, but next Monday I start a new job. I’m excited. To try something new, somewhere different. Plus, the place is supposedly haunted and I’ll get tons of people watching. For a writer, that’s golden. And as I am starting a new job, I can let the court know that I need off of jury duty. (Honestly, jury duty is kinda cool, but I wish I could choose the days that I go in, with everything that’s been on my plate during it.)

I’m sad that my little guys will be in daycare again. As crazy as they make me, I love having them around. If I didn’t, there would be a band of gypsy’s somewhere putting a curse (or ten) on me. ;)

I have many stresses, I am still grieving my dad, I am trying to find time for me and my dreams while being the many facets of me that I am. And I think that’s all I can really do. Just keep trying. Keep pursuing my dreams. Keep loving my people. Keep wishing I had a clone and much more coffee than I do.

Overload

I have been missing, I know. I have a lot on my plate lately. Between a full-time college schedule, substitute teaching, being a mommy and girlfriend as is, I have also been chosen for jury duty. I feel the edges of burnout nipping at my neck, but I keep reminding myself that I can do this. I need a real break here soon though. Or I will just run off with the circus. Whichever happens first.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for my scary story over at 13 Stories ‘Til Halloween.

My Tiny Dancer

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My youngest son saw a ballet video on YouTube one day, and he decided he wanted to do that. I support my kids decisions, and figured we would give it a shot. The first day, he loved it. He was the only boy in the class, which actually made the teachers happy, as they were getting ready for a performance, and he would fill a slot for what they were performing.

As his first day went so well, I bought him his first pair of ballet slippers.

077The second class that we went to didn’t go so well. He was more interested in doing his own thing, than he was in following the class and instructions. Which I get. He’s a three-year old boy. This is expected. The owner and I talked, and she agreed that we would see how the next session went, and decide from there to keep him in or to come back later, when he has a little more patience for learning.

The next class came, and the teacher came out within 30 minutes and let me know that he just wasn’t having it.

The owner and I spoke, and we agreed that she’d just charge me for the three classes, instead of the semester. And she really did hope that he came back, as most parents won’t let their younger boys do ballet, and he seemed very excited about it to begin with. I get the stigma that is seen with it. But I have to say to those parents three thing: 1. Support your kids dreams, even if they aren’t the ones you were hoping for. You will either build their self-confidence, or they may hate it and move on to something new. In the end, they’ll know you hear them and are willing to do what you must for them. 2. A lot of the BEST football players have ballet in their resume, trust me, it’s not for the “weak”. 3. The competition is fierce, but there aren’t enough guys in ballet. Just imagine how many women fawn over them. ;)

We might do this, if he wants to.

But at least he had fun for a little while. And he was too cute checking himself out in the mirror.

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Phi Theta Kappa and Me

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Towards the end of last year, I received a letter, asking me to join Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society, for my grades.

Of course, I accepted. Okay, okay, I jumped up and down several times, ran over to my parents house and told them, jumped up and down some more, and paid the one time membership fee within 20 minutes. And there may* have been some squealing involved. >.> (*There was a LOT of squealing involved, but shhh, don’t tell me that I told you.)

Well, while my dad was in ICU, I had my induction ceremony. Due to miscommunication, I didn’t get to walk across the stage with everyone else, but I did receive my certificate. After the ceremony, my mom, the boys, and I headed to the ICU. My dad was very proud. And I admit, I am too.

1800197_10152112765497671_4725365374875833429_n(I smeared out my name, because hello stalkers!)

It took a lot of hard work, and I never would have been able to achieve it without the help of my parents. So, thank you mom and dad. I love you.

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Until we meet again

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Mom and I busted our butts getting everything set up so Daddy could come home. But this homecoming was bittersweet. He was coming home to say goodbye.

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Daddy came home for hospice on Friday. While mom sat with the hospice nurse and learned about dad’s medications, I pampered Daddy.

His first request was an RC Cola, loaded with ice. This I did, and watched as he guzzled his favorite soda. Then he had me put it to the side, and we held hands, as I sat on his home hospital bed with him.

He smiled. A lot. He was happy to be home. Happy to be with those people who loved him most. Loved him best.

We talked. He shared some of his favorite memories. He told me that he was proud of me, of all I’ve managed to accomplish. All that he knows I will achieve still.

He told me that I’m a great mom. A great daughter. To take care of those boys of mine. That he loves them so much. That he loves me so much. For the first time, and last time, he gave a guy that is dating me, his stamp of approval.

He told me to keep being strong. To keep following my dreams. To finish school. To live my life to the fullest. To take care of my mom. To laugh a lot. To be happy.

My boyfriend came by, and they chatted for a few minutes. It made my heart swell to see them both together. So glad that they had gotten to meet.

A neighbor, who has been family by choice, came by, and so I gave them some time alone.

My boyfriend sat with me in the fading light in my parents front yard, holding me and my hand, helping me through this heartbreaking time. Comforting me.

My oldest son came over, and gave his Papa a hug. And he told him he loved him.

Seeing how tired my dad was, I gave him a hug and kiss. Told him I loved him very much. He told me he loved me too. I slid my hand across his hair, told him goodnight.

The next morning, Saturday, I went over to see if dad was awake. The doors were locked. I didn’t want to wake anyone, so I watered their yard instead. I watched the sunlight catch within the drops, as butterflies danced with each other around moms rose bushes, as bees sought puddles to rest along the edges of. I let the peaceful beginning of the day lull my aching heart.

When the watering was done, I went back home, as nobody had yet awakened and opened a door.

At 10:22am, my mom called me. She couldn’t talk. I knew in that moment. I knew. I ran to their house, through the back door, into the living room.

One look. One glance.

He was gone. Daddy, my daddy, my dad. He was gone. My hero had found peace. Rest. A release from the pain. A release from the torment his body had been under for the last few years. He’s gone.

Mom and I are doing what we can. We cry, a lot. We miss him dearly. There is a void in our lives now. Nothing can ever fill it. The pain of losing him will never go away. We’ve lost enough people that we love dearly, to know this is true. But we also know that Daddy wouldn’t want us to suffer. He would want us to laugh, to love, to live. To carry the memory of him with us.

Daddy's Hat

Daddy’s Hat

Daddy, I miss you. God I miss you.

But I heard you. I understand. And, as you know, I don’t like broken promises. I keep my word. I said I would follow my dreams, be happy, laugh, love, live, and take care of these amazing little boys of mine. And I will.

And thank you Daddy. Thank you for everything you taught me. For every second you spent loving me. For being the man that you are, that you were. You are a star in my sky, never-fading, always a guidepost for my soul. I will always, always, love you. This isn’t a goodbye, this is an until we meet again.

007Thank you to my mom and dad for the beautiful picture for my birthday, yesterday. It may have been the last gift I’d get from you both, but it will always remind me of you two. Of what you both want for me. And about how much you love me.

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