Reflections of 2018

Is it too late to write a blog post where I reflect upon 2018? (Is it reflect upon or reflect on? I don’t know. I’m too lazy to look it up. Anyway…)

Probably.

In fact, I think it’s one of the reasons I was never successful as a blogger. Well, there are many reasons. But I won’t bore you with all of them today. (And yes, boring you is probably one of them. Whatever. Moving on.)

It’s because I was never very topical. Whatever the topic of the day (hour, minute) other bloggers were writing about, I was always late to the party. I tend to let things like life and family (and general blaziness) get in the way of getting my butt in the chair to write.

I did sit down the first day of the year to relax and read my 2018 Happiness Journal to reflect on (upon?) the year that had just passed us and to set an intention for the year ahead.

Some wonderful things happened in 2018. Chandler turned 21. Marley turned 18, graduated high school and went on a trip to London and Edinburgh. I went to Stagecoach for the 6th year in a row and was back up in the VIP section. (Whoo Hoo!) I took on new responsibilities at work and got to travel to Las Vegas, Vancouver, Denver, Illinois, Texas (twice), Washington (twice), and Nashville. (Nashville! Squee!) Dave joined me on the Denver trip to mix pleasure with business and my friend Rita joined me when the work part of my Nashville trip ended and I extended the trip into an awesome girls’ weekend.

And some unspeakably terrible things happened. The Borderline shooting. The sad and sick truth is that everyone in this country knows what it feels like to wake up to the news of a mass shooting. But I have to tell you something. When it happens in your town it feels different. Because you were just at that nightclub having the time of your life two weeks beforehand. Because it was College Night and at least three of your friends had kids who were invited to go to the club but didn’t (thank God).  Because your daughter knew one of the twelve people who were murdered. It’s different. And for those of you who don’t live here I hope it’s a difference you never have to feel.

And then less than 24 hours later the Woolsey Fire raged through our town. Before we had a chance to get over the shock of the shooting (let alone even begin the process of grieving) we had to evacuate our homes. My family was lucky. The fire came to our back hill, but not to our house. Just down the street, starting four doors down there are three houses that suffered damage. Some of my friends are still displaced due to damaged homes. Some of my friends lost their homes completely.

backyard burn marks after woolsey fire
My hill after the fire – if you look closely at the Eucalyptus tree, you can see where it was on fire.

When I reflect on (I actually think I can use on or upon) 2018 I think a lot about luck. I’m lucky that I was not in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m lucky that the wind did not shift towards my house when the fire was on my back hill. I’m lucky to live in a community that has grown stronger in the wake of two terrible tragedies.

Every morning I try to sit down a think about the day before and focus on the one small (or sometimes big) moment that made me happiest. It teaches me to be grateful when life is stressful or busy or boring or wonderful or even terrible. To find light even when the tunnel is so long and so, so dark. And to not take for granted the light that shines brightly when it does so many days (weeks, months) in a row.

Here are some of my 2018 happy moments:

January 5 I took the day off work and spent it with Chandler. We went shopping and had a sushi lunch and visited Tom and Lisa. At the end of the day he hugged me and said thank you and that he liked spending the day with me.

February 8 I wore bright Kelly green pants and a pink shirt to work today and it made me feel cheery.

February 17 Dinner at Larson’s with Dale. It was so great to see her. She’s such an awesome person and I need to be a better friend and see her more often.

March 9 Writers’ Group at Julie’s. And Lexi was there – yay! Julie gave us HER BOOK! Holding Lily in my own hands filled me with so much joy!

March 14 Watching Marley’s speech on National Student Walkout Day. My daughter is a rockstar.

national student walkout day speech
A rockstar in the making.

April 6 I was walking Geordie and a saw a man coming home from work. When he opened his door I heard a little boy yell, “Daddy!” Oh how I remember that. Such joy! How wonderful!

April 21 Writers’ Group was brought to a whole other level – karaoke! I sang Lady Antebelum’s A Kiss Goodnight and it was magic!

April 27 Stagecoach. Those first steps walking into the pit and the excitement of the beat of the music pounding in my chest.

midland stagecoach
My view of Midland in the pit at Stagecoach. You’re welcome.

May 20 My mom had a 100 year party for my grandparents and I had a happy/sad moment when I realized how much my grandmother would have loved that party – to be honored like that. I miss them.

June 8 Hugging Chandler. Breakfast with Chandler. The four of us in one room. Chandler is home.

June 15 Marley graduated high school. Hearing her name called was sublime. She was so happy and proud of herself. And I’m so happy for her.

graduation cap and gown
Look out world, here she comes.

July 5 Dinner alone at the hotel bar in Vancouver. A cute bartender/server. Delicious food. An eight ounce glass of wine. Heaven.

July 14 Hanging with Dave in Denver. Reconnecting. So nice to have a mini-vacay.

August 2 Talking to Marley after dinner about music and watching her eyes light up. Priceless.

August 19 Concerts in the Park with Mary. Drinking Sangria. Talking to friends. Loving my town.

September 23 Breakfast tacos with Rhiannon. A long solo walk on the San Antonio Riverwalk. Wine at an airport bar. I had a lovely, lovely day.

October 19 Borderline with Rita, Keri, and Linda for Jerrod Niemann. Country music – even when you don’t know the songs it makes you feel so good. (This one really breaks my heart.)

borderline
Our last night at Borderline.

November 5 My dad and I had to run an errand and he opened the car door for me and I remembered that is something that he does. Such a small gesture, but so nice and it made me happy to have stirred up that memory.

November 18 When I got home from writing group (after midnight) Marley and Hunter had made a very elaborate fort and were laying in it watching TV. Oh how I love that!

December 23 There was a time in the afternoon when we were all together in the house. Marley and I were baking cakes and I just had such a warm, happy feeling that we were all together. Home.

I’d love to hear from you. What do you think of when you reflect on (or upon) 2018?

backyard after the woolsey fire
My backyard last week – new growth (and hope) after the fire.

Milestones

Chandler graduated high school yesterday. In two days I’ll be 50. I feel like I should write something poignant and profound and beautiful and maybe just a little self-deprecating and funny.

All week I’ve been waiting for the words to flow out of me – an emotional floodgate burst open.

But…

Nothing.

It’s not that I don’t feel anything. Of course I do. I just can’t seem to grasp hold of the words. (That’s kind of a bad thing for a writer.)

In hopes of finding inspiration I meditate before sitting down to write and try to block out the sounds of the morning. The sprinklers go off – one of our two allotted days to water our lawn in this drought. The birds sing their morning song. The dishwasher chugs and swirls as we forgot to run it last night (again). The hum of the refrigerator, another damn cricket somewhere in this house, and the tick tick tick of the kitchen clock all compete for my attention.

Perhaps the words won’t come because these milestones are hard things to face.

Chandler put on his robe and mortarboard last night and marched with 550 of his classmates. My eyes filled with tears when I first caught sight of them. I’m proud of him and happy for him and so excited for the new adventures he’s about to face, but of course I wonder if I’ve done enough. Have I given him the skills he needs to be successful in this next phase of his life?

He won’t let me talk to him about girls, so I fear he won’t know how to treat them. He will literally walk out of the room if I bring up the subject. (Sorry future first girlfriend, you might be screwed.)

My kitchen is not really designed for more than one person to work at once (and maybe I’m just a bit of a control freak), so I never taught him to cook anything but grilled cheese, nachos and poached eggs. Not that he’ll be cooking in his dorm. But still. One day he’ll need to know.

At least he does know how to do his own laundry.

And speaking of milestones that are hard to face…

50!

When you turn 40 you can convince yourself that you probably have more days ahead of you than behind you, but that’s most likely not the case with 50. So the trick is how do I make the most of the days, weeks, months, years I have ahead of me? I still have a lot of time left, sure, but not enough to waste it.

I guess I need to tell myself the same things I need to tell Chandler.

Eat healthfully (most of the time).

Work hard and budget your money, but every once in a while it’s okay to splurge. (And most of the time it’s better to splurge on experiences than things.)

You will meet people who find happiness and contentment uninteresting and boring. They are wrong.

Being cool is overrated.

Don’t compare yourself to others. There will always be someone stronger, faster, smarter, more successful than you. Strive to be the very best YOU you can be.

Travel whenever you can.

Sing.

Dance.

Laugh.

Do not confuse the minutiae of daily life with dullness. Seek out the beauty of the everyday – the smell of ripe peaches in the fruit bowl, the vibrant colors of a summer sunset, a smile from a stranger, the wonder of all those stars in the night sky.

Savor every single bite of that bacon cheeseburger.

Make wishes on stars.

If you love someone tell them.

Follow your dreams. (Even if you’re 50 and your dream is to write and the words just won’t come.)

Don’t ignore the sound of the ticking clock. It ticks faster than you think.

Awesome Graduation Announcements from Minted

My firstborn will be graduating high school in a little less than three months and two months after that he’ll be out the door and off to college. (Which in mom-time is even less than the blink of an eye.) He’s got so much to do in that short amount of time and has so many important decisions to make. He needs to decide which college he’ll choose, where he’s going to get a summer job, who he’s going to ask to prom.

Of course I have a lot of important decisions to make too. How many people should I invite to his graduation party? What is the proper amount of time to wait before turning his bedroom into my office? What is the best brand of waterproof mascara to wear to this graduation ceremony?

And I have to choose his graduation announcements. They’ve come a long way since I graduated high school. My graduation announcement was a generic “Class of 83” fold-over card that you stuck a smaller card with your name on it into a little slot. They were pretty boring.

Thanks to minted.com the generic graduation announcement is a thing of the past. So if you’re looking for a place to find a graduation card that is as unique as your high school senior click here.

Take a look at some of minted’s awesome selection below:

Whether your looking for an announcement or an invitation, if classic designs are your thing, you can’t go wrong with this card.

classic-graduation-announcement
Classic and classy!

If you like something more modern showing off your son or daughter’s cute mug you might prefer a card like this.

Photo-Graduation-announcement
So handsome!

If you’re a braggy type of parent you have a high achiever you might like a card that showcases your graduate’s many accomplishments with a card like this.

year-in-review-graduation-announcement
That’s one fantastic senior year!

And if you really want to show your faraway family that your kid’s got the goods you can even order an announcement that’s a book!

Graduation announcement booklet
Great for kids with extended families that live far away.

One of the many things I love about minted.com is the fact that they give you different colors to choose from for most types of announcements or invitations. (Like in this whimsical one.)

whimsical graduation announcement
Both are so cute! Which one would you choose?

Speaking of whimsical, I love this graduation party invitation. (So cute!)

Graduation-Invitation

And of course you can get matching thank you cards

Graduation-thank-you-cards

and fancy envelopes.

Graduation envelope

So what will I be choosing for my graduate? Hmmm… I don’t know.

As the mother of an athlete, I have to admit I really love this card.

Athletic-Graduation-Card

I especially like the way it looks when I plug Chandler in there.

Graduation.20
No, Chandler’s not going to UCONN (but maybe after seeing this announcement they’ll want him to)!

Did I mention that you can preview your cards before buying them? See the little exclamation point on Chandler’s picture above? That’s an alert from minted telling me the picture will not print well due to its low resolution, so I’ll need to choose another photo. I feel confident that when I place an order with minted it will turn out perfectly.

I really like this announcement.

Graduation anouncement

Of course I’ll have to get a better picture. (Something a bit crisper without a messy kitchen counter in the background.) And it would also probably help if we knew where Chandler was going to school. (Nope, sorry, Awesome U in Not California is not a real school!)

But I also really like this one.

Graduation announcement off to college
He may be traveling when he goes to college but he’s leaving his heart in California. (I hope.)

It’s going to be tough to pick which one I like best. But the good news is, all the cards at minted.com are so great, it’s impossible to go wrong.

If you haven’t ordered your graduation announcements and invitations yet, I highly suggest you give minted.com a look. It takes about two weeks to get your order with standard shipping, so there’s still time. But you’d better hurry – you know that time will be gone in the blink of an eye!

Disclosure: I was given a credit by minted.com to facilitate this review, but the opinions of the awesomeness of Minted expressed are 100% my own. (But you don’t have to trust me – you have eyes don’t you?)

Photo credit of Chandler running: Debby Pattiz