Looking Back on 2019

My husband would like you to know that the new decade does not start until next year – 2021, so everybody needs to calm down. (Because, you know, year one started at one, not at zero, so decades start with ones and end with zeros, not start with zeros and end with nines.)

Of course I pointed out to him that whether it is a new decade or not, it is now the 2020’s and no longer the 2010’s, so maybe focus on that. Nobody likes a know-it-all.

One thing I do know is that I don’t have the energy (or the attention span) to focus on the past decade whether it’s come to an end or not. But if I were to give some brief highlights of the past 10 years (I know, I know – brevity is not my strength) these few things come to mind:

I started the decade with a child in middle school and a child in elementary school and now I have a college graduate and a college student.

I had a book published.

I ran two 10Ks. (I never in my life thought I’d ever run a 5K.)

10K runner
There I am, getting ready to run my first 10K.

I became a country music fan (which, believe me, 10 years ago I would have found even more unlikely than becoming a runner).

Old Dominion Meet And Greet
Hot country rockstars & happy me!

I turned 50. (Which is both awesome and terrible. But mostly awesome. Mostly.)

50-and-Fabulous
I’m 50 and I’m Fabulous!

But more than anything I learned that when I set my mind on something and work hard and focus, I can accomplish it. It may not turn out as planned, but I can do it. I have the power to make things happen. (We all do.) I just have to remind myself to set goals and focus rather than get bogged down by my inner-laziness and the general minutiae of daily life.

But again… I’m not reflecting on the 2010’s. I’m reflecting on 2019. And the minutiae of my life last year.

On the first day of this year I ran away and hid from my family and read over my happiness journal – my calendar where I write down the happiest moment of my day. And I have to tell you – some days are shit and it’s hard to find a happy moment. And some days are so great, that all of it is my happy moment. But most days are in between. I wouldn’t call them boring. Just… ordinary. And so my happy moments are often the same – dinner with Dave and Marley, sleeping in my own bed after a trip, a wonderful meal during a trip, the inspiration and love I feel from my writers’ group (even though I haven’t really been writing this year), happy hour with friends, walking my dog.

Here are some of the moments that stuck out for me as I read my calendar. Some of them big. Most of them quite small. All of them the sum of the parts that make up a happy life.

January 17 – First Writers’ Group of the year. What a happy heart that gives me. Especially at the end when we lit a candle and set our intention for the year. How lucky and grateful I am to be part of this tribe of women.

January 29 – I went to Trader Joe’s after work and the sunset was beautiful. I heard a girl working there say to one of her co-workers, “Go look at the sunset. Trust me.” He went to look and afterwards told her, “Thank you. That was beautiful.”

February 7 – Happy hour with Debbie, Jeannie. and Linda. When we were leaving Jeanne hugged me so tightly and said, “I was really looking forward to seeing your face. I told Jimmy I was seeing a playgroup mom tonight.” Playgroup days were the best days and old friends are the best friends.

February 28 – Landed at LAX. Home! When I came down the escalator to the exit I saw a family waiting anxiously for a loved one at the bottom and a guy waiting for someone as well. The girl in front of me dove into his arms and they gave each other the biggest embrace. I felt like I was in the middle of Love Actually.

March 24 – Playgroup mom mini-reunion. Chandler and his first best friend Katie were reunited. Seeing them catch up and catching up with some of my first mom friends filled my heart with love and happiness.

March 26 – I finally saw Matt Nathanson last night and it was everything I thought it would be and more. It was AMAZING. (He’s also very funny.)

If you ever have the chance to see Matt Nathanson live, do it. He is amazing.

April 15 – I put a picture of Marley when she was five on my phone as the screensaver. She is on the pumpkin patch field trip and she is just done. She looks so cute and it makes me so happy every time I look at it.

This girl is done!

May 5 – I met Dave Grohl and got my picture taken with him. The end!

Look how happy Dave Grohl is to meet me!

May 12 – Marley gave me a thoughtful present and lovely Mother’s Day card. She does appreciate me and I love her so much.

May 20 – Seeing Chandler walk across the stage at his graduation ceremony and hearing his name called. He had the hugest smile on his face. His happiness shined through.

I realize he is not walking across the stage in this photo, but those photos were blurry AF.

June 8 – I spent the day with Rita in Ventura. All of it. I’m so blessed to have this friendship.

June 16 – At the end of Concerts in the Park I was watching the families with small kids running around, playing – knowing they didn’t realize how quickly this season of their lives would pass. I was filled with such a feeling of calmness and happiness and nostalgia. It was almost overwhelming. I wanted to hug the feeling and hold it tightly forever.

June 26 – I walked Geordie through the park tonight. There was a father and son playing baseball, a mother doing a word search puzzle while her son played on the jungle gym, a family having a picnic on a blanket, and a woman laying on the grass playing with her little dog. And not one of them was on their phone.

July 5 – I drove up to Cheryl’s house in Sacramento and I finally met my longtime blogging friend, Kim Sisto Robinson in person and she is as down to earth and lovely as I knew she’d be.

Look at these beauties – my longtime skirt! blogging friends Kim & Cheryl.

August 3 – Beach with Rita. My first time this summer just hanging out at the beach. Stepping onto the sand and smelling the ocean and the sunscreen just filled my heart with joy.

August 23 – Driving from Knoxville to the Cumberland Gap. What a gorgeous drive. I played music from my phone through the car stereo and took in the beauty. I kept thinking how Chandler would have loved that drive.

September 1 – Just me and Marley for dinner. We played 3 games of Rummy Tile afterwards. She beat me twice! GRRRR! This competitive mama does not like that! But it was so nice to spend the night with her.

September 23 – Chandler snuck home at 3AM. I had no idea. Seeing him walk into the den and say, “What’s for breakfast, Mom?” was the best surprise ever.

October 8 – Marley got an A on her Women’s History test and she was so happy and so proud of herself. (And so was I.)

November 12 – Listening to Bean’s last show on the Kevin & Bean podcast. So many memories. I’ve been listening to that show for over half my life.

December 9 – The fall colors have been making me so happy. I thought fall had passed us by, but it’s here and it’s glorious.

December 31 – We ate too much and drank too much and binge-watched The Politician (Ryan Murphy at his best). The kids were in and out – mostly out – and it was nothing fancy or exciting, but it was nice to know that this is my life. I have enough. I am content.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you. This was a long one. (I know. I know. They’re all long ones.) I hope your 2019 (and your 2010’s) was full of more happy moments then sad ones and you’ve been able to take the time to reflect on them. I’d love to hear what some of them are.

Here’s to love and laughter in 2020 and beyond.

Happy Mother’s Day

I think that most of my readers are probably moms. And to you I’d like to say thank you. We’re all busy. I know that. And the fact that you take a minute or two (or or seven because my posts are so damn long) out of your day to read the randomness that comes out of my head means more to me than you could ever know.

(And to you non-moms – I know you’re busy too. Thank you as well!)

As a token of my appreciation I’d like to give you a Mother’s Day gift. (Yes, even you non-moms. Jeez, for not being mothers you sure are naggy!)

What is this gift you ask? Flowers? An iPad? A spa day? A gift card to Trader Joe’s? Nope, sorry. As much as I’d love to give you all those things it’s not quite what my pocketbook will allow. So instead I’ve been trolling the internet (or okay, mostly Pinterest) to find things that will make you mothers (and non-mothers) laugh.

As my Mother’s Day gift to you, I’d like to present you with the gift of laughter…

 

Mothers-Day-love-note
So heartwarming

 

To moms of toddlers (I hope)…

bed-wetting-humor
I might or might not have done this before

 

Why it’s important to like your kids’ friends’ parents…

parenting-humor-playdate
Uh, you mean playdates were supposed to be for the kids? Oops!

 

You know something is broken when this happens…

silence-is-golden-humor
so true… so true..

 

For moms who feel like they’re talking to walls (who are probably better listeners)…

mom-humor
What did you say?

 

And finally, as the mother of a teenage daughter who just spent her spring break trying to break the Guinness Book of World Records for continuous watching of YouTube videos on her iPod, I find this one especially funny…

mom-computer-humor
Go play outside!

 

And I have saved the very best for last. Please do yourself a favor and watch this hilarious video from MommyTonk. I promise it will make you laugh out loud. (It’s so funny you might be the one thanking me!)

To all of you mothers, from the bottom of my heart, I would love to wish you love, laughter, a brunch with bottomless Bloody Marys, and a very Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

How I Spent My Mother’s Day

On my very first Mother’s Day, when Chandler was just five months old, I woke up with Bells Palsy*, thought I had a stroke, and went to the emergency room.

For those of you who don’t know what Bells Palsy is, it’s a form of facial paralysis, where half your face is frozen and the other half works just fine. I could not close my left eye and was constantly drooling. So attractive. (On an up note, the frozen side was completely wrinkle free – attractive indeed!)

The ER doctor told me that the cause was most likely stress. (Don’t ever let anyone tell you that motherhood isn’t stressful!)

When I asked him how long it would last he very nonchalantly told me that it could be permanent. (Asshole.)

I dare you to top that with your “I had a crappy Mother’s Day” story.

That Monday I went to a Chinese neurologist who mixed old world and new world medicine and hooked me up with a mad prescription of acupuncture and Prednisone. I recovered in about six weeks.

So… needless to say, every Mother’s Day since -even the ones that I’ve hosted and had to spend all day Saturday cleaning have been wonderful.

My kids are older now so I no longer get school projects as Mother’s Day gifts.

DIY-potpourri
The potpourri in this decoupaged holder mostly smells like dust these days.

 

Mothers-Day-craft
Chandler was so proud of himself when he made this.

No more acrostic poems.

mothers-day-acrostic-poem
How much did I swoon when 5-year-old Marley told me I was pretty AND hysterical? (Answer – A lot!)

No more handmade cards or laminated signs permanently magneted to our refrigerator .

mothers-day-refrigerator-art
Tell your kid “I work so hard” enough times and they’ll have their preschool teacher make a sign that says so.

homemade-mothers-day-card
Yes, I do keep ALL of my Mother’s Day gifts.

I do get breakfast in bed – a crumb donut and coffee. To be honest, the kids enjoy the donuts more than me and I really only eat them because it makes the kids so happy. (Yes, even on Mother’s Day it’s all about the kids.)

Chandler clipped some roses from our garden.

Mothers-day-roses
Sweet, but I don’t think he’ll grow up to be a florist.

And then left the rose clippers on the kitchen counter

rose-pruners
Guess who put these away?

.

Then we went to breakfast. (Because that donut? I was hungry 5 minutes after I ate it.)

For the last few years we’ve been going to the local Boy Scout troop’s pancake breakfast. It’s all-you-can-eat pancakes, eggs, ham, fruit and bagels. The Boy Scouts are the waiters and the dads cook the food. There is always a wait, the  food is cold or lukewarm at best, and the Boy Scouts are pretty terrible waiters. (They try hard, but they are after all, children.)

pancake-breakfast
A Mother’s Day Feast!

Hmmm… a wait, lukewarm food, and bad service…

Not much different from going to a fancy restaurant for an overpriced Mother’s Day brunch if you ask me.

Except that this brunch only costs $5. And everyone in town is there. It’s my suburban town’s social event of the season. (Yeah, I might live in the suburbs of Los Angeles, but trust me, it’s still pretty Mayberry.)

It’s held at the clubhouse of a beautiful lake that looks like you are in some vacation dreamland rather than five minutes from the suburbs of Los Angeles.

Malibou-Lake
Malibou Lake (yes I spelled that right!)

There are baskets that are raffled. I’ve won one in the past and so has my mom. This year Marley won one. (Hardly fair, since she’s not a mother!)

raffle-gift-baskets

wine-gift-basket
I’m sure it won’t shock anyone to know this is the basket I was hoping to win.

All the moms get a pink carnation. (Hey, only the best for moms right?)

My kids dress up. (Well… dress up-ish.)

family
One happy mom.

It’s nothing fancy. And sure I’d rather be at the spa at The Four Seasons like my good friend Sophie (okay maybe not everyone in town goes to the Boy Scout breakfast). But it sure beats the ER!

And honestly… it’s just lovely. And there’s (almost) no place else I’d rather be.

 

*BTW – Just so you know, I KNOW it’s Bell’s Palsy and NOT Bells Palsy, but people who search the term on the world’s most popular search engine don’t seem to know that, so yeah, I risked looking stupid just so I could show up in search engines. Go ahead and say it – I’m a search word whore!