Friday, March 29, 2019

Mom Life #FunnyFriday

Today’s post is March's Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of
every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants
submits a picture, then we all write five captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture.
Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up
with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Dawn of Cognitive Script. (Thank you, for such a cool pic!!) 

1. Son to Dad: Shouldn't we help her, Pa? 
Dad to son: Nah. She'll figure it all out. She always does. 

2. Mom to son and husband: If y'all had just listened to me, we wouldn't be in this mess. 

3. It was in that moment, Bill realized his prank may have gone too far. 

4. This is not what Bill had anticipated happening, when he told Susan she was such a witch. Oops. 

5. Moms will do ANYTHING for their families. #MomLife 

I hope I made you giggle at least once. If not, it's okay. My fellow bloggers always make funny captions. I hope you enjoy them all. I'll meet you there, after I get more coffee. 

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Holiday Dreaming #MakeUpYourOwnHoliday

It really does seem like there is a national (holi)day for everything. My favorites are probably National Coffee Day (September 29th) and National Peanut Butter Day (January 24th). If you saw me right now, eating my peanut butter and banana sandwich and drinking coffee, while I write this post, I think you would have probably guessed those. Well, there is even a day for making up your own holiday. Today, March 26th, is the day we can all make up our own holiday, and so my blogger friends and I, decided to each create a holiday.

Now, when approaching the idea, I spoke with Karen from Baking in a Tornado, about a particular holiday I wanted to create. It would be highly controversial, and I do not want to bring controversy to my blog. However, during my talk with her, we discussed how the sky is the limit. It is literally create your own holiday, and why not go big? So, while trying to figure out what holiday to invent, I had quite the stroll down Idea Way. There were Manatees, ice cream, pasta dishes galore, coffee, and just about anything else you could imagine. My mind truly went everywhere with this. Let me tell you, there are some amazing possibilities with this topic.

I finally settled on a somewhat dangerous, but mostly safe holiday. Now, since this is my blog, my post, and my holiday, I decided that for the sake of really getting to make any holiday I wanted, that whatever I chose, would be celebrated/honored, without question. I could easily say... Everyone Gets a Million Dollars Day, but unless everyone really gets the money, is it really a holiday?! No, I didn't choose that one, but wouldn't that be awesome?! I told you, there was quite a stroll down Idea Way, done by my mind.

I finally decided on..... National All Politicians Must Speak Only the Complete Truth All Day Long Day. Oh boy. What a day that would be. I chose it, because honestly, I think it is needed. Plus, if they have to all be completely honest on one day, then it will keep them in line the rest of the days, because come National APMSOTCTADL Day each year, they'd be in big trouble otherwise.

However, I have sad news, for some, and for others great news.... I changed my mind. It was a spur of the moment change. Chad had taken the suitcase of important things, I brought home from my Dad's house, out from under our bed, and I had been listening to tapes of my Dad singing and playing the guitar. In the moment, I knew that even though it is totally selfish, and I should really keep politicians honest, with my holiday, I wanted something more for me.

So, I hereby say, I would create National Loved Ones Get to Visit From Heaven Day. Final answer. They could come visit, and we could laugh and talk and hug. We could say the things we did not get to say before they died. We could introduce them to newborn family members. We can be with our loved ones again. That is it. For me, that is what I would do, if I really could make ANY holiday, and it need to be obeyed/honored/celebrated. I know I couldn't really do it, but it sure would be awesome.

My first big contender was National Swim with Manatees Day. I decided the impact might be more harmful than good, so I let it go. That is when I decided I wanted whatever holiday I created to have a positive impact. I think in the end, National LOGTVFH Day would be a positive thing. Especially since, I would write it into the decree, that the relatives that visit cannot do any harm while here. I would not want any revenge or anything happening. Just loved ones spending time with loved ones.

What holiday would you create?! 

Do not forget to go check out what holidays my fellow bloggers came up with! I will meet you there, as soon as I refill my cup.

Karen of Baking In A Tornado
Lydia of Cluttered Genius
Dawn of Spatulas On Parade
Rena of Wandering Web Designer

Friday, March 15, 2019

Never Die Alone #UseYourWords

Welcome to March's Use Your Words challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked four to six words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That is the challenge, here is a fun twist; no one who is participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

glory ~ days ~ shark ~ attack ~ surf and turf ~ gender fluid

It was submitted by: (Thank you for such AWESOME words!! We are a family who LOVES sharks, so these words made me smile!!)

When it comes to Use Your Words posts, I really let the words guide me. I just read my words, and then I somehow form a post. Some posts better than others. This month is different. This month, I knew what I was going to write about. I told myself that no matter what words I was given, I was going to write about the topic I selected. Now, I took one look at my words, and realized that I had made a HUGE mistake. However, I am still going to go with it. So, buckle up, because based on these words, this is going to be one helluva ride, trying to use all these words.

Many years ago, not quite my glory days, but not exactly my worst days, I was battling depression, and most days I was winning the war. I remember I was mad at myself, because I had gone through so much worse, and survived, and here I was barely surviving much less hard times. I guess that was probably when I realized depression makes no sense. At least, not to me. I am sure there are people with big degrees, that probably have a pretty good understanding of depression. I have no big degrees, and I really feel like my only understanding about it, is that I do not understand it.

When someone suffers a shark attack, you can see the injuries and the damage that is done. The wounds with depression are invisible, and they cannot be seen. You can easily be sitting right next to someone fighting depression with every cell of their being, and outwardly, they look amazing and wonderful. I was once told that depression was a silent killer, and it does make sense to me. I know personally, the majority of the times I have battled it, the people around me had no idea. I have a really good poker face, at least where depression is concerned. I think my actual poker face is pretty decent also, but I may be biased.

So, back to many years ago... I had an amazing friend that saved my life. If you ask him, and he knew I was okay with him talking about it, I think he would very humbly tell you that he saved my life once. The reality is that he has actually saved my life numerous times. I do not know if that was his original intention, or if it is just a lucky side effect of what he did for me. 

Somehow, I survived Kateri's death. Actually, I say somehow, as if I do not know how I did it, and that is not entirely true. I survived it, because once I reached absolute rock bottom, and I knew I was going to give up and just kill myself, because the pain of losing my child was just too overwhelming, I walked into the emergency room of the local hospital, and I told them I needed help because I was going to kill myself. My memories are fuzzy after that. I remember being brought into a room, laying down on a hospital gurney. I remember just crying. So. Many. Tears. I remember talking to a nurse. I remember a doctor coming in and being told they were getting me a bed in the psychiatric ward and they would help me. I remember them giving me a shot.

My next memory comes five days later, in the wee hours of the morning, waking up to a phlebotomist drawing my blood. She smiled at me, and said she was shocked to see me awake. I made small talk with her. I think I mostly commented on the fact that I was safe and still alive. She told me that she was glad to see me up, and she would send the nurse right in. The nurse came in, and he brought me up to speed. I had been in the hospital five days at that point. They had kept me pretty heavily medicated, because apparently, any time I was not sleeping, I would wake up and just cry hysterically. So, they decided I needed some rest. Considering I could not remember the last time I had really slept, I think they made a wise choice. 

The first thing I did was shower. As I was showering, I let my thoughts and feeling pour over me. I cried. I scrubbed. I just let it all out, and washed it all away. I spent a few weeks there, getting therapy and creating a plan for my life when I got out. Considering I walked in those emergency room doors unable to even imagine a future, I would say that was a good thing. I spent the next few years living, and creating memories. Some good, some bad. Years of memories I never would have had, had I not went into that emergency room.

Eventually, I met my nemesis Depression again, and that time I did not end up in an emergency room. I ended up in my bed, on the phone with my friend Jay. I told him I was so tired of fighting with depression, especially since it made no sense to me. If I could survive losing Kateri, I should really be able to survive anything. During our conversation, he never judged me. He never told me not to kill myself. He did say that he felt killing myself would be a mistake, but that it was my life, and he really had no right to tell me what to do.

The thing he said that saved my life, that time and various other times, was very simple. He made me promise him that anytime I ever decided I was going to kill myself, I would call him first. He was very adamant that I promise him. He knew that I never break a promise, and will go above and beyond to keep one. He explained to me that he would never judge me, so that I did not need to be worried about telling him. He just needed to know, because he did not want me to die alone. He also did not want my body waiting for days or weeks, to be cared for properly. He told me he also wanted a chance, to just ask me if I was certain that I was doing what I REALLY wanted to do. As long as it was what I REALLY wanted, he would accept my choice, and make sure that I died knowing I was not alone and that I was very much loved.

We talked for hours, until we were both exhausted, and then we went to bed, and picked up the conversation the next day. Some time during that next day, I changed my mind, and I told him that this was not the time. He again made me promise, that whenever the time came, I would absolutely call him. I promised. It is a promise I have kept. It is a promise that saved my life. 

It is a promise I recently made a dear friend of mine make to me. He was going through a rough patch, and he scared the crap out of me, and I remember the conversation I had all those years ago, and I said the same thing to him, that Jay had said to me, and I demanded the same promise. I can only hope, that the promise he made me, helps him as much as the promise I made to Jay helped me.

Jay was really on his A game that day. I think more than he even realized. He kept me talking, which I think really helped. He asked me a million questions, and we had a million mini debates. One that sticks out, what our debate about last meals. He wanted to know what I would want my last meal to be, if I could have ANYTHING. I chose wisely. I wanted a fully stocked salad bar, and I just wanted to eat like five huge salads. If you ask me, it is perfection. He however, chose surf and turf, french fries, and cheesecake. Admittedly, I did not like steaks as much then, as I do now, so I was incredibly unimpressed back then. Also, if you are going to have just one type of potato be part of your meal... How do you choose fries over mashed potatoes?!?! Also, cheesecake?! I can think of at least five desserts better than cheesecake. So, suffice it to say, we spent at least an hour debating last meals, and I spent a good portion of that time laughing.

Laughing is a definite good thing, when you are depressed, especially if it is genuine laughter. Yeah, Jay was so on his A Game that day, and I will forever be grateful.

I have battled depression several times over the years, and I can honestly say, I am grateful to report that the thought of suicide has not come up very often. I guess I am just getting better at battling it. However, anytime it has come to mind, I have immediately remembered my promise to Jay. I can honestly tell you, that promise has saved my life. Every. Single. Time. I know, that before I can end my life, I have to call and talk to Jay. Every time that it has come to that point, I have managed to make myself realize, that is not a call I need to make, nor is it one I want to make. Somehow, some way, I muster up the strength necessary to battle on. 

This past December, I found myself pondering a call to Jay. I ended up calling my doctor instead. I reached out and got the help I needed. I am still sad about my dad being gone, but every day I wake up, and every day I battle the sadness, and every day I get a little bit stronger, and feel a little bit better. I still have these moments, where I forget he is gone, and I think about something I need to call and tell him, and then the realization that I cannot call him crashes over me. Those moments are probably the hardest, but I get through them.

If you are reading this, and you are thinking about suicide, I would love to invite you to reach out to me. I promise you, I will not judge you. I will listen. I will offer any advice I am able to. I will help you get help, if you want it. Most importantly, I will make sure you are not alone. Nobody should be alone, when they are making some of the hardest choices a human being can make.

We are all human beings. I do not care if you are white, black,  Asian, deaf, male, tall, fat, short, skinny, gender fluid, French, female, straight, Catholic, trans, medium height, Baptist, queer, or ANY other type of human being.... You deserve to live. You deserve love. You deserve compassion and empathy. You deserve friendship. You deserve all life has to offer. We are ALL humans, and we are ALL worthy of the goodness life has to offer.

We also deserve to have moments of weakness and doubt. We deserve to be sad. We deserve to struggle to process events that happen to us. We deserve to be human. 

So, if you are struggling with depression, please let me be your Jay. Let me help you to make sure that you are not making the wrong choice. Let me support you. Let me be there for you. Let me listen. 

If you are not comfortable with reaching out to me.... Reach out to the person you are comfortable reaching out to. Reach out to your Jay. 

In the end, I hope you choose to stay. If you don't... I promise I won't judge you. I promise I won't hate you. I promise I will love you fiercely and I promise I will talk to you. I choose to believe the ones we love, who are gone from this Earth, can hear us. So, yes, I will talk to you. Yes, I will love you. Yes, I will let you know that it is okay.

Just, please, do not hesitate to reach out to me. I am here for you, even if I do not know you. Knowing you does not mean anything to me. I know you are a human. I know you are worthy. That is all that matters.

Please, do not forget to check out the rest of this month's Use Your Words posts. I will meet you there, right after I get more coffee. These days, I seem to need all the coffee and then some. 

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Monday, March 11, 2019

Thawed Out #BlogWithFriends

Welcome to March's Blog with Friends Round-up. This month, we chose the theme Winter Thaw. I live in California, so we don't really have much of a thaw here, but we do have that glorious transition from Winter to Spring. It is one of my favorite times of the year. It always feels so new and full of promise.

Do you enjoy the switch from Winter to Spring? Are you more of a Winter fan? I was as a child, but now as an adult with aches and pains, I tend to love everything but Winter, and I am often so grateful we don't get snow. Nonetheless, the last few days of Winter, and the first weeks of Spring, are some of my favorite of the entire year.

If you know me at all, you know that I am not one with many traditions, and I have been working on creating as many as I can. There has been a lot of trial and error.  We try new things, and stick with the things we like, and call the others tried. I have found a few that we definitely embrace yearly, or at least as often as we can. These are the things that really signal the end of Winter, and the start of Spring for us. 

1. Attend a local Spring festival. I wanted to put this one first, because it is truly my favorite thing, as simple as it is. Whenever the weekend arrives for our Spring Festival, my mood immediately gets a million percent better. I think it is safe to say, that I have moods that are easily impacted by the season, and Spring is like healing medicine for my mood. We do not even have to do anything super exciting at the festival, just being there, it is all I need. So, I highly recommend finding a Spring Festival in your area, and attend it. 

2. Out with the old, in with the new. Nothing says good bye to Winter more than Spring Cleaning, and getting your home refreshed. Normally, I also put up a few Spring decor items. We especially love to decorate the windows, doorway, and the porch flower pot. 

3. Spring crafts. This is something that is going to be new for us this year. Gigi is really into arts and crafts lately, and I have some simple crafts from Target's Dollar Spot to do. I was also thinking about trying a few I saw on Pinterest. I figured this would be a fun and easy way, for Gigi and I, to get ourselves into the spirit of Spring. 

4. Start doing more outside play. This definitely signals the end of Winter for us. When we start doing regular park trips, that means Winter is finally leaving. This year, we have new bikes, and I am hoping to add fun bike rides into the mix. I have this crazy idea, about trips to get ice cream or cookies, and then riding back home in time for Sunset. 

5. Makeover. This is something new I have planned for this year, and if it goes how I think it will, I will probably make it a tradition. We always focus on changing and cleaning our home at Spring. Well, this year, I plan on doing a mini makeover on myself. Now, I have not finalized my plans, but I will definitely be getting a pastel pedicure, and my hair is getting changed. I just do not know exactly what I am going to do to my hair yet. I originally thought about cutting it short, but then I decided I definitely want to keep the length. I had decided on getting a perm, and now I am on the fence on that as well, since I spent so many years of my life getting my curls removed. So, I am thinking a change in color, but my mind is blank. I have been doing red since my Dad passed away, and I LOVE it, but again, why just change the house decor? So, I will let you know on my Facebook page, what I decide on, but my look is definitely getting refreshed for Spring. Honestly, I don't know why I had not thought of this before, and I think it will be a tradition. I will even add Gigi into it, once she is a bit older.

6. Menu Refresh. This is something I just recently decided. I was sitting down, thinking of ideas for dinner, and I realized I was tired of everything. I then realized it is because we do the same meals over and over. I do have a few meals, that are Summer only meals, but usually just the same meals on rotation. Well, I have started compiling a list of meals to add into the mix. A few will probably be year round, but many are meals that scream Spring to me. I know many folks already cater their menus to the seasonal foods, but this will be a first for me. I am pretty excited.

7. New batteries, new towels, new pot holders, new scents. With the change of the season, I like to change the batteries in the smoke alarms and remotes. I also do a update on kitchen towels and pot holders. Plus, I bring more floral scents into our plug-ins, candles, and car scents. Spring means floral and soft to me. I like things to be fresh and fun. 

8. New books. Every few months, I like to pick out some books to read, and then I spend the next few months reading them. I tend to cater the choices to the season and my mood. For some reason, whenever Winter is coming to an end, and Spring is arriving, I like to read inspirational books, funny books, cookbooks, and historical fiction. I will be picking new books soon. I already have "Girl Wash Your Face" ready to go. I also want to do a re-read of "The Power of Broke". I just need a few others, and I will be set. Please, feel free to recommend any you think I should read. I am always open to book suggestions.

9. Love Manteca. Here in our town, we have a citywide volunteer day, that is focused on members of the community completing various projects around the city, and improving our city, and welcoming Spring. I hear that these are pretty popular all over, so if you check, you probably have something in your area. If not, maybe you could start it? Maybe you could get your neighborhood together, and do a project that improves your neighborhood. Doing good deeds is never a bad idea. The Love Manteca is usually a busy weekend for us, because it tends to be very close to the same time as our yearly 5k, but this year, we have some time between the two, and I am extra excited for both events.

10. Goal. This is something I just read about. Seasonal goals. I am definitely going to make this a thing. It was suggested to make two goals per season. A goal of something you want to change and a goal of something you want to improve. It was also suggested to try a goal you want to accomplish. I am going to try for the first two, and if I can work in the third, yay. Do you do this? Have you heard of it? I am interested to try it. I always hear about New Year's goals, and often mostly about failure of them. So, I like this idea of doing something which each season.

Tell me about your favorite signals of Winter's end. Are you happy about it or sad?! I feel like most people tend to get happy about it. I really think it is just the freshness that Spring seems to add to life.

Make sure you check out the rest of this month's Blog With Friends Winter Thaw posts!

Karen of Baking In A Tornado
Hash Brown Crusted Shrimp Quiche

Dawn of Spatulas On Parade
Fiesta Biscuit Bake

Lydia of Cluttered Genius
Warm up with a 5k (Tips from a Not-So-Athletic Runner)

Here are a few links, to craft projects I found on Pinterest, and plan on attempting with Gigi.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Ten Years Later #SecretSubjectSwap

Welcome to a March's Secret Subject Swap. This week nine brave bloggers created a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

#10YearChallenge – your way

It was submitted by: Tamara of  (Thank you, T!!!)

I immediately thought of three ways to use this prompt. It was very hard to decide which to do. My immediate thought, was to post a picture of me from 2009 and one of me from today. Voila! Challenge met. However, I felt like that was too easy. Plus, it says "your way", and that means I can choose to do anything I want. Endless possibilities. Well, not really. I could only think of two.

After careful consideration, I have decided to tell you ten HOPES I have for my life in ten years. I like the thought of hopes over goals. I feel like a goal needs to be realistic. Something that can be able to be achieved. Hope leads to more possibilities. Some realistic and maybe some reaching for the stars. So, none of these things may be true of my life in ten years, possibly some of them will be true of my life, and most likely not all of them will be. Hey, I had to reach for the stars a little.

So, in no particular order, here are ten things I hope are true about my life in ten years.

1. Gigi and I are very close. We are not just mother and daughter, but friends. She does well in school, has a great group of close friends, she is a hard worker, and she is rarely in trouble; not to mention the trouble she gets into is very minor.

2. I won the lottery. It was the largest win in lottery history. I invested a large amount of the money wisely, and receive a large monthly profit from each investment, and plan on doing as much good as possible with my money, as well as laying the foundation for my ancestors to do the same, while maintaining steady profits.

3. I have fully funded over fifty no-kill animal rescues around the United States of America, and animals needing emergency shelter, are no longer out of luck.

4. I designed a state of the art, fully loaded, ten bedroom suite home. It includes all the amenities a person could want their home to include. It has a very warm, cozy home feeling to it, despite being a modern, fully smart home.

5. I have a solid following on my blog, and have written some blogs that I am incredibly proud of. I not only have improved my writing skills, but my photography skills as well, and my blog has become a lovely, virtual memory book of our exciting life. I have become even closer with my blogger friends, and host blogger retreats every six months.

6. Since we no longer needed to have income coming in from any source, other than my investments, Chad retired. We spend our days volunteering, exploring the world around us, creating memories with friends and each other, and leaving a positive mark on this world.

7. Thanks to medical advancements, I live a healthy, pain-free life. I am able to be as active as I want, and I am well on my way to completing a marathon and triathlon in each of the United States and its territories.

8. I have developed a deep friendship with Matt Damon, and our families regularly get together for holidays and vacations.

9. With the help of several other philanthropic friends, I have helped to develop a stable renewable energy infrastructure throughout all of North America, along with efficient water treatment facilities. We are hoping to one day supply the entire world with affordable, environmentally conscious energy and clean drinking water. We have made leaps and bounds in the efforts to permanently reverse the effects of global warming, as well as repairing the most badly damaged areas of our ecosystem.

10. Oh and I almost forgot... I really hate being called Madam President, but I respect the fact people wish to address me in a way, that shows respect for my newly elected position. 

If you are going to hope, you may as well go big!

I have also decided to include ten predictions for how my life will actually be in ten years. If I am still blogging then, it will be fun to compare the reality with my predictions.

1. I will still be unmarried.
2. I will have at least a Bachelor's degree.
3. I will have a very close relationship with Gigi, and will be in full-blown panic mode, over her impending leaving of the nest.
4. I will own a cat.
5. We will finally be living in a home larger than the tiny one we are in now, but still be renting.
6. I will still be volunteering with the local Food Bank, and still doing random acts of volunteering and kindness every chance I get.
7. I will be one hundred pounds lighter than I am now.
8. I will still have long hair, but it will be mostly all gray.
9. I will still be living in chronic pain, but I will still have a positive attitude. Due to my pure stubbornness, I will still only be using a wheel chair part of the time, but I imagine my bone issues will have progressed significantly by then.
10. I will still be praying to meet Matt Damon in person one day.

How do you think I did with my predictions? I feel fairly confident about them. Do you have a prediction about the me ten years from now? How about one about the you ten years from now?

Here are links to all the sites now featuring March's Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a drink, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado                 
Cognitive Script                    
My Brand of Crazy                      


Welcome to June's Blog with Friends!! Each month a theme is chosen and then participating bloggers use the theme, to create their own un...