Monday, January 2, 2012

The Necklace

Well, I made it through 2011!  And, as I do every year, I spent some time yesterday reflecting on what I had accomplished in the last year,  and what I could do better this year.  Only this year, I got to do all of that thinking at the beach.  There’s no better way to reflect than to be sitting in nature, and being in total awe of all the beautiful things around you.
 So, with all of this thinking, I realized that I have to really be listening to my inner voice and make sure that I really move forward with my gut instincts.  I spend a lot of time analyzing things, and I am convinced that it makes me really miss out on blessings because I’m too busy thinking it through and not opening myself up to receive.  
I had this lesson driven home for me at the Arts and Crafts market that was going on at the beach.  I was browsing about some of the booths, and stumbled upon a display of some very beautiful handmade jewelry.  After the last few years of this crazy real estate market, I have become very accustomed to NOT spending money.  However, there was this necklace that really intrigued me.  It was made with Amethyst, turquoise and peridot.  It was just beautiful.    I tried it on, and I really gave it a lot of thought.  As always, I decided that I needed to think about it.  It wasn’t a ton of money, but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it.   The vendor told me that he would be there for another hour or so, but gave me his card in case I missed him. 
So,  I went back to my beach chair and tried to forget about it.  But… the more I thought about it , the more I realized that I wanted to buy myself a present.  I had some Christmas money,  I deserved it, right?   So, I headed back over to the market to buy it.   But when I got back to the booth ,  the artist was packing everything up.  So, I told him that I had decided that I just had to have the necklace.  But, in the hour that it took me to figure it out, someone else had bought it!  Seriously?  He had been there all day, and someone came up right after me and bought the very necklace that was perfect for me!    Of course, this happens all the time, right? 
Well… I was terribly disappointed.  But, I told my kids that I had just experienced a very good life lesson.  “If you really want something, you cannot hesitate.  You will miss out on a lot in life if you don’t go for it.  Someone else will jump in and grab your blessings if you wait.”   I guess, I didn’t realize how excited I was about doing something “just for me”  until I hesitated and missed out.  And,  I realized more than anything, that I missed out A LOT because I hesitated more than I should!  I’ll bet I repeated that same statement over and over for the next hour! 
So… as the day came to an end,  I went back to the house to start packing up to come home.  Tom asked me to pack our clothes while he went outside to start packing things in the truck.   As I opened the top drawer and started loading his shirts into the suitcase, I found it…  There in a beautiful little sheer sack was the necklace, strategically placed for me to find at exactly the right moment.  
 My sweet husband had slipped back to the market (saying he had to go to the bathroom), bought the necklace and worked out the story with the artist.  He knew that I would come back, and  he made sure that the man did not give him up!  Both girls were in on it too.  The only one that didn’t know was ME!  He had quietly bought it, took it home, and worked out a plan for me to “stumble on it”.   And when I did, I sobbed.    Yes, I really wanted the necklace.  But, I got so much more.  You see, my husband picked up on how much I liked it and went to great lengths to surprise me with it.  The necklace is so much more special now that so much love was put into making sure I had it. 
Yes… I hesitated, and I learned a valuable lesson.  I definitely need to pay attention and make sure that I go after what I want, and be open to blessings that are in front of me.   However,  I also learned that sometimes,  you can miss out on an even bigger blessing when you set your sights too small.  I thought I wanted a necklace.  But, I ended up with a beautiful reminder of the love that goes into helping others  get what they want.    Yes, I am feeling the love, and it is wonderful.     
So, today, when I put on my t-shirt and sweat pants for the 8 hour drive home, I also put on my beautiful necklace.  It dressed up my outfit, and my attitude!    My mom always told me that whatever you do on the first day of the year will set the course for the year.   So,  I’m guessing that I’m going to have an amazing year full of blessings and love!   And, I have the necklace to prove it!

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's Christmas Adam!

The other day, my neighbor called to chat with my husband.  He asked Tom,  “What are ya’ll doing for Adam?’   Tom was totally confused, and asked him what he was talking about… “Who is Adam?”  He was wondering if maybe our neighbor was referring to our daughter’s boyfriend, and had just forgotten his name.  But, he kept on asking “What are you doing for Adam?”   Finally, Tom bit and politely asked, (the way men do)...  “What in the world are you talking about?”

Well… ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?   Our neighbor thoughtfully explained… “Well, first there was Adam, THEN there was Eve.   So we celebrate Christmas Adam first!  We open one gift on the 23rd , Christmas Adam.  Then we open one gift on the 24th , Christmas Eve… Then we open the rest of our gifts on Christmas Day!”   Now… that my friend, is funny!    What a way to stretch out the holidays!

Yes… you learn something new EVERY day.   And, today I learned about Christmas Adam! How in the world did I grow up not knowing this?   I mean, this seems like something that a kid would definitely need to know!   Yet, here I am 50, and I’m just now hearing about it.  What ELSE have I missed?  I guess there’s a New Year’s Adam too?  Well, who knew?     

I definitely wish I had known about this before I scheduled WORK today!  I would have said I couldn’t work because it’s a holiday!  Why not?   Now that I know about it, I absolutely HAVE to celebrate it!  It a RULE!    

This time of year makes everyone crazy trying to shop and bake and find time to get everything done.  It’s not supposed to be this way, but it is!  So, take some time off  today and celebrate Christmas Adam!   It’s a good excuse to relax for a minute!  Why not?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Anniversary Card

Today, my husband and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary.   It’s been a wonderful, crazy, insane, wacky, tearful, joyful, happy, sometimes stressful, always exciting 27 years.  How do we do it?  Well, the truthful answer is… the hard way!  And that’s an understatement. 

It takes hard work, a lot of prayer and a good sense of humor to stay married these days.  And, we’ve managed to hold it together for a long time. When someone asks Tom how long we’ve been married,  he’ll reply “ONE HUNDRED and twenty seven years.”   This always gets a chuckle.  My standard reply is “Three of the best years of my life!  I’ve been married 27 years, but three of them were really good!”    Yes, we crack each other up.

September is one of our busiest months.  So, we usually end up working long hours right through our anniversary and we celebrate later with a weekend trip instead of a present.   Many times, we don’t even have time to stop and get a card.  A few years ago, after the kids left for school, we ran to Target to grab a card for each other.   We were standing there side by side reading cards and started laughing at the irony of the whole situation.  There we both were, trying to buy a sentimental card at the very last minute.  I just handed Tom a card and said “Read this!  This is card that I was going to give you.”  He handed me one and said “Here’s the one that I was going to get for you!”  We read the cards, shared a quick kiss and put them back.  We laughed all the way to Starbucks and spent the card money on lattes.    You can’t do that in the early years, but it makes for a very funny story when you’ve been married for a long time.   

This year is no different.  We have appointments all day.  We’re planning to celebrate Saturday night when things slow down a little.   Unfortunately, we woke up to a sick child, so the day started off with a quick trip to the Doctor to make sure she was OK.  This gave me an opportunity to grab a quick card for Tom.   (Surprise!)    But, when I got home, I was juggling a sick child, a work phone call and trying to sign the card before he saw it.   So… when he opened it, he chuckled when he saw that I had signed it “I love you!!!”  followed by my full legal, contract  signature.  LOL !   Like he wasn’t going to be sure exactly which Kathy the card was actually from???   Hey… I’m nothing if not thorough! 

Just because we don't have time to celebrate today doesn't mean we won't celebrate.  Life is good when you can laugh through the craziness.  And let me tell you, that’s a good thing at my house because it definitely gets crazy!   Happy Anniversary Honey!  You’re my lobster!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Chocolate Mousse Explosion

Saturday night, my husband had a craving for something sweet.  Yes, I do realize that sounds very funny!  It’s usually me, the menopausal woman that has the cravings.  However, when he said he wanted something chocolate, I thought that I many have died and gone to heaven! 

So… we made chocolate chip cookies, and homemade hot fudge sauce and store bought vanilla ice cream. Well, this wasn’t quite what he had in mind. So, he decided to make some chocolate mousse.

We have one of those ISI whipped cream dispensers (with the CO2 cartridges) that are used to make fresh whipped cream.  So, Tom decided that he would make chocolate mousse in it.  We’ve done it many times, and it is wonderful.  So, after carefully measuring all the ingredients and putting it together, he gave it a few shakes to charge it. He squirted it out onto a spoon to taste.  It LOOKED wonderful!  However, one taste made it very clear that he had left out the sugar.  It was like eating Hershey’s cocoa straight from the container.  Bitter, bitter, bitter.   

Unfortunately, once the CO2 has been used to charge the dispenser, you can’t really open it to add anything.  But, Tom was going to try!   He put paper towels over the dispenser and tried to let off some pressure a little bit at a time.  He kept telling us that it was just not going to work.  But, of course we all wanted to see what would happen.  Rachel decided to pull out he iphone and record the experience.

So… Tom put it in the sink and let off a little steam.  A big wad of mousse came out under the paper towel.  It looked disgusting!  But before we could finish commenting, it EXPLODED!  It sounded like a cork popping off of champagne.  It scared the bejeebers out of us!  Chocolate went everywhere!  Brittany fell in the floor laughing.  She was covered in tiny little splashes of chocolate all over her face.  It was everywhere.  There were chunks of chocolate all over the counter, on the cabinets, on EVERYTHING that was sitting on the counters, on the ceiling, the lights, the chairs, the floor, the kids, the boyfriend, etc.  It went pretty much everywhere, EXCEPT the sink (of course!). 

We were laughing so hard we could hardly contain ourselves. It was so hysterically funny.   Then Rachel told us that she had captured the entire experience on video.  We played it, and replayed it, again and again.  It was funnier every time we played it.  Sunday morning, I was still finding little splashes of chocolate as far away as 8 feet.  Yikes! 

Well, I guess if you can’t eat your chocolate, you might as well wear it!    Enjoy the video!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bowling for Geese

 About a week or so ago, we made a family decision to take up Disc Golf.  Before we made a commitment to buying 4 sets of discs, we rented some to see if we even liked it.  Well, the first night out, we were hooked.  We stink, but we were hooked none the less.  So we went back to the store and bought disc sets for all of us.

We have 2 parks close by that have disc golf courses.  In the past week, we’ve played 5 times.  The first course we visited is closer, but there are quite a few holes that are in the woods.   Now, this is absolutely great for the shear reason of getting out of the sun for a few minutes.   However, the trees are obstacles with a capital O.  For my friends that play golf, you know what it’s like when there’s a tree in the way… You can’t seem to focus on anything else, and no matter what you do, you still hit the tree.  Several holes only have about 20 feet clearance in some areas between the trees.  So, given that we’re rookies, we’ve hit a lot of trees!  Tom even hit a bat house that was secured HIGH up on one of the trees.  Yes… we’ve made our mark in the bark, that’s for sure.  And… one hole is beside a lake.  Talk about a BIG distraction.  All the discs just seem to bank left towards the lake not matter how far to the right we throw them.  It’s splash or crash on this course for sure!  

So, last night, we thought we would try the other park.  It is very wide open.  This course does have some really big ‘old growth’ trees, but you can easily throw around them.  Well, let me rephrase that… some people can easily throw around them. (ha!)  Yes, we’ve managed to hit them too, but hey… we do still kind of stink. 

Now… it’s the end of summer, we’re in a big open field, so who do you think joins us?  A crazy flock of geese, that’s who!  Can you believe it?  We’re heading up to one hole and there they are… about 40 geese eating the grass right around the basket.  From the tee, we’re not worried.  Not one of us can throw far enough to even scare them.  But, we were wondering what we should do when we got closer.  We didn’t want to hit them, but they just needed to get the heck out of the way.  So, as we started getting the discs a little closer, they would move a little bit.  And as we approached the basket, they started moving away as a flock.   OK… problem solved, right?  Well not exactly… They just moved to the next tee.  And as we finished this hole and moved to the tee, they moved towards the next hole.  It was like they just wanted to lead the dang Frisbee Golf parade!  Geez!  This went on for several holes.  These discs hurt when they hit you!  So the last thing we wanted to do was hit a goose.  But they would just not move on!  We were quickly running out of daylight, so we opted to skip a few holes and move past the geese (and all the goose poop) to the last couple of holes and quit for the night. 

We decided to give this course another try this morning. It’s a lot less crowded, and gives us time to practice without holding up other players.  We made it through the first 6 holes before we came upon the crazy geese again today.  This time, though, the geese weren’t so lucky. Tom threw a disc that faded off to the left and skidded right into the flock.  One goose jumped straight up in the air about 6 inches, then they all started running AND honking up a storm!  It looked like he was bowling for geese instead of playing disc golf!   I know, I know… we shouldn’t have laughed, but it was just way too funny!   They ran straight in the direction of the basket.  So the next throw was right at them again.  We are still new at this, so we just can’t quite control where our Frisbees go!  And let me tell you, trying NOT to hit a goose is one sure way for me to hit one!   Eventually the geese saw us coming and moved on to another part of the course.  Whew! 

We sure had a lot of fun, even if we don’t yet have any skills!  We’ll know that we’ll get better, because we surely can’t get any worse!  (Just kidding!)  But, we’ve definitely decided that we really need to focus on playing golf on the golf course and leave the bowling to the alleys!  No more bowling for geese… that’s a promise!  I cannot promise that the trees are safe though… At least not yet!   

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BMXing with my Brothers

I grew up with two brothers and NO sisters.  So, even though I had my own things that seemed girly (ballet and cheerleading), I wasn’t really the girly, girl type.   I was always getting into whatever my two brothers were doing too.  They loved to play army outside, and ride their bikes and set up ramps to jump over, and all that fun stuff.  And, being the lone girl, I wanted to be a part of it all too.   And, let me tell you that neither of my brothers had any fear at all!

So, when they set up bicycle ramps and started jumping bikes in the street, I thought it would be fun to do it too.  Only, they had some crazy mad skills… and I didn’t.  Regardless, they were always willing to let me have a go at it. 

So this one day, Scott thought it would be fun to set up a ramp under a pine tree in the front yard.  His goal was to ride the bike over the ramp and get airborne high enough try to grab the lowest branch and just hang on.   It was going to be a super cool stunt if he could pull it off.   And he did!   But… I was not going to be outdone!  So, I wanted to try it…

So, I get on the bike and go over the ramp.  I reach up for the branch and SUCCESS!!! I grab it and let the bike go flying!  Hurray!... Only the next thing I know, I hear a loud CRACK!  The branch snapped and my big old fanny hit the ground with a huge thump.  But, I didn’t exactly hit the ground.  I hit one of the roots of the tree right smack on my tail bone.  It sent a wave of nausea through me like an army brigade!  I’m pretty sure that Scott and Chris were rolling on the ground laughing, but it was all a big blur to me.  They kept fading in and out as I was trying to decide if I would pass out or throw up!   I mean this knocked me SILLY!

Then they came over to help me up.   I tried to make my way into the house, but it truly looked like I had a big corncob stuck up my fanny.  And it hurt like crazy!   I went in to tell my mom that I fell on a root, and she just looked at me and said… ‘Well that’s what you get for doing crazy stuff.’   I got absolutely NO sympathy.  And, did I mention that my mom is June Cleaver?  So, for her to not be the doting mom meant that either: A… she didn’t believe me or  B… I had crossed WAY over the line!   I’m not sure which it was, but she wasn’t having any part of my complaining. 

Well let me tell you that sitting down for the next week was not easy!   Once I was down it was fine for about 5 minutes.  But after that, it would just start hurting again.  And getting back up was horrible.  Yowser!   I had a big bruise on my tailbone, and a lot of laughing from my brothers every time I tried to get up.   

My brothers continued to race their bikes and jump ramps and all that fun stuff.  And, they were actually quite good at it!  But… that was my last bicycle ramp.  I’m quite sure the boys don’t even remember, but they were glad to get the silly girls out of the mix anyway!   I still liked to ride dirt bikes with them, but I stayed away from all the ramps (and low hanging branches) from then on.    Hey… I’m not crazy!  One major butt buster in your life time is enough!