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November ALREADY, Kindle Unlimited, & Marie Kondo

I cant believe we are already into November! It was just the other day I was writing about Back to Basics – Holy crap, it took me THAT long to actually get started! The year is almost OVER!

Anyway, in my long overdue journey of clearing out the crap I stumbled upon the cutest little woman named Marie. Everyone seems to love her and her videos made it seem so easy. Yes, I knew there would be some mess, I mean, you gotta break it all down to put it back together, right, but I NEVER expected it to be like this!

So I went back and watched the videos again. I HAD to be doing it wrong. Then I realized something; they never tell you how long it took! There was NO TIMELINE! How did I not notice this before?

That made me feel better but also made me feel worse. I wasn’t doing it wrong but this could, possibly, go on indefinitely. And in the meantime, I am losing my mind over the clutter.

I didn’t take before pics because I, honestly, swear to my God, thought I could do this in a night. I didn’t think it would be this hard..

But this is my progress so far (not much):

Started on Monday, November 4th –

I swear I worked on this aaalllll day and night but this was my progress on Tuesday.

It is now Monday, November 11th and I have yet to finish category 1 of this ordeal. I am, officially, scarred for life. Torching the house does NOT seem like a bad idea anymore.

Forget cancelling Kindle Unlimited because I somehow UPGRADED the damn thing! I dont know how and I am not even going to fight it. Instead, I have chosen to embrace it and read on! I have “listened” to more books than any one person should… and I don’t have to deal with said book when I hit THAT category of the Marie thing. #winning

I guess its back to working on learning how to fold the 27 grey t shirts that bring me joy…

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30 Days of Thankful – and why I almost didn’t do it.

Every November since 2012 I’ve done this 30 Days of Thankful thing.  It first started as a fb “challenge” from a friend and it quickly became one of my favorite things to do. One I usually look forward to all year long. 

This year, for some reason, I just didn’t want to do it. 

It’s been a rough year.  

Late last year my job structure changed and I’ve had a tough time adjusting to it and all the “freedom” it’s given me. I use that term loosely because, while I may have acquired the flexibility I cried about for DECADES, I lost the stability and structure I never knew I desperately needed. Yeah, came as a surprise to me too. 

My kids are all grown and doing their best to adjust to this adulting thing but, let’s be real here, they aren’t that great at it yet and they’ve made some really crappy decisions that have cost us lots of money and heart ache. Thank God you guys are super cute and that I have an amazing sense of humor (yes, I just complimented myself) because that’s, pretty much, what’s kept me from not beating all of their butts- you’re welcome. 😬

Sparing you the boring details, one, not quite completely insured car I still owe a substantial amount of money on, was totaled and the other car caught fire. Literally! And, of course, I was grateful everyone was ok and, of course, that’s what’s REALLY important but the damn car went up in flames. Big ones! I mean, come on, seriously??

I also realized I have zero budgeting abilities and my finances are in a state that’s pretty similar to that car that had to be SCOOPED off the expressway. Turns out I have a whole lot of stuff I don’t want or need, including 27 grey t shirts I bought from Facebook ads. Do I think they’re cute? Very. Will I ever wear them? Nope!

Seems like just when things are about to get better, something else falls apart. Like me, for example. 

I’m getting old and I’m not liking it very much. Botox has become my new favorite thing (someone stop me if I come anywhere remotely close to looking like the joker). I’m always tired, my blood pressure is high, I am pretty sure I’m in the beginning stages of menopause and I spend more time talking to my dog than I do anyone else (he’s an excellent listener, btw) because there’s only about a handful of people I don’t often want to punch in the face – and no, my kids are not always a part of that group. As a matter of fact, they are RARELY in that group.  (Mommy still loves ya, though!❤️❤️❤️) 

The passing of my stepfather was the hardest. Not only was he gone and I now had this huge hole in my heart but I had my mom being alone and the possibility of her moving in with me to add to my list of worries! (I still can’t tell you which scares me more ; her being alone or her wanting to live here!!! – love you mom!😊❤️😬)

And yes, I have had alot of really great times in between all of this stuff and I know how blessed I really am (I do know, I promise I do) I just hadn’t been feeling it a lot lately. But yesterday we got to do something really great for one kid and the other two were truly  happy for her and I realized that THAT was what mattered. My kids were (almost)well adjusted- not -a -danger- to -society- about -to -be -adult people that were genuinely HAPPY and there for each other when it mattered the most. 

As she drove away this morning, still glowing from yesterday’s events, and I realized that it was the 3rd of November and that today was my dads, Manuel’s 69th birthday and he was stronger and better than ever and all of those crappy things that happened could have, just possibly, made ME stronger and better, too! So I’m doing it; 3 days behind but that’s ok… sometimes you just have to take a minute (or 3 days or a month or a year or whatever) to make the decision that it’s time. Time to get your shit together and stop worrying about things that are out of your control and just be grateful for every good, hell, any half-way -decent -at -least -I’m -not- dead moment you got! 

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August and September Books because I just cant seem to figure out how to cancel Kindle Unlimited.

It appears I have a Kindle Unlimited account I just cannot seem to cancel (yes, I’ve tried – numerous times). For some reason, it just wont seem to go away. So I decided to actually USE it (crazy, I know).

In my quest to use this application I have, apparently, been paying for since 2016 I found that, not only can you download books, you can LISTEN to them too! Since my discovery I have listened to more books than I ever thought was possible! I have found myself making excuses to drive places just so I can finish up a book or two.

Unfortunately, I haven’t even finished reading the books I started in July – but that’s ok – they aren’t going anywhere. Read below to see why:

The Book to Teach Me Something: Unleash Your Inner Money Babe by Kathrin Zenkin. I already told you I have some serious spending issues. Issues that need to be resolved ASAP, as in NOW, I mean, I have been paying for Kindle Unlimited for YEARS and never used it. See- issues… I thought this book would help me dig deep into these issues but, nope, doesn’t seem to be working. I just cant seem to get through this thing! No idea why. I guess it’s just not as interesting as I thought it would be. Or I really am a lost cause.

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I still have it sitting here, on my desk, staring at me daily, just daring me to pick it up – and I will, eventually. I think.

In the meantime, I have read – listened to, actually -two books that fall into my Books That Are Just For Fun category.

My first Kindle Unlimited Audible Compatible book was The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms.

Amy and I are kindred souls. There was so much of her I could relate to. There were a few times I wanted to BE her! Finding yourself, figuring out who you are when you aren’t a mother, and learning how to survive the inevitable; the moment you find out that your children have lives of their own and you have become nothing but a spectator. (ugh, that one hurt!) I couldn’t have said any better than she did below:

“the painful realization that your children need other people in their lives besides you, that soon you’ll be relegated to the sidelines of their adult lives and have no idea who you are anymore.” 

If I’m not the chauffeur, and cook (who are we kidding, the order taker is more like it), and pony tail maker – then who the hell am I?

This is about the time you start to look around at the people in your life. Specifically, your husband – and you wonder – who the hell is this guy? and where has he been all of this time? Sure, he’s been there – sort of – he yells at the kids when I dont want to and he goes on occasional family events when I make him but, who is he, really? Do I even like him?

“This man and I combined our genetics to make something greater than the sum of its parts. We made two children I love more than I have ever loved anything else…” 

In my case it’s three children but the concept is the same.

This book made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me feel sorry for her, it made me slightly jealous of her, and there were a few occasions my chest swelled with pride FOR her. My accidental purchase turned into a sweet and perfect 8 hour relationship I will treasure for ever.

My Kindle Unlimited account I can’t get rid of also led me to this off-the-wall surprise:

I’m Fine and Neither Are You really threw me for a loop right from the get go. Camille wasted no time in getting into the heart of the story by killing off one of the main characters in the first chapter. Although she (Jenny) remained part of the story, I have to admit, I was shocked by such a bold move. It’s been weeks since I read it and I still dont know what the REAL story line was. Was it how complicated and energy consuming marriage could be;

“But something between us had shifted over the course of our marriage, particularly the last two to three years. We had gone from being lovers to best friends to . . . roommates who routinely irritated each other.” 

That things weren’t always the way they appeared to be;

“and yet, you really didn’t know me”, Jenny said.

Or that all you have to do is look past all of the day to day mess and focus on the good stuff and you will be ok?

“This is not a test. Life is messy and sometimes tragic and often just plain hard for a woman to weather. But when you step back for a moment, the whole of it is incredibly beautiful—and that is what we must choose to focus on.” 

Whatever you take away from it – I hope it’s something positive. I’m still trying..

The Book to Take Me Away and the Book that’s Good For Me are one in the same and I still haven’t finished it. That’s not really a surprise as I have this trouble with ALL of Jodi Piccoult’s books. But for some reason small great things. has been tougher than most. I am determined to finish it this month, though – for sure!

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Being Stuck….

I saw this picture on Pinterest of a person stuck in a jar. The quote read “I feel like I am stuck in a glass jar. I can see what I want or need to do, yet I cannot reach it.” Holy crap! After months of trying to describe how I am feeling THIS random picture did it for me! This is EXACTLY how I feel; like I’m stuck in this world where my days go on and on and I am trapped in this merry go round I just cant seem to get off on.

There are days the dizziness is just too much. So much that I actually get nauseous. Then there are days the lid is so tight I cant even breathe. On the outside, everything looks fine. Actually, everything IS fine. I have a job I love, I have the set up I had prayed for for years. I have amazing friends, healthy kids, a home I feel blessed to live in. I drive my dream car. And yet, I still feel “off”.

If I were to take a page from my LOA book I would say I am not “in alignment”. So my question now is; how in the hell do I get “aligned” because I’m about to blow this lid off and turn my entire world upside down! Or I’m going to die… at this point, it could go either way.

Words of Wisdom for Dylan's 24th Birthday

On November 30th, 24 years ago, I became a mother for the second time. 

There’s no denying 24 is a strange time in ones life; I know it was for me. And although you don’t have two kids like I did (thank God) I’m guessing you’re finding yourself in this state as well. Trust me, I get it. 

My guess is that you’re finding yourself in that “in between” stage. The one in which You’re definitely an adult, with all of the rights and responsibilities of one, but you still have the energy and mindset of a teenager. 

This certainly isn’t 20 when you’re “almost” legal, or 21 when you’re “really legal” and ordering a drink at dinner (or anytime actually) is not only allowed but perfectly acceptable. 

You’re not 22 when you finally graduated college and got your dream job (or what you thought was your dream job), or 23 when you quit that job to find something better. It’s freakin’ 24!!! 

In my usual fashion, here are the words of wisdom from someone who was once 24 and has been right where you’re at – only with two kids in tow. 

1. You’re getting older. And so are we. As are your grandparents. We’re not gonna be around forever. So as much as I admire this new found independence you have; PLEASE make some time for family too. 

2. You’ve probably reached a “zero effs given” mentality. Wanna pierce your nose? Do it. Want to shave your head? Go right ahead! Want to leave and backpack the world for six months. BYE. Just make sure you can still make rent next month. And that you’re health insurance is up to date. You know how accident prone you are.

3. It’s ok to use “I’m too old to be doing/saying/acting…..” as a reason to stop yourself from doing/acting/saying things you don’t want to or shouldn’t do. As much as you don’t want to admit it, you probably are. Maturity isn’t a bad thing. Now I’m not saying you’re super old and your youth isn’t something to hold onto as long as possible, I’m just saying whatever you do or say will probably be used against you in the future.. probably in a job interview for your REAL dream job. So think wisely about what you put out there for all the world to see. 

4. On that note, you might want to consider cutting back on some of the social media accounts and spend a tiny bit more time updating your LinkedIN. As ridiculous as this may sound, you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. 

5. While you now have a steady income and can probably afford to splurge; DON’T! Your credit is more important than ever. Refrain as much as you can. Credit cards are REALLY only for emergencies. And no, a night on the square a week before payday isn’t considered an emergency, but food and gas most certainly are. I speak from experience on this one.

6. Learn to balance you’re work and social life. There are times when calling in sick for a concert is not only acceptable but essential to your quality of life. The secret is knowing when. If you use up all your hours at ACL then accept the fact that Coachella isn’t gonna happen for you this year and that you’re probably going to have to go in even on the days you really do feel like crap. Don’t forget the financial part. Without that job, EVERYTHING is out. 

7. Appreciate the people in your life. All of them. Even the ones you wish weren’t there; certain Co- workers, your boss, etc. A few years from now you’ll realize what an important role they played in shaping who you became. 

8. While I’ve always admired the enormous amount of friends you have always had it might be time to weed some of them out. Between work and home responsibilities; a little me-time is more important than ever. If ALL of these people are so important to you that you just can’t fathom the thought of EVER turning one of them away, then learn how to prioritize your time. A REAL friend will understand.

That’s it! I do hope you enjoyed your day. It was really hard not to spend it with you but one of the things I need to accept is that your life is your own and your home isn’t with me anymore. I promise I’m trying… and I didn’t cry as long as I usually do so I think I’m finally becoming a grown up too! You’re welcome.😊❤️🎁

Mama loves you to the moon and back. Always have, always will.

Words of Wisdom as Klari begins her 3rd Yr as a Longhorn!

My klari left to begin her junior year in college the other day. As you can see by my “other day” comment she left with no fanfare, no major production, no one even shed a tear – not even me. She just packed up her car and left while I was at work with a promise to call when she got there. Reality is that she’s got this.. If anyone should be giving/getting advice here it’s her to me but my opportunity to share my famous (only to me) Words of Wisdom are just too important (again, only to me) to pass up so I will not let that happen… no way, not on my watch.

Therefore, in my usual fashion, here are my (not so famous but I mean every word of it) Words of Wisdom for the Klare Bear as she embarks upon her 3rd year as a Longhorn, living in Austin (near 6th street) while she’s only months away from turning 21.😬❤️❤️

So here goes:

1. It’s the beginning of the end.

I don’t mean to place pressure, but it is, sort of, the beginning of the end so you kinda sorta have to figure out what you want to do with your life. And when I say “kinda sorta”– I mean it. You don’t have to know EXACTLY what you want to do FOREVER but it’s time to start having some serious conversations about it. And while you know I am always here to talk I also know how “judgey” you accuse me of being, so I get it if you choose someone else to talk to. As long as you are talking it out, I don’t care with who. I mean, the fact that I spent 16 hours in labor giving you life isn’t that big of a deal and I will only cry for a little while…

If you do choose to talk to someone who isn’t me but instead with someone who seems to have it all together and has every day planned out from here to eternity; I totally get it. But keep one thing in mind; that doesn’t have to be you. (Actually, I hope it isn’t.) There are very few people that actually know EXACLTY what they want to do with the REST OF THEIR LIVES – and I mean VERY FEW – so don’t panic. You still have time. And trust me when I tell you that you are not alone in this. LOTS of people in your situation are right there with you so don’t be scared or even disappointed but instead try something just a little bit crazy, something out of the box. Remember what I tell you; finding out what you don’t want is never a waste of time as it only brings you one step closer to figuring out what you DO want.

2. Sh$t’s about to get REAL.

Your courses are only going to get harder but also, a lot more interesting….but harder. So start that work earlier, stay ahead of the game and you will be so much better off and a lot less stressed. This is the year that you will probably start seeing a lot more writing and research of concepts, which means there is probably no wrong answer. BUT, this type of work will require you to actually dig deep into, not your brain, but your soul. And you, my baby, have one of the purest souls I know. Use it. Write about your visions and your interpretations. This is UT for goodness sake; use some of that weird stuff they so openly embrace and pour everything you have into it. I assure you; you will not go wrong with this approach. And if you do, you call your mama and I will go talk to that professor and show him how wrong he/she is! Unless he’s the hot one in which case, just nod and agree.. By this point, your professors have one job, aside from teaching the topic, of course, but mainly it’s to weed out the ones who can’t hang. And while I think you can totally hang, I suggest staying on top of things as much as you can.. I mean, why take chances? Unless of course, matty is on campus in which case you drop everything and run to find him. I really do not need to elaborate any further on this one.

3. The whole world does not rest on your shoulders.

There will be days it feels like it does but trust me when I tell you it does not. You are responsible for being your best you, that’s it. Study, try and learn something cool, and have fun. Everything will eventually fall into place, It always does… and that plastic surgeon route is ALWAYS an option (zero pressure on my end – though I did give you life and sacrificed A LOT of purses to make sure you had the latest and greatest laptop and everything else you needed.. just sayin’).

4. Don’t forget that your life isn’t confined to school.

Use this year to discover what you love. Not just academically or professionally but personally too… In a few months you will be turning 21 and a whole other world is going to open up (did someone say Vegas?). So if hanging out in your apt in sweatpants is more enjoyable than actually GOING OUT then you keep hanging in them.. But do, at least TRY to go outside of your comfort zone a few times this year and find out what it really is that you find joy in doing.. you never know, it might be something you never even saw coming.

Bottom line; you have already completed TWO WHOLE YEARS! And while this one might be a little different, it’s also going to be one of the greatest! Make the most of it. Learn from the mistakes, recalibrate when necessary, and move on. One foot in front of the other.. just like I taught you.

You’re going to get through it and, no matter what you do, it’s actually really hard to screw up your life COMPLETELY. I do believe I am living proof of this.

At the end of the day, mom and dad could not be more proud of you. You keep doing you… in whatever makes you happy – even ugly sweatpants.

Love you to the moon and back, my love! And Hook em’!

Four Years – 2017

Still can’t believe it’s been four years. So much has changed in that short span of time… marriages, divorces, babies, graduations…. life has continued even though there were days we didn’t think we could make it another minute, let alone another day..

With so many changes a lot remains the same. I continue to be in awe of Rick and Roxanne… their strength is beyond anything I have ever seen. Their faith remains in tact.. and their love for one another is unwavering.

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Isaiah, well.. he has probably taken this better than all of us combined. His smile can light up any dark day you may be having and all you have to do is look at him to know that God definitely exists. He is the perfect example of acceptance, strength, grace, and faith.

He will forever be my hero and one of the loves of my life. I will continue to pray for a miracle and continue to remind myself of the lessons that have come from this… let go of what I thought should be happening and rejoice in what IS happening. ❤️❤️

My July Books

I have this thing about reading multiple books at a time. I have one for when I want to get away, one that’s good for me, one that’s just for fun, and one to teach me something. Up until the last few years, I have never had trouble “keeping up”. I could pick up a book and jump on in, knowing exactly where I had left off and what was happening. These days, though, it hasn’t been as easy.

Forget that I have had NO time to actually READ any of these books but, even when I do, I spend more time having to go back and reread so I know what the hell is happening. But that convo might be for another time…

Nonetheless, here are my current BOOKS IN PROGRESS:

The Book to Teach Me Something: Unleash Your Inner Money Babe by Kathrin Zenkin. Ok, so the fact that I even BUY this many books at a time should tell you that I have some serious spending issues. Issues that need to be resolved ASAP, as in NOW. So I thought I would dig deep into what the hell makes me NEED to buy so much crap ALL THE TIME.and teach me a thing or two about manifesting; a topic I am SUPER into right now. Sounds like a win-win.

 

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I wish this chic luck; she has her work cut out with me. (wonder what I will do with that extra $1k)

So, occasionally, The Book to Take Me Away and the Book that’s Good For Me are one in the same. This month I am reading Jodi Piccoult’s; small great things. I have read ALOT of Jodi’s books and, for some reason, I always have a hard time getting into them. Then when I do, I cant put it down. And when I’m done, I am, literally, worn out. She has a way of touching each and every emotion that leaves you spent. It’s amazing and exciting and exhausting all at the same time.

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This book has been no different. I have struggled to get through the first 100 pages. Each character is so complex. I keep having to go back to figure out who each person is (or it’s the age thing, again, who knows). Anyway, I’m on page 102 and have been for a while now. I think I have everyone figured out and I even think I know the outcome but things are never as they seem with her so the odds of that are slim. Nonetheless, I’m inching along. Page by page, person by person, decade by decade…

 

The Book that’s Just For Fun: I stumbled across a new (to me) author in a used books store the other day and I REALLY REALLY like it… Jamie Brenner, and her Forever Summer was a real enjoyment. It was easy to get through, the characters were super relatable and I really liked the ending. It wasn’t anything that made you ponder life as you know it but I did shed a tear and, maybe, even belted out a laugh or two. I totally recommend if you are laying on a beach somewhere.. which is where I was when I read this.

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Friends are like a Rubik’s Cube…

I read somewhere that friends were like a Rubik’s Cube. The quote said something to the effect of; “Sometimes all your squares line up and sometimes they just don’t!”

I loved this analogy as I can completely relate to it; especially when I think of these two amazing women.. 
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There are so many different “squares” that make up our lives: health, children, relationships, work, finances etc. It’s practically impossible to get each of these squares to line up, neatly creating that perfect square of color, not just on one side but on all.

I remember the days of frustration when I just couldn’t solve that cube so one day I peeled all the colored squares off and stuck them back on to make it look as though I had actually conquered that stupid thing.. only to find out that It didn’t really work. The edges eventually started to curl up and peel off on their own. Lesson learned that day- you can’t force it.

And that’s us… we may not spend every single day together, we may go weeks without a single conversation, our edges may even begin to curl up and start to peel off, but when we need one another, we’re there. Somehow our personal rows align and all our colors magically come together- no forcing necessary.

In the end, I don’t suppose we really want ALL our squares to line up all the time, do we? If they did, the game would be over and where’s the Fun in that? 

She’s a Girl!

(original post from 2016)
My daughter took her car to a sleep over for the very first time. A part of me was pretty pleased to have reached this milestone; I didn’t have to get out of my comfy bed to drop her off, and even better, I didn’t have to get up early to pick her up. That was especially helpful since I hadn’t slept much thinking of all the things that could be going on now that she had her car with her and listening out for sirens all night (a trait I clearly inherited from my mother).
What gets me is – my boys did the exact same thing at her age. Why is this time so different?
I’d like to say it’s because she’s my baby and I am having a hard time letting go but I think the real reason, sadly, is that she’s a girl!
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THAT goes against everything I have ever tried to instill in her.. I have told her every chance I got that her gender plays absolutely no part in what she can and cannot do. It would play no part in what I ALLOWED her to do.. I even reminded my boys that the fact that she was a girl had no bearing on how they were to treat her.. was it all bullshit? Did this only apply to UIL related activities but not real life?
A friend of mine and I were having a conversation about an outing after PROM. We were both struggling with letting the girls attend. Her daughter reminded her that her brother had gone the exact same year.. she took me aback when she said; “yes, but she’s A GIRL!”.. I wasn’t taken aback that she said it, I was taken aback that I agreed!
So is everything I have ever told her about being “a girl” all bullshit?