Just livin’

It’s a deplorable state of affairs in our nation, isn’t it?

I find myself wanting to immerse myself in the news, in writing my lawmakers, in sharing all the details that I’m so scared people won’t see and assimilate. They need to SEE IT ALL. If they do then they will understand. They will see how horrible it all is. They’ll see the hypocrisy. The cruelty. My goodness, they’ll see it, right? They’ll see the blatant crimes against humanity. They’ll stop accepting the lies. They’ll RISE THE FUCK UP and fight this disgusting monster making a mockery of our government.

That’s what I want to do. But I can’t. It sickens my soul to wade into the disgusting morass. People are so polarized. Listening to and believing sound bites. Tweets. Partial truths or full-on lies. What have we become? I feel like a foster child with abusive foster parents.

It’s just SO HARD to be real right now. So hard to face it all. At the same time, we have to keep living, working, raising our kids, and trying to eke out some enjoyment in life. We have to. For our sanity.

I’m trying to live my best life. I’m working. I have wonderful sons. I can watch NCIS reruns when I need normalcy & predictability. It’s a comfort. I’ve been re-reading my favorite book series. It’s a comfort too.

Remember when I was like, hey, I’m 42 and that’s a magical number, the answer to the universe and everything? Well it’s been a year of intentional change. Sold my house and bought another. By myself. BAM. I got a meaningful tattoo. BAM. I bought myself a car. BAM.

There were a couple other things I wanted to happen in my 42nd year and, with 3 months left, I’m not sure that’s going to happen but I think that’s okay. I think it’s going to be all right, no matter the outcome.

I’m working on my health. My age is starting to raise a hand and say, hey, recognize me and do something about it.

I’m enjoying my sons. They are so big, maturing like crazy, smarter than they should be, and wonderful. My oldest started his first job. My youngest started shaving. Wtf.

I love so many people. I just love them. I love so much. I love them whether or not they love me. It sucks sometimes. But I’d rather love than not. I’d rather feel love than hate. Yes I get walked on, taken advantage of, and sometimes discarded. But, dammit, what is this life if you can’t lead with love & trust & good intentions? I would rather feel it all than be safe – when safe means lonely, distrusting, and too cautious.

I’m still loving live music. I’m still writing poetry. I’m still trying to be the best me, and be faithful to myself and my heart. I hope you are too.

Here’s a sample of our last few months:

Turned over 100k. And promptly started worrying me with its oil consumption.
Oh hey Redfish Lake!
The new hot & sexy ride

5K for Dravet! It was a family affair
One school year. ONE.
At Live & Counting Crows!!

Let’s just keep lovin’ and livin’ and voting and writing or calling our lawmakers and let’s do it all with balance. To live and survive and thrive with a clean conscience. If I’m doing my part then I feel better. If I’m reading my book before bed every night I feel better. If I hug the people I love I feel better.

DO ALL THINGS WITH LOVE. Intentionally.

Xoxo,

Stef

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16 years

I’ve been a mother for 16 years. It’s absolutely the best thing I’ve ever done. My sons are both taller than me, and funny, sweet, and they love Star Wars and Marvel and their momma.


We’ve been working hard to create an escape, a peaceful refuge, in our backyard in time to host a birthday party and SUCCESS! This is phase 1. More to come with time, patience, and money.


Still werkin’. Same place, but these are from two different events on either coast back to back: SF & NYC. One of my HS BFFs met me in NYC for shenanigans. Well, we both worked, had Starbucks, pub food, and alcohol. So 40’s shenanigans. Plus my favorite Sales colleague in the last pic.


I dunno. Sometimes life just goes and you sort of float along with it until you can plant your feet and walk with intention again. I’m planting my feet.

Mucho grande amor, amigos!

Xoxo,

Stef

God sends us reminders

I’m not overly religious but I do attend church. A progressive church – a UCC – where the Bible isn’t used as literal history but more of a book of lessons. I love it.

So the other day I was lamenting. I was lonely, sad, wishing for love, scared for my future … and then I had a couple of great days and, man, did I ever need that!

First a bunch of my friends from my former workout studio came over last night and hung out. We ate, talked, and did a white elephant gift exchange and it was fabulous. I’m so grateful for these precious, beautiful, smart, amazing, strong women.

Then, today, my boys & I hung out, went to lunch, Christmas shopping, and they didn’t complain or give me a hard time and it was perfect. And I realized, THIS is my future. THIS is my love. Whether I ever have romantic love in my life again or not, I will have these two fantastic humans. If I lose my house and have to make ends meet the best I can, I will still have these two people to make my life full. They are so special.

The ebb and flow of life happens naturally. We have the remember to always count our blessings as we go.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you & yours. May your 2018 be full of joy & light! It WILL be a good year.

Xoxo,

Stef

Whoa Fall!

It’s been a super weird couple of months, hasn’t it?

I look at people’s lives on Instagram or Facebook and sometimes it just seems so normal. Gathering materials for Christmas decor and making gifts, hosting an elaborate Thanksgiving meal with custom-made centerpieces, or planning & taking trips … it’s just so normal!

In meantime, I can’t find my iron. I’m troubleshooting getting local channels with the digital antenna LIKE I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING, and I still don’t know where to store excess linens in this house.

So let’s just look at these gorgeous flowers instead (because flowers can start the healing process for all sorts of wounds):

Did I mention that I started renovations on my kitchen too? Because one can never have too much going on. It’s fun living in a house with no cabinets & all the utensils are spilled across the dining room table for 7 days all at the same time your 15 year old son is starting driver’s ed & training and needs to be picked up and taken to school at odd times 3 days a week. That’s fun. Let’s do it again.

But, my goodness, look at those cabinets. Worth every stinkin’ penny.

We WILL do the chaos again as soon as I’m ready to replace the countertop. Soon. Ish.

But, hey, I decorated my living room!

And Nigel the Australian handyman is the bomb dot com. (My son tells me I’m aging myself when I say that. I told him to make like a tree and get out of here). Nigel calls me “mate.”

But, hey, I got new lipstick so WINNING. I got a new book too. Thank goodness for books. And lipstick that makes a woman feel like a million bucks. Or at least half that.

But there’s this. Both above & below. Being realistic means never finding the love again I thought I had. Being a romantic means never losing that hope.

So, also, see below, there’s a couple things in one of my boobs being watched. Every 6 months for 2 years, I think. Have I mentioned my sister died of cancer a little over two years ago and that cancer originated as breast cancer??? But she’s not blood so I wouldn’t share that through family blood with her, but I don’t want to share it through experience either. So far, so good. Knock on wood.

The pic below was just following a boob ultrasound. (Plus new lipstick. A MUST when dealing with this adult shit).

The above pic is of a new little enclave of friends that I’ve been sucked into, willingly, and surprisingly! The dude on the right is a chef. He’s also become an incredible friend. The woman between us is his life partner. The bottle is an awesome brainchild! A new flavored whiskey. I helped bottle the first batch! I touched every single bottle that day and it was an incredible experience.

See above? Fancy hair. That’s really the only remarkable thing about that night.

I spoke recently for law enforcement in the LA area. They gave me this. Experiences like this are fantastic and I think, sometimes, how is this my life?

My boys are … unusually & exceedingly peculiar and quite impossible to describe! And beautiful, loving, sweet, and they keep growing. I never sanctioned that.

But, honestly, how did I get this lucky?

This last one, this little meme, is not for me but for you. You, my friend, my estranged (and sometimes strange) friend, plus all of you who I don’t know, I am praying for your happiness. Your peace. I want nothing more than for you to have peace in your heart, and I want that for myself too.

I pray for your happiness, for your peace, and for your joy, like I pray for my own.

Xoxo,

Stef

New Home Feels 

My sons & I have a new home. The tree in the front yard has turned yellow with the season, like some awesome blessing upon the house.

I didn’t fall in love with this house like our last one. That one was unique; this one is s little more cookie cutter than I would typically like. But it’s so damned live-able! Less maintenance = easier life. Plus it’s in a fantastic neighborhood, and that ended up being the deciding factor for me.

This house has peace woven into the carpet, painted into the walls, nailed into the frame, and its wafting from the vents. PEACE.

Physically, it’s an easy house, quiet location, and keep-to-themselves neighbors (though everyone was super nice who came to the door on Halloween!). But beyond the quiet, easy living, there’s something else. There’s no pain. There’s no memories. There’s no “oh that’s where the hole in the wall was after someone got angry” or that’s where I was when this, or that, was said or done. Not that I’m without fault. I threw the fondue pot once. It was empty. I threw a cup once. That was a bad time. Then it got better. Until it wasn’t.

Bad memories, good memories – both are painful. I need my own house. I need my space, my very own, made by me, to reflect me, and my soul, my heart, my joy, and my love. This house is built with love, peace, and joy.

It’s not my dream house … except it is!

#42 checklist: ✔️ buy new home by yourself.

Never stop working towards the goal, even if it’s not always clear. Dream sideways when you can’t see in front of you.

Xoxo,

Stef

Big changes are coming – part 1

Where to start, my darling dears? Where indeed! It’s been awhile. 

I left you on a dark note back in May. I came back from London disheartened. I walked back into a work environment in disarray. So many changes are happening. At this point they aren’t largely impacting me too terribly, but there’s a chance they will. 

Last week I spoke in front of our North America Sales org and it went well. I’m praying for positive momentum at work! 

There are home changes too. Literally I’m going to be changing homes! I’m about to put my home of 12 years up for sale. It was not an easy decision, however it is necessary for a multitude of reasons I won’t get into here. The boys are somewhere between excited/sad/anxious/curious. They don’t remember our previous home. Don’t worry, my sweet little men, I’ll find a good home for our future. 

Where will we land??? That is a huge question. I’ve never bought a house without my husband. We bought two together. Will I know myself well enough to figure out the right house for us? 

This is an adventure. It’s part of the journey, right? We have one life. Every day gets us closer to the end (not trying to be morbid) so why waste time treading water? 

If you’ve been around my blog long then you’ll know I started writing to get myself back. I felt I had lost myself in my marriage. I didn’t even know what I wanted or liked anymore; it was about what they wanted, what they liked. 

This is (almost) 42, and I am going to *ducking OWN IT:


Every step along the way has opened a window onto my adult soul. It allows me to figure out what fuels my fire, drives my passion. I am unapologetic as I figure out who I am; it’s a journey and I try to traverse it with as much kindness & self-awareness as I can. There will be mistakes/mishaps/errors in judgement along the way. I’m guilty. I’m not apologetic though. 


My arms hurts today from a lot of manual labor yesterday. I’m tired. But I will press on. There will be joy after this trial. 

Sometimes it’s so hard but, I have to admit, I really love my life. I love being able to determine what I’m going to do, when, and with whom. 

(These guys are always my first choice).

So much love,

Stef 

* oh auto-correct. Don’t you know me by now? I hardly ever say “ducking.”

A Haiku for You

I have a cold. A stupid, mind-numbing, frustratingly incapacitating cold. I had some fun things planned this weekend. But in lieu of on-the-go, I stayed in and probably worked a little too hard Saturday, but convalesced like a champ most of today (Sunday), by watching White Christmas and football. My team lost, but Bing Crosby still got the girl. Thank heaven.

I need love & light on the regular these days. I’m not going to talk about the f!&ing election, but suffice to say that,for the next four years, love & light, hope & prayers, and warriors for all that is good and righteous, will be working overtime to keep our asses, our sanity, our morality & our constitution intact! Dammit! I feel a rant coming on so I’m preemptively going to veer back into the left lane & floor it ……

I’ve been doing that a lot in the last 12 days. Come to the edge of the pain, skirt the side and then veer off before it’s able to suck me in. The grief is real, but it’s not my grief. I’m so scared of all the fear; fear does terrible things.

…… veering left again, hitting the gas ……

I took the boys their dad’s tonight. I felt too sick to drive but my ex is not kind to me. (Side note: he hasn’t been in a very, very long time; will he ever recognize his culpability, do you think?) So I knew I’d have to suck it up and drive the 20 minutes to his house & back, regardless of my health. A friend called, concerned, said I needed a hug, and please don’t drive. A friend who has never loved me but who feels more compassion for me and his dogs and other soldiers and his mom than he feels for most anybody else in the world.

Side thought: Why is it, do you think, that I collect wounded men? My mother hen complex pushing out invisible tractor beams? Look HERE! A sucker for heartsick, hurt men HERE! I try to do what I can, because I try to love big, and sometimes I fall hard and I am then discarded, but sometimes, and more often, I’m able to recognize what is not for me and walk away. I don’t search for it. Honestly. I want kindness, compassion & understanding, and they usually have those things, but equally I want independence, responsibility, & ambition. I want it altogether, in one package, and then I want that person to also think I’m the f!&king bee’s knees.

Because sometimes I don’t know how to accept flattery, or help, or friendship without embarrassment, distrust and various protestations. I am learning. Keep trying.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, I took the boys to their dad’s with a mix of relief & regret. Always both. Tonight more relief because I’m sick and it’s hard to be mom & patient concurrently. (Mom, I’m sorry you don’t feel well! Please get better! What’s for dinner?) I came home to my quiet home and watched a little of my comfort tv – shows so predictable they are soothing in their routine – and then I soaked in a bath with so many thoughts swirling around my head I got cold and pruny.

The net result, and the subject of this post (yes, I’m finally getting to it) is that I’m more able to process the world and all her quirky machinations when I allow my brain to unabashedly skinny-dip into the pool of creativity. I so commonly stick to pragmatics: that which can be researched, substantiated & proven is logical …… but logic never moved hearts. Logic doesn’t allow for emotional influences that are so important to human functionality. Therefore in order to function optimally I must allow creativity to flourish.

I’ve held my poetry for ransom. I’ve shut down my craft table. I built a wall around the comfort of pragmatics and I’ve stayed there. But over that wall I could see glimpses of fireworks & rainbows, a glow of light that changes colors and is enchanting me nearer.

I soaked in the bath tonight and I rebuilt a bridge. A small one. A footbridge. I started with a few haikus, and they are for you – because my love language is acts of service:

********************
1

Troubles carried far

Pinballing across vast oceans

Of thought in my mind

2

And when shall thou be

Mine; tis but a slip to know

But through wretched time

3

Suffer not, want none

Though times are treacherous

Compassion speaks most

****************
I actually wrote six, but I went deep and intimate with the other three and I think this is brave enough tonight.

Let us sleep now. I pray for compassion, unfettered love, and creativity in abundance for you. Let it flow; we need it now more than ever.

Xoxo,

Stef

P.S. If my two readers actually get through this rambling journal entry of a post then please raise your hand for a gold star. 🙂

Happy

The human mind is fascinatingly complicated and fantastically infuriating. 

Several weeks ago I really felt like I was sitting in a dark well. I felt bereft; there was no joy. I thought for the very first time that maybe this is depression. 

I talked to a friend about it and he advised speaking to a therapist. I made an appt for 4 weeks out, and proceeded to live life in the interim. 

I went to London on business, and saw great coworkers/friends there; when I came back I hung out in Fall, my favorite season, with my two favorite young men, and I decorated for Halloween. 

When the appointment came I was nervous. I told him some of my history; I told him what I’ve been feeling and why I thought I was there. We only got through a fraction. I left feeling unsatisfied, and a chunk poorer. 

The last couple weeks since then have been busy. Work, kids, Halloween, visitors, dinners, homework, laundry, dishes, rinse, repeat. 

Today a good friend reached out and said she loves me and misses me. I miss her too. I miss how well she knows me, and vice versa. We are the kinds of friends that interprets every word and feeling for the truth, and sees through the lies we tell ourselves.

Then I saw some new friends who care, who are getting to know me, and who have welcomed me, and I felt valued.

Finally, I spent the evening in the company of a male friend and, though he’s more friend than anything else, I’ve developed a comfort level with him that is wonderfully satisfying. 

Tonight after he left, as I sat here alone in my quiet house, I realized I was simply smiling. I felt happy in a very uncomplicated, basic way. 

Without knowing it, my mind has been working through all my baggage, unconsciously climbing me out of that well. Isn’t that amazing?

I feel heartfelt joy at this moment.

I don’t have everything I want, or thought I wanted … but I think that’s okay. I think I will be okay. 

Xoxo,

Stef

I have cobwebs on my ceiling

Warning: expressive, explicit language. 

Sometimes I sit in my living room and look up at the cobwebs on my 20 foot ceilings and I think, man, I should clean that. I must be a terrible housekeeper. That must mean I sort of universally suck, right? Then I remember I don’t have a telescoping ladder and I feel even further defeated. How the fuck am I supposed to clean the ceiling now?

I recently fell in love with “Say Yes to the Dress (Atlanta).” Mostly it makes me laugh & smile, but sometimes … when the love is so real, so heartfelt … it makes me cry.

Sometimes the loneliness is palpable. And when the kids are gone, and some lady on tv is glowing with love, I think, man, is this it for me? Is this my life now? Alone, with dirty ceilings and no mechanism to make them better.

The boys have been with their dad all weekend. I miss their voices when they’re gone. I did have a lovely weekend, though, and I even had a date(ish thing) recently, but … then I get to Sunday night.

My house is quiet. My phone isn’t making the sounds I desire to hear. The walls are closing in. The cobwebs mock me. The full to bursting gutters, the hole in the wall, the loose faucet .… they haunt me. And I think, what am I doing? I can’t do this. I can’t manage this on my own. Then I remember that I AM actually alone, and likely will be for the rest of my life.

So this is what’s going through my head, and then it gets worse.

Because I’m short & chubby, with terrible legs and I snore, and my big boobs point down rather than out, and I’m stubborn and a control-freak and I always feel like I have to be right, and I have to do right, and live right, because if I screw up then I’m a fuck up and a failure.

So that’s what I am, right?

Because look at those damned cobwebs and my short, fat legs and how the fuck can I be good at anything if I can’t keep my ceiling clean? Nobody is going to love me. In fact, the man I thought could love me decided, nah, not going to do it. And why would he? I can’t even figure out how to clean the ceiling in my own house.

So it’s Sunday night and I’m folding laundry. I’m watching a miserably sappy movie about love, faith, and doing the right thing. I’m sad. And my phone is stubbornly fucking quiet and I think, you pathetic moron, what does it even fucking matter because your time has come and gone. Get used to this, fat ass. Fold your damn laundry and just focus on being a mom because you don’t deserve shit.

Then I turn on a recorded episode of “Say Yes to the Dress (Atlanta).” Lori & Monte are packing up to go to a bride’s home. That’s unusual. Then we get the story. The bride recently lost her 8 year old son to cancer. Her mother & family conspired to put together a wedding & surprise the bride with a dress. The family is still so deep in their grief. For their son, and grandson. The bride doesn’t feel like she has the right to be happy with her son gone.

Well don’t I feel like a jackass?  Sitting over here being a crybaby because of a hole in the wall (that can be fixed) or some full gutters (that can be emptied) or the fact that I feel universally unloveable (which ebbs & flows). But what is that in comparison? That’s nothing to her pain.

I have two amazing sons. I have a good, challenging job. I have a home, cobwebs & all, that keeps us warm & dry. I have my family & a few friends I love dearly. I wouldn’t trade what I have for all the clean ceilings in the world.

Sometimes life hands us these little reminders so that we will shut the hell up and stop brooding over what we can’t control. Just a little kick in the ass.

Know better; do better. (And buy a telescoping ladder).

Xoxo,

Stef

I don’t have the words

I’ve been thinking of this blog post for days and I don’t have it. I’m a jumble of thoughts and emotions, good, bad, angry, grateful, and everything in-between. I can’t untangle it all. 

I’ve had my heart yanked out of my chest and then it was danced upon by multiple people. Then someone stuck a knife in my back, twisted, and pushed it in further. Then I got kicked in the gut. 

I lost so much this year. People I loved. I learned that I can love people but they aren’t necessarily going to love me. I’ve learned that I shouldn’t always chase those that I love. Sometimes I should just let them walk away. 

I’m not trying to be dramatic. I’m trying to emphasize a depth of pain – a deep pain that I haven’t previously ever experienced. Like on a pain chart, except it was about a 45 on a scale of 1-10.

I’ve learned that the people I thought would be there for me when I needed them weren’t, but support came from a few unexpected places too.

I’m working on forgiveness. For my own sake more than others. It hurts. 

I’ve learned hard truths: I’m vulnerable; I’m wrong sometimes; I’m a better mom than I am a wife or girlfriend; I’m demanding; I have high expectations. These aren’t good things but knowing them is half the battle. (As they say).

I’ve learned that I’m strong – even stronger than I thought. 

I’ve learned some good things too. I’ve learned I can love harder, deeper & more than I thought possible. I’ve learned that loving is worth it – even if I’m not loved back. 

I feel like I’m searching for a missing piece. That I still have a gaping wound in my side and I’m trying to patch it up. It makes me hurt, weak, emotional. 

Sometimes I say or do the wrong thing based on an emotional response. If I have done that to you then I apologize. I’m trying to figure out how to be strong 95% of the time but I think I’m only at about 60% these days. 

I’m stronger when I feel loved. I have tried to love so much this year. I’ve tried to make love my tonic – thinking if I give love I’ll get love in return. Doesn’t always work that way, does it? 

So, you see, I don’t have the magic words. This year doesn’t fit in a box. It was full of extremes. Death, heartache, pain. It was full of new adventures – new job, new travels. 

I’m just going to keep trying. I’m going to be the best person I know how to be. I’m going to love my boys fiercely. I’m going to do my job as well as I know how. I’m going to try to be the badass I’ve been told I am. 

And I’ll hold out hope that maybe, if I’m lucky, someone will eventually love me fiercely too. 

Thank God for the new year, my sweet lovelies. You keep doing you, I’ll keep doing me. Be kind to each and every one of us. Spread kindness like glitter. 

Happy New Year! Bring on 2016, for heaven’s sake!

Xoxo,

Stef