Sometimes I’m an Idiot

Once upon a time there was a man who just knew and a woman who was too damaged to understand the truth.

A sweet man decided I was special last summer. He came in like a wrecking ball, to quote Miley, and turned the world I had built upside down. He proved me wrong on every negative assumption I erroneously attributed to him (due to nearly every other man who came before him). He looked at me with magic shining out of his eyes.

July 2018

I felt like I was unworthy of such a good, honest, loving man. I broke up with him.

Seven weeks later he texted me on my birthday. He had waited seven weeks for an excuse to text me. He waited. On purpose.

So we decided to go watch football together.

Fresno @ Boise
Fly Eagles Fly forever

And slowly, without pressure or scary titles or words of commitment, I learned to open my heart again. I learned that maybe, just maybe, I am actually lovable.

Dec 2018 – going to see White Christmas!

A couple years ago I published this dream list of what I wanted in a man. Let’s review, shall we?

He will:

  • When first meeting me, he will approach me with respect. He will feel compelled to meet me.
  • He will ask for my number. He will try to learn about me. He will be interested in the words that come from my mouth.
  • He will call or text when he says he’s going to. And before we sign off talking he will tell me when next I’ll hear from him. He’ll take the lead.
  • He’ll tell me about his life. He’ll want me to know all the things that make him who he is.
  • He will be kind, compassionate, empathetic, smart, creative, thoughtful, loving, funny and generally a pretty happy and content person. A positive person.
  • When he asks me on a date, he’ll plan it or at least give me options. He’ll take my comfort & safety into account. If he brings me flowers I guarantee to be impressed and happy.
  • He’ll try to open my doors for me and he will good-naturedly roll with it when I open my own doors because I’m an independent woman, dammit. But he will keep trying. I secretly love that.
  • If we walk down the street he’ll make sure he’s closer to the curb. If I’m wearing heels he’ll offer his arm.
  • He’ll ask me when he can see me again before we even end the first date, and he’ll text me good night when he gets home.
  • When he meets my sons, which he will want to do, he’ll be inclined to love them because they’re mine, and because they’re wonderful.
  • He’ll love Friday night family movie nights, with pizza & popcorn.
  • He’ll call me on Saturdays at 8 AM and say get dressed, let’s go to breakfast & the Saturday market. Or get the boys and let’s go on an adventure! Let’s go find a hot spring!
  • Or on a Saturday night, let’s go find a great spot in the country to look at stars, listen to music & kiss.
  • And he’ll want to walk with me in public, and hold my hand, and be proud to call me his partner.
  • And when I’m upset or sad or mad, he’ll tell me everything will be alright and we’ll get through this together. He’ll understand my mad is usually frustration. My sad is usually unresolved pain. My upset is usually a hurt. He’ll want to mend me because he doesn’t like seeing my frustration, pain or hurt.
  • He will be independent, strong, capable, and he will be good with fixing things because I think people who fix things don’t throw away value.

He is all that and a bag of chips too! (Except maybe that last one as he’s not really the fix-it type! Though he’d fight tooth & nail for me). Every other particular is, hands down, the truth about my love.

Valentine’s Day 2019

And it IS love. But let’s not be hasty. Let’s just have fun. I like my life. I’ve worked hard for it.

Headed to Vegas, baby! Jan 2019

So let’s go to Vegas and London and a white beach, and a cabin in the snow, and a hot spring or two, or let’s just go to the movies or that yummy new restaurant. Or let’s put on flannel jammie pants and Netflix & chill the whole damn weekend. I’m so there for all of it.

Vegas! Jan 2019

What does it mean? I have no idea, and I don’t have to. Magic is in his eyes when he looks at me and I just want to hold his hand everyday.

Yours in optimism,

Stef

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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

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.”

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 

Falling down the rabbit hole

Are you familiar with that term? Its origin is from Alice & Wonderland, of course, but I’ve heard it used a lot lately in reference to research or some other absorbing activity from which it’s very difficult to be extracted.

Recently I have started DVR’ing this show called Intervention. It’s where they shadow a drug addict on the premise of making a documentary on drug addiction and show culminates in the actual intervention with the family & an interventionist.

Tonight I fell down the rabbit hole watching this show. This show is entirely fascinating to me. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been into drugs. They scare me. The thought of being out of control, the thought of being addicted, being a slave to it, or of living that lifestyle – it’s way outside my comfort zone.

But what gets me the most are the back stories; finding out what drove these people to their present level of addiction. Discovering why their inner demons needed soothing from the drug. Sometimes I cry my eyes out during the actual intervention part of the show; just seeing the raw emotion from the addict & their families. So much hurt & pain; so much abject fear of losing their loved one.

Sometimes I associate with those people far more than I could have ever imagined. Their pain is so acute they could no longer function without self-medicating. I know pain like that.

I don’t run to the medicine cabinet though. I throw myself into work, or I distract myself with the TV, with mothering, with cooking, with crafts. Yes, some of that is certainly therapeutic, but it’s also avoidance. I feel sometimes it’s a constant battle keeping the demons at bay; keeping myself from dropping down a rabbit hole, an emotional spiral, of sadness and depression.

We hear the word “triggers” a lot these days. A Huffpost article about striving for body perfection may have a trigger warning for people who suffer from eating disorders. An article about rape may have a trigger warning for those grappling with the emotional trauma of a sexual assault.

There is no trigger warning for most of life’s heartaches, though. We can’t insulate the world from every bad thing. The show Intervention triggers an emotional response in me, but I have to wonder if that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Do we want to go through life only dealing with the easy? Nope. We can’t only have good. If there was no bad then we would never appreciate good.

– – – – – – – – – – –

I wrote the above a few days ago, and then I got in a car accident tonight. My goodness, that certainly punctuates taking the bad with the good, doesn’t it? I’m upset about the accident, but so relieved no one was hurt. Things like that knock us down a peg and remind us that we’re only human. We make mistakes. We get holes in our bumpers, it happens.

One of my favorite sayings is to be kinder than necessary because we’re all fighting some kind of battle. I try to keep that in mind, always; some times it’s harder than others. When I watch the behavior of addicts on Intervention all I can think of is how much their people must love them to endure it. Thank God for that love. I’m so grateful for the people who love me unconditionally.

Love & light to you, and remember to take it easy on the self-blame. Just do better next time.

XOXO,

Stef

Let’s get back to basics

When I was a kid I played with Legos a lot. Back then we didn’t have themed sets and all kinds of specialized Lego pieces. I had one set, basic colors, and a few windows & flowers & fence & roof pieces. By default, I always always built a house. On top of the typical green square base I’d choose my base bricks, often going for the thicker double Lego to have a stronger house. Then – and this was the most important – I had to layer the bricks in a staggered fashion in order to have a solid house that wouldn’t easily fall apart upon torpedo (by some ridiculous “friends” who thought tearing my house apart was fun). In this way, this Lego house metaphor, I’m building myself back up, one layered brick at a time, weaving in the bricks, big and small, wins, losses, and lessons learned.

Sometimes it’s small bricks, tiny wins, as a mom, daughter, professional, and homeowner – every time I mow the lawn (since I was 38 before I ever learned to do this), or when I present my professional work as a keynote speaker, or when I call my mom (something I’m not very good at), or when my son’s teacher tells me how much she just absolutely loves him. Those little wins layer in and fortify me; they make me stronger, more confident and better able to weather the storms.

Then there are big victories and big losses. These are the big, 2×8 bricks that shore up a whole side of my house. These are the game changers. The life adjustments. The this-is-so-hard-but-I-just-have-to-do-it things. The difficult decisions. The hard things in life. You’d think things like this would tear a hole in your defense that isn’t easily patched, and sometimes the repairs do take a while, but then you build it better, stronger, more able to take a beating. Sometimes you think that hole will never heal and then, miraculously, you’re whole again.

I’m repairing my foundation. Shoring it up. Making sure it doesn’t easily crack or crumble during the next air raid, if there is to be one.

 

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Life is hard, dude.

Build yourself up, be strong, weather that storm.

Don’t forget to love. It’s why we are here.

 

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Don’t forget the people who care. They may not always know how to help. ASK THEM. (I’m trying to be better about this!)

Don’t take advantage. No matter how much people love you, they are not responsible for you. Be strong. Build yourself up. Make sure you are proud of what you have become.

 

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At the end of each church service when my pastor gives the benediction she puts her hand up and I can visualize this golden ray coming through her hand to the top of my head when she says, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all, today, and every day.” When she does this, I feel a surge of blessing pouring down my head & neck & flowing out to my extremities. It’s the grace. To me, it means so much; it boosts my strength, power, humility, understanding and self-awareness. It’s in this way that I want to offer you grace so that you feel the higher power – God, if you believe, or just the collective power of our human race, together – surge through you and help you in your life every day.

With grace, hope & all positive things,

Stef
xoxo

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The Honey Badger

The subconscious remembers things that we would rather forget. You know those dreams where you wake up and think, my goodness, that was so real? Some memories are so buried that, driving down the street, I’d have a hard time recalling them. It’s only in your sleep, when the sentries who keep guard over your thoughts are at rest, can your mind conjure up the deepest, hardest, fondest & most painful memories.

Your subconscious don’t care.

Your subconscious will whammy you when you least expect it. Recalling feelings, touches, a remembrance of a time or person, but maybe in a new setting or experience. Because that’s what dreams so; they marry your memories with your wants, your desires and even with your fears. You may wake up smiling or crying, or a little of both.

Your subconscious don’t care.

It’s times like these when I remind my conscious sentries of two things:

1. A lesson or a blessing? Which was that memory? And the dream?

2. A reason, season or lifetime? Where does that person or experience land in my lifetime? Was it a learning experience? A long-term, but inherently finite experience? Or is this for my lifetime?

Those two things help me to sort through the emotions & categorize the experiences in a way that makes sense to me.

Consciously I’ll categorize and put those memories away. I’ll push them back in their file, like an old jack-in-the-box.

But … it will pop up again, you see .…

Your subconscious don’t care.

Try to embrace the memories, even the painful ones. They teach us something.

XOXO,
Stef