Somebody Get God on the Phone

Somebody get God on the phone, I have questions.

Why do bad things happen to good people? I only like six people outside of my family. Can they be off limits?

Tornadoes. Really? I watched the movie Twister 87 times, so I get that they’re fascinating, but they’re destructive and I don’t see the benefit. Unless they only come into contact with people who hurt animals. I’m fine with that.

Why do we have an Appendix if we don’t really need it? Then something goes wrong and the organ you never needed can now cause your death? Cool. Maybe a third lung would have been good or a back up heart. Why not two livers? And did we really need 25 feet of intestines? Now you’ve got all these humans walking around full of shit. Just saying there were options.

Why did you allow the Kardashians to be a thing? Is this because of our sinning? I really would have preferred you smite us with Locusts…again.

Why is everyone focusing on the power struggle between Jon Snow and Daenerys instead of the fact that they slept together and are AUNT and NEPHEW?

Why are they called Pine Nuts instead of Pine Seeds?

Was the boy Monica’s or Brandy’s? I gotta know.

Do all dogs go to heaven? If not, can they come to my house?

Are the beings in other universes as dumb as us or do they call them pine seeds?

Do people who listen to Kid Rock know they don’t have to?

Why are Zingers so delicious?

Why do we lose some of the best humans too early, but the grumpy old assholes live forever?

Is crack actually whack or are people just trying to stop me from living my life?

In the end, what takes us out? Is it Romaine lettuce?

How many days were Adam and Eve alive before he called her “crazy” and said she was “overreacting”? That’s probably why she ate the apple. “Oh, you wanna see crazy?! I’ll show you crazy!” Then, boom. Sin. Now we have the Kardashians. Thanks a lot, Adam.

Is hell just a place where the ground is covered in Legos that can’t be moved and nobody has shoes? Can you smell delicious food all day, but it’s not there, it’s just the aroma coming from Heaven? And every day a plate of cookies labeled “Chocolate Chip” is placed in front of you, but they’re really Oatmeal Raisin? And every person is a mouth breather? If not, maybe it should be.

Before you start answering these questions, don’t. Are you God? Do you sound like Morgan Freeman? I didn’t think so. Go eat your string cheese and leave the big conversations to the grown-ups.

I’d like to end this on a positive note so…

Thanks for:

My Kids – Seriously, top notch. Extra thanks for making them look like me.

Sleep

My Family – Loving, smart, clever, good looking…really, I feel sorry for people who aren’t us.

The Sun (even though it will eventually kill us, nice touch btw)

Memes

Good People – all 6 of them

The “Ignore” button on my phone (and in my head)

Sex – some of your best work

Intuition – no jokes, it saves me

Chocolate (no nuts, obviously)

Dogs

Coffee (except decaf)

Flying dreams

Sea Otters

Humor – I think most days you must roll your eyes at me and maybe even sometimes laugh, but don’t forget that you made me and it’s pretty much your own fault. You chose this life. 

20 Days

I recently took 20 days off work. They say it takes 3 weeks to break a habit. Damn, so close.

It was quite life changing. When you are so used to being “on” and busy, a large amount of free time is a foreign concept. It took about five days for me to stop clenching my jaw and stop thinking about work, but then it was like, “what job?”

I slept. A lot.

My house is incredibly clean and organized. My boyfriend no longer owns any socks with holes and can actually find a matching pair. If I ask my kids to organize one more thing, they may volunteer to run away and join the circus. My dogs are still thrilled with me though, so does anything else really matter? I think not.

I cooked 427 different recipes and have considered starting my own cooking show.  I also learned that Home Goods is dangerous and I need a Sponsor in my life to call when I’m feeling weak…

“I know, Donna, but this frame is the perfect addition to the hallway. What’s that? Yes, I realize it’s the same exact color as the last one, but this one has a more weathered look and it.…uh-huh. Ok, I’ll think about it for another day. Thanks, Donna. You’re a real one.” (Hangs up the phone and puts the purchased frame in the car because let’s be honest, nobody is gonna boss me.) I don’t know a “Donna”, but it seems like a solid name and I’ve been non-stop watching the show Suits. I am pretty much a corporate lawyer now. Feel free to contact me for any legal advice, quips about your character, snide comments or to devise the most underhanded devious plot ever made.

Truthfully, the time off reminded me that my life outside of work is filled with so much LOVE. I genuinely love and enjoy the people in my life; my kids are amazing, my parents are super heroes, my boyfriend is my soul partner and my friends are better than yours.

I listened to and watched the news yesterday. I haven’t watched the news for more than five minutes in over 6 years. Can I just say, holy shit. I can’t believe you guys have been living like this. What even?

Life got really serious for me and I just sort of stopped participating in “reality” outside of the world I created for myself. It wasn’t a conscious decision, I think my soul knew I needed to retreat for a while. It’s fine, you all did well without me. After this break, I feel like I’m ready to know things about the world again. Not too much though. I can’t be that serious and most of you are taking things seriously enough for us both.

Let’s see, what else…

I did finish a couple of books and received a couple more so the stack on my nightstand remains nine books high and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I diagnosed and cured myself of two conditions. (Just prepping for the return of Grey’s Anatomy.)

Definitely ate too much cheese.

Cleaned my pores.

Talked about movies, shows, food, poop and farts way too much.

Also, I decided that in our group this is what it would look like if a few of us planned an intervention for one of us. Enjoy.


Happy New Year.

For My Work Family

Well, I’m still alive. Much to the disappointment of 2 and a half people. Don’t ask about the little guy.

However, I’m sure the rest of you are thrilled to know that the recent Election didn’t take me out. It was close, but I am still a functioning sort-of adult.

Actually, the last couple of months taught me a lot about myself and those in the trenches with me. For instance, humans can go a long time without regular sleep and simply live off caffeine and stress. It’s definitely not healthy or recommended, but it is possible. Also, the media, attorneys and political junkies are THE WORST.

One day you wake up after only sleeping for a total of four hours, due to dreaming about work and endless anxiety, and ask yourself when you became this person whose life is being taken over by a job. Eventually, you get to a stage of acceptance and by “acceptance” I mean that you run out of fucks to give and just do what you gotta do. When the chaos comes to an end (by “end” I mean pause until next time) we realize that the job we do is important, and we stress because we care. We may lose our patience with each other from time to time and get a little grumpy, but we also laugh a lot. And most of us cry at least once….one of us cries a lot more than that. You know who you are and we love you, you big baby.

We learn that we are strong as individuals, but even stronger as a team. Very often, the people who you spend all this time with, become family. We get annoyed with each other and hurt each other’s feelings, but we have each other’s backs. Just don’t ask anyone to pick up bagels for you on break. Too soon?

The other thing I’ve learned is how critical forgiveness is. Doing everything out of a place of love is so important, but what is love without forgiveness? I feel lucky that forgiveness has always come easy to me. I’ll forget I was upset with someone and start talking to them like nothing, and 10 minutes later… ”dammit! I forgot about what they did”. Then, it’s as though it never happened, and life goes on. I’m not sure if it’s because I know I am so far from perfect or because I had examples of what forgiveness looked like growing up, but I can’t hold a grudge to save my life and I’m glad because that shit will make you sick.

I know there is something to be said for professional working relationships and boundaries, but I wouldn’t take back the friendships I have with my work family for anything. I think it comes with some challenges, but the good far outweighs the bad. In just the last couple of days, I have seen the most beautiful example of love, forgiveness, respect and communication. I am so grateful to have people like this in my life.

Our job can be difficult and demanding at times, but not always. As much as we are all looking forward to our much-deserved time off, a part of me will miss seeing them every day…a very small part because I have 20 days off and I’m kinda like, peace out y’all! See you in the New Year.

This year was something else. A lot of us experienced loss and big changes. Even though I am grateful for every day on Earth, I am not sad to say goodbye to 2018.

Cheers to what 2019 may bring.

A Letter to My Mom

Dear Mom,

You are forever 30 in my mind, which is weird since I’m 37. As I was cleaning my house and getting rid of so many things, I saw this photo of us. I framed it about 10 years ago because I just loved it so much.

I put it in my purse because I just wanted to have it on my desk at work where I can see it more often. We have so many great pictures and even better memories, I wondered why this picture means so much to me. Obviously, your hair and sunglasses are amazing, but I think it’s the way that you’re holding me and the way I am holding on to you. My protector, my guide and my nurturer. As an adult, I realize that what you are most is my compass. You will forever be who I turn to when I am unsure about which direction to go or what path to take. I come to you when I am happy, when I have good news or bad news and most of all, when I need to remember who I am. You are home to me.

As I have journeyed through life thus far, I’ve realized that what I have in the way of family is the exception. People aren’t this lucky, this blessed, or this loved. I often joke that I should be better because I have the absolute best parents and you always say, “no, you are so good”. You always lifted me up and made me believe that I could do anything. Thank you. I never doubted that I was capable, smart, strong, kind, beautiful and worthy because of you. Thank you.

I know that right now you would say that it is God in you that I see. His love, His grace, His compassion and wisdom. You are right, and I acknowledge that completely because the other gift you have given me is faith. Thank you.

When I think back to being a child or a teenager, all I can say is, I get it now. I used to wonder why you worried so much, why you cared so much, why you did so much. I get it now. I would move mountains and fight tigers for my kids and I worry far too much.

Even today, you are constantly giving your time and attention to your kids and grandkids. When I thank you, you say that you feel so blessed that you can help. Seriously, the world needs more of you and I think…what a different world it would be if more people had mothers like you. A mom who shows up, who loves unconditionally, who is humble and constantly evolving. What a difference that would make.

I can’t imagine I will ever be an age that I don’t need you. I will always need you. I am so grateful that I can hear your voice in my head. Before you say it, yes, it’s all good things!

A lot of parents give their kids hundreds of reasons to get therapy. Thanks for not doing that and letting me go out and create my own reasons. Ha! C’mon, you know I had to lighten the mood.

I love you with every ounce of my soul. I hope I only get better, evolve and make you proud. Lord knows I am proud that you’re my mom.

Thank you for letting me see you and know you completely. It is by far the biggest gift of all. Because you did, I know that it’s ok to:

Make mistakes

Worry

Love so hard I might actually burst

Force people to eat every time they come to my house

Make a mess

Dance in the kitchen

Have empathy

Get mad when it’s warranted

Have the second glass of wine

Make time for my girlfriends

Pick up a good book in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep

Talk to myself

Laugh at myself

Stand up for myself

Draw boundaries in life

Love myself

Forgive myself

Move on

Thank you for the loving way you held me in that swing and for holding me in your heart every single day.

I am my Mother’s daughter, and nothing makes me happier. I love you.

Love, Dolly

P.S. Pops, your letter is coming ❤

Fish Out of Water

“If you give a fool enough rope, they hang themselves.” I’ve heard my Mother say this since I was a child. There is something so incredibly transparent about dishonest and disingenuous people. The need they have to show everybody that they are honest and genuine causes them to out themselves. It’s like seeing a fish out of water, struggling to breathe. Overcompensation at it’s worst. It only gets worse if they can’t convince others to believe the best of them.

It is a strange thing to encounter this as an adult and not know exactly how to respond. If I can’t trust you around my significant other or my friends, you’re out. If I’ve caught you in numerous lies, you’re out. If you refuse to take accountability for your actions, you’re out.

Maybe it’s because I’m 37 years old or maybe it’s because I value honesty so much, but I don’t have a tolerance for bullshit. The response I choose is no response. That’s it. You’ll get nothing from me. I will not waste my time or energy on anyone who does not deserve it. I’ve examined the situation, processed it, and determined that none of it is worth my time. TIME is absolutely precious, and we never know how much of it we have.

Meryl Streep said it best….

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me.

I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate.

I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons.

I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement.

Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”

Perfectly said.

I feel no need to defend myself against malicious things said about me because they are untrue. Duh.

I don’t have to prove who I am to people who know and love me because they know me. Duh.

I’m so grateful that I’ve had a solid foundation of unconditional love from the start of my time on Earth. It has given me a sense of calm in these situations because I know who I am.

The desire to prove who you are to the world and fighting for others’ love and attention comes from a scarcity mentality that says, “There’s not enough love and attention to go around so I have to fight for my fair share”. It’s sad and untrue. There IS enough love and attention to go around. Everyone is worthy of it and it should be given freely to all of us from the start. I know that isn’t the case, but as an adult you can choose who it is you want to be and what you give your energy to. You don’t have to go on flailing about and gasping for air. Hurting people hurt people and I understand that while sometimes a person’s actions are awful, their intention may not have been. They just don’t know the safety and peace of living in love.

I wish these humans a journey that will lead them to love and acceptance. I, however, will not be their guide because in the words of Danny Glover, “I’m getting too old for this shit”.

Godspeed, little fish.

Show Up

Sometimes, life is unfair and downright fucked up. This is something most of us learned as children.

For me, I was in elementary school and had to pull my card for allegedly talking. I actually wasn’t talking, but my teacher did not want to hear me out and I had to pull my card anyway.

The smug little girl who WAS talking and knew full well the injustice that was happening right before her devious eyes just sat there.

While I knew she clearly wasn’t getting into Heaven, I was still upset. In fact, I was so upset that I began to cry and my teacher made me pull my card AGAIN for crying. The satisfaction of knowing that now both of them would be rotting in Hell still wasn’t enough to console me.

This memory stuck with me. Sometimes unfair things happen. Even worse still, we usually can’t do anything about it. It’s a part of life. I get it….but still, fuck that.

I am happy to tell you that the evil little girl who didn’t own up to talking in class grew up to be a woman whose husband left her for another woman. Sad, really. She could have avoided all of that pain had she just admitted she was the one talking and pulled her card. Let that be a lesson to you all.

I know, that’s a silly story and a minor injustice, but what do we do when the really unfair things happen, and we can’t do anything about it? What do we do when we can’t console ourselves or the ones we love? What happens to our hearts and minds when the unfairness is too much to bear?

I don’t have any answers for you. Many of us have faith in a greater power and that brings some peace and comfort, but not always right away and very often we are still left not understanding why certain things happen.

Here’s what I do know…

When times get tough and things are unfair, it helps to have amazing people around you. By amazing, I mean strong people who have empathy and give love. If you don’t already have these people in your life, get some.

I’ll share some of the best parts of the people who keep me sane (sort of) and give me a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen when I need it.

They dance. They dance like fools and like everybody is watching, but they don’t give a shit.

They laugh. Not only do they laugh at my jokes to the point of snorting (you know who you are), they also make me laugh and know how important laughter is. This includes enjoying stupid/lame jokes that only we think are funny.

They sympathize. Even if they don’t know exactly what you’re going through, they listen with compassion and try to understand.

They empathize. Even better, they know exactly what you’re going through, and you don’t feel alone.

They drink. Let’s face it, I’m gonna need you to have a cocktail or three with me because days are hard.

They sit by your side. They’ve seen your ugly cry face. They’ve seen you overreact. They’ve seen you without makeup. And still, they sit next to you.

They don’t judge. There is no “right way” to do this thing called life and they know this. They’ve made the same mistake 12 times, just to be sure it was really a mistake. We’re all still figuring some things out and that’s ok.

They dislike all the same people you do. We don’t wear pink on Wednesdays, but you still can’t sit with us. Like, ever.

They think you’re beautiful, inside and out. They not only think it, they tell you. We build each other up. The world will tear us down, but we won’t do that to each other.

They believe the best of you. Others will assume the worst of you, but your people should always see the good in you and tell you so.

Most importantly…

They show up. At a moment’s notice and sometimes without you even asking because they just know.

To my people who are all of these things and more, I love you and thank you. We have a safe place to go when we need to unwind or vent or cry or laugh and that place is with each other. We can’t always fix each other’s hurt or make the terrible things better, but we can show up and be with each other.

There is something devastatingly beautiful about the pain that makes us vulnerable in life. We become so open and exposed that others have a chance to pour love and healing into our hearts and our wounds.

Even when my heart is heavy, it is full. And that is a gift.

Definitely, maybe

I thought I was clear, but apparently not. Please don’t talk to me for the first few hours of the day. I’m coming to grips with the fact that I have to be awake and it’s difficult.

Also, please don’t wear your Snuggie to work. Oh, it’s a poncho? Umm, no. At the very least, that is a cape and who are you saving? Nobody. Fucking nobody.

I’m trying to be a nice person, but you people are making this hard. I’m staying centered. I’m burning my Sage. I’m hugging the humans I like. I’ve even eaten Kale twice in the last week. Help a sister out and save your words for someone else. Hold that thought, like, forever. Thanks.

I’m about to become one of those people who creates a Facebook event. I know, but it’s for a good cause. It’s so my girlfriends and I can go eat delicious food and drink adult beverages a month from now because we’re all so damn busy and this is what it’s come to.

I guess being an adult means you have to schedule lunches a month in advance and eat a lot of green leafy vegetables. Nobody tells you that when they’re reading you fairy tales as a child, do they?!

“And then the princess picked her boyfriend’s boxers up off the floor every day for the rest of her life because while his eyesight was good, the hamper was invisible to him.”

Cohabitation is fun. This month alone, I’ve watched 13 movies I couldn’t be less interested in. I get to tell him that he’s using his inhaler wrong and wonder if he’s leaving his trimmed beard hair in the sink because, like the hamper, it’s invisible to him. Write a story about that, Disney.

As though that isn’t hard enough, I go to work and PEOPLE TALK TO ME.

I’m not actually upset about any of this. They are minor annoyances, but I might have an attitude problem. Definitely, maybe.

Confession time: There are six stalls in the bathroom in our building. The fourth one doesn’t lock. There is no way to make it properly lock, it just won’t. I see women walk right in and I say nothing. They usually like to give it 3 or 4 tries before realizing there is no way to lock it. I could have told them, but I find it amusing. I might be an asshole. Definitely, maybe.

Here, watch this little hedgehog try to swim. Act like you don’t love the hell out of it. I dare you.

Shut Up, You’re Weird Too

As much as I like the fun part of holidays, can I just say that I am so happy they’re over? Of course I can, I’m the boss of me. I think holidays make people crazy, rather, they bring out the crazy. What is that? Is it being reminded of bad memories past? The impending doom of spending time with relatives? Is your creepy uncle coming to Christmas dinner? I mean, WHAT?!

It’s fine, we all have our reasons for wishing the holidays away. Mine would be the crowds of people. They are everywhere, and they bring their crying babies with them. Isn’t this time of year hard enough without your teething infant screaming in the middle of Macy’s? I’m just looking for a sweater, dammit.

I enjoy parts of it. My Mother is an amazing cook and I happen to like my family so that part is easy. I love watching my kids open their gifts. Then, I regret buying things that require batteries, assembly or set up of any kind. Immediately, I turn my daughter and ask her to set up the new Nintendo Switch pretending I’m like a grandmother who doesn’t understand how “email” or “texting” works. She obliges because watching me attempt it would be equally if not more frustrating for her. She’s a good daughter.

When Christmas is finally over, there sits New Year’s like the smug bitch that she is. “New year, new you? Not so fast!”, she shouts.

I burned White Sage throughout the house and carried on with a positive attitude because new beginnings, right?

Shut up, you’re weird too.

Well, I can’t even believe the things people around me have already endured. Jeez, 2018. Simmer down. However, there’s happiness too, some have new houses and new babies (I’ve already advised them on not allowing their infants to tag along to Macy’s). I suppose this is the stuff of life. Ups and downs, ebbs and flows.

The truth is that New Year’s Resolutions are silly. It’s just a date. You want to change something? Umm, change it. It’s not like the Universe is gonna stop you… “Whoa, making a change today? On a school night? I won’t allow it.” Then, you’re struck by lightening to set an example for all the other humans who dare to be so bold as to try to better themselves in the middle of the week.

I’m going to make resolutions and evolve twice monthly so just brace yourself, this will never end. I don’t ever want to stop being curious and will constantly want to try new things. For instance, I had an app on my phone for a solid 5 weeks to help me learn French. Sure, it didn’t last, but “c’est la vei”. I’m now researching the benefits of bone broth and will be making my own in the next week.

Shut up, you’re weird too.

Lifetime learners and people who aren’t scared to be who they genuinely are, that’s who I like and want to surround myself with. Yes, tell me about your strange childhood. I live for this shit. Talk to me about your latest epiphany, I wanna know. You had a rough day, but found the silver lining? Let’s talk about it over a beer.

As my good pal and I recently discussed over a shared jar of moonshine, we are all changing and evolving. This is a good thing and something that should never stop because if it did, then what’s the point?

I think we’re here on Earth for two reasons:

To love ourselves and others

To learn what we don’t know

That second one is endless, obviously. And that is the point.

I spent a solid decade learning about myself and reading every book imaginable. I love to learn about others too, this is my jam. If you’re a MBTI nerd like me, I’m an ENFP. If you don’t know what that means…as my good friend says, “Google that shit!” (GTS). I’m a Type Two on the Enneagram. Again, GTS.

As much self-discovery as I’ve done, I still surprise myself. I recently noticed that after a very social weekend, I will suddenly shut down and need no one to talk to me or even breathe in my direction. It’s just too much to bare. I have expended all my extroverted energy. I now need to re-charge and I can’t do that with you in my space. I suppose I’m a Social Introvert, which is weird.

Shut up, you’re weird too.

Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that my Non-New Year’s Resolution is to keep trying new things, keep learning more about myself and others, and just love people. They need it and so do I. I’d also like to go wine tasting. I’ve never been and it seems like the 37 year old thing to do so maybe. We shall see.

I will always crave connection, real connection. If you’re not going to be real with me, I’ll know, and our conversation will be about the weather and last under 5 minutes. I’m not a Meteorologist, I don’t give a shit about the forecast, I just don’t like you. It’s ok, someone else will.

Good luck with your New Year’s Resolutions, everyone! Try being Gluten free, you’ll probably be friend free in 2 weeks, but carry on. Giving up alcohol? Call me when that’s over. I’ll be here for you, but in the meantime, I’ll be over there where they keep the beer. Deciding to try bangs? I’ll caution against it, but still sit next to you. (P.S. you look 5 years old now)

How To Be 37

I just had a birthday. I know, fantastic. I bought myself all the face creams so let’s just not talk about it anymore.

I’ve been catching up on the last few seasons of Grey’s Anatomy as of late. So far I’ve diagnosed two people with Cardiomyopathy, one with Bronchitis and 62 with an attitude problem. A few didn’t take the news well, but whatevs.

We recently attended a Halloween party. I went as an attacked Little Red Riding Hood with a basket full of booze. Duh. I contemplated doing the couple thing, my boyfriend obviously being the Wolf. However, the look of excitement on his face when we found the inflatable Velociraptor costume was just too much to bear. Plus, I was really hoping he’d get a little tipsy and fall over. Then, I could just roll him out the door and back home. Bonus, he’d be encapsulated in this getup all night so when he farted and gassed himself out to the point of unconsciousness, I would see Karma at it’s finest. I’m an amazing person.

Fine, I’m not that great. Still better than some though. For instance..

I saw two women jogging early in the morning and one was wearing a head flashlight. I can’t decide if they were friends jogging together or if the flashlight wearer was chasing the other woman to force her into friendship. She clearly needs a friend to tell her that she looks like a dumb ass. First of all, it wasn’t that dark. Second of all, you’re not a coal miner, ma’am. Take it down a notch.

Or how about the guy who likes to hold the door open and wait for me to walk through at the gym even though I might be a solid 50 feet away. Thank you sir, but I’m going to get my cardio inside the gym and now I feel like I have to awkwardly powerwalk because you have an impatient look on your face like I’m inconveniencing you. Dude, I’ll get my own door.

Enough about others, let’s get back to me. I’m about to cry over this hangnail and I just washed a plastic fork. Send help.
And out of the blue, I decided to watch Eat, Pray, Love. It felt like the 37-year-old thing to do. Clearly, we needed wine and by “we” I just mean me. I watched the movie twice. In a row. I blame the wine.
I’d actually seen it years ago, but I don’t think I got it at the time. Either way, I suddenly have a desire to eat all the pasta in Italy, buy bigger jeans, then attend a wedding in India and finally cry with Javier Bardem about EVERYTHING.

However, there was a quote in there that I loved so very much..

“Ruin is a gift. Ruin is a road to transformation.”

I think there are some types of growth that can only come from brokenness. Sometimes we have to be humbled to be open to what we need to learn.

A little bit of the wisdom I picked up over the last year:

Half the time you’re fighting with someone, you’re really fighting with yourself.

Forgiveness is not a chore, but a necessary part of loving someone completely. This means yourself also.

Life’s trials don’t end. One gets solved and another arises. Learning to enjoy life throughout all of the trials is the point.

Don’t miss the point.

There is always room for one more.

Check in on people, they need it more than you think.

You don’t have it all figured out, life will surprise you and about half the time you’ll like it.

I will say “Bless You” up to 3 times when you sneeze. After that, I assume you’re an attention whore and you’re dead to me.

What? I can’t be mature all the time.

Ever feel like you’re not cutting it as a parent? Let me help you out. My son just went to Camp and I sent him with a disposable camera. I’ll be dropping it off to get the pictures developed along with my daughter’s disposable camera from when she went to Camp SIX YEARS AGO. Mother of the year.

I’m going to need you guys to lower your expectations. Thanks.

South Lake Tahoe, A Love Letter

Dear South Lake Tahoe,

I didn’t want to meet you. I thought the timing of this trip couldn’t have been worse with so much going on in my life. I just knew that my absence from my regular life would be detrimental TO THE ENTIRE WORLD. I may have over estimated my importance a little, maybe. Surprisingly, the people in my life survived without me and had I not gone, I would never have experienced the splendor of your beauty.

As it turned out, this trip came at the exact right time. While it was a work related trip, I feel as though it was a gift to me for so many reasons. It coincided with a time that my soul needed something. It’s a different kind of hunger when it comes from my soul. I truthfully had no idea what I needed. Maybe a reminder. A reminder of who I am.  A reminder that no matter who or what surrounds me, I am grounded, I am centered and I know what is true. It is so easy to get lost in the day to day and I forget the big picture of my life.

Off I went. Slim Jim’s, check. Playlist, check. Stress, check!

I arrived not knowing what was in store, but boy did you feed my soul.

The last hour of the drive to meet you was worth the trip alone. Oh, hello trees. There are so many of you, you are so green and happy. Why wouldn’t you be? You are hugged every day by beautiful mountains with surprise waterfalls that pour with delight at the chance to nourish you. Lest I forget the streams. They flowed in a way that told me I was headed to a place where peace would abound. Yes, please. That’s one thing I wanted for sure, peace.

My Buddhist tendencies keep me from going into new situations with expectations and I found it quite easy to just take the experience for what it was and be grateful.

Something I’m adamant about when traveling is walking as much as possible. Not only is it great after sitting in a car for so long, but for me it’s a better way to get a feel for my new surroundings.

I learned a few things about myself while in this gorgeous place…

One, I LOVE to travel alone. Being able to explore whatever I wanted and not having to consult another living soul was liberating. I loved driving through the mountains and performing the most amazing car karaoke that the world will never have the pleasure of witnessing. (Some gifts aren’t meant to be shared)

Two, I adore me. I thoroughly enjoy my own company. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with me. I’m adventurous, fun and might I add, a little easy on the eyes most days. My inner monologue keeps me highly entertained and I am one of the funniest people I know. Did I mention I’m also humble?

Three, the older I get, the more I talk to myself. Not a low mumble, but like regular conversation level volume talk to myself. I think the people in my life have gotten used to it, but go to a new place and all of a sudden you’re “the weird girl who wanders and has an imaginary friend”. All I have to say to that is, DROP DEAD FRED!

Let me take you through a bit of my journey..

Day one, meeting the lake.

Sunshine, but only 83°. It was 106° back home so enjoying the warmth of the sun without feeling like it was trying to murder me was fantastic.

The bluest lake I’ve ever seen..

IMG_20170709_191721_148Music is life. I feel like every situation can only get better when you have some good tunes.

Since I love music so much, I was naturally drawn to the center of town where live bands seemed to be everywhere. I listened to three different bands at various venues. All of them were great. There’s something about live music that makes me surrender to the moment.

I crossed over to the Nevada side for a bit, not as fun in my opinion, but cool nonetheless. I spent so much time walking and exploring the town that I forgot to eat dinner so I grabbed a tasty pizza from Vinny’s on my way back to the hotel. I washed it down with a Tallboy Bud Light because I am nothing, if not classy.

Day two…

Work obligations took half of the day. However, my coworker/friend and I accomplished our goal and graduated from a program we’ve been working on for a couple of years so yay to that!

We also got to enjoy lunch at Heaven’s Little Cafe which was indeed heavenly. The fish tacos were amaaaazing.

With responsibility out of the way, I ran back to the hotel to change and I was gone. I did a little Googling earlier in the day and read about Emerald Bay. I can’t explain it, but I knew I had to go. I wanted to see that view for myself. I just needed to be there so up the mountain I drove.

Along the way I saw 2 beautiful Ravens which I took as a good omen. Most of you probably know that my left wrist is adorned with one of these beauties.

My love of birds has been with me since I was a child. Yes, my last name is Nightengale. No, not like the bird and no, that’s not why.

My Mother always called me a night owl because I never wanted to go to sleep at night. Side Note: I only ever got spanked once as a child because I didn’t want to put on underwear. I guess not much has changed. I still like to be up late and still hate underwear…and pants for that matter.

I think I was a bird in a past life. Imagine the freedom of flying and being able to take a crap on whoever you want. Amazing.

I digress….so back to the trip up the mountain. I made it to Emerald Bay and it was breathtaking.

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The presence of other humans was a minor annoyance, but I had plenty of solitude and my earphones so all was well. I think that was exactly the point you were making to me, all is well. There are small matters; stress, conflicts and people who will try to rob me of my joy and peace, but at the end of the day all is well with my soul. I have what matters most in life and I am grateful.

A few fun facts..

Emerald Bay is home to the one and only Island in Lake Tahoe.

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Fannette Island

There are days I would like to be air lifted to this Island so no one can talk to me. I could send a Raven with a message should anything of importance arise, but otherwise I should be left alone.

Then there is this gem. Captain Richard “Dick” Barter made his way to Lake Tahoe in the 1860’s. He was quite the character and would row his dinghy into town to visit the saloons. Captain Dick had a proclivity for Whiskey which only makes him more lovable. There’s a story about him amputating his own toes and showing them to visitors, but we’ll just focus on the positive here.

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Just to confirm that the birds love me right back..

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He was just a little shy.

 

The biggest challenge I face is being present in the moment and enjoying myself when all of the small stuff in life tries to get in the way. It was easy to do when I was with you, none of those things existed. I messaged a friend who frequently visits you and asked him, “Is this heaven?” He replied, “Of course it is”. And that was that.

I may have found my heaven on Earth. I think you’ve stolen my heart from the Ocean who I still hold in high regard and will always visit. However, nothing can compete with the clarity I feel standing under your giant trees and looking at the majestic view of your water and mountains.

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At Inspiration Point

 

Day three, a sad goodbye..

I will miss you. I debated going back to the lake one more time, but since a 5 hour energy drink was already going to be required for the trip home I decided to get on the road.

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Not to worry, I safely drove while the phone was stationary and capturing a bit of my drive. I could drive this road every day and never tire of it.

Until we meet again, South Lake Tahoe. Thank you for the reminders. Thank you for being so welcoming and thank you for the quiet.

There is value is saying nothing at all, in quiet reflection and in a little soul searching.