I Do My Best Living

A crystal ball.  I need a crystal ball.  

Along with everyone else.  But still.  I want one.  

I want to know what is going to happen, when it is going to happen, and how it is going to happen.  In my core, I'm a planner.  Which translates fluidly to the whole crystal ball idea.  Except, guess what?  I will never, no matter how hard I squeeze my eyes and crinkle my nose and wish, have a crystal ball.  

And I suppose it is better this way.  I'm not meant to know the future and I can't always be in charge.  A plan is not always a necessity.  Let it go.  Let it go.  Let it go.  The chant to remind myself that many of my fondest memories are made from a no plan event.  The random friends gathering on a back deck in the middle of an evening run.  The "just one" glass of wine which turns into an entire girl's night out complete with leaving our heels next to the dance floor to flail like fools.  The sitting on the ottoman at the farm having a heart to heart with my mom and sister while my niece is curled up next to me instead of mowing the lawn...

It's in those no plan sporadic moments that I do my best living.  When I want to squeeze my eyes and crinkle my nose and wish for that crystal ball, that statement needs to be written with a thick sharpie on a hot pink sticky note and smacked to my forehead.  

It's in those no plan sporadic moments that I do my best living.  

Forget about the crystal ball.  What will happen will.  

Now if only it was as easy to put that belief into practice as it is to type the words.  

When my little sister and her friend surprise stopped by my house last Saturday evening before a wedding, I wanted to smush their cute little selves and say, "You have so much ahead of you.  And please don't waste your time worrying.  Just do.  Just live.  Otherwise you are going to end up with forehead wrinkles when you are twenty-eight.  Stay carefree with the world as your oyster.  Because it is.  It really is."  

My cheeks hurt from smiling at their bubbly faces sitting on my couch telling me story after story and being all excited about...well, about everything.  Teenage girls seem to roll like that.  Everything is the biggest deal and the best ever.  Sometimes that mentality can be looked upon as annoying or naive or just you wait until you have real things like paying bills, but I think it's a pretty fabulous way to operate.  Because at the end of the day, sometimes it is the best ever and it is worthy of hands flying dramatics.  Teenage girl style.  

Not crystal ball style.  What will happen will.  Let it go and let it happen.  And it's always a win to have two teenagers do your hair, makeup, and tell you what to wear while one sits on the edge of the tub and the other wields a curling iron as a storytelling aid as they dish about the latest drama of he said she said.  I swear being around those ridiculous girls for a few hours made at least one forehead wrinkle go away.   


A Slice of Random Pie

1.  Taking a banana, peeling it, and then using a plastic fork to chunk it into bite sized pieces is currently on my list for mid-morning heart happy time. 

2.  I used to be more than happy with being alone.  Completely content with rocking my life solo.  Now I am struggling with the concept and am working on getting my groove back.  

3.  This new job is right up my alley.  Organization and talking and planning.  Love.  It turns my crank to put my glasses on and get after the data or the handouts or the whatever it is that I need to complete.  

4.  Pumpkin spice melting tarts from Yankee Candle Co. make me breathe in real deep when I walk into my house and think "Dang fall.  You got it going on.  Mmmmhhmm.  You sure do."  I think this in my fake southern accent that has been Georgia tested and approved.  

5.  For a time, I was worried I had lost my purpose without having the fourth grade chicken wings under my care.  This week, I am not as plagued by this thought because I have come to the realization it is healthy for me to stretch and figure and push and chart new purposes.  Do I miss the bajeezies out of the chicken wings?  YES.  Am I regretting making the jump?  NO.  

6.  Tall boots and sweaters.  Need I say more?  Other than add in that royal blue color that is popping up all over this fall and then it's even more of a love situation.   

7.  A couple days ago, I asked two of the big big bosses from our district, "Do either of you two know a nice man that won't make me want to cry while I sit through an inservice training?  Because please let me meet him if you do."  They both told me they would work on it and get back to me.  After walking out of that room, I questioned my appropriate meter once again.  

8.  Wild About Wines.  Anytime this is the name of an event, I am there.  An evening wine walk around one of the local parks with proceeds benefiting our flood wrecked zoo. 

9.  I went with a few of my new co-workers and quickly realized they will be added to my forever friends.

10.  Because really how often do you find someone who also carries a camouflage can-coozie in their purse at all times.  You never know when you might need one.  You just never know.      

11.  We had a fabulous time.  And they were not embarrassed by my need to photograph things and crouch next to the bruschetta appetizer table because I wanted the twinkly lights in the background.

12.  I love bringing new people into my life as much as I love a glass of pinot noir.  Both fit under the "more the merrier" umbrella.  I was glad I went to high school with the girl who was pouring the samples at this table because a little snippet of pinot noir is not enough.  Full glass necessary.   

13.  This troll and I had a moment.  It was real.  I know it was. 


Not to be Confused...

My friend that I have known since before I was born recently asked his girlfriend to marry him.  She said yes!  I saw her the other evening at Sil's Pampered Chef party and of course asked to see her ring.  Much to my disappointment, it was being sized.  I had to settle for seeing a picture on her phone.  

I exclaimed, "Ooooo...I love it!!  It's very heirloom looking and I love vintage.  I'm a vintage slut.  It always gets me."  

Momma Debi chimed right in and I mean right in with, "At least you aren't the village slut."  

Let's just have a moment for Momma Debi and her fabulousness.  

I'm sorry for exposing you to profanity of such nature, but sometimes funny wins out over following rules.  It just does.   

I also will tell you there was wine involved.  That sister-in-law of mine can really throw a party. 


Friday Night Lights

Sister Pister's high school's homecoming football game was on Friday night.  When I arrived at the game, before I even opened my car door, Momma Debi came to my window and said, "She blew out her knee in volleyball practice.  The trainer put her up on a table by the sidelines and is checking it out."  

Isn't that some luck?  Up for homecoming queen and blow your knee out the night of coronation.  Uffda.  And I have heard tearing the MCL is painful so I fully expected Sister Pister to be in a rather messy state of pain, disappointment, and worry...but I came around the stands and saw her on a table with a plate of food and a huge smile across her face.  

A good attitude.  It really does go a long way.  Plus a brownie.  Sometimes a brownie just helps.  

Friends have a way lifting spirits too.  Sister Pister said two of the boys from her class carried her to the back of a pickup after the game so she could go to Jordyn's house to get ready for the football game.   And then Jordyn helped her put her pants on over her volleyball spandex.  That's being a forever friend.  

Sister Pister's table perch was inside the line that separates the fans from the players but I stood there with her anyway.  It seemed like more than ever, my sister needed me to be pingy and make her laugh.  So, I started taking pictures like I always do when one of the refs came up to me, put his arm around me, and started to say something.  I figured I was in trouble for being in the "player zone" so I frantically interrupted him, "I'm sorry if I'm in the way but this is my sister and I want to take some pictures and I and I and I'm sorry."  

His reply with his arm still around me, "You're fine."  

Glad we got that straight.  

He went back to the huddle of other refs and I stood there with my camera ready because I figured at some point they would stand in a straight line.  It didn't happen.  

So my friend, who also operates on the loud side of life, and I asked them to line it up.  They listened.  It really did make for a better picture.

During the national anthem and the starting line-ups, I could not help but  reminisce about the days when I was a Bomber and Friday night football games were king and there wasn't anything better than wearing as much purple and gold as humanly possible just to stand in the freezing cold to watch the boys play. 

During that time of remembering my teenage years, I was once again reminded that I am getting older because really the whole time the first half of the game was going on, all I could focus on was how cold I was.  Freezing.  It was freezing.  So cold my nose was red.   

Shiny objects.  They do it for me every time.  Every time.   

For a minute, I decided I should leave the land of shiny objects to try and pay attention to the game.

That didn't last long. 

Finally, it was half time and the queen and king candidates prepared for their walk across the field.  Sister Pister prepped herself in Crutches 101.  I crossed my fingers she wouldn't trip in the grass.  We always joke that for as coordinated as she is, she sure can be a klutz.  So toes were also crossed in hopes there wouldn't be a crutch mishap to add even more insult to her injured knee.    

Adam was crowned the king.  He's a good egg.

McKenzi was crowned the queen.  She's a good egg too.

And Sister Pister managed to stay upright and not take a nose dive.  I gave her a hug, told her I loved her, told her I was proud of her, told her she should try to not hurt the other knee before the weekend was done, jumped in my car, and took off for the 5k weekend in Bismarck.  I must admit, it was quite alright with me to have to leave after half time.  It was cold.  And I'm getting old.      


5k Morning Smell

Early yesterday morning, in the freezing cold wind and rainy mist, Karen and I were walking across Cottonwood Park trying to find the start line for the 5k race.  It was the kind of early when it's still dark and you aren't sure why you are awake.  We were joined by many other runners trying to find the start line.  Since we only were running the 5k, nervous was not on our agenda.  But for the marathon runners and the half marathon runners, the nervous energy was in the air and abundant.  Most are quiet as they prepare for a race.  Most do not cause scenes.  Most do not laugh until they cry.  Most are not Karen and I.   

As we were walking along, I started to smell a smell.  A bad smell.  A cat sh** smell.

We all know how I feel about cats, much less their smell.  

I started freaking out and yelling and waving my arms, "Cat sh**!!  I smell cat sh**!  It's following us.  It won't go away!"

People started moving away from us in their journey to the start line.  Avoid the crazies.  Avoid the crazies.    

Karen's shoulders started to shake from laughing and the smell kept coming.  

I finally stopped walking because I couldn't take it anymore, threw my hands in the air, and yelled, "It's cat sh**!  I know it!  Check your shoes.  People check your shoes!  Check your shoes!!  It's following us!"   

And then I proceeded to check my shoes and Karen checked the soles of hers and the people around us did not check their shoes because a serious marathon runner who was walking next to us said, "It's a compost pile.  Not cat poop."

Well alright then.  Compost smells exactly like cat sh**.  

After the whole smell debacle, we ran the 5k in the windy cold rainy loveliness.

After the 5k, we jumped in the car and went to the nearest gas station to grab coffees before going back to the finish line to watch the half marathoners finish.  And to check to make sure they didn't have cat sh** on their shoes.  

Let me just say this.  Running a 5k is way less stressful than running a half.  No preparation necessary.  Show up and run and then drink coffee.  It was relaxing.  

Later in the car, Karen started to laugh again and said, "What were you thinking anyway?  It's not like cats poop in the park.  They aren't like dogs.  They use litter boxes."  

I quickly set her straight by replying, "Ummmm...excuse me.  I was thinking it was wild cats that were sh**ing in the park.  Thank you very much."  

Then we both started to laugh so hard tears were rolling down our cheeks because it's not like wild cats are frequent in parks and really they are more referred to as stray cats.

Never a dull moment.  Never.  

Now, anyone knows that a morning race run must be followed with a night of fun.  It's a rule.  Check yes to wine, fruit, cheese, and sparkly clutches.  

Check yes to martinis.  Especially the espresso martini.

Check NO to cat sh** smell in the morning.  I won't ever have a compost pile in my backyard.  That I can guarantee.  


Double Name Baby

Ever since meeting the new second grade teacher from Georgia named Mary Beth last fall, I've said this...

Everyone needs a southern friend.  

Ever since going on a business trip with Mary Beth last winter to San Diego, I've called her Shelby and she has called me Weezer and I can fake a southern accent with a fair result.

Ever since I heard Shelby's momma and sister on the phone for the first time, I knew it was important that I meet them both in person at some point.

And I did.  I met both while visiting Shelby, her husband, and their new bundle of little girl.  As the two of them came walking into the hospital room, I said, "Heyyy Momma."  That was yelled in the very best southern accent I could muster.  Shelby's momma replied with, "Not bad girl.  You got it!"  Then she laughed a kind of laugh I swear only comes out of southern women.    

Reading words is so not the same as hearing those awesome southern drawls.  Not the same at all.  In order to read this and have it resonate, you need to pretend you are in the movie Steel Magnolias.  Just do it.  Pretend.

After my fake southern-ness was accepted by the trio of real Georgia girls, the laughter continued on.  At one point, I actually felt like I was in a movie.  The hilarity of the conversation was that good.  I mean really, what kind of just had a newborn baby by c-section mom is literally running round the room belly laughing?  Turns out, Shelby.  Which really should have been no surprise to me.  She's that kind of crazy.

She's also the kind of crazy that holds up the granny panties the hospital gives you and yells, "Giiirrrrl, you gotta check these out.  Mmmmhhhmm, look at 'em.  Just you wait.  Just you wait."

Now this new bundle of little girl does not have a double name like her momma does.  Because Shelby told me last fall, "Up here, they just don't do that double name business and I am not having my girl run around and be the nerdy one."  So she dropped the second part of their first daughter's name; she still has a double name, but they only call her by the first part.  Northern.  They are becoming northern.  The second daughter has one pretty name.  And a middle name.  Because that's how we do it up here.  First name.  Middle name.  No mixing of the two.

This new sweet baby is just that...sweet.  Such a pretty thing and a honey.  She just rolled with her mom flopping her around so I could get the best light.  Rolled with it.

Of course, in all fine southern-ness, Shelby had to put on a bigger than her head bow.  It's like the double name.  They just do that kind of thing down there.

I've decided that one of my other dream fake made up in my mind perfect jobs, besides going to birthday parties, would be to visit new babies at the hospital.  There's something about seeing and holding those tiny beings that are extensions of the people I so dearly love.  Plus, it's my goal to be the first exposure to a slice of ridiculous to the babies of my family and friends. 

It's best to set the bar right away.  Life is fun.  It really is.  And I hope I will always be the friend of the parents that is slightly quirky and more than slightly fun.  I hope the children of my family members and friends always know that they can come running and I will gladly dance around with them and yell to the sky and then chase them in the green grass.     

When it is that sweet baby girl up there running, I will also be talking in my best fake southern accent.  Because that's just how I roll when I'm with Shelby and her crew.  It's necessary.  I become Weezer.     

I'm thankful to the people who let me be a part of their lives.  Thankful to the people who let me share their big moments with them.  Like dancing around with their baby in the hospital room.  It always feels good to be enveloped in to being a vital member of others' lives.  We are not meant to be without real get your soul friends.  That much I know for sure.

And everyone needs a southern friend.  That I also know.