Lessons learned

Don’t let the title fool you. I certainly don’t have it all figured out. But I’ve learned a few things over the past 54 years – and a huge amount of that over the past 4 to 5. here is a small sample:

Adulting is not always fun

You are almost always stronger than you think you are

As an adult, you can eat Popsicles and ice cream any time of day or night

Being funny is easy, but being kind is best

Sometimes the relationship is more important than being right

God meant it when he said “be still”, he created the universe without your input so he doesn’t need your help with the day-to-day stuff

Just because you do bad things occasionally doesn’t make you a bad person

Never say never

Try new things. Who would’ve thought crab legs would become my favorite food? (I always said I didn’t like them because I didn’t want to try them – LOL!)

The advice in number nine also goes for relationships, experiences, and hobbies.

When it comes to a partner, don’t keep choosing the same characteristics over and over. If it didn’t work the first 300 times – chances are it won’t work this time.

Be open to good people.

Be kind to yourself unless you’re an ass, and then straighten up

Find a partner who loves and adores you, and encourages you become the best you possible. Feel the same about said partner.

We all have baggage, but remember only one carry-on per person. Don’t bring all that baggage with you to the next relationship.

Speaking of the last relationship, figure out why it didn’t work, what your role was – and fix it. Don’t keep repeating the past.

Be adventurous and spontaneous

All relationships take work! Especially romantic ones. Do the work – always do the work!

Remember where you came from and honor those who helped you get where you are.

I’m sure there’s a lot more, and a lot more to learn. The good news is I’m trying every day to be better than the day before. I certainly haven’t gotten to this point alone – there are lots of special people in my life, and one amazing man that I’ll talk about more later, when the time is right.

So here’s the deal, no matter how bad things are – someone, somewhere has it harder. So let yourself wallow for a short time and then get sick of yourself, get off your ass and change things.

We were all born to be fighters and survivors!

Still alive and kicking…

It’s been over four years since I last blogged. I’d love to tell you I spent the entire time getting my life together, kicking ass and taking names. However that’s just not the case. I spent a large part of the last few years just trying to figure out what the hell I was doing with my life. Impulsive decisions, lack of connection and being lied to (and naively believing) – led to more bad decisions, non-decisions, and simply coasting. Depression, anxiety and general hopelessness pretty much over took my being. I never understood people who contemplated suicide until then. I was mostly able to hold it together and put on a mask of competence and contentment to about 99% of the outside world. As many of us do when we hit rock bottom, I started looking inward and upward. And not surprisingly upward was the best way to go. I’ve always had a tremendous amount of faith. It’s a very personal thing for me and I don’t wear it on my shirt sleeves, but I’ve always been very strong in my beliefs and my faith in God. I got myself back in church and finally started tearing down a few of the walls. My pastor is one of the most amazing people I know. I was able to talk to him, and over time the entire ugly details of my life started tumbling out. He never judged me but he never cut me any slack either.

After a time he asked if I would teach a singles Sunday school class. I told him I would but was very adamant that this would not be a “singles meeting singles to date” type class. It would strictly be Bible study and no hanky-panky at all! He smiled and agreed. I chose a series on Grace because Grace has been the one thing that has been the hardest for me. I understand the concept and absolutely believe it 100% – Except I’ve never been able to apply it to my life. I’ve always felt that with everything I’ve done there is no way Grace applies to me. Anyway, our class started and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I believe I learned more and got more from it than any of the participants.

Anyway, you know they say “we plan and God laughs”. That is definitely what happened.

But more on that in the next post.

Changes…

WOW -it’s been forever since I’ve written a post. This seemed like such a good idea initially – but I realized that opening…sharing thoughts and feelings is really uncomfortable to me. I’m not sure if this post will ever see the light of day, but if so – I’m not going to promise any more with any regularity. I’ll just do the best I can.

So – another update…I’m in the process of divorcing. Yep – what an experience! But I’m good – it is something that, from my perspective, needed to happen.

I’m also in the process of relocating my life, this sounds simpler than it is. First thing is gaining employment where I want to be…easier said than done. But I’m confident it will happen – I have to be, right?

Sooo that’s where I am, failure at blogging,failure at marriage and so far a failure at relocating myself. How cool am I?

Gene’s Spa Vacation…

So, let’s just call it like it is – Gene was on a Fancy, Schmancy Spa vacation!  You’ve already read how Gene came to be there, and if you haven’t you need to or this little story won’t be as meaningful.  So, here’s the backstory, as they say http://wp.me/p1JaVK-4u.

As you can imagine, Momma and Daddy call Gene in the Bone Booth every day to check up on him (they also speak with those crazy kind ladies at the front desk as well)  It wouldn’t do for him to be unhappy.  I’m wondering what they would have done if the report had come in that he was not enjoying his visit to the “Spa”.  Of course, that starts my mind spinning in ALL sorts of directions.  I can imagine the 911 call coming in that a crazy lady has broken in to the PetSmart and kidnapped her baby at gunpoint cause they weren’t making happy.  Or, a more likely scenario — a frantic call to me to “go get your ‘brother’ NOW – those people are not treating him right”.  Thank the LORD that the reports from Gene were positive.

Anyway…Gene’s human friends at the PetSmart reported that he was just a WONDERFUL boy!  EVERYONE loved him (maybe cause he can’t talk, give attitude or whine about being bored or hungry??? – just sayin!)!  Moreover, they gushed – “he just LOVES playtime.  He’s very social, however he doesn’t seem to be happy when joining the play group already in progress.”  Now how they knew this I have NO idea.  But here’s what just tickled me – this was their solution to that particular conundrum, “we let Gene be the greeter during playtime.  This makes him VERY happy and then he will just play and play!”  And that just seemed to please everyone involved to no end.  I’m seeing a doggie WalMart with brother Gene at the entry way saying “Howdy” to all the other doggies as they come in from the parking lot, hot and sweaty, just trying to get their buggy and get inside to the air conditioning.  But my mind does wonder like that…  At any rate, playtime seems to be a success.

And snack time…oh my goodness – Gene loved snacktime.  What dog, I ask you, does NOT love snack time?  But again – to these sweet ladies – brother Gene is like the Doggie Second Coming with every little thing he does.  His joy at snack time just thrilled them to no end.  Imagine that – a dog that LOVES his snacks.  His morning snack was just a normal snack – but in the evening he got…wait for it…Frosty Paws.  Doggie Ice Cream!  Gene is walkin in tall cotton!  There will be no more walking among the common dogs back home now!

All this to tell you that  – Dogs like dog spa’s.  They are REALLY spoiled there!  I may take my next vacation with brother Gene, but I won’t hold my breath for Momma and Daddy to call ME in the bone booth.

Mean Gene at the PetSmart – Part 2

OK, we left off with Gene’s reservations being made at the PetSmart Hotel, once Momma, Daddy and LN (Little Nephew) were assured that his suite would be to his liking and no Doggie Porn would be shown on the television (click here for the backstory http://wp.me/p1JaVK-4d).

Fast forward to the drop off day…my phone rings and Momma is telling me that they dropped Gene off.  “He seemed to take it well.  I think he’ll be ok.”  Then she says, quite seriously, “Could you stop by and check on him so he won’t feel abandoned?”  Well of course Momma, let me just toddle my fanny right over to the PetSmart in another town (granted it’s not THAT far) and check on the DOG. 

“LN” and Gene. Gene thinks he’s a lapdog

But being an obedient daughter – I do make it over to check on Gene a couple of days after he checked into the Doggie Spa.  Now understand that Momma had already called and visited with Gene via the “bone booth” at least once by this time.  Anyway, I walk into the PetSmart and make my way back to the hotel.  I wander over to the “front desk” and can clearly see Gene in his “suite”.  The lady at the desk very sweetly and sincerely asks the name of the “guest” I’m there to visit.  I point and say – “Gene”.  Evidently, that is not enough for this diligent employee.  “Ma’am, can you give me Gene’s last name?”  Last name!?!, this is a dog.  OK, I’ll bite, I give the woman my folks last name which apparently satisfies her.  Then she asks, and I kid you not, “I need your name and your relationship to Mr. Gene”.  I become quite serious at this point cause I’m thinking perhaps I’ll have to go through a full body search before I get to see the darned dog.  I tell her my name and then, I’m forced to pick my jaw up off the floor when she says, “Oh, you’re Gene’s sister!”.  Evidently this just delights her, but all I can think is that my OWN MOMMA has listed me as the dog’s sister!!!  Who is this woman??

Well, since we are evidently blood relatives, I’m cleared to see Gene.  He’s brought out to see me and in his own, doggie way seems happy.  The desk clerk and trainer have to tell me how they all just LOVE Gene.  He’s such a joy, he’s SO beautiful (I wanted to tell them he took after me, but they didn’t have much of a sense of humor) and has such a beautiful personality.  The trainer says she’s going to work with him a bit each day, and what kinds of things did he know already?  I told her he was dumb as dirt and didn’t know “come here from sic ’em”.  She didn’t seem to like my honesty, even though I agreed that he was pretty, and didn’t have to be too smart.  She continued to insist that he was a smart boy and she was going to work with him.  What would the family like for him to learn?  I got smart and told her if he’d learn to sit, stay, get down, stay, be quiet and stay – we’d consider it a success.  I think she thought I was underestimating the poor dear, and was pondering turning me in to someone, somewhere.  I tried to make up with her by telling her that we loved him even if he didn’t learn anything except not to eat the house.

At this point, the ladies decided my visit should probably come to an end.  So I told Gene good-bye. 

Tune in next time for the update that the PetSmart folks gave my folks on Gene’s activities.

(Not So) Mean Gene and the Doggie Hotel

 Some days, I just don’t know who my parents are anymore.  One thing I DO know, they aren’t the same people who raised me.  It started when my child was born.  I noticed when raising her that these people were a bit different than those I’d known for the first 18 years of my life.  But I was busy and didn’t pay it much mind. 

When my grandboys came along, I began to think that perhaps different people were inhabiting the bodies and minds of my folks – but since these were MY grandboys, and they could do NO wrong – I was fine with whoever these interlopers were.  However, over the past couple of weeks, I can only assume that UFO’s and aliens are real – and they have taken over the bodies and minds of the people that I know as Momma and Daddy.  Let me explain…

Gene has a tough life – but somebody has to guard the kitchen!

Daddy and Momma got a new dog.  It seems that the animal shelter in town was full and overflowing, and what with them (Momma and Daddy) at home now that they’ve retired – they have more time to pay attention to these stories on the news.  So, after a bit of pondering – off they go to the shelter to “just look”.  Now you know how this is going to turn out.  After a couple of trips, they return with Gene.  Gene is still a pup.  He’s huge.  He’s part golden retriever, part yellow lab.  He was voluntarily turned in to the shelter and we believe was mistreated.  At the very least he has abandonment issues.  So, basically – they have a humongous toddler with self esteem issues in need of antidepressants and therapy.  But, he’s a sweetie, and everyone fell in love.  Momma, Daddy and my little nephew (he’s over 6 ft, a teacher and stays with Momma and Daddy), now have a new addition to the family – and all is well.  That is until their annual vacation comes up.  They were going to leave Gene with the other 2 family members staying home, Freddina the cat (named after my Dad), and Pico the rat-dog.  That all changed when Gene came in to the living room with a rather large piece of baseboard in his mouth.  Seems his chew toys were just not doing it for him anymore.  Since the folks wanted a house to come back to – they had to go to Plan B. 

Enter the Doggie Hotel.  My little nephew searches the web and finds out that PetSmart has a pet hotel and this would be a wonderful place for Gene to spend his “vacation”, and Momma and Daddy agree.  These are the same people who wouldn’t let our dog come in during a tornado when we were kids.  We had to sneak the poor thing in the back and hide him under the table with us.  Anyway, I digress.  So after finding out the details, the terrible trio go to PetSmart to check out the facilities.  (They left Gene at home so as not to traumatize him unnecessarily). 

Upon arrival, they were shown the hotel “rooms” for the large dogs.  LN (Little Nephew) decides that Gene will not be comfortable for a whole week in a single room, so he upgrades to a suite.  This way Gene gets a larger room with a cot to sleep/nap on as well as a TV, I kid you not.  And to top it off, my Daddy asks the lady what type of programming they show for the dogs.  He wanted to be sure that Gene wasn’t subjected to inappropriate content.  Upon hearing this I asked “What did you think Daddy, that they’d be showing Doggie Porn?”  At this point, nothing is going to surprise me. 

After being assured that appropriate content is shown on the tv they move on.  The next perk is that Gene will be allowed to use the “Bone Booth”, this is a special phone booth that my folks can use to call Gene as often as they’d like so that they can hear each others voices!  I think I’ve heard it all now.  But wait…there’s more.  LN also wants Gene to have daily “Play Time” with the other dogs his age, as well as 2 snacks a day (his evening snack is doggie ice cream). 

You are thinking that I’m lyin – right.  The Lord as my witness – this is the honest truth!  And there’s more…but that’s for another day.  Check back to find out how Gene fared during his “vacation”.

Best Burger in Town

I LOVE food!  If you know me, this will NOT come as a surprise to you.  And I’m talking REAL food, not foo-foo food – you know what I’m talking about.  That fancy schmancy stuff that you eat in restaurants with cloth napkins.  I’m talking about what I call “real people” food.  If a restaurant has paper napkins – I’m at home, if there is a roll of paper towels on the table, even better!  Now I don’t want you to think that I’m a total heathen.  I can roll with the big shots.  I’ve eaten in those “cloth napkin, multiple fork” restaurants before and my folks would have been proud.  I didn’t pick my teeth with the knife or spit food back on my plate if I didn’t like it.  I used my “company manners”.  I’m just sayin that my comfort zone is more paper towel and sweet tea, than multiple forks and champagne.

Anyway, I LOVE a good burger.  I’m not totally opposed to a mediocre burger.  I have no problem eating a fast food  burger – I know what I’m getting when I order, but I’m always in search of the amazing burger.  And let me tell you – I’ve found it!  No surprise – it’s not a major chain.  In fact, it’s local, and my family has been eating there since the beginning. 

Now let me clarify – there are a couple types of burgers that I ABSOLUTELY love!  The first being an old fashioned greasy burger.  You know what I’m talking about, fried in a skillet, preferably cast iron – and just about the time the burger is ready, you put the bun on top and close the lid so the bun gets all soft and steamy, and the edges get all brown and greasy.  Then, when you bite into that hunk of deliciousness – the grease all but drips down your arms.  Man, I’m about to have an apoplexy just thinking about it.  But this is not that kind of burger.  This is the kind that’s cooked on a flat top grill.  Still delicious, but not as greasy – therefore I count it as health food!  So, for all you health food nuts out there  – without further ado…

DFW Metroplex – meet Chapps Hamburger Cafe http://www.chappscafe.com/about.html.  The burgers are amazing – not fancy, just amazing.  And if you get them with the grilled onions, as I do – those onions are REALLY grilled, not still crunchy as they are at many other establishments advertising grilled onion burgers.  The fries are homemade and to die for.  Seasoned perfectly and made to order – you just don’t want to stop eating!  I always get the “Baby Chapps”, which is the smaller burger and fry combo.  It’s plenty for your average hungry adult!  They also have hot dogs with amazing toppings and have recently added a turkey burger and fish sandwich.  But for me, it’s always the burger and fries!  (Take a gander at that burger – doesn’t it make your mouth water?)

Service at Chapps is always friendly.  It’s counter service, but they do bring the order to your table.  It’s a great place for a great burger.  There are 7 locations in the D/FW area.  We frequent the Arlington locations.  Stop in and give them a try.  I think you’ll agree that they are a great little burger joint!