Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Movin' Along...


Well, the time has come - I am moving to a new blog address.  :)
If you wish to still follow along, please email me at jdawn2002 @ gmail.com (remove spaces) and I will be happy to share my new address.

I'm not removing this blog, but I won't be posting here any longer.

Thanks so much for reading!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What Is Wisdom?

Sometimes, I don't like the lessons that life tries to teach me.

I wrote this status today on FB:

"Even the worst people in your life can put things into perspective for you - show you where you are lacking,  what you need, and what you need to do."

It is woefully inadequate, though, to really express what I feel.
It's one of those things that life insists on teaching you, even when you fight it with every ounce of your being.

The last few years have been rough for me.  Really rough.  They've been rife with loss, confrontations with the past, hurt and confusion.  They were simultaneously some of the best and worst of my entire life.  Confusion pretty much sums it up.

In the past few years I have learned a lot - at a high cost.

I've learned that the past never stays there.
I've learned that hate can easily cross the line into love, and vice versa.
I've learned that people you trust wholeheartedly will betray you.
I've also learned that I've trusted many that I shouldn't have - and they betrayed me.  I should have listened to my gut.
I've learned that all decisions have consequences.
I've learned that love is often one-sided.
I've learned that things I've believed for many years weren't as I thought at all.
I've learned that I have been shaped by those whom I've deeply loved more than anything else - even those who took that love for granted.

There is something to learn from everyone you've ever loved, trusted, or even hated.
Sometimes that lesson is simply that you were naive, and too trusting.  I have certainly learned that the hard way.  I've trusted people too easily, and given them too much of myself too soon.

Everyone wants to be wise, but nobody really wants to put in the work to get there.  I can see why.  It sucks.  When I was little, I never understood... never understood the difference between wisdom and knowledge, and thought that anything there was to know could be learned at will.

It can't.

There are things that only life, and other people can teach you.
Things that only failed love, betrayal, abandonment, death, and other life experiences can teach you.

I was so naive about life for so long.

I thought that love and marriage would make me whole.
I thought that kids would fulfill my purpose.
I thought that friends could always be counted on.
I thought that my parents and my childhood were just like anyone else's.
I thought I could look to others to find what was missing in my life/heart.

I also used to think that being honest, forthright, open, and true to myself would be well-received and appreciated by all.  It isn't.  It really, really isn't.

Part of the wisdom we fight so hard to gain is the ability to sort through what we need to change because OUR ways are not working and what we are doing right, but others are too blind (or emotionally stunted) to see/receive/understand.

Man, this is tough.  The last few years have made me question everything I ever thought or knew to be true.  It's very sobering to realize that you've been living in sort of a vacuum, holding onto a set of 'rules' that seem to be working until life tosses you on your ear.

Wisdom is certainly hard-won.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving On The Sea

I'm BACK!!  :D

And... my liver is happy about it.
Lets just say I discovered a profound love of coconut rum and bellinis while cruisin' the lovely Atlantic.  With cocktail names like 'Goombay Smash', what could possibly go wrong?

Paradise Cove (shown below) was particularly awesome on that end.  This is where I encountered the aforementioned Goombay Smash cocktail, and a fabulous dessert called 'Congo bars' - they are like rainbow unicorn tears and a giant, super-soft chocolate chip cookie combined.  Double - no, triple - YUM.



Spending Thanksgiving at sea was interesting... by far the strangest Thanksgiving I've ever had.  Other than a vaguely pretentious (and definitely un-traditional) nod to the usual turkey dish and pumpkin dessert, you'd have never known it was Thanksgiving at all.  It was all very sterile, unoffensive, and... strange.  Plus, the meal was served in fancy 'bistro' portions, which left me feeling vaguely cheated because I could still button my pants at the end.  LOL!  Maybe should've hit the buffet... it certainly would have felt more like the Thanksgiving I'm used to!

Fun times were had by all.
I got to wear my new evening gown - navy blue, and off one shoulder.  It is SO FUN to get all dressed up once in a while!  Though I have no pictures, sadly. It didn't occur to me to ask to have any taken, and we didn't buy the ship's (outrageously priced) 'formal pictures'.  Plus, I'm always the one wielding the camera, so pictures of me are rare.  You'll just have to trust me that I do in fact exist, and that I'm a woman and not a 400 lb agoraphobic man.

Shopping.  I didn't cover that yet, did I?  SO MUCH to be had, yet I shopped so little.  My sole personal purchase (other than alcohol) was a pair of sunglasses at the RIU resort.  Wow.  That's not to say I wasn't tempted by some of the local merchants... one in particular.  As we were walking down a back street in Nassau, we passed an (undoubtedly) upstanding merchant on a dirty street corner with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, muttering under his breath to passersby "Purrrrrrses.  Coach, Louis Vuitton.  Purrrses."

Yep.  Seems legit.
Bummer I missed out.

So.
I got a little tiny sunburn, lost a few bucks at the casino, boosted the local Bahamian economy (or at least my kids did), ate (and drank) way more than is strictly advisable, got sand in my butt, napped often, and saw some awesome sights.  Not bad for a Thanksgiving holiday.  :)



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Vacation Time!

One last post before I'm MIA for a week.
Almost vacation time!  We head out tomorrow on this:


To go here:


And here:


For now I'm in a frenzy of packing, finding things, checking, and double-checking.
Au revoir folks, and Happy Turkey Day to everyone!  Be sure to wear your stretchy pants... I know I will!  ;)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gone To The Dogs...

Whew.  What a long week!

Last Thursday I picked our new dog (named Molly) up from Mecklenburg County Animal Control.  She is an amazingly good dog, all things considered.  She's gentle, she's potty-trained, she is lovable.

Molly under my desk.  Yes, it's messy-ish.  

Of course, we are dealing with the fact that she's heartworm positive.  :(  But some awesome people have donated money to help us pay for this VERY unexpected expense... AND I found a vet in Clover that will treat her for $300!  Thank goodness.  :)  Friday she goes to the vet for the first steps in her treatment.

Molly isn't terribly fond of cats, but she's coming around, I think.  She and Olive are having a 'marking war' in the backyard, and Molly keeps snatching and running off with stuffed animals (much to Ella's consternation).  Me?  I find it all kind of funny (except her growling at the kitty - that's not so funny).  Also not so funny is Molly's stink.  O.M.G.  At first she was super-stinky because she was in heat when she was picked up, and still bleeding after her spay.  That's gone away now, and I've discovered that her ears smell like the dirtiest, cheesiest feet imaginable.  UGH.  I think she's got an infection... I guess we'll need to treat that, too.

It's been interesting, to say the least.

Yesterday I bit the bullet, finished my admissions process, and registered for classes.  Come January I will be a student again - this time in the hopes of getting a job at the end of it all.

Now I am busy cleaning the house, packing, and making last minute arrangements before we leave on Sunday.  We are headed to the Bahamas for Thanksgiving week!  I am SO looking forward to it... but hoping very, very much that they do a Thanksgiving dinner on the ship.  If not, I shall be forced to console myself with copious amounts of wine (and if I get really desperate for distraction - karaoke).  A vacation is definitely needed by all!

I must admit, though, I will be worried about leaving Molly in the kennel so soon after her coming to live with us...  I feel badly about that, but then, I didn't expect to randomly adopt a dog!  LOL!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A New Dog - And Bad News. :(

So.  There's this dog.
Someone posted her picture on Facebook, and said they'd taken her to Animal Control in Charlotte...

Well, I kind of fell in love with her.
I agreed to adopt her and bring her home.
Then today we got very bad news... she didn't pass her vet check at Animal Control - she has heartworms.  :(

Heartworms.
Obviously she needs treatment, but it's very expensive... to the tune of at least $600.  But we decided to bring her home anyway, even though it will be a stretch to afford her treatment.

Someone suggested that I try to see if others could help, so I figured it's worth a shot.  I made a fundraising site to help us get this sweet baby (a female red and white pointer) well again.  :)  If you see this and feel moved, any little bit would be so very appreciated and helpful!

Click here if you'd like to help get this sweet girl on her way again!
http://www.gofundme.com/1h5twc

My Feet Hate Winter

Today I woke up to devastating news.

(I know what you're thinking... that's the perfect opening to rant about the election, right?  I must be a rabid Romney/Ryan supporter if I woke up to devastating news, right?  But I don't do that... much.  I don't rant about politics in public, because people piss me off so badly that my blood pressure can't take it.  I won't lie - the election news didn't exactly fill me with joy, but it's other news that was really a blow to me this morning.)

The news?  It was 30 degrees when I woke up - expecting a high of only 54 today.
That means it's upon us - the end of flip flop season.  (Pause for one dramatic tear to roll down my cheek.)

I love flip flops.  They are the world's most comfortable, perfect footwear.  If I lived in a slightly more temperate climate, I would own nothing else (except a pair of running shoes, perhaps... it's not easy to run in my beloved flip flops).  I wear them from Easter to Thanksgiving, and only begrudgingly give them up when my toes threaten to revolt and fall off in protest.

I am stubborn though, so despite the drop in temperature I will probably continue to wear them for a few more weeks.  Generally my rule of thumb is that when I need a heavy coat and/or gloves, the flip flops must go.  But with it being only 30 degrees this morning, the time is rapidly approaching.  :(

I do feel like a hypocrite, though, yelling at my oldest "Anna!  Change your shoes, you cannot go out to play in sandals - it's freezing!" as I slip on my beloved flip flops.  I'm claiming the leeway to make dumb decisions (natural consequences be damned!) as one of those mysterious 'adult perks' kids think we have so many of.  ;)

Goodbye, my flippy friends.  See you at (or near) Easter.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Patsy Cline

I love this woman.
I've always felt an inexplicable connection with her, and her music digs down into my heart.

This has been stuck in my head all day:


And this one is my favorite song of all time, above all others:


Her music is going through my head so much lately that I just felt moved to share.  :)

Waiting

Sometimes I write here just for the sake of it, and sometimes it's to unburden my heart or my mind from something that's been weighing on me.  Somehow owning the words and putting them out there in the world makes the burden seem less cumbersome.  :)  This is one of those unburdening posts.

I was reading a book the other day, and one of the characters was an artist, trying to draw her own self-portrait.  She was looking in the mirror, trying to see the 'truth' in her face, when it hit her - her entire demeanor was one of waiting.  Not really living, not moving forward, just waiting.

The character thought back to a talk show she'd seen about people who had been adopted, and a woman on the show.  The woman talked about how she'd never wanted to move from the home she was adopted into, she always made sure the phone was in her name, and always left very explicit forwarding instructions when she moved... so she could always be found.  She was dropping breadcrumbs and waiting for her mother to come back for her.  Just waiting - even as an adult.

The character in the book was waiting for a lover who had moved on without her to find his way back to her... she didn't even know she was doing it, but she was just patiently waiting.

Reading those passages in that book, there was a sharp jolt of recognition - I knew exactly what the author was talking about.  Breadcrumbs.  Waiting.  I've been in both places, and experienced both kinds of waiting she referred to.

Waiting sucks, even when you don't realize you are doing it.

When you are waiting for a parent or a lover to come back for you, you are living in a state of purgatory.  There seems to be little behind you, and nothing clear ahead of you... just an interminable wait in which your senses seem to dull.  There is one pressing question in your heart, even if you don't realize it.  "When will it happen?"  

I wish I'd been able to tell myself the truth:  it may never happen and even if it does, it may seriously disappoint.  And when you've spent so much time waiting for something, it's devastating when it badly disappoints.  When this happens you begin to realize just how much time you wasted waiting, and how badly you've taken your life, as it is, for granted.

I wish I'd have known that I had the power to free myself from that purgatory - heck, I wish I would have simply recognized I was IN IT before I wasted so much of my life waiting for life to realign into the thing I thought it should be.

I was wrong.  Who am I to say where life should take me?  Who am I to have the audacity to WAIT for something I think I'm entitled to?  Who am I to believe that because I love someone, and want them in my life, that it MUST be that way?

I wish I had learned the art of letting go a long time ago.  Hell, I wish I really understood it now.  All I know is that waiting is purgatory, and such a waste of the precious time we've been given.  I cannot sit here and grieve for my wasted time anymore, though, I know that.  Giving that grief any more space will be to wait again... I cannot stand to wait again, or any longer.

I will just sign off with this thought:  Life goes on with or without you, and if you are 'waiting', when you come out of it you won't know what to do with yourself.  I don't know yet what my true purpose is, but I do know this - it isn't to wait.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Elections - And Daylight Savings Time

I keep seeing all these clever little tie-ins with Daylight Savings Time, and the presidential election.

"Don't forget to change your clocks back on Saturday night, and your President on Tuesday."

"Remember to turn back your clocks on Saturday night - but don't turn our country's clock back 50 years on Tuesday."

Clever, but annoying.

Election wars just kill me, because people are stupid.  S.T.U.P.I.D.  Do people really think they are going to sway anyone to their way of thinking with insults (thinly veiled or otherwise)?  Does your shouting, name-calling, insulting, and pushy rhetoric reflect well on you, or the candidate/party you support?  Is it really that abhorrent to some people to accept that others have different viewpoints and not stoop to insulting the intelligence of anyone who disagrees with them?

You catch more flies with honey.  Integrity, patience, and logic go a long way in furthering your cause.  Some people will never be won over, and you'll give yourself ulcers trying to make them see it your way.  All these things are true, but it all seems to fly out the window during election years.

I'm glad there are only a few more days until it's decided, and then a few days of whining to follow.  LOL!

But for now we wait.

And I go on a suicide mission this weekend, just to shake things up a bit.  LOL!  Tonight I'm taking my Girl Scout Troop to a sleepover at Discovery Place.  (Hello, organizers?  The night the time rolls back may not have been your best idea ever.)  200+ girls under the same roof...

Everyone is loving it - "We get an extra hour of sleep!"
I'm all "Not me.  I get an extra hour of lying on a hard floor and saying 'Girls!  Time to go to sleep - quiet down!' You know you're jealous."

Nah, I jest.  I'm really looking forward to it, and I have some truly awesome girls in my troop.  I think we are going to have a blast!  Though I'm guessing a nap will definitely be in order tomorrow!

Pray for my sanity.  LOL!