Fall, Falling, Fallen

I guess with fall comes the end of a season.  For me, this fall is the end of several seasons.  And the beginning of a new one.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe long, wet, hot, humid, heavy summer will, eventually (I hope) give way to crisp, light, breathable air, beautiful colors and a transformation of all that is green and weighty into something colorful and pretty.  Life is like that.

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My fall has been long-suffering.  It has grown and flourished and then withered and died on the vine.  Right before my very eyes.  Gone.  While it is not what I anticipated or wanted.  It is what it is.  It is dark and overgrown and tired.  Weary actually.  I look forward to the days of fall.  Perhaps my falling will be over by then.  Once you hit the ground, you can stand on your own two feet again and set out on a new path.  Two roads diverged in a wood.  I’m taking a new one.

It’s hard to see where it might go.  It’s scary to go there.  It’s exciting too!  Fall is my favorite season.  It has my favorite things and holidays all mixed together.  I love the smells of fall- the leaves, the cinnamon, the candy.  I love the crisp feel to the air.  I love football and stadium blankets.  I love hot chocolate and marshmallows.  Maybe in the fall, I will find me again.  I thought I knew who I was.  I thought I had me all figured out.  It’s spooky to wake up, look at yourself in the mirror and wonder where you went.  Maybe I will spend my winter in a cocoon.  It seems a good safe idea at the moment.   Then who knows?

After the fall comes spring.

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Random Thoughts

1.) Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?  Open, you can see the monsters that way.

2.) Do you take shampoo and conditioner bottles from hotels?  Well, of course!

3.) Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out? Oh, MY goodness!  Sheets MUST be tucked in to keep out the monsters who could come out of the closet at any moment!  Everyone knows that a nice cotton sheet will repel all unwanted guests.  And, really?!? UN-tucked sheets are just wrong on way too many levels to delve into here.

4.) Have you ever stolen a street sign? Umm, hmmm.  Well, that depends on your definition of “stolen”.

5.) Do you cut out coupons and then never use them? I am the Coupon Queen.  There are simply things you should NEVER pay for, like toothpaste and shampoo.

6.) Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees? I am allergic to bees, so I’ll be taking my chances with the bear.

7.)Do you always smile for pictures?  Yes

8.) Do you ever count your steps when you walk?  Uh, No.  I am not that OCD.

9.) Have you ever peed in the woods?  Yes, in a national park, on a hike.

10.) Do you still watch cartoons?  Do The Simpson’s count?

11.) Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some? Well, if I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore!

12.) What do you drink with dinner?  Depends- Lemonade, beer, wine, Kool-Aid.

13.) What do you dip a chicken nugget in?  Mustard or Honey or that amazing Polynesian Sauce from Chick-Fil-A!

14.) What movies could you watch over and over and still love?  The Women, To Kill A Mockingbird, Independence Day, My Fair Lady, The Princess Bride, The Notebook, Under the Tuscan Sun, …

15.) Were you ever a girl scout?  Yes

16.) Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine?   Not in a million years!

17.) Can you change the oil on your car?  Yep!

18.) Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket?  Nope.  I can cry on cue and by quite hysterically “Sorry officer”.

19.) Afraid of heights?  Not really.

20.) Do you sing in the car?  All. The. Time.

21.) Is Christmas stressful?  Of Course!

22.) Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid.  A Nurse (thank God I got over that!), A Teacher, A photographer

23.) Do you believe in ghosts?  No

24.) The first concert you ever went to.   Sandi Patty- Don’t judge.

25.) Walmart, Target, or Kmart?  Target!

26.) Nike or Adidas?  Nikes

27.) Can you curl your tongue?  Nope

28.) Have you ever cried because you were so happy?   Yes- a lot of times!

29.) The last concert you saw?   Not sure.

30.) Can you swim well?   Not particularly

31.) Can you knit of crochet?  I’m not that old yet!

32.) Are you a dog person or a cat person?  Yes.  Mostly cat because they are independent and self-cleaning.

The Difference a Year Makes

I have been pretty much absent for the past twelve months.

Life happens like that sometimes.  One year ago, I was struggling, really, really struggling to find ONE full-time job. And I got it!

In the past year, I have published two articles and a book, changed jobs, received a promotion and enrolled in a PhD program.  I know where I’m going and I have hopes of being “settled” here for a long time.

happyIt was a long road, a winding, twisty, rugged road.  I fell.  I got the wind knocked out of me and it hurt.  I learned a lot about myself and I grew into “Me”.  I spent many evenings reflecting on where I was and where I wanted to be in five years and they were worlds apart.  SOOOO, I got up and started walking toward the sun.  I wasn’t sure where I was headed, but I knew if I stayed where I was, I was going to lose myself, and that was simply NOT acceptable.  Now that I am a bit more settled on a route to take, I hope to be back here more often.  I’ve missed you.

Dear Abby

Dear Abby,

Well, I’ve gone and done it now. I hit “send” and made it official. I have, indeed, run right off the edge of the cliff. I am in a free-fall, but I am also so very relieved! You see many, many things in my life need to change and this is a step in the right direction. I have been on the sidelines of my own career, looking at it pass by for far too long. And, so, today, I went and did it! I really did.

I applied to the Ph.D. program at my local University.

Yep- crazy as a sprayed cockroach I am!

Amidst the chaos of my life, I have determined that forward movement of any kind is a good thing. And, so, here I go- I hope. I hope they accept middle aged women with teens and pre-teens who are slightly crazy – because Lord knows I must be!!

Then again, I’m just crazy enough to think that maybe, just maybe I can do it!

I read this the other day and it stuck:
Never let the time it will take, make you give up on your dream. The time will pass anyway”. Profound, truly profound.

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Who Am I?

I Am

I am Creative and strong
I wonder who I’m going to be when I grow up
I hear the soft waves hitting the beaches at Cape Cod
I see the bridge to everywhere
I want to accomplish my goals
I am creative and strong

I pretend that I am already free to be who I am
I feel comforted by love and belief, with strong attachments
I touch the edge of the universe
I worry that I may die too young
I cry when I think of what could have been
I am Creative and strong

I understand that I cannot change the past, but I can change tomorrow
I say I can be anything I want to be and do all I imagine being possible
I dream of being a success and making an impact on the world
I try to look for and savor small pleasures
I hope my children become strong, ethical, kind and generous
I am creative and strong

This is a post inspired by MamaKat’s Writer’s Workshop, which is pretty much my main source of inspiration at the moment.  If you’ve hit a dry spell, or, like me, are simply overwhelmed with life in general at the moment, check out her blog!

Organization Junkie

My Name is “Just Me”, and I am an Organization Junkie. 

My Favorite Planner

It’s true. 

I am drawn to all manner of binders, files, cabinets and containers.  I LOVE calendars and journals.  I’m not sure this really qualifies as a vice, per se.  It’s not immoral or unethical, but a secondary definition of “vice”  is “weakness” and, well, let’s just say keeping me away from organizational products would be an exercise in futility.I could run an office supply store. 

Makes Bill Paying Bearable

Who doesn’t need a binder for their bills?  Who could live without that cute dry erase board, or the drawer organizer?  Who would even attempt to maintain a kitchen without drawer dividers?  You see what I mean?  Pencils and Pens?  NOOOO problem!  There’s a container for that too!  When I lived in Texas, there was a retail chain called The Container Store- be still my soul!  You could wander for hours coveting anything from closet organizers to plastic totes to journals, calendars, file folders, etc.  There was no end to the creative genius of some of the products found there.  Color coordinated tabs, dividers, stickers, sticky notes, paperclips, binderclips, . . . .You see what I mean-totally addicted!I guess organizing the “stuff” in my life is easier and way more controllable than organizing the circumstances of  my life, still, not a bad vice to possess.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

Top 10 Summer Time Killers

I can remember the countdown to the last day of school like it was yesterday! We waited in anticipation for the coveted summer break to arrive. There were end of school parties, desk clean out days and extra recesses since there was, in all reality, nothing to do but be physically present so the school could collect state funding for the day. Ah, summer.
In summer, you could have sleepovers with your best friend ANY day of the week, not just on Friday.
You could sleep in and enjoy a leisurely breakfast.
You could play outside for hours only to be greeted by your mom delivering ice-cold RC cola and grilled cheese sandwiches served with crunchy Cheetos around noon.  You might be treated to a trip to the pool.  You could count on Dairy Queen numerous times, but especially on the way home from Grandma’s house on those hot sticky nights.  There were strawberries and blueberries to pick and be made into jam.  A trip to your grandparents’ home in Tennessee was always on the agenda.  There was the annual outing to a Cubs game which involved going into downtown on the train- a treat indeed.  Bible school marked the end of summer.  It was usually held in late August.  I always suspected this was to get us ready for “school mode” again.  But the best part of summer, was the laid back, less harried lifestyle we leisurely enjoyed.   I hope my kids get some of that.  I was blessed with a mom who got to be at home until I was in high school.  I have to juggle work and summer vacation- no easy feat.  We will see what happens this year.