Thursday, December 29, 2011

"The Alligators are Always There"

A light-bulb went off in my head when I read this phrase – which accompanied this photo:

I am well aware that I live a blessed life. There is no real ‘want’ in my house. We are warm, clothed, fed, healthy, employed and generally skipping along merrily. Yet, I am fully aware that “the alligators are always there.”

Our economy sucks donkey-butt. Things could tank (even more than they have) any moment plunging us into a state of not-so-merry-skipping. Mother Earth seems to be grumbling a bit and spewing out odd weather patterns and tossing some disasters in here and there for good measure.

Then there’s the fact that I have managed to live to the ripe-old-age of 41 without suffering a major loss. And it is coming - whether I like it or not. My grandparents are not cooperating with my plan to keep them with me forever. My Gramps turned 90 this year and his mind is in a state of regression and fuzziness that even the strongest medications can’t fix. Nana is 85 and doing her level best to take care of him and not (unintentionally as it would be) plunge herself into un-wellness in the process. My Grandma (on the other side) is also 90 & though she is healthy her body is fragile (aren’t all of us fragile when we think about it?).

The news is filled with “tragic accidents” and “homicidal” and/or “suicidal” maniacs. Horrible things happen to good people every day – in the blink of an eye.

You just. Never. Know.

It frightens me.

However that favorite blogger also reminded me that "life without fear is not a life fully appreciated." And so...I shall embrace the fear and enjoy a greater appreciation for my blessings. Those alligators will have to wait a little longer! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Year-End Ramblings

There are only a few days left in 2011. Time seems to go so much faster as I get older. How is it possible that my children have grown taller than I am, yet I can recall the feel of cradling them in my arms as if it were just yesterday they were that tiny?

About this time, each year, I try to complete a mental inventory of lessons learned and memories made during the previous 12 months. A few years ago this was a mostly painful process as I was undergoing a sort of transformation. This year, however, there is less sting to it.

On December 31st  last year I posted: “…if you were to ask me to name one day this year (2010) that stands out among the rest I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you it was August 30th. On that day a door that had long been closed opened wide and shined a light on a corner of my soul that had long been darkened. That day marked the beginning of an incredible journey that has amazed me every step of the way…a journey that (as far as I can tell) will continue for many years to come.”  [wow…that quote makes me realize I need to edit a bit more before publishing – sheesh!]

My Knight in Shining Armor (KiSA) continues to illuminate my soul and enrich my everyday life. We have our moments of angst and venom, but for the most part the “honeymoon” continues. As a couple, we have met some goals that we set and modified others. This past year has been a pleasant journey in that regard.

Unaccustomed to having a “partner” in life I have been forced to reconfigure how my brain responds to certain situations. This is not a bad thing. Learned responses are not always “proper” responses. As a result of these changes I can honestly say that this past year of learning who I am in relation to my KiSA has been quite wonderful.

2011 has also brought separation from the oldest child that I “made” (as the chronologically oldest child is mine by virtue of the fact that I raised her – I did not “make” her). Her choice to move out on her own rocked my world in ways I could never have imagined. She made some inappropriate choices and has had to live with and learn from them – while I watch.  Hardest. Thing. Ever.

Yet another of my offspring closed the book on high school…opening a fresh chapter in his life. His goals are set and his path lies before him. I am so proud of how he has matured in the past year.

My baby…is still my baby. He may tower over me and his voice may resemble that of a grown man but that does not change the facts. It’s fun to watch him discover who he is – while under the watchful and protective eye of his mom!

Our fur-babies are getting older – both of them suffer from arthritis and other old-lady-dog ailments – but they are still here!  Always brightening our days with their waggy tails and licky tongues.
The promise of 2012 is beginning to glow on the horizon! What magical things will the New Year hold for us? I can’t wait to find out together!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Challenge Accepted

A friend shared with me a cool idea she heard about - a challenge for the New Year. She gave me the URL so I could check it out for myself. It's called "The 50/50 Challenge" ( The idea is to challenge yourself to read 50 books and see 50 movies - all within the calendar year of 2012. Reading and movies - two of my most favorite things!

I accept!

Today I started making a list of the movies I want to see and the books I want to read. There aren't really any rules - according to the challenge website - but I decided that it wouldn't be much of a "challenge" unless I imposed one rule upon myself: These must be new (to me) books and movies. No repeats. I figure this will also help me broaden my cinematic and literary horizons.

My plan is to bring my family along on this journey - at least the part about 50 movies - (I'll leave it up to them to determine what, if any, books they read during the coming year) in an attempt to bring a bit of culture and adventure into our lives. I'm sure a little popcorn and soda will grease the wheels a bit if I meet any resistance. As I am the only female currently in residence the genre of these films may come into question from time-to-time...I may have to bow to more manly themes...maybe...once in a (long) while.

When I look at my book list I have feel a twinge of concern about my ability to read "that many" books in the space of 12 months. If I stick to the fluff and mushiness that only takes a few days to get through it will be super simple...but I get the feeling this challenge is not about quantity but quality. Therefore, I will try to read selections from the NYT best seller list as well as my beloved "romance novels" this year.

No matter what the final outcome I think this challenge will be one that pushes the edges of my personal envelope and introduces me to some ideas that I might otherwise not encounter. I look forward to beginning the moment I awake...ok, maybe not THE moment I awake as I will mostly like require medicinal ministrations at that precise moment...but, you get the idea...on the first day of 2012!