You need to…

It’s easy to tell others what they “need to do” isn’t it? I think as a mom and teacher, that (whatever “that” is) is in my gene code somehow.

But if I’m honest, I have a lot of things I “need to do” about my own life. And what gives me the right to judge other people’s choices when I can’t even get my own life under control. And I’m not sure I want it “under control” anyway…how boring would that be!

And the reality is…no one has all their crap together…and if they say they do, they’re lying. We all put on a public face that makes it appear like we do but if we are LIVING…we are evolving…we are changing. And change is messy. If you do have it under control, you are stagnant…and that’s a place I never want to be.

I think self-reflection is good. The problem is it’s hard to be truthful about our flaws. And real change requires that real hard look. So in the spirit of self-reflection, my new goal is to take “what you need to do” out of my vocabulary. It will be hard. I’m bossy by nature. But that doesn’t make it right.

So feel free to correct me when I try to tell you what you need to do with your life when I don’t even know what I need to do with mine.

In this age of Fakebook and InstaLIE, everyone’s life looks better than yours. It isn’t. It’s distorted reality and it’s impossible to live up to a lie. And why would you want to? So examine your own life and vow to judge less, love more, and just be a little more kind. ‘Tis the season and all…it’s a great time to start while others won’t be suspicious!

Still not enough!


“Can you believe this is your life right now?”  This from my friend, Lisa, who was “helping” me pick out cruise excursions for my summer trip to Alaska. Actually I was forcing her to cull through everything fabulous, talk it out, and narrow down the choices. Good friends…find them and keep them. 


But she’s right, my life is in an amazing phase right now. So, why is contented-ness such a phantom to me?  I have a great job, great friends, a home I absolutely adore,  my health (for the most part), and enough income to finally travel…at least enough so that I can actually budget for travel anyway. 

I’m an over-analyzer so I recognize that I’m not necessarily unhappy or unsatisfied…just always searching. For what?  I have absolutely no idea! In my head…whatever “IT” is currently resides in Alaska. That trip is really a dream come true for me. 


I could never have imagined my life would be like this.  It is really good. And calm. No drama. No real world worries. So what the hell is wrong with me???  I know logically that peace comes from within.  Did i get the gypsy gene?

Is there a peace gene…and if there is and it’s attached to the skinny gene, I’m gonna be pissed! 

The Common Denominator

I suck at relationships!  It’s true. I’ve had great men, not so great men, and downright awful-for-me men. I suppose everyone that gets to my age has the same batting average but people do find a life partner sometimes. I’d like to think I’m a smart girl. I have a career, my own money, and I take a shower everyday.   So, why can’t I do it?

There was a time when I blamed it on the men…but the reality is if I’m honest…I am the common denominator. Now I know what you’re thinking…she has used a math metaphor…this is bad!  Since I try to find the good/positive/funny in most things, I’m going with I have just answered the age-old question of “how will I ever use this math in my real life???”….well, there it was!

Now, back to my inability to find a good man. Way, way back, my ex-mother-in-law said “she’s as independent as a pig in mud!”  My immediate reaction was, “did she just call me fat?”  So, I wonder if I am TOO independent?  Do men find that “not needy at all” quality off-putting?  I find they like it…at first…and then it becomes less endearing. 

I’ve had this discussion with several of my gal friends. A couple of them have mastered the balance and a couple are in the same boat as I am…drifting aimlessly in a sea of potential catches…waiting for the collision. 

Now, logically I know that I don’t need a man to be whole. But it would be nice to have someone to travel with; have dinner with; and share my life with on a regular basis. I’ve done online dating (that is its own blog altogether) and I’ve tried every other route, but it never seems to move forward.

Several thoughts occur to me…do you only get so many chances in this lifetime and have I used mine up? If we are doomed to repeat our mistakes until we get it right, I’m gonna need another lifetime. Do some people just settle because they’re tired of looking?  At what point will I say, “f-it, I’m done” and truly be satisfied?  

For a non-math girl, I’m a bit over analytical. 

Perspective

A sweet colleague today commented on how much she had enjoyed my blog over the summer and I had to, once again, wonder why I hadn’t really blogged since I’d come home from the beach. 

Lisa and I discussed this on the way to the car and I said that I felt like I didn’t have anything important to say lately. Upon contemplation this evening, I reflected that “important” is truly about perspective. 

Today was day 1 for students returning to school. Three days of pre-planning had left me mind-numbingly tired. But as students arrived today, the heartbeat of the school regained its normal rhythm and life returned to the work-normal. Exhausting. Satisfying. Controlled chaos. And a beautiful thing to be a part of. 


Love these girls!  They make work feel like a comedy show all day long. And no, I am not pregnant…they’re just skinny!!! I’m normal…remember it’s all about perspective people!

People are amazed when I tell them how wonderful most teenagers are. What you see in the news is so not the norm. When their faces light up when they see you and rush in for a hug, it’s like one of your own children returning for a visit after a long journey. This world will be fine with these young people…it’s a realization you only get to experience when you’ve watched them blossom from bratty freshman to confident seniors. When you no longer feel this way about students, it’s time to retire from teaching. 

I’m moved. I’m settled. My new loft feels like home and is spectacular. All my people are finding some level ground after a trying few months. School has started. The planning and collaboration is breathing new life into old lessons. The beautiful chaos that is teaching has begun. The routine of a schedule is welcome and life is “important” again.  On a side note…is it weird that I heard a crackling noise from the neighbor above me and for a brief moment I thought there might be an announcement in my living room?  Yes, it’s day 1 of a new school year!

As the night closes in, I reflect on the beauty of living alone…eating a frozen pizza for dinner…only buying enough things to make one trip from car to house…being positive that there is always toilet paper on the roll…taking my bra off at the front door…going to bed before nightfall and no one to judge. 

And I just want to point out that even though I now have 80 channels to watch, not a thing interests me. For the record, this mindset often happens with the men in my life too!  More than one friend has noted that it’s no wonder I can’t keep a man. Oh well!

Living large in a small space!

Wow!  It has been a busy few weeks. When I think that less than 3 weeks ago I moved from a house to a small loft, it is remarkable the progress made. 

A great friend has shown me how I can make a small space into a statement home. A statement of who I am…with a few pieces that express me and how I want to live. Tonight she drafted her husband and daughter to install the “piece de resistance” to the loft. (Thanks Darrell for standing on a ladder for an hour and Emma for using those cheerleader arms to hold that heavy chandelier while he wired it)! 

I’ve always been in awe of chandeliers and I finally have a space with high ceilings to accommodate such a piece. It is nothing short of spectacular!


A couple walls have been painted (another friend) and more than one friend has shown up to help me do all the things I couldn’t. 


Don’t judge my pillows…that’s where Lisa and I reclined to watch the light “show” unfold…but notice that beautifully painted accent wall!

Friendship is a funny thing…the give and take of that relationship really works when you’re willing to put in the time. Lisa and I often talk about how having great friends makes for a great life. I can honestly say that the time consciously cultivating friendships will come back to you ten-fold. Make the time. Make the effort. That’s a gift no amount of money can buy. 

The big move

My last night at my house…people keep asking if I’m going to miss it. I’ve thought about that in the last couple of days…mostly because I don’t have cable and it’s forcing some introspection on my part. 

This is the longest I’ve lived in one location…ever. 10 years. Half of Chase’s life. He seems much more nostalgic about the move than I do but he’s being helpful and supportive…although he’s decided my new condo (historic loft built in the 1880’s) is haunted based only on its age. As long as it’s haunted enough to force adulthood, the spirits are working their magic well. 

I’ve been a gypsy my whole life I think. A place doesn’t anchor me. My people anchor me and as I get older I realize how vital those people are to the world I want to inhabit. I’m really excited about this new move…feels like I’m moving into the next stage of my life somehow…not sure why but it just does. 

My BFF came by and walked the loft with me so I’d have a visual for the movers tomorrow. Lisa is going through so much chaos in her family right now and I don’t know how she’s getting done what is getting done…but if you’ve never met the goal-setting, check off the list, keep it moving, mentality that is the ball of fire we call Lisa, you’re missing out. Please continue to pray for her brother who is continuing to have difficulty and hospitalized….even while his old house closed today and his new house closes tomorrow and the family is moving 2 hours away. Again, the tornado that is Lisa has it under control. Or at least the illusion of control…and that’s really all that matters. 

My oldest friend, Tammie, is also still spending as many moments as she can with her grandmother who is on her last days. She raised Tammie so it’s like she’s losing a parent. This getting old and growing up and dealing with grown up things is exhausting!

Movers in the morning. Hopefully closing on my house on Wednesday. The new adventure starts this week. And then school will start in three weeks and interfere with that adventure. 

Things I’ve noted during the move:

  • I have a lot of crap I don’t need. 
  • Downsizing and getting rid of unnecessary stuff is cathartic (listening Dad?). 
  • I really should dust more. Maybe my ghost cleans. 
  • Is it rude to leave stuff for the new owners (nice silk curtains that match the walls; shelving in the basement; Waterhose on a nice spinning holder; my alcohol in the freezer)?
  • How clean are you supposed to leave the house?  Like perfect?
  • Are you supposed to tip movers?  One is the owner of the company. 

My new mattress comes tomorrow and since I’ve been sleeping on a blow up mattress for several days, it will be heaven. The interesting thing will be how I’m going to handle floor to ceiling windows that have only blinds on them…lots of beautiful morning sun but I may have to change my “I hate mornings” way of thinking. 

I’m glad you guys are going on this journey with me. 

One more week!

So I’m on the back side of my summer dream vacation. It has been amazing to live on Tybee for an extended time. It’s been great to have friends and family visit. Those memories are priceless. For the first time in my life, I feel the need to back up my pictures from my phone because they are so special. 

Amy and the girls went home today. I’ve cleaned and vacuumed and I have a week left to venture out and discover new Tybee treasures. 

I walked the beach tonight. It was breezy and comfortable. I’ll miss my little walks on the beach and being able to dip my toes in the ocean. 
And yes, those toes are teal blue…a color I would never have tried before but I kind of like it. I’m going for something different each week. Purple next. 
Life is good. I have great friends and family; my house seems to be moving along to selling; the condo I want is available earlier than originally thought; and I’ve just gotten to experience the vacation I always dreamed of. Truly blessed. 

The slow life

It only takes a day trip into Savannah to realize I prefer the slow, methodical rhythm of the island. It’s very similar to the tranquility of the waves crashing to shore. It’s predictable and there is some serenity to that. 

Introduced Amy and the girls to Mrs. Wilkes’ restaurant. Always an hour wait no matter when you go but don’t let the line deter you. It is so very good. And once again, I’m saddened that yet another person (Amy) is 3 times smaller than I am and eats 3 times more than I do. How is that fair?  Ok, in all fairness, she is trying very hard to do her 10,000 steps a day. I’m good if I can hang for around 3,000 with them. Have I said this vacation is exhausting?

Saw my future home today!

See that itty-bitty boat behind the yacht…that’s it!
We had dinner at one of my favorites…AJ’s Dockside. The sunset was beautiful and once again I marveled at how pictures just can’t capture the nuance of all the colors. Truly beautiful.  If you look close enough, you can see the rays. 


And if I could have someone follow me around from now on and cast this glow on me during picture-taking moments, that would be great!


As I have said several times during this vacation…”it wouldn’t do for me to have real money!”  I’d be rotten. 

The “wall”

ISo tonight’s discussion is “if we’d (the old people) had Internet when we were young, what famous boy would we have lots of pics of on our phones?  Amy could remember hers (Kirk Cameron, Bruce Springsteen) but I could only remember one poster (our equivalent) and it was The Bee Gees. Yes, I’m really old!

We started the day cloudy and visiting the south beach where the waves were bigger and then came back to the pool and sunshine. Everyone got a little sun. 


Clearly one of Amy’s children has my gene color combination for good melanin. She and I are almost the same color. 

Then we went to Paula Deen’s Creek House which is very yummy.  Back to let Amy and the girls get in their 10,000 steps. 

Amy and daughters 

I joined them for the last leg of the walk so we could look for critters. The sun is barely peaking out before it’s final decent.  And below is the final night sky. 

We sat at the pool and chatted with neighbors and then went down to the dock to talk and a guy caught a baby shark. Nice eventful day. Fun to hang out and build relationships with my people. As I close off tonight I want to ask you to pray for a couple of my friends going through some really crappy family stuff. Lisa and Tammie would move mountains for those they love and are in a bind because  only God has control of these situations. Please keep them in your  prayers. 

Goodnight from me and Amy and the munchkins!

The Dream: Day 18

The clouds lifted today and the sun returned. Lisa and the girls went home and I’m already planning for my next visitors. Couple of friends from work and some family will close out the stay on Tybee. It’s been relaxing and exhausting, busy and boredom, sunny and rainy…and always hot!  Georgia summers. Whew!

Last night when we went to dinner (Lighthouse Pizza), the waitress recognized me!  That’s either good or bad, depending on your perspective. I’m going with good!  I felt “part” of the island at that moment. And it is one of my favorite places. 

The rental agency delivered a brand new vacuum to me today so I could tidy up and I found a Kroger on Wilmington Island. There’s only one small IGA on the island so it was a nice familiar find. 

Another beautiful end to a nice day. My life is so blessed. I try to remind myself of that daily and be thankful for this opportunity. It’s been nice to relax and spend time with family and friends. Great memories. 

No “sun” in this sunset, but equally beautiful.