Friday, July 16, 2010

No Tattoos in This Mid Life Crisis, Just Another Degree

My life has changed in big and little ways since March 2010, thus the break in blogging. I was gearing up for my 11th wedding anniversary in March, my 40th birthday in April, my two childrens' birthdays in May as well as their birthday parties. Then in June, my husband turned the big 4-0. It's been a busy spring.

The interesting thing about my turning 40, is that, well, nothing interesting happened. I just turned 40. Nothing dire, dreadful, or frightening happened to me on that day. For me, turning 40 was about reassessing what I had accomplished/not accomplished. Hey, maybe everyone goes through this, but I was experiencing this for the first time. For the last year I have been trying to figure out how I'm going to move forward in life. Technically, I have 25 years until retirement, and I want to make the right "move." It took a few weeks, but I have figured out that my "midlife crisis" was not about tattoos, implants, or fast cars. My midlife crisis was all about the three E's. Let me explain.

Education (first "E") - I have decided to change my career, well, I didn't actually HAVE a career for the last 10 years, but I have worked steadily around the kids, laundry, groceries, and homework. I left my wonderful job at The Peabody and Evergreen Museum and Library. I realized that for the last (almost) 4 years, I have worked almost every Saturday and/or Sunday. My kids aren't getting any younger, and I want to be a part of their lives while they still want me to be a part of it. Now I have my weekends with the family...and it's glorious. I began reviewing children's books (5 books a month) for the Children's Literature Comprehensive Database. I love it, and I read a lot of great books (ranging from children's books to young adult). The other reason I left the weekend job was because, beginning this fall, I am pursuing a new career path. I have a Bachelor of Design in Architecture, a Master's of Science in Marketing, and now I'm going to pursue an AA in Health Sciences with a focus in radiography. Yep, after a year of pre-requisites, I'm going to apply to either a local college or a local hospital to become a Radiologic Technician. Hey, if you have two degrees, what's one more? Hehehehe.

Exercise (second "E") - I've noticed that I have lost weight, but I have also lost muscle. I mean, I look at the skin hanging around my thighs and think, Shouldn't there be something in there? The same thing, by the way, is happening to my backside. I don't think I'm supposed to feel my a** bumping my thigh when I walk. It's truly falling. I hope I'm not too late to get it to stand back up to it's former perky self (cross your fingers). I've started weightlifting again, and three times a week I am running as I begin to train for the Baltimore Half Marathon.

Elegance (third "E") - I think I recently heard Molly Ringwald (yes, "Pretty in Pink") mention that she was going to 'get back to pretty again.' This is what I strive for as well. My kids are old enough that I now have time to 1) shower regularly, 2) apply makeup, 3) sleep more (sometimes), 4) wear clothing OTHER than sweat pants, like maybe, a dress. I have been taking the time to wear jewelry, apply lip gloss, and wear shoes other than flip flops. It's time to take a little more care. My kids still find it necessary to stand in front of me and carry on a conversation when I'm 1) undressing, 2) taking a shower, and/or 3) going to the bathroom. But at least they're not staring at me from a baby bouncer and screaming demanding action while I do those things.

So, in a nutshell, I turned 40, I left my event's job, I have decided to pursue a career that has nothing to do with my former background(s), I am getting (more) fit, and I am wearing more jewelry. This new chapter in the next book of my life looks like a good read to me.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Dog Walked Me

The dog walked me. This happens...a lot. Bob Marley (aka Marley) our 9 year old female Australian Shepherd, barks all the time in the house. She drives me crazy, but she's a wonderful dog. I decided to take her for a walk so that I could work on my "Blizzard Butt" (a new term used often, as of this February, on Baltimore television). The term is uncreative, yet accurate. During the two weeks of blizzards Baltimore experienced, I baked an apple pie, cheesecake, banana bread, cinnamon streusel bread, chocolate chip cookies, and a vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and chocolate chips. I did not deny myself any of it, because being in the house for almost 10 days can make any sane person a little bored and cooped up. Pardon the segue-back to walking Marley.

Marley always walks me. She's just so happy to be out of the house. She tends to pull the leash, but it doesn't bother me. I often think I'm going to be bored when I walk her, but it's never the case. There is so much to see (for instance our daffodils are coming up, which is unbelievable considering our string of severe, harsh weather). Sometimes I see people I know, and I chat briefly with them. The best thing about Marley walking me, though, is the chance to think without any distractions. I have finished one manuscript, and I'm actively looking for an agent (anyone? anyone?) Now I'm working on the outline for the next manuscript, a second chapter book to follow the first manuscript. I carry a notepad and pen at all times. One never knows when inspiration will hit. The walks with Marley have proven to be as beneficial for me as for her.

Endless love...that's what our pets (aka additional family members) offer us. Our family is so lucky to have our two kitties, our dog, and our two new fish.

Book Review: Remedies, by Kate Ledger. A very realistic view of love lost, of unclear paths in life, and how one handles (or doesn't handle) the loss of a child and raising a teenager. The story is not all sad. Emily, the wife, reunites with an old boyfriend from high school. There is a feel of mid-life crisis from a wife's perspective. Simon, the husband, is struggling with trying to prove how valuable he is in the world of medicine. Jamie, the bored, lonely teenage daughter, is left to her own devices which has it's own consequences. The story holds you. Even if you don't live their life, you can feel it. It's a very good read.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

When Did I Go From Miss To Ma'am?

I'm sitting at a coffee table in a restaurant happily having breakfast while I edit a manuscript. A man, apparently younger than I thought, sits at the end of the same coffee table working on his computer. He leans over to me and says, "Ma'am, do you mind if I scoot closer so I can plug in my computer? The battery is running low."

What? Did he just say, 'ma'am'? I recover quickly and smile. "Sure," I say. Then I excuse myself and head to the restroom to see what he sees in me. I expect an old lady to stare back at me in the reflection of the mirror, but I don't see that. Yes, I am older than him, but I think I look okay. So, what makes me a "ma'am"? Is it an air of confidence? Maybe. Do I actually look older than I think I look? This is possible. Is it that I'm simply more comfortable in my skin? Possibly. I can't figure it out. Somewhere around 35 years, people started referring to me as a "ma'am" rather than a "miss". I simply wonder what happens at this magical age that causes the cross over from "miss" to "ma'am". I mean, I know there's no going back. It's just a hard word to embrace.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Blizzard 2010-Creating "Community"

The blizzard has moved away from Baltimore, and we have over 26 inches of snow. Some of the drifts are in excess of five feet. Everything has come to a halt. It's lovely. This should happen more often. The heavy snowfall encourages (or forces) people to talk to one another and work together. This is the time when I get to see "community" happen. It doesn't happen often enough. It's nostalgic for me.

I grew up in Alpharetta, Georgia, in the 1980's. Back then, Alpharetta, was a small town. Everyone knew everyone (which could be a bad thing, but I was too young to realize this). The Milton High School Annual Rodeo and Antiques Show attracted the whole town. When I went to high school, Alpharetta, only had a few restaurants (that I remembered)- the Dixie Diner, the Alpharetta Soda Shop, and Hardees. In my senior year, Kentucky Fried Chicken opened, and everyone was thrilled. We had a Senior parade, which closed down Alpharetta. The Seniors rode in the back of convertibles and trucks and waved to the townspeople.

Today I walked on York Road to get to the grocery store, which was fine because the traffic was very light. There were no sidewalks available. On my way to York Road, I met new people in the neighborhood. I passed by an outdoor meeting of neighbors on the next street. The road had not been plowed and two cars were stuck in the three feet of snow. What were they going to do? I offered to buy groceries for a neighbor. It was a great day.

There's no school tomorrow and the next snow storm arrives in three days. The fun continues...

Note: I learned two new words during the blizzard of 2010. The first word was SNOW THUNDER. As I understand it, occurs during a big snow storm. The thunder is a different kind of rumbling. It's audible, but it sounds like someone has covered the thunder with pillows. The other word I learned was GROUND BLIZZARD. From what I understand, a ground blizzard occurs when there is already snow accumulated on the ground. The winds are over 30 miles an hour and cause the existing snow on the ground to spin around in the air causing white out conditions. We experienced both of these conditions with this last storm. It was awesome.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Chance To Be A Child Again

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2010 (3:00am)--Why am I still awake? There's a blizzard, silly, and I can't sit still or relax! It's just so exciting. There must be at least 15 inches of snow on the ground. Whoa! I just saw lightning...there's the muffled sound of thunder-- did anyone see or hear that? The snow is supposed to continue for another 18 hours with a total accumulation of 25-30 inches. This will be one of Baltimore's top 10 largest snow amounts in record history. How wonderful is that?

As I sit here nibbling on olives and cheese, I think about our family's big plans tomorrow. They include eating a big breakfast, baking banana bread, taking Marley (our dog) on a snow walk, making snow angels, sledding down the middle of the road (I mean NO one is driving-nor should they be), and building a snowman. Its going to be loads of fun.

I moved to Baltimore in 1996. Since then, there have only been about two major storms. I can't wait to wake up tomorrow.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2010 (11:00am)--WOW! You should see the snow! According to the local television station we have 24 inches of snow on the ground. I personally think there is more than that. The snow is supposed to continue for another 10 hours. The totals should be around 30-36 inches. We had the big breakfast of egg and ham sandwiches and hot coffee. Now we are preparing to go outside. I'm so excited, it's like being a child again. I think I am one of maybe five people who are thrilled by the snow. Why is that? This is a time for our family to bond, work on home projects, try out a few new recipes, put together a new puzzle, watch a few new movies, and pop popcorn.

I love the fact that everyone HAS to slow down because no one can go anywhere, even if they want to. Our road has not been plowed. In fact, I don't even see a path in the street. I guess our family will be creating one shortly. All I can say is that it's 26 degrees, which is comfortable given the circumstances, and I have my first pair of snow pants, which is much more practical (and warm) than the sweatpants I used to wear in the snow. The day is going to be wonderful...wish you could be here.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hopeful Not Hopeless in 2010

Yep, I've been out of touch since August 2009. Life has been tough with the economic down turn. The kids had a hard time adjusting to school and my new schedule. There were paycuts in our household, so I took a second job. Between caring for my kids, helping with their schooling, completing my manuscript, and working two jobs, I've been very, very busy, a lot stressed, and tired beyond words.

The nice thing about life, though, is that it's constantly changing. Almost six months later, I find myself in a much better place. I can smile, I can relax, and I can enjoy life.

Let me just sum it up by saying that in 2009, I felt hopeless. In 2010, I feel hopeful. It's good to be actively blogging again.