solo.

One of the reoccurring themes of my life can be summed up in one little word.

Solo.

For years, the idea of even writing a post like this was painful. Apparently, I have done a pretty fabulous job of building some walls up around the word and then was able to reinforce the idea with stigmas and beliefs I have developed and adopted to validate my relationship with being….solo.

One of the most comment battles I have struggled with in owning this identifier is the one where you feel like a failure. In order to combat that, I worked even harder to prove that not only can I do solo life, but I ENJOY IT DAMNIT!! When the reality is, I do truly into about 87.5% of living a solo life, however there are obviously always situations where I would enjoy the companionship (like when it’s time to check the mail box….”Oh, sweetie!”).

However, the in last couple of years, for a variety of reasons, I have been becoming a little too comfortable in my solo skin. I would like to believe it’s because I work my ass off and that by time I get home, shower and have a chance to relax, the last thing I want to do is leave and go do something else. Although, I know it is because it is EASIER to stay home and chat with the dogs, versus a complete stranger.

Even Google has a skewed perception of eating alone. While researching images for this post, I Googled “Eating Alone” and the very first sub-category is “sad”.

Then I had a conversation with a few of my girlfriends.

Y’all, there are women out there who LOVE to do the solo thing!!! They look forward to it, it empowers them, it frees them to do exactly what they want to do and most importantly, it means they are LIVING this life, not just cruising through it.

I currently have a pal who on her like 326th solo vacation, this time at the beach, and she’s loving and OWNING it! She also shared this pretty amazing article on the topic, which I of course will share with y’all!

I have a friend who eats out solo almost weekly…AT THE BAR!! WHAT!?!?! This is even possible?? My armpits start sweating just thinking of this possibility.

So, I decided to poll my friends. I was pleased to see that I am definitely not the only person who is uncomfortable with the idea of eating alone. However, I was shocked to learn that many of my friends have or currently enjoy eating out or entertaining themselves solo (don’t twist that people, that is another post for another day!).

Now that I had started to poke around on the topic, I felt that it was only fair that I make a goal for myself to try eating solo over my summer break. So, about a month ago, I was out, treating myself to an evening to run some errands and shop for Father’s Day and I decided what the hell, let’s do this!

Dear Lord.

I pulled in 6 different restaurant parking lots if I pulled into one. But I was not about to let indecisiveness be my downfall. I ended up the solid choice of Applebee’s.

I ate at the bar.

I ordered steak and a beer.

There was hardly anyone there, so the conversation was pathetic at best.

My overall feeling on the experience was mixed. If I am going to spend the money eating out, I would much prefer to do it with people I ENJOY and make it a memory. I eat by my damn self all the time and I can do it much cheaper at home.

HOWEVER!!!!!

I am not done. I am going to do it again. I WANT to do it again.

Frankly, I want to shift my thinking to that philosphy that it’s empowering and fun to do what you want, when you want. Versus suffering under the binds that eating solo means you are some sort of failure based on societal standards.

So gals, let’s do this! Own it and do what you want, when you want! I like to think, “What would Wonder Woman do?”

Share in the comments! Thoughts? Opinions? Personal goals?

Peace out peeps!

23.

Not that I would expect any of you to be keeping track of this number, but 23 is an important number to me right now. For those North Ohioans who revel in the good ‘ole days, it might conjure this image.

Nope, for me, 23 the exact number of days I have left in my summer break.

Oy.

The kicker is, I have been working on projects and stuff every day. But there has been nothing exciting to post!

I mean, I put up new gutters on the porch and the front of the garage.

Not fun.

I did start pouring concrete into a walkway form for the back patio, but it’s only 1/3 of the way done and I would love to just wait and make an entire post about it. However, I do enjoy a good sneak peek, so here ya go!

Last week, I was house sitting for my parents and I did tackle putting up their new vinyl railing. That was fun! But not at my house.

So, in the next 23 days, I have a huge amount to still get done. The anxiety is once again on and pressing on my soul. None of it fun stuff, but necessary! For example. getting the old furnace out, pouring base and getting the new one in! Heat this winter would be glorious!

In other news, I had my first blackberry!

So, until next time! Don’t panic if you don’t hear from me in the next 23 days, I am still here…just busting ass on the To Do list…as usual.

Peace out peeps.

a mom tribute.

I am just going to put this out there, in case y’all didn’t know. I love my mom.

I mean, LOVE HER! I have been told over the years that there is nothing like the relationship between mother and daughter. It is truly something that only gets better with time, particularly in my experience.

I mean, who wouldn’t love this face???

As I have aged (so gracefully btw, thanks to her phenomenal genes) , I realize more and more how much that woman means to me. I would even say that I am more dependent on her being in my life now, then I ever was before.

Frankly, I am sure I am not alone in that feeling.

I think it also becomes more and more apparent to each of us on a individual basis when we start to lose people who are as close as family. Then the entire timeline and shortness of life seems to be compressed and forced upon us. Yes, there are a lot of seconds and minutes in the lives we are given….but they go so damn fast.

Recently, I lost someone very near and dear to me. She literally was my second mom and she was best friends with my mom for a very long time. Finding out she had passed and witnessing not only her family’s grief, but my mom’s and my own sadness was literally one of the hardest things I have had to do so far in my life.

However, it also made me look at my mom on a whole other level. The daughter of my “second mom” and I are only two days apart in age. Our mom’s were in lamaze classes together. The bond started long ago and has lasted. At the funeral, I kept watching the daughter and thinking, I don’t know how she is doing it. I don’t know if I could do it. It’s her MOM. It’s my MOM. There is literally not another person who has had my back like my mom.

My Momma is one of the most talented, strongest and loving people I know. She is always there with an idea, a solution, or an attack plan. She has taught me how to look at problems and just figure it out. There is always resolution, you just need to work it out.

The problem lies in what do you do for someone who is THAT important to you! We are lame and I making dinner and hopefully we’ll do something fun after that. Seemingly it is a tie between playing a game and shooting guns (the brother thinks that is something mom would love, I am not sure he even knows who she is!). But that is how we celebrate my mom. Whatever we do is NEVER going to be enough for what she has done for us as a family.

What do you do for your mom’s? SHARE!! I love hearing it!

If you don’t see another post from me for a while, it is because she has broken all of my fingers after writing this tribute to her.

Peace out peeps.

crochet on the go.

In my world, I am pretty much always on the go or doing something. Not to the point where I am frantically running around like a chicken with my head cut off, but most definitely busy. I multi-task as much as humanly possible whenever I can.

Here are some of my quick life cheats.

  1. I listen to audiobooks while mowing and weeding in the yard. This has allowed me to finally get back into books in a way that I thought was gone forever!
  2. I never make a trip somewhere in the house empty-handed. Even if it means picking up a dog toy and putting it away while walking back to the living room.
  3. My Hulu account has commercials and I love it. I take breaks. Switch out the washer. Put away some dishes. Let the dogs out. I know, I know, I might be the only human who needs breaks from watching TV.
  4. I crochet on the go. I have a morning post at school where I open the door for the drop off kiddos. You can literally see me there every morning with this bag attached to my wrist! I purchased it back in November and it has been an amazing addition to my crochet habit. So much so, I wanted to share it with YOU!

In fact, I have loved it so much, I bought one for Momma D., and she has thoroughly enjoyed it also! Knowing how much they travel, I knew it would be a perfect addition to pack up projects for the road.

Upon receiving mine, I was instantly impressed with the craftsmanship. You could tell that Kathy, the store owner of 1000 Stars, took her time! Everything was pressed crisply, the stitching was on point and the grommets work perfectly for feeding material through. The game changer, however, is the wrist strap! Who knew hanging a bag from your wrist would make standing and crocheting so easy? Here, for YEARS, I had shoved skeins under my arm while working on a project! Even better, this bag keeps your materials clean and untangled. Plus, I have enough room to keep a small container for my scissors, measuring tape and extra hooks (just to keep things tidy).

I have to give credit to my dear Sarah C. for the inspiration of monogrammed water bottles and sugar skulls!

On any given day, I can fit two regular sized skeins in this bag. Lately, I have been on a cleaning product bender, so I have been cramming it full of cotton and cleaning yarns. I can typically fit 5-6 of those smaller skeins in this bag, along with the finished items. When it is all used up, I have a good ole’ sit and finish off all of the items and make them snazzy for people to enjoy!

Hint hint, I found this other new yarn…AMAZING! I started making scrubbies with it…it is stunning and works perfectly, but there will be a post on THAT soon.

So, if you crochet/knit and are looking for a great bag to help your hobby travel with you, check out 1000 Stars, and Kathy. She has lots of fun goodies available! As I was writing this post, I of course had to peruse her newest goodies and I might have found another one that is adorable and I am resisting the urge to purchase it right now!

Thanks for reading about my first big Etsy review! If you liked it…comment! If you have a great find on Etsy you would like to share…comment! If you are bored and tired of the rain…comment!

Painting class this Sunday to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in our own way! Hopefully will have my life together enough next week to post on that!

Peace out peeps!

mediocrity.

Here in Ohio, we are smack dab in the middle of 48 hours of endless rain, drab and cold weather. Which inclines me to address a topic that has been on my list for a while now.

Mediocrity.

A while back, I read an interesting article that popped up on my Pinterest newsfeed. As soon as I started to read it, I thought, “Damn, that is pretty spot on!”, and I knew it was something I wanted to talk about.

When I was a kid, I would wake on a Saturday morning and before much of the morning passed, there was a question of “What is on your agenda for the day?” posed to me by my father. I don’t remember how old I was, however, I do remember feeling like I had to create a list that would prove I had worthy tasks to be completed! For the record, even as of this morning, the question was asked, “So, what did you do last night?” and I instantly felt a need to list off everything I had gotten done. This is obviously an ingrained problem in my character!

Now, since at least my mother is going to read this, I would like to disclaimer that I do not think it was necessarily a BAD thing. It taught me to plan and organize my goals and life to the best of my ability. Also, who knew that many years later, I would be teaching Habit #2, Begin with the End in Mind, of the Leader In Me (an extension of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) to my hundreds of students daily. There is nothing wrong at all with making a plan and sticking to it.

However, just like most things in life, I believe that the key is moderation.

To this day, I plan the week, to each and every day. I write WIGs (Wildly Important Goals) at school for both my professional and personal goals. I make lists to meet those goals. I keep calendars and journals for my inner deep secret goals. I even check off water glasses on Fitbit to prove to no one that I drank enough water each day.

Frankly, I sometimes need to chill the heck out and I think most of us do.

So, why in the world is mediocrity so wrong? Because we live in a world where if you’re not on Team Accel, you’re just a loser?? Shouldn’t there be a range of success and all of it would be ok and accepted? I mean, maybe your personal growth is staying sober one more day? Shouldn’t that be just as important as closing a multi-million dollar deal? Shouldn’t all levels be celebrated? After all, no one should have the right to impose their interpretation of mediocrity on you and judge you for where you are on your journey.

I look at it this way, as a teacher, I know not all of my kids will want or be able to go to college. Does that mean they are automatically failures? Absolutely not. There is a place for them in this world and they should be celebrated just as much as the kiddos who take the college path. Of course. So, does that mean they are mediocre because they didn’t go to college but have focused their energy in other ways? I don’t think so. (OBVIOUSLY, I don’t agree with doing harm or bring negative consequences to yourself or those around you under the guise that being mediocre is accepted and ok).

I can not remove the word mediocre from the dictionary, be that as it may, I can change my interpretation and also how others interpret it.

So, I accept for myself, that today I might wake up and be mediocre. In my opinion, that is better than not showing up at all. Maybe I need the mediocre moment to rest and prepare to be a rockstar again tomorrow. Maybe I just want to know that the life I am building is ok and acceptable, even if deemed mediocre by some. It might not be for everyone, but it is for me.

The life you are building and the journey you have embarked upon is also ok and acceptable. Just FYI.

So, own it. Don’t be a jerk. Be a good human and embrace that not everyday is going to be rockstar level.

Peace out peeps.

podcasts.

Recently, I have delved DEEP into the world of audio entertainment. It is something I thoroughly enjoy and now, I feel I must share one of my new favs with you guys! It is actually connected an old fav from my childhood and I am sure yours also.

I started listening to audiobooks about two years ago (and I plan to start a new conversation topic on that soon! Be so excited!) and that kinda transitioned into listening to podcasts while I would wait for a book hold from the library, etc. I primarily used it to fill the down time between books. But then I started to really get into them, the concept, the content and the ease of access are top notch. Plus, the variety of topics…it’s like blogs…ENDLESS!

In my most recent search, I stumbled upon the handsome Joe.

hee hee hee!

How could I NOT post that pic of this man! I mean, it’s freaking hilarious and you probably need a good laugh at this very moment! Or on the flip side, you could be highly offended. Which in that case, my apologies.

However, back on track. This guy, Mike Rowe, hands down one of my favorite celebrities who I find to be pretty down to earth and incredibly talented. I mean, he might have faked it, but he did make it into the Baltimore Opera and a performance of Rigoletto! Want to know more…his site is pretty handy.

Anywho, his podcast is called “The Way I Heard It” and I found it on Google Play, but you can check it out here if that is easier for you.

Way back in the day, there was this great story teller named Paul Harvey and for over 56 years, we could listen to his broadcasts on almost a daily basis. I never realized how much of a role those broadcasts played in the fabric of my life, until they were gone.

Well, if you’re seeking a bit of a throwback feel, truly, check out “The Way I Heard It”. All of the episodes are under 10 minutes and they will teach you something, enlighten you and even have you finish a cast and think, “Huh, who knew!”. Plus, you get to listen to that great voice of his!

I know you think that this post has nothing to do with the house, however, just think about all the Paul Harvey broadcasts that were listened too over the years in that old brick house!

Check it out and enjoy your day everyone! Don’t count on a 3rd post in 3 days, I don’t know if I can keep the expectations that high!

Peace out peeps.

to-nisian or not to-nisian, part 2.

See what I did there??? You love it. You know it.

Corny plays on the English language are classic and always elicit a good chuckle.

Anywho.

My Tunisian project, the final ruling.

I think I MIGHT like it! I have actually started a second project, who knew!

If you are completely lost at this point, please check out this post for the first part of this saga….if you have anxiously been awaiting this post, here ya go pals!

In case you’re a visual person, here was the beginning of it. Shocker, I ended up ripping most of it out from this point and I pretty much started over. I was thrilled with the end result! I still definitely need to figure out how to join it better when making an infinity and if anyone has any advice on this, feel free to comment below!

check out my new mannequin!

I also managed to put a hell of a dent in the scrap stash in the trunk….which means there is more room again to go yarn shopping!

So there ya go! My first run at a Tunisian crochet stitch! Have you tried it yet?? If you have. share your pics in the comments!!

Speaking of which, any of you follow the #wearwhatyoumake on Instagram?? Or if you really want to be blown away, check out #crochetersofinstagram!

Not on Instagram?? No worries! Just search either of those hashtags in Google and click on images!

It is so inspirational (in my opinion) to see all of the gorgeous items out there that people make, love and wear daily!

#wearwhatyoumake

Finally, for those of you who are right with me on the countdown to spring, check it out! We can so make it! I CAN NOT wait to see the first green plant pop through the ground!

Have a fabulous day everyone! Peace out peeps.

if I had a kid, chapter 2

A long, long time ago, in a land far, far away….called the internet….I wrote a blog post about “if I had a kid”. The concept was that I would use this title to share little tidbits of wisdom that I have come to value throughout my life journey.

The first one was about showering.

Probably a good thing I haven’t had kids.

However, if you’re dying to read it, here ya go…click away! lol!

Anyway, today’s contribution is hopefully a little more deep that keeping up with basic hygiene. I want to take a moment to dig into something super important to me, which is taking a moment to realize that every single person around you is going through a laundry list of stressful items that are playing on their souls every damn day.

Putting it shortly.

Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

I myself am so guilty of getting caught up in my own drama (even though I work so hard to cut drama out left and right!). It is SO easy to let your life become all consuming. To the point where you come across that person while your in a store, or a restaurant and you snap at them. The innocent victim. You have not idea what’s going on with them and frankly vice versa.

At the end of the day, we are ALL bogged down with too much stress. We are ALL doing the very best we can to keep our boats from sinking. We are ALL juggling mental, physical and emotional health battles.

However, I believe taking those moments to breathe, step back….reassess and just remember, we are all human. We are ALL in this mess together. So, here is a quick list of some of the things that I have to remind myself to do sometimes that might help someone have a better day.

  • be kind
  • let them chose what is for dinner
  • practice a random act of kindness
  • hold the door for someone
  • make them a cup of tea or coffee
  • when they ask for a ride, give it
  • smile at strangers (they might think you’re creepy, but they might smile back, ya never know!)
  • crack a joke and get someone laughing
  • check in on people
  • don’t go out of your way to be a jerk
  • actually comment on their social media instead of the distant “like” button
  • call them (especially if they actually like to talk on the phone)
  • compliments are always a solid choice, especially when they are legit
  • park farther away and let someone else get a closer spot
  • be patient with people
  • do not lose your mind over a piece of limp lettuce on a sandwich on the poor cashier
  • thank people, thank them a lot
  • prizes, everyone loves prizes
  • fill up your brother’s car when he lets you borrow it
  • clean up the dog crap
  • if they need a hug, give it…it won’t kill ya
  • put things in perspective
  • let someone have control of the tv remote
  • empathically listen when they are talking, there doesn’t always need to be a fix
  • when someone trusts you, don’t break it

Now, some of these might seem super specific, they are! lol! Some of these are examples of what some of my friends have gone through this week alone.

So, take a moment, breath…you got this! So do your friends….but we all need each other.

Next post….the finished Tunisian scarf! I know you are just tingling with anticipation.

Peace out peeps.

it will be fun they said…

I am sitting here laughing at myself….mainly because that title could apply to my ENTIRE LIFE.

Buy a century home….it will be fun they said.

Own horses…it will be fun they said.

Become a teacher…it will be fun they said.

Try Tunisian crochet…it will be fun they said.

Ok, ok, ok….in FAIRNESS, all of those and my entire life do have some fabulous shining moments and I wouldn’t trade a single bit of it.

To clarify, this post is about Tunisian crochet and my lame attempt at it so far. So, if you just read those words and thought, “Um, stupid.”. My feelings will not be hurt when you dip out right now.

I have been crocheting for about 20 years and I have never tried any of the Tunisian stitches. Funny fact, neither has Momma D….which shocked the living hell out of me, because she if it falls under the crafting umbrella, I thought she had done it!

So, I was finally ready to give it a whirl and I found this beautiful scarf pattern on Pinterest (where else, duh?!)

I loved it. Who wouldn’t?? It drapes beautifully. It appears to be exceptionally warm and snuggly. It would match so many outfits.

I was SOLD!

One little problem…or a few. I did not have that gorgeous yarn on hand or anything even remotely similar and I am on a yarn purchasing hold. The trunk is overflowing and I have restricted all yarn purchases until I use up some of the stash.

would you look at that hot mess express???

So, the next best thing was this Red Heart super hot pink, right?! Well, it’s what I went with. You can see the culprit right there on top of the pile. Honest, the biggest reason I selected it was because there was an ample amount of it left.

Next issue was that the original pattern called for it to be twice as wide than what is shown. As soon as I got a couple of rows in, I realized because of the weight and texture difference in the yarns, that was going to be a terrible idea. So, I ripped and ripped, starting over at 1/2 the width.

Now, the next issue is….Tunisian crochet turns out, feels very knit-like. I do not mind knitting, but I am terrible at it. I don’t have the patience and I suck at fixing mistakes. With the Tunisian, a huge bonus is it is easy to fix mistakes (in my experience so far).

But man, it works up SLOW.

Over the last couple of evenings working on it, I have started to enjoy the methodical slowness to the project, but it has taken a minute of getting used too.

Then last night, I ran into a new issue. I ran out of the pink.

Ugh.

It is too wide to be a cowl, it is too short to be an infinity. So, I broke into the trunk and dug out some other colors, thinking that I might try going the “scrap” look route??

I am still not sure about it. My edges are horrible and obviously need some more practice.

So, what do I do? Rock it out for exactly what it is, a practice piece and just let it work up however it’s little heart wants too?? Rip it out, narrow it again and just keep practicing and hopefully get an infinity out of it as a single color?

HELP!!!

Also, feel free to share pics and helpful hints in the comments! ALL ADVICE IS WELCOME!

Parting Friday thought…

Dead serious. You have zero idea of how much you mean to so many people. You might not see or hear it, but you are!

Peace out peeps.

#DoSomethingForNothing

Mornin’ darlings!

Recently, I was faced with some heating issues at the old house. Nothing too seriously and eventually (when the weather breaks) fixable. However, it did leave me in the midst of the Great Polar Vortex with no heat. I stayed in the house for 24 hours with supplemental heat before the decision was made to winterize the house and move out until the worst was over.

straight up…first world problems and I was a baby.

However, in that small window of time, I had a lot of time to think….and stress. Now, mind you, the house was maintaining at about 45-50 degrees! I personally found this amazingly impressive since we were being hit with wind chills of -20 to -25.

just a wee bit of frost going on

Back to the point.

I could not help but think of the homeless who were out suffering in the arctic temps. Northeast Ohio isn’t any more or less special than the rest of the country in this regard. In Akron, there has been a bit of a battle between the city and a private resident who has been using his property to provide shelter for the local homeless. The biggest point made from the entire argument is that there is a huge problem when people are living homelessly for prolonged periods and we as a society move right on by.

Chicago was nationally reported on for the issues they were facing and the amazing good samaritans who stepped up to help. Hats off to you Candice Payne for everything you did and are now doing to help! Not to mention, the city of Chicago for using their transit buses and mobile warming centers. Now that is thinking creatively!

Then, I was watching the Netflix documentary The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman, and one of the episodes talked about a gentleman in the UK who goes around and gives homeless people free haircuts. In the process of his generosity, he developed the #DoSomethingForNothing. Joshua Coombes, you also sir…are a saint.

Morgan Freeman watches as Hair Stylist, Joshua Coombes, gives homeless man, Stuart Durkin, a free haircut. (National Geographic/Maria Bohe)

Do you ever feel like the universe is throwing signs in your face? Like hello you dumb ass, wake up and pay attention?

Enough rambling, get to the point girl.

In the past, I have donated goods I have made to the homeless. Truthfully, it is when I have items that have not sold and need be rotated through to make room for new stock. Mainly, because I am addicted to crochet and will ALWAYS be making stuff until my little fingers fall right off.

I seriously feel bad just saying that. They were discards. I know they helped people. I do. I just recently donated two trash bags of scarves to the homeless around the school where I work. I know the people who received them probably greatly valued them, especially during the Polar Vortex.

One piece was missing though. The personal connection.

So, my goal for the winter of 2019-2020 is this. I want to make 20 beautiful, warm and snuggly scarves/hats/blankets and I want to personally donate them and shake the hands of the recipients. I want them to know that I see them and they are not just the underbelly of society to me.

I do feel like it is a pathetically small thing. So small. But it’s a start. Who knows where it will grow. However, hopefully my teeny-tiny step will spark a little flame in someone around me…because the world needs more love. It definitely can’t hurt, right??

So, thoughts? Opinions? Inspirations?

Peace out peeps.