The end of summer

Welcome to Grayton Beach

On Thursday, I left behind a week's worth of rain for a much needed beach vacation. I joined Jen, Traci, and Michelle at Grayton Beach for five days and four nights of sun and sea salt on our skin. There was laughter, shopping, good drinks, even better food and the best kind of relaxation. Nowhere to be, nothing to worry about. Five days to let go and allow the sun to melt away whatever worries I may have been carrying. I came back yesterday, leaving summer behind, coming home to Halloween decorations up on the house, a chill in the air. And a restlessness that tells me that something good is coming, if only I have the courage and determination to go for it. There are too many paths to choose, but I'm ready to pick one and run toward the future, without looking back. It's amazing how much clearer things become when you stop staring at them for a little while.

Since I'm feeling both hopeful and nostalgic, I'll leave you with a few memories made in the salty air:

-Just a short walk down a flight of stairs to sand, shoes not required, to a beach viewable from our window

-Floppy brimmed hats being swept off by waves

-Shimmering trails of greenish light left behind by twirling arms and uncovered skin

-Swimming in moonlight, waves, and so many stars you could just drown by looking at them

-Hushed laughter and futile attempts to rid ourselves of too much sand, a consequence of too much drink and just enough fun

-Conversations with strangers who act more welcoming than some friends

-Music and rain and the feeling that all is right with the world, if only we'd slow down enough to realize it

It smells like fear, but it's not really

As Dave and i were finishing up dinner on evening recently, I was casually flipping through a Yankee Candle catalog when I came across a candle named "Wedding Day." Not really expecting any answer from Dave, I asked out loud, "I wonder what Wedding Day smells like?" to which he replied, without missing a beat or even looking up, "Fear." God, I love that man.

Things have been going really well, lately. I have been one three interviews, none of which turned into job offers, but I have really enjoyed the time away from the stress and routine of working a full-time corporate job. No longer am I feeling embarrassed about being let go from a job that I wasn't even very happy with, but didn't realize it until I was forced to give it up. I miss a few of the people I used to work with, but that's it. Time to move on.

Things that I've been doing to occupy my time since involuntarily becoming a house-wife.

1) Remodeling. I am really good at painting! I tore all of the wallpaper off the guest bathroom one day in a very impulsive (and very Chelle-like) move. Afterwards, the dry wall was in rough shape, so Dave put a skim-coat of joint compound on it, but after applying two coats of paint, I decided it still looked rough. So I decided to add sand to the paint! For texture! To cover up all of the dings and uneven spots on the walls (there were a lot) and what do you know? Corporate America had not sucked all of the creativity out of my soul as I had feared! The sand makes a nice subtle texture and adds a little something to a bathroom that has been decorated in a mosh-posh of beach and garden themes.

2) Exercise. Forcing yourself to workout isn't nearly as difficult when you aren't exhausted from working full-time. Who knew? I've been running, walking the dogs, lifting light weights and plan to start the 30 Day Shred program soon. I decided to put it off until after my sister-in-law's visit next week. That way I do not embarrass myself by having to exercise in front of her.

3) Travel. I have been to Florida three (3!) times since May. Once to pet sit for the grandparents for about a week, and twice to help my mom set-up, then immediately dismantle a third grade classroom (long story).

4) Reading. I had forgotten how nice it was to sit and read for a spell. In the past 3 months, I have re-read the entire Harry Potter series. I got confused after seeing the latest movie, so I decided I needed a refresher. I've also been reading a bunch of romance novels that mom keeps sending/giving to me, but I doubt anybody really wants details on those.

I am currently being stared at by three very hungry cats, so I better go start feeding the menagerie. Wishing you and yours a happy Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Solitude and catharsis

1. I had lunch with a couple of my former coworkers today. It was nice, but I'm beginning to get the feeling that it is time to move on. Out of respect for my feelings (I think), they don't bring up work all that much. So I have to. And then it gets a little awkward. Because, really? Why should I still care? I am trying not to, but it's hard when you're the one who was dumped. I'd much rather have done the dumping. I took all of my work shirts to Goodwill yesterday, so that felt a little cathartic. I miss the routine, though.

2. I've been in a weird place lately where I am wanting to just stay inside myself and not let the world in. I am experiencing a lot of introspection and I'm glad Dave has been working the night shift this week, because I've really enjoyed the solitude. I'm trying not to wallow or shut myself off from the world too much, but in a way, this break from the world has been nice.

3. Have I mentioned that I'll be pet sitting for my grandparents at the end of the month? They live outside of Panama City and a few girlfriends are joining me for a weekend of fun, sun, and dog kisses. I've been laying out in the yard, trying to get a little sun on my oh-so-pale skin. I can't wait; I am really looking forward to getting away and seeing my friends and my favorite ocean once again.

4. The house next door finally sold. Dave and I were going to make an offer and fix it up ourselves to resell, but then I lost my job. So we let that idea go. It's neat watching all the work that's being done, but I really wish they would start work at a reasonable hour. Waking up to the sound of hammers at 7 am is never fun.

5. I had a salad from the garden for dinner. Salads are a lot more appetizing to me lately, probably because I don't want all of the veggies we've planted to go to waste. Stuff I used from the garden: 2 kinds of lettuce, spinach, and cilantro. Stuff purchased: tomatoes (ours aren't ripe enough yet), red onion, raisins, almond slices, fresh parmesan cheese, strawberries, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

6. Gray cat has been looking pitiful lately. I think he has feline leukemia, which breaks my heart a little bit. I think I should take him in to be put down, but I just haven't been able to do it. He's still eating well, but he's not fixed and I'd hate to think he's spreading his disease throughout the neighborhood. Poor cat.

7. I've been waiting to walk the dogs until late in the evening because it's been so hot recently. It's about that time, so I'd better get to it. I hope we see a bunch more lightning bugs today.

I just drive him around and let him bark

1. I spent the last two days weeding the garden and I have the dirt under my fingernails to prove it. So far, I have eaten 2 salads containing items grown right in my own yard. I admit I am a tiny bit impressed with myself.

2. It’s officially summer. I know this because the lightning bugs are out in full force. I noticed them while walking the dogs around the neighborhood this evening. Watching them makes me smile. The bugs,not the dogs.

3. Ever since I lost my job 21 days ago, I’ve been trying to exercise more. I actually have more energy and am a lot calmer than I was when I was working. I wish I didn’t have the nagging worry about money, though.

4. I made fish tacos for dinner that were quite delicious, so delicious in fact that I ate way too much. I’ve been cooking more lately (see number 3) and I am not hating it nearly as much as I used to.

5. While on our walk, Kaylee, Prue and I noticed a truck driving around the neighborhood with a dog in the back. The dog was barking barking barking and the driver was driving really slow. I admit I was slightly curious and may have stared a bit, so as the truck was passing us, the driver stopped and told me: “I should do it like you, but I’ve gotten lazy. I just drive him around and let him bark.” I still get a chuckle thinking of that man driving his dog around.

6. My life is at a crossroads right now. I have so many options available to me and I really don’t know what to choose. I am hoping that fate will soon take the decision out of my hands. Though my thinking that I am in charge of my life is probably a little naive. I just hate limbo; I need to be pointed in a direction soon. Do you hear me, Fate?

7. All of a sudden, I am craving sangria. It’s a good thing I picked up a bottle at the store today.

Hello, Spring

I love this time of year. So many changes are taking place, from the first appearance of tiny buds signaling spring to possibilities for Big Things blooming in other areas of my life. So much has been happening and everything shows such promise. I think I really needed the freshness that spring brings to get me out of whatever funk I've been in for a while now.

The surgery I spoke about went well. I have recuperated better than I expected I would. After a week of rest, I had most of my energy back. A week after that and all systems were back to normal (well, at least the ones that were normal pre-surgery). Fingers crossed that this was just what was needed.

A friend directed me to a link about marriage today and how we can learn to observe the behaviors of our significant others and tailor our responses to said behaviors to fit their needs instead of trying to always make it about our own self. The article, published several years ago, is titled: What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage and so much of what the author described really rings true in my own marriage. I don't consider the tips in the article to be about manipulation; I think it is about putting someone's needs before your own. After all, isn't that what love is all about? It's a struggle, learning to speak the language of those you love, but the benefit far outweighs the effort.

Happy First Day of Spring. May you enjoy the warmth of the sun on your skin and find pleasure in the colors blooming around you.