Monday, July 30, 2012

Week In Review

This is going to be short, sweet, maybe a little sassy and of course, simple.

When your favorite bra dies, it's a sad day. Yes, an actual day of mourning. And hopefully when this day arrives you are prepared with back up and bandages. When the wire snaps...that's when you need a bandage for the wounded bosom.

Isn't it crazy the things that we marvel at? Like how my girl dog can hold it in and pinch it off a hundred times in one day. Why I ask her? Don't you just want to get your business done and get back to the air conditioning? Obviously her answer was no.

I went to the library near our cottage and checked out a mystery novel. Brought it back to the cottage and began to thoroughly enjoy. Gracie looks over my shoulder and asks, what's up with the funny font in your book, mom? Funny font? I look at the cover and there's the sticker that says LARGE PRINT. No wonder I was enjoying the book so much.

Bar soap. It's what I grew up on. I kind of miss it. All of these pumps and bottles that squirt. I have them, don't get me wrong, but it's kind of nice to not have another something to add to the landfill. And the citrus mint scent. Heaven.

And one more thing. I am once again an Olympic junkie. Lovin' every minute of it. I wish I was there. Attending the Olympics is on my bucket list. In the meantime, I'll just enjoy watching them on tv. Go Team USA!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ups And Downs

This was a great week. Gracie and I drove to Appleton to participate in a national program call Feed My Starving Children. We assembled packages of nutritional foods, full of vitamins and grains that so many starving people need to live. We were told that wonderful people were initially sending food to these third world countries. Finally, a relief worker said please stop sending these foods. The people receiving the food were in such a progressed state of starvation, that their bodies couldn't process these foods. They would be wasted.

So some wonderful people came up with a formula of protein, vitamins, veggies and grains that will help people in their recovery. We saw pictures of an eight year old boy who weighed less than 20 pounds. After weeks and months of nutrition, we saw his progress. He is now 75 pounds and living a healthy life. In our meager two hours of volunteering, our group churned out enough boxes of food to feed 76 children for an entire year. In two hours! What a terrific experience. And suddenly my high gas and electric bill means not so much.

Another high to my week was some special time with my sister. I picked her up Wednesday. To the cottage we went. With Gracie and her friend, Abby. We were a riot. Listening to 80's music and singing all of the words. Making the younger girls car dance with us. I'm sure we laughed more than we ever have. And the young ones followed suit. I'm pretty sure there was some eye rolling going on, too. But never mind, it was more than we could have ever hoped for. We had the time of our lives!

And then the down. On Friday I watched the news about the horrible tragedy in Colorado. A time that should have been fun and entertaining turned deadly. Tragic. The stories that are starting to surface. Not of the grim gunman, but of the survivors and the those who were killed. What wonderful people. These stories define humanity. Not the sick and sad story of the one who caused the chaos. The focus should be on those who overcome. Those who perform random acts of bravery and kindness. Whether it was holding a hand. Closing a door or reuniting friends and family. These seemingly small acts meant the world to people and in some cases saved lives.

Every week has ups and downs. Some are more significant than others. Some say we need to feel the downs to enjoy the ups. I think there is some truth in this. Of course no one wants anyone to suffer tragedy, but how we react often defines us. This was a week that renewed my faith in the need to help humankind. Whether the help is right here in North America or across an ocean, when we join forces we can make a big and positive difference.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Scott

It's a great day here at the De Broux household. It's Scott's birthday. Forty-nine. I don't think he'd mind me telling you. It's a bit of a badge of honor for him. This is a year some say you might want to forget. We say no, actually, it is part of our story. This year has been rough and tough, no doubt. But it is part of who we are.

Amongst all of the anxiety, sadness and uncertainty, there are many bright spots. We have had a constant stream of family and friends visiting and calling us. That kind of support can't be bottled. Even after visitors leave or the phone is hung up, the warmth of the memory stays with you. It is medicine that can't be prescribed.

It's also been a year of realization. My superman is still a hero in my mind. But his physical limitations are greater than they have ever been. It's hard. Probably harder for him than me. It doesn't matter. He still looks the same. He still has the sense of humor that made me fall in love with him. He just can't move mountains like he used to. His strength is on it's way back. It's happening in a slow but sure way. There is no map for this. I can say this, a positive attitude is where it's at.

Gracie and I have done a little makeover on our guy. We've updated his wardrobe a bit. He is not looking 20 something, not even 30 something, but definitely early 40 something. And he smells wonderful with his new cologne on. This day will be a celebration. Of learning to live life to the fullest. Each day. It's a day to realize that there are different kinds of strength. So if we don't answer the phone it's probably because we are partying like rockstars. Please try back later!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Letter To Gracie

This past week we were up at the cottage and did lots of walking down memory lane. Stories were told and laughs were enjoyed. It got me thinking. There is so much I want to tell Gracie. And so on my drive home from my week and a half of bliss, I made a list for her:

Drive no more than five over the limit, baby. This was brought home to me about two weeks ago. Scott and I had just switched from his driving to me taking a turn at the wheel. No further than three miles down the road I was pulled over. For excessive speeding. I got off with a warning. Thankfully. But it brought up a story of days gone by. Of Scott's insurance dropping us after we returned from our honeymoon because of two speeding tickets I had received. Yes, do not follow in your mama's footsteps here.

A good bra is always a good investment. It makes a world of difference. Enough said.

Be sweet. Even when you don't feel like it. When people aren't being sweet and you are, it has a way of speaking volumes. A lot of the time people will rectify their behavior.

Find a mate that is beautiful on the inside. The outside attraction is often the first step. But what's most important is the beauty of the person's soul. I lucked out on this one. Your dad fits the bill on both accounts for me.

Coffee is the nectar of gods. I'm not kidding.

Trust your gut. Your mom is psychic. I trust my gut. Like all of the time. My gut has served me well. It has kept me out of danger. It has helped me with life altering decisions. Trust your gut feeling.

Your heart will break. Someone, a friend, family member or boyfriend will hurt you. Perhaps unintentionally. But guaranteed you will be hurt. Don't let this stop you from opening your heart to people and situations. Here is the truth. The heart heals. If you allow it. And when it heals it is even stronger.

Less is more. Buy good shoes. No, great shoes. They should look nice and feel better. And this costs money. Big money. And speaking of money, be smart. Stay out of debt. Pay your bills and save for a rainy day. There will be rainy days.

Tattoos. Wait. I'm not saying don't get one. That would be hypocritical of me. But wait. And make sure it means something to you. Something that you can live with your whole life.

Find a favorite swear word. I know, I can hardly believe I'm writing this. The reality is that you will need to vent or blow off steam sometimes. So find one that you can live with and that won't gravely offend others. And every time you use it, pay your child one dollar. Hopefully the word won't be used too often.

Finally, please know that I am always here for you. Even when you need to talk to me about something that you know I don't want to hear. Especially then. I don't expect you to be perfect. I'm not. Your dad's not. We know that you will make mistakes. It's how you react to them that makes or breaks you.

One more thing. Do things that make you uncomfortable. Not in a bad way, but a good way. Try new things. Confront the unknown. You will feel and be very brave.

I know there's more. I know that you'll roll your eyes at some of this. And I'm ok with that. You are a strong, smart and beautiful young lady. I know I had a little something to do with that. And this makes me smile.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mornin' Sunshine

Mornin' sunshine is how I start my day. Every day. The alarm goes off. The dogs start to stir. I can read their minds. They are saying, hustle it up lady. We're hungry and we have to pee! Sorry guys. I, too, have needs. I enter my bathroom and can't avoid my mammoth mirror. And on this particular day I am spectacularly beautiful. Mornin' sunshine, I say. To my ponytail that looks like Pebbles from the Flintstones. To my dark circles under my eyes. To my, wait, what is that? I get my reading glasses from the nightstand. I look closer. How is it that a forty-five year old woman has a blemish that big?

On autopilot I turn on the coffee machine. Fill the dog food bowls. Feed the dogs. Hook up the leashes, grab a plastic bag and off we go. And truly it is a beautiful day with gorgeous sunshine. It's a great day to be alive. When we return from our walk, I feel energized and young. I take the stairs two at a time. Until I start hearing this horrible crunching sound. It's coming from my knee. What? Oh yeah, for a minute I forgot my age. I forgot that this knee started making funky sounds a couple of years ago. And now I remember. The doctor said we shouldn't do anything to this knee until the crunching hurts. Well, it's starting to. You aren't 18 anymore, Ann.

To the shower, lotions and potions applied and dressed in comfy clothes, I feel ready to greet the world. I've had my week or so of being a slug. I needed that after school was out. Long cups of coffee. Good Morning America. Live With Kelly. Get off your butt, Ann! But I have to say I needed it. I needed the transition. I've been running so fast and hard this year that a break was long overdue. I love working full time and in the school that I do. But you add in the happenings of my family and I was tired. Just saying. Not complaining.

Now being well rested and excited about the rest of summer, I walk the line of feeling young and living the reality. Middle age is right where I want to be. I'm in good health. I have gray hair. There is a fix for that. I have a few aches. They're minor. She-ra lives on. And I have lots to look forward to. Especially the sunshine that wakes me every morning. And the sunshine I see in the mirror every day.