Monday, August 31, 2009


I love hugs. I love to give them and I love to get them. There's just something about embracing and being embraced that enables me to feel more connected to the person on the other end of the hug.

I learned about hugging from my friend Paul, who is my best friend's husband. My first hug from him brought tears to my eyes. There's a difference between the "social" hug and the "I'm so glad to see you and I care about you hug"..... I"ve learned to put my whole self into my hugs and it's awesome!

This video says it all.....I love it!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lessons Learned Today

Today has not been the best of days.....but not the worst, either. Part of it had to do with having to learn (again) that a 57 year old body encases my 20-something year old mind. The bathroom floor demolition project yesterday took its toll. I ache all over, but especially in my shoulders and neck. On top of that, I think I'm sick. Woke up at 6, got up, fed the dog and played ball with him....felt awful....nauseous and massive headache. Went back to bed....back up at 9 - no better. Did some reading for school and fell back to sleep. Woke up at 2:30.....shocked and amazed! Still not feeling too great, and think it might have something to do with smoky air from all of the fires. Doesn't matter what's causing it-it's just not fun.

The good part - Once again, I am reminded that my body has entered a stage that does not equate with my mind. I'm learning that I can still do what I want, but that I probably can't do it all at the same time.

The great part- I wouldn't want to go back to the 20-something (or even 30 or 40-something) mindset that I had to go along with the body! It's a good trade off....I just have to get used to it!

For now, I'll be happy if I finish the bathroom floor and everything else in there by bite at a time.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Zero Money = Think Outside the Box

Stepping away from the corporate world has given me the opportunity to learn how to think outside the box. When I was earning a good salary, I didn't think twice about spending money - if I saw something I wanted, I usually bought it (within reason).

Fast forward to today.....I'm a 57 year old college student with just a LITTLE income. My budget is very tight, especially since it's taken me longer than I planned to finish school (my mom needed more help from me in her last years than I had anticipated, but I have no regrets!). I tried to find a job this summer, but in this economy could find no matches. Rather than panic, I decided to spend quality time with those that I love, spending a blissful couple of weeks with my dear sister on her beautiful island in the San Juans, and time with my darling daughter and her young family - very different from the vacations I have taken in the past. Did I miss my European vacation time? You bet. Did I have a wonderful summer? You bet. Would I trade European time for my family time? Not in a million years.

Did I accomplish all that I wanted to this summer? No way! My little house, which was not in the best shape when I bought it, is in desperate need of some serious TLC. When I was working, other things took priority over my home.... raising my daughter, providing a home for my nephew and being successful in my career were at the top of my list. I got overwhelmed when I looked around and noted all the things that needed attention, and was immobilized by the sheer magnitude of what needs to be done. After stewing in my own mess for a bit, I decided to tackle my house, ONE ROOM AT A TIME~ so simple! I didn't know how to do much of anything regarding home repair, and Google became my best friend. I can still remember having to go to the library to get the information for reports for school - can I tell you how much I LOVE the internet?

I began with my bedroom and hallway and took the time to get actual samples of paint, bringing them home and trying them on the walls before I invested in the gallon size cans. I found JUST the color that I had envisioned! I ripped out all of the old baseboards and learned how to measure, cut and install new ones. It looks pretty good, and I feel proud of myself. (I still have to figure out how to rehang my louvered closed doors so that they will close though.....).

Next was my bathroom. This is a major project that is still in progress. Things are taking me lots longer than I thought. And some of of these things are harder than I thought they would be. That's OK.

Bathroom Round #1
I took down my shower enclosure and the weird ugly disintegrating laminate stuff off of the walls and was immediately immobilized once again. Back I went to Google, and spent a couple of days learning about tiling - they make it look SO easy! Found great tiles at a great price, and tiled my shower....then I had to put the shower enclosure back up.....I DID IT! It needs a little "tweaking", but each time that I get into my shower and admire the beautiful subway tiles, I get such a sense of accomplishment!

Bathroom Round #2
I really wanted to get a new bathroom vanity, mirror and cabinet. Found just the right ones. Can't afford them - I had no idea that this kind of stuff cost so much! Toned down my choices and found that it was STILL expensive! Stuck again, and madly trying to figure out how I could justify spending the money for just what I wanted...after all, I was doing all the work, and didn't I deserve just what I wanted? It finally dawned on my yesterday....why not just paint what you have? Back to Google, and guess what? It's doable! So now this is on my to-do list (but I will still buy a great mirror that I found online - that will be my reward for all of my hard work!).

Bathroom Round #3
Remember those little 1" square tiles that your grandparents had in their bathroom? That's what was on my floor. White. Ugly. Grout disintegrating. They're gone. My wonderful son in law did most of the removing - which has left me with what is underneath. I still haven't figured out what it all is....but I'm hacking and peeling it off, layer by layer. I found some of the original sub flooring today. I feel like I'm digging to China. But I'm actually getting there!

I'm finding that I am loving the changes that have come about in the way that I perceive things. Sure, I still get "frozen" when I realize that I can't do things the way that I used to; but with time, I have usually been able to figure out a way to accomplish what I want to do. Along the way, I'm also learning what matters most to me. Would I go back to my frenzied corporate existence? Don't think so! Going to school, expanding my world and thinking and working toward ultimately sharing what I've learned with my students is priceless. Having the ability to positively touch children's lives will be priceless. My family is priceless. I'm priceless. I'm a work in progress, and I love it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Gratitude and Back to School

I started school this week - this is my last semester (except for one class) - and then I'll have my B.A.!

While walking to class on Monday, my mind suddenly rewound to that day, 4 1/2 years ago, when I was walking to my first class as a college student. Looking at all the faces surrounding me and not seeing one face that was even remotely as mature (to put it kindly) as mine. Wondering how I was going to be received (rejected) by my fellow students. It was summer time, and I couldn't tell if I was having a hot flash, an anxiety attack, or if it was just plain H O T. While walking down the hill to class from the parking lot, I called my best friend in the whole world, Jan (more about her another time) and started to tell her how I was feeling. I was looking for a way out of doing what I had set out to do, reacting with the fight/flight syndrome, and hoping that she would endorse my fleeing from the parking lot. No such luck. She didn't even let me finish! As the eldest of eleven children (her family nickname was "Sarge"), Jan has had lots of experience in keeping people in line. Believe me, if she gives you "the look", she can have you jumping through hoops in no time! Lucky for me, she saves her "Sarge" side for when I REALLY NEED IT. "Missy, march down that hill and get you a** in that classroom". And I did.

I honestly don't know if I'd be in school today if it wasn't for her. And if I had chosen to flee that day, I know that my life would not be as rich or as full as it is today. Whenever the going has gotten tough throughout the adventure of being a college student and I've been tempted to just throw my hands up and walk away, I remember that conversation, and continue to show up. And I've been a successful student with a great GPA...and have loved every minute of having my brain "stretched".

Thank you, my friend - l love you to the stars, the sun, the moon and back!

Today's the first day....

So today is the first time I've posted. I've enjoyed following other's blogs and figured it was time to start one of my own. Even if I'm the only one who ever reads it, I like the idea of having a place to share who I am, what is happening in my life, and how I feel about it. My blog will, at the very least, keep me accountable to myself!