Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Tree

I just decorated my Christmas tree. I gave in and bought a small artificial tree, which was honestly quite hard for me to do. My whole life we have had live Christmas trees, and I have many fond memories of traipsing through the snow at my grandparents house to find the perfect tree. There was always a ton of snow (not 60 degrees out like it was today), and we had to clomp along behind my father. He made the footprints and we had to try to follow them or we would sink into the snow. Add to that my brother (the trouble maker) throwing snow balls or just pushing me and my sister into the snow - believe me, I was 100% innocent ;-). My dad likes to say that we always ended up picking the tree closest to the house, after wandering around for an hour or so, but what amazing memories. We would then go in and my grandmother had hot cocoa for us.

Once we got the tree home and set up, we would proceed to decorate, and bicker lovingly about whose homemade angel was put on the top. Even to this day, I wonder how the bulb with my brother's name remains almost perfectly intact, while my sister and I have bulbs that are coming apart. But they all still go on the tree, along with the bird for good luck and other memorable ornaments.

Other decorating memories are connected to my Gram (on my father's side). My sister and I always helped her decorate her tree, which was always an adventure in itself. Each decoration had a memory attached to it. I hung many of those decorations on my tree tonight, and it made me remember and smile (and cry a bit). I even have her manager under my tree.

So even though an artificial tree feels like cheating a bit, I have mine up with all of those decorations and memories connected to it. I'm sad remembering those I can't celebrate with this year, but I am also so thankful for the many holidays with them, and I am excited for the new traditions that come each year, thanks to all of the wonderful people who have entered my life.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Being Single

I just finished reading a book that pretty much was about me. I told all of my friends about the parallels, and was slightly freaked out at times. It was "Why I Love Singlehood" by Elisa Lorello and Sarah Girrell - Amazon recommended it to me on my Kindle site. As you may have guessed, the protagonist doesn't really LOVE being single (and neither do I), but she is a single woman in her early 30s who is trying to figure out what she wants (and searches for love) - she even loves shoes! She blogs about her adventures as a single woman, and her dating nightmares (I could also go on and on about those, but no worries, this won't become a blog about the single life, or looking for love, or anything along those lines).

Needless to say, the book struck a chord with me. It isn't often that I find a book that so closely parallels my thoughts and feelings, and I do read a lot. I think what people seem to forget in today's world of couples, servings for 2, and other various paired off aspects of the world, is that not everyone who is single is dying for a relationship, but that doesn't mean they want to be alone either. Sometimes, when you have been on your own, and self sufficient, for a length of time, it just becomes easier to stay that way. It is hard to open up and share your life with others. I know for a fact that I am guilty of that. I tend to shut people out as they get close, and not because I mean to. It is just easier to not depend on anyone else. (Wow, that sounds obnoxious, or just depressing, even to me)

Another thing the character in the book kept saying was that she had to be friends with anyone she dates first. I would typically agree with this, although if I am being totally honest this is another shield I put up. There has been more than one occasion when I have become friends with someone and then decided I didn't want to risk the friendship by showing any romantic interest. It's a fun trap I set up for myself... I guess I know I am searching for my best friend to spend my life with, but I need to be willing to take risks. I know all of that crap, but knowing it an acting on it are two different things. Maybe it's time to try a blind date or two?

So, anyways, I read the book, and was happy that the ending was a happy one, but it wasn't your typical, girl falls deeply in love with the right boy and they live happily ever after. Yes, there was an implication that she ends up with the right guy, and she does take a risk, but none of the saccharin sweet being swept off her feet and love at first sight shit that ends up in so many books. It was real life, which was refreshing.

Don't get me wrong, I finished that book and immediately read a Nora Roberts, saccharin sweet, girl being swept off her feet by the perfect combination of sweet, caring and burly manliness, and the ending was 100% happily ever after. Why did I choose that as my next read? I know these books aren't real, and I don't expect Prince Charming to come and dazzle me, but it is fun to read about.

So now I am working on my own story. I know I need to change some things, and I know when it is right I will be willing to take some risks. In the meantime, you may find I make some other changes (don't be surprised if I dye my hair bright red or buy some new shoes). Maybe I'll write my own book...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

It's that time of year again - turkey time! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love that it is a time to enjoy family, eat, drink, and in general be merry. You don't need to worry about whether or not you have remembered to buy presents for everyone, or if they will like what you got them, or making sure you wrap everything just right, blah blah blah. Thanksgiving doesn't have any of those fun hassles connected to them.

For my whole life, Thanksgiving has meant family time. My grandmother always hosted a large family get together, and the day continued late into the night with fun card games. We actually did our family Thanksgiving last weekend, and even though Gram isn't with us anymore, I am sure she looked down on our celebration and smiled. We laughed a ton, cried some, ate a lot, and in general had a great time. My family brings me strength while challenging me and making sure I stay at my best. Last weekend reminded me of that.

So tomorrow, when we are celebrating a second Thanksgiving with family friends, and my sister and brother are celebrating with their respective in-laws, I will remember how blessed I am. I am truly thankful for my family, as well as for my friends and my support system. I would not be the person I am today without them. I hope all of you have a chance to enjoy, celebrate, and be thankful for all you have tomorrow!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shoes Can Make or Break Your Day

I've had a crazy hectic day... but it ended with drinks and dinner with two amazing women. We talked about life, love, plans, and how unpredictable things are. We also talked about shoes - flats, kit heels, 3 inch heals, suede pumps... things are always better with a beautiful pair of shoes. One of my friends shared the pearl of wisdom that shoes can make or break your day. Sadly, that is so true.

I can't tell you how many times I have bought shoes as therapy. I know it seems silly, but I could be drinking myself into a stupor, running away, or even going to other vices (not that I don't eat emotionally, but I've done better with that as well). I literally left a presentation where the woman was discussing a point in her life that she was trying to fill a void with cosmos, clothes and shoes, and I related to her, at least somewhat (I don't think I have too big of a void to fill). Guess where I went after that presentation - to Marshall's and bought a spectacular pair of rose pumps (although I was shopping for flats).

So I vow this - I will start taking control of things (beyond my shoe collection) to deal with my life and my frustrations. I will find solutions, not just therapy. I will also start accepting help from those who offer it - even if it is just to listen to me explain why I'm feeling sad and offer a shoulder to cry on. I can't assume I'm putting people out by leaning on them - they may actually want to help me. I need to be open to that kind of support otherwise I will stay single and stubborn for the rest of my life. I don't want that to happen - I do want to share my life with my soulmate (whoever and wherever he may be).

So thank you ladies, for helping me make some changes in my attitude. I'm taking control (and wearing my rose pumps while doing just that). Those shoes are going to make my day!