Free Beer for the Win?

Free Beer for the Win?

This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Wendy. Not only is she tons of fun, but she is super supportive of me and my endeavors. Also, she said to me, “YOU HAVE BETTER BLOG ABOUT THIS!”

Yesterday, my friend Wendy and I planned a quiet night to catch up. We were going to take a walk on the beach and then head down to a popular beach restaurant for some wine and dinner. EXCEPT, the beach was packed, the restaurant was packed….let’s just say we weren’t the only ones to have this awesome idea to enjoy the weather and its amenities.

When we got to the restaurant, there was a one hour wait. ONE HOUR. Ok, for some of you bigger city folks, that my be acceptable. But, for us small beach suburb folks, that is as ridiculous as it gets. So, we opted to check the bar for seats and found one lonesome bar stool amongst a crowd of beer drinkers. Dang it!

After walking around and stalking the bar like a couple of vultures, one nice guy stood up (the one sitting next to the lonesome stool) and said, “Here, you two can have this seat.”

Seems like the nice gentlemanly thing to do, except that this was the moment we sealed our fates and walked into the Lion’s Den.

Now, it didn’t happen at first. Like a lion stalking his prey, it started out quite innocently. I mean, at first all seemed pretty normal. We thanked the man for his chivalrous gesture and then went on to order wine…..nah, guys we ordered beer. I mean, it was hot outside and sometimes beer is just better, you know?

We ordered beer and we ordered food and then we chatted and then we needed more beer. <This is where Martin, our chivalrous gentleman caller, strikes.>

Now, Wendy and I have quite a few things in life in common, but currently we are two single moms, not dating/not trying to date/not caring about dating. Martin, a retired NYPD, quickly picked up with his stealth moves that we were single.

You guys – behold my first drink bought by man in a LOOOONNNGG TIME!

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I know. It’s a Mich Ultra. Not fancy. But, I’m pretty sure I told you yesterday that I’m a Basic Bitch, and so I’m counting carbs just like the others. #notsorry

Ok, so Martin bought me a $3 beer. He actually bought me two $3 beers, and $6 of free beer is better than no free beer, no? If it makes you feel any better, Wendy was much fancier and drinking beer from a bottle at $3.50 a pop. Soooo, Martin did pull out the big bucks, and by big bucks I mean about $15.

Anydoodles, Martin, the retired NYPD, was sliding his way in with beer. AND, it was working in that we felt inclined to have conversation with him, however it was not working in that he had a snowball’s chance in Hell of dating either one of us. I’m not a mean girl so I won’t go into the physical description of Martin, but I’ll say we were out of his league – and age range.

One thing I will say about Martin, is that those Capt. Morgan and Gingerale’s he was drinking did nothing to improve his breath. Now, fortunately for me I was on the far end, so I was safe. Wendy, not so much.

Another thing I will say about Martin, is that he was obviously a regular at the bar. He also apparently brings his own gingerale for the bartender to mix his drinks. I mean, can’t have a drink with bad gingerale….*is there such thing as premium gingerale? Just checkin…

Also, Martin loves his hot tub. He really loves it. Do you want to know what Wendy and I don’t love?

Imagining Martin in the hot tub….

And his bad breath…

Needless to say, there got a point when things got uncomfortable. Like when his buddy stared at Wendy and I like a creeper. He stared straight at us for very long periods of time without averting his gaze or saying a word. That was awkward. Equally, I’m impressed with his abilities to creepy stare at women for so long without blinking. That’s talent!

At one point, Martin let us know he “wasn’t looking for anything serious, you know?”

Ha! Don’t worry Martin! You are safe with us!!! (But were Wendy and I safe?? Questionable…).

Eventually, Wendy and I were able to slide out and get the Hell out of Dodge!

Martin: “But, wait! Where are you going? I’m going where you’re going!”

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Giphy found here

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Life is Good

Life is Good

You GUYS! OK, I’ve not been blogging as much as I would like, which bums me out. However, I also remember that I put a disclaimer that I would blog when I want, so I guess I shouldn’t feel too guilty about it…..

One thing about me, is that when I am stressed or have things going on, it is difficult to be creative. I put a whole lot of mind into anything I’m doing and that means I become mentally exhausted easily. I really dislike that trait about myself. I wish I wasn’t all or nothing – balance is something I’m always striving for, but aren’t we all? I guess that makes me “normal.” Or at least “normal-ish.”

First, I want to say that my life is great. So, before I go posting about chaos and stress and all of the above, let me just throw it out to the universe that nothing is wrong with me. I’m not depressed, nothing bad is happening to me, I’m not having a mid-life crisis, yet.

Actually, it occurred to me this morning (well, OK at 1 pm – I stayed in bed until noon, today! *gasp*) that I am about as BASIC as a girl can be. I mean, there I was holding this giant cup of coffee, sitting in my neutral palette decorated living room thinking, “I can’t wait to have wine and see my friend tonight!” Also…”I wonder where a girl can find a great pair of magnetic falsies that actually work?”

I am not making that up – I 100% thought those thoughts and then I cracked up laughing (by myself – no kids this weekend) at my outright audacity to be basic and not give two F’s about it.

I is, what I is, PEOPLE!

I maybe even took a pic of said beautiful cup of LOVE JOE, and I maybe even spoke sweet nothings to it…I’m having a love affair with coffee, folks! Call me Basic, call me whatever, I don’t care! This coffee was HOT! *pun intended

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Anydoodles, this month has been exceptionally stressful for me. But, not bad. I am fine. We can blame it on the full moons, solar storms, last quarter of fiscal year, transitioning into a new job the last 6 months, birthday parties galore, or whatever. Whatever it is, it is draining me and I feel exhausted. Again, it is not bad, it is just ALOT.

Last year, I saw Winston Scott at a higher education conference and he blew my mind away. I don’t know why it was so profound for me at the time. Maybe I needed to hear his words, but he said some really important things that have never left my mind. The most important story he told is the one I’m going to write about today. I’ll save the other important phrase for another time…

First of all, if you don’t know who Winston Scott is, he is a former NASA astronaut who took not one, but two missions into space. On his second trip, in 1997, he worked on the space station.

Winston said that while he was working on the space station, he could see the Earth in his peripheral. When he saw it, it caused his brain to get confused, because generally he would be on Earth. So, as this happened he began to get vertigo. Winston explained that they are trained as astronauts on how to overcome vertigo, as this is a natural thing that happens while in space. Part of that training is to focus on something that is stable.

He said, “When things in life seem to be chaotic, or that you are losing control, focus on the one thing that is stable.”

This is such a powerful message to me. Let’s be real – no matter how basic, creative, non-creative, rich, poor, black, white, male, female, married, single, parent, child-less – we’ve all got shit. And we all have a breaking point. We all seek balance. We are all the same in that we yearn for balance, happiness, success –  though we measure it differently.

Yesterday, I was almost the last one out of the office and I was drained. I was driving home and as I got to the last intersection, I had the choice to turn right and go home, or turn left and go to the beach. I am most blessed to live 6 miles from the beach.

I turned left. Instead of going home, I saw the sun and the stars, the moon and the birds, the trees and the sea…I focused on that and thought, “What a magical life I have!”

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I may be one Basic Bitch; I may be a single mom; I might make zero money working education; I don’t live in the biggest house in the nicest neighborhood…..

BUT I HAVE A WONDERFUL LIFE!

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My favorite (personal) LOVE story

My favorite (personal) LOVE story

I don’t talk about infertility anymore, but it was something I was consumed with years ago. In fact, when I first started blogging, it was one of the most personal confessions I ever had amongst my friends and the innerwebs. It was a tough time, but it is not something I dwell on these days. Actually, I rarely think of it anymore. I choose to move forward in my life (Well, on most days- I am human, after all!).

So, today is my son’s 6th birthday. Six. SIX!!! What the HECK! How did my baby get sooooo big. But, here we are. He’s 6, in kindergarten, and living a great life. I’m so proud of how smart and witty he is.

I’d like to think of Austin as a story of hope for my infertile sisters. Because, he was truly a surprise after my infertility. My rainbow baby.

For my new readers I will give you the cliff notes: I went through years of infertility. I  was diagnosed with PCOS in 2008. I did clomid and metformin, I had multiple IUI’s, there were multiple IVF’s, there was miscarriage – but eventually I had my daughter through IVF in 2010. At that point I never went back on birth control, obviously I was my own birth control. However in May 2011, when my daughter was 7 months old, I found myself pregnant again on Mother’s Day. Then, at 10 weeks, I miscarried that baby. Thus begins my story…..

The second week of August I was due to come back to work after summer break. It had been an emotionally difficult summer having had a turbulent first trimester of pregnancy and then dealing with the miscarriage, plus trying to take care of an infant at the same time. That Monday before going to school, I took a pregnancy test. I was exactly 6 weeks post miscarriage and I wanted to make sure the pregnancy hormone was out of my system. It was supposed to feel like a fresh start that week. And it worked, because the test was negative and I was ready to get back into the routine of school.

On Tuesday night, I had the most vivid dream I was pregnant. I know this sounds like something out of a television drama, but I couldn’t shake the dream. When I got to school on Wednesday, I was working in my classroom trying to get organized and thinking about the dream. I started craving a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…. I giggled at this, because I generally do not have a sweet tooth, yet I ate these like CRAZY while I was pregnant with Jamie. I gained 65 lbs during that pregnancy, because I literally ate that pb&j goober stuff (ugh, I know- sooooooo gross) out of the jar. One of my co-workers walked in at that moment and asked me what I was laughing at. I explained to her the craving and then told her about my dream.

“So weird!” I said. We both started laughing.

She then confessed that she had actually just found out the day prior that she was pregnant.

“Congratulations!” I said. and we hugged and talked about the baby’s due date, etc.

That afternoon when I got home I called my husband and told him about the dream and the pb&j.

“Just take a test,” he said.

I just happened to have a test in my drawer due to the testing I had been doing post miscarriage. So, I took the test. You guessed it – it was positive.

This wasn’t enough for me, though. If you’ve ever gone through infertility you know it takes about $2500 worth of pregnancy tests to make you believe, kind of, that you may be pregnant, but even still….

So, I went to the pharmacy and got myself the expensive digital test.

“PREGNANT!”

Still, this wasn’t enough. I looked up on the internets and confirmed with Dr. Google that sometimes cervical cancer can come up positive on a pregnancy test. Obviously, Dr. Google is ALWAYS right.

So, I make an appointment with my RE to rule out cancer.

I’ll never forget the look on his face when I told him I thought I had cancer.

“Suzanne, why don’t you think it is possible you may actually be pregnant?” Dr. Sanchez asked me.

Guess, what?

I did not have cancer.

Just over 18 months after having my miracle IVF baby, this little guy comes along……and you know how the story ends….

He’s my favorite boy in the whole UNIVERSE!!! How grateful I am to have gotten the greatest surprise of my life at 3:21 pm on April 21, 2012!!

Happy Birthday, Bubba! I love you to the moon and back!

 

YOU GUYS! Helluva Week!!

YOU GUYS! Helluva Week!!

quote-at-the-end-of-your-life-you-will-never-regret-not-having-passed-one-more-test-not-winning-one-barbara-bush-28354I actually have a blog post I’ve been working on all week, but it’s been a doozy for me. I’ll have to save that one for later….

In the interim, I want to talk about the passing of Barbara Bush. I know the Bush family is controversial, and I’m not one to speak politics, however it is no secret amongst my friends that I love that family!

Now, before you go throwing stones, I’ll be honest in that I don’t condone or endorse all of the decisions made during any Bush Administration – and that includes both presidencies as well as the governing of Florida by Jeb. However, again, as a family, I have always loved them. I did help Jeb campaign for governance back in the early 2000’s. I met him once at the Tampa Airport in line for TCBY yogurt in the early to mid 90’s. He was down to earth- like a little kid, he was soooo excited to get his favorite flavor of frozen yogurt and I fell in love with that. Also, I had a serious crush on George P. in college and was sincerely sad when he got married, but that’s beside the point…

Back to beloved Barbara; I have had a fascination with First Ladies since I was a child. I’m sure this has a lot to do with the fact that they are like our American version of royalty. I’m a pearl girl, so you mix the pearl’s with children’s advocacy and I’m smitten. I’m pretty sure I was a politician’s wife or a First Lady in my past life. I’m obsessed. Just sayin. 

More importantly, her passing really brings me back to the point that I have lost both of my very special grandmothers. One, I lost very recently in the last 5 months. The other passed in 2005 – she was my “Granny.”

When I read/saw Jenna’s letter to her Ganny, the tears just rolled down my face. When my Granny passed almost 13 years ago, I did the same and wrote her a letter. My Granny was such a special person to me. She made me feel beautiful and perfect in only the way a grandparent can make you feel. In my letter, I remember telling Granny that she was my best friend and that I regret not having told her in life how much she meant to me. My grandmother, she didn’t wear pearls often, but she had a pearl headband as well as some pearl earrings that I coveted. She seemed so classy to me, and I loved all of her glamorous shoes and purses. I have dreams where she comes back to visit to show me a trunk of all her amazing shoes and purses she has collected up in heaven. I imagine she must have a huge organized closet up there with all these classy accessories. I miss her and think about her almost daily.

My other grandmother, “Tata,” lived mostly in another continent for the majority of my life. However, in the end, she was here with us. I am so grateful for that time I had with her in the last days of her life, even though it was incredibly difficult. In some ways, I was most like her. She was a Principal of a school and wrote a textbook. She and I were very similar when it came to education and creativity. When I was young, she would come visit during the summers to stay with us. She bought me one of those black composition books and taught me how to write the alphabet in both Spanish and English. She also taught me how to write in both print and cursive. When I got to kindergarten, I could spell in cursive and I already knew how to read (except, I didn’t actually know how to speak English). Tata also taught me how to crochet when I was in the second grade. I credit her for being one of my very first teachers. She gave me a love for education that has followed me into adulthood and thus my career. I am so blessed to have been taught by such an intelligent and creative woman.

I am so unbelievably grateful to have been surrounded by the love of two amazingly strong women that were my grandmothers. Grandparents are so special and I had TWO of the best.

I wish the Bush family my deepest condolences on the loss of such a strong force in their family. I can speak from experience when I say that it is a hole that will never be filled. Alas, it is a blessing to have had such a beautiful relationship with grandparents who loved you unconditionally.

Sweet dreams, Barbara Bush. I hope you are in heaven wearing your pearls, reunited with your little girl.

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Winner, winner, WINE for DINNER!

Winner, winner, WINE for DINNER!

Inspirational Sneaker Meme Kicks Review New Nike &amp; Adidas Releases

I retrieved this image here

Well, I’m having a “drink wine for dinner” kinda day. Actually, it’s more like a “stress inhale eat brownies at a work meeting, scarf down eat pizza with wine for dinner” kinda day, if I’m honest.

I know I said I wasn’t going to complain about my job, but I basically spent the entirety of my day battling it out with a student today. I still love my job, even though this person told me how much I suck at it. The great news, is that I taught high school.

If you’ve taught high school, then you know this means I have a tough skin and that it  doesn’t phase me when a student tells me I suck. And it truly doesn’t. It’s just physically exhausting battling someone all day who cannot be reasoned with. If you are a preschool teacher, or mom of preschool age children, then you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.

Now, I’m not a person that believes EVERYTHING happens for a reason. However, I am a person that believes there are some things that happen for a reason, and that most things that happen are an opportunity for growth. That may sound oppositional, but what I mean is that I don’t believe when a kids dies from cancer or someone is shot down unnecessarily that it happened for a reason. That’s ludicrous. Those are just random, unfair, things that happen in life. But, there are times in your life when something happens and it is an opportunity to learn and grow from it. These are events that open other doors. I’m trying to re-frame today’s events into an opportunity to grow. Or, maybe I’m drinking wine and hoping to erase it from my mind…..whatevs…

Well, anyway I happened to try to numb my mind with social media and I came across a great article on LinkedIn on re-wiring your brain for happiness.

*side note- WTF, how do the innerwebs KNOW what you’re thinking all the time?? It seriously freaks me out. Can my phone hear me when I’m talking?? Asking for a friend…

So, I found an article on LinkedIn and it pointed out some really interesting facts. Specifically, that our minds are wired to be negative??

Um, WHAT?

This is news to me, even though I do know that when negative things happen to us it can bleed into other parts of our lives. I have always believed that we generally choose positive over negative, though I have no scientific evidence to back up this belief. The line that sticks out to me the most is:

“The brain is like a garden, except its soil is very fertile for weeds.”

Yikes! So, basically our minds are ready to hang onto all our negative experiences and dwell on them. No pun intended, but that is depressing. Seriously, depressing.

I’ve mentioned this to my friends before, but in 2013 I was in a really bad place. I was going through an end of a marriage/divorce and I was struggling with my job. I literally had to find any minuscule bit of happiness to keep me going. I started finding happiness in the smallest ways….interactions with students, a sweet note left by a co-worker, someone letting me into the lane in traffic. I clung to any bit of possible positive events/interactions on a daily basis.

Anydoodles, back to this article: I wasn’t surprised to read how daily “gratitude is linked to physical and psychological benefits, including happiness.” It even goes so far as to say that gratitude makes people 25% happier.

Cliff notes: we need to seek out positive experiences in our lives.

So, tonight I’m going to choose gratitude.

I’m grateful for these two awesome, beautiful, smart, healthy children I have.

I’m grateful for a supportive family that help me make it in this life (aka: free childcare, hugs & kisses, wine parties)

I’m grateful for a supportive system at work that backs me up when students tell them I suck at my job.

What are you grateful for today??

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Challenge Accepted!

Challenge Accepted!

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Not too long ago I posted this meme about making wine in the instant pot, because WINE!

Also, who does not have an instant pot, yet? Listen, if you don’t have an instant pot, you are missing out on life. I know people say that about lots of things, like Game of Thrones and wanderlust and whatever. But, I mean it this time. The Instant Pot is awesome for making healthy meals or just cooking, in general.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, the Instant Pot is a pressure cooker that also includes several other settings, such as rice, yogurt, saute, etc.

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This image was found here

The Instant Pot has lots of settings, as you can see….and even has a slow cook setting. However, a crock pot, it is not. The Instant Pot does have instances where you can set it and walk away, but definitely not for 4-8 hours. There is also a learning curve with it, but mostly you’ll learn as you go. I highly recommend you read the directions, in this case. The most important tip I can give you, is to make sure you have enough liquid in the pot. Liquid is an essential ingredient to make this machine work properly.

I find most of my recipes online or in the Facebook Group. The Instant Pot Community on Facebook is also a great place to get tips and ask advice on recipes.

My favorite dish, to date, is this teriyaki chicken recipe I found on the innerwebs. I love it, because it is all fresh ingredients and uses white meat chicken (unlike the usual you find in the mall food courts). One thing I will say, is that if you don’t like spicy (or your kids don’t, like in my case) you should eliminate the red pepper flakes.

OK guys, back to the best part (making wine). Recently, TODAY came out with an article on a food blogger who made legit wine in the Instant Pot. WHAT IN THE WHAT?!?! He actually made it with Welch’s Grape Juice and estimated an ABV of 11%. YOU GUYS! YOU KNOW I love cheap wine. Can you imagine the possibilities of wine I make in my own home? I’m super excited to try this out and maybe even make my own variations with other fruit juices. Also, I’m going to make moonshine. Cause, why not? Also, it would be a tribute to my Georgia roots and I can bring it to the family reunion.

Don’t hold your breath too long, though….I’m busy as all Hell, right now. I plan to get started this summer when the family obligations and workload simmer down.

Wine, guys, WINE! In my Instant Pot! Woo-hoo!!

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Ban Motivation Unicorns!

Ban Motivation Unicorns!

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I retrieved this free image from Pixabay.

I have been thinking a lot about motivation, lately. Mostly, I have been wondering when motivation is going to finally catch up to me. If there were a magic motivational unicorn, when will it come visit and sprinkle motivation dust on me so that I can finally feel excited to do the things I’m not motivated to do? You know, the stuff you need motivation for like, exercise, cleaning house, purging stuff, etc….

Obviously, the answer is never. YET, we are told as children that if we just “believe” we can do something, that we will. If only it were so easy….I mean, I believe I can have a clean house. I know that I am capable of doing it. After all, I have done it before. Actually I’m confident that I can do a good job cleaning. But does the job get done? Hmmm….well, definitely when company is coming, but the rest of the time is questionable.

So, why the disconnect between feeling confident AND knowing you are capable and YET still not getting the job done?

The short answer, is that I don’t want to do it. I’m not “motivated.” I’m still waiting on my magical motivation unicorn…..

The long answer, however, is that I need to change my mindset. I feel like most of my life I’ve been waiting for things to happen. Mostly, waiting for my motivation so I can  feel excited to get something done. But, that rarely happens, if at all.

The thing with motivation is that it is not a tangible thing. It’s just a theoretical feeling of inspiration that we hope to feel to drive us to get things done. However, motivation is not a pre-requisite to getting things done. We can get things done and yet not enjoy the task. Why is it, though, that as humans we feel like there needs to be a feeling of pleasure to enjoy and feel motivated to do a task?

Lately, I’ve been doing these boot camps to tone my cellulite muscles. I’m turning 40 this year, and I feel a mid-life crisis coming on, so why not tone up my body and feel more secure with my frame before dooms day? Seems like the natural thing to do, except I hate it. I am not “motivated” to do it. I don’t enjoy it, at all. Well, wait….I enjoy it after the fact (sometimes) when I feel a sense of accomplishment. But, mostly, I’m like “Ugggghhhhh….no more running….why do my legs feel like I’m walking through quicksand?….why can’t I get my legs off the ground?…legs, move…..move….MOVE, DAMNIT!”

This morning, my alarm went off at 4:30 am for a 5:15 am boot camp and I involuntary yelled out “SHIT!” and then hit snooze. 9 minutes later it went off again, and I yelled “F*CK (involuntarily -I swear, my body just blurted it out)! I got my ass out of bed and put my clothes on and then drove to the wrong location, and I almost GAVE UP. But, I did not. Even though I was dreading burpees and all the torturous other exercises. And, let me tell you – it was torture. I turned around and drove to the correct camp and I was 5 minutes late, but joined in anyway. I’m not excited to come back next week, but I will.

After almost 40 years, I finally get it. Motivation is not going to make me do those things in life I need to get done. Nope, the only thing that will make me move is ACTION. I have to JUST DO IT. So, I’ve decided I’m banning the word motivation from my vocabulary. Its made-up, means nothing, and is not necessary for action. So, move over motivation, I’m making room to JUST DO IT!

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