Move over Stella…

I’m throwing in the towel in terms of being a reliable and regular blogger. Too many times I have “restarted” this thing, swore on my favorite stuffed animals life that I wouldn’t disappear again, only to go into hiding for an extended period of time. Then, like some twisted whack a mole game, I appear out of depths of the internet to offer you a moderately interesting commentary on what would otherwise be a mundane situation. I know I am not alone in this vicious writing cycle. I would venture to say that 65% of blogs on the internet operate on this type of chaotic schedule. Do I wish I was a more dedicated writer? Yes, but some Jennifer is better than no Jennifer, right? 

So, where have I been these past seven months? I’ve traveled quite a lot. I roamed the streets of Boston in search of lobster rolls, Paul Reveres house and baseball. I Traveled from Indianapolis to the Grand Canyon and back and I even managed to fit a few trips to Chicago (one of my favorite cities) in there as well. 

I was promoted to ‘Worlds Best Aunt’ which is a title I take rather seriously. My nephew Curtis is only 5 months old but we have already made great plans for the next 20/30 years. I’ll push his stroller now and later he can push my wheel chair. 

“We ride at dawn!”

I also spent more time in Indiana than I have since I moved to Texas in 2012. In January we started the process of packing up and selling my childhood home. It had sat empty for three years since my mom moved to Texas to be with us and it was time that I FINALLY cleaned under my bed. My mom has only been asking me to do it for the last 30 years. I can finally get my allowance now.

How did I spend that 30 year old allowance with interest you ask? (jk there was no allowance)Well, you will be happy to know that my introverted self still managed to make it to 3 MLB games, a Jimmy Buffett concert and a Billy Joel concert! 

Between all the traveling, packing and baseball, I have been reading. A lot. Goodreads had my 2019 ‘Year in Books’ at 110 books and over 35,000 pages. For someone who only read when it was required in high school and in college (sometimes not even that..Sorry Ms. Duley) that is a big accomplishment. 

This next section of my year is the hardest to write about and not because it’s sad, although that is an acceptable feeling, but because I just don’t how to write it. At least not in my funny writing voice I tend to use. So, I’ll just get serious for a moment. Sorry.

My mom passed away on November 20th and if I’m being completely honest, I haven’t experienced the traditional kind of sadness/grief one would usually go through when dealing with the loss of a parent. Don’t get me wrong there has been lots of crying and moping. I miss my mom very much, and I always will, but when you have been caring for a parent with a chronic illness for a considerable amount of time, you prepare yourself for that inevitable pain and emotion (at least you try too). In my case, we have been playing hide and seek with ‘death’ on and off for 13 years. She fought so hard for many years. She was tired, and if not having her here to make me mashed potatoes or sing with me anymore means she is pain free and at peace, I accept the trade.

 I think the part that tends to hurt the most and usually hits me out of nowhere, are the moments when I catch myself feeling like a 32 year old ‘orphan’. My grandparents passed away when I was in High School, my dad passed away in 2012 and now my mom. I know that I am far from being alone. I am close to all my moms siblings and my cousins. My brother now has his own little growing family that I am lucky to share in, and I of course have my wonderful husband and his whole family who have loved me as one of their own since day one. It still feels weird though and some times I let my anxiety get the best of me and I worry that I won’t be as much apart of my moms extended family as I used to be because that connecting factor is now gone. I know none of my Aunts or Uncles would ever let me disappear even if I wanted to, but as we all get older and people drift apart and that scares me sometimes.

So, whats next? I’m not sure what my next move is in life. So much of my world the last 3 years has been ‘mom centered’, especially after I left my job in spring of 2018.

(Side note: I don’t want to sound like a martyr who has devoted every minute to my moms care. It takes a village, and because of help from my husband and our amazing aid and friend Denise, I have been able to do things such as travel and read 24/7 that I would have never been able to do if I had stayed with my regular job, but those trips and activities also involved a heavy amount of stress, planning and scheduling to make them happen).

For right now, I think more reading, writing, traveling and then eventually finding a new career is in the books. I haven’t felt like ‘myself’ in such a long time so I am looking forward to finding my new groove in life. So, move over Stella, it’s my turn. 

Becoming The Best Wife Ever On Our 9th Wedding Anniversary

Today is my 9th wedding anniversary and in an effort to keep my marriage fun and exciting I took to the ‘inter webs’ to search for advice on being the best wife possible. The internet did not disappoint and I found a blog that posted 40 great tips to be such a wife.

Seeing that I put this task off until 2 days before our anniversary, I will not be able to complete all 40 steps, although, I feel pretty secure in my wifely ranking that I don’t need to do all 40 steps to push me over the top, just saying. 

With that said, I have selected 9 Steps to share with my husband, so, join me as I spend the whole day annoying and alienating my Husband on our 9th Anniversary. #Truelove

1.Frame a nice family picture for him for his bedside table, desk, or cruiser. Bonus points for a nice note on the back.

This seemed easy enough! I grabbed a cute frame and after a quick google search for “nice family picture” and a click of the ‘print’ button, step one was completed! It really is a darling picture, isn’t it? I named them the Howard family. Brad, (an investment banker) Julia (Once a lawyer, now a travel blogger) and little Ryan and Georgia.

IMG_3131

Oh..and just know I couldn’t forget about the ‘bonus points’! I find the ‘Eighth note’ to be one of the nicest notes, don’t you?

IMG_3130

2.Buy his favorite candy bar when you go grocery shopping.

-Wow! Another easy one, although it seems like a waste. We have separate taste in candy bars and cookies ’n’ cream is far from my favorite but maybe this step is designed to make us see our spouses point of view. Oh well, I never say no to chocolate!

IMG_3142

3.Leave a note (or several) for him to find randomly.

-This one is a little more time consuming, but important in any relationship and I know just what I’m going to tell him. We’ve been on a Cheers kick lately, so in true Cliff Clavin style, I left 20 ‘important but mostly unknown facts’ around the house (read them all for yourself here). 

He already knows I love him but did he know that cats can’t taste sweet food because of a genetic issue? Nope, didn’t think so. Knowledge is power and love.

4.Help your kids make him something.

-We don’t have any kids, but we do have 2 minimally creative dogs and one cat who thinks throwing litter around a room is an art form, what is the worst that could happen?

Unknown

Turns out, the ‘worst’ that could happen is 3 dirty, pissed off pets and paint everywhere. EVERY. WHERE. Of all the questions asked of me today the one, “But why did you choose RED paint?” will be the one that resinates the most. It looks like I slaughtered all of Santas reindeer as they then struggled for their life on my patio…

5.Tell him one reason you love him (or randomly text it to him.)

-Just one?! Thats amature hour. I say lets kick this affection up a notch and bombard his inbox with nothing but sweet and touching reasons why he is my forever.

6.Get dolled up just for him, like you did when you were dating.

-Again, this one seems a bit off, but I’ll try to recreate the magic. We started dating in college, so it may take me a minute to dig out my ISU hoodies and sweat pants that I seemed to live in for 4 years straight…

7.Hand over control of the remote for a night or two.

-This task wasn’t specific enough for me, we have 3 different remotes, how am i supposed to know which one to give him? Being the bigger person I gave him the remote that turns the TV on and off. He always likes that. I’ll maintain ownership of the sound bar remote and the Apple TV remote, both of those are too small and annoying to keep track of when you want to change the station..

jumbo-sized-remote-control-yufthatexists-com-https-amzn-to-2fqm0d5-40732400

8. Buy him a small gift.

-You know, thinking back to Step 2 where I bought his favorite candy bar for myself to enjoy, I thought that would be the perfect small gift for him as well!

IMG_3127

9. Plan a special date night, start to finish.

– You may be thinking that I just wasted a whole day leaving weird and confusing messages for my husband, but after 9 years this is just another day in the trenches for him and a ‘special’ day was had by all!

 

34350_624709126064_3602159_n

The Piggy That Went To Market…..

……And Never Came Home

Purple

What do you get for the person who has everything? A gift card? Flowers? Fruit of the month membership?

How about for the person who has just casually lost a toe at home like it was no big deal (Yep..I said toe..no awkward auto correct here). A get well card? New socks?

I mean, at least for baby teeth, you just DM the Tooth Fairy, she drops a dollar or two under the pillow and you call it a day. —Side note, what are kids making these days for teeth? I imagine with inflation the whole exchange is worth more now than it was 25 years when I last cashed in on that ‘savings bond’.

Before you answer the real question at hand, I feel like I must explain my situation just a bit. If you are squeamish…move along..trust me..

It all started with an ant bite. Yep, you read that right, an ant bite. If you are a long time follower of my blog, you know that 1. I already hate ants (read here) and 2.  I take care of my mom who is in ‘end stage renal failure’.

My mom, who is freezing even when its 90* outside (side effect of Dialysis), has turned my garage into a little living room complete with T.V. , fridge, recliner and microwave (sounds weird but I promise you, a lot of people do that around here..).

One day the ants went marching one by one (hooh rah..hooh rah..) and decided to make a picnic of my moms foot while she was napping post dialysis. These ants weren’t just black ants, by the way, these were Texas Fire Ants. Other wise known as ‘satan’s little gardeners’.

Screen Shot 2019-05-20 at 3.12.35 PM

This situation all took place last summer. Since then, she has had two surgery’s. One to remove her big toe (buh bye..) and the second surgery to try to save the another one (spoiler alert..second surgery didn’t work)…Now we have a long-standing appointment every Wednesday to see her podiatrist/wound care specialist in an attempt to help her body fight off an infection where every one else would just rub some cream on it, grab some gasoline to light the ant mound on fire and then call it a day.

Now, to say I’m squeamish, is an understatement. With that in mind, my mom often excludes me from graphic discussions about what is going on underneath 30lbs of gauze and bandages on her foot. Until one day, I walked in on my mom and her home nurse re doing the dressing on her foot. It was then that I noticed that she was down half a toe. As you can imagine, I had some questions and a lot of statements. Mom and the nurse laughed as they realized I was pretty much clueless to what was going on. Apparently, they have been anxiously awaiting for the toe to drop off. Just wating…like you wait for pizza rolls to cook in the microwave. Ding..its done or gone. (Andddd I just ruined pizza rolls for myself…)

So, here we are one month, post-toe and I have yet to present my mom with an adequate gift to commemorate such a ‘special’ occasion…here are some of the leading ideas suggested by friends, family and the Dr. himself….

“You Are An Obsession, My Obsession..”

I can’t just casually like something. Nope, not me. I’m either all in or nothing at all. I am that person who goes to the store, buys 50 bags worth of groceries and insists on carrying them all into the house in one trip only to drop them on the counter and want to give up. This is an issue. Take for example, this blog. Four months ago I was writing two posts a day, four times a week, then..nothing, blank spaces, crickets.

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 1.45.11 PM

Example 2: Cross stitch, sewing, crocheting. There was a point in time where I would stay up until 3 in the A.M. working on one large project or watching every how to Youtube video, only to shelf the whole unfinished project to pick up another hobby.

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 1.33.11 PM
The Facebook Album of where pinterest projects go to die….

Example 3: The gym. Probably the best obsessive hobby to have, there was a time when my husband and I lived at the gym…now, we send postcards and share fond memories when we can.

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 1.37.31 PM

My current obsession? Books. I’ve always liked to read, (I grew up without internet and cable tv…better, simpler times!) but college seemed to kill the ‘read for fun’ idea for me so I stopped. I picked it back up in October and now I am currently reading anywhere between 3-4 books a week, and we aren’t talking small books either. I go to bed with a book in my hand and wake up with a book in my hand.

image1
My goal was to read 50 books by 2020…half way through May and I’ve read 43..

Now, I know what you are thinking..It could be a lot worse…I could be obsessing over drugs, alcohol or even worse TWINKIES…(a twinkie does sound good right now….) but I am here to say this type of obsessive behavior is exhausting for not only me, my poor husband who has to try and keep up with me,  but my house as I am running out of room for the hobbies I take up only abandon months later.

A skilled proffesional would probably argue that this obsesessve behavior is my minds way of dealing with (or rather not dealing) stressors in my life. I could get behind that, but I have no time to meet up with said skilled proffesional, given all the unfinshed new AND old projects I have yet to complete…(ha)

Sooooooo In an effort to correct my obessive tendencies, my goal for this 2019 summer is, EVERYTHING IN MODERATION!! (except baseball…that love affair has been going on since the mid 90s). If I want to blog here and there, then read for a few days than put that book down and pick up some knitting needles to learn how to make a blanket, that is fine, but I will by NO MEANS, buy every size needle, every book available or hoard every color of yarn known to man to inevitably make half of a dish towel..(besides..if you have followed along this far…you should have guessed I already have a crap ton of yarn..)

 

So with that said..LET THE SUMMER OF MODERATION BEGIN! What should I write about first, or not write about until I’m ready to write..you know..in a non-obsessive way?

 

P.s. (do people still P.s. anymore?) I want to know if I am alone or not. Do you obsesse over something more than you wish you did? Please don’t leave me sitting alone on the crazy train, the trip is quicker with friends…ha!

 

Earworm of the Week

screen shot 2019-01-16 at 12.48.40 am

Hear ye, Hear ye, may I now present to you for your reading pleasure, the inaugural post of “Ear Worm of the Week.” In this new weekly segment, I will share with you the one or two songs that have been STUCK in my head. Through this process we will either bond, argue or I will help you find your next favorite hit. So, lets jump into it, shall we.

I’m The Greatest Star-Barbara Streisand from Funny Girl

It’s no secret that I love musicals and Barbara Streisand and when the two worlds combine, even better. Last week while my husband was away for work, I traded out my Gilmore Girl’s marathon for a Barbara binge instead. Funny Girl was obviously on the list, and even though I’ve seen the movie a million times, it still managed to get lodged in my head for a week. Why do I like it? A lot of Barbara’s movies focus on girls that don’t fit the typical mold but overcome the stereotypes to get what they dream of. (Funny Girl, Yentl, A Star is Born, The Mirror has Two Faces) In this song she is trying to convince theater producers that she is exactly what they are looking for. It’s catchy, funny and I think it could apply to anyone who has ever felt underated and overlooked.

Favorite line:

I’m a natural cough
(ahoo, aheh, ahay)
Some ain’t got it, not a lot
I’m a great big clump of talent
Laugh!
(ha ha ha ha)

They’ll bend in half
A thousand jokes
(Stick around for the jokes!)
A thousand faces
I reiterate

 

Come Along- Cosmo Sheldrake

I rarely watch live tv, but I am a sucker for the award season and found myself watching the Golden Globes. One of the commercials was for Apple featuring this song Come Along. I was immediately drawn to it. Now, I know I late to the party as it came out in 2017, but my XM station is glued to either The Beatles, 70’s on 7 or The Bridge, so it takes a minute for current music to reach me. Why do I like it? One of my favorite things about Wings and the Beatles is their use of orchestral accompaniment and this has it for sure. If the Beatles and the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack had a baby, this could be it. Ok, that might be a stretch, but it works in my imagination. Also, this song makes my toes tap and I jog faster when I listen to it on the treadmill (which is always a good thing).

Favorite Line:

Come come come come come along now,
Run away from the hum-drum,
We’ll go to a place that is safe from
greed, anger and boredom

So there we have it, the first week is in the books! What song or songs are stuck in your head this week?

The Elephant in The Room…

I need to address the elephant in the room…one sided relationships.

We’ve all been there. You think you know someone. You develop a relationship with them, begin to trust them, count on them. You really think you will be together forever. Then, they start to get lazy. Missing things, getting sloppy and making excuses. Sure, you try to work on the relationship, and it’s good for a week or two, then they are back to their old ways. You are forced to part. It’s the good ol’ “it’s not you, it’s me” scenario Except in this case, it was all them and not me. You take a few weeks off. Partly to heal but also to avoid falling for the rebound. Then, out of the blue when you least expect it, you find the one. In this particular scenario, I found the one in the “Trending Deals For You” section of Amazon.

screen shot 2019-01-13 at 9.24.49 pm

Now, I know I am not the first person in their 30’s (wow that still feels weird to say) to comment on how exciting it is to get a new appliance, and I know I won’t be the last, but I just got a new vacuum cleaner and I feel like I could run for President.  Our President wants a wall (sigh), and I just want a vacuum that doesn’t empty its contents the minute I turn it off. Vote for me!

She gets here today and while her reviews on Amazon are very promising, I can’t wait to give her the Shidler test.

What was the last item you purchased that brought you unlikely joy?!

300 Writing Prompts # 12: What’s The Last Thing You Searched on The Internet?

What is the last thing you searched on the internet and why?

What better way to gauge the weirdness of a person by snooping through their search history? Lucky for you, my search history will not let you down. It took me a minute to even figure out how to locate said history, but before long I was staring down the last six things I managed to Google, most of which had to be at 3 a.m. when I was not able to sleep. Let’s get to it, shall we?

screen shot 2019-01-13 at 6.14.22 pm

West Wing Remake?

west_wing_cast_newpicinset

My husband and I LOVE the West Wing. We usually watch it from start to finish once a year (usually when all the election non-sense begins). The show is almost 20 years old, and with the recent flux of 90’s & 2000’s shows being remade today, we have often wondered what a West Wing reboot would look like. Oddly enough, we started our annual West Wing binge on New Year’s Day and a week later an article popped up hinting at the idea that cast members and writers were in SMALL talks about a remake. I read it, was excited, but wanted further confirmation that this wasn’t all bologna, so I took to google for more concrete evidence.

How many ounces in a gallon?

how-many-ounces-are-in-gallon

One of my 2019 goals was to drink more water, actually, only water. I can say that 14 days into 2019 the only non-water beverage I have had is 2 diet Mt. Dews. I have had no milk (wow), no juice and no Starbucks. On New Year’s I bought the biggest athletic bottle I could find (64 oz) and I needed to know how many times I had to fill it to make it to my gallon a day. The answer is 2 times because there are 128 ounces in a gallon!

Medical Alert Systems?

a18635ff0a65167d9313b16748760524c692ed4e11348c2926e5c94d6ba44041

As I have mentioned before, we moved my mom in with us 2 years ago while she undergoes treatments for end stage kidney failure. One of our biggest hurdles is Matt and I’s ability to get out of the house for alone time but not stressed or worried about mom being alone at the house. We found that a medical alert bracelet would help ease our mind. There are tons of options for medical alert systems and the services they provide vary, but we finally found one that checked all the boxes.

How many birds can’t fly? And is a racoon a marsupial?

maxresdefault

Welcome to the “I googled this at 3 a.m.” portion of our post. I honestly have NO memory of searching for these, but I am not surprised, this sounds exactly like the trivial type of stuff that would keep me up at night.

How much does the average person spend a week on groceries?

04fe61bfae134944981f381e71f495a8

My husband and I are working so hard to get his student loans paid off quicker than expected that we have been trying to see where can make cuts. It is no secret that buying and preparing all the groceries for a week is  more budget friendly than eating out, we just wanted to make sure we were in the right spot.

 

For better or for worse, here are my most recent internet searches. What is one of the last few things you have searched for?

Have I aged?

There seems to be this trend going around on the Facebook where you post your first ever Facebook profile picture along with your most recent profile picture and see how much you’ve “aged.” Well luckily for me, I don’t need the comparison of two pictures to tell me I’ve changed over the last 14 years, but it’s been a slow day so I’ll play along.

The very first picture I posted was on Dec. 6th 2006. It was from my Junior prom and was shot with a Sony Mavica camera,  ok probably not, but I bet the quality was close. The picture size was so small and pixelated that I don’t feel that it fits the need of the task at hand. (Kids today will never know the struggle when it comes to adequate picture quality)

1928809_516903010384_4849_n

Because of the terrible picture quality, I cheated a bit and chose the next picture. Oddly enough both pictures are shared with the same person in almost identical poses.

1928823_516903005394_6788_n

Here I am, (on the right of course). Let’s talk a little about the girl young lady in the picture for a minute, shall we?

  • She’s 19 years old
  • In her 1st year of college at Indiana State University
  • Is pictured with her freshman roommate Molly who just happens to be one of her closest friends from high school.
  • Her eyes and heart in this picture say “smile for the camera” her stomach and her brain are asking “I wonder if it’s pierogi night in the dining hall”
  • She just died her hair for the first time and feels like she is on top of the world
  • Is wearing a low-cut shirt, which is surprising because her standard attire in HS was sweats and a hoodie..
  • Wearing a shell necklace that was a pain to put on and her hair always got caught in it
  • She’s never had a boyfriend, hence the hair dye, silly necklace and low-cut shirt
  • Not wearing any make up, but doesn’t appear to need it (yet).
  • She is smiling but not fully because she needs braces and is a poor college student who can’t afford them

Now, let me introduce my current profile picture

49144944_10102936295098204_1421241176878481408_n

  • Right off the bat, it must be noted that I am only allowed to take pictures with my left side showing…
  • This picture was taken in October of 2018
  • She is 30 years and living in Texas
  • Her hair is dyed once again partly because it makes her feel better but also because she doesn’t know what her real hair color is anymore
  • She’s not wearing a shell necklace because she is a busy lady who doesn’t have time for articles of clothing/accessories that are uncomfortable
  • She is pictured next to her first boyfriend who is also her Husband of almost 9 years
  • She is smiling with her teeth because she worked hard her sophomore year of college to pay for braces at the age of 21
  • Her face is loaded with make up because the sun, hormones and stress have not been kind to her over the years lol
  • She’s gained weight, lost weight than gained weight back. (She’s losing it again btw)
  • She’s pictured at a mall which is big for her because she prefers not to leave the house 80 % of the time
  • Her eyes say “yay! A cute picture with my husband!” His eyes say “Hurry up, people are looking at us weird!”

 

So, have I aged? Well duh. There is a 12 year difference between these pictures. I don’t think 2006 Jennifer had the slightest clue what 2018 Jennifer would be doing, but even with all the curve balls life has thrown her, I doubt she imagined her life could be this good.

Have you done the “have I aged challenge” on facebook? Were you surpised with your findings?

 

 

300 Writing Prompts # 11: What’s Your Morning Routine?

What are some of the first things you do when you wake up in the morning?

I’m not a morning person, but I don’t need to tell you that, you are about to come to that conclusion all on your own. Now, may I present to you a morning at the Shilder House.

  1. Try to figure out where the annoying sound is coming from
  2. Kick a cat or dog off my legs so that I can roll over to search for annoying sound
  3. Frantically searching night stand and floor for annoying sound
  4. Find annoying sound under my back because I fell asleep reading Wikipedia again.
  5. Hit snooze.
  6. Sleep for 8 more minutes
  7. Try to figure out where annoying sound is coming form
  8. Remove said pet from legs again
  9. Locate phone that is still in my hand
  10. Utilize quick math skills to calculate if there is enough time to hit snooze again
  11. Terrible math skills wake me up enough to realize I need to get up.
  12. Look at phone notifications from Text/Facebook/Wordpress/Cnn while avoiding anything that says Trump, shutdown or wall
  13. Spend 2 mins trying to remember what Dr. appointment mom has that day
  14. Reassemble all hair that has fallen out of my pony tail and put it back
  15. Let dogs out for potty break
  16. Feed the overly dramatic cat before he goes on strike
  17. Potty break
  18. Re-evaluate whether I have time to go back to sleep for a minute
  19. Brush teeth
  20. Let dogs back in
  21. Get half way dressed
  22. Lay down In bed with clothes on until 2 minutes before we need to leave
  23. Swear to myself that I will go to bed at a reasonable hour tonigh.

You would think that at the age 31 I would be past the whole “But I don’t want to get up yet” tantrum, but yet here I am, rocking it.

So, Tell me readers, What does your morning routine look like?

Just A Quick Thought….

lockup-msnbc

 

I think my mom would do great in prison…..

Now, before you jump to conclusions, not now, or will she ever be in prison. She is one of the most honest and sweetest people you could meet, but I witnessed something today that is oddly reminiscent of an episode of LockUp. (An MSNBC docu-series that follows real life prisoners all over the country)

My mom is the mastermind behind an influential bartering ring at her Dialysis center. Instead of trading honey buns for extra pillows or the better bunk, she’s making deals with tootsie rolls and salami sandwiches (yeah, I’m not kidding).

What does she get in return? I haven’t figured it out yet. As she rolled around the room making her rounds, one person slipped her 5 dollars (for more candy on Saturday I think) while the others gave her a Godfather type nod as if there was an unsaid mutual understanding (could be a thank you, but I think this goes deeper).

I haven’t decided yet if I should be worried, or a proud (silent) investor. I’ll keep monitoring the situation and report back with my findings.

15697987_10101781212757474_2740890261684896273_n
It’s always the quiet ones….