Monday, November 14, 2016

Lemonade Out of Lemons

It's Monday, and another work week looms ahead.  However, I continue to try to focus on the next great break, which is Thanksgiving weekend.  Four days of freedom!  In the meantime, I look to the periodic highlights to speed things along.  Right now my next goal point is Friday.  I have an 11 am appointment with my stylist for a blowout, and then I'm spending the evening at my former firm's holiday party as the +1 of a long time girlfriend who still works there.  It will be fun to get dressed up and go to a fancy party, even if they do hold theirs crazy early anymore.  I'm recycling a black velvet dress that I already own and am looking forward to the night. The dress has a gold lining underneath, which no one can see unless something goes awry, but it inspired me to paint my nails gold, anyway. Fun and festive!

It was a good weekend.  On Friday I stayed at work longer than usual because they had a margarita machine at our usual Happy Minute.  It was a reward for raising a lot of money for a charity earlier in the month.  I got to have a yummy frozen margarita and eat pizza with some of my favorite people at the office, which was nice.  The rest of the night at home was pretty low key with BF & J, but still lovely.

Saturday I had brunch with my friend, A.  We try to get together every couple/few months to catch up, and although we mostly discussed the election and how awful the outcome was, it was nice to see him.  We met in 2011 at my old apartment complex when we rode the same bus to Metro every day. The rest of the day was comprised of a solo errand and then a few other errands with BF & J.  I squeezed a gym visit in before we ordered Chinese for dinner (!) and then we watched Nebraska beat Minnesota.  :-)

Sunday started with the gym, continued with the grocery store, and wrapped with laundry, football and the aforementioned gold manicure.  I consider it a successful day and a lovely weekend overall.

So I'm obviously still thinking about how to deal with the aftermath of Election 2016.  I continue to try to focus my energy in productive ways.  I just want to put more positivity and good energy into the universe than bad, and I'm hoping to do that in a few different ways.

1) Planned Parenthood donation.  I want to do a recurring donation and hope to set this up soon.
2) I already donated to a small, local GoFundMe for a family in my town. I realize that has nothing to do with the election outcome, but it's helping someone, and that's enough.
3) I believe I will be making a donation to the Trevor Project.
4) My pet store was advertising the needs of the local animal shelter when I got cat food yesterday.  I think I'm going to go out one day soon and do some shopping and make a nice donation to them soon.
5) My Firm almost always sponsors multiple families for the holidays.  I've never participated beyond helping with the wrapping after the shopping is done by others.  This year I think I want to actually sponsor a family.
6)  Million Woman March - I need to look into this.  I'll fully admit I'm not usually one for activism, but this is something I would consider.
7) Being a better human.   More smiling at strangers on the street.  More thoughtful gratitude to those who help.

This morning a young guy in a jaunty hat started chatting with me in the Starbucks line.  He was so open and friendly, and I resisted the urge to worry that he was hitting on me and accepted that he was just being a nice person.  He went on in the line to chat with the cashier, ask him where he was from in light of his accent, and smile and shake his hand.  He knew the barista and clapped hands with him, and he wished me well after we continued to chat about normal, every day things.  This guy is an inspiration to me.  So much easy positivity.  It really made my morning.

Also, this weekend we bought our Thanksgiving turkey.  The tag said one price, but had a sale price $8 lower on it as well.  We got to the car and realized we'd been charged the full price.  We went to customer service and the gentleman there fully refunded us for the turkey instead of just giving us the refund on the difference.  He chose to do this and did not do it in error.  It was such a lovely gesture. The world needs more people like these guys!  They are good examples of being a good person in your daily life.  Even small changes can make big waves.

In other news, the looming holidays are making me even more anxious for my new 2017 planner, which should be arriving Wednesday.  I splurged and ordered an Erin Condren planner instead of my usual planner, which I've been buying the same style of with a different design since early in my now defunct marriage.  :-)  I've coveted the splurgier, more involved style of planners for a long time, and hope that I take full advantage of what it has to offer.  I'm excited to get all the events in it that I'm already aware of (OK, not that many, but still) and love the possibilities a new planner seems to offer.

For some reason I am suddenly super excited for the holiday season to begin in earnest.  I have been daydreaming about decorating for Christmas, though I'm holding off until my tried and true date of the day after Thanksgiving.  This year, we're going to hold off on putting up our tree for a few days since BF's mom is visiting December 2nd-December 5th.  We're going to do the tree during her visit, as BF nostalgically told me it had been years and years since he'd trimmed the tree with his mom.  :-)

I'm already thinking about if I'm going to do Christmas cards this year (pretty much 99% sure that's a yes now, just noodling on what kind of card I want to bought vs. photo cards, etc.).  I just today started a list for holiday gifts, as I already have a gift idea for J (Lularoe leggings because she loves leggings and Lularoe are the softest, most comfortable ones ever!).  I've also been looking into Christmas productions to get to.  We're considering going to A Christmas Carol in Old Town Alexandria during BF's mom's visit, which would be lovely.  It's the same production I was supposed to see a couple years back, but then I got so incredibly ill with the flu that BF and J had to go without me. I've also had inklings about looking into The Nutcracker with a couple of girlfriends.

One thing that's for sure is that, for whatever reason, probably largely related to my grandfather's missing presence this holiday, I'm already really missing my family and looking forward greatly to seeing them.  I thought I would really be dreading this holiday back in Omaha, but I'm actually feeling like I really can't wait to spend that time with them.  Yes, it will be difficult and everything will be different, but it's important to get through together.  It's also special because many of my favorite memories with both of my grandparents involved Christmas and all of our traditions.  We still plan to uphold the cookie baking tradition, as we have for all the years of our lives.

I ended up with a great deal of my grandfather's Christmas ornaments and many of his decorations, as that was something all of us wanted to have a part of.  They had a collection of Santa Clauses from all around the world, and we each took some of them.  I really can't wait to put these ornaments on my tree and these decorations in my home.  Quite honestly, we may need to get an additional tree for the house with all the extra ornaments, which I have no problem with at all!  :-)

Also?  I'm so ready for snow.  I feel like it's a dirty secret to admit out loud, and that many people would scorn me for putting that into the universe already.  ;-)  But for whatever reason, I'm craving a really lovely snow.  I don't want the cold, but unfortunately that's part of the package!  It will probably be awhile before we get any snow out here, though.  It was in the thirties this morning, though.

This post has become ridiculously long.  If you'd made it this far, I extend my deepest thank you to you.  I wish everyone a lovely Monday, as far as a lovely Monday is even a thing.  :-)

Friday, November 11, 2016

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Like many people I know and I love, I was devastated by the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election.  It was heartbreaking in ways I can't even describe.  I stopped watching the coverage for the most part around 9:30 that night, choosing instead  to watch a Gilmore Girls rerun.  I flipped back periodically for updates, but the news just kept getting worse.  The last straw was an interview I saw with Nate Silver of  He said that betting odds had shifted to showing the mean orange one as the favorite.  I turned the TV off.

I took two unnecessary for medical purposes Benadryl and went to bed, crying just a little bit.  I woke up the next morning and I knew before I knew, and it was terrible.  The day was terrible.  I felt like I'd woken up in a post apocalyptic movie in the opening credits.  The day felt dark and endless and the weather reflected that with gray skies and rain throughout the morning, afternoon and evening.  I commiserated with other shell-shocked co-workers.  I comforted crying friends and tried to avoid crying myself.  I only really felt challenged when I read the transcript of HRC's concession speech.

Yesterday I woke up and decided I had to deal with it better.  I focused on reading articles and opinion pieces that told me why it wouldn't be as bad as we feared.  I took comfort in small pieces of evidence that his campaign was already possibly backing off of some of his more extreme ideas, like banning all Muslims (removed from his site) and pursuing the prosecution of HRC (Giuliani's interview).

More importantly, I made a choice to be better.  I made more eye contact with people on the streets.  I smiled at them.  My please and thank yous were more sincere instead of automatic responses.  I felt a generalized sense of compassion for everyone around me. I told my bus seatmate to have a good night before he de-boarded instead of just silently moving out of the way like everyone, including myself, is so inclined to do.

Today, inspired by a post by Sabrina over at The Perils of Urban Courtship, I donated to a local GoFundMe account for someone in need in my city.  Like she did, I'm looking into setting up a monthly donation to Planned Parenthood or another organization that may need help in the wake of this impending presidency.  I want to be proactive in my beliefs instead of just talking about them over lunch or at the watercooler in the office.  I want to be part of the solution.

Beyond this, I'm trying to re-frame my initial understanding of what happened in this election.  I truly believe that only a small group of those that voted for our President Elect voted for him based on the intolerance he has demonstrated in his own words and life.  I think most people that voted for him were just so desperate for change, so desperate to get away from the establishment politicians, that they grasped at their only chance for something different in this election.

The fact is that HRC was not my dream candidate.  I voted for Bernie in the primaries because I matched up with him best on the issues.  HRC has made mistakes in her past.  But she's been crucified for them for years.  She's fought a harder battle her entire political career because she is a woman, and that's a fact.  She was held to a different standard and that was maddening to watch.  So while she was not my dream candidate, I voted for her and I hoped for her victory.  I didn't vote for her as a lesser of two evils either, though I definitely thought that was the case.  I also didn't vote for her because she's a woman.  Was that an awesome added bonus?  Hell yes!  It was amazing to witness.  In the end, I voted for HRC because she was by far the most qualified candidate.  I felt the country would be the safest under her guidance.

But in the end, she lost the electoral college, and he won.  This is where we are.  This is what we have to work with.

I'm not turning a blind eye to the heartbreaking incidents I've heard about in the last couple of days. People full of hate have been empowered by this victory, and it's creating dangerous and intolerant situations.  I'm hopeful that these are exceptions to the rule, and that they will be stamped out sooner than later.  Ideally, the President Elect would come out and condemn these behaviors, even if it would be fairly hypocritical of him to do so.  He incited this and he stoked these racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist fires.  He has an obligation now to try to put them out.  Will he?  I'm not betting on it.  But I can hope.

In the meantime, I'm going to focus on being better, doing better things and enjoying the things around me.  I love my people, my cats, autumn leaves crunching underfoot, my new little fireplace heater in the basement, Starbucks holiday cups, kind smiles on the street, drinks with friends, the anticipation of the holidays.

When they go low, we go high.  We go high.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Election Blues

I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS ELECTION TO BE OVER.  I'm not naive enough to think that getting a declared winner will necessarily mean the end of the madness, but at least it's the end of one phase of crazy.

I feel desperate for positivity and happiness in the wake of all the negativity and hatefulness.  I feel dirty and gross from this election cycle and cannot wait to shake off all of this filth.  If I tune in to the news too often or too closely, or if I make the error of reading the comments section of basically anything, it makes me want to pack up all of my things and my cat children and move the hell away. In order to function in my daily life I have to try to skim the political surface and take deep breaths, knowing that all I can do is cast my vote and cross all my crossables.

In other news (any news, anything other than the election).....I finally joined the rest of the female population (seemingly) in acquiring a pair of tall boots.  The biggest miracle is that the ones I found were *not* wide calf and somehow managed to fit, ha!  They're black and fairly simple style wise, but I think they're cute and can't wait to rock them with some leggings and an over-sized shirt.

I also finally understood the point of ankle length skinny jeans.  The logic has eluded me until yesterday when I was in the Marshalls dressing room, trying on two pairs of them on a whim.  I was wearing regular longer skinny jeans and some booties already, which I annoyingly have to roll up to sit atop the bootie.  They just don't look right tucked in!  So as I slipped into the "girlfriend fit" of these jeans, it all clicked into place.  I put on my booties to get an idea of the whole look and it was so awesome that they hit where I wanted them to without being rolled up! Miracle!  Yeah, I'm a little slow on the fashion train.  :-)

Black Boots

I also scored a super cute pair of booties that I'd seen around for ages.  However, they were on clearance in this particular color and I had DSW Rewards money so I tried them on and kind of loved them.  They will also look cute with my new ankle skinny jeans. Win!

Brown Booties

I did other important things this weekend, I promise.  I painted my nails a lovely slate blue color.  BF and I made a new chili recipe since his recipe is too hot for me and mine is too tame for him.  It was a success and I have leftovers for lunch to prove it.  We also made a new recipe last night that was a Chicken Parmesan Pot Pie.  Very unusual and not your traditional pot pie in any sense, but it was surprisingly tasty and very easy.  I watched Nebraska lose to Ohio State (BOO) and watched the Chiefs beat the Jags (Cheers!).  I ran some errands that resulted in the above purchases as well as some organizational items for both under the kitchen sink and for my large nail polish.  I also assisted in BF's replacement of our garbage disposal, which surprisingly went off without a hitch!  My assisting was very minimal, yet valuable.  ;-)

I can't believe it's already November.  Daylight Saving Time rolled into town, but unfortunately my cats didn't get the memo.  It was also so startling to see it get dark so early, but that's the way it works, I suppose.  It was nice to have it be lighter earlier this morning, though.  We're already talking about when to get our Thanksgiving turkey and discussing sides and desserts as well as plans for the long weekend.  I love a four day weekend where I don't have to use any personal time!  Plus, the Gilmore Girls extravaganza comes out that Friday and I can't wait.  :-)  That weekend will be a lot of food, football and GILMORE GIRLS, plus a likely brunch with a couple of girlfriends.

 In the meantime, I'll just enjoy this pretty lovely, seasonal weather, peruse a lot of cute animal memes, listen to happy music and go to the gym to cardio out some of the bad mojo floating around in the universe.  Deep breaths.  It's almost over!