Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

An Ordinary Week With A Sparkle. Or Two.

I've been trying to spend a little more time with my aunt this week, getting her out and about.  The other day I finished work early, and we had a little excursion to Home Goods.  If you've never been to one of those, it's like a Marshall's for your home.  Furniture, lamps, tschotchkes, bedding, kitchen wares.  It's all there, and it would take me two days to go through it all.  It's all kind of a hodge podge - you never know what you'll find, and that's part of the fun.. Sometimes there's nothing, but the next time you'll come across all kinds of treasures.  Anyway, she didn't feel like going to the local Orchard's to wander in their garden department, so we ended up in Home Goods to look for a little lamp for her dresser to light up a dark corner.  I had a vision of what I wanted to find.

Now one unpleasant truth I've discovered about myself is that I'm a complete control freak.  I like things how I like them.  It's hard for me to change course.  When I have a particular vision in mind, I have trouble yielding to anything else.  Because I know best.  (And here I have to apologize to my children for the years of bulldozing I probably subjected them to...)  But this was my aunt's room, and her shopping trip.  I've been working so hard with her to actually HAVE an opinion.  On anything.  She has bent and given way to others her whole life, and I've wanted her to discover the joy of making her own decisions.  Discovering things that she loves.  And that day she came to love a lamp that I did not.  She admired it's architectural shapes, it's straightforward lines.  It's the first time I've seen her voice an opinion and a reason behind it in years.  And I sadly, but wisely, stifled my own opinion and encouraged her.  She is starting to find her voice.  And that's a Good Thing.

I wandered away, and let her have the fun of perusing this treasure or that one by herself.  I didn't want her to think I was hovering, tapping my foot impatiently.  She is quick to feel that she's taking too much of your time - even if she's not.  When I came back around to check on her, she dragged me back into a far corner to show me a little table she had discovered.  It seems she wanted a small table out on her covered patio where she could pot some plants and putter with trowels and flowers.  And she'd found a perfect little rustic piece for it.  I think it was actually supposed to be a nightstand, but it was painted a very distressed robin's egg blue, had a couple of drawers that could hold gardening gloves and perhaps some tools, and a shelf where she could store a small bag of Miracle Grow soil.  The top will be perfect for potting new plants, or she could put a pretty plant there.  Her choice.

Sadly, we had driven my Miata there, so we had to leave the table there until L could get home with the Explorer, so we took the new lamp (oh my she was excited about that lamp!) and drove back to her place, top down, hair blowing.  I don't think she'd been out of "the home" for that long for quite a while, and certainly not out in the sunshine driving around in a convertible.  She was pretty tired, and when we got back to her room she took a couple of Coke Zeros out of her fridge, and we toasted the afternoon's victories.

Our next outing will be to Orchard for some flowers.  What kind?  Again, that will be entirely up to her.  I like this new-found excitement to grow things.  She had great success with the pansies we planted a few months ago.  Maybe this time it will be petunias, or marigolds.  Maybe just some green plants, but I think she's got the bug for color.  Plants can be soothing and satisfying - almost like a pet.  It will be interesting to see how this develops.  I never - not in a million years - thought she'd want to grow flowers.  People are surprising sometimes, and usually in a good way.

Family news: Mia was chosen as Student of the Month.  She was beyond thrilled.  AND - she is reading on a second grade level, she says - the highest in her class.  I am so proud of her - mostly because she likes to read in bed, just like me.  She has her 7th birthday later this month. 

Hayden had her open house for her next year's pre-school.  I am told she swaggered in like she owned the joint.  Not surprising.  That little girl is SO READY for school.

Matthew, in Colorado, had his graduation from preschool.  He will be a full-fledged Kindergartner next year.  He will turn five towards the end of the month, and is one happy little boy.  I am told he wants a spaceship for his birthday.  His mother has no idea what that means.  I searched on Amazon (where absolutely everything can be found) and I'm not sure either.  I will keep hunting.

My own baby, Scott, turned 30 this past Monday.  That wasn't supposed to happen - I was 30 when I had him, and wasn't that just last week?  He invited me to come for the weekend, but the $600+ price tag on airfare was prohibitive for just a weekend.  Still, on the actual day I found myself feeling sorry for myself that I wasn't there singing happy birthday and giving him a big hug.  I miss the little boy that he was, as well as the man he's become.  He can make me laugh like no other - a valuable commodity.

Tomorrow is payday.  Normally I don't get that excited, but I forgot to turn in my hours for the week before last, and so I didn't get paid last week.  *frowny face*  I'm not sure how that happened, but somehow I got distracted.  I have lots of birthday and Father's Day and baby gifts to buy (June is busy month, as it turns out!) so I'll be glad to have some money again.

The diet is still going well, although I've reached a plateau of sorts, and that always makes me a little cranky.  It's so much easier to do without treats when the pounds are falling off.  But lately, it's just been the same up and down with no real progress.  I know it will happen, but I'm not the patient sort.  I'm all for instant gratification.  It's been a rough few days trying to stay out of the kitchen unless I'm actually cooking.  We're riding our bikes 8 or 9 miles every single night, for heaven's sake.  I've heard about these plateaus though, and I think I just need to relax.  But it makes me grumpy.  I don't mind telling you though, that it's been fun to discover that I really do have a waistline still.  I am still in there, underneath it all.  I'm digging out.

A regular week.  Nothing special, yet there have been moments worth remembering.  Which is why I bother to do this.  Taking the week's triumphs, celebrations, and sparkly memories, writing them down and storing them away to be read and savored again later.  I find that it's the little things that I keep in my heart.  Not so much that my baby turned 30.  More that he wanted his mom to come celebrate with him.  Watching my aunt discover something she liked.  And most of all, realizing that I needed to shut my mouth, stifle my input,  and let her enjoy her little moment of decision.  I learned a life lesson this week.


  1. That drive in the convertible sounds so lovely! Your aunt's interest in flowers is a good sign that she's still loving life. I once considered horticultural therapy as a career path. I would have been able to spend a few weeks in Denver for the training.
    Spaceships are not too difficult if someone in the family could help him build one out of Lego. There are lots of kits to be found online or in the toy departments around town. Otherwise I don't know of any toy space ships that don't require assembly. That seems like a hole in the market if you ask me!
    Good luck on your space ship search. And also, congratulations to Mia on her award!

  2. Hi, dear karen! Reading your blog is like listening to Ron Howard narrate an episode of Arrested Development! (LOL) The shopping trip you took with your aunt was indeed a valuable exercise for her and for you. You overcame your controlling nature, gave her some space and time, allowed her the freedom to choose and supported her in her decision even though you didn't agree with it. I hope she enjoys her lamp and her table.

    Congratulations to Mia! I told you a long time ago she's one to watch. I'm spearheading a grass roots campaign to get Mia on the election ballot in 2016. (D) :) She belongs in the oval office!

    Congratulations and best wishes to Hayden, Matthew and to your son Scott, too. You can be very proud of your family and of yourself for fostering it.

    Don't worry about reaching the inevitable plateau in your weight loss program. It's to be expected. Avoid becoming frustrated and adding on pounds little by little because you can put them on much faster than you can take them off and it's always harder to do it the second or third time around.

    karen, I like you all the more when you take an honest look at yourself the way you did in this post. Some of my best friends are unyielding, opinionated control freaks. :) I realize that my politics and some of my blog posts are like that lamp you hate, but here we are month after month growing a genuine friendship regardless. That's pretty special, isn't it?

  3. What a great time with your aunt. I love that image of her riding around in your convertible with the top down- what girl wouldn't enjoy that???

    You have such a beautiful family, and those grandkids are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing the goodness of your world with us~

  4. I just love this post. You have reminded me of a few of my "issues". Yes, I am a certified control freak. I am so impressed at how you handled "the lamp". I will remember that and try harder.

  5. You must be looking good girl! Eight or nine miles a day is great! I am inspired by your progress and consistency. Have you used the MapMyRide ap? It's quite fun!

    Giving your aunt opportunities to use her voice and make her own decisions is such a kindness and precious gift you are giving her. I am often that control freak you speak of too so I understand how you need to be conscious of it as you spend time with others. Beautiful reminders and good thoughts for all of us!

  6. Dieting plateaus are frustrating but they are temporary!! You eventually bust through them if you're patient - which is hard but trust me it pays off :)

  7. This post is great. I'm so happy for your aunt, and grateful that she has you.


  8. I always love these updates. They really ARE sparkly!

    (And I LOVE Home Goods.)

    Great job, Mia! She is quite a girl.


  9. So great that you are spending time with your Aunt. I'm sure just being around you adds to her joy of these fun outings...Your Grands are adorable AND beautiful. What fun!!
    You're doing great with the dieting so that's another reason to CELEBRATE big!!

  10. We don't have a Home Goods near me, but I have been there when I'm visiting my Mom and I really enjoy all the "stuff"! So fun! I'm glad you had the "ahhh hah" moment with your Aunt. I so understand the control freak part. I'm that way with my work and how I like things at home. But sometimes we just have to let it go and it usually turns out good. I miss being able to celebrate with my #2 son and his family because they live so far away. I'm sure Scott understands but I know it's hard on you! Have a good weekend and I hope it's as sparkly and this post!

  11. I think I want a Home Goods store near me! What a nice afternoon with your aunt, I think you'll look back one day and be grateful for the times you've spent with her.

  12. Oh Karen, so many nuggets of joy and inspiration in this post. We do share some similar moments in our lives don't we? Pre-schoolers soon to be in Kindergarten, thirty-somethings and birthdays in June! Your babies are getting so big and as always so precious! I know how hard it is to miss a birthday with a child...I just did this past weekend. We will celebrate later on this week and will make it do.
    Wow you little exerciser you I am so impressed at how far you are biking these days. I need to get my butt back in the pool...with my travelling I've let it slip and it's showing sadly, ON my butt!
    Have a great week and how kind of you to let your Aunt have such fun...

  13. Hey Karen, this was a fun post.congratulations to that you gun' you must be proud.


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