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21 for 2021

1. Go kayaking. 2.       Watch more sunsets. 3.      Practice writing a novel. 4.      Visit Chloe and Joe more. 5.      Speak lovingly to myself and others. 6.      Get rid of the shoes and clothes I never wear. 7.      Plan a trip to Kentucky with the Swans and O’Loughlins. 8.      Do more of what I want and less of what I think I should do. 9.      Paint the kitchen ceiling. Actually all the ceilings need to be painted. 10.   Speaking of the kitchen … cabinets, counters, backsplash and floor. Maybe. 11.   Really, though, work on those books for the kids. This is fun, not a chore. 12.   Spend more hours laughing with Julie, enjoying her beautiful view. 13.   Spend more time near the water … ocean, lake, pond, whatever. 14.   Really explore and utilize my medical marijuana card. 15.   Go for more walks … with people and dogs. 16.   Read as many books as I feel like reading. 17.   Go back to the Keys. Get in the water. 18.   Get a new driver and play more golf. 19.   Find some jeans I
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20 for 2020--End of Year Recap

It is the last week of 2020, so I figured it was time to review my 20 for 20 list. In other words: I’ve been avoiding this because I didn’t think I accomplished too many of my goals, and have now run out of time to avoid it. I can blame some of the misses on the global pandemic but must attribute others to laziness and complacency. And still others to a cancer diagnosis midway through the year that turned my life upside down and shifted my focus away from things that no longer mattered to me. Like my weight. And calligraphy. Anyway, here’s what I did and didn’t do. 1. Go to the west coast. Nope. 2. Learn to play the ukulele. Nope. I did try a few times, but I’m musically challenged. Lil learned a few songs though, so that makes me happy. And Alex can play everything. So I still have ukulele music in my life even though I am not the one playing it. 3. Get to a comfortable weight and stay there. Nope. But I threw my scale away, so I’m calling that a win. 4. Take a girls ’  trip

I Thought It Was Just Me, But It Wasn't.

Do you have any strange misconceptions about yourself that when said out loud sound ridiculous and outlandish? I feel like it’s just me, but then again I always feel like it’s just me. You know Brené Brown’s first book, I Thought It Was Just Me ? That should be one of my mantras—I thought it was just me…but it isn’t. You’re probably thinking, “Here she goes with her crazy again,” and full disclosure, I have been a little manic lately, but let me try to explain. My birth experience with Lily was torturous. Thank goodness I ended up with my girl at the end of it because it was awful. A stalled labor, a failed epidural, a spinal headache that lasted for 6 days and culminated with me curled on the basement floor begging to die and required two blood patches to rectify. Throughout this ordeal, my husband said, “You’re doing great, baby.” My inner voice said: “You’re weak. You’ve got a low pain tolerance. You can’t do this.” Since the melanoma experience started in June, I’ve gotten mor

I Know You Are, But What Am I?

I started reading Jen Hatmaker’s latest book  Fierce,Free and Full of Fire   this week. Add it to your list next to Glennon Doyle’s  Untamed  as a must-read about living with integrity and authenticity. If you’ve read Jen Hatmaker, you already know how wise and quotable she is—she features prominently in my google doc of quotes, and I reiterate her words in Post-Its and Polaroids —but this particular line got me today: “I am not as good as my ego suggests and not as bad as my conscience admonishes.” It stopped me for a few reasons. I’ve done a lot of ego work over the years, and the first lesson was what ego actually means. I thought Ego meant: being full of yourself, thinking you are better than others, self-important, arrogant—like egotistical, right? Note to self: Blatantly disregard; this doesn’t apply to me as I don’t think I’m better than anyone. What ego actually is: sense of self, I am-ness, the awareness residing between conscious and subconscious.

Not a Quarantine Alcoholic

A few years ago I wrote a blog entitled “ Sometimes I Drink Too Much .” I didn’t share it on social media because it felt too vulnerable, and I was afraid of people judging me. That’s saying a lot because I share plenty of vulnerable stuff. But as this quarantine wears on, I think more and more: Sometimes I drink too much. My husband, who usually travels is home. We sit in the hot tub in the evenings, have a cocktail at our bar, watch Ozark on Netflix, and now it’s more than sometimes. Almost every night I drink too much. I drank every day in March. Not always too much, but every day. I had a virtual appointment with a doctor and I didn’t say, “I have a few drinks every day.” Instead I lied and said a few drinks every week because it felt embarrassing to say the former. I’m a really terrible liar, so it’s good that she doesn’t know me well and the connection was spotty so she couldn’t see my lip-twitching tell or my reddening face through the grainy screen.

S M I L E

A few weeks ago while visiting NYC, we splurged on an extravagant(ly priced) trip to the top of the Empire State Building. If you haven’t been to the top of the Empire State Building in a few decades, it’s a different experience. Enhanced everything…including security. You have to go through an airport-like security checkpoint, put your bags, jewelry, phones in a bin, and so forth. As we are going through this, my daughter pushes her I heart NY bag—containing souvenirs—off the side of the conveyor belt. This is one of the worst things that can happen because now we have drawn attention to ourselves, and we’re a family of wallflowers. My husband whisper yells, “Just go get it.” Let’s dig deeper into that ins truction. First, Brad Bell travels all.the.time. so he knows how security lines work. “Just go get it,” involves leaving the security line, walking around the conveyor belt and UNDERNEATH one of those divider thingies that are made out of seat belt-like material and tell

Just Decide.

Yesterday, after 482,653 refusals to get another puppy, we got another puppy. His name is Oliver and he is a greyhound chihuahua mix {called a greyhuahua ... CAN YOU EVEN??} from the same rescue we got Ruby.  He is a small, shy, gentle fellow who is completely enamored with Ruby. Why did we get another dog? Good question. You already know I overthink everything, but this decision came pretty easily thanks to advice from two of my favorite thought leaders. 1. Cave Early (Martha Beck): Caving early means many things to different people and situations, but my current interpretation is that it's the opposite of overthinking. It's not putting a lot of time and energy into non-life-changing decisions. My kitchen remodel, for instance, which remains at a standstill while I overthink every aspect. Well, almost every aspect: Brad redid our kitchen table, and it's perfect. But, chairs :/ Here's the thing, decisions such as changing careers, moving out of the country, having a