So what about you…?

It’s been a month since I last blogged… a busy month. I chatted with my brother on the phone last night and he asked what I’ve been up to since Christmas and I was a bit stumped on how to respond. What HAVE I been up to in the last month?

Well, first off, Christmas was wonderful. I love my family, and it never seems like enough time together when we all see each other. ESPECIALLY when its a rare time that my husband is off the road and can be there.

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It was a warm Christmas down in Texas! Dig my red socks there? Yeahhhh… In a similar vein, this happened before Christmas:

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Santa remembered us. See? He IS real.

Anyway, after Christmas it was time to focus on all the Music City Bowl events in Nashville. I’m still planning to do a whole blog post JUST on this, but let me just say that even though A&M lost the game, I feel like I won so much through the experience. I didn’t know it was possible to love my University any more than I already did, but I totally do after all that I got to do with it in 2015.

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I then rang in the new year with friends… with a special highlight of it my oldest friend — besties since around Kindergarten — was in Nashville with me for the game and to celebrate New Years. First time in about 30 years of friendship for that to happen! And on top of that, it was 14th time my husband and I rang in a new year together.

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My first task of 2016 was to stand up for myself… and it felt really good.

I do some light web design work for a few people. It’s not something I promote much, mostly because its just… I’m not keeping up with all the new stuff in web design enough to feel confident in calling myself a web designer. But, if you ask me to do it, I’ll do it and I’ll give it my all. On top of that, a by-product of my journalism degree, I guess, I never miss a deadline set by someone else. (I miss my personal deadlines all the time, LOL, but if you ask me to do a job by x-day, it might be completed in the 11th hour, but it WILL be done by deadline.)

Well, I won’t go into any details, but I ultimately quit a client over what I am considering a personality conflict. I don’t handle being micromanaged very well, I suppose. I got the job done, though, and I walked away. And I haven’t second guessed that decision once. Proud of myself, actually, for standing up for myself.

The deadline of this project was actually the same day at my wedding anniversary. 9 years, y’all!  NINE!

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We celebrated using a gift card we got for Christmas from a friend. Dinner at Jimmy Kelly’s Steakhouse in Nashville is definitely outside of my comfort zone, but that chilean sea bass was worth it. That, and getting our waiter to relax a bit and chat with us after we told him he could be twins with another friend of ours.

After dinner we met up with a couple we haven’t gotten to hang out with in a long time… in a nice smokey dive bar. Back in our comfort zone. LOL!

Since these back-to-back-to-back-to-back things… I went through a brief phase of being lost. I suddenly didn’t have something demanding my attention RIGHT THIS SECOND and I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I found myself obsessing over bills and the fact that January is ALWAYS a lean month for us.

But, I found my stride after awhile, and my focus has definitely turned to our future. The business plan is pretty much done for the bar we are planning to open. We should get it in the hands of investors next week.

My husband has been driving Lyft while the bus driving is at a stand still.

If you’ve never tried Lyft (or Uber), its a rideshare service. Think of it as a taxi, only cheaper and you’re riding in someone’s personal vehicle. Creepy? Not at all. All drivers undergo a rigorous background check before they are approved to be part of the Lyft service. They also have to keep a higher level of care for their vehicles. No junkie clunkers allowed! AND riders and drivers rate each other after each ride. If either the driver OR the passengers ends up with too many low scores, they’re kicked out of the system entirely.

I set up a Lyft code through my husband’s account for the Music City Bowl that is still good to use. So if you want to test it out, use the code MUSICCITYAGGIES for a discount on your first ride!

My husband went on his first bus drive of the year this week, though. It felt really good to be back surrounded by tour buses for awhile when I tagged along for the pre-trip of the bus. It really felt like suddenly the year was back on track. Things were back to normal.

Normality to me includes tour buses. Go figure.

So that is what has been up with me since I last blogged. Finding my normal again will help me keep better on track. I think…

Anticipation

Does anyone else have memories as a child that are more like snapshots in a photo album? Or maybe they’re more like short Vine videos that when you click on them they play in a loop.

I click memories like that a lot at Christmas. Small, random memories that are so mundane and random, but that all mean so much to me. ALL of them have the same emotion: anticipation of the upcoming Christmas festivities.

Oh sure, as a kid it came down to being excited about getting presents. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that. But as I got older the anticipation came less from presents and more from a peaceful place.

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I remember laying under the Christmas tree and looking up. I’d marvel at the different point of view, and the lights glowing above me almost like stars in the sky.

I remember putting the lighted nativity outside every year, and I’d carry the lighted baby Jesus like a real baby, taking it very seriously.

I remember helping my brother put the lights on the bush outside and not knowing he’d already plugged the strand in, and sticking my finger right into the socket I was about to screw the bulb into.

I remember new Christmas dresses, and feeling so pretty when I finally got to wear them.

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I remember my parents giving me books for Christmas and begging me to not read them all in one day.

I remember the “Christmas program” we would do at Grandma’s house, singing carols and reading poems. I remember family pictures, documenting the years and the way the family grew year by year.

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I remember driving through the streets of the next town over, bumper to bumper with others looking at the Christmas lights.

I remember singing in the children’s choir before Christmas Eve mass, and then taking the nativity scene up piece by piece.

I remember driving home from mass late one night, and watching a shooting star cross the sky… and feeling the deep peace and contentment of that moment.

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It feels like through the years, as we’ve all gotten busier and Christmas has become more and more commercialized, that peace has gotten harder to find. The anticipation of the holiday has been replaced with stress. And instead of focusing on Christmas, we’re already worried about New Years Eve plans. Add into all of that, the extreme unrest in this world today.

This year… this year I’ve actually for one of the first times felt sad leading into Christmas. I’ve felt sad that I’ve had to force time to put up the tree. I’ve had to just decide to bake some cookies (store bought dough, because where on Earth am I going to find the time to make them from scratch?). I’ve sent out Christmas cards, but I already know many, many people won’t be sending any and my mailbox just isn’t as much fun to go check as usual. To pay the bills, my husband has to be away from home more than normal working, so I’ve watched all the Christmas specials all alone.

I’ve thankfully only missed one mass this advent — I’ve enjoyed the sermons on finding Joy.

I’m working on it…

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Christmas party surrounded by friends-like-family.

 

I’m looking forward to taking time to go see some Christmas lights with friends this week. And I’m excited my church is having a live nativity that my husband has no idea I’m dragging him to see. I’m looking forward to seeing my family soon. I’m looking forward to looking up to the sky searching for another shooting star.

Oh I’ll find my Christmas anticipation. I always do, its just a little delayed this year. I pray you find yours as well. Perhaps you already have it, and if so please do share it!IMG_1720

The girl with the green lips

My husband and I went out to dinner for his birthday last night. The girl that greeted us at the door had purplish hair and green lipstick.

As a future business owner in a service industry field, my knee-jerk thought was, “Note to self, make sure employees know nothing like this will be allowed. This isn’t the look I want to portray to my customers.”  As a customer of the restaurant I found myself going, “Oh… kay…” but not really have an opinion other than that. I wasn’t turned off as much as caught off guard.

Our waitress came over, and in our chit chatting explained she’s the only “normal” employee at the restaurant, and my husband noticed another waiter had green hair. She said she doesn’t wear weird colors or have tattoos or piercings. I joked that if that was the case she was actually the weird one, and she thought about it and went, “Yeah, I guess you’re right!”

We were after awhile the only customers in the restaurant, and we’d built up a fun back and forth with our waitress. At one point she came over and she had on the green lipstick. She point blank asked us what we thought. I went, “Well. It’s… different. Interesting.” She explained she’d agreed to step out of her comfort zone and tried it, but she didn’t think she could pull it off. I tilted my head and went, “Its just… different.” Deep down I was having a moment of, “No! Green lips are not okay! Stay your unique ‘normal’ self.”

I ordered dessert to celebrate my husband’s birthday, and the other waitress — the one that had greeted us — brought it over. She took a deep breath and said, “This is going to be terrible.” and proceeded to do a fake trump blast sound effect while putting down the dessert. “That was a trump blast. Okay so it was more like a coronet. But it was SUPPOSED to be a trumpet.”

Suddenly I saw past the green lipstick. Suddenly I saw this fantastically confident and delightful young woman.

When I went to pay our check, I was confronted once again with what I thought of the green lipstick. I took a deep breath and said very honestly and with admiration (okay, at least I hope it was with admiration), “I think it takes a very confident person to pull that off.”

Over the course of about an hour, some crawfish ravioli and loaded beignet, I got an amazing lesson I’m thankful for getting.  I walked in that restaurant feeling a little weirded out by the employees, and I left it filled with deep admiration for them all.

The wife of a touring musician tells it like she sees it…

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