Old Typewriters

I’m using this opportunity to write. I drank a “decaf” Starbucks at 3:30 in the afternoon yesterday. I have maybe slept for three hours. I think the sweet military barista who prepared my drink got it wrong. I say military because she was screaming the orders. This particular location was swarming with college students with laptops. I felt like I was in another country. I live 30 minutes away from the closest Starbucks. I never go in there. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy it, but it’s a little pricy, so I reserve it for special occasions. Like I was saying, I think it was the military barista because the little square on my cup had an X in the decaf box. This leads me to believe that my order was placed correctly. It could just be that I have not had coffee in so long (decaf or regular) that my body doesn’t even distinguish between the two. This may cause for some research on my part. Despite her screaming “Ryan” or “Kasey” or “Fill in the Blank” every minute and 30 seconds, she did seem sweet. She had a good amount of cheer in her voice. She also was personable. I appreciate these types of people. Yes, they work in customer service, so it’s fully expected that they stay politely composed, but it’s outwardly obvious that they are genuinely friendly. I like genuine people.
My mom and stepfather just left to drive back to Florida. I always feel that pang in my heart whenever my family members leave after a visit. It’s hard to see them go. It doesn’t make a difference how long they visit, it always seems short. My dad and his significant other will be here in a few weeks. I look forward to their visit. This will be the first time my dad will meet his second grandson. They share a special bond. My youngest was born on my father’s birthday.
I have noticed lately that my writing on here is more of an ongoing update. I am okay with that because I know what this space is for me. It’s my space, it can be whatever I want it to be. It has occurred to me though that I would eventually like to write. I would like to write about all the wonderful and beautiful things I hold deep in my mind. Not that I don’t enjoy writing about my life and my children. I think I would just benefit creatively by having some other type of writing outlet. I have had several forums suggested to me. I am open to any ideas that will help me write professionally. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated (and considered). The only real guideline I have is that whatever the platform may be, it can’t be something that requires a set amount of time each week. One day, something like this will be of interest to me, but with two kids, animals, a house, and a husband who is gone during the week, something with time constraints is not on my list of things to do. I love the freeness of this space because I can post once a week or once a month. There is no added pressure or consequences of not having something submitted at a specific time. I feel like that is what my full time job is all about. I get paid to have things completed by a deadline. This area I’m talking about for my writing should not come with that specific boundary. At least I do not believe it should.
Maybe this space I am dreaming about is less of an online domain and more of a physical place. I may just need to set up a room in my house and designate that as my “space.” I have always thought that this would be a necessity in my life. I should just do it. I could have all the freedom in the world. Of course, I would have to hold myself accountable, but it can be done. I have always wanted a place where I can physically go to work that was in some way part of my home. There is a little building out behind my house that I would love to turn into a personal office space. A space free of kid toys. A place that can be just mine. That would be the most amazing gift.
It can happen. I can make it happen. I don’t require diamonds or expensive bags. I don’t want designer clothes or shoes. I want a repurposed storage building with heat and air conditioning. I want to decorate it so it’s a little sanctuary. I want natural sunlight, a desk with a comfortable chair and an oversized, fluffy sofa. I want a rug I can walk around on in my bare feet to brainstorm. I want a table with a coffee pot. A vintage typewriter would be a nice added touch. I would need some art for the walls in order to be inspired. I would need a laptop. I can see an old bookcase full of pretty things. This is all I need. Oh, and a babysitter to come to the house. I don’t think I’m asking for much. Okay, it’s a little more than the necessities. I would settle for heat and A/C, the rug and a laptop. Perfect.

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My dream space.

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Inspiring art for my space.

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I like the natural light with this set up.

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Old typewriters make me happy.

An Hour

I read in a book that everyone has an hour each day when time stands still. An hour of calm. An hour of meaning. An hour of clarity. This hour is different for everyone. The book correlated this hour with the hour of birth. Apparently a proverb says that the hour in which a person is born is “their hour.” I think this may be true. I haven’t seen my birth certificate in a few years, but 4:00 a.m. seems to be my hour. I have an overwhelming feeling of happiness at 4:00 a.m. I feel closest to God at 4:00 a.m. The day is new. The slate is clean. Yes, 4:00 a.m., I own you.
I enjoy just sitting propped up on pillows. I listen to the sounds of our home. The breathing of the baby. The bark of a dog down the road. I also leave the television on the World News channel (I like to know things). I had a professor in college who taught a communications class. We had a quiz every morning about what was going on in the news. In college, I worked late hours and thought sleep was better than gold. The last thing I wanted to do before class three days a week was check websites for news. Looking back, I know she was trying to teach us a very important lesson. I think the lesson was that we should seek to know relevant things. We should seek to care about the things going on around us and not just the things happening to us. I feel that I benefited from this professor. I may not know or understand everything that is going on in the news, but I darn sure know something about what is happening. 4:00 a.m. is my time to get educated on these things.
When the news stories start to repeat, I change the channel to the country music videos. This is soothing to me. I don’t watch. I just turn the volume to the lowest audible setting and prepare my mind for the day ahead. This could mean a prayer to God. It could mean a to do list. It could mean dreams about the future or reminiscing about the past.
Yes, I know my hour. I know it well. What’s yours?

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Renovation

The small hours of the morning are my safety net. It’s the time of the day when my thoughts are all my own. I’m not forced to listen to anything I don’t want to hear. Even my three month old is still on my chest.
Today, I am dreaming about renovations. There are so many things I want to do to our home. I catch myself dreaming of them often. My kitchen is the thing that I wish to change the most. By all descriptions, it’s a large kitchen. That’s because the kitchen also includes an office area and a wall with built in cabinets and drawers. It’s dated, of course. It has dark cabinets. It has older appliances. The counter tops are cracked in places. Oh yes, in my mind, I’m giving my kitchen a giant kick in it’s 29 year old face. Yes, my house is as old as me.
At 4:00 a.m., I am dreaming of all white walls. I want dark gray laminate flooring to replace the awful tile patterned linoleum mess that is there now. I want all the appliances replaced. I want a large, white, porcelain farmhouse sink. I dream of painting all the cabinets a light gray. I want to take out the cabinets above the waist around the sink and appliances. I want open shelving where everything is exposed. I want to take the cabinets out in the area where we have our bar set up. That area will be converted into a eat-in area. I want seating for our table to be built into the wall. The backsplash will have white subway tile covering it. Did I mention the butcher block counter tops? I want a coffee bar and a place for a small television on the wall.

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I love this open shelving.

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My dream kitchen includes rustic lights.

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Built in seating is a must.

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We can’t forget the butcher block counter tops and (a lighter color) of gray cabinets.

In my mind, this isn’t just a kitchen. This is the place where my family will bake cookies for Santa. It’s where I will sip coffee with my mom when she visits. It’s where I can sit in the corner and make lists for the grocery store or write bills at midnight. It’s a gathering place for my family. A place where I can open the blinds and we can watch the foals graze while we enjoy our pancakes on Saturday morning. While it may sound boring to most, this kitchen will breathe life into our old house. Come on, who doesn’t need a little sprucing up after almost 30 years? I do, and so does my kitchen.
Yes, these are the things I dream about at 4:00 a.m. Right now, any extra money I save goes towards Christmas. It’s only seven weeks away. Eeek! But, I am making plans to make this kitchen happen. Until that day comes, 4:00 a.m. is a time for dreaming with my eyes wide open.
Cheers y’all!

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Small Adventures

I’m ready for an adventure. Don’t get me wrong, everyday with a 2 year-old and 3 month-old can be an adventure. I’m just ready for one that doesn’t include dirty diapers and snotty noses. I love my boys, in all their glory, I just have a longing that needs fulfilled.
It could be as simple as a quiet coffee shop and my book. It could be a shopping trip with my girls. It could be a visit to a winery. On more than one occasion I have dreamed of a sunrise horseback ride with my hubby. I think these are all romantic notions that I have dreamed up in my spare moments of solitude. Is it wrong that I lay awake at night and yearn for small adventures like this? I hope it’s not wrong to want these things. My kids are my world. I think as mothers and parents, we often feel a pang of guilt after any inkling of fun that may not involve our kids. Being a mother is the most rewarding job I have ever had. It is also, by far, the most exhausting. A hotel bed with crisp, clean sheets, a television, and no alarm set is one of the most amazing pictures I can paint in my mind. I also dream of fancy dinners where my main concern is what drink I will pair with my meal instead of where did the crayons fall on the floor or when was the last time my 2 year-old washed his hands?
I often feel that if I don’t make an effort to at least dream of these adventures then I am doing everyone I talk to an injustice. For example, talking with people who do not have children or have grown children, often can be a disaster of a conversation for me. I notice that it’s usually my go to conversation piece. Some people don’t want kids or can not have children. Therefore, they have zero interest in hearing what crazy, awesome thing my 2 year-old did the other day. I sometimes feel guilty talking to people who also have kids. Are we robbing each other of these few precious moments where our lives do not revolve around those munchkins? I mean, let’s think about it. On average, my husband and I spend one night a year together away from the kids. That means 364 days, we see/talk/think about the kids and their needs. If our life is at all similar to any other couple with children, then that does not leave much time (save the middle of the night or in between bites of food and screaming children) to talk to each other or other adults. So, if we are going to have a baby sitter and a night out with friends (who have children) is it wrong to try and talk about anything other than your kids? I enjoy an adult conversation once a year that doesn’t involve poop or the newest virus going around the daycare. Does that make me a bad person? My simple answer to this is no. No, I will continue to dream about having those adventures. Life without dreams is a sad one. Will I have a chance to do all of the things on my adventure list this year? Probably not. Will I have a chance to do one of them? I hope so.

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Four

On this day four years ago, I got up at 5:00 a.m. I took my sweet time getting ready. I shaved my legs for twenty minutes. I let hot water envelope me into almost a meditative state. After I was clean, shaven, and relaxed, I opened my hotel room door and walked the 20 paces to my right and knocked on the door. I was meant with the welcoming faces of my father, his significant other and my sister. My sister then proceeded to do my hair and makeup. We then went into the lobby and ate some breakfast. Shortly after, we rode to the site where, in a few short hours, we would say I do. We had a quick walk-through. Afterwards, we all gathered together in the small conference room of the hotel and had a rehearsal brunch. Our friends and family all broke bread together and then we all scattered. Several hours later, I was driven through a garden in a classic convertible style car. My parents walked me down the aisle and my hand was placed in Ben’s hand. From that moment forward, I have often thought of that day. The sounds. The voices. The faces. I remember all of it, but yet, it is a blur.
Four years later, I think I have figured out that this is just how my brain processes the greatest days of my life, a large blur. The birth of both of my children happened much the same way. All the intricate details are hidden there, in the shadows of my mind. If I jostle my memory just enough, they come flooding back. Otherwise, they remain stored in that area of my memory. I prefer to think of it as a “corner.” This “corner” is a room with a green vintage screen door. From far away, you can see inside. Everything in there is white and has a haze to it. Lace hangs from the ceilings. There are frames with chubby cheeked newborns adorning the walls. It’s clean…no clutter allowed in this area. My wedding dress hangs from somewhere. I don’t know where because I can’t see through the lace. It seems to be suspended in time, just floating. In the back, there is a beautiful little oak desk with a single chair, a vintage typewriter, and a mug. The mug has an ever changing quote on it. Among all of these things that I love and hold of importance to me, there is a box. A caramel-colored, weathered, leather box. It is sitting lonely on a high shelf. It is much too high for me to reach alone. I think that is the point. I can not reach this box without my husband. This room in my memory would not exist without him. The chubby cheeked newborns, the dress I loved when I first tried it on, the corner desk with the typewriter and my dreams. I closed my eyes and beckoned him. When I opened them, he appeared in front of me, smiling. As in an answer to my unasked question, we both turn and reach for the box together. His hand has a tight grip on one side and mine on the other. Together we bring the box down and hold it between us. What is inside? Is it a gift? Is it a curse? Is it empty? As our eyes meet, we never break their stare, as together we lift the lid from the top. It seems like seconds pass, or is it minutes? Neither of us is looking down yet. He smiles and says, “Well, aren’t you going to look?”
I smile and answer with, “You first.” He shakes his head at this and in a moment we have agreed to look together. “One,” I say.
“Two,” he answers back.
“Three,” I say louder.
“FOUR,” said together this time. Both of our gazes drop and rest upon what lies between our hands.
The box falls to the floor.

Happy Anniversary my love.

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Scottish Dreams

About a month ago, I stumbled upon a girl I went to college with on Instagram. A fellow journalism major, I was delighted to find that she too had a blog! Since I was on maternity leave, I took the opportunity to catch up on her blog and the awesome things she has done in life since graduating. After graduating, from what I can tell, she has stayed in the journalism field. This makes me smile. I know all too well how hard it can be to “stick it out.” Before and even after I moved to Texas, I have had a hard time getting jobs in this field. I can appreciate the heart it takes to have a passion. Not only that, but to have the drive it takes to never give up on that passion.
Anyway, some examples of the awesome things this chick has done include, but are not limited to: moving from Ohio to Chicago, participating in marathons, making a bucket list and working to cross things off of it, owning a cute blue record player, sharing an apartment with a roommate, riding a bicycle to neighborhood coffee shops, living through and (as far as I can tell) rising above a broken heart, participating in live literature readings (in front of strangers, chhhaa!) and last but not least…planning an amazing trip to a city where she has never been. My favorite part about the trip? She is going alone. ALONE. To some people, this may sound weird. To me, this sounds like the greatest, bravest, and possibly most rewarding idea to date. I have to admit, I’m pretty jealous. She openly admits that she is going to sit in unfamiliar coffee shops and write. She will ride a bicycle around and visit places she has carefully (or not carefully) chosen to see. She will talk with strangers. She will wear boots. I can not wait to see what she writes about the trip.
I feel a great hope that I will one day take a similar journey. Where will I go? Scotland, I hope. My step sister recently started college there. My mother and stepfather just got back from escorting her across the pond. I am currently engulfed in a book series based in The Highlands and my mother’s side of the family hails from the beautiful country. I want nothing more than to visit this mystical place in person. I could listen to my mother talk for hours about all the amazing things she saw and heard. I long to be submerged in the culture and learn what life is like there. It’s almost a romantic notion I have to sit inside The Elephant House coffee shop in Edinburg on a gloomy, rain-drizzled day. I think about being wrapped in a cozy, heather grey, sweater knit shaw. I dream about people watching while hearing only sounds of coffee and tea cups clanking while they are returned back to their rightful saucers. I can close my eyes and hear noises of laughter, and low tones of a language with which I am unfamiliar. All the while, I tap away at the keys on my laptop. What am I writing? Probably bits and pieces of conversation I can pick up from a nearby table. I love to hear the exchange of familiarities between friends. I try to repeat lines of a deep conversation that is going on close to me over and over in my head. It’s amazing what people sound like when they are in a comfort zone. When they think the only person who is interested in what they are saying is the person with whom they are conversing, the lingering ear of a stranger goes undetected. These are things I dream about. Of course, with two young children and other financial obligations, this rewarding writing holiday with have to wait. But, heed my warning. This is my notice. I will find myself in that dark, Scottish coffee shop writing for hours upon hours. It has officially been added to MY bucket list. Thank you Meryl, for the inspiration!

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Satchel Full of Crack

Something is brewing inside of me. My feet hit the floor this morning and my mind won’t stop racing. No, I do not do drugs. I also have sworn off caffeine. Which is strange, because I would compare my feelings at this moment to that which I would believe a caffeine high would feel like after three years of not having any.
I have this pressing feeling that I must DO something. My synapses are firing at what feels like lightening speed. I feel like a giant grizzly bear who just woke up from 29 years of hibernation. What the heck happened to me? Did a fairy drift in my window last night and scatter some magic crack dust over my head? Did I dream about something that made my subconscious jump up instead of just leisurely stretching it’s fictitious legs? I have no idea. It’s like something clicked inside of me. Like a dormant disease just suddenly reared it’s ugly head from within me and is now claiming stake to this body that once belonged to me.
All I know is that I went to bed in the same fashion I have every night for however long I can remember. I have no particular memory of changing into a raving lunatic in my sleep…yet, this morning, I am one.
My mind is all over the place. I feel excited and ready. I feel a little awkward and confused. I’m hoping that this all pans out to be something positive. Today is the day I grab the bull by the (insert whatever body part is most suitable) and go with it. If it takes me for a hair raising eight second ride, I’m in. If it walks slowly and nudges me forward, I’m okay with that too. In whatever form or fashion, I am not the person I was when I went to bed last night. From this moment forward, I am the person I want to be. I dare someone to tell me something is impossible today. My creativity is at an all time high. I feel the buzzing pulsing through my veins like the constant hum of a power line.
I’m doing my ceremonial tribal dance inside. The drums are the sound of my heart. Watch out Monday. Watch out thirty. Watch out elusive fairy with your magical satchel of crack dust. I’m on a rampage today.

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