Happy but uninspired.

Gratuitous pic of my perfect grandbaby, Lizzy.

I am fighting a horrible case of writer’s block right now. I am having no problem writing for other people, but for myself, it’s been a battle lately. Everyone on the planet seems to be doing creative, fulfilling things and I’m just over here doing the same ole’ thing I have always done. I can’t write an inspired product description to save my life.

The squad and I are still sticking to the “Be Happy.” mantra with a lot of success. But some days are just a struggle to get out of bed and make myself presentable. My shoulder has been screaming lately, which means it’s a huge distraction and affects my concentration.

There is absolutely nothing going on in my personal life. Working 12+ hours a day doesn’t leave much for socializing. But I’m OK with it for now. Winter will be here soon and that means hibernation and hopefully not leaving my house for many days at a time. I like hermit mode.

I am actively involved in a love affair with my new Fire Stick. I was burnt out on NetFlix and the Fire Stick has given me the freedom to watch absolutely anything I want, just don’t ask me how. Right now I’m watching Perception.

I’m knee deep in designing a new product line for The Store @Seitzlife. The launch is this week, but I’m not ready yet. Tomorrow I will work all night. This line is not in the model of what we design and carry at The Store, but I am super excited about it. I have just not had the time recently to devote to it like I would have wanted. But the launch will go on without a hitch (hopefully) and everyone will love this stuff as much as I do. Maybe I’ll post a sneak peak on here tomorrow.

The only other news is the weather. It’s October 8 and it was 85 degrees today. Everybody is bitching about it, the weathermen are hopelessly wrong with their forecasts and crazy people still deny global warming. But that’s an argument for another day.

Go out and be happy.

I just don’t know.

Pulled pork BBQ Nachos is my new fav.

I have pledged to myself that I would write here more regularly. I have made this pledge in the past, and failed. But not this time. Being too busy is not an excuse. I’m making time for what’s important. It’s part of the “Be Happy,” mantra I have subscribed to lately.

I’ve eaten BBQ for the past two days at Paducah’s annual BBQ on the River. And of course, I ate entirely too much. It’s a three day affair and usually I have each day divided up into different menu items. It’s usually Brisket one day, Chicken another and then finish up with Pulled Pork on the final day. Well, last year I was only there two nights and didn’t get my chicken fix. I will not be making that mistake this year.

The crowd was good, but not overwhelming this afternoon. And the weather is PERFECT. Tomorrow I will cross a helicopter ride off my bucket list. I’m just glad it’s not Life Flight that is accommodating this ride.

There has been a lot of talk lately about choosing to be happy, and I’m sticking by it. I’m physically drained lately and it’s my own fault. I’ve worked some extremely long hours just trying to not think about things that make me no so happy. It is somewhat working, but not entirely. I still am awake between 5:15 and 5:30 AM every morning.

I’m seriously thinking about cutting down on my FaceBook activity. I have learned to love Twitter again and Instagram is just a happy place. I think I will only use FaceBook to check birthdays once a day and focus my social media presence to Twitter and Instagram. Problem solved.

My days have kinda ran together this week and I am actually looking forward to my days off this week. I will have worked ten days straight by the time they roll around and this girl needs a little bit of a break. I do love my job, but I’m tired.

So, that was my take on today. Nothing too exciting. Just my normal, dull life. But I hear, “dull is the new black,” and I’m going with it.

Speak my peace and count to 10.

#MeToo

To stay silent at this point almost seems criminal. The Kavanaugh hearings are making me want to say the “F” word, over and over and over again, and I haven’t said it for 59 days. Although I didn’t have the stomach to watch the questioning of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh by the Senate Judiciary Committee in it’s entirety yesterday, I have followed everyone’s comments on all the social media outlets. I am pissed off.



I very rarely discuss politics. I have always believed I have the right to vote and support any candidate I choose, for any reason. And so does everybody else. I won’t debate with you. I won’t try to change your mind. I won’t ask you who you are going to vote for. I usually know where all my friends and family stand and I’m OK with that. Some of the people I love the most are die-hard Republicans. I can disagree with someone without getting into a screaming match or disrespecting them.

This supreme court nomination process has made me question the very future of this country. I have sat back and watched the crazy interactions and totally ignorant comments on Facebook & Twitter, while trying to pick up my jaw from the floor. I have seen the IQ of Americans drop right before my eyes.

Now it’s my turn. This is my space, and like everyone else, my opinion is my right. This is still America, for now.

You want to know why so many victims of rape and sexual assault never report the crime? Because as traumatic, scary and violent the actual act may have been, it can’t compare to what could happen if they tell anyone. Just take a look at the crucifixion of Dr. Ford. Look how the Republicans have tried to shame her and butcher her character. They turned her into a victim again. I’m just appalled. 

I’m not going to tell my story. It’s not much different than hundreds of other victims. Yet, too many woman I know tell it. I only told my story once. I told my mother. But I have listened to too many of my girlfriends talk about what happened to them. Some of them can talk about it easily and some have cried every time it is mentioned. There is absolutely no “right” way to handle this. I was lucky enough that my brain has allowed me to store that night away in the back of mind and it only appears occasionally. But I know so many who deal with the aftermath of their trauma every single day. I am lucky. Too many are not.

I am scared for the future of women in this country. We all know how the President and his merry band of Republicans feel about women. We all know every degrading, hurtful and humiliating comment he (and others) have made about women. Yet, the people elected him. Women have had to fight for every right we now have and we had to fight hard. It wasn’t that long ago that wives were basically owned by their husbands, women could not own land or have a bank account and we could not vote. And let’s not forget every where else on the planet where this is still the norm. But that’s a rant for another day.  And I have to mention wage inequality in this country. (At last count women earn 79.6 cents to a man’s dollar for the same job.) 

I’m not here to validate Dr. Ford’s story. Nor am I going to try to disprove it. But the treatment of her by the committee, the media and everyone else with an opinion has burnt me to the core. How many other women have been treated with the same malice, just not in front of the media for everyone to see? We all know the answer and that’s why so many remain silent.

Have some women fabricated rape and assault? We all know that some have. But it’s my opinion that this number is very, very low. And shame on them. 

I’m scared for the future because I don’t know what’s next. Overturning Roe vs. Wade is always in the back of my mind. I don’t think old men should get to decide what I, or any woman, can do with her body. I’m not going to argue morals or religion. I believe in giving women, all women, a choice.

So, after almost never discussing politics, I have wrote my opinion. And now I will count to 10 and get on with my life. And pray for our great country.

Choose happiness.

This smile = happy.

The squad and I have been talking about happiness lately. We’ve been talking about it a lot. One of them, when asked the question “Are you happy?” He responded with “I get by.” This made me kinda sad. But he’s a boy and they are programmed differently. This started much more dialog with the girls of the tribe and me.

For the past few weeks the girls and I decided to wake up and choose happiness everyday. We are all in very different places in our lives, both physically and mentally. We are all more than a hundred miles apart. And they are happily attached and I am not. Don’t get me wrong, I am overjoyed they are happy in their relationships with their significant others. All three have known heartache and they deserve to be in love. So, back to waking up happy.

None of our lives are perfect; far from it. But we have all chose to wake up every morning and give thanks for all we have and not dwell on the things we don’t. Things could have turned out a lot different for all of us. And the last 6 months have been hard for us all. But we kept our eyes on our goals. We all have different ones. And so far, we are all succeeding. We have all had some setbacks, but when that happens we just say, “Out of the ashes the Phoenix will rise.”

I can honestly say we are all happy. We might not be happy about everything, but we are all in a good place. The last two months have went very smooth for all of us. We cut out a lot of drama, cut some toxic people loose and concentrated on the important stuff. We define the important stuff as family, friends and work, in that order. We all work very, very hard. We all love our family and friends unconditionally. And we have learned that we can’t solve every problem every day. As long as we get up and get going everyday, then sometimes that is enough. We still have big long-term dreams that we are all working towards. And we’ll all get there. We all have some loose ends that will be tied up in the very near future.

We are already making plans for a long girls weekend on the lake on a houseboat like we did a few years ago. And we have all made a conscious decision to just breathe a little when things get tough. We have learned not to have a knee jerk reaction to unpleasant and unexpected bouts of bullshit. We pray more. We talk to each other more. We make a lot of lists and check things off as we go. We have also learned to ask for help when we need it. And then, despite our programming, we decided that emotions do not make us weak.

We are all optimistic about the future. We all know we have to work hard to get there. We have all laughed thru tears, gave and gotten a lot of hugs and also said, “just get the fuck over it,” more than once.

We are all far from perfect, but we are trying. We have been donating a lot of our time and some of our funds to charities we believe in. I haven’t said “fuck” in more than 57 days, but I still say “shit” way too much for my mother’s liking. We still enjoy a good glass of wine from time to time and we are eating a lot better than we have in the past.

We have been trying to decide when all this started. When did we all actually grow-up? And we haven’t come up with a good answer yet. But we have sure had a good time the past few months and we are enjoying our own definition of happy.

On a different note, I’m off to BBQ on the River in Paducah this weekend. I’m going to eat way too much good food and take my first trip in a helicopter. I’m reminded of what a different place I am this year than I was last year. Some things are better, some are not, but I still wake up happy every morning.

Heartbroken.

I am not too proud to say I have cried most of today. Before I even got out of bed this morning my phone rang with the news Anthony Bourdain had died from an apparent suicide in France. The tears started at 6:15 AM and haven’t really stopped yet.

I know Tony was a celebrity that I never had the pleasure to meet, although I tried. The timing and location just never seemed to work. Having a meal and conversation with him was top on my bucket list. I always knew what I would cook and I knew what we would talk about. I already had my list of questions ready for him. Maybe someday I will be ready to share those, but not today. His quit wit, salty attitude and general disdain for “the man” just escalated my love for him. I thought we could be the bestest of friends.

But the truth is, I wanted his job. I wanted to be Anthony Bourdain, the girl version. I have been living a great love affair with food and travel and his written and spoken words have always been magic to me. He taught me to love street food. He taught me to be unafraid to order new things at local restaurants. When I did travel, I listened to the locals about where to get the best food. Bourdain convinced me to buy a good and very expensive knife. He schooled me on who really does the best cooking in high-end restaurants. I never knew what a Michelin Star was until Tony came along. He gave me the dream of going to Vietnam, Beirut and Paris, while also showing me a lot of great places in the lower 48 and what to eat when I got there.

I have everything Tony ever put on TV in my video library. I have a lot of favorites, but the Beirut episodes on No Reservations are my favorites as well the the Parts Unknown episode when he returned. If you want to see Bradley Cooper in his early days, watch the short-lived series Kitchen Confidential based on Tony’s book.

I want to say something profound about suicide and it’s prevention, but I’ve got nothing. Suicide has hit me close to home in recent years. I’ve seen the grief, I’ve seen the unanswered questions left behind and I’ve seen how those same people tried to keep going after someone they love was gone. I’ve also fought my own internal demons at times when I thought there was no other answer. But somehow life won, at least for that day.

The world is a sadder place without Anthony Bourdain. When I do travel, the places won’t be the same. When I eat, the food won’t taste the same.

The universal truth I keep replaying over and over in my head is “Be kind, everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

Back at it.

I’ve walked away from this so many times, and then walked back. I have a bad habit of only writing when I’m sad or upset. Well, I’m both sad and upset.

As much as try to stay away from drama, I have some drama that has been following me for more than four years. I should have went to the police a long time ago, but I just signed the formal complaint this past Friday, after talking to the PD for almost a week.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I had private pictures texted to me from an all too familiar number that I have never called one time and that I definitely never sent personal photos too. Please don’t lecture me about this. I know I shouldn’t have sent them to him, no matter how much I trusted him. I have never sent them to anyone else in my life, and now I know why.

But there is so much more to this than the photos. I believed him when he said he was done with her. I believed him when he told me he loved me. I believed him when he told me he felt sorry for her and she needed a job and he needed the help. I believed him when he said he had never given her access to his phone or anything else. I believed him when he said to be patient. I shouldn’t have.

For years she has tracked his phone, recorded our conversations and then tried to blame me for it, with some success. He sat at my mom and dad’s kitchen table and told my mom that the FBI was recording us and a friend was sending the recordings to protect him from me. That was a total made-up lie. The crazy stalker had simply put an app on his phone. The PD told me all about how this works. Even one of her friends told him she was doing it. I thought it would stop after that. But he told me recently that it had not.

I can’t even remember how many times I have changed my phone number in the past four years. I don’t know how many months we went without speaking and he told me old recordings would still pop up. It it legal in Illinois to record video of someone, but illegal to record someone’s voice without their permission. Thanks for the Carmi PD for informing me.

After the pictures started coming to me last week I got really, really mad. I got so mad that it clouded my judgement. I made threats to him that I shouldn’t have. Although everything I posted on Facebook and sent to him was true, I should have just kept them to myself. I made the threats public because I thought if I would hurt him and she knew it, then she would stop, even though I had no plans of ever going thru with them. I got the last picture last Monday, but I’m still actively working with the police to prosecute her.

She has hijacked my life. They both have. I don’t know exactly what’s going on between them, and don’t want to know. It’s not about that. Sure I’m hearbroke, but now I feel violated.

I’m not going to quit until the truth comes out. I need that for my own satisfaction. It may take a week, it may take a month, it may take a year. I don’t care. It will come out.

The quote, “the truth is the truth no matter who believes it,” has kept me going for years, but now it means so much more.

 

A brand new day.

I haven’t wrote here in a long, long time. It’s not for lack of trying. I have had a lot going on, both good and bad, and a lot I can’t write about. So let’s start with what I can write about. Business has been phenomenal, my personal life has been a roller coaster, there have been epic high and horrible lows and the squad and I have had some pretty great adventures lately.

Right now I am in the best place I have ever been professionally. I’m hanging up my programmer hat and I’m going to create all the time. It was a hard decision to make. I’m walking away from the almost constant travel, I’m walking away from the financial benefits of being a software engineer, but I’m gaining the freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want. I’m still in transition mode and will be for at least the next six months, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is what I have worked my entire life for, but it is a change. And change brings apprehension at times.

Flight won.

I’m on a plane right now beside one of my best friends. I have dragged her along because for the first time in my life I am afraid to be alone. I’m afraid the overwhelming sadness sitting in my heart will win. I have always been a loner. I have never had a reason to need anyone. I have always taken care of myself. I’m afraid if I’m alone I will never go home. I have lived out of my suitcase for so long. Being home is foreign to me, but I like the idea.

I have tried to stay  at the lake, it’s not home yet. I don’t know that it ever will be without him there. It was for him—for us, but if he isn’t there I can’t stay there. It will never be home without him.

So in the meantime, I’m doing everything in my power to stay away from my house. I have drug Amberle thru too many airports, hotels and rental cars and then I pushed them away. And then I’ll pop thru Carmi and grab a quick lunch with Dora just to assure her I am still alive and spend some time with my folks. I can’t forget John, who calls every single day without fail just to make sure I am still in the country. I promised him I would take him the next time I decided to travel outside the US. He may get a call soon. The boys will usually find me and they seem to gravitate to the lake. And of course, Lucas has Lizzy in tow when they arrive.

When I am at the lake I have developed an unhealthy obsession with baking. I have always been a pretty accomplished cook, but never a baker. But right now all I can concentrate on in the kitchen is cookies, cakes and pies. I must say, I have made some pretty tasty treats lately. I have absolutely perfected my coconut cream pie. Maybe I am destined to be Suzy Homemaker. I sure wish I could be.

 

The dream, continued.

It’s cold outside, but not too cold to dream.

I have spent a lot of time away from home the past few months. Things have been crazy. Trying to do the right thing when the right thing isn’t obvious has been exhausting at times. But, I’m not giving up. Life goes on and with all the lows, there have been lots of highs too.

I have learned I am stronger than I think, my friends and family are my greatest assets even from afar and I am getting really close to the dream. Although I am spending way too much time in the Metro, I have spent some pretty great days down South. South is my dream that has kept me going for years. And having someone to take with me is part of the dream too.

Living the dream will take hard work, patience and more hard work. This country girl has spent too many years in the big city and I’m ready to put on my work boots and get out of the office. I have spent too many hours dreaming, collecting floor plans, design ideas and techniques and watching too many Holmes on Homes and other HGTV shows—now I’m ready to put it to practical use. I have never been afraid of hard work and although I may be over 40, my body can still handle manual labor.

I have always taken care of myself. I’m not going to say I haven’t had help from time to time from my friends and family, but it’s always just been me and my boys. I know I wasn’t a perfect mother, but they know I love them and I always tried my best. And sometimes I know my best just wasn’t enough.

I am so ready to get back to basics. I want to wake up every morning beside the one I love, make coffee, drink coffee and start my day. I want to live my life with the stereotypical gender roles. This goes against everything I have lived for the past 20+ years, but it’s what I want now. I still want to work and make my own money, but I also want to maintain our home, cook for him and take care of him. I want him to take care of me too. I want him to pump my gas (he doesn’t have to pay, just pump), take out the garbage, be patient with me as I learn to mow with a zero turn, hold my hand and kiss my forehead. I want to cook his favorite meals and sometimes I want him to cook a perfect medium rare steak on the grill for me.

I want him to roll over in the middle of the night and reach for me like I reach for him. I want to fall asleep on his chest as the sound of his snoring sings me to sleep. A big bed with us curled up like napping cats is my definition of perfect.

I can’t wait to hear the water every single day. Weekends at the Lake are just not enough. I want—no, I have to—be there every single day. The search is on for the perfect lake house. I have been looking for years, but now it’s serious. I’m done saying, “some day.” I’m doing it now. My household is already packed up and in storage waiting to be moved.

The go button has been pushed, let’s make this dream happen.
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Dream big or go home.

fullsizerenderI’ve been thinking about home and what and where that is for me. Honestly, I can’t give an acceptable explanation.

As much as my parent’s home in Carmi will always will be home to me, I don’t feel at home there. Of course I feel the unconditional love of my parents every time I walk in their back door, and of course every childhood memory I have originated there. They moved to this home in 1973 and have never lived anywhere else. It is where we all started and where we will probably all end.

I have spent many miles on the road for my career over the past 10 years. I spent too many days away when my boys were teenagers when I shouldn’t have. I hope they have forgiven me by now. I hope that my struggles, and theirs, helped to make them who they are—and who they are is awesome.

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Always dreaming.

I have spent more nights in motels than in my own place in the past four years. I have also spent too much time in my friends’ guest rooms and on their couches. My home has always been open to my squad, and they have graciously never turned me away when I have shown up on their doorsteps not wanting to be alone. As much as I crave my solitude, at times I have needed them to feed me, hug my neck or just be a physical presence without saying a word. They all know my life story and they all know my dream.

In the past two months I have been trying harder than usual to get grounded with little success. I have looked at way too many properties and am overwhelmed trying to make a decision. I leased another apartment, but it’s far from being my home.

I know why I can’t think straight. I know exactly why. I have had a dream in my head and heart for way too many years to count. Realistically, I never thought this dream could possibly come true.

Too many days of silence almost had me giving up hope, but I didn’t. I have been patient, which is not even close to a word I would use to describe myself. I told myself every cheesy cliché about patience I could find. I sat on my hands when I probably shouldn’t have. I let things just play out. I intentionally stayed away, stayed quiet and never trolled around. I didn’t know what was going on in his life, it didn’t matter.

There were so many months I was just a few miles away, but drove on by like it was nothing when my heart was pulling my truck to his exit. There were many nights I stood on my balcony looking toward Illinois wondering if he was looking toward the city and thinking about me. I still don’t know if he ever was. With every business decision I made, I tried to imagine what his advise would have been to me.

Now, I’m trying to keep going like nothing is different. I am trying not to alter my schedule, my work load or my mindset. Nothing has changed, not really, not yet. But I’m ready. I have been prepping for this moment, I have been training my team for the day I can walk away. All I need to hear is, “today is the day,” and this girl’s lifestyle changes.

Tomorrow is Monday. I will pack my bag and hit the road, but I still have the same dream; now, it seems like it might come true.
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Grounded.

Ready to give up hotel life.

I’m having a hard time getting grounded right now. There are too many variables and too many options. One of the squad has literally been MIA for almost a week and my mental energy has been spent contemplating their whereabouts. I have four different job offers in three different states and the deadline to make a decision is looming. I am no closer today than I was a week ago when the offers started coming in.

I have always been programmed to believe money equals success, but I hate money. And trust me, I understand how the world works—the one with the most money always win. But at what cost? And who really wants to win? What is the prize?

I hate money. The lack of money or having too much money changes people. It turns them into people they are not. It changes their character, sometimes for the good and most times for the bad. I am as guilty as anybody of both offenses.

I am really trying to look at all the pros and cons of each job offer. I am trying to step back, think about the cities, the work load and all the responsibilities involved with each one. I know which one was my knee-jerk choice right off, but all the others have a lot to offer too.

As independent as I have always been, I suck at making major decisions. When I do finally make a choice I will second guess it into oblivion. I have already overthought it to death. As much as I trust the squad and their advise, I have intentionally left them out of this one. I’m 45 years old. I should be able to make this decision on my own. But now I think I should bring them in. They usually see something I do not, and right now that is what I need. I feel like I am missing something and hopefully they will see it. I need their perspective.

Although I have spent much of my professional career traveling and living out of my suitcase, I think I am ready to give that part of my life up. My suitcase has too many miles on it and I miss my own home to come home to.

I have crunched so many numbers trying to figure out the least amount of money I have to make to build my place at the lake, live there and have no debt. I am just not there yet. It is not the right time.

So, I have to make a decision about which job to take by the end of the month. Until then, I will keep my suitcase organized, enjoy hotel life and invite the squad for beer and pizza to seek their advise.
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