Tuesday, September 28, 2010

clean pages

I write a lot.

I write for a living, I write on my lunch breaks, I write here when I should be writing other places, I write 'good morning' notes, I write long e-mails and text messages, I write when I'm angry, happy, sad, depressed, bored.

And I doodle too.

So in April when I was in Kentucky visiting my best friend who'd just had a baby, I found this perfect journal. Perfect because I needed one. Perfect because it incorporates doodling and journaling. Seriously, it doesn't get much better than that.

Here's a little known fact - when I buy a new journal I flip through the empty pages and wonder what kind of things I will write to fill it. What life will be lived between those clean, crisp slips of paper.

My first entry was April something when, you know, life was easy and completely uncomplicated.

It went south pretty quick and my entries tapered off, as is usual in spurts. It's possible that the last few months have been so unpleasant that I had nothing to write. One entry records Jada dying but I can taste the bitterness as I ended the graph with a "whatever" and rushed into other things.

This little book was so clean and pure and innocent when I stood in Hallmark in Paducah, Kentucky. I think if I'd have known the heartache it was going to bear, I'd have thrown it back on the shelf and gone into hiding.

I've buried the journal in the bottom of my over-sized purse that drives me crazy when my keys land in the bottom of it. That was my way of hiding, I suppose.

But last weekend I dug it out. And yesterday and today, I've journaled and prayed and let the pages support my pen as I wrote and wrote and wrote.

I'm thankful for the good things I'm writing these days.

Life sucks sometimes, yeah? Uh-huh. But then it's also very, very beautiful and I love the beauty of my life.

Friday, September 24, 2010

discovering myself

NOTE: pay special attention to the hyper-links.

I've been trying to think of the best way to describe my indescribable weekend.

For someone who manipulates words every day for a living and spends a lot of her free time blogging and writing, I was stumped as to what to say.

You all want to know, right?

You can't see me but I'm smiling. And not just right now but like, almost every minute. Or at least when I think of this past weekend and the incredible miracles I witnessed in other people and and in myself.

And when I'm not smiling, this former porcupine-soul is allowing myself the freedom to cry. Yup. So that's what I did on my commute to work this morning. Listened to very dear songs and cried.

Now I just sound crazy, huh?

I guess you could say this is my new kind of crazy.

For the first time in a very long time, I'm happy. Genuinely, down into the core of my soul, happy. It's not life is suddenly easy or that it's not challenging. Trust me, it is. But my perspective is different, my reaction is different, my response is different.

And when I fall down, I get back up again.

Yesterday I wrote a column and I took most of it from this blog post. You guys might remember this post too, which now looking back, makes me incredibly sad for the person who wrote it.

So yesterday I was in the main office and I was smiling (of course) and allowing my joy to ooze out a little. It was time for our 10 a.m. editorial meeting and as I was walking into the conference room, I met the opinion editor at the door. I had submitted my column to him the night before.

As we were seating ourselves around the table, he kept looking at me and finally said, "You're smiling. You must've found your water tank."

If it's possible to smile bigger than what I was, I did. My heart soared even higher and I knew those words were the ones I would use to describe my weekend.

Guys, I found my water tank. And I jumped in with both feet. I didn't even plug my nose.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I WAS there! (and diet update)

I was yelled at during and after the UT Longhorns game that there weren't enough pictures of me. But there were several and I've included some of them here. The biggest reason I took most of the pictures is because I experienced separation anxiety from my camera when it wasn't in my hands. It's like when there's a newborn in range and I'm not holding it, I want to yell, "Give me that baby!" Kinda the same.

Anyway, here are some photos - what great memories!

If I look skinnier to you, I am. If I didn't look skinnier to you, look again because I am. I'll go ahead and double this post as a diet update too.

As of today (5 weeks on the diet), I've lost 25 pounds. I never thought I would type those letters in sequence in regards to my weight loss. But I did. And it feels good.

Also never thought I would think of myself or hear someone refer to me as someone who eats "extremely healthy" but I do and I did. It's been exactly 5 weeks since I've eaten any sugar, starches, fast food, or carbohydrates. It's been 7 weeks since I've drank soda. Basically, what I eat and drink are fresh/frozen fruits and veggies, lean meat (chicken, beef or fish) or other proteins occasionally like cottage cheese or hard-boiled eggs, unsweetened tea and coffee and lots of water.

So that's the photo and diet update.

Monday, September 13, 2010

definitely not a poker player

I know I can't lie and keep a straight face.
It's hard to keep a secret (especially one I'm reallllly excited about).
My emotions are on display in my eyes and face 100 percent of the time and what I've learned in the past week is that I can't really even hide those either.

So. Go back a few days to last Thursday. I'm sitting in a "communication meeting" with about 20 other various editors and staff. General manager on one end of the conference table, me on the other. Five minutes into his speal, he makes eye contact with me and says, "Holly, what's wrong? You look troubled."

I chuckled and said nothing, that I was just listening.

My boss then says, "Oh don't worry about it, she looks like that all the time." And my co-worker concurs, "Yeah, she does."

After the meeting, the general manager laughed and told me to never play poker; my poker face wouldn't work.

I guess my family is used to my blank/listening face being "troubled" because no one has ever mentioned this to me before.

Fast forward to last night.

I was bustling around the kitchen. Had fixed all the fixin's to go with fried chicken. Had just pulled a batch of homemade cinnamon rolls out of the oven and was getting ready to put frosting on them. My sister's boyfriend walked by and said, "Are you alright? You look driven."


I relied with, "Well, I am driven. I'm driven most of the time."

And I am. Even if it's something as small as frosting my handiwork (a.k.a cinnamon rolls.)
But apparently my relaxed face cannot just be one of bliss and innocent happiness.

It looks troubled. And driven.

Fast forward to today. Sitting in a school board meeting. Tired of hearing the president say, "agender" instead of "agenda." Sick and tired of hearing board members ask questions that were answered FIVE SECONDS EARLIER. I mentioned this to the PIO afterwards and she said, "Yeah, I could tell by the look on your face!"

Seriously, face. Can we not keep some things to ourselves?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Longhorns Football!

There isn't a whole lot I can say that these pictures won't explain for you.
The only thing(s) I will say are:
1) Longhorns won!
2) we were 11 of 101,036
3) these are five pictures of 335

Friday, September 10, 2010

department of familial coordination and relations

Basically, I like the word familial. I don't even know if it's a real word; I just like it.

Today is a prime example of how the department of familial coordination and relations work. I won't go into details. You would get dizzy, vomit and stop reading. To sum it up, I felt like a dispatcher today. The dispatcher of my family, which is a very difficult unit to organize.

It's not for lack of cooperation from anybody, and it's not any one person's fault. It's just bound to happen when you're dealing with a unit of 8+ people and trying to get everyone's schedules melded into one.

I spent all morning stressing out over the way things weren't working out (Kristin can attest to this via the e-mail I sent her about 2 and another friend was the recipient of a random "ahhhhh!!!!!" e-mail).

What should've been the last straw actually wasn't for me. Mom called and said she'd been called in to work about 3 hours later then what we were expecting. After I got off the phone with her, I proceeded to make about 5 other phone calls to notify all necessary parties that the birthday party scheduled for 7 had been bumped back to 9.


I left work as quickly as I could to get home and help clean the house, cook dinner and get the surprise birthday party ready.

On my way home I got a text message from Katie, who was already here, and it made me realize how ready I (think I) am for the unglamorous side of marriage.

Okay, so that's a slight detour from the purpose of this blog BUT let's detour and then come back.

People get married, right? And they have this unrealistic view of how their new life is going to be.
He's going to take out the trash and do the dishes and make love every night and we'll have money and well, we'll just be together, which is really all that matters, right?

I feel like I'm living a non-married married life right now. And it's very realistic. There are these glorious moments where we're all eating dinner together and it's good and it's right and then there are these stressful, stomach -churning moments of financial conversations and strains of pressure.

I feel that strain. I've always felt it to some degree but thought I could rely on other people (a.k.a my stepfather) to take care of my family. Now it's a responsibility I've gladly accepted but man, it's overwhelming sometimes. No, the burden isn't entirely mine - I share it. But true to my nature, I take on more then I should.

So, there are really great times in this new life and I don't regret it or wish I was anywhere else right now.

There are also times I get text messages like the following, which make me realize that life isn't always glorious, relationships have messy moments and sometimes the only thing you can say is, "I'm on my way home."

From Katie:
"Disgusting house - check. screaming child - check. shitting dog - check. Gonna take longer than three hours - CHECK!"
And about 5 minutes later:
"Oh, and toilet full of shit and overflowing ... check! Girl, this night is going so well. See you soon!"

But then the disgusting house, screaming child, shitting dog, overflowing toilet moment passes and suddenly, we're singing happy birthday to Micah, surprising him with a Texas Longhorn themed birthday and letting him find a pile of 8 tickets to tomorrow's game in the bottom of a Longhorn trashcan.

He held the tickets up, flipped through them briefly and then tears started streaming down his face.

You see, going to a Texas Longhorns is a dream of his, something he talks about doing when he's rich.

Today, we're rich, Micah. The (was) disgusting house, screaming child, shitting dog, overflowing toilet aside ... we're rich.

And tomorrow we're going to live it up.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

an update...more for my benefit then yours

Crazy diet is going good.

So good, in fact, that I've lost 20 pounds in 22 days. OMG. Who would've thought that was possible?

2010: Summer of Suck?

According to some, the summer of 2010 blew.

Then it asks, was it bad for you? And in my rushed state of frenzy to produce a paper this morning, I bookmarked the article and deemed it as a perfect segue into the post that's been brewing in my head for the past week but for which I lacked inspiration for.

It's September 2, my birthday, and in three weeks or so I see Fall Begins on my calendar, which means the Summer of Suck (did it?) is over.

I won't lie. My summer was rough.

I lost my best friend. I still cry over her. One week I dreamt about her three times and in every case she was so happy and wiggly to see me. It made me happy to "see" her like that.

I was sick a lot.

And then, the bombshell.

My step-father left us. Again. What started in May with him gradually leaving and never coming home ended in him filing for divorce in June (or was it July?) We were relieved. We can now buy as much ice as we want and not have to worry about e-mails being sent by him from across town of our list of wrongs.

It's shocking, isn't it, how one person who used to be so a part of your life is now the furthest thing from it? Probably what's even more shocking is that I don't miss it. For a lot of reasons. But I won't get into those right now. He might be blog-stalking me and I'd hate to start getting texts from him (he has no balls) or worse yet, an e-mail. Thank heavens we don't have to worry about those damn e-mails.

For the past six or seven years, I can still hear Mom's voice, "I got another e-mail from John." And our hearts sank and we let it sit in the inbox for awhile before anyone worked up the courage to read it. I remember sitting on our front porch steps and asking him (over the phone) to please stop sending the e-mails. He promised. He didn't keep it.

So in June when I was in the kitchen and Mom was at the computer and she said softly, "Holly, I just got an e-mail from John," my heart sealed itself into a teeny-tiny ball and was forever closed to him.

John could never understand that we were with him because we loved him. He selfishly thought it was because we needed him and his narcissism never allowed him to see past that.

We've moved on from John and his West Texas kingdom. We're living the life we want to live now; the kids are going to a school they chose, we're working jobs we love and we have the lifestyle we enjoy. We're fulfilling OUR dreams and pursuing them faster then you can blink an eye at.

More importantly, we are with God and he is with us.

He's with us because he loves us and wants to be with us for who we are, not what he can do for us or what we can do for him.

Did my summer suck?

Parts of it, yes. But overall, it's a part of our journey, our adventure and sometimes there's only one thing you can do...

....throw your hands in the air and scream at the top of your lungs on your way down.