Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Weekend and 2019 Recap

Since I was out of commission yesterday, this will serve as a weekend and year-end recap.  Friday was a busy one for me.  I found out Thursday that the friend who lost her grandpa (practically father) and mom within 2 months of each other was having a crappy Christmas on top of it.  Her SIL had some kind of norovirus bubonic plague and was quarantined to a bedroom.  Her parents were sick so they couldn't come out to celebrate with them so the big feast they were going to have was put on hold because since one of three of them was now vegan, there was no sense in putting in the effort.  Because the SIL was sick and her mom didn't come, they didn't get Christmas cookies this year.  Well, you know what that meant.  My "rest day" turned into a 4 hour make and bake-a-thon for her and her brother's family of their favorite cookies.  The Mr's color drained from his face when he realized this and I said just clean the house and you're out of it.  (He did offer to make the ricotta cookies but I told him no since it was my decision to do it.)  I got them done, re-crippled my legs and slept hard for 5 hours.  I went to lunch with a friend and we went to a neighboring park chatting for a 4-hour lunch.  I got back home just in time to have 20 minutes to catch up with the Mr before the other friend and her fiance arrived.

The Mr took one for the team and said he would take her fiance' with him to pick up the pizza so we could have some alone time.  I am SO grateful for that time.  She found two tins stuffed full of notes from high school and there's no way in heck I'd want those read in front of the guys.   πŸ˜‚   I gave her some gifts I got and showed her the Christmas cookies for her and her brother in different bags because she was going to hoard hers.  She was very appreciative and I showed her I even bought her fiance' some vegan/gluten-free cookies at Aldi but couldn't vouch if they were any good or not.  When they got back we got to hear about the virtues of veganism for a full hour until she literally got up and put her hand over his mouth when I politely but firmly made it clear we would not be partaking but were happy for him.  I will give him a pass this time because it's new to him and he's excited but I get three effing hours with her in person a year and I'm not spending a third of that time being pressured into a lifestyle that the Mr and I have no interest in doing on a full-time basis.   I will make that politely but firmly clear to her before their next visit if it's still an issue.  The time flew faster than usual and because he's quite chatty and with his accent, you have to focus really hard on what he says so I didn't feel like I got all of the time with her I would've liked but I'll take what I could get.  When we were saying our goodbyes, she hugged me and said: "now it feels like Christmas."  That obviously made my heart happy and I was glad I could bring her some small ray of light in a dark, sh*tty year.  No way was I letting her Christmas be ruined too.

We actually spent a lot of the weekend shopping and it was glorious because all of the crowds were gone!  Sunday was particularly nice because we went out for a fancy lunch, Trader Joe's wasn't too crowded for that time of day so we got that out of the way, rented the movie Hustlers (we rented It Chapter 2 the night before), then later we drove around looking at Christmas lights before people start taking them down with the warm weather.  We rounded out the evening with a few fresh-baked cookies from the dough I had leftover and while watching a horrible Hallmark movie.  It was the perfect breather day (for me at least) with my honey after a week of total non-stop, hair on fire preparations and such.

Every year, I seem to feel like it was an exhausting one since I've hit 40.  Is that just how it is when you hit middle age...you just try to survive it?   I blame it on the year we started doing the "one happy year" project because I don't remember having an onslaught of poo bombs like we've had the past few years since we've had to find things to be grateful for.  Does that just amplify the bad?   I seriously don't know how the 30 of you regular readers stick with me!

I re-read the year-end wrap-ups from 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and it's like 'how are you still remotely sane.'  (Hint:  I'm not.)  I know a lot of those years were tied up in Grandma's dementia, the resulting burnout and attitude changes from caregivers, seeing people for who they really were, deaths, illnesses, divorce and own our marriage issues thrown in for good measure.   Each year we both seem to have some kind of health crap we're dealing with but thankfully minor so I am thankful for that.

This year has been no different on feeling chaotic and just irritating on many levels- some self-induced, some not.  I was thankful we started off the year in Woodstock VT at a bird sanctuary catching a bird of prey on our hands.  But the Mr got the worst bloody nose of his life during that and we were just petrified the bird was going to peck his face off since blood is kind of their trigger.  March is when the Mr had signs of his heart issue and we spent basically 4 1/2 months before we got any answers on that front.  At the end of April, we went on a cross country road trip which was amazing.  We did a basement remodel which included building a wall, cutting wall tiles that we were ill-equipped for but made work and somehow it all came together.  It was an exhausting few months though getting that done.  Then it was straight into a much needed vacation in the Berkshires/Vermont for the tail end of leaf peeping season.  The MA house inspired me to update our living room when we got back but it just ended up putting stress on me that I didn't need so October is the cut off for any of that.  This year, it seemed everyone I talked to said the holiday season was just "off" and it had nothing to do with the late Thanksgiving, though that doesn't help.  I had to will myself to decorate but was glad I did.  Everyone who visited looked around in wonder saying how beautifully I decorate which warmed the cockles of my heart.  The one casualty this year was our travel ornament tree.  I had zero desire to put it up even with 6 new ornaments for it.

But it's time to scroll the good stuff, so I just went through my One Happy Year document to share some of my best times of 2019.

1/3- big snow came in overnight, couldn’t sleep past 6am so I took a bath in that big soaking tub and watched the snow fall while digging into my calves, packed the rest of our stuff then set a timer for an hour and went sledding down the small hill then the big one a few times, 4k footage before we left, watching the Mr at Funspot and playing some old school video games, Lake Winnipesaukee, BONANZA!,

1/20- breakfast in bed (eggs, bacon, cinnamon swirl toast), “you cook so much, you’re entitled to a shotty breakfast in bed from time to time!", snowshoed, got bins on bottom of shelves organized.

2/10- snow, walked 2 laps in it, when we got back the Mr thanked me for helping him to appreciate how fun snow can be again and how much joy it brings me makes him happy too, watched Real Genius, mailed vday gifts,

4/27- drove a pretty good clip on the trip, lunch, and gifts from Woodsy, Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth, turbines blinking red in unison in the black of night,

4/28- Corn Palace-lame but Griswoldy, Prairie dog crawling on my lap!, Badlands, Wall Drug props we did in the back,

5/3-  baby bison, being almost alone together in the Norris Geyser Basin, snow falling on us from the trees, good Old Faithful, Dolly Parton cashier at the general store, paying for dinner of and being thanked by older couple at Chop House,

5/5- sweet baby bison in the median of Mammoth, lots of elk and bison, sparring bison, bison stampede over Gardener River bridge and the bouncing of the bridge and clops of their hooves,

7/3- met new gynie-gave her Beekman lotion apologizing for my obese vag, the Mr took off to go with me (and needed the break- his work was being a bag of dicks)

7/28- got started on drywall and got bottom installed pretty well with both outlets, by the end of the day…we had a wall!  Including on top of the doorway and to the right of it.  Holy poop that was a lot and we’re not even done with it!

10/1- took A. the food I made (last time I would see her), watched Scream

10/20- color in the trees on the way to MA, Bartlett’s Orchard had Northern Spy apples, Norman Rockwell Museum, the river path/bridge with beautiful color, watched the Great Pumpkin and Halloweentown, cuddling on the couch and zonking out listening to KCSM

11/23- Singing Bruce song by Rick Springfield,  walking around Toronto, getting to Bruce Dickinson show without incident despite parking crap, seats were better than I bought due to mix up and his show was great, acapella version of Revelations verse, got back to the car without getting robbed or approached in sketchy area

12/14- Mr mailed Woodsy’s box for me while I took a shower since I was crippled, told C. we were dropping off his cookie whether he was there or not, venting about people’s expectations and screaming “f*ck all y’all!” doing double birds, dog at garden place and the sweet older lady who loved hearing about Grandpa restoring the firetrucks when she saw the bag we were buying there.  Made me cry a little.  Walked historic district and got R's candy, napping on the couch with the fireplace on, getting TJ’s and Target done, listening to John Denver Cmas for hygge time

We're planning on spending the evening at home since our days of going out specifically for NYE are behind us.  No need to be out with the drunks on the road.  I'll make a filet mignon for dinner, we've got real and faux wine so I'll decide later which I need.  We'll read our one happy year to each other and discuss which has become our NYE tradition.

I thank you regulars who keep coming back.  I adore you more than you know.  We both wish you a happy, healthy new year!

Are you ready for a new year?  Has 2019 been good to you or handed you your butt more times than you'd like to count?

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Monday, December 30, 2019

Technical Difficulties

My laptop is currently out of commission and I can't check it until morning to see if my fix worked.  It's annoying trying to blog on my phone so you guys get a break from me today.  😁

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Friday, December 27, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #52

Another Christmas behind us.  Sigh.   I will never do a light "refresh" of a room during holiday time again.  It just put too much stress on me even though it wasn't too horrible in the scheme of things like the basement refresh was.

Oh and remind me if anyone moves around the holidays in the future to make sure we're out of town for the holidays.  😬  After a quick tete a tete with mi madre who arrived Christmas Eve with her undies in a twist, we had a nice evening.  I'm not one to take attitude these days without dishing it right back to let you know I won't allow you to take your bad mood out on me and once that was made clear, we were able to move on.  Poor Mr.  He said he looked over at me two minutes into her arrival looking up at the ceiling in the kitchen out of her view reading my thoughts of "God...give me the strength..."  Thankfully, Christmas Day was better attitude-wise overall but her cold was progressively worse each time I saw her, putting our AirTamers (affiliate link) to the test.  I feel if I'm able to celebrate the new year healthy then they are truly worth every penny because she was germin' up the place pretty fierce on Christmas Eve to the point we wiped the whole place down after she left.

I haven't been able to read too much this week with the holidays and all but squeezed in a few that may be of interest.

Let's squeeze into...

15 Heart-Healthy Foods to Boost Your Good Cholesterol (Check...on basically all of them.)

How to Cook Salmon: Tips and Tricks That’ll Make You Feel Like a Chef  (Time to get more of this fabulous fatty fish in your diet!)

9 Total-Body Exercises that Tone Your Arms, Abs, and Butt  (Some good ones in here for sure.)

6 Flavorful Recipes for a Healthier New Year  (Always good to have new recipes in the arsenal.)

Ask a Therapist: Why Does Everyone Else Seem Happier Than Me?  (I blame social media.  No one's life is what they show on social media which is why my blog is boring because I show da truth, yo!)

No Time To Work Out? 10 Easy Ways To Stay Moving During The Holidays  (I like to move it, move it.)

Police Dog Caught Red-Handed Stealing Christmas Presents  (Aww, nugget!)

In case you missed it earlier in the month, here's what YOU'VE been reading here this month!

My 2019 Christmas Home Tour

Seriously? Holiday Weekend Recap

Setting the Record Straight

Yeesh, Can We Please Stop?

Will It Ever NOT Affect Me?

I hope you have a great final weekend of the year!  I think we're going to just chill out.  I'm not interested in doing ANY....THING.  A friend asked if I wanted to get together and I wanted to cry from the mental doneness.  But I breathed, reframed and I put her on today's schedule along with visiting with my other friend.   So I'll have lunch with the one friend alone which will be a treat since we're usually with the spouses and we'll visit in the late afternoon/evening with my one friend and her fiance before they head out of town the next day.  It will be a full one today but I will finally be able to breathe a bit this weekend.  Now to start looking for potential rentals for next year in case our usual cabin isn't an option.  😁

How were your holidays?  What are you doing this weekend?

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas All!

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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

My Favorite Day of the Year

Happy Christmas Eve everyone!  Yesterday was hectic as all get out.  I baked all day and night long.  Last night the Mr grabbed a full steak dinner and brought it home for us to celebrate our anniversary.  He didn't want me to have to cook and wanted a moment to breathe and enjoy each other's company before the hubbub of me having to cook some stuff today for our gathering with my mom tonight.  Well, that didn't happen as far as breathing.  My baked potato was rotten so I had to make my own we thankfully had on hand and by then, the steak was cold.  We usually ice cut outs and do colorful icing unless it's a travel year. Screw it.   White icing will have to be good enough.  Hopefully, mom's not worse cold wise than she was the other night but I'll have my air purifier around my neck to ward off her voodoo.  I'm so bummed we're going to be in the 50's, almost 60's the next few days.  Definitely no white Christmas for us this year but still a magical day nonetheless.

Christmas Eve always reminds me of the magic and wonder of childhood.  Trying to stay up late enough to catch Santa, searching the skies, swearing you hear sleigh bells and the like.  There's nothing like tapping into that anticipation you had as a kid.  I know as each year passes, it can be hard to remember those things or feel jaded from all of the crap you have to do as an adult.  Even 15 minutes of thinking of your best holiday memories, lighting candles or pine incense that remind you of those times, cozied up with a cuppa can do wonders to melt away a case of the grinchy pants.  Far too many people have that this year from what I've been reading and hearing.

We wish you all the wonder of childhood, hope you get to enjoy a few quiet moments for yourself and get to bed before Santa takes his flight.  For all of you keeping the magic alive for the kids, thank you for putting in the time and effort for those moments they'll never forget.

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Monday, December 23, 2019

Pre-Christmas Weekend Recap

Happy Christmas Eve eve, y'all.

What a weekend.  Saturday morning, I got my foodstuff done for Sunday's gathering so it was nice to not have to worry about it and just frost my cake before we left.  We had a delivery going to my mother in law that went so horribly awry that I was in tears with a customer service rep saying I ruined Christmas.  After enough time on the phone to drain the battery, and the Mr putting the smackdown Ward Cleaver style to a woman who had to be chuckling under her breath, we got a solution.  (Poor Mr...he was raised in a small town with parents who could threaten to take their business elsewhere and it would get them somewhere.  Even 28 years later, he still hasn't learned the big city doesn't work that way.  Speaking of 28 years, we've officially been together 28 years today.  My how time flies!  Happy dating Anniversary hon!)

We usually make it a rule not to go out during this time of year anywhere near shopping but it was necessary after the morning I had.  It was absolutely atrocious out there.  The Mr cannot take crowds like that anymore.  It must just be an age thing because we might not have liked crowds when we were younger but now we have to keep bail money in the glove compartment.  We went for some Italian food for a late lunch and felt like we wanted to be out and not go back home after the morning we had but didn't want to be out in the crowds either.  We stopped at a few places before heading back home and basically chilling the rest of the day. We watched Eddie Murphy on SNL and it was pretty good but I wonder if it was his choice to reprise all of his old roles or not.  Still, it was nice to see Buckwheat, Velvet Jones (though he stumbled really bad on that one- kinda cringy), Gumby and of course, Mr. Robinson.

Sunday we got in Dirty 30 with Autumn Calabrese in the morning and it was the gathering with my grandpa's wife.  Just as I suspected, her cake made its appearance.  Mmm hmm.  It was a decent time.  My mom was sick and told us like an hour before so we could wear our AirTamers.  (affiliate link)  You know, the ones we can't find?  Luckily the Mr found our old one so I could at least be protected.  I was sick for Halloween, sick for Thanksgiving and I'll be damned if I'm going to be sick for Christmas if I can help it.  She had a bit of a burr up her butt thereby reinforcing why we'll be out of town next year.  I'm thinking she's ticked she had to move to her new place and have it a wreck over the holidays.  Well, you chose when to sell and you did the same thing the time you moved there so kind of your fault and no need to take it out on the rest of us.  I must say, it makes the holidays much more tolerable when you know you won't have to deal with some of the 'tude the following year.  When I heard eye-roll worthy content, my mind went to winter cabins and sleigh rides and I was able to get through it.   I told my grandpa's wife the same and she said she actually likes that because she loves our one on one time.  We had a nice time when everyone left and it was half of us left.  We chatted for a while and then it was time to get going home. 

The next three days are going to be kind of nuts, okay, actually the rest of the week since my friend is visiting Friday so I won't feel like we can actually breathe until Saturday.  I won't say I can't wait until Christmas is over because I can but I can't wait to be able to friggin' breathe with nothing to do for anyone and nowhere to be. 

How was your weekend?

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Friday, December 20, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #51

Nothing like it being 10pm and realizing you don't have your post done!  Whoops.  I spent yesterday with my friend and her new baby.  He was a fussy lil cuss to which she profusely kept apologizing and I told her it was fine.  He's a baby, that's his job.  But it was nice to visit with her and she really loved her Hot Logic mini and all the meals I made her. 

(This post contains affiliate links.  Should you buy through them, I may receive a few cents commission toward blog expenses at no cost to you.)

I did make her cry with this book I got.  I saw it at Vindler's Five & Dime in NY and I thought it would be perfect to read to him.  It gives little tips on each page like "friends can be mean sometimes, learn to forgive them" and "being a man isn't about being tough, it's about being a kind person that helps others" and stuff like that to be a confident, good boy as he grows up.  She said this book is exactly what she wants him to grow up to be and couldn't stop crying.  So I highly recommend it if you have a new first-time mom.  There's also a girl's version.     

Let's get right to...

YouTube’s FitnessBlender Stars Daniel and Kelli Segars Share How to Stay In Shape Around the Holidays  (Good advice from some of our favorite Youtubers!)

Is It OK to Work Out When You're Sick? Here's How to Tell   (I always feel better when I workout even if I have to pull it back a little.)

Have Hip Pain? Here Are The 10 Best Yoga Poses To Ease Achy Hips   (Yes please)

Promote Winter Wellness with Hygge  (Word to yer mutha!)

33 Amazing Ways to Make Your Home So Cozy for Winter   (Our house looks like a damn forest and I love it.)

This Cozy Farmhouse Has Something Called a ‘Snug Room’ and Now We Want One  (This is literally my dream house.  I exploded confetti with each pic so the Mr had a lot of sweeping to do.  And screw the snug room, give me that fireplace any day.)

4 Obstacles to Positive Life Change  (You don't say.)

10 Home Prep Tips Before Going on Vacation  (To grandmother's house we go...)

The Heartbreaking Story Behind How Linda Ronstadt Lost Her Voice  (I always remember staying with my great aunt & uncle and my 2nd cousin was home for the weekend and put in her Linda Ronstadt cassette as we were driving somewhere.  I was in the backseat and listening to them sing the duet with her and James Taylor "I Think It's Gonna Work Out Fine."  My aunt's cute little head bobbing back and forth as she sung "think...think....work out fine."  Still warms my heart to think about.)

I Lost My Life to Airbnb  (Wow, no way I could live like that.)

In a Word: Eight, er, Nine Tiny Reindeer  (Really interesting info!)

Neighbors of ‘Home Alone’ house share behind-the-scenes video of the iconic movie 30 years after its release  (Courtesy of the Mr. and SUPER interesting video!  Don't miss it!)

I hope you guys have something fun planned for the weekend.  The Mr is going to see Star Wars with my cousin, as is their tradition on Saturday morning.  I'll be making spice cake and my cheeseball for Christmas with my grandpa's wife the next day so I have nothing to do the day of. 

What are you guys up to this weekend?

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Thursday, December 19, 2019

My 2019 Christmas Home Tour

This Christmas season has been utterly crazy and that's totally my fault.  See, when we went to Massachusetts and stayed in this super hygge inspired house, I was determined to finally make the changes to our home that I've been wanting to do for years.  I was tired of being practical and wanted the kind of things that always gave me fuzzies on websites like Country Living or House Beautiful.  I suppose some would call it rustic or farmhouse, but I call it "I like this and I want it."  So from the first week we got back, we've been redoing things in the great room.  Here's a refresh of what our previous Christmas house tour has looked like to get an appreciation for what it looks like now.   I've got some tea, I'll be here when you get back.


Let's stand in one spot and spin around in our shoebox.

We replaced our chandelier and dining table.  I'm so happy I was able to put fresh greens on the light like I've seen in so many fancy restaurants or cozy country homes.

I will do an in-depth post but for now, I'm focusing on the Christmas stuff.

I love the fresh greens on our new pass-through shelf and even just a carafe of eucalyptus with a bow makes a nice statement.

I still have my picket fence sign I made a few years ago that I'm glad to continue to hang up.

We have a new floor lamp and trunk to sit our holiday tea on and burn our favorite candles.

The biggest squee-worthy change is our hand-hewn mantel from our builder-grade mantel.

We just got our stocking hangers yesterday and I was so glad.  The first place sent me the wrong size and I didn't know if we'd get them in time for Christmas.  (Or at least enough time to enjoy them.)

Here's our armoire.  Obviously, I had the yule log on.

On the bottom shelves are most of our stuff from the past few years.  What's different is our Vermonter peanut brittle box I picked up in Woodstock, Vermont at the end of last year.

Another recent addition as a direct result of our MA trip is our new record player.  We've got a small little collection going and aren't going to be audiophiles or anything but it's nice to have some of our childhood faves.

On the top shelf is my grandma's church that she painted in ceramics class, a vintage Currier and Ives platter some friends gave me that owned an antique store and some caroler figurines.

I used this last year to store our Christmas cards as they came in.

Here's the other armoire which is pretty much unchanged and includes grandma's gumdrop tree.

This is how I'm displaying our Christmas cards this year.

When we were in Chester VT in October, the Mr found these 12 Days of Christmas plaques I saw a few years ago, procrastinated on and missed out on.  They were at a tea house we went to and they were mine.

I had him cut a birch pole in half and I attached them to it as something different to use to hang them on because honestly, I had no idea where else they would go.

Here's how it looks in its spot.

Here's the star of the show, our new tree.

But my favorite is to turn down the lights and enjoy its beauty.

I hope your home is full of your favorite things too.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Brain Fry and Mental Escape Plan

One week y'all.  That's what we're down to.

(via GIPHY.com)

I feel ya, R.F.

I need to sit down and make a list of all of the things I need to make but more importantly the things I need to buy to make those things.  My freezer is at maximum capacity.  My friend is coming over tomorrow and I get to meet her baby.  I'm so excited to hold him.  I love babies when they're little and don't move much.  Then once they get all squirmy and want nothing to do with you...bye.  LOL  I'm just going to hold him and sniff his head.  They need to bottle clean baby smell.  I made her seven meals and 12 pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for quick breakfasts.  Since they don't have a microwave, I got her a Hot Logic Mini (affiliate link) which will heat those up perfectly.  She can plug it in in the morning and by lunchtime have a perfectly hot meal to 160 degrees.  If he fusses and she needs to pop it back in there, it'll stay warm until she's ready.  I hope she likes it.

Sunday is Christmas with my grandpa's wife.  I already got my big gift from her which is a chest of drawers for my closet for seasonal clothes.  (Anyone else used to think it was Chester drawers when they were a kid?  Just me?  Never mind.)   I'm making my spice cake that everyone loves (just a box but hey, I'll take it!) and my cheeseball.   She emailed me saying she wasn't going to be able to bring her pineapple upside-down cake she makes because her new cake pan wouldn't be here in time and would I cover desserts.  (It's literally a jelly roll pan that she could get at any grocery store in aluminum, which she's done before.)  I told her I always bring a spice cake so dessert was covered but if she was asking me to attempt to make her cake for the first time, I was going to have to pass but we'll miss it because we all look forward to it.  Suddenly it was "I'll bring it if I can get the pan."  Yeah, sorry but I'm not having one more thing passed off on me because someone else doesn't want to make it anymore.  Same with Christmas.  I was given the menu and it looked like everything was covered.  I know not to really bring complicated desserts like I have in the past because it's a dumping ground for sweets.  I have two boxes of Ghirardelli brownie mix (the good one - affiliate link) in the basement and said I'd bring those knowing my mom would be happy with that since they're her favorite.  Later that night she sends some fancy Christmas tree brownies and says "thought of you when I saw this.  Probably because you're bringing brownies."  I replied, "those were made by someone who hadn't just made 10 doughs and wants to burn down her kitchen."  Yeah.  If YOU want to hack up my brownies into trees, ice them,  add M&Ms and jam a pretzel in as a stump...have at it sister, not this lady.  Not this year.  This is the year of no.  I'm doing what I can when I can and if I don't want to do something, I'm not gonna.  My brain is utterly fried.

Christmas isn't the end of it.  My friend that lost her grandpa and mom will be in town and he throws in a vegan and gluten-free wrench.   (No, he doesn't have celiac disease)

(via GIPHY.com)

I have no problem with vegans or gluten-free peeps so please don't get ye undies in a knot.  But the Mr knew exactly where my mind would go.  I'd need to research vegan, gluten-free dishes, go out of my way to make something I wouldn't normally make, stress about whether or not it turned out right instead of enjoying the time I have with her because of my need for perfection.  He said I was not doing that and we have a pizza place that has cauliflower crust and he can get a veggie pizza while the rest of us get our gluten and pepperoni on.  Done.  I'm having a hard time with it but I think I'm going to take him up on it.  If he's still vegan and gluten-free when I see him for a holiday again in two years, then I'll have plenty of time to research and test, until then...cauli-pizza for you, sir.  I'm done.

I have a bottle of wine from Vermont I was going to use for cooking.  I'm rethinking that.  At minimum, my mental escape plan is I'm gonna stuff my face with Christmas cookies waving my middle fingers with a hot cocoa chaser.  I give zero effs about the caloric consequences.

What's on your to-do list gathering/entertaining wise the next week?

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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

YOU Light Up My Life

I asked you guys to share with us either your own Christmas lights or lights that make you smile and apparently only two of ya's have Christmas spirit this year.  So let's get to it!

We kick things off with Katie who shared the Christmas lights on her home.

Look at that cute North Pole Stables with the reindeer all ready to deliver goodies on Christmas Eve!  (Actually, a few by the bush are waiting to go in the sleigh!)    Thanks for sharing your Christmas cheer, Katie!

Oh, then she shared that her neighbors went all out...

That's a lot of characters to greet the neighborhood!  The real trick will be seeing how many of those lawn decorations are left by Christmas because hooligans are still hooligans.  πŸ˜‚  Keep us updated, Katie!

Denise checked in and showed off the lovely display at her home.

I love all of the symbols of the season waiting to greet you from the deer to the angel to the holy family.  Don't forget to take in the joy as you ascend the stairs!  ;-)  Thanks for sharing your holiday shine with us, Denise!

Well, that was a quick post!  Thanks to Katie and Denise for sharing!

Their pics inspired me to actually clean the house and workout early then grab some goodies...

(Spiced Plum tea and a few snickerdoodles)

...and go look at Christmas lights!  We drove around for about 90 minutes.  I took a pic of our favorite house to share.

It doesn't even do it justice because the icicle lights are really full and twinkle so pretty.  Literally the best icicle lights we've ever seen.  These people get our vote for best lights for sure!

Happy Holidays everyone!

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Friday, December 13, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #50

Happy Friday all!  Let me thank you for the comments on yesterday's Peloton post to restore my faith in humanity.  It seems those who scream loudest in society tagging all the people and companies and whipping people into a frenzy are the ones that get the attention.  It can make it feel like everyone feels that way and you're some uninformed idiot or old relic that doesn't get it.  Thank you for reminding me constantly why I have the best online peeps in the blogosphere who don't fall for that tomfoolery!

I can't believe this is the last weekend we have before Christmas gatherings begin. 😩  I'm not ready!  Crap, literally not ready.  I forgot I need to get my grandpa's wife the special candy she likes since I'm the only one who will get it for her.  Add that to the weekend list.  I have been looking at links this week at, oh...1 a.m.  *rolling eyes*

Let's not let my sleepless nights be in vain and get into...

Trainers Debunk What They Believe to Be the Top Fitness Myths of the Past Decade   (Stop drinking the Kool Aid.)

Farewell, Crunches — Do These 11 Standing Exercises For Tighter, Stronger Abs   (No rolling around on the floor?  Yes, please!)

33 Amazing Ways to Make Your Home So Cozy for Winter   (Snuggle up, buttercup!)

Now even the FBI is warning about your smart TV's security  (Even your TV is targeting you.  Read this to protect yourself and for the love of Pete (whoever he is) get some black electrical tape over every cam whether it's TV, tablet or laptop.  It's not paranoia, this shizz is for real, yo!)

She installed a Ring camera in her children’s room and a hacker accessed it and harassed her 8-year-old daughter  (Seriously...this stuff is a problem and most people don't even think about it anymore.  Seriously people, USE TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION!!)

This is a No.1 way to have a happy, healthy, long life  (Might not be what you think)

The Holidays Aren't Always Happy - How to Handle Depression This Time of Year   (It's okay to not feel okay.  Grab a journal and get some of it onto paper as well.)

Your Values, Your Life  (Thought-provoking stuff)

For the First Time, Scientists Have Reversed Dementia in Mice With Drug That Reduces Brain Inflammation   (Crossing everything I have two of)

28 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Every Single Day  (Every little bit helps!)

No Sweat Tech: Buying from Amazon: 3 Steps to Find What You Need and Avoid Fake Reviews  (Good stuff to watch out for.)

Playing Traditional Games Protects Your Thinking Skills As You Age, Says New 68-Year Study  (Break out the cards and Scrabble!)

5 Fun Facts About National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation  (Cool stuff for the Griswold fan.)

Woman Secretly Records FiancΓ© Singing The Sweetest Song To Their Dog  (Aaaaand that's how you know he's a keeper!)

The Most Wonderful Thing You'll See This Week  (Maybe Two!!  Pause the ad at the top and scroll to the video in the middle of the article then take in the awesome.)

It has been a crazy week with projects and deliveries and I know it's my fault but I think things are as they should be for now.  (Or at least as good as they're going to get.  You should've seen the Mr wince when he proofread that!)   I'll update next week with pics of everything since we are putting finishing touches on things this weekend.  I'm looking forward to maybe binge-watching some movies or I guess I should start baking.  *Hiss*  So not feelin' it this year.

"I don't want to offend you but your cookies are a little bitter this year."
"Sorry about that, I added hate to the ingredients.  Next year I'll put my bitters into an Old Fashioned (the drink) so you can sip it."

Don't let my lack of holiday spirit this year stop you from sharing yours.  We've got two people that have shared pics of Christmas lights.  Sunday is the deadline.  Email or message me.

Whatchu into this weekend?

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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Yeesh, Can We Please Stop?

A soapbox moment, if you please.  I'm just gonna go against the societal grain right now to declare I can't take one more person calling the Peloton's now-infamous ad where a woman is given a bike by her silent husband, "cringy."  Why is everyone assuming that he got it for her to send a message to his thin wife that she needs to lose weight?!?!  God forbid she asked for one and being the good husband he is, he got it for her!

*Le gasp*

Do you know how many things I have asked the Mr for that are fitness/health-related and knew he'd be the only person who would likely get it for me?  The Mr and I never gave this commercial a second thought and we actually liked it.  I thought it was sweet that she was taking her "me time" in her posh house with her well-behaved daughter that let her ride in peace to mentally feel better about herself a year later.  She didn't say one word about losing weight.  She said she had no idea how much it would change her.  Why is everyone assuming she's talking about weight!?!?

I suspect if the commercial showed a big woman like me asking for a Peloton, he'd be an effin hero for being concerned about her health.  Or there would be jokes about "yeah, your fat ass needs one!" and it would be perfectly acceptable. Yet when TV hubby gets it for his thin wife, he's suddenly a body-shaming monster and the company is trying to say something?  Maybe she took SoulCycle classes and he figured with the money she was spending on that or not always being able to make it from her successful, demanding job it would work better to have something similar in the house?  Maybe she said, "my job is so stressful, I need to start exercising to relieve my stress because the doctor said I'm setting myself up for a heart attack."  Maybe she has depression and wants to use exercise as a tool to help her mood.  There are so many things that exercise helps with but the first conclusion we jump to is he's trying to tell her to lose weight.  We get all of these self-care articles shoved down our throats where exercise is listed as a way to help with our mental state but society jumps on it like he's an emotionally abusive husband to his thin, beautiful wife.

This article mentions how everyone at some ad exec gathering was talking about the ad but the "CEO remains silent."  GOOD!  If one more person apologizes for something that doesn't need to be apologized for to appease what are a small percentage of people, I'm going to lose my mind.  (Too late.)  You want him to apologize for other people jumping to the wrong conclusion?  Why should he apologize for one person pointing something out on Twitter and others jumping on the bandwagon??   I think people's reaction to this ad says more about society's issues with exercise like who it is and isn't okay to suggest needs to do it based on judging a book by its cover.

Where do you fall on the Peloton commercial?  If you don't give a poo, get on your soapbox about something irritating you.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Is it just us? Hump Day Poll

**Reminder, Sunday is the deadline if you want to be included in the Christmas lights post!  Set a reminder for yourself for later tonight if you're reading this in the morning.**

Now, onto the post.

It's two weeks from Christmas day.

I feel like we haven't gotten to really enjoy the season at all.  I thought it might just be us or my projects in the living/dining area over the past weeks.  However, I've heard other people out in the wild say there's just something weird about this holiday season that they can't put their finger on.

How about you?

Is this holiday season running as usual for you or do you feel like there's something askew that has nothing to do with a late Thanksgiving?

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

That Sinking Feeling

When I left my job of 12 years, a few of the ladies who had retired wanted to do a"ladies lunch" a time or two a year.  We kept it up for a few years consistently and then it got more inconsistent for the larger group of us as time has passed.  Last year, we finally scheduled one and I told them the only way I would cancel was if my grandma passed away on that day.  We buried her two days before.  I wasn't going to cancel it because I needed something to keep my mind off of the culmination of seven years of suffering our family endured at dementia's hands.

Two of the ladies are in their 70's and one in her 60's now.  It's like lunch with your mom or grandma and nice to have ladies of different ages to commiserate with.  When they asked what I'd been up to and how my grandma was, I told them we'd just buried her two days prior.  They were so empathetic and I didn't think to tell them because it wasn't on the top of my list since I had a eulogy to write.  As we continued with the lunch, something became very apparent to me...one of the women in her 70's seemed as if was in the early stages of dementia.  I fought back the tears and looked skyward and said "really?  I can't even get an escape at lunch from it for ONE day?  Thanks."  I was so sad when I left.  I know that confusion like she was experiencing can also be the sign of other medical issues so I didn't want to jump to conclusions.  That was 18 months ago and I forgot about it because out of sight out of mind.  Then I got my Christmas card from her and it all flooded back.  We get an email with what we'll be getting from the USPS that day and I saw a scan of the envelope.  There was the telltale slanted scrawl that my grandma got in the beginning.  It's still hard to see those birthday or Christmas cards from her knowing what we know now.

When I opened the card from my friend, instead of having the side of the card filled out with a long recap of her year and her love for the dog, it was a shaky signature of her, her husband's and her dog's name.  It was slanted which is an early sign of cognitive decline.  My heart broke.  I know that dementia is likely taking her even if she has not formally been diagnosed.  (I don't know that she has or hasn't and how would you begin to bring that up to someone you're not exactly close with?)

How can you tell if someone you know and love may be going through the beginning stages of cognitive decline?  Here are some of the signs to watch for and be ready to have a serious talk.

1)  Memory Loss

Obviously, memory loss is the main symptom most people think of with dementia.  It's more than walking into a room and not remembering why you went in there, which is typical as you age.  This memory loss is more, they can't recall things newly learned.  Say they've moved, they may not be able to remember their new address or how to get to their newer favorite restaurant.  They may rely on planners or post it's to aid their memory much more than before.

2)  Difficulty doing tasks they are familiar with

With my grandma, it was her noodle recipe she made for 60 years or serving an almost raw inside turkey because she didn't turn the oven to the right temperature.  It can be forgetting how to make coffee when they've made it every morning their whole adult lives or forgetting how to get to the hairdresser they've been going to for 25 years.

3)  Not being able to tell time

One of the first tests a neurologist will run on someone suspected to have dementia is the clock face test.  They will have them tell them the time on a clock face.  (IE;  It's 3:40 so draw that on a clock face.)  They will also have them draw a clock face.  Often someone with dementia will put all of the numbers on one side of the clock, skip some or bunch them up very small.  It is imperative you know how to tell time on a clock face and not digitally since this is used as a diagnostic tool!

4)  Misplacing things in odd places

We all lose our keys or that piece of mail on occasion but when you find them in the freezer or fridge or the linen closet, then it's time to consider a doctor's visit.  If you can't find the missing object right away, you could be accused of stealing which leads to...

5)  Paranoia

Many in the early-ish stages misplace things and accuse family or friends of stealing.  They can also get paranoid thinking you are trying to take their money, put them in a home or want what is theirs.  If this happens, they need doctors care immediately.

6)  Isolate themselves

If you have someone who was always on the go, in all kinds of clubs or traveled a lot, you may notice them pulling back from activities they once loved.  If they had a scare with getting lost or not remembering something, they could no longer trust their judgment and be scared to bring it up for fear of the disease or being put in a home.  It's up to their family and friends to keep an eye on those things and talk to them calmly about your concerns.

7)  Personality changes

A person can go from very outgoing or funny to agitated, belligerent, paranoid, and/or fearful.  This can change not only day to day but minute to minute depending on the kind of day they're having.

8)  Can't find the words

My grandma always said "whatchamacallit" but when that and thingamajig became her main forms of communication, the family noticed. We all search for our words from time to time but when you look at an everyday object like a skillet or car and don't know the name for it or can't write the name for it, it's time to see a doctor.

As the holiday season approaches, you may see some of these signs in family or friends you don't see all of the time.  How do you bring this up without ruffling feathers?  If they have children, consider pulling them aside (or emailing/texting them) and ask if everything is okay with their parent.  Note some of the things of concern and you just wanted to make sure they are okay.  It is because two people did this with our family that they went from "wait and see" to "we need to make an appointment."   Your observation could be just the push the family needs to make a decision.  If there are no kids, you could pull them aside and ask if they've been feeling okay, they seemed a little off today.  Don't bring something up in front of other people where they may feel embarrassed or ashamed and get defensive.  Just express your concern in a kind, compassionate way and you could say you just made your doctor's appointments for the year and you want to make sure they're taking care of their health too.

It's never easy to come to terms that someone you love may be suffering from cognitive decline but putting your head in the sand delays treatment which allows them to slip away quickly.  Knowing the signs could give you more time with the people you know and love.

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Monday, December 9, 2019

Stinky McGee and Crying in my Wine Weekend Recap

Good Monday morning everyone!  I hope you had a fun, productive or completely lazy, self-care weekend.    We had an interesting kick-off to our weekend.  I ordered a new mantel to hang our stocking by the gas vent fireplace with care because I was tired of our 23-year-old mantel.  Originally, I was going to take the mantel down myself and even scored it.  But when I slipped and cut a sliver of drywall, I didn't want to screw it up so we decided to hire out for it to be removed and put up the new one.  It was bittersweet.  We were excited to have a fireplace and mantel of our own when we were 21 and 23 years old.  We hung our stockings there for 22 years and our pup warmed her booty under it when she was chilly.  But we were tired of builder grade and I wanted something big, chunky and rustic.

(Notched back so it could be hung on a 2x4)

The dude who showed up opened the conversation by saying "well, I was on my way home but my boss said "no you're not.""  The last time a worker opened up a conversation that way, we had a gas leak and almost exploded because he wasn't paying attention and was more worried about telling his girlfriend why he was going to be late.  I wasn't having it.  I said, "if you have something you need to get home to, I have no problem rescheduling this."  He wasn't expecting that and he's like "oh no, that's okay."  I said, "because we need your full attention on this because we can't do this ourselves like we were going to."  He started stuttering a little and was like "no, I was just kidding."  Mmm hmm.  Then we showed him the instructions that came with the mantel and corbels and twice he was going rogue and creating issues that were addressed in the directions.  I promptly would say "yes, in the instructions it says how to do that."  After the second time, he said "you're probably like "if you'd just read the instructions.""  I just smiled and didn't disagree.  He also REEKED of cigarette smoke to the point I was coughing the entire time.  I felt like I'd just smoked a carton.  We had to air out the house for an hour then run the diffuser for 6 hours to get his "essence" out of here.  He was quite skilled but still, why do we get the whiners?  (He went off about his boss for five minutes at the end of his time and overcharged us by a quarter-hour because he stopped doing his job to tell us stories and we got to pay $22 for the pleasure.  Thanks a lot, Stinky McGee.

In the end, we were SO glad we treated ourselves to having someone else do it.  I easily could've gotten that mantel off the wall doing exactly what he did but scared myself with that drywall nick.  Besides that part only took 10 minutes so it wouldn't have saved us money anyway...stopping him when he'd say "long story short" with "too late" would have.  I'm going to do a proper before and after post for you.

The mantel looked so good, it made our pathetic pass-thru shelf to the kitchen look like crap.  Well, it's looked like crap for 10 years.  The wood is super soft and even sitting a mason jar on it dents the paint.  Yeah.  So something needed to be done about it anyway.  I wanted to make a shelf facade to cover it that matched the mantel.  Sounds simple enough, right?  I got a primitive planer from an antique mall but there was no way that thing was touching the oak since it barely made a dent in soft pine.  We went to an old school hardware store that had a block planer and that looked like it would do the trick.  The problem is, despite expert measuring on the notch we had to work with on the pass-thru wall, we could not account for the crap show that is the unevenness of the wall itself.  The Mr was doing the best he could and when he was done with the 20 cuts/re-cuts, we had a bit of a mess on our hands.  I seriously have NO IDEA how the crappy builders here were able to build that thing.  I was in tears out of frustration on something that should've been relatively simple and I'm sure he was like "why didn't I marry the chick my mom tried to arrange a marriage with in high school?"

At this point, we finished up what we could, got it glued and brad nailed until we could bring it inside to sit overnight.  I'll work on staining and polying it today and hopefully be done today since we've got a delivery coming tomorrow and I won't be able to deal with it then.  Let's just say the day ended with this...
(That is called mulled wine.  The Mr didn't like it so I took his.)
I'm not a drinker, therefore after one mug, I was walking sideways.  Thank you, Aldi.

Don't forget the deadline for sharing your favorite holiday lights (your own or others) is Sunday!  I've got one submission so far so run outside tonight and snap those pics!  You can either email me at mrs{at}successalongtheweigh{dot}com or message me on the Facebook page.

How was your weekend?

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Friday, December 6, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #49

Good Friday to you all.  The first full weekend of December, how the heck did that happen?   We were happy to find a Salvation Army tree at a hipster store we wandered into earlier in the week so we could get a few teens their Christmas gifts.  (Everyone goes for the smaller kids.)  Does anyone else have a hard time finding those trees now?  I remember they used to be everywhere until about 10 years ago.  I can't find those adopt-a-senior trees anymore either.  I really loved doing those.  I'll have to look into that sooner next year since this year seems to be swirling down the drain.

But first, let's look into...

The Official 2019 Guide to Holiday Shopping Deadlines  (Plan for your out of staters)

This Is When Your Cold Stops Being Contagious  (Well, it looks like I've got 6 more days to go.)

Why You Struggle To Stay Awake When You're Stressed  (I have been a ZOMBIE this week!)

15 Christmas Decorations You Won't Believe Are Made Out Of Paper  (Get the kids/grandkids involved!)

6 Little Things You Can Do For Someone Who Is Grieving At The Holidays  (Good tips)

Why Am I So Angry?  (Have you been out there lately!?!)

16 Clear Signs You’re About to Be Hacked   (DO TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION!  I've gotten two notifications this past week alone from a-holes trying to hack an email account.)

37 Best Country Christmas Ideas for a Down-Home Holiday  (Swooooon!)

How to Decorate a Room with Limited Natural Light  (Like our cave?)

7 Versatile Kettlebell Exercises to Include in Your Workout  (More kettlebell)

Here's Why It's So Hard To Unpack After A Trip  (Oh good, it's not just us!)

Domino's Pizza Delivery Hero Saves Guy From Psycho Ex   (Language but good on them!)

It's finally Friday and I'm ready for the weekend.  It's been a week of trying to get back on track with our routines.  Since we came back from New England our exercise routines have been off a little.  I was sick when we got back so I had to ease off on intensity, finally got well and back to it full(ish) force and then got sick again after going to Toronto and have had to pull back again.  I almost fainted during Wednesday's workout.  Whoops.  Each cold is zapping my energy and the Mr has aggravated a shoulder injury.  We've both been guilty of skimping on our PT the past few months and its caught up to us.  Now he needs both his PT and mine and his body is protesting.  So we're trying to get back into whatever groove our bodies are allowing. 

What are you grooving into this weekend?

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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Setting the Record Straight

When I first came into the Mr's life at age 17, it was our first real relationship.  Through a series of unfortunate events and betrayals on the part of people the Mr trusted, our relationship was threatened...literally.  Lucky for him I'm stubborn and called him on some crap he was coerced to say in a drunken stupor to make others happy.  Needless to say, that didn't go over well when their plan failed.  Because no one ever bothered to ask our side of the story, many assumptions have been made even some 28 years later.  Don't you love how people will take other's words on something about YOUR life?!  Fast forward 10-ish years later to the Mr's sibling marrying a woman who is no less than a monster.  I don't use that term lightly.  The mental and physical toll she took on various family members throughout her tenure as a member of his family was great and still lingering even 6 years after her official leave.  We have not talked to her in 15 years, immediately cutting ties with that branch of the family tree after some unforgivable things were said and done.  I called her on her crap, told her where to go and where she could shove all of the things we've done for her over the years.  I never felt so free in my life.  Toxic emotional vampire is far too kind a term but they haven't invented anything else as close to the deplorable things this woman has put our family through.

The problem is, in that time from the moment I gave her the peace sign/middle finger, she has continued to mind f**k anyone she can including my mother in law.  There were times in the beginning that she and I would vent to each other about the in-laws if they were being irritating like anyone does.  I never said anything to her that I wouldn't say to either of them if asked.  I told her this when she tried to essentially blackmail me by threatening to tell them things I said about them.  I told her I would gladly print out every communication we ever had between each other because I had them all and unlike some of the things she said, I had ZERO issues saying these things to them if pressed.  She immediately backed down and never mentioned it again.  This marked the time when she would begin chiseling away at the fracture that was already between my mother in law and I from when I was 17.  Since his family doesn't like emotions they are experts at sweeping anything under a rug, jumping up and down on it and living with the lumps.  Yeah...not how I operate.  Once I was diagnosed with my stress disorder in the late '90s and told to cut out all forms of unnecessary stress, that unfortunately included some of his extended family events.  We would basically be ignored and it brought up a lot of old trauma for both of us and we figured if you're damned if you do and damned if you don't, then don't.  The sister in law used that as a way to drill into my mother in law's head that I hated her.  She literally said those words.  "Anele hates you, that's why she doesn't come around."  Because they don't talk about feelings, she knew that my MIL wouldn't ask me.  She did this for years and even though she's technically out of the family, she's not.  She is FAR more involved than an ex has ever been and has zero reasons to not still raise a ruckus because as Dr. Phil would say "you teach people how to treat you."

When the Mr would come home from lunches with his mom a few times a year, he always mentioned how she'd bring up that I hate her.  Finally, the last time he mentioned it was last month and I broke down.  I told him not to tell me that anymore.  I'd just sent her a gift for no other reason than I was thinking of her (he didn't even know I'd done it) and it was my idea to take her out for her birthday every year for the past 6 years.  What MORE did I need to do to show her I don't hate her and to kick that monster b*tchwad out of her head!?!?  He'd told her constantly all of the things she said and how it was my idea to do this or that but none of it sunk in.  It made me not even want to try with her anymore because what good would it do if she still only believed the word of a literal psychopath?  I decided I needed to just tell her and if she didn't believe me after that, there was nothing I could do.  I felt like if she died tomorrow, this would be something I wished I'd set the record straight on.  I asked the Mr what he thought and he said it was fine with him.  We took her out earlier this week for her birthday and since I'm sick, I gave myself permission to just not do it if I didn't feel like there was a natural in.  I didn't want to make it weird but I also was not mentally sharp since I'm just over everything going on in daily life right now.

I found my in when she'd just talked about Vampira and said "the one thing that always breaks my heart after your lunches with the Mr is how you tell him you think I hate you.  I have NEVER in my life hated you no matter what that woman ever told you" and we hugged.  I did tell her about the SIL's threat to "out" me to them about things I said in emails and I told her we vented to each other on occasion about stupid stuff that I don't even remember like you do about inlaws.  I told her I didn't say anything I wouldn't say to her face if asked and could she say the same because I had email proof of some whoppers and that was when she started working on getting into her head.  She said she knew I didn't really hate her, how nice I am to her and how happy I make the Mr.  I told her I knew we got off to a rough start but I was 17 and I understand regardless of his age that was her kid and she wanted the best for him.  She thanked me and told me she wanted me to know she had nothing to do with the ultimatum given to him early on in the relationship.  I told her I never thought she did.  She said she told the people involved he should work it out with me on his own.  (But wasn't too pushy about it because honestly, it would give her her 'baby' back if I were out of the picture.  Two people had the chance to stop it and didn't but that's neither here nor there now.)  She said she knew I had a boyfriend and I stopped her and said "I didn't though!!!  That's the thing!"  The Mr interrupted.  "The guy is gay...it was a non-issue when it all came down to it but the ONE TIME I confided in a friend, he betrayed me and told everyone what he wanted them to believe to manipulate them!"  She mentioned again about the supposed other guy and I said: "I wasn't even there alone on the night in question, I was with three other girls and it was a group house, not one singular guy but no one ever absorbed that part."  I told her if she ever has any question about what I think, the person to ask is ME, no one else.  She said the same for her.  She mentioned one time she said something and she thought I was offended by what she said and she wished she could've told me she didn't mean it that way.  I don't know what she was talking about but always feel like she can say "I think that might've come off wrong" or whatever so there's no stewing on it from either of us.  We went into some stuff with the person involved in the betrayal and details the Mr didn't even know came out about his supposed best friend back then that ticked him off.  This jerk went around his old hometown telling a completely different story to every family member who would listen that still lived up there.  To all of them who never got to know me, I'm the problem and the ex-friend is the victim who of course, left out several major details that would've painted him for the lowlife scum sucker he is.

It doesn't matter to me what extended family thinks of me, they've never treated the Mr well and I've had zero problems pushing back to those who disrespect him in front of me.  The ones who did accept me for who I was from the beginning have passed away so the only person I care about is his mom.  I used to get so sad thinking of all I potentially lost going into that relationship because a few people were afraid to lose the easiest person to manipulate to do what they wanted.  (Don't worry, the Mr totally agrees that's how he was then.)  Everyone I knew before them always loved me and that situation was the first one I ever went into where they didn't so it was quite a blow to my mental health.  A lot of my anxiety and rejection issues amped up to an 11 after all of that and the Mr knows that.  I was pretty self-confident before then but then felt like I spent 15 years kicking and screaming to be accepted by them until one day I just stopped.  I set my boundaries, gave up on having the perfect inlaw situation and focused on the people who mattered most to me, which were his parents.  Now that it's just his mom, she is really the only one we see in person.  Others have scattered and moved and they don't get together like they used to.  I do wish that things were different for the Mr and the one brother that was involved in the initial betrayal.  I don't necessarily blame him all these years later for looking out for his brother but his motives were selfish and his methods deplorable; still, I have forgiven him in my heart for it.  Unfortunately, his family is still very emotionally hands-off.  No one wants to admit their part in anything and answers to emails tend to be short, often times a sentence before months go by.  I know from experience with people in my own family that you can't force a relationship with people who don't want it and you have to be okay with that.  You can mourn it but you can't let it consume you, which is what it did to us for many years, decades even.

In the end, I do want a relationship with his mom with boundaries intact that honor us both.  I can only hope that telling her I love her and that every time she hears that voice telling her I hate her, the SIL wins.  At this point, I've done all I can do and if the ex-SIL creeps in there, that's something she needs to work out, not me.  I can only continue to hug her and joke with her when I see her and listen to her stories and comment with an honest heart instead of what I think she wants me to say.  It shouldn't have taken 28 years to set the record straight but it did.  There's that saying "the truth shall set you free" and that applies here.  I hope she heard the truth and the nearly three decades of what she thought happened can begin to fade.  I feel free in knowing there is nothing left unsaid on my part to her.  So many times we're afraid of how people will react or that we'll make them uncomfortable but I'd rather have several uncomfortable minutes than a lifetime of regret.   I felt like it could be the best birthday present I could give her...and that top we bought her.

Do you have anyone you need to set the record straight with?  What's holding you back?

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