Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pretending that I knew that would happen all along

This is me, trying to do something with my life. Trying to make it better. To make things happen. To challenge myself in a way that is harder than before just to have that accomplishment under my belt.

This is me, living life this way.

But sometimes, things just don’t happen the way I hope that they will.

I try.

I wait.

I work.

I live.


But it’s like no matter what I do, and no matter what I try, the end result is the same: Disappointment. I don’t accomplish that goal. What I THOUGHT would happen … just didn’t happen. Here I was, under the impression that it would, but it’s like….. NAH.

And it’s really disappointing. Really painful. Really frustrating.

They tell people, “Never give up!”

Yeah. Nice thought. Whatever.

But even as I change my mind about things, and even as I change course, it does not mean I am "giving up." It only means that I am tired of all the frustrations, the gimmicks, the letdowns and disappointments and I just want to make a change. Hopefully, for the better. A girl can dream and all that.

So when I try and do something with my life, try to BE something, and things don’t go the way I had hoped, all I can do ….. all that I MUST do …. is have my little cry, pick myself up again, and just try something else. Or do something else. One or the other.

Life is full of disappointments. People are full of disappointments. I just have to get to a point where I just give it all the finger and walk away. I already have, for some people and some things.

Yes, I’ll be going on a different path. Yes, I’ll keep doing only the things I feel passionate about and WANT to do, instead of the things I think I SHOULD do, but at least I will keep going on with my life, only giving myself, my time and my energy to the people and the passions that I WANT to give them to. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and doing my own thing. Nobody else cares about any of it, but I care, and that's enough. 

As to the world? I will just give that sigh of disappointment and mutter with a wave of my hand, “Carry on.”

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I heart meal planning

This morning, as I was cooking bacon for breakfast, I got a text from one of my sisters living in California. We got to talking and she asked me how my day had been going. I told her it was good; I’d planned the meals for next week and that I was currently “makin’ bacon.” She asked about the meal planning thing and I shared with her why I started planning meals for the week.

I know that meal planning is not new. I have some friends who plan meals and one of them even shared a chart she uses for her meal planning. I finally started trying this out too and, oh my gosh, it has been a HUGE help!

As I explained to my sister, planning meals for the week has helped take the mystery out of what to make for dinner on certain days. I cook meals 4 days a week, we get fast food on the 5th, and my husband is responsible for dinner on the final 2 days. (When it’s his turn, he usually gets fast food.) And I just got tired of asking myself on Mondays or Wednesdays, What the heck am I going to make for dinner tonight?

By planning meals, I’ll KNOW what will be for dinner on a certain day.

This has also helped us plan our grocery shopping better, too. We can shop in advance for what we will need for certain meals. At minimum, we get the basics we’ll need for breakfast – like cereal or doughnuts – as well as the basics for lunches, like cans of soup, noodles, lunch meat, etc. But when we know what will be for dinner ahead of time, we’ll also be sure to get the needed hamburger or chicken or…whatever else will be needed! This way, we won’t have to make an unexpected run to the store to get a pound of hamburger or shredded cheese. We’ll know we’ll need it and we’ll be sure to buy it on either Sunday or Monday.

Additionally, I will review Jesse’s lunch menu for the coming week and decide how many lunches he’ll be taking to school, thereby adjusting the grocery list for the number of days he’ll take a lunch. I know what he likes and doesn’t like, so this helps us prepare for those days he won’t buy lunch at school.

The meal planning has another benefit. I’m able to determine if we have a certain kind of dinner too often, not often enough, and to add variety. Ever since I started planning meals, no one has complained, “We’re having chicken AGAIN?” (Apparently, screaming at them “YOU’LL EAT IT AND LIKE IT!” doesn’t necessarily mean they will eat it. Or like it.) So that helps to ensure there is more variety in the meals we have for the week.

Also, if somebody says “I want meatloaf” or “I want spaghetti and meatballs” but we don’t have the things needed to make them, I can add those meals to the menu for next week.

And, finally, planning meals means I can try out more recipes, because I can set aside one day to try out a new dish then shop for the ingredients we’ll need for it ahead of time.

Of course, the meal plan for the week is not set in stone. Sometimes I’ll have to move a meal to another day and switch it with that day’s planned meal if I don’t have time to cook a certain meal or if we were not able to finish the weekly grocery shopping and get everything we needed. But for the most part, the meals I plan out for the week are the ones we will eat. My husband once asked why we were having fast food on a certain day and I told him that was what was on the menu (though I should’ve said “meal plan” and not “menu” because “menu” was not entirely accurate).

Planning the meals for the week has definitely worked out great for us. I like that it causes less stress and we can prepare our shopping trips accordingly. It also takes the mystery out of what’s for dinner!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Lost clothes at the school

Yesterday, Jesse told me he’d left his coat and sweatshirt at school. I wasn’t so upset about the sweatshirt left behind, but his COAT! He needs his coat for the mornings. There’s no snow here yet, but it’s very cold on these wintry mornings. I was upset he’d left his coat at school and I told him he’d have to bring it home tomorrow. And I reminded him about it again this morning when I dropped him off.

He got out of school early today so I drove over there to pick him up. I wanted to check and see if he had his coat. They have a 3-day weekend coming up and he was going to need his coat at some point before returning to school. (He only has one winter coat.) And when he came out of his classroom upon dismissal, I checked with him about it. No sweatshirt – and NO COAT! Ugh! He told me he’d forgotten about it.

So, we told his teacher the situation and went back into the school building to look for the clothes. The first place we headed was Lost & Found – where his clothes usually wind up if he forgets them. But this time, they were not there. I asked Jesse if he remembered leaving them anywhere and he couldn’t remember. So we checked his classroom next and they were not there. We also checked the reading area in the library and turned up nothing. We also saw his teacher again and reported our status. He talked with Jesse then said he'd keep an eye out for them.

In the past, Jennifer has left her clothes at the playground, so I suggested we check out there. We walked out to the playground and Jesse checked one area while I checked the other. No coat, no sweatshirt.

I was running out of ideas!

We went to the office and I told the secretary about the situation. I asked her if she had any suggestions on where else we could check. As she started thinking of another place to look, I felt somebody touch my arm to get my attention. I turned to see a lady I did not know. She pointed at Jesse and started talking. The only words I got were “Jesse” and “outside.” When she finished talking, I looked back at the secretary. Now, this secretary has known me for YEARS and she knew that look: I had not understood everything said to me. She pointed at the lady and repeated what was said, telling me she had noticed Jesse had left his sweatshirt and coat outside and she brought them in. I turned just to see Jesse following her out of the office so I hurried after them. As I followed along, I wondered if she was leading us to where they were. She was talking to Jesse as we walked and then looked ahead to continue walking off. Meanwhile, Jesse motioned to me to follow him down another hallway. This one led to his classroom. “Did she tell you where they were?” I asked as I followed him. He nodded yes.

Soon we were outside his classroom, where there were some tables near the door. And THERE were his sweatshirt and coat! “There they are! Yay!” I said as Jesse picked them up.

We let the secretary know we had recovered them as we left the office and I wished her a happy weekend.

I think it was so cool how we got his sweatshirt and coat back. It was like we were all in the right place at the right time. That lady had been there right when we were asking about the same sweatshirt and coat she had found. Awesome!

I will have to keep in mind asking at the office if we don’t have any luck finding lost items again in the future. Of course, we may not be so lucky next time, but who knows.