September 26th

Today is Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Oh, you didn’t know that? That’s exactly why I’m telling you. Mesothelioma doesn’t seem to get the publicity that other cancers get but there are thousands of people diagnosed each year, and most aren’t fortunate enough to live another year post-diagnosis.

Heather’s diagnosis came just a few months after giving birth to her daughter, Lily. Heather and her family sought the help of renowned mesothelioma surgeon, Dr. Sugarbaker, and I’m happy to report that she is an eight-year survivor.

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Heather’s mission is to help other mesothelioma victims by sharing her story to spread hope and awareness. And today, I’m here to help her help others.

If you’ve never heard of mesothelioma, or maybe you’ve heard of it, but don’t really understand it, check out a few facts:

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30mil

10months

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In both it’s cause and life expectancy post-diagnosis, mesothelioma is incredibly straight-forward. It’s not something to be messed with. But there is hope. Heather is a thriving, lively example of that hope and I feel honored that she asked me to share her story.

Read more about mesothelioma here, or check out Heather’s full story here. If you’re feeling generous and want to do your good deed for the day, don’t be afraid to click one of those share links at the conclusion of Heather’s story.

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time.

According to Hallmark, the traditionally appropriate gift to honor the third wedding anniversary is leather. If you consider yourself a modern couple, crystal or glass is apparently the way to go.

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I won’t be gifting my husband with a pair of leather cowboy boots or a set of crystal champagne flutes today, that’s for sure.

Instead, I’m giving him time. Time with me. Time after work because I won’t be staying late every day. Time on the weekends because I won’t be working weekends anymore. Time during the holidays because I won’t be working holidays anymore.

This gift of time will technically be a belated one, as my official last day at my current job isn’t until July 19th, but so much stress has already been lifted that our time together is more precious, more lighthearted, more fun, even now. He might not say it, but I know he already feels like he has me back. I’m not lost in the world of worrying about how much work is waiting for me. I’m not constantly checking my work email or keeping my phone at an arm’s length just in case I get a work-related text message.

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Time is precious. And time is the only gift my husband wishes for on this anniversary of ours. So time is what I will give to him. Time is a gift that we’ll happily share.

Wanna know a secret? That first picture was taken on our actual wedding day, at our actual wedding venue. The second one was taken two weeks later, in a different town altogether. We’re tricky like that.

and then I cried.

Yes, the statement “and then I cried” could be used in so very many different avenues of my life.

I witnessed a family singing the birthday song to a loved one. And then I cried.

I drove down a road lined with beautiful corn fields. And then I cried.

I listened to “One Song Glory” on the RENT soundtrack. And then I cried.

That one scene at the end of the Miley Cyrus movie? Back when she was Hannah Montana, not tongue-out, raunchy Miley. Yeah, I cried over that too.

If you’ve been reading my sporadic (at best) posts over the years, you’ve probably figured out that crying is my middle name. It’s the only way I know how to deal with emotions, really. I don’t often get angry. I don’t often get visibly stressed. I don’t often shout joyful expressions.

I just cry. Over the smallest things. Over the biggest things. Over ALL. OF. THE. THINGS. I’m really great at just feeling all of the feels.

I spent years thinking this was a bad thing. But with time, I’ve embraced it.

Tonight I participated in my very first hot yoga class, which also happened to be only my very second yoga class ever.

Not only did that 95 degree room loosen my muscles, it loosened my stress, my disappointments, my anger, my sadness, and apparently every other feeling I haven’t truly dealt with as of late.

As I laid in my final pose, arms stretched above me, legs extended to the front of the room, tears streamed down my face. I cried. Like, really cried. The feelings that I didn’t even know I was holding in came flooding out. I managed to hold back the ugly cry even though any eyes that could potentially see me were pointed to the ceiling. I just cried. And it felt so right.

I can’t wait to go back for more.

Summer Bucket List 2014

The other day I went stand up paddle boarding with a couple of the best gals I know and one of them shouted, “checking this off the bucket list!” as we headed back to Brittingham Boats to return our boards. SUP was something I’d wanted to do for quite some time, but it wasn’t necessarily a bucket list item. Then I realized that I didn’t actually have a bucket list, and decided that a summer bucket list was essential. Especially right now, in my ongoing effort to say more yes to life.

So here it is. My Summer Bucket List 2014.
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*fireworks*
this should be easy. i heard fireworks right outside last night, but didn’t get up to look. we have tons of fireworks shows around here in the summer so i tend to take them for granted. this year, i vow to watch an entire show.

*baseball game*
another easy one, but a summer essential nonetheless.

*meal from garden*
i am so so soooo excited about this one. can’t wait for our garden to start producing so i can whip up a meal consisting mostly of vegetables from our garden.

*food cart picnic*
a few weeks ago something super cool showed up in our neighborhood…food carts! downtown madison is home to many food carts, but we live wayyyy out in the ‘burbs so it’s pretty cool that each wednesday night we get a cute little line up of trucks to choose from. we’ve hit them up a couple of times already, but i really want to get food from the carts and set up a little picnic at the park across the street from the cart line up. soon!

*farmer’s market*
this should be a given. i shouldn’t have to add farmer’s market to a bucket list, but last year the only time i made it to the farmer’s market was when i had to make a delivery/pick-up for work. sad. but true.

*bonfire+s’mores*
because really, what IS a bonfire without s’mores? 

*sun tea*
this one is for my husband. he just LOVES sun tea. it’s something i try to do for him every summer, but i’m always taken aback by how much sugar he likes in it and wind up trying to make a less sugary version for him, which of course he doesn’t like as much. this year i’m going to make his tinted sugar water just how he likes it.

*unplug for a day*
i think i can, i think i can, i think i can…

*outdoor concert*
Summerfest has a super fun lineup this year and i’ll punch someone if i don’t make it there at least once. outkast is at the top of my list right now.

*stand up paddle boarding*
you’re right, i did this one already. but there is no photographic evidence so it doesn’t count. plus, i really want to do it again!

*and pie!*
somehow baking a pie didn’t make it on the list initially, despite it being something i tried already this week. if at first you don’t succeed…
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what’s on your summer bucket list?

have you tried SUP?

Feeling Grateful

Hey. It’s been awhile. But as you know, work and life…they just get in the way sometimes.

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I’m currently relaxing in my parents’ beautifully flowered backyard, waiting for my human crew to return from golfing, while being thoroughly entertained by my fur crew as they “swim” in their kiddie pool.

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I’m feeling grateful for the beautiful weather we’re having, grateful for at least one day off this holiday weekend,  and of course grateful for those who’ve sacrificed and fought for our freedom. Without them, we wouldn’t have this holiday weekend, this unofficial start to summer, at all.

Happy Memorial Day weekend to you all. May it find you relaxing, reflecting, remembering.

Sunday 20

For the most part, Sunday is my day off. So when I had to work on Easter Sunday last week, it really threw me off. After a really looooong Friday and Saturday at work, I am so. freaking. happy. to have today off. I met up with a friend for brunch and I’ve been snuggled up on the couch with my furchild ever since. We’ve had a few storms roll through, which makes him snuggle in even tighter (he’s not a fan of thunder), making me even happier to be home. I’ve read pretty much the entire internet already but I keep seeing these fun 20 questions float around the blogosphere and decided it was my turn.

1. What brings you the greatest joy? Spending quality time with family and friends, sunshine, not winter, and not working.

2. What are your vices? Diet Coke. Netflix. Social media.

3. What is on your nightstand? I’m currently obsessed with my nightstand. I’m in the process of giving our bedroom a little color scheme makeover, which includes a few changes to my nightstand.
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1. upcycled Goodwill lamp. Not perfect. But perfect for me. And it cost $9 total.
2. lime and basil reed diffuser
3. an old photo of my grandmother, godmother, actual mother, me, and Fielder. It was taken on Mother’s Day just a couple months after I got Fielder and I taped it to the inside of my server book shortly thereafter. When I ended my serving “career”, I couldn’t bear to put the picture away after seeing it every day for years so I just placed it on my nightstand & it’s been there ever since.
4. a paper weight that holds a photo of my childhood dog, Casper. He passed away a few years after I moved away from home, but I was incredibly devastated nonetheless. A friend bought me this paper weight with the phrase “your paws left footprints on my heart“, which could not be more true.
5. my alarm clock. I tried replacing it with this yellow clock, but I’m an idiot and my nightstand isn’t a magnet…
6. whatever book I’m reading at the moment, which is currently nothing
7. pictures of Justin and I from 2001 and 2007. Perhaps I’ll keep adding one from every 6 or 7 years until we’re old and grey?
8. a pretty handkerchief that belonged to my grandma
9. a Willow Tree Angel of Friendship. I actually need to glue her wings back on, but my mom bought me this angel figurine, holding a dog in her arms, after a pretty heartbreaking situation I found myself in. Late one VERY cold, snowy night, I found a dog running along side the road. Without hesitation, I put the dog in my car, knocked on the doors of the two homes on the road, only to find he didn’t belong to either. Since it was so late, I took him home with me and placed a classified ad first thing in the morning. This was before I had Fielder so I had no dog food, no dog toys, no dog anything. But I kept him warm, fed, and loved until his owner called two days later. I was given an address & upon arriving at it, miles away from where I’d found the dog, I immediately knew in my gut that I should just keep driving. Not wanting to judge a book by it’s cover, I did as I said I would & got the dog out of my car to walk him to his owner. But the dog didn’t want to go. He saw his home & turned back to my car. I pulled him to the house & he kept turning away. Upon sight of his owner, his tail did not wag, he nuzzled in towards me & begged me to take him home with me, despite having been a complete stranger to him just days before. Every ounce of my body, my heart, my soul, wanted to run as fast as I could, knowing that dog (who I now knew was named Oscar) would follow me, and we could live happily ever after. But I also didn’t want this seemingly terrible dog owner to call the cops on me, so I left without Oscar, but not without his paw prints on my heart. I was pretty sad about the whole thing for a while and my mom kept reminding me that no matter how hard I tried, I would never be able to save all of the animals. This angel is a nice reminder of every animal I’ve had the pleasure of holding in my arms and in my heart.
Thank goodness that’s finally everything… who knew a nightstand could be so deep! Truthfully though, I really enjoy having so many treasured items right next to me while I dream.

4. Do you have a secret talent? I don’t really have many secrets, talents or otherwise.

5. What is your greatest indulgence? Sloth. Well, I guess it’s technically a deadly sin but being physically and emotionally inactive is exactly what I need to do sometimes to decompress, and that also makes it an indulgence. Maybe all indulgences are sins? If so, I guess I’ll just keep sinning away.

6. What should every woman try at least once in her life? I have to agree with Janetha and Teri, traveling alone is a pretty epic adventure and one that I think every woman should try, if even for a short period of time. Being alone with your thoughts for a few days, weeks, months is spectacular for your soul. If you’ve ever doubted what you want in life, I suggest taking a little solo trip to try to sort it all out.
An animal lover even when traveling, I made friends with the kitties in my dorm while traveling solo.
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7. What makes you laugh? Fielder. Every day.
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8. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? Again, I have very few secrets, but some of the people I talk to every day don’t even know I have this blog. I guess that’s kind of strange, huh? I’ve always felt awkward talking about it.

9. What is on your bucket list? Bora Bora. Tahiti. Mykonos.

10. What is on your feet right now? Mismatched socks.

11. How did you make your first dollar? No idea. Lemonade stand? Sweet talking my dad? Probably baby-sitting, actually.

12. What superstition do you believe in? Agreeing with Teri here again, I fully believe that people change during the full moon. Crazy things happen. People get weeeeeird.

13. What items in your closet do you wear the most? At home I live in leggings. At work (okay, and at home) I constantly wear one of my three grey Great Dane sweatshirts. Of course I have to wear real clothes sometimes too, but I try to avoid it all costs.
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14. What is the best gift you’ve ever received? My parents have “wrapped up” a trip to Mexico on more than one occasion, which is always a pretty awesome gift!

15. What is on your liquor shelf? Hendrick’s Gin. Gordon’s (Smoothest, Most Mixable) Vodka, Korbel, Sauza Hornitos, bitters, drink umbrellas, red Solo cups, margarita glasses…

16. What is on your kitchen counter? a bread box, which contains no bread. Kitchen-Aid. a spice rack, which contains no spices that I actually use. coffee pot. paper towel. junk.

17. What would you never leave home without? cell phone.

18. What movie has the greatest ending? that’s impossible.

19. Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party? Aforementioned John Legend and Chrissy Teigen. But in reality, I’m always cool with just a small group of close friends/family.

20. What is one thing you wish you had known when you were younger? I wish I had known that time would go by so quickly. I have no idea how I am 30 forever 29 years old. I wish I had known that “someday” would be here before I knew it.

Your turn!