National Widows Day

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I have not been super motivated to write this blog however, I got inspiration today that I needed to put my message out there. You know why? โ€ฆ It is National Widows Day ๐Ÿฅณ Yippee… Who knew there was a holiday for this event โ€“ until now? ๐Ÿ˜ฎActually, it is kind of sweet, this is a day to support one another widows/widowers and keep the memory of our deceased spouses alive. Unfortunately, National Widows Day is kind of a daily occurrence for most of us, but hey nice to acknowledge it. ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸปSo, in the spirit of this event, Robin you are missed every day; I wish you were here to manage the lawn that looks so terrible; I could have used you taking out the garbage in the rain today and most of all โ€ฆ just miss YOU โ€“ RIP sweetheart.โค๏ธ

On another note, as the virus is hopefully becoming SO 2020 and people are starting to get out and aboutโ€ฆ I have really been thinking about exploring dating again.๐Ÿง I am not excited about the process but hopeful that in the end of the day, I can meet someone who is really nice, funny, handy, and just enhances my life. ๐Ÿ™๐ŸปHowever, I am quickly realizing that dating is not like riding a bike, it is a new skill to be learned and it is extremely uncomfortable. My 1990โ€™s tricks do not work today. But now that I think about it, not sure my bag of tools from the past actually served me well back then either. Oh boy! ๐Ÿฅบ๐Ÿฅบ

Since Robinโ€™s death, I have learned more about myself and really have become clear who I am and who I am not. ๐Ÿฅฐ This is great from a self-actualization stance but terrible from a dating standpoint.๐Ÿ˜ตGone are those times that I would do anything when I was young to look super cool for a guy. I remember flying with someone who had not quite received their pilots license (yikes); going to events that I had no interest in; sailing and barfing over the side of a boat etc.โ€ฆ it goes on and onโ€ฆ๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคฎ Now at my age, that would never happen. I have realized that I may have developed some hard edges which are not that desirable to a potential suitor. Here are a few items that came to mind immediately… otherwise known as low hanging fruit:๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŒ

  1. Widow โ€“ I have been on a few dates and I noticed when I admit I am a widow โ€“ I do not get the best response. It creates an awkward pause or me trying to make a badly timed joke about it. Nothing like a boner deflater than this admission. ๐Ÿฆด I have tried to withhold the information or figure out how to deliver it in a different way โ€ฆ but it is just awkward no matter what I do.๐Ÿ˜ฌ
  2. Sleeping Alone โ€“ At first it was very weird and now I love it. ๐Ÿ›Œ๐ŸงธEvery night I slide into my bed and am met with my oversized body pillow and pink sherpa blanket. I roll around and straddle this pillow like my loverโ€ฆ I do not have to worry about waking anyone up and I can get up in the middle of the night and go potty a million times without being self-conscious. ๐ŸšฝAlthough I have heard that 2 master bedroom homes are on trend so maybe I am on to something?
  3. Eating Habits โ€“ I am a vegetarian and the few men I have spoken or gone out on a date with seem to love to grill or make heavy meat masterpieces.๐Ÿฅฉ๐Ÿฅ“๐Ÿ— In addition, I try to eat dinner before 5 p.m. to honor intermittent fasting and most importantly, to avoid weird repercussions at night. Let us just say fried or tomato-based food too close to bedtime equal the weirdest dreams ever. ๐Ÿ‘บโ˜ ๏ธ๐Ÿคก๐Ÿ‘ฝ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿค Having too much sugar (alcohol) will definitely induce the next day migraine. ๐Ÿค•๐Ÿค’ I have become so high maintenance โ€“ Oy!
  4. The Pugs โ€“ Although I love them as most people are into their pets, since Covid it has gotten weird. We have been joined at the hip with our daily walks, naps on the couch and now pug anxiety attacks when I leave the house. Ella whines during all my calls and letโ€™s just sayโ€ฆ I may have allowed things to get out of hand.๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ
  5. Spirituality – This may be the one that really scares people off. I believe there is a connection between our human experience and the divine. I lean into my intuition and believe there is a larger universe comprised of angels, deceased loved ones – etc. that guide us through this life. I actually feel very aligned with Robin and know he supports Isabelle and me on a daily basis. This is so comforting to me but so unsettling to most people. ๐Ÿ˜‡

Ok, there it is. I have put some of my baggage out there that I will have to maneuver around. All and all, if you ignore the list above, I am a pretty great gal and can offer a lot to someone. I am fun, kind, supportive, humorous, smart and that is a good counterbalance to my less than desirable traits. Who knows where this will take me but here is to new adventures and at a minimum some funny stories to write about? โœ๏ธ๐Ÿ“– Letโ€™s hope I can meet some interesting people and get back out there and see where life takes me. Happy Widows Day and hopefully I can put this in the past.๐Ÿธ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿธ

I Saw A Robin…

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For the last few weeks, I have been seeing tons of robins which I guess is not a strange occurrence in MI anymore. But there is one in particular that shows up in my backyard and just sits there and looks at me. He has a big barrel chest โ€“ and just reminds me of my honey. ๐Ÿ˜‡ Robin has been on my mind a lot over the last few weeks, much more than usual. I guess I really miss himโ€ฆ especially when I have to make decisions I never wanted to make EVERโ€ฆ namely house things โ€“ should I get a new microwave, put in a sprinkler system, or refinance the mortgage? Would he approve of how I am parenting Isabelle; would he be on board with my advice to her, the amount of space I am or am not giving her? You see, I feel a responsibility to honor what I believe he would want to do in any particular situation. I guess I still feel an obligation to keep up my part on Team Borr โ€“ even though itโ€™s just me now. (Of course, Isabelle is there me tooโ€“ just off at college not involved in these decisions)

One thing I do know, Robin would not want me to hang onto the past.๐Ÿ™„ He was not one to wallow, more of a …move forward kind of guy. I think he would tell me enough with these sappy blogs ๐Ÿคฎabout him, go out and enjoy life โ€“ get LAID (he would totally tell me that)!! ๐ŸŒ๏ธโ€โ™‚๏ธAnd for the most part, I believe I have been doing a good job of pushing ahead with gratitude and making the most out of my time here on earth. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐ŸปHowever I would be lying if I did not admit to a few weak moments.

Now, to be clear, the years/time have eased the pain and there is generally peace and joy.โœŒ๐Ÿปโค๏ธ I am able to find the pleasure in simple moments such as walks outside, catching up with old friends or improving my home management skills. ๐Ÿ On a side note, I just bought Martha Stewartโ€™s Homekeeping Handbook and I never thought I would be obsessed with the right type of cleaning product or how to organize the kitchen drawer. ๐Ÿชฃ๐ŸงฝStill new to this โ€“ I will keep you updated as I progress. Ok back to the point I was trying to makeโ€ฆ yet I still feel a disconnect, a void that he filled, and I did not even realize it until he was gone.๐Ÿ’กWe were like Star Trek Vulcans ๐Ÿ––๐Ÿปโ€“ we had mind melds – he just got me. I forgot how much he made me laugh with his quick one liners and sarcastic wit. ๐ŸคฃNow I crack a joke that he would have totally played off of and all I get is dead air… wah wah wah ๐ŸฅธI miss errands he ran for me at odd times to pick up my strange cravings. ๐Ÿš˜๐Ÿญ๐Ÿฑ๐ŸŒฎ By the way, I just learned that my Love Language is Words of Affirmation and Acts of Service. Meaning I love a guy who tells me I am fabulous and will fix my roof โ€“ MAKES ME WARM THINKING ABOUT IT.๐Ÿชš๐Ÿ”ง๐Ÿชœ Robin had me pegged (except over the years, his handyman skills really diminished. oh well) so all those errands, favors and props were just what I needed.

Anyways, it is sometimes tricky to play the role of a widow. You never want to forget your deceased spouse, but you donโ€™t want to get stuck in the past either. I have tried hard to balance it. โš–๏ธ How do you honor the person, keep them alive in your heart and not allow it to hinder you from moving forward? ๐Ÿ•ฐ How do you hold it as a part of your life but not your entire life? ๐Ÿ’”It is difficult sometimes. I suppose it is survivorsโ€™ guilt in a way โ€ฆ how can I be content living when he did not make it? I do not know โ€ฆ still figuring things out but these feelings are real.

Tomorrow is Robinโ€™s birthday, and he would have been 55. It is tough to think he has been gone almost three years. left us at 52. To say the world has changed is an understatement and I know in my soul, I am glad he did not have to experience the pandemic, but there are certainly days that his presence is greatly missed.โ˜น๏ธ Maybe just maybe that bird shows up to let me know he is around and with us. ๐Ÿ™๐ŸปAt least that is what I would like to think is happening. Happy Birthday honeyโ€ฆ we are doing well most of the time just have some vulnerable spots along the way.โค๏ธ

Goals Do Not Rule My Life

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February was a weird month for me. I guess that is funny to say since we have been in a global pandemic for a year and basically everything is weird but donโ€™t get me started. Maybe it was due to the fact that I was stuck in the house for 15 plus days. โ„๏ธโ„๏ธโ˜ƒ๏ธ Perhaps it was because my main task during this time was to carve paths in knee deep snow so the pugs could go potty outside avoiding accidents in the house. ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ February could be summarized with me doing sprints outside with the girls to try to get them go to the bathroom before we all developed hypothermia. ๐ŸฅถAll I know is this was not great for my mental health. I had cabin fever for sure but this point in time also gave me time to think and evaluate my life. Oh boyโ€ฆ you know where this is goingโ€ฆ donโ€™t worry โ€“ it isnโ€™t that bad.๐Ÿค”

I have prided myself with my resilience to cope with different obstacles that life has thrown my way. Certainly, the pandemic or bad weather was not going to be the one that side-lined me. I also have tried to mute all the noise around politics and each party taking jabs at one another. It is so ridiculous at this point โ€“ I call us the Divided States of America โ€“ who would have ever guessed โ€“ not me for sure. โš”๏ธ The alignment of the world is off and the only thing I can do โ€“ is turn it inward and work on me. ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

Robin died over 2.5 years ago, and I am amazed at how much I have grown and continue to develop into a different person. Some call it aging โ€“ I would like to think of it as EVOLUTION. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐ŸปMy priorities have changed now. I once had a life where I was too busy, running from one place to the next โ€“ just multi-tasking on steroids. Not even sure what I was doing but certain I was just gliding over my existence. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ Now I yearn for slow, uncomplicated, wellness, presence, experiences, and connections.๐Ÿง˜๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ I like the freedom I have today, the simple moments such as sitting on the couch with my sleeping pugs (even if one has farted and it smells really bad โ€“ just taking it in OM โ€“ experiencing it). ๐Ÿ’ฉAll of a sudden, I am the one with the time while everyone else speeds around me and it is a weird feeling.๐Ÿ’จ

I think Robin would be proud of me as he was great at being present. He fell upon this lifestyle quite early and enjoyed it while I nagged him. Why donโ€™t you do something? Why donโ€™t you set goals? He liked his routine โ€“ and he was content and unapologetic.๐Ÿ’๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธLittle did I know that I would learn this lesson long after he was gone. I just wish sometimes that we had more time to do nothing together. But with all that, I still get a ton done โ€“ I think I am more productive than I ever have been โ€“ it is just on my own terms and that is the way I want it. I now understand what he knew for yearsโ€ฆ what a smart guy and I had to understand from lose that I was not seeing the big picture.๐ŸŽฅ

On another note, February also gave me an opportunity to evaluate one of my long-term goals which I know I have shared in past blogsโ€ฆ that is my hair. ๐Ÿ’‡๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธFor over 4 years now, I was on the quest to grow my hair to be one length. From all accounts, I probably achieved 97% of this mission. There was still some hair in the front that just never made it to one length. My hair definitely grew like a mullet โ€“ always shorter in the front and longer in the back โ€“ whatever, not relevant to the story.๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™‚๏ธHowever, it occurred to me that this hairstyle was not that flattering. I just never could get it to be exactly what I had envisioned. In addition, I started fixating on what seemed like a large forehead โ€“ which I never noticed I had until I grew my hair out. The โ€œBobโ€ made me examine new elements of my face that I never perceived as an issue until I had one length hair. Wonderful by-product of a harmless endeavor, right? ๐Ÿ˜œSo, after careful thought, endless selfies with my hair folded on my face and reviewing old pictures, I decided it was time to deal with reality โ€“ I needed more hair framing my face โ€“ otherwise known as bangs. I did not come to this decision easy as I worked extremely hard โ€“ multiple years of nurturing my perceived utopia โ€ฆ and now I was just going to throw it all away. Finally, I had enough, called my hair stylist and friend Pavlina and with some encouragement โ€“ I am now sporting longer bangs and guess what? I think I look better and younger โ€“ yeah. No regret just a realization that I was maybe chasing the wrong goal.๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

Although this story is quite shallow (to some not me), it made me think that I was more focused on the end game โ€“ achieving the result than questioning if this was the right aspiration. And it is really something that can be applied to all our lives. Goals are to motivate you to reach a dream however, circumstances change along the way and maybe just maybe so should the target.๐Ÿ“Œ For my entire life, I had a vision to achieve a successful career which was defined by level and money. I wanted to make a big and positive impact on the people I worked with and turn the organization into a place where everyone loved coming to work and thus organization success. I wanted to have a happy family life with a great partner, a thriving child and for us not to have any financial burdens. ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ต The problem was for me to deliver these outcomes, I became too goal oriented and did not enjoy the ride.๐Ÿš— I was only concentrating on the result and the events that occurred were just blurbs in the middle. I think I have finally realized that the journey is just as important as achieving the objective. I mean it is no fun not to relish the middle parts which essentially are where you are spending most of your time anyways. ๐Ÿฅณ

Well, February is over, and the sun is shining again, the snow has melted, and my pondering is over for now. I no longer will have sagas on growing my hair (which I am sure will please everyone reading here)- itโ€™s done and call it a wrap as I adjust to my life with bangs. However, the bigger lesson,๐Ÿ—’I am not going to beat myself up and measure success by attaining arbitrary goals that may or may not be where I need to go. My new mantra โ€“ ride the waves and adjust the destination as neededโ€ฆ peace and love once again.โœŒ๐Ÿปโค๏ธ

Official Status – Empty Nester

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Well, it finally happenedโ€ฆ Isabelle moved into the dorms at Michigan State University and I am no longer her Freshman roommate.๐Ÿ™ƒ I miss hearing her go over her Arabic vocabulary words and listening into her online classes about nature and conservation โ€“ NOT! ๐Ÿ˜› Actually, the topics on the surface seem super boring but were quite interesting as I had the advantage of taking classes with no homework โ€“ ha.๐Ÿคฃ

Everyone asked me how I thought I would handle it when she moved out. My answer was always the same, I think I will be fine โ€“ she is ready. ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸปIsabelle and I enjoyed a few more months together due to the pandemic and MSU postponing students on campus. ๐Ÿ˜ท She was disappointed but I found it quite fun to have more time with her. We had developed kind of a back-and-forth annoyance with one another. She would drive me crazy when she decided to cook in the kitchen and not notice the mess, she made โ€ฆ and I would bug her when I became too clingy wanting to hang with her.๐Ÿค—We watched movies together and she had the need to pop her shoulder, crack her knuckles and every other joint in her body which makes me cringe.๐Ÿฆต๐ŸปI would try to hug and kiss her, and she would repel like I had the plague.๐Ÿ˜˜ I finally realized that her love language is wrestling when she would take me to the ground unexpectedly. ๐Ÿคผโ€โ™‚๏ธ I owe thanks to Robin who raised her like a boy as I try to stand up again from a body slam. ๐Ÿฅด Anyways, I would not change anything โ€“ we have our unique understanding of one another and that makes us tight. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉ

The night before her scheduled move in, I became overwhelmed with sadness which surprised me a little.โ˜น๏ธ I began thinking about Robin and how he was supposed to be here with me, and we were going to start our next chapter together.๐Ÿ“–I felt bad that he would miss this major milestone seeing his little girl go off to college. And I think if I am being honest, I was mad that I was probably going to have to schlep heavy boxes up to her 4th floor dorm room by myself.

The next morning was move in day and we woke up to crappy weather (figures) of wet slushy snow that adds to experience for sure.โ„๏ธโ˜ƒ๏ธโ„๏ธ Isabelle drove separately and I followed in my car with all her stuff โ€“ listening to sappy music and going through memory lane. ๐ŸŽผ๐ŸŽปThe move-in was well organized and COVID-19 safe. I pulled up and there were bins available to load and take up to the room. I looked around, seeing all the parents together moving in their kids โ€“ no I am not going to cry! ๐Ÿ˜ข๐ŸฅบWe quickly unloaded and started organizing and decorating her room. She had a friend there to help which was so sweet. ๐Ÿ’šAs I was in her room, I thought I was going to suffocate between wearing the mask and the temperature (it was like 75 degrees in the room). ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ˜ท

Isabelle focused on the priorities like putting up her fairy lights and hanging posters while I made her bed (something my mom always told me to do first). I then turned to her bathroom in horror. ๐Ÿ˜ฑAt first, I tried to ignore the filth and figured she would handle it โ€“ then I realized it was my responsibility to get that bathroom to a clean baseline and then she was on her own after that. ๐Ÿšฝ๐Ÿช ๐Ÿงป๐ŸงดIt was so gross โ€“ I CANNOT EVEN โ€ฆ.shocking experience especially around the toilet โ€“ need I say more?๐Ÿ‘€

After about an hour, Isabelleโ€™s friends came over to see her room (masks on). She was showing them around and I just observed – she is ready. She has the skills, attitude to make it on her own in the dorms. And I realized this is not sad IT IS JUST TIME for me to leave. ๐Ÿ’• I walked out the room proud that Robin and I raised her well and knew things were going to be fine. No emotions or regret โ€ฆ IT WAS ALL GOOD. ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸปโœŒ๐Ÿป I had imagined this milestone was going to be sadder than what actually happens in realityโ€ฆ I was relieved, at peace and ready to get home. That was it …no tearsโ€ฆ drop the mike itโ€™s a wrap!๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜˜โค๏ธ๐ŸŽˆ

Bye Bye 2020…

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I am sitting here trying to figure out what I can write and beat my personally imposed deadline of a monthly blog. It is New Yearโ€™s Eve, and I am at a lose for words. I was so excited for 2020 because it marked some significant milestones including Isabelleโ€™s high school graduation and beginning college.๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐ŸŽ“ I remember when she was a baby and trying to envision who she would be in the future.๐Ÿง It felt so Space Odyssey โ€“ Out There and today we are about to say goodbye to this year, and I do not think there is anyone on the planet who is sad to see 2020 go.๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿป The year started out with a lot of promise and quickly turned into a really big sh-t storm. ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ Who would have thought this will be the year that will probably go down in history? I remember learning about Polio, Scarlet Fever, and the Bubonic Plague โ€“ it was unimaginable that this could happen today and voilaโ€ฆ here we are. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป I have a newfound respect for old people who can remember significant history points with such detail. If I am so lucky to live to be 100+, I will have no recall because this year was a complete blur. ๐Ÿ˜ท There are months that blew by and I could not tell you with any specificity what happened.๐Ÿค” As a matter of fact, I had to check my phone several times today to remember what the day wasโ€ฆ in case you care… it is Thursday.๐Ÿ‘ป

Anyways, I want to keep this upbeat and believe it is important to point out that many good things happened this year and I definitely need to acknowledge my gratitude for the gifts of 2020.

  1. Time with Isabelle โ€“ not that she would agree this is a positive aspect. One of the areas of deep regret was that when she was growing up โ€“ I worked too much and could have been more present. I was angry at myself for the time I lost. Now I feel we have rectified this regret to the point that she is ready to run out of the house โ€“ DONEโ€“ had enough of mommy. ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธIt was fun while it lasted as she will be moving on campus next month and one already setting the stage that she will see me at the end of the semester. Not interested in visits from me โ€“ she disguises it as not wanting to put me at risk with the virus โ€“ but mommy KNOWS.๐Ÿ˜˜ It is ok …she did a lot better than I would have in her situation. Be free baby bird โ€ฆ fly>>>๐Ÿฅ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ…
  • Freshman Experience โ€“ I was able to kind of relive my college days and attend classes sort of. What I really mean is that I eavesdrop pretending to clean the kitchen (no I was) and also learn new things. ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Isabelleโ€™s course work revolves around social justice, history, and topics truly relevant for todayโ€™s time. I learned and gained an open perspective based on these courses. I even was able to tell the professor in front of the class how much I enjoyed the semester. In reality I did not realize the camera was on and the everyone saw me dance by and I had to immediately go into damage controlโ€ฆ I think I played it off… wait not sure?๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ
  • Cooking โ€“ I never in the past understood the interest and appeal of hanging out in the kitchen, cutting vegetables, and then cleaning up a big mess. ๐Ÿฅฃ๐Ÿฅ„๐Ÿด๐Ÿฅข๐ŸณSince the pandemic, I get it now. I enjoy the creative process of developing yummy meals. I am so brilliant that I almost prefer what I make over restaurants. Wow โ€ฆ that is a big statement. One disclaimer โ€“ I leave Indian food to the pros. Other than that,โ€ฆ I have really expanded my culinary experiences and I like it. Watch out coming to a Food Channel near youโ€ฆ Streamline Kitchen with Risaโ€ฆ I am a wiz at using as few of pans and making the least amount of mess as possible. I think I am on to somethingโ€ฆ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿณ
  • The Girls โ€“ With the onset of the pandemic, everyone and their brother adopted dogs and gained a piece of magic that I have known for years. I love Ella and Laura and they have been the best little companions through a year of uncertainty. The daily walks, evening snuggles and general annoyance of their whining for cookies made things seem like everything was going to work out. As I write this blog, they are sacked out on the couch and snoringโ€ฆ ooh I feel the need for a short break to squeeze two pugs โ€“ the best. Ok, I am back โ€“ that was totally fulfilling.๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถโค๏ธ
  • Nature โ€“ Mother nature absolutely thrived as the world slowed down. Nothing is better than taking a run and hearing the birds chirp, leaves on the trees rustle, quietness and clean air. ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒณโ˜€๏ธIt felt like we went back to basics as I passed people taking walks with their families and just being aligned with the outdoors. I never saw so many animals and birds together โ€“ it was like they got the memo it was safe to come back out and enjoy. I hope this does not change once the world gets back to its crazy busy self again.๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒ
  • Slippers โ€“ I just love staying at home and wearing whatever combination I choose that day. The other day, I was daydreaming about fuzzy slippers and debating if I should expand my collection.๐Ÿงธ Only in 2020 could that have happened. Equipped with my new wardrobe of velour, sherpa, multiple slippers and anything stretchy โ€“ I am in heaven, it is so nice. Last week, I had to actually go to a real meeting in person and it felt weird to slip into trousers and a jacket. I think I am going to have to charge a premium on my hourly rate when I have to get dressed โ€“ I am just sayingโ€ฆ high heel pumps I do not miss you at all.๐Ÿ‘ โŒ
  • Strength/Resilience โ€“ Although our lives were hampered quite a bit, I am marching out of this year feeling stronger and having the confidence that Isabelle and I can weather pretty much anything thrown at us. ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป It takes a lot of discipline to just stay home and hold a high bar to keep the community safe. We had to sacrifice including cancelling an amazing trip to CA, forgoing family dinners/holidays etc.โ€ฆ because it was the right and safe thing to do. I am not going to lie; I am a bit sick of all of this but proud that we made lemonade out of lemons.๐Ÿ‹ We turned a room in the house into a gym, creatively started a business in a virtual environment and created memorable and positive moments at home. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆโค๏ธ
  • Health/Safety โ€“ I am very thankful that my family, friends, and community were able to stay relatively safe. In a year where we lost a substantial number of lives (too many) and watching people struggling just to stay afloat, this blessing is not lost on me. I am disappointed that politics got in the way and we are a nation so divided when all we needed to do was come together for each other. With that being said, I also witnessed great acts of kindness and a new state of innovation and creativity. In the end, I wish all those who were not as fortunate as me a path forward with much love, peace, health, hope and a stimulus check.โœŒ๐Ÿป๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’ต๐Ÿ’ฐ

I guess 2020 did not work out as we all had envisioned but I always think it is important to recognize the silver lining and look for the positive. It was a year of self-reflection and a call for us to slow down and get back to our true center. I believe many of us listened and are all the better for it. Wishing everyone an incredibly happy and healthy New Year. May 2021 be full of freedom, tolerance, health, community, and economic balance. Peace and ๐Ÿ’•

Learning About Myself

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It has been 266 days since I started my official shut in at home. During the year, I have more time to get to know myself better and move into major observation mode. The last time I went through this phase was back in college at Michigan State.๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐ŸŽ“ I know I drove my best friend Marla crazy when I would provide commentary on the stupidest stuff.๐Ÿ—ฃ I guess you could call me a trend setter since this was pre-Seinfeld. If you ask me, I think it is an endearing quality and a good way to lighten up the mood as tension floats through the country these days. So here we go with some funโ€ฆ ๐Ÿฅณ

  • Face Mask โ€“ There was something I always suspected but the face mask has brought it to the forefront which is my ears are attached weirdly to my head.๐Ÿฆป๐Ÿป I just cannot keep the elastic around my ears on properly even though I have tried multiple styles and options. One ear seems to fold โ€“ it is just strange and keeps me from wearing a mask too long without slippage. It is like you are going along doing your business than the elastic slides off and my face mask is hanging off one ear. It almost feels like I flashed someone โ€“ where is my trench coat?๐Ÿ™€
  • Tom Selleck โ€“ Robin and I had this agreement that if the opportunity presented itself, we had a list of stars that we could have a one-night stand and get a free pass in the marriage.๐Ÿ‘ปNo backlash just a fantastic rendezvous that would never be mentioned again. ๐Ÿคญ One of my favorite leading men on the list was Tom Selleck. He was just so manly, handsome, strong, and sensitive at the same time โ€“ he was the perfect person to be on the F-CK List. To my dismay, I was watching television and a commercial for reverse mortgages came on (it was long too) and Tom was the spokesperson and really trying to push this horrible idea. What a sexual turnoff, my crush is perfectly situated in senior citizen community now โ€“ why Tom? Why did you have to do that commercial? I guess the truth is I am free and clear to be with anyone now โ€“ no list needed (a little widow humor โ€“ ha ha) ๐Ÿค—
  • A New Sport โ€“ Since I have been home, I am intrigued with letting no food go to waste at whatever cost. Now this is a responsible move for the environment and the budget, however, I think I am taking it to the next level. The other day, I made a salad that I would have totally sent back had I ordered it at a restaurant. The lettuce was suspiciously browning, the onion had seen better days ( a little mushy), a cucumber with a slight amputation was well positioned amongst the other vegetables.๐Ÿฅฌ๐Ÿฅ’ I was proud of this salad; ate it and enjoyed every minute knowing I saved my produce. The other day, I used raspberry jam and noticed that the expiration date was November 2019 (it seemed fine). ๐Ÿ“What is going on with me? I think I have turned into one of those dumpster divers that find discarded food that has been thrown away. Yikes โ€“ but it is kind of fun. I am now exploring composting too.
  • Hipster – I like Kombucha tea and have fallen into that poser category. At first, I had a bad one and did not understand what the Generation Y community were raving about… But then I was listening to the podcast How I Built That (love) and heard an interesting story about the founder of Health-Ade. She actually was trying to invent a hair growth shampoo ๐Ÿ’‡๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธโ€“ itโ€™s a long story. I saw the bottles on the shelf and have been hooked ever since. I love Health-Ade Kombucha tea (Pomegranate or Pink Lady). It is so bubbly, light and uplifting and makes me happy. Who would have thought?๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ
  • I will do it myself! Through the pandemic, I have experimented with online grocery shopping and for the first time, this is where artificial intelligence needs to take this job over cause the humans are not cutting it.๐Ÿ‘Ž๐ŸปEvery time I order through the website and spend extra time to ensure that I am clear and specific of my needs, there is always a significant error. Usually it involves forgetting some of the key items that I needed to go shopping for in the first place. I was making the dogs their food and the store forgot to put in the meat โ€“ yet they did not forget to charge me. It does not matter what store I go to, always the same outcome. After delivery, I have to conduct a thorough inventory of the food and it is a sure thing that there is something not in the bag. Also, I think the store employees are encouraged to pick out the worst looking fruit and vegetables that are available in the stand. I received a cauliflower that had brown on the tips of it or a saggy looking lettuce.๐ŸฅฆI was like โ€œreallyโ€ this is the best one you could find for an additional $6.95? Little do they know that I have a new hobby (please see above). I have finally decided I will just throw on my mask and risk it at the store. Online grocery shopping has blown it with me.โ˜น๏ธ
  • Velour obsession โ€“ It is no secret that I love soft fabric and have proclaimed that I no longer am wearing uncomfortable material. Yet I think I am going a little too extreme with my new old friend velour. I was first introduced to this stretchy fabric (or my first memories) in seventh grade. My mom bought me the coolest pants from Ala Mode (the trendiest store in Oak Park, MI for teen girls) or at least what I thought. They were blue and soft and may have had a satin stripe down the side. I rocked them for bar/bat mitzvahs and school dances.๐Ÿ•บ๐ŸปI felt alive in them until they were cast aside because they were out of style. Actually, I do not know what happened to them. Anyways not important, well for the past two years, I have been dabbling in velour when available online. I even wore my blue velour outfit to Thanksgiving and my daughter Isabelle made a snarky comment that I looked very Juicy Couture. That was an insult I guessโ€ฆ still love them but need to slow my roll since I now have about 5+ pairs of pants and assorted tops. I think I went a little overboard.๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ‘–๐Ÿ‘–

So that is what has been happening in November for me. I am glad that I was able to share the eclectic list of things on my mind. I know it is a deep and thought provoking or NOT! โŒ I guess self-isolation maybe getting to me or I can find humor in the situation and not take things too seriously. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ I prefer the second explanation. There are still many months ahead of us as we get beyond the pandemic and need to lighten up and ride it a little longer. ๐Ÿ‚Everyone is getting crabby and we need to make it through home stretch. I hope I brought a smile and a little laughter to your day. ๐Ÿ˜œWishing everyone a happy December – stay safe and healthy!โค๏ธ

Cobwebs In My Closet

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As you may have picked up in the theme of my postings, I have been doing a lot of cleaning, reorganizing, and purging.๐ŸงนSo, it would not surprise you to hear that a few nights ago, I went into my closet and realized that it was filled to the brim with clothes, shoes, and accessories.๐Ÿ‘š๐Ÿ‘–๐Ÿ‘ ๐ŸŽฉ๐Ÿ‘ก๐Ÿ‘œ๐Ÿ‘“ I always prided myself on my style and that most of my pieces stood the test of time, however reality set in at about 10:30 p.m. last night, my clothing looked tired and outdated.๐Ÿฅฑ I decided it was time to tackle the closet as it made no sense that it was completely full and most of the stuff had been not worn in years. I mean… I wear the same thing every day. And that would be leggings and a sweatshirt (the official outfit of the COVID season 2020 โ€“ wait who am I kidding โ€“ it is just my official outfit PERIOD) โ€“ SOOO comfyโ€ฆ๐Ÿ’œ

As I pulled items off the hanger into a pile, every piece of clothes had a story.๐Ÿ“˜ Some represented my time in corporate America. I said bye-bye to conservative cardigans made of that weird fabric that felt kind of nylonl-ly and I think could have been water resistant.๐Ÿ’ฆ Anything from Talbots, J. Crew and J. Jill had to go โ€“ they were not part of my future consulting career.๐Ÿšซ I remember all those days where I was in the office for 12 hours, tired out of my mind and completely uncomfortable. Next went the suits โ€“ boxy blazers and wool pants that always made me feel like a man.๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ They reminded me of the times where I had to give presentations to the leaders, expecting challenging questions and reasons why not to move forward on creative solutions to differentiate our business and win in the market. Goodbye to dusters (long sweaters) that I thought hid my butt but mostly called attention to it.๐Ÿ” I cruised through my shoes โ€“ pumps that dug into my toes, pointy heels that I always fell from and twisted my ankle. High heels that made me walk like Frankensteinโ€ฆ that was sexyโ€ฆ.๐Ÿ‘  As a side commentary, why are work clothes awful?… no more for me, only stretchy and soft. Let us pray for virtual work forever โ€“ woo hoo ๐Ÿฅณ

After tackling the low hanging fruit so to speak, next came the more emotional decisions. It started with the dress I wore to Isabelleโ€™s bat mitzvah such a wonderful memory full of pride, family and fun and then the black dress I wore to bury my husband… a memory that is just a blur. ๐Ÿ˜ข Then there were the jeans I bought after beating cancer that I wanted to get back into and I was close, but I realized they are super dated, and I would not wear them anyways.๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ I vetted out endless black and grey sweaters that looked the same, as well as any material that I deemed not soft enough to my new standards. The pile continued to get larger and the tears kept streaming.๐Ÿ˜ญ I was not only cleaning out my closet, but I was clearing out my life.โ›…๏ธ It was the realization that my early years were gone, and it was represented through the clothes I wore. This wardrobe exercise was a talking to me, and I was finally listening.๐Ÿฆป๐Ÿป Boy โ€ฆ a joint would have been fabulous at that moment (I mean so I heardโ€ฆ not that I would know)โœŒ๐Ÿป๐Ÿšฌ

Yet I also recognized, hanging onto material things that are tied to the past is tiring and was starting to hold me back. I want to remember all the good times and just have less. The other thought is that maybe just maybe this is me closing a door on a chapter of my life.๐Ÿšช The truth is that Robin and I are a memory and being a corporate employee is also probably in the rear-view mirror… Although I am extremely excited as I am moving forward, it was a heart wrenching realization as I sobbed sitting in the closet. I was actually clearing out my emotional cobwebs that I had attached to my wardrobe.๐Ÿ•ธAlthough this turned into a much more of a weepy process than I would have guessed โ€“ it was cathartic. Hanging on to stuff does not make the memories stay or go away โ€“ it is just clutter.๐Ÿ™ˆ So, I stuffed 4 garbage bags that will be donated to Salvation Army tomorrow. Now, I have open space eager to be selectively filled with a few new items that will represent the future โ€ฆI am HOPEFUL and look forward to a little more color this time.๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿงกโค๏ธ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’š Peace out and do not forget to VOTE โ€“ it matters.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

Yom Kippur – 2020

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Yom Kippur also known as the Day of Atonement is considered the holiest day of the year in Judaism. The gist of this holiday is that we review the previous year and ask for forgiveness for our personal sins. On Yom Kippur, our fate is sealed for the upcoming year. I have always taken this time very seriously for obvious reasons including – the stakes are really HIGH- ha-ha. ๐Ÿ™๐ŸปBut in all seriousness, I appreciated digging in deep and taking stock of the year and rectifying any wrongs along the way. ๐Ÿค” However, this year my priorities and focus were vastly different. I do not know if I am falling away from religion a little or it is just the 2020 Effect! โš—๏ธ So, here is my true confession, I spent Yom Kippur cleaning my cupboards and getting organized.๐Ÿ’๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธMaybe one reason could be that I was sick of buying diced tomatoes and then coming home to realize that I have 20 cans stashed in different places.๐Ÿ… I guess introspection this year of sins committed involved acknowledgement of my poor Kanban skills๐Ÿฅซ๐Ÿฅซ๐Ÿฅซ๐Ÿฅซ (Lean manufacturing concept of keeping track of inventory โ€“ in case you were curious โ€“ I know you were!)

This new fascination with tidying up was inspired at first by Marie Kondo, a star organizer who helps you find joy with your possessions. ๐Ÿค—Her methodology got old fast with me as I held a can of mushrooms wondering if they made me sparkle.๐Ÿงš๐Ÿฟโ€โ™€๏ธTherefore, I transitioned to my next Netflix addiction called โ€œGetting Organized โ€“ The Home Edit.โ€ This team of bubbly celebrity organizers have a wide breadth of offerings like helping Rachel Zoe organize her overflowing closet (she had a lot of stuff โ€“ it made me hyperventilate๐Ÿ‘ก๐Ÿ‘œ๐Ÿ•ถ๐Ÿ‘—) or getting kitchen pantries in order with matching bins and calligraphy labels. I long for this duo to come over and help me. I had visions of running to the Container Store and buy their overpriced line of cannisters and Lucite shoe boxes. But then โ€ฆ reality hit me; 1. We are in the middle of a global pandemic and 2. There was no way I could afford their services. Reese Witherspoon and Risa Borr do not roll in the same socioeconomic circles. Yet being resourceful as I am โ€ฆ I quickly moved to OPTION B, which included ordering knockoff containers from Amazon, using my own penmanship on labels, and incorporating their concepts to recreate highly functional kitchen cabinets.๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿป

I have always struggled with organization, trying all types of approaches such as alphabetizing food, can size and color coding, which never survived more than 2 days hence deemed not sustainable. The Home Edit team helped me think about my needs and broaden categories like, tomato products, beans, rice, and it is working out brilliantly. ๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿ…๐Ÿฅ•It has been 72 hours and still being maintained. My 8 cans of garbanzo beans are lined up neatly and I only purchased items that I needed such as sliced beets. I would say that is a huge win.๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Ok โ€ฆback to the deeper question, why am I avoiding my religion and moving towards a new form of prayer meaning food organization and naming conventions? To be honest, there has been a gradual migration that began after Robin died. I just could not find the answers from Judaism of why such a fabulous young guy would exit this life so early. โ˜น๏ธI mean there is free will and we all know Robin did not have the best diet (he and I own that) and he was sarcastic as hell (in a cute way), โ€ฆ ๐Ÿฅฐbut all and all – he was a GREAT PERSON and deserves to still be here. It has been hard for me at times to really understand why the good die young. Billy Joel nailed it.

To fulfill my hunger for answers, I moved towards spirituality which has provided me the greatest clarity and direction. โžก๏ธโฌ†๏ธ I see that there is a bigger world and a connection with the divine, our deceased loved ones and nature. ๐Ÿ—It is very comforting to know that we are in this together and maybe Robin in a sense is just in another room and supporting Isabelle and I from a different realm.๐Ÿ˜‡This is what has given me hope and gratitude to move forward. I am inspired to continue to grow, explore and do better. Therefore, I try to be kind and helpful to others every day and hope that g-d in turn will forgive me for not fasting on Yom Kippur and choosing to organize my kitchen. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ™„As an aside, it was super rewarding and felt divine likeโ€ฆ if that matters.๐Ÿฅณ

And then there is 2020 which has not really motivated religious pursuits or much of anything else. What a crappy year- no matter how you look at it. There is so much hate, fear and gotchas around every corner. Social media and politics have not helped by spewing narrow views and hate causing great divides amongst us all … Ugh. As I watch the world around me fall apart with the pandemic, a segregated nation, environmental decline, natural disasters and death, I believe this whole organizing obsession I have taken to is really a way for me to hide in my little bubble until this negativity passes. ๐Ÿ‘€ I pray for positive change and a true leader who can unite us soon (strategic plug for everyone to vote). ๐Ÿ—ณSo, I guess the best thing I can do now is to organize and make sure my pasta, tea and spices are in order because that is what I can control today.๐Ÿคž๐ŸปWishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year. May all of you be inscribed in the Book of Life and may the 2020 Effect be behind us soon bringing peace, hope and many organized closets.โœŒ๐Ÿพโค๏ธ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿงน

Empty Nester – Temporarily Postponed

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Well another day in this crazy year called 2020. As many of you may know, MSU postponed freshman moving into the dorms and all the classes are online. This is not a decision that I disagree with as campuses around the country are experiencing surges in the virus. Nothing sounds like a bigger bummer than being in isolation in a small dorm room with no air-condition.๐Ÿค’ Obviously, it was a major disappointment for Isabelle and her fellow schoolmates. This was the one announcement I had dreaded being that she has been such a good sport about missing the last quarter of her senior year, prom, summer frolicking with friends etc… but feared this would take her over the edge. ๐ŸคฌLuckily, she has managed it fairly well. and I would say 85% of the time she was fine and 15% truly upset and becoming numb to bad news.โ˜”๏ธ This is hard as a parent to watch and still have the answers or encouraging words to make things better. I have stopped already and just keep saying – we have been through worse – it will work out. I want to move the sun, moon, and stars for her; ๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒšโญ๏ธI want her to have an amazing germy freshman year as we all enjoyed when we were her age. ๐Ÿท๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’‹๐ŸŽธAnd of course, this story will unfold over the next few months

However, I also want to switch topics to another person affected – that would be ME and all the unrecognized parents of young adults who just continue to take it on the chin for our kids.๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธI love my daughter with all my heart, and she has been my greatest joy and I thank g-d every day for having her in my life. She reminds me of Robin, and I am so proud of her yada yada yada โ€ฆ but I WAS READY FOR HER TO GO TO COLLEGE.๐Ÿ–๐ŸปI had big dreams and visions of what the next chapter of my life would look like which mainly involved – interior decoration and cleanliness in my home.๐Ÿคธ๐Ÿผโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐ŸŽฌHere was my list on how I was going to approach her departure and celebrate my new empty nest status.๐ŸŽ‰

My List

  1. Make sure she was moved in well and her dorm room was cute, well stocked with all the things she would need such as cleaning supplies, storage, hand vacuum, nice bedding etc. ๐Ÿงพ
  2. Develop a communication strategy where I was not bugging her too much, but also knew she was ok and prepared to be successful in school and socially. ๐Ÿ˜
  3. Begin an intense cleaning in the home – focusing on her bedroom and bathroom. Box up childhood memorabilia (we talked about it and she was ok) and turn it into a big girl room finally.๐Ÿงน๐Ÿงฝ
  4. Fumigation of upstairs carpet or maybe even changing it since she had a few mishaps with nail polish and other unidentified stains. And recently I let Ella and Laura (the pugs) upstairs for about 10 minute which was not a wise decision that forever has wrecked my carpet.๐Ÿ’ฉโ˜ ๏ธ
  5. Purge all high school knick-knacks that I was unsure were important or not – such as notebooks, bent poster board invites to a junior dance, decorations for St. Patrick’s Day, key chains, folders etc.๐Ÿ‘€
  6. Rejoice in only having to run the dishwasher once a night and cleaning the kitchen less than 5 times a day. Not being surprised and angered with sticky finger residue left on cabinet handles and the refrigerator. Significant reduction in the purchase of Windex to help with monthly expenses and the environment.๐Ÿ–๐Ÿป๐Ÿ–๐Ÿป๐Ÿ–๐Ÿป
  7. No more picking up empty water bottles and discarded towels left on the floor that were used for an intense workout – even after constantly pleading with her to stop doing that. ๐Ÿผ
  8. Date and be a total slut – bringing home strange men every night without judgement (well maybe from the pugs). Ha – just joking – wanted to see if you were really reading this or not โ€“ let me know. Well maybe just kidding a little – I mean Covid has been a long isolation.๐Ÿ‘ 

I have cherished my time with Isabelle as I have written previously but there is a process where your teens are ready to leave and they just do not make you feel great about yourself anymore.๐Ÿ˜• It starts with the eye rolls and then the flinching when you try to touch them. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜ฌ No longer are the days where you can snuggle and play with their hair without receiving an utterly repulsed reaction from them.๐ŸคฎIt is a sad state when I find myself hugging a kissing my elephant stuffed animal for my bed. ๐Ÿ˜To be honest, the pugs do not like the kissing and hugging too much either. ๐Ÿถ๐ŸถOk back to Isabelle and teenagers, they start talking back and not respecting you anymore and quite honestly it is bad for our self-esteem. ๐Ÿ‘…Isabelle tells me to stop being so needy of reinforcement of my parenting skills. The other day she said that she admires my career and work ethic. Initially, I thought that was nice then I was like… are you kidding me? I have been awesome at keeping the wheels on this bus. I have served as mother, father, confident, provider, emotional support, cancer survivor and most of all keeping faith and hope alive when we were kicked in the ass by life. ๐Ÿฆน๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ So, you know what… go fly my little bird ๐Ÿฆ…โ€ฆ. it is time!!! AND YET IT IS NOTโ€ฆ

Ok… I was venting a little – sorry about that…. but us parents of seniors in 2020 have taken a beating too. ๐Ÿค• All in all, it is going to work out just fine. I mean on the bright side, I now can relive my freshman year at MSU with my new roomie – Isabelle Borr.๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆWe can hang out, study/work together, play Trivial Pursuit and get drunk on Bacardi listening to the Go-Goโ€™s. ๐Ÿฅƒ๐ŸŽง๐Ÿฅ Those were the days – I wonder what they will be like reinvented in 2020. Yes, I am a 54-year-old freshman again and I will let you know how it goes.. Go State!!!๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿค

Two Years and Counting

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It is hard to believe that Robin has been gone for two years now. ๐Ÿ˜‡ In some cases, it feels like yesterday and other times it seems like a lifetime ago. When I look back, the pictures are outdated, and I am forced to revisit some less than flattering hair and clothing choices – ha-ha. ๐Ÿ‘ข๐Ÿ‘›The one thing I know for sure is that I am different person than I was even two years ago. Sometimes, I guess it takes a great loss to push you out of that comfort zone and evolve. Trust me if I could, I would bring Robin back in half a second. I am disappointed in myself that I took him for granted at times not realizing the hole in my heart it would leave when he was gone.๐Ÿ’”However, in other ways, I had to put my big girl pants on and make some long-term choices. I did not want to wither away and die, I was compelled to show my daughter that life goes on. While Robin is not with us now, we should be grateful for the time we did have him even if it was too short.โŒ›๏ธ He was special in that kind of sarcastic, smart, humble, funny, and charming way. Yet, the area he stood the strongest was possessing a moral compass that always pointed True North.๐Ÿงญ He was a good guy and pushed Isabelle and me to be the best we could be.๐Ÿฅ‡

Time does heal and I must say I have a different outlook on life today and it is for the better. However, I never really knew what it was in formal terminology until I heard a podcast discussing Post Traumatic Growth. I was aware of Post Traumatic Syndrome but was pleasantly surprised to learn about a framework around what I was experiencing. It sounds silly but there were times that maybe I was just going mad a bit – glad to hear that I am growing and not needing to be taken to a psychiatric ward.๐Ÿš‘ Ok back to the concept because I know you are in deep suspense. Here is the list of positive outcomes otherwise known as PTG.

1. Embracing new opportunities โ€“ both at the personal and the professional fronts. ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

2. Improved personal relationships and increased pleasure derived from being around people we love.๐Ÿ‘ป

3. A heightened sense of gratitude toward life altogether.๐Ÿฅณ

4. Greater spiritual connection.๐Ÿงš๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

5. Increased emotional strength and resilience.๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป

Wow…. the professor went on to say most people do not experience all five … but guess what? …. I do!!!!! This is almost as good as my new FICO score (yes – I did it too- I have Excellent credit). Wait, I digress but needed to add that in and could not find an appropriate time. As I review my last two years, it is like I am a textbook case. For example, embracing new opportunities – I decided early on to enjoy new experiences including different kinds of exercising, floating in that water pod, studying spirituality, taking vacations, and just recently starting my own consulting firm. And did I mention…. I can do burpees now (immensely proud of that achievement).๐Ÿฉฑ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Regarding improving personal relationships – I have been selective on who I want in my life and in some cases NOT. It has been liberating and I find that I am much more present now and do enjoy those in my life. Many friendships have gone to a deeper level and honestly feel fortunate on how well I have been supported. The “widow-thing” has NOT been a big problem – thank g-d… I do not rock being a third wheel very well and luckily everyone has been super considerate. ๐Ÿท

Point three and four – a heightened sense of gratitude toward life altogether and a greater spiritual connection have been my most profound changes. I mean it seems counter intuitive but there is something so liberating and makes you really appreciate everything. I used to live in fear all the time and did not value what I had. I suppose that is a by-product of our society and community. In the quest to be the richest, smartest, best-looking etc… it is nice to be off that train ride to hell. ๐Ÿš€Today I enjoy quiet walks in nature, my friends, family, the pugs and having a lifestyle that is comfortable. I do not need more (well maybe a little more!).๐Ÿ’ฐ I think everyone gets my drift… ๐Ÿ›ณ I feel deeply connected to Robin and the universe which I know sounds strange to most folks. Isabelle and I are cloaked in spiritual protection and light – it is undeniably there and feels like a warm hug which I cherish.๐Ÿฅฐ

And finally, increased emotional strength and resilience. When you lose someone, you do not have a choice especially if you have children. However, I would say it is like a muscle and when you exercise it – you can shoulder whatever comes your way. ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ I think this has especially been evident with both Isabelle and me during the pandemic. It really has not rattled us at all. Yes, it is getting a little long without not much end in sight, but I have been extremely impressed with the way Isabelle has handled it with a matter of factness and grace. We have decided to turn this into an opportunity to bond at a deeper level (with the exceptions of our fights over cleaning the kitchen).๐ŸณAlso, to get healthier by turning a portion of our house into a gym and in her terms “get shredded.“โš”๏ธ In complete honesty, she made that happen and I am taking up little less space but remain a work in progress. ๐Ÿ“ˆ

Well, it has certainly been a ride with many ups and downs, yet I feel more confident to maneuver this journey. I am hopeful for the future and believe there has been a purpose for all that has happened. I want us to step up to our potential and be better and do better. And at the same time, I need to honor my main man, who always had the faith in us before we had it in ourselves. Robin, I miss and am inspired by you each and every day… RIP and all of this is because of you.โค๏ธ – cue sappy music… ๐ŸŽผ๐ŸŽป