Social Distancing

I really like this new term called “social distancing” because now I have a name for what Iโ€™ve been doing pretty much my whole life. Those who know me well are keenly aware that I love to stay home and tend to find it a struggle to actually leave my house unless it is for a run outside. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ Therefore, with the new quarantine guidelines, I have to admit that I am really in a place of comfort. I would say this is a strength of mine and now I can brag about it. ๐Ÿค— In the past, especially after Robin died, I have been gently advised by friends and family that I needed to get out more. Who knew that I was a trendsetter? ๐Ÿฅณ

I had known about the coronavirus for awhile as my friends in China were being quarantined in February. However, I never thought it would spread around the world and we too would find ourselves in lock-down. ๐Ÿ˜ท The virus or at least the panic hit my community about a week and a half ago from my best estimates. All hell broke out and word traveled quickly that we better go and buy food and supplies for at least a two week quarantine. ๐Ÿšš My first thoughts were, this is ridiculous and secondly, who cares? …. we had already had a well stocked utility closet. ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ You see, I hate going to Costco so when I do absolutely need to go, I mass buy everything in order not to return anytime soon. ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ›’Needless to say, I was feeling confident with my stash of paper goods, pasta, canned goods etc.. that we were going to make it just fine. ๐Ÿ˜›And in hindsight, I am also fortunate that there was still excess supplies from Robin’s Shiva (funeral reception at the house). Letโ€™s just say we did not get the anticipated turnout expected which led to a surplus of unwanted paper goods for nearly two years. โ˜น๏ธ I mean, is it a big deal to wipe our ass with a high end napkin with an embossed print of a flower – I say no!๐Ÿ’

I have been asked if I am scared of this virus and my answer is “no.’ ๐ŸงThe reason is that I have been through far worse. Losing Robin was terrifying to me and to figure out and manage without him in our life was a nightmare. The dreams of growing old together, raising Isabelle and having my partner in crime were gone. ๐Ÿ˜” Over the last nineteen months, I had to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. ๐Ÿ˜• I also needed to be ok knowing that I have to support Isabelle and myself emotionally and financially on my own. To me, that was frightening! ๐Ÿ‘ป Therefore, I am confident that we will eventually contain this virus and hopefully get through it with minimal human or economic long term loss.๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป

However, I would like to share some words of wisdom and observations. First of all and most important, our communities needs to stay safe and follow the guidelines provided to us by our State and the CDC. Unfortunately, I am certainly seeing many people struggle to adhere to these very basic principles but that is another story for another time. ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐ŸปThe real issue and challenge for all of us is to deal with change and adapt to a new set of circumstances which involves a bit of sacrifice of our personal freedom for a short amount of time. ๐Ÿค” Yet if we were all to do a little soul searching, I think this pandemic is a WAKE UP call for everyone. ๐Ÿ˜ต I think the world and our relationships with one are out of alignment. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Over the last few years, we have shown very little tolerance to differences in opinion, especially politically. ๐Ÿ˜ค I am very guilty of this one too. ๐Ÿ™„ People have short cords and we have seen an outbreak of violence occur almost on a weekly basis with innocent lives being lost because someone blew. ๐Ÿคฏ We do not respect the earth and our natural resources, we overuse, pollute, create waste which has led to very freaky natural disasters and weather patterns. ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ’ฆโ„๏ธ๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿ’จโšก๏ธโ˜„๏ธAs a society we are disconnected, obsessed with social media and any other distraction to avoid paying attention to the present and one another. ๐Ÿคณ๐ŸปI am not trying to get preachy, I am just stating a fact that we are not in harmony. ๐ŸŽผ MAYBE just maybe there is goodness that can come from all of this! ๐ŸŒˆ Maybe we can slow down, re-calibrate, get back to basics and start to appreciate one another and this world a little more. ๐ŸŒ Ok, that was deep – but needed to be said. We will now move on to the entertaining portion of this blog (at least I hope you find Isabelle and my mundane antics amusing)๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™€๏ธ

So what are we doing in the Borr house during our quarantine? Please let me illuminate our spiritual awakening here in West Bloomfield, MI. ๐Ÿงš๐Ÿป 1. Waking Up – Isabelle and I negotiate who will go downstairs first and let the dogs out cause they always seem to be barking before either of us are interested in peeling out of bed. I generally lose the argument but seeing their cute pug faces is hard for me to be annoyed too long. ๐Ÿ’ฉ 2. Making Breakfast – I have a little routine where I let the dogs out as discussed above and then I proceed to wake up the house which includes opening the blinds, emptying the dishwasher so the kitchen is clean and ready to go. Yet in our new situation, Isabelle has thrown my schedule off. She starts cooking breakfast, piling the dishes in the sink and messing up the counters before I have emptied the dishwasher. ๐Ÿฅฃ๐Ÿด๐ŸณThis makes me crazy and we end up screaming at each other and I ban her from the kitchen. โŒ She laughs as she knows my discipline never sticks. And yes, every once in awhile she actually empties the dishwasher for me.๐Ÿ™ƒ 3. Exercise Luckily the local studios have gotten innovative and are putting great workouts online. CelyFit host our normal zumba and weight classes which I am doing in my new gym studio (which is our converted back room). ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿป It is serving us perfectly. I am able to hook up my computer to our large TV screen and sound bar – and it is awesome. Isabelle and I do spend some time together as we exercise to the Beach Body Workout or Orange Theory. When the self quarantine breaks, we will be ready for our bikinis with our six pack abs (well at least she will be – not so much for me). ๐Ÿ‘™Also what has been amazing is the weather although a little cold, still a perfect alternative. Getting outside to run or walk is incredible for your mind and soul. Since the virus, I have seen Robins (birds) all over the place making me believe that everything is going to be OK. ๐Ÿฆ…4. Working From Home – Oh and then there is that. Probably not the best time to start a consulting group but I have been staying busy as I develop tools, marketing, contracts, networking etc.. It is nice to reconnect with former colleagues and friends and see how I can help out. I am starting to get traction and that is very exciting for me. ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿ’ผ 5. Podcasts, Reading and Learning – What a great time to learn new things. This is a once a lifetime opportunity to study stuff you never had time for in the past. I have been learning about marketing and maybe web design – who knows – probably not. ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐ŸŽ“ 6. Meditation and Yoga – I have been meditating and doing yoga for awhile but find it especially comforting now. For yoga, it is my personal goal to improve my balance and loosen up. I find myself taking online classes with that dude who has been doing yoga forever – Rodney Yee (he is so zen). ๐Ÿง˜๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธAlso I have been going through the class “Hip Hip Hooray – to increase flexibility in my hips – funny title and a little embarrassing but what the heck. ๐Ÿง˜๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ 7. Emotional Isolation – This is what happens when you have a fairly large house and a teenager.๐Ÿง๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธI go for hours on end where I do not see Isabelle. She is sequestered in her room or some other part of the house. It feels a little strange so I try to suggest at least one hour a day for together time. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งShe rolls her eyes and tells me I am overreacting. ๐Ÿ‘€ We are still working on this one and our common ground has been about a 20 minute workout every other day together. More to come on this front as it is definitely an opportunity for improvement. 8. Inventory – I go to my storage room and count toilet paper rolls and towels to ensure we have enough supplies for the apocalypse. โœ๐Ÿป๐Ÿงป๐Ÿงป๐Ÿงป Ha ha just kidding wanted to see if anyone was reading. ๐Ÿ˜›

Back to being serious, I know these are unsettling times and we need to find a little humor and patience as we get through this apart and together. ๐Ÿ‘ฅ I hope some good will happen as we take stock on what is truly important. โค๏ธ Enjoy spending time with your family, improving yourself mentally and physically, getting rest and following the isolation rules to lower the virus curve. ๐Ÿ“‰ Call a friend, mend a relationship, be creative, support small businesses and lets restore humankind together. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ง We can choose to live in fear or to THRIVE – I prefer the later. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป Let’s innovate and create something new and fabulous from this situation.๐Ÿ’กBut most of all stay safe and healthy! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐ŸปWishing everyone peace and love. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿปโค๏ธ

Backslide … for a moment

I made a promise when I started writing this blog that I would be authentic and real. So with that commitment, I am going to admit that in late January many of my old wounds from Robin’s death opened up again.๐Ÿ˜ฎ You see, I learned by an email to our subdivision that my next door neighbor had unexpectedly passed away. He left his wife and four children. I just could not believe that my neighbors would have to go through everything Isabelle and I experienced just a year and a half ago. As I was dealing with the shock of his untimely death, we also all heard the terrible news about Kobe Bryant, his daughter (and so many other precious lives lost) just a few days later. These awful events threw me right back to the morning my life changed forever. I felt sorry for the widows and all others affected by these tragic losses. I wondered if I was just living in a false sense of reality that was easily knocked down when someone became a new member of the widow/widower club. It made me realize that mourning is certainly a journey and sometimes you go two steps forward and then three steps back. It was an eye opener for me having truly believed that I was beyond these setbacks. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

On a lighter note, I have been working towards starting my own HR consulting practice.๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™€๏ธ It is my passion to help organizations realize their business strategy by employing effective solutions that ensure their workforce is motivated and aligned to deliver for the organization. More on this later… but talk about feeling outside out of your comfort zone.โš ๏ธ I have worked in large global companies my entire life and I really have confidence with my technical expertise yet starting a business is a whole new experience.๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Thank goodness for friends and family that have walked this path before me.

A few weeks ago I became obsessed with finding a great name that would represent my new consulting brand. I took an entire weekend to brainstorm and annoy friends who were being helpful and polite as I sent random texts at all hours. ๐Ÿฅณ. Well after about 70 ideas, a few false positives, deep meditation, perhaps a whole order of Jetโ€™s crazy crust – I found the ONE! I will reveal it once things are official but let’s just say I have the website domain and paperwork has been submitted. ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ

Which leads me to the next important piece – my professional image. I quickly realized that my sad picture on LinkedIn – shot by the famous photographer – Risa Borr (selfie from iPhone 7) was not going to get the job done for me. ๐Ÿ†˜ I finally decided it was time to get professional head shots that would send just the right vibe.…I am creative, straightforward yet highly competent and skilled yet not so serious and formal yet not too casual and not too old but definitely current. This was a tall order that was not going to come together without the right crew of make-up, hair and photography professionals. ๐Ÿ’„๐Ÿงš๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’ฐ Boy, do I miss those days where you could just look great without trying. NOW – you have to really try but look like you did not try at all. ๐Ÿคฌ A clever balance that I have just exposed to my large following for the blog. ๐Ÿ˜›

So to my last point as this story still unfolds, I went to Nordstrom to find that perfect jacket to wear in the head shot and I was feeling good until I visited the dressing room. ๐Ÿ™€Nordstrom really tries to provide a great experience for customers especially when they are trying on clothing. They have these mirrors that basically catch every angle in the convenience of your own dressing room. Earlier that evening, I had gone out to eat with my girlfriend Renee and believed I had worn a super cute and slenderizing outfit. However, one trip in front of the mirror told a completely different story. I was horrified as I examined my rear end in this 360 view – my self confidence deflated.๐Ÿ“Œ I guess long sweaters don’t always hide your large ass. ๐Ÿณ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ– Now in fairness to Nordstrom, at least they have a great ambience.๐Ÿ’‹ I won’t even give Macy’s a try cause their dressing rooms are always messy with that old fashion florescent lighting which makes even a super model look heavy and pale.๐Ÿคก Ok, letโ€™s move on … I bought the jacket ignoring the whole dressing room situation and pretended that my mirror at home would make everything all better. I am happy to report that my home reflection knocked ten pounds off and trauma neutralized – yeah !!!๐Ÿ‘ Well stay tuned for the final reveal of both my fabulous business name and headshot. For those who know it already – keep it on the down low until I am official.๐Ÿคž

So … that was my month – a few highs and still many lows as I tackle this bumpy road.๐Ÿฅƒ One day you want to laugh, the next day you want to cry and the next day you want to ban department store mirrors! ๐Ÿ˜• Sending much love and support to My neighbor and her kids. Rest In Peace my friend and say hi to Robin. ๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

2020 at Warp Speed

Happy New Year everyone – it is very hard to believe that it is 2020! I remember in 2002 when I was holding my newborn daughter,๐Ÿ’— I tried to determine what year she would be graduating from high school and after a drawn out calculation, I figured out it was 2020!๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐ŸŽ“And now here we are and guess what?… if you hang in there long enough with me, you can read about my future nervous breakdown when I have to send my one and only child off to college. ๐Ÿ˜ญ Ok, I don’t want to talk or think about it right now because we have an exciting year to let unfold. So we are going to put my impeding empty nester trauma on the back burner for now. ๐Ÿงจ

As many of you read about in one of my posts last year, I bought an electric snow blower and I was very proud of assembling it on my own (well I actually got a small assist but I did about 97% solo).โ˜ƒ๏ธ It had been sitting in the garage just waiting to make its first appearance. Well, last Saturday with a snow fall of 3 -5 inches, which felt more like 8 – 10 in my backyard, I was ready to officially blow the snow. Of course, I had an obligation to ensure my sweet pugs had a little path to do their business outside.๐Ÿ’ฉ I learned the hard way last winter that if I don’t provide them some grass to go potty on, I am setting myself up for a very frustrating day involving lots of cookies and trips outside to avoid any accidents on the rugs. ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿšธ

I love my house but the only easy access to get to my yard is through one door in my den.๐Ÿšช The backyard is this great sunken oasis of privacy which is wonderful during the summer and hosting awesome parties.๐Ÿฅณ However, in the winter it is a very different story to get to the backyard. Let’s just say from my garage, you have to walk stairs and then are greeted by a gate that is very difficult to open. Robin and I decided to go with the cheap gate guy and thus a bit of the quality was sacrificed which manifested into a hinged door that doesn’t open smoothly without some manipulation.๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿป Therefore, my point of all this is, that getting the snow blower from the garage to the backyard poses two unpleasant alternatives: 1. Take it thru the deep snow, up a steep hill, opening a gate that most likely is blocked by accumulation and then walking it down several stairs to get to the patio ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐ŸปOR 2. Drag the snow blower through the house after the cleaning people have left and messing up the freshly mopped floor. ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿป As one would guess, I chose option 2 and tried to mitigate my risk as best as I could. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Lucky for me, Isabelle was awake Saturday morning and I figured she could assist me with the blower transport through the house and be part of my snow removal crew. Of course, she chose to lounge downstairs in shorts and no socks because that is appropriate attire for a freezing snowy day in the middle of winter – NOT!๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ And as expected, she offered limited service to me because she could not go in the garage wearing her summer outfit.. yada yada yada. ๐Ÿ‘™๐Ÿ•ถSo I got all bundled up, I pushed the snow blower across the kitchen and also grabbed my new indoor/outdoor extension cord bought specifically for this occasion. I shared with Isabelle that she needed to stick around to help me get started. She reluctantly agreed. I began by plugging the cord into the snow blower to get this party started.๐Ÿ”Œ Little did I know that the blower required a two prong and I bought a three prong electrical cord. Ugh… may I also add that I specifically bought this cord because it was suggested by Home Depot’s fabulous AI on the website .. thank you very much.๐Ÿ‘‹ I asked Isabelle to see if we had another cords with two prongs. Upon delivery, she informed me that she was going upstairs and I should text her if I needed anything else – otherwise known as bailing on me.๐Ÿ“žThe cord she provided looked like it was an electrical hazard since it had a significant amount duct tape on it and probably had some war stories to share if it could talk. โš ๏ธ I was certain I would get electrocuted but I was going to take my chances because I was committed to getting this done.โšก๏ธ

I went to plug the cord into our outside electrical socket and it was time to finally get started. I pushed the button and drum roll…. NOTHING – no power.โŒ I figured that the plug outside was not working so I tried using an indoor outlet and again and the same results. Employing my great problem solving skills, I found my phone charger and plugged it into both outlets and there was power. Crap.. my snow blower doesn’t work… figures!๐Ÿคฌ Cue the music that plays when something goes wrong in a sitcom.. wa wa wa waaaa.๐ŸŽผ I took a deep breadth to calm down convincing myself I had definitely been through harder obstacles than this one. I decided to seek help by watching a YouTube video on how to start the blower but there was no guidance. It was like there was an assumption that any idiot could start this blower without instructions – need I say more?๐Ÿ˜ณ

Then I looked at the start button and it clearly said – push and engage the safety bar aaahโ€ฆ that makes sense. So I tried and voila โ€ฆ it started. I was ready to finally go after about 40 minutes of the above antics. I then paused and took a moment to feel sorry for myself. I am really not cut out for outdoor work… I am not mechanical and I hate being in the cold!๐Ÿ˜• I want to be inside sipping on a hot cocoa and watching my man out there handling it like the stud he was .. confident, quick and knowing. He would never had any of these problems I just experienced. I gave myself another minute or so to lick my wounds and then back to business.๐Ÿ˜‹ I pushed the button again and grabbed the safety bar and started blowing the snow. My sadness turned into exhilaration as it actually worked well and I created a path while the snow flied out of the way. I pushed back and forth with ease and then I heard a bad sound โ€ฆ I had hit rocks and saw a piece of my brand new blower left behind in the snow. ๐Ÿ—ณ Whoops, yet quickly remembered I had a warranty and kept on moving… I will deal with that issue later.

Once I was finished, I came in the house drenched and I mean soaked! Isabelle was no where to be found. I took off all my wet clothes and had to find a dry coat, hat and gloves to take my dogs outside. Now my pugs are not lovers of the snow either but thank goodness they also have food issues and would do anything for a cookie. ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿช We went outside, down the path and onto the patch of grass that I cleared for them. They quickly did what they were supposed to do and I got a clean sweep – pees and poos from both gals.๐Ÿ’ฉ Mission accomplished hooray – I would admit not so smooth, but got it over the finish line. ๐Ÿˆ

So the deal is I am trying to be this independent woman who takes care of everything, but it is not always so easy. I am awkward and not well equipped with everyday life skills. Clearing a path in the backyard should have taken 15 minutes and as usual it took me over an hour. This is the story of my life… I am really trying but it takes so damn long.โฑ I am constantly on a major learning curve and have to factor in 4x the amount of time that normal person would generally need.

Robin has been gone about a year and a half and Isabelle and I have fallen into a nice routine. Don’t get me wrong, we miss him each and everyday but the sadness has generally faded to endearing memories. The only exception is when I have to take on new responsibilities that I really don’t want to do, such as blowing the snow.๐Ÿ˜– But I have realized that I am resilient and have adopted the mantra โ€œyou do what you have to do.โ€ I just wish I would have taken more interest when I had the chance to learn home maintenance such as operating a snow blower. It is a really good skill to have especially when you live in Michigan.๐Ÿ˜›

I feel Robin with me all the time and I know he was probably cracking up watching me with my Saturday ordeal.๐Ÿ˜‡ But I also know he is proud of us and can Rest In Peace knowing we got this.. .whatever is thrown at us .. we got it ! (that is if we have no time constraints)๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป So I declare another victory in the Borr house on a snowy Saturday afternoon. Chicks rule and let’s hope there is no more snow this winter!!!๐Ÿ’‹โค๏ธ

My Hair – I am Done

I was inspired to write this blog post after reading I Hate My Neck by Nora Ephron. My friend Michele suggested I try it out for a good laugh and Nora did not disappoint. (May She Rest In Peace) ๐Ÿ˜‡ I believe Nora and I would have been great buddies if we had known each other. Her humor and observation of everyday life was so relatable and clever. One chapter of her book discussed the toils of hair care and it got me thinking about the lifelong struggles with my mane. ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿ’ผ

Throughout the years, I have enjoyed a head full of curly, frizzy hair. It worked out well because in the 80โ€™s and 90โ€™s, big hair was the rage and I was all in. ๐Ÿฆน๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ I was able to add two inches to my height with very limited effort. I never gave my voluminous style much thought until much later while reviewing pictures from the past. It is quite horrifying to see how bad my hair looked after a moment spent outside. Humidity found me and gave no mercy. I have posted an example above for your reference. The things I do for ART!๐ŸŽจ As an aside, my profile picture (small round one) was highly doctored and a fluke of nature. ๐Ÿ˜˜

Needless to say, as I have grown older and experienced life, my hair is no longer as thick as it used to be but thank goodness – my frizz did not go away – yeah! ๐Ÿค— Now my issues are different as I try to adjust to thinner and sort of less curly hair.๐Ÿง I spend at least one hour a day washing, drying, straightening, curling or thinking about my hair. ๐Ÿค“ My friend Marla always seems to have time to entertain these philosophical discussions and she is convinced that I have not found the right hair products to use. ๐ŸงดShe tries to share what works for her but lets be honest, her hair is gorgeous, full and completely different than mine. I know her intentions are from the best place but all I am thinking is “cut your hair bitch and send it to me, I can paste it on my head.” (Just kidding at least about the bitch part)โœ‚๏ธ๐Ÿถ

Since this is a blog about being a widow, I do need to incorporate my sweet late husband Robin into the narrative, so here we go. One of the romantic things that Robin used to do for me was buy a stack of magazines every time he visited Costco, which was a little too often for a family of three. ๐Ÿ›’ Yet, it was our special tradition that I looked forward to. In May of 2018, he brought me home the Magnolia magazine (big fan of Chip and Joanna – Fixer Upper) ๐Ÿก and I was excited to check it out. As I was flipping through the pages, there was a women featured who had the cutest curly-ish bob haircut and I thought this maybe a perfect new hairstyle for me. ๐Ÿ’‡๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ As an aside, she was also holding a fabulous wooden basket for vegetables which I decided was perfect for me too. ๐ŸงบOK, that had nothing to do with the hair thing but was noteworthy and a little nostalgic. Getting back to the story … I had not really ever known a world without some type of layers in my hair and I was ready for a change. I asked Robin what he thought and of course he had no comment on the matter other than full support.๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ He always refused to participate in the situation – it was a no win dilemma and he learned never to offer an opinion. He was so SMART.. .. I miss that about him.. โค๏ธ

I shared the vision of growing my hair out to one length with my hair guru and friend Pavlina. She encouraged me to go for it and has been supporting my dream ever since. So here is the problem, I have been working on this hair goal for over a year and a half and I am still not there yet. I never thought when I set this objective that I was committing to a multiple year endeavor. I really wanted to be on trend like the sixth Kardashian sister. ( Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, Kendall, Kylie and Risa) ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ However, now it has taken so long that the my worst fears may becoming a reality soon…BANGS… yikes๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ. But I have gone too far and I am not turning back even if it takes my till I am 80 years old to achieve a curly bob. ๐Ÿ‘ต๐Ÿป

I am embarrassed to admit how consumed I am about my hair. I never heard Robin or any other man complain about a bad hair day. I know the gripe maybe more basic like actually having hair or not but that is legitimate and I must give props to the guys out there.๐Ÿง‘๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿฆฒ I am very happy that I have hair, please don’t mistake this for not being grateful, I just wish my hair was not such an independent spirit. ๐Ÿงš๐ŸปShe does not take orders from anyone or anything. ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐ŸปI can wash and conditioner her carefully, dab dry, use expensive hair balm, maneuver a high end brush while blowing so carefully. I can finish off with a fancy no frizz hair spray but it just does not matter. Everyday is a new experience and I am just along for the ride I guess. ๐Ÿš• After years of spending thousands of dollars on hair tools, products, cuts (not including my hourly rate which would probably double the estimate above), I have just concluded that I need to divert my attention to something that I can actually influence like world peace or climate change haha. โœŒ๏ธ๐Ÿ––๐Ÿป๐ŸŒŽ

However, with that being said, I have taken a page out of the Robinโ€™s playbook, which is wear a baseball hat. ๐Ÿงข This bypasses a lot of trauma and time. I think my guy was onto something.๐Ÿคญ So hair I am done whining … YOU WIN!! ๐Ÿ†Just one little favor? Can you grow a little faster with a little less frizz and oh a little thicker and shiner? ๐Ÿ—ฃ Yep that is it! THANKS. ๐Ÿ˜‰ OK… going to grab my hat now and conquer the world – bye bye ๐Ÿ‘‹ ๐ŸŽฉ

Unemployment – I am SO Busy

One of the values that was instilled within me since a young age was the importance of work.โœ๐Ÿป As a child, I witnessed my parents logging long hours to provide for the family and I unfortunately found out early, sometimes things don’t go as you expect. Having lost my mom when I was seven, it always stuck in my mind that “shit happens” and you need a back up plan. ๐Ÿ˜• To me, ensuring that I had enough money and could support my family was an important safety guard. โš ๏ธ

As far as I can remember, I always had a job, if it was babysitting, folding clothes at my auntโ€™s boutique, dishing out food in the dorm cafeteria (embarrassing) ๐Ÿ™„or waitressing at a bar where your tips were in portion with how tight and short your shirt and skirt appeared. ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ‘™๐Ÿงณ Yes, I admit, I found myself going to work in ill fitting uniforms. Hey, I needed to be efficient with my time – return on investment (ROI) baby!!! ๐Ÿ’ต๐Ÿ’ต๐Ÿ’ต Anyways, my strong work ethic continued as I pursued a career with long hours – minus the slutty clothes.๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿ’ผ I liked having meaningful roles and getting rewarded through promotions and gaining new responsibilities. When Robin and I decided to have Isabelle, we agreed that he would stay at home and I would continue my professional journey. I was happy to be the lead income as I really liked what I was doing and Robin was more acclimated to home and kid tasks. We made a good pair and it really worked for us as I have shared in previous blogs.๐Ÿ˜€

However, after Robin died, the joy of working changed for me. My priorities shifted and I knew I had to become more focused at home and being a parent to Isabelle.๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งThis was Robin’s sweat equity and I was not going to let him or Isabelle down. Upon reflection, I have to admit that I lost perspective for many years when I was out being a career girl on the importance of face to face time with Isabelle. There were events, game and quiet moments that I missed out on because I knew Robin had it covered.๐Ÿง Only recently have I realized that I probably was away an few too many times and I regret not being tapped in. These days I am trying to be grateful for my life all that has happened may be our higher powers giving me a kick in the ass to pay attention to the things that matter. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜‡ This leads me to the actual content of today’s blog which is taking down time to recalibrate and spend quality time with Isabelle before she leaves for college.๐Ÿš˜

If you were to ask old Risa – pre Robin’s death – being unemployed would have completely freaked her out. However, it feels completely right now and I want to make the most of this opportunity. ๐Ÿ˜Ž I have embraced being uncomfortable and vowed to set personal goals and just go for it. Yet, the one thing I did not anticipate is how much I like not working. ๐Ÿฅณ I used to be so JUDGEY wondering what the moms’ (and Robin) did all day without a job when their children were somewhat independent (or aka.. in school most of the day) ๐Ÿคจ. I finally realize they were onto something that I never knew until now and it is fabulous – I love it!โค๏ธ The only problem is that people ask me what I am doing with my time off and I can never truly articulate how full my days are โ€ฆ I am way to busy to work and that is for sure!!!๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

So what have I been doing? Well first of all, coming from a business world, I had to set priorities for myself. I mean I am a HR practitioner for g-d sakes! Here are my goals in no particular order: 1. Get Healthy (eating and exercise); ๐Ÿฅ’2. Enhance relationship with Isabelle; ๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™€๏ธ3. Be a Traditional Mom (cook, clean, go to school stuff and pugs); ๐Ÿณ4. Explore Spiritualty and Gratitude (the guiding force that has gotten me through these challenges); ๐Ÿงš๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ5. Pursue starting own business (HR consulting or writing a sitcom); ๐Ÿฆน๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ 6. Expand creativity (this blog, writing, learning) ๐Ÿค“and 7. Having Fun (do things that I never had time to do, meet new people). ๐Ÿค—

With those heavy goals … I am definitely down the path and on track with most of them well kinda maybe – ok not all. ๐Ÿ’ฏ1. Getting Healthy – I workout most everyday (Run, Zumba, Orange Theory, Yoga, Weight Training – love it) or feel guilty one the days I don’t; Eating Healthy (could do better but not entirely horrible but a little too carb heavy). 2. Enhance Relationship with Isabelle – We are finding our groove; Binge watching Madam Secretary (Season 5 and there are a ton of episodes – Elizabeth is a bad ass and our best shot at a democratic presidential candidate – please run); We went to orientation at MSU ๐Ÿ’šand then enjoyed a fattening milkshake after (her idea); I am receiving political tutorials on presidential candidates from Isabelle and Bill Maher. ๐Ÿคด๐Ÿป 3. Be a Traditional Mom – I am keeping the house in order; Continuing to purge unwanted stuff and donating it; Cooking for Isabelle (with her commenting last night – you don’t need to cook so much for me – I like to do it myself) – not sure how to take that feedback and; Assembled an electric snow blower following ambiguous instructions. ๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง3. Awakening/Spirituality – I have been meditating daily and getting certified to be an Intuitive Practitioner (my current homework is cleaning chakras); Also wearing a lot of beaded bracelets – ha ha. In all seriousness really getting connected with source and gaining clarity. 4. Expanding Creativity – I am still blogging (and you thought I was gone); Exploring new recipes; Gardening (or was); Listening to podcasts for inspiration and business ideas and 5. Having Fun – I am hanging with my other unemployed friend Gilma and enjoying spontaneous lunches, shopping, long walks with pugs, massages, facials and just screwing around. ๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›

If I put all frivolous stuff aside, I know this is an important moment and I am going to make the most of it. I am trusting my gut instinct and just not worrying about unemployment – at least – not for now. I am about one and half months in and feeling like I making some progress with my goals. It is time for me to get introspective and examine my life including strengths and areas for opportunities. In the past, there were responsibilities that I automatically punted to Robin and I think it is time to make up for lost time. I want this time to be special for Isabelle and me. I need to ensure she is well prepared and confident in her next steps as she transitions to college. I also want to make sure that I have no regrets as I too move forward.

So as a recap, I am enjoying being unemployed and recognize this is a short window of time for me to focus on Isabelle and myself. Although I cannot always articulate how I am filling my days, there is one thing I can confidently say… I may not be working but I am WORKING. In conclusion as this is getting very long…. I highly recommend it to anyone (who is fortunate to be rich or receive a generous severance) to stop and take stock of your life. Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Talk to you soon or when I can find time to blog which is in fact one of my goals. Peace Out for now.

Was It A Sign?

As many of you know, I believe that we are all still connected even after death. What has gotten me through the grief of losing Robin has been my absolute feeling that his spirit/presence is with me and Isabelle each and everyday. ๐Ÿ˜‡ I have managed to stay extremely positive and grateful as I move forward living a fulfilling and productive life. Yet as Halloween approached, ๐ŸŽƒ I could not help but think of Robin and the void we feel in our house. For some reason, Robin absolutely loved this holiday and enjoyed decorating our exterior with cobwebs, ghosts and lots of scary fog with creepy music. I would get so frustrated when he trolled Targetโ€™s Day After Halloween Sale and picked up more crap for us to use the following year. It’s funny how the most annoying habits are now the ones I completely miss.๐Ÿ‘ป

The night before Halloween when I was laying in bed, I was thinking of Robin and asked him to send me a sign that he was around. I fell asleep, woke up the next morning and carried on as usual with my daily routine. At about 2 p.m, I began to hear beeping and had no idea where it was coming from. It sounded like one of our smoke detectors were ready for a battery change – a task I just hate dealing with due to my unfounded fear of being electrocuted.โšก๏ธ I ran around the house listening for clues of where the noise was coming from as none of my smoke alarms were chirping. I anxiously awaited until I heard my next tip. Well about an hour later, I pinpointed the beeps to the office where we have a cabinet. After much digging, I found the culprit, an uninstalled First Alert Detector. Ok, I got this and took the attached pin which was supposed to dismantled the system. This was going to be a piece of cake. ๐Ÿฐ The only issue is the pin actually did not stop the beeping – ugh. ๐Ÿ˜ฉ No matter what I did, I could not shut it off and now I was just getting pissed. So, I went outside with First Alert and threw it against the ground, cracked it open and tried to remove the battery. Of course I was not successful as this unit was built to sustain a natural disaster. ๐ŸŒช๐Ÿ”ฅ๐ŸŒŠ Anyways, I smashed it against the concrete with all my might โ€ฆ beep..beep…beep continued. Then I decided to drown the detector in a puddle of water and put leaves over it. DING…DING… DING – I officially was the winner of the smack down with First Alert. ๐Ÿ† However, my victory was short lived when an hour later, I heard a faint beep from outside. This unit was not going down without a fight. ๐Ÿคผโ€โ™‚๏ธ It was clearly on it’s last leg so I moved it under a large tree in front of the house knowing it could no longer bother anyone and would take its last beep peacefully in nature.๐ŸŒฒSo end of story as I thought and I moved on.

That evening, I fell asleep quickly and was enjoying a deep relaxing dream when I heard beep…beep…beep. I then realized that this was not a coincidence but the sign I asked Robin for and he was actually giving it to me. And how do I say it nicely โ€ฆ he was f-ing with me? ๐Ÿง I took my flashlight and tried to identify where this beeping was coming from again. I checked all the rooms and downstairs and I could not hear anything. I even went outside under the tree to see if the possessed detector revived.. no it was dead. โ˜ ๏ธI went up to my bedroom and figured out that the noise was coming from Robin’s closet. Can this really be happening? I went inside and into a memory bin of his stuff. Wouldn’t you know, it was another First Alert Detector. This was definitely him – I was sure!!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Once again, I put the pin in the back of the unit, it stopped beeping and I went back to sleep. I woke up a few hours later having forgotten about it and left the house. When I came back that damn thing was beeping again. I took it outside and beat it against the concrete with all my strength, I jumped on it, tried dislodging the battery but that monitor continued to go fast a furious. It was definitely mortal combat and I was taking this thing down once a for all .๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป I drowned it and put it under the tree with its buddy. It was gone.๐Ÿฅ‡

The next day, I took the dogs out in the backyard to go potty and enjoy the sun and I thought I may have heard beep โ€ฆ beep… beep. It could not be… I had destroyed both of the monitors and double checked for a pulse. ๐Ÿš‘ I ran outside and looked under the tree, there it was beeping again, rising from the ashes straight out of a horror movie.๐Ÿ˜ฑ You can’t make this sh-t up.๐Ÿงš๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Anyways, I got the car out and backed over it and that was that!๐Ÿš˜ On Monday, I took the garbage out and I am sure that I violated disposal protocol but I put those babies in the trash and could not wait for them to be off my property.

So what have learned from this story you ask? First of all, when I request my deceased husband to send me a sign, I am going to set up guidelines such as a feather on the carpet, a flicker of a light or something a little less labor intensive. However, upon reflection, this is exactly what I miss about him! He had the best sense of humor and sarcastic wit and I am glad to see it has not disappeared. I am sure he was amused as he watched from afar. I mean it must be funny to watch, a sleep deprived crazed widow fighting with a carbon monoxide/smoke detector. I guess I canโ€™t complain as it was what I asked for – he is definitely with me. I will say that after this incident, I immediately called a handyman to change all the batteries in my smoke detectors to avoid anymore unwanted beeping and interrupted sleep in the future. The second learning from this story, First Alert builds a very sturdy and indestructible product and I can guarantee this product is built to last. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

Mulch and Mucho Gratification

When Robin, Isabelle and I moved back to Michigan from Pennsylvania, we found a great home in the right neighborhood and school district. It was perfect for Isabelle to entertain friends and for us to conveniently spy on her to ensure there was no monkey business happening – ha ha. ๐Ÿง๐Ÿ’ Robin and I had clear roles in our marriage about the house, I took the lead on interior design and he was in charge of the outside. He had a love for plants and possessed a green thumb that was impressive and allowed our green friends to live a long and prosperous life with us. Some for more than 10 years plus (no pressure on me). ๐ŸŒฟ Anyways moving on, we inherited an overgrown garden from a former owner who was into landscape and shrubbery. Needless to say, I did not give it much thought since .. IT WAS NOT MY PROBLEM .. until it was my problem. ๐Ÿค”

Since Robin’s death, I have to be honest, gardening was not on the top of my list. โœ๐Ÿป Thanks to my mother in law Bev, she kept the weeds at bay and bushes/flowers on life support. The real issue is that we have a large footprint including weeds, prickly bushes etc.. which requires a ton of time or the need for a large budget to conveniently hire a landscaping company. I did not anticipate the cost or time implication involved in external home maintenance – whoops!

When I lived in my parents home, I never was asked to garden and it was clear that my services were not needed. Maybe it is the Jewish American Princess coming out but I did not ever perform this type of work! My parents outsourced the gardening to our friendly lawn company. My teenage fingers never encountered Mother Earth and I did not know that digging in the dirt was actually an enjoyable pastime.๐Ÿคญ

About a month ago when I was approaching our house from a great run, I finally noticed how bad the lack of landscaping looked . ๐Ÿ™„ It was like the first time I saw this reality and embarrassment permeated my entire body. Does that ever happen to you? Something you never noticed before but when you do .. it is a real problem. This also occurred when I looked at my face one day and realized that I had no eyebrows (another story for another time). ๐Ÿ˜ฑ I then became super paranoid thinking my neighbors must hate me as I surveyed my unkept landscape. Our house was definitely bringing the property value down on the block and I had been completely oblivious till now. ๐Ÿ’ฐ So after a few failed quotes from a few landscaping companies, Bev and I decided that we would take on the weeds, lay plastic and re-mulch. ๐Ÿฆš

I was dreading this project but had a burning desire to just knock it out fast and move on. So I took the first step which was to order the mulch. I was given a name of a company that would deliver it to the house. I went onto the website and it provided a calculator of how to determine how much mulch was needed. Between Bev and my poor math skills, we ordered 10 yards which would cover the front, side and back of the house. I even thought I was clever to have the driver drop two piles in strategic places instead of one big mound. The only problem is that we got the math wrong and probably ordered 4 yards too much. Just to give you perspective, each yard is the equivalent to approximately 7 wheel barrels. ๐Ÿšœ Figures … that means I wasted about $200 and had to sort out where to place 28 barrels of excess mulch – ugh..๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿป

During Project Mulch, Bev served as the brains of the operation, taking me through the whole process and directing my work. Basically, I was in charge of stapling the plastic in the garden beds and wheel barrel management. She took care of the weeds and smoothing the mulch with impressive stamina and vigor. However it was tough work and she had to call it quits after a few hours but I was determined to be a ninja and get it done. With my headphones and disco music blaring, ๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿป I harnessed my super powers and filled and hauled approximately 70 barrels of mulch, up and down hills and valleys. Thanks to Gilma too… who came with an assist at the end of the day and upgraded my tree in the front yard with a mulch ring. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

All and all, it was manual and mind numbing work but super gratifying. It gave me a chance to enjoy fresh air and be one with nature. ๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿ‚โ˜€๏ธI had been so used to sitting in an office with a phone glued to my head trying to figure out impossible and unsolvable problems that this was a different challenge. This work was simple and pure and allowed me to clear my mind. I felt strong and very proud of the accomplishment. ๐Ÿฅ‡ It was nice to see great results at the end of these few days. Maybe my next profession should be in lawn service – hmm..? ๐Ÿ˜‰ But seriously, I highly recommend some good gardening projects to uplift the soul and maybe drop a few pounds. I burned approximately 7,000 calories and walked 6 miles over the course of a few days which was an added benefit. I can now speak as a former J.A.P. (Jewish American Princess) converted to a Warrior Landscaping Princess that this was a great use of my time and leaves me with happy memories. ๐Ÿ‘ธ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป. Also the house now looks amazing – woo hoo!!!!

I Am Back…

So I had a nice break and decided that I missed everyone and needed to write again. โค๏ธ This time I am not going to hold myself to the same stringent writing schedule and keep this enjoyable for me and of course you too! ๐Ÿ˜Ž I mean you can’t rush funny or overuse emojis right?? ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

As I continue to grow and deal with challenges, my new one is that I am transitioning out of my job and will leave my company in a few weeks. It is scary and also liberating dependent, on the day, hour or moment it hits me. ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿฅบ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿคฎ This time, I am going to move slow and figure out next steps and be thoughtful in my approach. Will I go back to the same type of professional role and play it safe or radically transform? I am not quite sure yet but everyone will be along for the ride. ๐Ÿš— I am actually kind of excited to let my journey unfold without a complete freak out (well maybe a little panic here and there – (nothing a vodka shot can’t subside)๐Ÿฅƒ

With my new impending freedom, the first step I took was to leverage my old go to which is – create a vision board. As you can see I am still heavily influenced by the years (BF WW – before Weight Watchers). It is really a good exercise to organize your hopes and dreams. You basically cut out pictures, phrases with a heavy usage of glitter and stickers to develop a collage. ๐Ÿ’• I imagine my board is not much different that any other soon to be unemployed women including getting into shape (a staple on every board I have seen), mindful eating, financial security, learning new things, health and wellness, fun and experiences, spirituality and of course love for Isabelle, the puppies and maybe someone new in my life. (well you never know?)โ˜บ๏ธ

I guess chapter 2.1 of my life is about to begin. I figure I have been through much worse that this should be alright. I must say I have been having a lot of fun as I start to live the life of leisure. Some activities so far… daily workouts, yoga, ๐Ÿง˜๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธsome lunches, exploring Detroit, long walks and deep discussions with the pugs, taking classes and sleeping in.. and of course now blogging. โœ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป This should be a good time and I hope Robin is with me in spirit as I embark on these next steps. โ˜€๏ธ

The Big Wrap Up

A year ago today, I published the first post on my blog and vowed that I would write for a year. I needed an outlet to help me work through my grief. To be honest, this seemed like a healthier way rather than drugging, cutting or alcohol๐Ÿธ๐Ÿ”ช (just kidding). I also figured that the blog was a good vehicle to share what was going on with me and break down walls that instantly occur when Robin passed away. Everyone is uncomfortable with death and either friends don’t want to upset me or they do not want to catch my bad chi! ๐Ÿคญ I get it – I was the same way. The tough part is that no one can win in this scenario because sometimes I wanted to talk about him and other times I want to just forget and be normal again. ๐Ÿ™„It is just awkward no matter what you or anyone else does and that is kind of the reality. I was instantly thrown into a club I did not want to join and everything changed. I just never expected that I would be in this situation so young. And on top of it – I lost a really great guy. I actually loved and liked him too! โค๏ธWe enjoyed our life together and had a lot of fun. I mourn the loss of Robin and feel bad that he was cheated out of additional years here with us. I also mourn the fact that my dreams of growing old with him will not happen and Isabelle was cheated out of her father… ugh ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿป

I guess you never really know what you can handle until you are faced with a life altering event. When Robin died I had to make a choice, was I going to fall apart or was I going to move forward? ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธIn my opinion, I had no other option because I had a daughter to raise and I knew that she was watching me and I was going to influence the way she chose to cope with the loss of her father. Don’t get me wrong, there were times where I wanted to stay curled up in fetal position in the corner and I may or may not admit that there was some floor time done over the last year ๐Ÿคซhaha. But I knew in my heart that Robin wanted me to carry on and make sure Isabelle was doing well. She was his life’s work and he did not want me to screw it up.๐Ÿ› 

This was a heavy weight to hold on my shoulders and from all of it I have grown up quite a bit for the better. I have learned how to run a home, manage finances, multi task, be a single parent and even filled my own washer fluid in my car – ๐Ÿš—that is a wow (thank you Shay for teaching me). Also my views about religion, the world and mostly all matters have shifted. I have become much more spiritual and grounded with the universe. I am absolutely convinced that our spirit never dies and life on earth is for us to learn something. Our loved ones who are deceased are with us and trying to guide us and provide reinforcement. We just need to pay attention to the signs. ๐Ÿงš๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธThey are subtle such as a feeling, gut instinct or a coincidence. These slight nudges happen all the time and there are sent to us with pure love. We are all here to learn lessons and I believe one of my mine is how to handle loss and get back on my feet again. ๐Ÿ‘ฃ

With all the bad that has happened there has been some good. I am much more carefree and not so nervous anymore – which is a good thing. I am more comfortable in my skin and just don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. ๐Ÿ‘ป I am more grateful and appreciative of what I have and of course of what I had. I feel very blessed that I truly had that one great love and know we were meant to be together. I also know that I have a strong network of family and friends who have been there for us and it is so comforting and reassuring to know people care and we matter. I cannot express how much I have appreciated the support we have received from all of you.โค๏ธ

This blog has been a great outlet for me to express my feelings and work out all the emotions I was experiencing on a weekly basis. I also hoped it would help other people who have or will be going through this experience. I promised that I would write for a year and this post marks my 52nd. I have written over 40,000 words and have had 4,061 views and 2,381 unique visitors. People have viewed me from the US, UK, Ireland, Israel, Japan, France, Germany, Kenya, Philippines, Czech Republic, Italy, Singapore, Nigeria, Canada, South Africa, Egypt, Qatar, India, Lithuania, Turkey, Nepal, Romania, Hong Kong, Madagascar (I know who that is), Taiwan, Greece, Ecuador, Sweden and the list goes on… I never imagined that my little therapy project would reach so many people. I hope it even helped or at least provided a chuckle.๐Ÿ˜Ž

The thing is that I feels like the blog has served its purpose and it is time to move on. I think my chapter two is to help others who have lost a loved one and have a desire to pick up the pieces of their life too. I don’t know exactly how I will do this however I recognize there are some gaps in resources and approaches and there are many people out there struggling with the same issues. So.. I am excited to see how I maybe able to make an impact and give hope and support to others in the future.

Anyways, as I write the last few sentences of this post, let me just once again thank you for reading and being part of my community. I am truly touched when you share your stories or how the blog has affected you. It makes all of this worthwhile. And as I end this post, I must send some words to Robin, my husband and best friend …. Thank you for the life you gave me. We were great together and from our union produced an amazing daughter who carries your ideals and shows a lot of promise to make a positive difference in this world. Although our time with one another was not long enough, it was truly the best moments of my life. You taught me how to love and be loved and I thank you for that…. I think Stevie Wonder expresses it the best and this has become my jam.. Peace and Love..

Banana Bread and Supertramp

Today I was inspired by 4 overripe bananas to bake my healthy banana bread. ๐ŸŒAs I went to look for the ingredients, whole wheat flour, coconut oil etc., it occurred me that this was the first time I baked since Robin died. ๐Ÿค” I was amazed how depleted my cupboards were of the old standbys. About 3.5 years ago, I started exploring baking in a more whole food kind of way. I was intrigued to make desserts taste good but also keep them as pure as possible.๐ŸŒฟ Robin and Isabelle were my guinea pigs and I would say that I had a 25% hit rate. ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿป I played with granola, black bean brownies, raspberry squares and various fruit cobbler dishes. I would say the ones that actually made it to repeat performance was the banana bread and granola. I never let my poor performance get me down as I was going to figure this out and become a cross between Martha Stewart and Dr. Joel Fuhrman. ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿณ

It was nice using my mixer again and made me feel more like my old self. I even laughed a bit thinking about the story of how Robin and I decided to buy this $400 Kitchen-Aid Mixer. ๐Ÿ’ฐWe went through a phase for about 6 months where we were obsessed with watching In the Kitchen with David – QVC. We were riveted to the TV as he sold everything from vegetarian burgers, juicers to very ugly dishes (those showed up on every show). ๐Ÿฅฃ Maybe it was David’s slicked back pompadour hairdo or the strong resemblance to Cam on Modern Family, nevertheless we found ourselves getting completely sucked in – kind of embarrassing. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ This guy was good and we became frequent buyers for things we probably did not need. The only stipulation Robin had was that we did not buy unless the shipping was free. ๐Ÿ“ฌ It bugged him when the shipping costs was equally expensive as the product. I have to admit that his strong disdain for shipping cost did abort some potential sales for QVC from us. In regards to the Kitchen-Aid, I actually needed a mixer and hmm’d and haw about the cost. I had inherited an old one from my mom and it had to be about 50 years old and the cord was frayed and a house fire was inevitable if I continued using it. I also did not think my baking skills were worthy of a purchase at this magnitude even if free shipping was offered. But we did it anyways and looking back, it has served me well and glad we made that spontaneous decision. I really did have fun with Robin and we enjoyed the most ridiculous activities together! We always laughed and embraced our weirdness such as watching QVC on a Saturday afternoon. ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿ‘ป

I guess the whole point of the unending story about the banana bread and the mixer is that I am healing and getting back into my old groove.๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿป I am definitely a changed person and feel very proud of my accomplishments over the last year. Let’s face it though, the bar was kind of low.๐Ÿฅ‰However, Isabelle and I have survived and maybe even thrived a bit too. It is such a crazy experience and there are days that I cannot believe that Robin is gone and this is how our life turned out. It is nuts how you picture your life going a certain way and it just does not always happen…. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

So this is my 51st post and as I look back at a year, it was so interesting to review my highs and lows. ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธThe truth of the matter is that time does heal however the up’s and down’s don’t seem to be leaving anytime soon. I believe it is our new reality for awhile and I guess that is ok… I wanted to make sure that Isabelle and I really experienced the loss and grieve as authentically as possible.๐Ÿ˜ข I think it is important to honor Robin and embrace that our family was forever changed on July 23, 2018. Yet now we are able to think about things fondly (well at least 80% of the time) without falling into the ugly cry. ๐Ÿ˜ญ I guess that is progress and as I see Isabelle buzzing around back into normal teenager activities including not cleaning her room, forgetting everything I ask her to do … I am kind of glad. ๐Ÿ™ˆ

As I reflect about everything that has happened, I am sitting on the couch and the banana bread is baking and it smells delicious. Isabelle continues to text me asking when it will be ready. The downside of baking is that healthy recipe take like two days in the oven – why is that? ๐Ÿค” So as I wait for the the bread to be done, it kind of reminds me of our early happy times – sitting on the couch with the pugs as they sleep and I listen to Supertramp – Take the Long Way Home. It was a good day and hope for many more to come… (by the way – colonoscopy went fine and apologize for taking it out on all of you in the last blog – not my finest writing I could never be an anorexic )