Embracing the Breaks

Growing up, my mom always told me to be mindful of people’s feelings. It wasn’t just a mean thing to do, but also a shocking breach of etiquette. But it always bothered me how being considerate of people’s feelings jarred against being honest, even when kind. I’m of the opinion that no one has a right to be offended, but also one should never be spiteful. There’s a meme that always rubs me the wrong way about this.

break plate saying

I get what that is trying to say: once you hurt someone, the damage can’t be repaired. But what it misses is that people have to get “damaged” in order to grow and mature. Facing adversity makes people stronger. The world isn’t going to save your feelings all the time. But in damage there can also be beauty.

kintsukuroi

This ancient Japanese tradition is based on the philosophy that things that have been broken can be made to be more beautiful than before. They have overcome adversity, and have a history and scars of what they have overcome. Just because something broke, it shouldn’t be discarded. So it is with people. Some of us are more damaged than others. But just because we are damaged doesn’t mean we are no longer needed or wanted. It is our responsibility to fill our breaks with gold, and become stronger for having been broken. No one else can do that for you.

A flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all. — The Emperor, Mulan

When you break, pick up the pieces and make them more beautiful. Show the world that you are no longer the same, but better. And you’ll be stronger for it :)


A Little Rain Falling

I received word this afternoon that my uncle had passed away after a long illness. I cried a lot, I prayed a lot, and cried some more. He was a special man in many ways. He was a victim of a hit-and-run accident while he was helping someone stranded on the road. As a result, he was mentally handicapped (he never did like the “challenged” description, so there), but that never stopped him from living Life. And as I grieve, I am remembering how he grabbed Life by the horns, twisted its neck and threw it down yelling, “CHUPATELA!!!*”

Some of you may know of my credo of being happy every day. I’m not happy ALL day, mind you, but I do find something to be happy about every day. I learned that from him. He had a zest for life that made Zorba look like a piker. I remember once his sow lost a few piglets during birth. We were all sad, until he told us he “planted” them snout up, so the tree would grow and give us more piglets. I kid you not. And then there was the time when someone ask him to call them back, so he breathed in the word “hello” (because it was air going in, not out). Oh, and one time he decided that he wanted to sleep under the stars, so he got a photo of Marisol Malaret (the first Puertorican to win the Miss Universe title) and taped it to the ceiling. He was unstoppable.

He wasn’t perfect, but he was an inspiration to all of us. He is preceded by his oldest son, and I know they are both in Heaven, laughing at the rest of us who still have to wait to get to the party.

Because he was the party.

Te quiero mucho, Tio Papo. Esperame, que vengo con chismes y con ron de barrilitos :D

* The equivalent of saying “SUCK IT!!” And the last sentence: I love you very much, Uncle Papo. Wait for me, because I’m coming with gossip and single barrel rum. :D


Back to Blerghing

Sorry for my absence this past week. It was Little One’s birthday yesterday and I spent most of the week running errands in preparation for the Apocalypse the day. My Little One is no longer little, I’m afraid. She has outgrown me by a couple of inches, and I am mourning still. It’s not easy to realize your baby is 15 years old and interested in dating boys.

I may just cut myself.

Anyway it is officially Fall now, or as we in Texas like to call it, Summer v. 2.0. That means it is time to start getting the yard and the shrubbery ready for Winter, or as we call it, Fall-lite. Usually it isn’t a problem, but this past few weeks we have enjoyed copious amounts of the wet stuff that falls from the clouds. As a result, everything is flowering later than usual.

knightswhosaynimotivation

The gardenias, the crepe myrtle, the cassia…. my yard looks lovely and I don’t want to destroy it just yet. But with all the commitments and out-of-town visits planned, this weekend is my only chance at doing it. I am seriously thinking of letting it go and dealing with it in the Spring, or as we call it, Summer-lite. Time will tell. And by “time” I mean my mom, who will probably tell me to take Joaquina to it now. Of course, my mom sees a leaf fall and she is out there with a rake and a blower. Me? I’m all like, “Oh, look….a branch fell. Circle of Life, baby.” I’m not the most meticulous yard person, especially since my dog is intent on destroying it most of the time. For now, I guess I will trim a bit this weekend. Pretending to be productive is the next best thing :)


Picking Battles

I’m a wife and mother. Picking battles is something I do often. I have a 50% success rate, which is not bad considering.

You try dealing with a band director.

Anyway, I am slowly making some updates in the house. The floor was the latest. It was a five year wait, but completely worth it. Unfortunately, the contractor vetoed my plan to burn the Berber carpeting. He did let me stab it a few times, though. I thought he might think I was crazy but he told me his wife did the same thing. Yes, I am well aware that doesn’t rule out insanity. But it’s something. Anyway, one of the things I really, and I mean really want to do is the fireplace. It’s brick in a tan…beige…dun… blah color with blah mortar. I mean it’s there, but doesn’t stand out in any way. And that is supposed to be a feature in the living area. At first I wanted to take it all out, and replace it with slate, which is fantabulous. But the floors were paramount (not the movie company) and that was an expense we couldn’t afford. So then I decided why not paint it, right? And this is where Hubby just looked at me like I had grown another head and said I was nuts no, too much involved in doing it. So then I was casually asking my contractor how I could repaint or stain the brick on the fireplace, to which he replied that it wasn’t a great idea because of the time and amount of ventilation required.

Suffice it to say, everyone is against me.

It was grating on my nerves, dealing with the boring drabness of the fireplace. I watch Property Brothers on HGTV and see the Flynn Ryder twin repainting fireplaces all the time!! But I was vetoed. GAH!!! As I sat there, wondering which house some Canadian couple was going to buy from the dapper twin, I saw it: a bold, beautiful BIG glob of glass sitting on a shelving unit in the background. And as I looked at my fireplace, I noticed something: everything, and I mean everything I had decorating it was in the same color range as the damn brick. Browns, beiges, tans, ambers…. no wonder that fireplace was so awful. That glob of glass stood out like a gorgeous preening peacock screeching LOOK AT MOI!!! And I knew, sure as the sun will rise, that I had seen it somewhere before.

stockholm-vase

Behold Ikea’s Stockholm vase. Actually, it is one of three Stockholm vases they carry in different styles and colors. Which begs the question: why call it the same name when they are different? Well, it’s Ikea. That’s what they do to mess with the customer. I recalled seeing the vase back on Mother’s Day when I last went to Swedesville. I liked them but had no idea where I would place them in the house. So I passed on them. Fast forward a few months and I am upstate for my nephew’s wedding, and my brother’s lovely girlfriend offers to entertain me by obliging my jones and taking me to Ikea, which is only 20 minutes from her home, unlike mine which is about 2 ½ hours if I’m lucky. So now Phase One of Fireplace Redo is complete, because I bought its taller, greener brother as well. Hey, one for either side of the fireplace, ok? I know it’s female logic, but it works. Trust me :D


Of Champagne and Train Wrecks

This past Sunday morning was rather uneventful as usual. Normally I get up and make myself my first of three cups of coffee, and sit down to read news from around the world. But I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the State of Fear™ constantly bombarding my social and blog sites, so I decided to watch TV. I was hoping for some fun show where they completely demolish your kitchen/ bathroom/ house and rebuild it with some neat upgrades like a complete sound system in the shower or a wine dispenser in the kitchen.

Yes, they do make those.

Anyway, I was scrolling along and the next thing I see is a pair of Louboutin shoes on display on some show. I had to stop and look. Look, they were Louboutins, ok?? So I start watching two women discussing the pros and cons of buying that particular pair of studded Louboutins for a catering event and how one of the gals just HAD to get them in order to make a statement at said catering event. Then it turns out it was a commercial for some reality TV show, but before I could change it, ANOTHER reality TV show came on, and it was about a pack of wild hyenas group of well-to-do ladies (and I use that term loosely) from Melbourne, Australia called Real Housewives of Melbourne. Let me tell you, the only truth in that title is the name of the city. And so began my descent into the maelstrom of fake reality TV.

I picked up the storyline from the time Gal 1 decided to take all of them to an exclusive resort, where some of the others decided it was the opportune time to accuse her of talking behind their backs and Gal 1 AKA Barrister had enough and left them there, and Gal 2 AKA Switzerland called her to make sure she was ok, but the others ignored her, and then Gal 3 Mystic was scrambling to launch a cocktail line, but wanted a date with her hubby, so she and Gal 4 AKA Pilot went shopping at Agent Provocateur and spent $4,500 on a piece of lingerie, which her rocker hubby adored to the tune of $6,000 diamond earrings, while Gal 5 AKA Instigator is trying to fan the flames while trying to put them out between Barrister and Gal 6 AKA Plastic Barbie. So Barrister is being actively ostracized by all but Switzerland, and Mystic, who is keeping everyone at arms’ length because she comes from Newcastle and her mom is Russian and she has seen serious crap go down. And Plastic barbie is writing a book about how women can have it all (because that has never, ever been done) and is joining forces with Pilot who is also writing a book, but no one knows about what because she is too busy talking about her fantastic life and her fantastic dog. Then you have Switzerland trying to patch things up between Plastic Barbie and Barrister in a limo on the way to a special private opening of a new store from America called “West Elm”.

And this is where I lost it, yelling at the TV, “HA! I shop there you rich bimbos. You ain’t better than me!!”

And Hubby gave me a smile and a little pitying look right then.

Anyway, Switzerland is trying to make the peace by opening champagne and telling all of them this is some girl time to talk things out, because as normal people know, shopping is when women talk to each other. But then Plastic barbie gets it in her head to talk about Barrister RIGHT THERE and there is nothing Switzerland can do to mend the rifts, and Instigator full well owns up to having had a hand in it, and is cheered on by Pilot for being such a stand-up person, when in the real world a normal woman would have scratched her eyes out for being so duplicitous. So on to Mystic and her alcohol and she is by far the most normal of the Rich Pack. She doesn’t own a dog, but if she did, she wouldn’t subject it to dressing it up in costumes or taking it to a pooch party, which totally happened. Anyway she and rocker hubby are launching a new line of cocktails and she decides she doesn’t need the drama, so she steers as clear as one can while being followed around with cameras. Meanwhile Instigator and Switzerland confront Barrister to make her go apologize to Plastic Barbie, and that she needs to own up to what she had called Barbie and Pilot. So Barrister meets with Barbie and the amount of FAIL could only be measured on a Richter scale. Because as normal people know, women with chips on shoulders will never apologize when cameras are rolling. And so on to the end of this champagne-fueled train wreck, where the cocktail line is launching, and all the gals are in attendance for Mystic, while Barrister is actively ignored by Pilot and Barbie. The launch is a success, and at the end all six go sit to talk things out, and with drinks flowing and tongues wagging, it’s a miracle it was intelligible enough for closed-captioning. And still Barrister didn’t apologize, Pilot is still musing about a book, Barbie is still mad, Instigator is held at arms’ length, Switzerland has given up, and Mystic is as adjusted as a psychic married to a rock star and launching a cocktail line can be.

So I wasted my Sunday morning watching a bunch of pretentious women have cat fights on TV. Y’all didn’t think I was serious when I say I live a boring life, did you? Well, now you have proof :D


Boredness

No, that’s not a word. But it describes my feelings rather well. Hubby and I embarked on a new experience called, “Let’s install hardwood floors and watch the dogs go insane”. For the most part it has been hilarious. The past two days I have kept busy cleaning and dusting as the floor experts worked. But today everything cam to a standstill, because the painter (who will be caulking and painting the baseboards) had a flat tire. And I have no idea where he is. And neither does his boss. And until they finish tonight I can’t run errands. And that means I can’t get lunch or a new air filter.

So I decided to work on a project that I had no idea I wanted to do.

In my house there is this…. hallway. I call it the Hallway of Lost Souls. Because we have a bonus room upstairs, there is a wall that the builders put up to be load-bearing. Well, this wall divides the “formal” dining room from the …… three feet to the kitchen wall. It is a useless hallway, and if I A) had the money, 2) was planning on retiring in this area and keeping the house, and iii) cared enough, I would have hired some contractor to put a support beam and get rid of the damn wall. But as it is, I just dealt with it by hanging wall art that really didn’t fit anywhere.

old hallway

There is obviously a crappy light fixture which I will replace pronto. Anyway, those prints don’t go with anything in the house. I just hung them there when we first moved in because I had no idea what to do with them. That was eight years ago. The little house is a keepsake with all our names hanging from the hearts. That also really doesn’t go there. So, I went to the garage and dug up some stuff I had: old frame, fabric, cork pieces, an old “S”, and paint. I also had a chalkboard sold “as is” at Michaels™ that had been gouged on the bottom of the board area. And I got to work. I spray painted the old frame in an heirloom white, covered  cardboard in the burlap-like fabric, painted the “S” and adhered to wrapped cardboard, and added a flower. Then I cut pieces of corkboard to fit the gouged area and adhered to the board. I found one of my Longaberger Baskets™ to hold chalk and eraser, and now I have a message center.

new hallway

And now I have less crap in my garage, all because I had boredness. Now it’s time to work on the mirrors that will go in my dining room, flanking my Wall of Light™. But that will have to wait until I change the drapes and paint the block shelves. Change is coming, oh yes it is :D


Helpful Hints From Aggie

Sometimes I amaze myself. What takes most people minutes to learn usually takes me several months, maybe even years. It’s not that I am a slow learner. Ok, maybe I am a little bit. But I think it’s mostly that I am resistant to change. Hm…. that’s not really it, either.

Let’s just go with, I am not the swiftest boat out there.

pancake_bunny

Yes, I feel like this sometimes.

As y’all know, I changed out the ceiling fan in my bedroom, and will be gifting the old fan to a friend. Well, can’t have the fan just sitting in the middle of the floor, right? So I have to take it apart and box it separately. I learned that one should remove the lightbulbs before removing the light shades. As a side note, lay down some newspaper to catch any broken lightbulb pieces so they do not become embedded in your dreadful Berber carpeting.

Yesterday, I decided to start getting rid of clothes that no longer fit. If I haven’t worn it in two years, out it goes to the donation pile. It doesn’t bless anyone just hanging in my closet, right? Today I learned that tangled hangers can become weapons of mass disruption as they take down the stuff on the shelves above. For future reference, check hangers and remove clothing while standing, instead of pulling down clothes while sitting on the closet floor. That way you can avoid being the victim of an avalanche.

This morning I decided to reorganize the pantry. Turns out the kids think the pantry is the perfect place to stuff almost empty bags of chips and cookie boxes, not to mention I think it’s the perfect place to store crap that I think I *may* need at a later date. I admit I am just as guilty as the kids. The only one who doesn’t contribute to the wreckage in that bottomless pit is Hubby, mostly because he only goes in there for the jar of almonds, and maybe peanut butter. Moving on, this morning I learned that I should check the status of bags of grain before moving, specifically whether or not they are open. Using a container to store said grains or even a clip to seal bags will prevent itty bitty grains of rice and quinoa to go scattering all over the pantry shelves and floor, delighting the dogs to the unexpected treat. As an aside, you might as well take a vacuum to it because it is virtually impossible to get all of the quinoa with a broom.

I hope my little helpful hints will help y’all live your lives a bit better. I’m no Heloise, but at least you can learn from my experiences and have a laugh as well.  Welcome to my Monday! :D

 


When It Rains, You Get Lemons

This morning I woke up to a nice rainstorm. It was a welcome relief after a rather dry-as-dust-on-Mars August. Of course, that means that drivers out in these parts will be freaking out and acting accordingly. It’s a good thing it seldom snows here. Seriously, the city has shut down over a light dusting of snow before. A dusting that evaporated 20 minutes later. But to give us some credit, we sure know how to drive on highways.

The only bad thing about getting rain is my dog. Lenny, the Labrador mix, doesn’t like getting wet or walking in puddles. This means that sometimes I have to carry the dead weight of a 55 lbs. dog to the lawn and hold her in place until she “goes”. And let me tell you, it is difficult to hold down a dog that wants NOTHING to do with a wet lawn. And you can forget about carrying an umbrella. It’s either managing the dog, or keeping dry. Can’t have both. That means usually I am soaked. Sometimes that gets on my nerves. Now I just take it in stride, because when life hands you lemons, you can then go have some limoncello, right?

italian lemonade cocktail

Italian Lemonade

  • 2 parts Limoncello
  • 1 part Vodka
  • 2 parts Sprite®
  • 1-2 parts Sweet and Sour mix
  • Mint and lemon for garnish

Pour the first three ingredients into an ice-filled highball glass and stir. Add the sweet and sour mix to taste, and garnish with mint leaves and a lemon slice. This is a great drink with which to toast the end of Summer. Or as we in Texas prefer to call it, Summer v. 1.0.

At least it isn’t pumpkin spice, right?? :D


One Year Like Yesterday

It has been a year since my brother-in-law Draco passed away. Time has made it easier for us to bear the loss, and to enjoy thinking of his exploits and funny stories. I think he would have appreciated passing away on the anniversary of Francis Scott Key’s penning of the Star Spangled Banner, too. Draco always did have a flair for the dramatic, though he was careful not to show it. Unless it concerned a martini. Then it had to be the right glass, the right garnish, the right vermouth, even the right pick. He was hilarious.

Sometimes I am caught unawares and the pain of the loss grips me. I was cleaning out a closet and found a shirt he had left behind, and suddenly a torrent of tears let forth, taking me by surprise. Before she left, Eldest’s biggest regret was not being able to wear the bracelet Draco made for her while in basic. And today Texas A&M plays Rice University. He always looked forward to every game, but the Rice games were special, because of the band. Rice’s MOB is rather…. unique, to say the least!

Draco my brother, you are still missed every day. And not a day goes by that I don’t offer up a prayer in Heaven for you and know you are there, looking down and screaming at Manziel to get it together while giving Dallas a scritch. And I promise not to wear any Aggie or maroon stuff. We both know I can jinx it if I do. So, I shall make your favorite dish for dinner in your honor, and we will raise our glasses of lemonade and toast to your memory. We love you…. then, now, and always :)


Spinning Round

I’ve been a little morose and serious lately, and forgot that my job is to entertain my captive audience with Aggie’s exploits. Nothing so exciting as regaling y’all with stories of how I managed to be in three places at once while baking cookies.

Anyway, one of the things that has seriously gotten under my skin lately is home updates. I blame my sister Reno Queen for that. You see, she has been updating the finishes in her home, like lighting and wall decor. That means that she needs to dispose of the stuff she no longer needs, which in turn means I get to enjoy new stuff!!! So I will be updating the light fixtures in the house soon. Of course, since I am getting new lighting for the main areas of the house, I decided I had to get an updated fixture for the bedroom. But as y’all know, Hubby is adamant in having a ceiling fan. I wanted some glamorous bling and set up a fan on his side of the bed, but no. It needs to be a ceiling fan. He really meant NEED. So I looked into a new ceiling fan, and found one with an acceptable amount of bling.

a+r ceiling fanSee?? I love the drum shade that does NOT expose lightbulbs, and look, just LOOK at the glass sphere that gives it just the right amount of bling. I showed a picture of it to my sister, and her response was….. lukewarm. Not her style, she admits, but she agrees that it’s a good compromise for Hubby and me. And if I can’t have a chandelier in my bedroom, at least I have something pretty to look at when I dust it.

Next on the list? The carpeting. Whoever said Berber carpeting was awesome was either drunk, or selling it. So now the new battle begins: tile, or wood? In truth I’m fine with either, as long as I get to set the carpeting on fire :D


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