Albuquerque!!!!!

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Gah, this has been a busy summer already! Between finishing up my newest novel and readying for our trip to Romania, I haven’t had the time for the blogsphere! In lieu of Father’s Day this past weekend, though, I had to make the time to stop by and pen a post.

 

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I have the coolest dad. No, really.

He’s a big and muscly Gulf War vet with sharp intelligence, tattoos, armory you’ve never even heard of, and a badass motorcycle—in other words, he’s super intimidating. But on that same coin, he’s ridiculously handsome, charming, and I’ve met very few people in my life who can socialize like he can. No one’s better at hugs when you need them the most—and I mean real hugs, not the quick kind we give out of politeness.  I mean, have you ever met a doomsday prepper who can teach you how to protect yourself from bad guys AND make you feel like the most loved person in the world with his bear hugs at the same time? That’s my pops.

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Look at that handsome guy who would go from skateboarder to my dad one day 😀

He was surrounded by estrogen with four of us daughters and at least three female dogs at a time running round the house. It’s astonishing to me that he still has his sanity, but my dad always seems to take everything with a witty—and albeit extremely patient—grain of salt. He let us dress him up like Jack Sparrow one Halloween—eyeliner and all—sitting there patiently with a tumbler of bourbon in his hand and football on the TV as we dressed him up. The outcome was pretty rad, though:

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He was a stud at my wedding with his dress shirt rolled up to his elbows, a glass of whiskey in his hand, and a stogie in his shirt pocket, and I couldn’t think of a better image representation of my father. He’s the most intelligent man I’ve ever met with the open mind that always has allowed me to come to him with anything and not feel judged. Cheers to you, Dad, for always accepting me for whatever I did or wanted, so long as I put my very best into it.

 

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Oh, and also…

 

My Top Favorite Wisdom-isms from My Dad

 

1.)    “Shitass.” My dad has always had this incredible knack for creating out of the box swearing when he’s in the heat of the moment. I used to giggle at this, but now I find myself doing the same thing. Imagination knows no bounds.

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2.)    “What do you want to drink?” Ah, a man after my own heart. Not only does my father know how to make an IMMACULATE cocktail of perfection, but he always seems to know when to pose this question. On top of that, my dad can expertly gauge what kind of drink his daughter needs in seconds: sad, mad, happy, moody, etc.—no matter what I’m feeling, he’s got a remedy.

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3.)    “You missed that blade of grass.” My dad used to drive me crazy when I was younger with this seemingly unreachable expectation. Whether it was mowing the yard or washing my car, there was always room for improvement or to better what I was doing. Do I even need to explain why this is one of the most important life teachings my dad could have ever given me? If I do, then you definitely missed a spot mowing your lawn.

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4.)    “You have to watch Saving Private Ryan once in your life.” Again, if this doesn’t make sense, then you need to go watch Saving Private Ryan. Now. Go.

5.)    “Albuquerque!” This one still cracks me up to this day. In a house of so many girls, there was a lot of talking, most of the time undirected and chaotic. Anytime anything has ever gotten ultimately crazy and loud with gab, my father will blurt out in his loudest volume “Albuquerque!” We all immediately fall quiet and look at him, burst into laughter and all is calm again. It has worked every time.

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6.)    “I really love him, you did real good. But if he ever messes up, I have a hole dug in a secret spot just for him.” During our father-daughter dance at my wedding. I’ll let you guess who he was talking about. 😉

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Why Life Gets Damn Good from Year 25 and On

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My husband turned 25 this past weekend. Now, I’m a few years older than my hubs and as we celebrated his quarter of a century birthday, it made me reminisce about my own 25th and the few years that have followed since. And you know what realization hit me? Just how absolutely fabulous life becomes on that 25th year and after.

 

 

Oh, sure, at first, there’s a huge shock value that runs through your mind when you blow out those 25 candles. You have this momentary panic about being so close to 30. But then, you stop yourself: imagining becoming 30 isn’t actually so bad as it was the year before. In fact, you have to admit to yourself that it’s a little exhilarating even. A whole new chapter of life—of new goals, new wisdom, and new uncharted territories open up in front of you, ripe for the taking. It also helps that with 25 brings that beautiful drop in the yearly dues of your car insurance AND you can actually rent a car everywhere you go now. Liberating!

 

You’re at that place in life that no matter what your situation, for the first time ever, you actually have gotten to know who YOU are. Maybe you’re married, maybe you’re single, maybe you’ve got five kids, maybe you’re the CEO of your own company, maybe you’re working at Starbucks while you embark on a master’s degree, maybe you’re a tour guide at Yellowstone…no matter what your life looks like, as you start rolling through your late twenties, you’ve finally made that official introduction of “Hi, this is me.” Even if you’re unsatisfied with where you are in your life, your perspective is completely different than ever before because now that you know who you are, you have a whole new empowerment within you that allows you to change your circumstances if they don’t mesh well with your soul.

 

You also really take a long look around yourself as your twenties are rounding off and it’s kind of amazing just how much your outlook on a few pretty big things in life has changed. Like,

 

Family: Your parents become something entirely different because you realize they are not just “Mom and Dad”—they are human beings: just like you. You’re not only meeting yourself completely for the first time in your life, but you are also meeting your parents as “Kent” and “Samantha” instead of “Dad” and “Mom”. They have so many stories (many not unlike some of yours) and life lessons to share that you will need more than ever before, and now, sitting around the table playing cards and drinking good beer with your new best friends known as your folks is one of the best ways to spend your weekend.

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Friends: Whether you’ve grown apart or had an unfortunate falling out, your circle of friends becomes indefinitely smaller as you get older–especially as the quarter of a century dot on your timeline rolls around. It’s inevitable. People change and there is nothing wrong with taking separate paths in life. Memories are a great keepsake as you do amicably grow apart from the majority of people you called friends from childhood, teenage years, and sometimes even college. You’ll find yourself now meeting people and forming different types of friendships: deep, meaningful, and incredibly substantial. You’ve raised the bar on the standards that define what a friendship means to you and though probably not many, the people you meet now who mesh with those standards will become faster and closer friends than even some people that you have known for years. This same thing goes along with older friendships, too. The friendships you do keep as you get older change as the both of you do, and you both come to mean even more to each other as these years go by.

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Career: As human beings, we are on a constant journey for change and conquering new things, and this characteristic jumpstarts at this point in life. You’re finally past that “intern” status in your career and free to move up, or maybe make a complete change. We start to realize now what our passions are, how to tap into them, or maybe even how to make way for them to evolve. Maybe you’re completely content with what you do for a living or maybe you’ve discovered you want to do something completely different than what you went to school for. Maybe you’ve discovered you can’t work for other people and want to be an entrepreneur. Maybe you’ve had a new epiphany that you love a 9-5 schedule or maybe you thrive on a graveyard shift. No matter where you are or what your stance is on your career, the point is: in your late twenties, you are finally brave and independent enough to start the process of figuring it out. Your job is 85% plus of your life and now you start to realize that what you do needs to make you happy.

 

Priorities: Life is short. Work and day-to-day often is exhausting, so when we get those precious bits of free time, the whole concept of mortality is clearer than ever. The people you love the most—family & the few close friends you have—they become priority in how you spend that little bit of free time. And those free moments you do get have now become more special than ever because you’ve finally made room only for what makes your heart the happiest.

 

 

Firming Creams: Gravity is a bitch.

 

 

Quality over Quantity: This suddenly applies to EVERYTHING. A plastic handle of Mr. Boston was completely logical when you were 20 and poor, but now, you work hard for your money and you deserve that tumbler of Grey Goose that isn’t going to make you throw up for two days after you drink it. Forever 21 clothes that fall apart after one wash don’t quite seem as appealing as that cute dress from the Loft that will last 10 years and NOT make your butt hang out because it falls to a modest knee-length. Also, you are now sort of embarrassed of those plastic folding chairs serving as furniture.

 

Health: UGH! You have to start taking care of yourself now. Like really taking care of yourself. It’s not about being skinny anymore. It’s about all the organs and other really important stuff about your body that you’ve been ignoring for the past 25 years—liver, heart, brain, skin, teeth, blood pressure, cholesterol…stuff that you never even knew about: “What does my pancreas do?” You gradually become your mother when every morning you mentally begin to remind yourself to take your vitamins. Slowing metabolism, mandatory doctor’s appointments, and investing in fruit over hot pockets really sucks—but you realize a short, low quality of life sucks way more.

 

 

The History Channel: Or the Discovery channel, or a ridiculous amount of documentaries on Netflix. Maybe all three. Whichever it is, you begin to realize just how much you didn’t know about World War II or how to survive in an apocalyptic wilderness. Your brain is beginning to get hungry from all those years out of school and now you kind of feel dumb for always giving your dad a hard time about staying glued to the History Channel’s black and white, 8-hour shows when you were growing up.

 

YOU: As I mentioned before, you are finally meeting YOU! And while some insecurities do inevitably linger, most are fading away and you have at last come to that point where you are pretty okay with who you are. You are fully aware that not everyone is going to like you, but you are honestly fine with that. Being comfortable in your own skin is the most incredible feeling in the world and you’re finally on your way there. You are ultimately the one who has to wake up with yourself every single morning, and that is how you find your happiness. For the first time in your life, you truly begin to understand and believe the age-old wise words of Dr. Seuss: “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

 

**Cheers to the Quarter Life Crisis! :D**