Sunday, December 29, 2019

Ten Year Recap of ShoeGirl Corner Blogs

We are at the end of 2019 and some debate whether it's the end of a decade or not. Technically the end of the decade will be December 31, 2020 but since I was born in 1970 and I've always referred to each decade as the 70s, 80s, 90s, etc. I'm going to treat this as the first end of the decade. The end of the 2010s and I'm going to recap the last ten years, looking at the last blog of each year.

My Favorite Quote of the Decade
Apparently 2010 was a tough year. I can't remember exactly why, but I know that my marriage was coming to an end around that time even though I didn't say it.

2011 was not a good blogging year. By the end of that year I was divorced but not talking about it yet. It was definitely a turning point in my life.

In 2012 I didn't even bother to do an end of  the year recap. My last blog was in October! I know 2012 was an interesting year because that's when I was single for the first time and I dated. I just didn't blog about it.

December's blog in 2013 was a really good recap of the year and what I had been up to. That's the year I took a break from the Chronicle and when my dad came to live with me.

It seems like 2014 is around the time I started becoming more aware of getting older as I got closer to my 45th birthday.

2015 is when I started asking the question:  What do I want to accomplish before I die?

2016 was one of those years when I didn't even blog in December. My last blog was in October and it was about raising successful Latino kids. This is when I started counting down the years that I had left with them  The blog in August was actually more introspective.

It's funny that I ended 2017 with another blog about the kids and my advice to parents about the Vanguard and Magnet school programs. My next to last blog was more of a recap on the year and things that I was grateful for.

2018 was a tough year. My father passed away in February, right around my 48th birthday. This is what I said about that year: Here I am on the eve of New Year's Eve reflecting on a really hard year that came with sadness, pain, but also gifts and blessings.

Which leads me to the end of 2019. This has been a really great year! I've been blessed beyond measure with my career, my kids and my personal growth. I've had a great boss and great accounts.

I went to New York three times this year. Once to visit LIU with Miranda, another to take her to school and then for Thanksgiving. I went to Vegas for my 49th birthday in February and had a blast. I took the kids to LA in the summer to visit their cousins and the babies.

Miranda graduated from DeBakey and received a huge scholarship from LIU. I de-cluttered my house a lot. I still have a lot of work to do but it's a huge difference and has made me feel so much better. Especially my bedroom! I'm working hard on making sure Seth is growing up to be a good man and finishes strong at DeBakey too.

Spiritually I'm on a great journey of finding my peace. I call it My Inner Journey . I'm in a good place and I'm very fortunate to have what I do. I'm really working on "taking ownership of my freed self." I started a project that I love called Little Libraries in Laundromats. I have four little libraries in laundromats in my neighborhood and doing this really feeds my soul.

2020 is a significant year for me because I turn 50. I'm planning another trip to Vegas and this time I plan to party a little harder. I want to see Gwen Stefani and I want to spend more time down in the slot machines in the casino. I want to have that "casino" experience. So far that's the only trip planned for the year. I may go to New York again for Thanksgiving but there's still time to plan. I plan on making my last 1/3 of my life count! I'm looking forward to what 2020 will bring!

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Buy the Toys!

This past late August when I was dropping off my daughter at college at Long Island University, I was in Oyster Bay and I walked by a toy store with beautiful unique toys inside. I always love toy stores like that. I think of stores like Big Blue Whale in the Heights and Imagination Toys in Bellaire. Stores that have such beautiful unique toys that make you want to buy them for yourself.

My daughter's Russian Nesting Dolls 
Since I was dropping off my daughter at college I was especially sensitive and melancholy. Seeing all those beautiful toys through the window brought back memories of the children when they were little. I thought of how fast time goes by. I thought of all those times that I said no to them when they asked me for something. (I have to admit there weren't too many times.) But none the less I thought about all the times I didn't buy them the toys and how now they don't want them.

My advice to young parents. Buy the toys! Even if you think your kid has too many toys. You can always recycle toys and donate the old ones to the needy. There are children out there who don't have any toys.

Buy the unique toys, the ones you'll cherish and that your children will keep on a bookshelf. My 15 year old son has this Star Wars cantina on his bookshelf along with a lot of other Star Wars toys.

My Son's Star Wars Cantina
I know it's super cliché and corny to say it but yes, it's true, time does fly. And once you have children the time goes by faster. One day you're taking them to kindergarten and the next you're in New York dropping them off in a new town and state and they will be too old for toys. You'll lament over all the toys that you didn't buy for them and now you're out of time.

And don't forget the books! I love libraries but my kids could not have enough books. They had books since they were babies. Same thing with those. We've been giving those away in the Little Free Library but we are keeping the cherished ones on the bookshelf.

As I wind down the second third of my life and I'm a half empty nester I'm glad that I have great memories to fall on. I just got off the phone with my daughter and I told her what I was writing about and she told me about some of her favorite toys, like her Barbie doll house, which she still has in her room. It made me happy to hear her say that.

Life is short and the time with your kids is even shorter. Really!

Sunday, September 08, 2019

"She's Leaving Home"

The day before we left to New York last week I finally played "She's Leaving Home" by the Beatles to Miranda while we were in the car. I cried for the first time. It hit me that she was leaving the next day. I didn't outright cry, I just shed a few tears but she saw it. We were leaving on Wednesday morning at 5 am to the airport so the song really hit a soft spot and I know I sound cliche but it does feel like just yesterday she was going to kindergarten.

Move In Day at Long Island University
So last week her father and I flew to New York with our girl on a Wednesday morning. We went shopping with her, helped her move in on Thursday, shopped some more, stayed with her near campus, and left her there on Sunday early afternoon. I was sad but I didn't cry. I was strong because I am so happy and excited for her! I'm so excited as she starts this new journey and has this amazing opportunity to attend an east coast small private school. I know it will offer her so many great opportunities in the medical field. She has her whole life in front of her and it's such an exciting place to be. How can I not be happy and excited?

Unpacking in her dorm room.
Long Island is such a beautiful area! I knew nothing about it before she applied at Long Island University. The towns are great. I can't wait to explore different areas on other visits there. There's a lot to see! We stayed in an Airbnb in Glen Cove so we were very close to the campus. The school is in Brookville.

We loved Oyster Bay and Teddy Roosevelt's house Sagamore Hill. I loved learning so much about this total bad-ass president. He did so much in his life! We visited Beth Page Black and saw the beautiful club house. I even got to visit an old cemetery across the street! I didn't have time to drive the whole length of the Hamptons, which I would have loved to do, so I just went to West Hampton. It was still beautiful and the houses are amazing.

On our last night we went into the city. Those of you who know me know how much I love Manhattan. I just feel excited when I'm there! We went to Zabar's to buy coffee and Miranda got a couple of things for her room. Then we drove down the length of Manhattan to the financial district to a place Rey and I hadn't been to in about nine years. It's this great Irish restaurant pub called Killarney Rose. The pastrami was just as delicious or more delicious than we remembered it! Miranda said that it wasn't just the best pastrami she's ever had, but the best food she had ever tasted.

We ended the night by walking to the Brooklyn Bridge and getting ice cream before heading back to the car to drive back to Long Island.

Eating Ralph's Ices
The next morning we had breakfast in an adorable diner where I heard about egg cream for the first time. I'd never heard about it before so the waitress made me some so I could taste it. Miranda and I decided it tastes like cream soda. I also had to try Ralph's ices before leaving. The only thing I forgot was to buy bagels to bring back home and to the office.

Today makes a week since we dropped her off . She started class on Wednesday and we've talked and texted every day. We've only Facetimed a couple of times. She's been getting adjusted and learning how to adult. I was so relieved to hear that they have a shuttle bus that takes them off campus to the Broadway Mall or the train station. Now I don't feel like she's going to be stuck on campus without a car. So far she likes all her classes and I love that they are tiny. Her biggest class has around 30 people in it.

She is starting a new phase in her life just as I get to the end of the second third of my life.  Her going to college is the start of my #3yearplan. These are my last three years with a child in the house and I need to start my plan for what I'm going to do once I'm an empty nester, or the last phase of my life. More on that later.

I just bought tickets to visit with Seth for Thanksgiving. He didn't get to go drop off Miranda because he had started school. We will be there Wednesday through Saturday so she doesn't spend Thanksgiving alone.

As I write this the song "Landslide" (Dixie Chicks version) plays in my ears. Never did these words ring so true, "Can I handle the seasons of my life?"

"Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I'm getting older too"
- Stevie Nicks

Monday, August 19, 2019

That Jar of Happiness, Part Trois

I'm more than halfway through 2019, but only 6 months to 50. I pulled out the Happiness Jar so I can start keeping a list of the good things happening between my fabulous 49th Las Vegas birthday in February and my Big 5-0 in 2020. Maybe Vegas in my future again??

I hope to do this jar justice these next six months and really keep record of the wonderful things that happen to me. I am so grateful for all the good things these past two years, from the trip to Germany, my new roof, vacations with the kids, a trip to Paris with my BFF Vicki, Las Vegas birthday, trip to NYC and Cali, and my daughter's awesome scholarship to LIU.

I do appreciate everything you've thrown my way Universe! I know not everyone has so much to be thankful for and I appreciate it wholeheartedly.

Monday, August 05, 2019

My Girl is Leaving to College and My Decluttering Project Goes On

Thirteen years ago exactly my girl was going to Kindergarten and I was blogging about my life changing forever. Now she's leaving to college in just three weeks! She decided to go to Long Island University. In the end they offered her the most money and between scholarships she received from them and a scholarship she just received from MD Anderson this past week, she ended up paying 95% of her fall tuition.

Big Ass Balloon from Miranda's Graduation Party
So Long Island University it is and I'm going to drop her off in New York in three weeks. We are flying there and I'm staying for four days to help her settle in.

The decluttering project continues and I've made some impressive progress, slowly but surely. One of my best friends came over yesterday to see my new bed and she was surprised at how big my room looks now. I showed her a little bit of the method to my madness.

My To Do Lists
In order to not get anxiety and overwhelmed I make myself a To Do list. When I have most of the list checked off I make a new list, I move the things I still need to do to the new page, and I add more things. Making a list soothes me and makes it easier for me to eat the elephant one bite at a time. 

I'm finally at a point where I don't feel overwhelmed and I feel like I'm almost finished. All I have left now is Seth's room and clearing out some of my dad's things that are still in there. One bite at a time!