30 Things in My 30s

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I love birthdays. Mine. Yours. Anyone’s really.

In my opinion birthdays are yet another reason to celebrate and I especially love doing that.

I’ve never been one to dread getting older either. I know some folks truly despise their birthdays like each one is another step closer to death. I never thought about it like that. Rather, I’ve always thought of my birthday as exciting and fun and honestly not at all scary or intimidating.

Maybe it’s because I don’t really feel older or because age is just a number, blah blah blah, or maybe it’s the childlike enthusiasm that comes with looking forward to an upcoming birthday that makes each year feel more magical and important than the one before. Or maybe it’s the cards and gifts and all the special “happy birthday” messages and songs. I love all that stuff!

I’m not sure what it is entirely but like every other year I’m looking forward to my birthday and as I approach this one—the big 4-0—I’ve been thinking a lot about my life, about the person I’ve become and about all the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had along the way, and specifically the things that happened in my 30s, as well as my goals and accomplishments, too.

In addition to birthdays, I also love making lists so, to mark the occasion and as a sort of decade sendoff, I made a list of thirty things I accomplished in my 30s. I made a similar list about my 20s (with just twenty things) when I turned 30 but I didn’t blog back then, or I’d have probably posted it too. To keep with the theme, in another ten years, I guess I’ll probably have to come up with forty things for my next big milestone birthday. Looks like I’ll be pretty busy in my 40s!

I also made a list of goals for the year ahead when I turned 39 (my insanity isn’t strictly limited to whole decades) and as I reviewed it recently I came to realize just how much I snuck in during the previous ten (and still counting) months.

Truly, a whole lot has happened this year! A whole fucking lot in fact! But it makes sense since it has sort of been an overall theme to the entire decade. 39 (which isn’t quite yet over but will be soon enough) has indeed been—and continues to be—a proper climax to my 30s.

It’s been a dramatic year filled with many twists and turns and more highs and lows than you can shake a stick at (I’m not sure what that means but I like how it sounds). I might even consider revising my Things to Accomplish in my 40s list (yes, of course, I’ve already drafted that, too).

Anyway. Here’s my list.

30 Things I accomplished in my 30s

  1. Lived in three states: Texas, New York and Iowa (prior to my 30s I lived in PA and NJ, too)
  2. Directed numerous large scale international events and ran a department at a media company
  3. Traveled nationally and internationally to many places and met lots of interesting people
  4. Directed two celebrity golf tournaments (in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic)
  5. Married my soul mate, Jason. Awww!
  6. Took a huge risk in giving up my career as an event planner to write a novel!
  7. Lived at the beach!
  8. Started my own company and eventually realized it wasn’t for me (this is a 2 for 1 deal)
  9. Designed two websites all by myself
  10. Started blogging
  11. Gave birth to a beautiful girl named Lyla. Being her mom has been awesome!
  12. Got diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease – not exactly a traditional accomplishment but still
  13. Learned to live with PKD and battled and survived postpartum depression!
  14. Connected with my inner hippy through meditation and astrology (I even met Susan Miller!)
  15. Taught myself how to read Tarot (this comes in super handy at parties!)
  16. Saw Prince in concert (checked that one off my concert bucket list!)
  17. Made the decision to move to Iowa!
  18. Bought a house!
  19. Made lots of amazing new friends and became a part of an awesome little community
  20. Bought new carpet for the house (so far, this is the moment I felt the most grown up)
  21. Wrote a bunch of poems and two novels (and revised and rewrote both several times)
  22. Went back to school to acquire my MFA in Creative Writing
  23. Wrote an award winning screenplay!! Yay!
  24. Got to stay downtown in Philly and play tourist in my hometown with my family
  25. Lost 50 pounds (gained half back but who’s counting?)
  26. Finally completed my novel Private Mommies Society!
  27. Graduated with honors!! I officially have my MFA in Creative Writing!
  28. Queried literary agents and kept pushing forward and revising despite rejections
  29. Received an offer of representation and signed with my agent!
  30. Hmm… Looks like I have room for one more… I have a feeling it’ll be a good one.

Happily Ever After

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This exercise came from the book 4AM Breakthrough by Brian Kitely. The instructions say to write a 250 word story without repeating a single word. Each word must be different, even the title.

Whoa… this was hard! Not being able to repeat words like “the” or “a” and “an” proved pretty challenging! But to make it easier I chose to write it about my favorite muse: my daughter, Lyla. Awwww!

(Let me know if you spot any repeats!)

Happily Ever After:

Once upon a time (this one right now), there was an incredibly sweet, sassy, beautiful, bright, happy, healthy (thank God) 3-year-old little girl named Lyla Rain Henderson.

With passionate adoration for some pretty random if not wildly ordinary things, including but not limited to: vanilla ice cream, hugs, kisses, apple juice, family, friends, preschool, stars, triangles, octagons, shapes in general really, princesses, puppies, pirates, picnics, fairies, racecars, road trips, running, singing, dancing, ballet class, bologna, butterflies, baseball, the moon, stars, Looney Tunes, rainbows, horses, squirrels, cupcakes, castles, spaghetti, school busses, clouds, laughing, fruit (specifically bananas, strawberries, apples, pears, blueberries, cantaloupe…), vacation, movies, milk, McDonald’s, muddy puddles, playing games, reading, coloring, flowers, snacks, snow, knock-knock jokes, make believe, glitter, buttered toast, Twizzlers, Tootsie Rolls, toys, her hair, airplanes, fairy tales, scaring people, dresses, candy sprinkles, yogurt smoothies, green grass, taking baths, going fast, flying over railroad tracks, big trucks, hay bales, helping, holding hands, cornfields, carrots, crocodiles, edamame, using chopsticks (well, trying), magic, cardboard boxes, pancakes, presents, unicorns, Dora, being best friends, talking your ear off, telling stories, learning math (not me!), eating graham crackers (AKA: yummy rectangles), giving mosquito bites (you might say “pinching”), food shopping, swimming, smiling, stirring liquids (yeah!), swinging on swings, spinning herself dizzy and, finally, all things pink, she makes our world so much better just by being part of it.

Run-on? Maybe. Long list? Definitely. But it’s okay.

Another fortunate mommy, I love my daughter more than anything. Oops. Check that. Everything.

Word Count=250

Lyla’s Shopping List

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I need to go to the supermarket today and do some pre-Thankgiving food shopping so this morning I decided to put together a list. While doing so, my 3-yr-old daughter, Lyla, approached and asked me what I was doing.

I told her I was making a list of food and groceries to get at the supermarket and she replied that she wanted to make one, too. So, mostly humoring her, I asked her what needed to be on the list, though I’m not sure why I bother humoring her when it’s becoming clear that she’s smarter than me.

Anyway, (without any prompting and in the order she mentioned each item) the following is exactly what she told me to put on her list:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Bologna
  • Milk
  • Apple Juicey
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Rectangle Crackers (AKA: Graham Crackers)
  • Sour Creamy
  • Colored Cereal
  • Charm Cereal
  • More veggies for dipping
  • Yo-grut (this is spelled incorrectly on purpose per her pronunciation)
  • Ranch Dressing

Not a bad list. I’ll need to add a few items of my own and maybe remove at least one (or perhaps both) of those sugary cereals she seems to love so much but all in all it’s a pretty decent shopping list… especially for a 3-yr-old.

I’m actually kind of surprised she didn’t include ice cream (Va-lil-la is her fave). I think I’ll go ahead and add that one in anyway!

 

 

 

Listless (A Short Short and a Short List)

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Viv sat at her desk and stared listless at her computer screen at the dozens of unopened emails ready to be read. She desperately needed sleep but settled for coffee.

She’d spent the night being virtually spanked by two equally irritated friends: Liz via text and Joe via Facebook messenger.

Liz and Joe were both so happy when Viv introduced them to each other just one week earlier.

Viv rubbed her eyes, sighed and then clicked open a new email.

“Dear God,” Viv typed. “I promise to never attempt to set up friends, acquaintances or even complete strangers ever-ever-ever-ever-ever again. You know I meant well but I’m clearly a matchmaking moron. I accept that now. I also accept that you’re the only one who could possibly interpret the ridiculous things they say they want in a mate. I tried and failed! Please forgive me for my stupidity, find it in your heart to forgive me, give them whatever they say they want and end my suffering. Thank you. Your fan, Viv. ”

He must love dogs and hate cats

She must love cats and hate dogs

He must be able to swim

She must not mumble

He must have a job

She must be good in bed

He must be good in bed

She must sleep naked every night

He must never wear socks in bed or with sandals

She must never pee with the door open

He must challenge me without ever pissing me off

She must laugh heartily and sincerely at all of my jokes

He must be able to make me laugh without ever tickling me

She must never point and laugh at my penis

He must be incredibly romantic

She must have incredible tits

He must know when to be serious

She must know when to shut up

He must never tell me to shut up

She must never fart, burp or go to the bathroom except to powder her nose

He must never offer me a Dutch oven

She must love me for me and not my money

He must have lots and lots of money

She must give me blowjobs daily

He must love my friends but think they’re all too ugly and/or fat to picture naked

She must drink beer

He must have a huge penis and know how to use it

She must have the body of a Victoria Secret model but be completely down to earth

He must be well kempt and well groomed but not overly metro-sexual

She must be completely hairless from the nose down

He must be smart but not smarter than me

She must have a hot mom and it would help if her grandma’s hot, too.

He must not masturbate in public

She must have an adventurous side

He must not have any weird or disgusting eating habits

She must never order just salad while on dates with me

He must have a spotless criminal record

She must not have an STD

He must not be a pedophile

She must not be a stripper unless she’s doing it to put herself through med school

He must have intense eyes but not resemble a serial killer

She must get along with my mom

He must not be a mama’s boy

She must be the type of woman who I can see mothering my children

He must love children but not already have them

She must never bring up the topics of marriage or children

He must be ready to commit

She must love to cook

He must like to dance

She must love me for me

He must love me more than football

For the Birds

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Iowa is great for bird watching!

In fact, though I’ve always loved birds (especially ducks — they’re my all-time favorite animal), I had no idea how much I loved them until we moved here.

Birds are amazing. I love to watch them fly and land, peck, hop, run and more than anything I love to listen to them sing. It’s so beautiful waking up to their joyful song amidst the morning breeze and rustling of the trees.

My husband and I have really embraced our new aviary friends and even purchased a bird feeder (then another soon after) so that we can appreciate the birds even more. Now we get to watch them from our front window! And since spring has sprung, it seems we have become a bird haven. It’s awesome.

I even started appreciating some more than others. I love this one particular red bird best who visits us. Jason says it’s a cardinal. I don’t really care what he is; I just know I love him. He’s a brilliant reddish orange. And I adore this group of small black birds who fly by every day and land in the field across the street. They’re not just black; they look like they’re wearing black, red and yellow striped tuxedo jackets — so stylish! And when they extend their wings, it’s majestic. I also love these cute little bright yellow finches. They are so cute and happy. Jason really likes these cool looking blue ones, though I forget what he called them. And orioles… we’ve seen a lot of those and he and I both like those, too.

Anyway, we’ve been getting curious about which birds have been visiting us most and in learning more about them. So we started researching. In doing so, we’ve learned a lot of neat local bird factoids.

But of everything I’ve learned on the topic, the names have to be my favorite. Some seem pretty standard and I’ve certainly heard, if not seen, most of them before. But others… well, others are FAR more interesting. And by “interesting” I mean hilarious.

Seriously, whoever came up with these names was either high at the time, had their minds in the gutter or simply had a sick sense of humor.

Either way, I appreciate the outcome.

Here’s a list of my favorite funny bird names, some new and others newly appreciated now that I’m thinking about it:

  • Dickcissel
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Swallow
  • Chickadee
  • Killdeer
  • Ruddy Duck
  • Loon
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Coot
  • Magpie
  • Wood Thrush
  • Red Faced Booby
  • Grosbeak
  • Zitting Cisticola
  • Scrub Jay
  • Clark’s Nutcracker
  • Northern Screamer
  • Brown Trembler
  • Fluffy Backed Tit Babbler
  • Cuckoo
  • Shag
  • Thicknees
  • Agile Tit-tyrant
  • Morepork
  • Wild Turkey
  • Turdus
  • Cock-of-the-rock
  • Penduline Tits
  • Wrentit

Seriously. Who comes up with this stuff?!?!

Happy New Year’s Eve (a few days early)!

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Have I ever told you how much I love New Year’s Eve? Well, it’s my faaaaaavvvvvvorrrrrite day of the year, and I can’t wait!

Now is the perfect time for making resolutions, looking forward to happier days ahead, celebrating all the people who bring us joy and coming up with fun, festive champagne concoctions!

I like to think of the New Year as a free pass at hitting the restart button. It no longer matters what you didn’t have the opportunity to do, try or achieve this year. It’s a chance to shake off any residual negativity and start anew. Now you have a whole new year! I hope you make the most of it. I know I will.

Personally, I like to make a long list of resolutions. In fact, I just finished obsessing over my list. I like setting and striving for goals. And by having multiple goals, I have a better than average chance of achieving (at least some of) them. If I should happen to miss a few, oh well. I don’t think of it as failing. Besides, between you and me, I have a system that never allows me to fail.

I start by writing a long, rather vague list. People often say “the devil is in the details” and I find that to be especially true with resolutions. And the more the merrier, right? I truly believe that I have a far better shot at success if I don’t put all my eggs in the same resolution basket. So once I have a lengthy, less-than-specific list organized, then I give myself immediate points just for trying and then partial points when I make small strides (like losing 2 pounds, for example) and more points (if and) when I succeed. Oh and it helps to have poor math skills, since my creative addition typically adds up to a perfect score.

This year, I’ve made 12 resolutions (for 2012). Here’s my list:

  1. Take better care of my mind, body and spirit
  2. Make time to play every day
  3. Drink more water
  4. Nourish relationships and build new ones
  5. Ignore negative thoughts and negative people
  6. Find creative ways to be happy
  7. Get more sleep
  8. Take bubble baths every chance I get
  9. Surprise myself
  10. Conquer at least one fear
  11. Decorate
  12. Never stop trying

So as you can see, they’re for the most part pretty vague. And that’s perfect because when I look back at this list, I will be able to see the good in what I set out to do and recognize many ways in which I was able to achieve these goals. See? The New Year hasn’t even started and yet I’m already winning (did that last part make you think of Charlie Sheen?).

Speaking of winning, why not celebrate as though you’ve already won? Whether or not you make an actual list of resolutions or simply take a moment to set a specific goal, make it a point to celebrate moments and milestones along the way. Recognize how awesome you already are and how much more awesome you are becoming!

On New Year’s Eve, I plan to surround myself with people I love and toast our past, present and future achievements throughout the night. That’s a lot of toasts, which is why I’m also trying to come up with some creative champagne concoctions. When I have that list, I’ll be sure to share it with you! And I also plan to stay safe (no driving!) and hydrated by alternating bubbly beverages with water (hey, that’s 2 resolutions right there! See? I’m already winning!).

Whatever you do to ring in the New Year, I hope you have fun doing it. But more than that, I hope you had a wonderful 2011 and I wish you and yours a safe, successful, happy, healthy 2012!

xoxo

Mommy’s Law

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We’ve all heard about Murphy’s Law. Well, here’s some Mommy’s Law:

  1. The later mommy goes to sleep, the earlier baby will wake up.
  2. Baby will always get a rash, bruise, scratch or some other sort of unexplainable injury the night before a pediatric checkup.
  3. Guinness World Record breaking growth spurts are more likely to occur the night before any occasion for which a formal outfit and shoes have been selected and purchased for baby than any other day of the year.
  4. If mommy should happen to win either a date with daddy or a girls’ night out, the baby’s energy the following day will be multiplied by the quantity of glasses of wine mommy consumed the night before.
  5. The moment the house is finally clean, baby’s diaper will explode.
  6. If mommy buys a new dress, baby will immediately vomit all over it. If said dress or alternate article of newly purchased clothing happens to be white, baby will be sure to have consumed a full tummy’s worth of something in the darkest, most disgusting shade imaginable (strained peas, anyone?).
  7. When mommy decides to bring the stroller along, baby will want to walk. But when no stroller is available and mommy’s hands are full, baby will demand to be carried.
  8. Baby will happily show off clear pronunciation of all her new words and numbers behind closed doors but will only speak baby talk when others are around. If “others” should happen to include mommy’s in-laws, baby will jump at the opportunity to showcase her mastery of the letter “F” and attempt to rhyme everything with the word duck.
  9. The moment mommy brags about anything, baby will enforce a strict no bragging penalty (i.e., “My baby loves to eat her veggies!” Penalty = Baby will never eat anything green ever again)
  10. Baby will be an angel throughout the supermarket, enticing mommy to shop till she drops. But the moment mommy pulls her overflowing cart into the checkout line, baby will turn into a demon. The longer the line, the more head spinning action will ensue.

Happy mommying!