• Blessings,  Confessions,  Do I Really Want My Readers To Know This?,  I'm Apparently Old.,  UGH.

    This Is (My) Fifty.

    Today is my 50th birthday. I won’t lie: I am having a little trouble with this. This past week I have been filled with a strange type of upset and a little bit of panic that crashed into me out of nowhere. This “mini crisis” isn’t about anything related to my life itself. I have nothing to complain about (to say the least); the source of all of this is literally the number, and I am mostly surprised that I feel this way…but in a way, I’m not. I was one of those kids who did the math to learn that I would be thirty-two years old in the year…

  • Childhood Memories,  Favorite Things,  Travels,  UGH.

    Currently Breaking My Heart: Gatlinburg

    You may not have heard until around lunchtime today because for some reason the news outlets weren’t covering it, but Gatlinburg, Tennessee was on fire. Actually, it has been on fire for a couple of weeks–East Tennessee has been experiencing its worst drought in about a decade–but yesterday the winds kicked up and some fires that were simmering in the Chimney Tops area blew out of control and caused terrible devastation. Hundreds of homes, dozens of businesses, gorgeous, beloved areas of Smoky Mountain National Park: torched to the ground. It’s upsetting for anyone who has ever set foot there because truly it’s one of the most beautiful areas of the…

  • Confessions,  Tough Questions,  UGH.

    Where Do We Go From Here?

    I have convinced myself over the last few months that I really don’t know enough about politics to write about it (and honestly didn’t want to join the fray). That said, considering the history that might possibly be made tonight along with the fact that I have never educated myself about politics more than I have during this election cycle, I called BS on my Debbie Downer self talk and decided to check off today’s NaBloPoMo post with a little politics. Just a little. First, I am sick of politics. I’m sick of political ads, I’m sick of hearing about the candidates, I’m sick of the angry (and countless other…

  • Amazing People,  How To,  Something That Could Change Your Life,  UGH.

    Safety Saves.

    The last 24 hours have been upsetting, terrifying, shocking, anger-inducing, and all kinds of other descriptors I’m too tired to list. Late yesterday afternoon, my husband Jim was riding his bike down a country road in west Knoxville, Tennessee when he was hit by some kind of vehicle. We’re not sure if it was a car or a truck because whomever hit him just kept on driving. They kept on driving. He or she drove off, leaving my husband on the side of the road. He was unresponsive when someone else happened to drive by and notice him lying there. That someone happened to be the pilot of one of…

  • Confessions,  UGH.

    When Better Late Than Never Is Not Okay

    I had a meeting at 6:00 p.m. in the city last night. It was an parent orientation for a trip J will be taking in a few weeks, and according to the reminder email we were to arrive early because there was a security protocol through which we had to pass on the way into the building. In order for me to have enough time to (potentially) sit in rush hour traffic and then park and then arrive a few minutes early to an activity in the city that begins at 6:00, I know I need to leave my western suburban driveway no later than 4:00. I did that yesterday,…

  • Something That Could Change Your Life,  UGH.

    New Week, New Frame of Mind

    Last week was a TERRIBLE week around here. Specifically I’m talking about personally, in this house. It started with the basement flooding and went downhill from there. Yes, downhill. ARGH. That said, I can’t gloss over the fact that, way outside of my house, the church shooting in Charleston happened last week. It broke my heart, not only because of the cold-blooded murder of nine people and the fact that this was, without a doubt, a racially-motivated hate crime and not only because it happened in a place of worship where people are supposed to feel (and BE) safe–our temple has police supervision outside during the High Holidays and I…

  • Blessings,  Confessions,  UGH.

    This Week: 1 Melisa: 1/2

    This week has Kicked. My. Butt. I’m not talking about your average, run-of-the-mill, short-term butt-kicking. I’m talking about nearly a week’s worth of stress-induced, anxiety-laden, sleep-deprived, frustrating, often tearful minutes that crawled by as if they were hours instead of sixty-second increments. To say out loud that it’s “been a tough week” seems ridiculous to me because it’s such a massive understatement. The cause: too many moving parts in my life, many of which are currently out of my control. At my lowest point earlier in the week, I sobbed heavily into Jim’s arms, stating rather dramatically that I just don’t know why I can’t be a “normal person who…

  • Confessions,  I'm Apparently Old.,  UGH.

    Mr. Sandman, Bring Me A Dream. PLEASE.

    Take a look at this, an arrangement of just a few of the products that are involved in my pre-bedtime routine. It wasn’t always this way, my having to bring in reinforcements. Way, way back when I was in my twenties, I could brush my teeth, use the bathroom, get into bed, snuggle up to Jim, pull the covers up to my chin (I always loved being cozy under the blankets!) and fall asleep nearly immediately. I’d stay asleep until morning and even if I “only” got seven hours, I felt so well rested! These days, in my midtolate forties (to me, forty-six is not mid- and not late-; it’s…

  • Fun in Chicago,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz,  UGH.

    Survival Skills

    There’s a saying about how Chicago has only two seasons, winter and construction*. My little corner of my western suburb has been experiencing construction year-round for nearly two years now (even through the winter months), thanks to a gutting and extensive reconstruction of a major state route that happens to be one of the few roads that runs through my entire town from all the way north to all the way south. By the way, that state route happens to border my subdivision. The city planners back in the day had absolutely no idea that eventually Naperville would be the fifth largest (by population) city in Illinois and naturally, didn’t…

  • Confessions,  Do I Really Want My Readers To Know This?,  Reflections on Parenting,  UGH.

    Empty Nesting Is Awesome, Except When It’s Not.

    I love my life the way it is at this moment. I have one son who graduated from college and supports himself with an actual job, and I have another son who is a college sophomore, living only two hours from home. I work from home. I have the freedom to sleep in if I want, workout for as long as I want, not cook dinner for a whole week if I don’t want to, and most of all, pack a bag and take off to visit friends or accompany Jim on a business trip if I want, with no problem. Many of my friends who still have kids at…