Try a Little…

Tenderness. Ah, Otis Redding. Still not sure exactly what a “shaggy dress” is, but the song is awesome regardless.

We could all stand to treat each other a bit more tenderly these days.

Now, more than ever, am I realizing that people are just that–people. Each person is facing their own internal battle, and plenty of us have external battles to fight too. (Hellooooo Miss Rona.)

“It’s a cruel world.” We’ve all heard that before. But does it have to be?

Not at all.

Could we all take the time to really listen to each other, be honest, and make a valiant attempt to see the world from someone else’s point of view? Could we not just talk, but actually communicate? Absolutely.

Will we do this? Fuck no.

Why? Because we don’t want to make the effort. Or, to use a phrase I’ve heard more often than I’ve ever wanted to, “That sounds like a lot of work.”

Who cares if it’s a lot of work if it’s the right thing to do?

Every damn day I bust my ass to try to do the right thing. My mother raised me to think of others, be compassionate, and do what I know is right even if the world says it’s wrong. These were lessons I learned very early in life.

Apparently not everyone got the same lesson.

But what can I do other than lead by example? I’ll try my best to be kind, and supportive, and to treat people the way I’d like to be treated.

I’ll try a little tenderness.

Will you?


Music of My Heart: Pt. 2

Another day, another influential album.¬† ūüôā

Second on the list is…


Album:  Breakaway
Artist:  Kelly Clarkson
Released:  2004

Anybody else reallyyyyyyyy into American Idol back in the day?¬† I know I was a huge fan of the ORIGINAL series (I’ve got opinions on the recent revival of the show–that’s for another post) that brought us the legend known as Kelly Clarkson.

I must admit, I wasn’t even rooting for Kelly to win the inaugural season of AI.¬† I was a teenage girl back then, which meant I was squarely on #TeamJustinGuarini.¬† (What can I say?¬† He was cute, and I had raging teen girl hormones controlling my thoughts.)¬† But Kelly definitely deserved to win.¬† Homegurl can SANG.¬† I enjoyed her debut album (Thankful) that came out as a result of her winning the show.

But her sophomore album¬†Breakaway…that album was special.¬† It was the soundtrack for my high school years, even though it didn’t come out until I was a senior.

For a long time, I didn’t know that the feelings of desolation I had were actually signs of depression.¬†¬†Breakaway¬†helped me get through the pain I experienced (especially breaking up with my first boyfriend).¬† One song in particular called “Hear Me” was my heartsong.¬† I felt like I was in a crowd, screaming for help, and no one noticed.

Hear me
I’m cryin’ out
I’m ready now
Turn my world upside down
Find me
I’m lost inside the crowd
It’s getting loud
I need you to see
I’m screaming for you to please
Hear me

(If you haven’t checked our Part 1 of this series, please do!)

Music of My Heart: Pt. 1

Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories.

And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it. 

-Stevie Wonder

Mr. Stevie had it right, y’all.¬† So much music colors my life.¬† A song comes on and within the first few notes, I’m transported.¬† Memories, bright and sharply focused, take me back in time.¬† Depending on the song, I could laugh out loud or burst into tears.¬† I welcome all the memories–happy and sad–that the music brings to me.

Starting today, I’ll post the artwork for an album.¬† Some are old; others are more recent.¬† Some brought me joy; others got me through the toughest times in my life.¬† All make up the soundtrack of my life, the music of my heart.

First up…


Album:  Lemonade
Artist:  Beyoncé
Released:  2016


I remember exactly where I was when I first heard¬†Lemonade.¬† After a cruise celebrating my mother’s birthday I sat in the Detroit Metro airport, waiting for the flight to take me home.¬† I’d heard the buzz about the album–the controversy over “Formation” at the Super Bowl halftime show, the shock that she made a whole entire¬†film¬†to go with it (#whodoesthat #yourfavecouldnever #shesthegreatest)–so I had to hear what the Queen was talkin’ ’bout. I purchased the album on iTunes and listened to it over…

…and over…

…and over.

At some points, I openly wept.¬† In the terminal, on the plane–I couldn’t hold back the tears.¬† You see, I had a tough time recovering from abuse from my ex-fiance.¬† I felt betrayed.¬† I felt angry.¬† I felt afraid.¬† I was just coming to the realization that, even though I felt powerless, I was the one who controlled my life.¬† Lemonade¬†spoke to all that betrayal, anger, and fear.¬† It let me know I would make it through and be a stronger woman in the end.

In “Sandcastles”, Beyonc√© sings:

Dishes smashed on my counter

From our last encounter

Pictures snatched out the frame

Bitch I scratched out your name

And your face

What is it about you

That I can’t erase

When every promise don’t work out that way

Her voice breaks at, “What is it about you that I can’t erase?” and it was like she read my heart and turned my deepest feelings into song.¬† I wanted to forget my ex so bad–because he hurt me¬†so bad–but he still haunted me.

Lemonade was my strength.  Even today, every time a song from the album comes on, I stop and listen.


(Special thanks to Eli W. for inspiring this series!)

Grateful Dead and Surprise Packages #100HappyDays

Day 90:  Wedding receptions make me happy.  My boyfriend invited me to the reception of one of his good friends.  We had a great time!  My boyfriend was so handsome in his suit and meeting his friends was really fun.

Day 91: ¬†Experiencing new music makes me happy. ¬†My boyfriend is really into the Grateful Dead, and a documentary about the group came out recently on Amazon Prime, so we watched it. ¬†I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. ¬†I never knew too much about the Dead–basically that it was “hippie” music and Jerry Garcia was involved–so I liked learning more about the group and the music they made.

Day 92: ¬†Coaching others makes me happy. ¬†I’m part of a group that helps trainers improve their adult education skills, and I had a 1:1 session with one of my colleagues today. ¬†We focused on determining if trainees “got it”–she really wanted to make sure that trainees were understanding the information she taught them. ¬†It was really fun to look at another class and find ways to make the information stick.

Day 93: ¬†Surprise packages make me happy. ¬†Imagine my surprise when I go to the mailbox and see a package from my friend Kathy! ¬†She sent me a favor from her baby shower and lots of other goodies as an early birthday present. ¬†She’s into fashion and makeup, so I’m excited to try the cosmetics she included in the box. ¬†Yay for great friends!

birthday box.jpg

I can’t wait to try out this stuff!

Throwing Shade, Writing Poems, and Saying Goodbye #100HappyDays

Day 73: ¬†Throwing shade makes me happy. ¬†Two of my very best squirrel friends, Kathy and Julia, love RuPaul’s Drag Race as much as I do. ¬†We have a call every two weeks to throw shade on the current season (and also to catch up on life). ¬†Hearing their opinions on the queens and latest life updates makes me so happy.

Day 74: ¬†Using analogies makes me happy. ¬†As someone who teaches adults every day, I’ve come to realize that the adult brain learns a bit differently than the child brain does. ¬†So, I like to come up with fun analogies to help my trainees learn the new information. ¬†The analogy I used this time? ¬†Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper. ¬†ūüôā ¬†A lot of my trainees said they had a “light bulb moment” after hearing that analogy, so I think I’ll keep using it!

Day 75: Being creative make me happy.  Speaking of teaching adults, I wrote a haiku for my class because they were so awesome.  They had great question and paid excellent attention during class, so I wrote them a quick poem to express my gratitude.  They really liked it!

Day 76: Weddings make me happy. ¬†My boyfriend invited me to the wedding of one of his coworkers. ¬†It was beautiful! ¬†The weather was perfect for the outdoor ceremony, and the groom cried when the bride walked down the aisle (So sweet!). ¬†I had a great time meeting the groom, bride, and other folks my boyfriend works with–and the cake was delicious!

Day 77: Reliving my childhood makes me happy. ¬†I downloaded a bunch of sweet 90s music and it really took me back to “the good old days.” ¬†You know–the days when I got summers off and didn’t have to pay bills. ¬†Here’s one of the many songs I got–enjoy!


Day 78: Getting fit makes me happy.¬†Today was my monthly weigh-in at the gym–and I lost 3.6 lbs! ¬†I’m really working on lowering the number of calories I eat and getting enough protein in my diet. ¬†Hopefully next month I’ll have even better progress!

Day 79: Getting rid of old stuff makes me happy. ¬†Today I sold Raven, my old car. It was a bittersweet moment–that car was my college graduation gift and saw me through my first apartment, a move to Madison, and six snowy Wisconsin winters. ¬†But now that I have Stella (peep this post to meet her) I couldn’t justify keeping Raven too. ¬†The money I got from selling Raven will go toward paying down my credit card. (Not a fun way to spend the cash, I know, but #adulting) ¬†I hope Raven’s new owners enjoy her as much as I did!


Ride on, Raven! Thanks for nine awesome years!

Sometimes, you need a dance party.

The past two weeks have been crazy busy. My stress level was on 10, y’all. Today at work I felt like my head was going to explode. 

And then, I heard ‘Boyfriend’ by Justin Bieber

Y’all might be thinking, “Welp, let me get a mop to clean up the head explosion. If she was on the edge before, surely Biebs gave the final push.” 

NOPE. Turns out what I needed to alleviate my tension was a full-fledged, no shame in my game dance party. So that’s exactly what I had. 

I body rolled in my foyer. 

I twerked on my refrigerator. 

I pop, locked, *and* dropped it in the middle of my living room and it felt f*cking fantastic. I feel so much better and am ready to conquer the last day of the work week. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, Missy Elliott just dropped a new video and I have more booty shakin’ to do. 


It’s been a rough few weeks, folks.

Work has been crazy busy lately, and it took a toll on me. ¬†Between all day customer classes, exam reviews for internals, required meetings, and ton of other commitments, I barely had time to breathe. ¬†There were some several days during that two week period where I didn’t eat anything all at work because there simply wasn’t time for it. ¬†After work, I headed home to take care of household duties–laundry, dishes, meals, and caring for my fiance and our three boys. ¬†I was exhausted physically and mentally. ¬†Emotionally, I was a wreck–I was so overwhelmed with everything on my plate, constantly¬†a few seconds from tears.

Then I started listening to Pitch Perfect radio on Pandora and I finally found some clarity.

No, it wasn’t the a capella covers and Glee mash-ups that brought me some sanity. ¬†It was a single song, Titanium by David Guetta ft. Sia. ¬†This song was all over the radio when it came out in 2011; it was also covered in the movie Pitch Perfect (hence why it showed up on my Pandora station). ¬†It’s more of a dance song, which probably explains why I never really paid attention to all the lyrics–too busy shakin’ my groove thang–but the words in the song really gave me strength during a time when I was feeling especially down.

“I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose

Fire away, fire away

Ricochet, you take your aim

Fire away, fire away

You shoot me down but I won’t fall

I am titanium

You shoot me down but I won’t fall

I am titanium”

Titanium:  the stuff airplanes, spacecraft, and missiles are made of.  Talk about being able to handle tough situations.

After hearing that song a number of times on the station and finally listening to the lyrics, I realized that I *am* titanium.  Even with the 12-hour work days and endless amount of chores to do at home, even with the stress and competing priorities, no one can knock me down but me.

“You shoot me down, but I won’t fall–I am titanium.”