My life as a sitcom revisited…and it is still funnier than reality T.V.

A post from a few years back that still makes me laugh…hope it makes you smile as well

Why my life should be a comedy show:

I am making a case that my favorite comedy writers should just call me up and ask me for the latest happenings at the Ross household.  We seem to have an endless series of comedy routines unfolding daily.

So first up..my parents.  Bless their 85 year old hearts.  They are a constant source of humor.

Scene 1  “Let them eat flowers”

My Mom just celebrated her 85th birthday.  Her “real” present is a day with me that involves great food and lots of retail therapy and time together.   In the meantime we sent her flowers and balloons.  Not just any flowers.  Something different.

Flowers in the shape of a cake.    The florist assured me that it would be beautiful.

It was too beautiful and too real.  My Mom loved it and she was especially excited to get balloons. Seems in her 85 years no one ever sent her balloons.

Note to self..you are never too old to receive balloons.

Later in the day we spoke and she once again thanked us and then said “We can’t wait to have a piece of the cake”

OOPS

We finally had her look closely at the cake and she laughed when she realized it really was flowers and not cake

In her defense it was delivered in a cake box.

My Dad’s reaction “What?  Does that mean we don’t get cake??”

Hahahahahaha…sorry Dad..I’ll bring “real cake” when I visit the next time.

cake( This is the photo from the florist.  Mom sent me one of the actual cake which was all white with pink but her photo ( like all the photos she takes) was mostly of the wall.  Sigh..just gotta love her!)

Scene 2:   “Wait I am standing right here”

Could never seem to catch my boss in her office.  Sooo I sent her an e-mail even though I would have rather talked about this situation  in person.  Ran into her the following day and this is what unfolded.

“Hi Jenn..got your e-mail but just haven’t had a chance to respond.

Great…( I take a breath)  Obviously I breathe in way too slow because she was already halfway down the hall and out the door and though I tried I could not catch her to talk  for the 1 minute I needed to hear her response.

Seriously??  The writers from “The Office” need to contact me for even more material that could potentially get me fired.

Oh and 2 days later I still don’t have that e-mail response and she has gone MIA again.

Scene 3:   “Thanks Jeff..its really not that bad”  or “Certain rooms are off limits”

I  have to tell you this happened years ago when people still had a sense of humor about these things ( Thank God)

So I am in the shower in the late afternoon on a summer day after doing some yard work.  I hear my six year old son yelling “Mom. Mom Mom Mom ”  throughout the house.  I yell back  I”m in the shower”  The renditions of Mom Mom Mom reverberate up the stairwell until he discovers me SOOOOO I open the shower door and there he stands

WITH HIS FRIEND, Jeff.

Jeff immediately covers his eyes and I close the door and mutter “Its really not that bad Jeff”

My son gets a lecture and new rules on who he can bring into the bathroom (nobody) .  That’s not the worst part.  The worst part was calling Jeff’s Mom to tell her if her son ever mentions ( hopefully not at the dinner table) that he saw Mrs. Ross naked, ummm..he is not lying.

So there you have it.  Scenes from Part 1 of  our version of reality T.V.

What’s your favorite “reality” moment in your real life?   We can’t be the only ones whose family motto is:

“Remember, as far as anyone else knows,

we are a nice, normal family.”

Keep laughing and keep “trying”

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Trying to overcome my swimming anxiety…

Yes I have swimming anxiety.  Not the kind that makes me fearful to go into the water.  As a matter of fact I’ll be the first one to jump in the deep end with my grandkids and the last one to get out.

I love the water.

I hate the water.

Wait..what??  It’s true.  If you ask me to go swimming, go to the ocean or the lake I am there before you can finish inviting me.

Yet last year when it came to doing the one and only sprint triathlon I had signed up for I chickened out.  The anxiety about the swim part grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.

I had done this tri before so I knew the drill.  It was an outside pool swim and you were seeded according to your swim time.  The last time I did it I was the next to last to get in and  out of the pool and I barely made it.  I promised myself it would never happen again.

I have no problem being the last out of the pool. That’s okay but what I didn’t like was how I struggled with the swim.  I thought I had trained enough but obviously not.  I knew what I had to do.

So last year I signed up for it again knowing that I REALLY needed to practice, train and train some more.  And guess what I did?

I got a PhD in swim procrastination.  I did some training but by the time the triathlon was 10 days away I started to panic so I rationalized as to why it wasn’t a good idea to participate.  My lame reasons amuse me now but I remember waking up the morning of the tri and thinking “Wow that was such a good decision” and then a week later beating myself up for not at least giving it a go.

One of my main reasons ( aside from the lack of training) was the waiting by the pool for a good 2 hours before it was my turn.  Not only was it in the blazing sun but there were women  (it was a women’s only tri)  already crossing the finish line by the time I got in the pool.

An embarrassing, anxiety inducing, heat exhausting wait.  Nope wasn’t going to do it.

The joke was on me.  They used two pools this past year to avoid the wait.   Beat myself up some more upon hearing that.

So here it is January 2017.  There is 8 inches of snow on the ground and I am thinking about  wiggling and contorting my post Christmas, post birthday celebration body into a swimsuit and going for a swim.

Snow and swimsuits  brrrrr

Of course the main problem ( which I always blame my lack of training on) is there is no close by indoor pool   I have been patiently waiting for the one to be finished that is about 25 minutes away but it’s taking forever.

Wouldn’t you know as I was online checking on the pool construction status I find one on our local military base that is not only what I need but can use right now.  It’s a little farther away but doable for once or twice a week.

And my anxiety started simultaneously with the excuses as to why I couldn’t manage this. Everything from:

  • there will probably be all these fit young military people swimming there..how embarrassing to be the slow poke
  • to the old standby “I don’t have the time for this”

I got myself into such a state of anxiety I was starting to think about the leftover birthday cake downstairs that would taste so good with a hershey kiss chaser.  So far I am resisting…barely.

After a couple of deep breaths I made a decision!

I WILL swim this week Thursday* because despite all my reservations, all the silly excuses I make up,  all my anxiety over doing it, and not really wanting to put on my suit I KNOW that I will be so disappointed in myself it I don’t at least try..or should that be tri.

What will you Tri this week???

 

P.S. Its Thursday because it fits into my schedule but most of all the roads in my community won’t be iced over by then!

 

 

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The Two Things Carrie Fischer and I have in common!

The world lost a unique individual last week.  Like many of you I have been following all the news posts about Carrie Fischer’s life, and if it wasn’t enough that we lost her, then her mother, Debbie Reynolds, left us as well.

The first thing that surprised me about Carrie was her age.  I actually had no idea how old she was but assumed she was a bit older than me.  Turns out she was only a couple of months older than I am.

WOW… my first thought was she was way too young to die.  And she was!!!

You see as you read this I will be celebrating my 60th birthday and while it sounds old I sure don’t feel 60 ( that’s the good news) .  As a matter of fact one of my recurring thoughts as I approach this milestone is

“Wait, how the hell did this happen?”

I just don’t think of myself as 60..its just too big a number to get my head around.

Turns out neither did Carrie.  Her sister Joely Fischer said that one of their last conversations revolved around Carrie saying she couldn’t believe she was 60.  I am right there with her.

Also she and I share a weird sense of humor.  In Carrie’s back yard against a wall is the rear end of a Lion with all his glory hanging out.  Now I have not seen mans health this so I do not have the  details, but just the description alone made me laugh and realized she and I could have had a lot of laughs together.

I saw this in Omaha last spring and laughed hysterically.  I think it would fit perfectly in Carrie’s backyard. Cracks me up that it’s hung over a picnic bench.

Giant nose with pimple in Omaha

The only thing it is missing is a giant finger in one nostril.   Too bad someone around here won’t let me put this in our backyard over our picnic table!!

I would like to think that Carrie enjoyed her last birthday celebration with great gusto as I plan to do. Plus I wish I could thank her in person for finally finding a way to include the funny nose photo in a blog post.  I think she would approve.

Enjoying a good celebration must be genetic as I obviously loved a great party from an early age.

imageLast I want to remind everyone to celebrate everyday( not just your birthday), laugh until you pee your pants ( not that hard as you get older) and put something absurd in your yard, house, car or office that makes you laugh..tell them Carrie and Jennifer made you do it.  And I am off to enjoy the last 15 minutes of my fifties…its going to be an amazing year!!!

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My year of Wonder!!!

Every year for about the past 5 years or so I have picked a word of the year.  One year it was “inspire”.  My intention was not only to inspire others but to inspire myself.  In 2016 my word was “focus”.  I wanted to focus on what was really important in my life.  I also think the underlying intention was to help me set boundaries with the big black hole of the internet and social media.

This year I thought for sure, hands down, positively that my word would be “fearless”.  I intended to use the word to give me even more courage to try new things and do them fearlessly.

And yet it wasn’t fitting somehow.  My mind wiggled around it much like someone wiggles in an itchy wool sweater.  It was a great word, it fit..sort of but it still wasn’t quite right.

January 1st I woke up excited about the new year.  Excited or excitement sounded like a really good word of the year.  That lasted a couple of hours until I realized I had donned that itchy wool sweater again and I started to twitch a bit and knew it didn’t fit.

Another word came to me that morning and it ended up being the right one in so many ways.  It fit a new project I was starting.  It fit my desire to be more present every single moment and it also fit my desire to have a my feet dangling in that black hole of social media, electronics and the internet but not get sucked in every minute of every day.

And the word is  ( drum roll) :

WONDER

I believe it has been lurking in my mind for awhile but was not wanting itself to be known just yet.  You see every morning I walk this goof ball for about 1 1/2 miles around the neighborhood.

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Max

Our neighborhood has wide streets with lots of trees, bunnies, deer, and wooded lots that all those critters can hide in.  It never fails ,even though I have been on this walk literally hundreds of times ,that I see something new.

BUT only if I pay attention.

When I do slow down and take it all in I am always amazed that I somehow I have walked past this sight and  I start to look for more things I might have missed.  It puts me in a state of wonder.

Wonder is definitely my word for 2017 and it is also the theme for my new project:

            “My Year of Wonder”

Starting on Jan 4th I will be posting a photo each day for a year on Instagram.  Each photo will be taken that day and my hope is that it will do a couple of things.

  • remind me to slow down and be present in the moment
  • renew my sense of wonder  each day
  • help me find gratitude and joy in the things and people around me
  • make the people who see these photos smile and encourage them to find the beauty surrounding them

I can’t promise the photos will be earth shattering pieces of art but they will be authentic, original and shared with a smile.

So one last thing.  Why January 4th??  Well, its the best day ever for me!  It’s my Birthday and if you know me you know I love my birthday..always have.  And I am starting a new decade of my life so what better way to start than with  a sense of Wonder!!   I just have to tri!!!   Enjoy!

P.S.  You can find me on Instagram as jennifebross . Please note that at the time when I created my Instagram account  I obviously could not spell my own name and left off the r in Jennifer…cracks me up and Instagram is a bit of a stinker when you try to change things so it will remain the way it is..just going with the flow!

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Forever and Always My Baby You’ll Be!

All those parenting books never tell you the one truth that you have to figure out on your own.  Parenting never ends.  No matter how old your children get, or how many amazing grandchildren they give you, you never stop being their parent.

Nope!

And it is all okay.  We signed up for this gig many many years ago and I wouldn’t trade it for the world but some days  my heart is a little more tender than others.

This past Monday we waved good-bye to our youngest and only son. He is heading overseas to a new job and we probably won’t see him for another year.  It was time for him to go.  He had taken a break from his previous job and stayed with us for a few months and now he is on to new adventures.  Still I started missing him the moment he firmed up his travel arrangements.

He is a grown man and has been out on his own for several years and yet I did not see a grown man wave to us one last time as he walked down the jetway.  This is what I saw:

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At home in a way too quiet house I sought to console myself.  My husband ( as Dads tend to be) was more philosophical about it relying on the knowledge that it was time for him to move on.  I needed anti anxiety something.  So I baked chocolate chip cookies, ate way too many and saved the rest for the grandkids.

I am grateful for the long visit we had, his sense of humor and especially that THIS time I did not need a hazmat suit to enter his room after he left!   He left his mark as most adult children do.  I will be spending the next couple of months figuring out where he put stuff  away in the kitchen.  He tried but I am finding things in the oddest places.

I am also grateful that we can Skype, text message or hangout thanks to Google.

And yet this week will be one of continual Thoughtful Thursdays and honoring all my emotions.

Most of all I am grateful that this parenting gig never ends and my children, no matter how old they get, are always with me even when they are far away.

And yes even when I find petrified PB&J’s under the bed along with dirty laundry. Some things never change!!

There will come a day when he finds the same stuff under his son’s bed!

So your assignment this week is to go out and be thoughtful to yourself and give yourself permission to stretch Thoughtful Thursday into a whole week..sometimes you need it.  Well that and some warm chocolate chip cookies and  a big hug.

Now go out and make it a Thoughtful one!

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Before I could run I had to fall in love again…

I used to think a 5k was easy. Let me be honest.  I used to think a 5k was “too short” or in other words beneath me as I was a more “accomplished’ runner and did 10k’s and half marathons and had aspirations to do a full marathon.

And then I stopped running.

I stopped running for a variety of reasons.  It wasn’t intentional.  I broke my wrist in April when I fell during my attempt to do a triple toe loop at the ice rink.  Translation: Tried to  complete the last lap around the rink after my lesson and lost my balance.

After that aside from the fact I really didn’t want to jostle my broken wrist I also had a great fear of falling and breaking it again although with a plate and 8 screws in it that was highly unlikely.

Then there was our incredibly hot summer.

I tried.  I went out for the occasional run and would start out like a shot and be winded halfway into the first quarter mile and feel discouraged and out of shape.

So I did other things like the elliptical, biking and hiking but I missed running.  I really did.

What stopped me in the summer ( the weather) has been calling to me on these bright fall mornings.img_1346

I went out this morning.  I ran but this time instead of starting out like a shot I decided to do an easy pace. Laughing I remembered a running shirt I saw that said “I run like a turtle, slow as shell”   Yup that would be me but it felt right and I quit beating myself up for not doing it faster or longer.

In the words of Forrest Gump: I just felt like running! Click To Tweet

It was a whopping 1.25 miles.

I’m proud of this “short” distance. I did it because I wanted to get out and celebrate the nice weather, get some exercise and find the joy in running again.  Not to train for a race, go faster, or even to check it off my daily to do list.

I can’t even remember why I started running but somehow the pleasure of just being out there got lost in the “shoulds”.  You should do a faster pace, you should do a longer run, you should push yourself.

All those “shouldings” on myself sucked  the pleasure out of running and made it another chore on my “to do” list.

The other “aha” I am having is that I need and want to do this for myself.  Just me.  I will still do some “races”.  I love to be with the other runners and its a bonus if there is some “bling” at the end but I only do the ones that I find fun.

Say “Hi” if you do see me at a race..I’ll be the one the one with the big grin on my face because I fell in love again with running.

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday! The Boomerang Effect of Great Ideas!

So a couple of years ago I had this idea.  I have no idea where it came from but it certainly came from a place of love.  We had 5 of our 6 grandchildren in quick succession.  One a year for 5 years ( 2 are only 5 months apart)!

Whoa!  I barely had time to get used to being a Grandma when they came fast and furious. Obviously my little talk about us being a fertile family did not take!

Needless to say it was a little like Romper Room around here when they came to visit.  And just when I was wistfully thinking about what I would do with 3 pack n plays little Tristun made an appearance to even us out at 3 granddaughters and 3 grandsons!

I wanted some one on one time with each of them so I came up with Grandma and Me day.  It has been a huge success and a scheduling challenge since 5 out of the 6 are now in school and we love to do it in the summer!

Here is the very amazing part.  While it is my gift to them I have had the privilege and joy of getting to know them outside of their family and away from their siblings. It was so surprising to see how different they are when it is just me and them!  I get to see a whole new side of them and it is so fun.

We get to talk, do quiet or very loud things and lately VERY adventurous things
( hope my body holds out).

I see aspects of their grandpa, their parents,  and their aunts and uncles.  Common traits that touch my heart to see them continuing on in a new generation.

So all this time I thought I was doing this really fun grandma thing FOR them.  Little did I know how very much it would also be fun and heartwarming for me!

From shoe shopping and fashion shows ( with my clothes and shoes) to swimming, ice skating in the summer and swinging from the trees at “Go Ape” it has been a blast.

So my Thoughtful Thursday challenge to all of you is this..go have some one on one time with someone you always see in a group or family..it could be your Mom or Dad, a sibling, an Aunt or Uncle, a co-worker, or a friend.  You will appreciate a whole new vision of them and it will do your heart good! And as always..go make it a Thoughtful One!

Here are a few photos from our latest adventures!

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Living Single While Very Married… The Mystery of the Burnt Out Bulb..

Any of you fans of Nancy Drew when you were growing up?  I was and at least one of those books kept me up one night scared to death.  I read “The Ghost of Blackwood Hall” one warm summer night in the back bedroom of my grandparents farmhouse.  All the adults were downstairs and I could hear their voices drift up the back staircase and yet when I finished the book and turned out the lights every single noise scared me.  From the big clock ticking in the hallway to the old  furniture creaking as it adjusted to the heat. Yes old furniture contracts and expands as the weather changes and voices its  opinion of the warm non air-conditioned  house by making very scary noises.  Well at 10 years old they scared me.

I survived the night but never read another mystery late at night and all these years later I still remember that book vividly.img_1204

Fast forward to the present day and I discovered I had my own mysteries to solve right here at my house.  Not as scary as the ghost in the old mansion but almost as perplexing.

With Paul busy learning the ropes of his new job many miles away I had lots of projects to get done as well as keep up with house.  Strange things started to happen.  The lighting just wasn’t the same, my car started looking like a Christmas tree with all the lights that blinked on the dashboard, laundry took forever, cabinet doors were open and I kept cracking my head on them and the yard was out of control.

To be honest the funniest one was the light bulbs…I saw many had burnt out and I meant to change them, really I did but for some reason I didn’t.  It took me awhile to figure out why I was waiting and this time it just wasn’t the procrastination gene I inherited.

The mystery was easy to solve.  All of these antiviral things and many more were all things that Paul took care of and either I never noticed or it just wasn’t on my radar to do.  The light bulbs go out all the time but he is so quick to change them that I never bothered.

The car maintenance was also his deal and we both dropped the ball on getting it inspected ( a nice military officer informed me it was 4 months overdue and no I couldn’t get on base with an expired inspection sticker..yikes)! How I escaped getting a ticket is yet another mystery.

The cabinet doors..well I have a really bad habit of not closing them and Paul always closed them if I forgot.

The laundry..well he always helped, especially with the folding.  I sure wish someone would invent a folding and put away machine.  As for the yard..no matter how hard I tried it just didn’t look as good as when he did it..I managed and it was a good work out but not my forte.

Changing the light bulbs just reminded me that he would not be home to do it for a long time.  The other stuff gave me new appreciation for all he does around here that I did not notice.

Many people thought and still think we were crazy to do this living single while very married thing.  Maybe we are but so many good things have happened.   It has given us new appreciation for the little things we do each day to help each other out.  It gave us a taste for life without each other ( no thanks!)  and our love and commitment to each other has grown.

I can’t say I can recommend doing this to strengthen your relationship but I can tell you that noticing the little things he or she does for you, the family and the house will make you smile and love your special guy or gal even more!

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday! This gift is always “enough” !

It’s September 1st and while others are mourning the loss of summer I am relishing that things will get back to a regular rhythm. The kids are back in school  (or in my case the grandkids), there will be some really gorgeous fall days and crisp mornings and I, for one, am ready for the change of seasons.

Our family will kick off the fall by celebrating my Dad’s 90th birthday.  I cherish this time I have with my parents and know that each day is a gift.  Except for some hearing issues and forgetfulness my parents are doing well.  The internet and “the facebook” baffle my Mom.  My Dad does know how to send an email or play solitaire on his computer.  Downloads confuse him but then they sometimes hang me up as well.

My Dad requested no gifts for his birthday.  He just wants to be around family.  I actually had to convince him that a family gathering would be nice ( he didn’t want a party).  In the end it was a matter of semantics as we are having a party but not using the “p” word.

Despite my mothers confusion about computers she is aware of Amazon and will ask me to order things.  Recently it was a gift for a friend who is turning 90.  My mother was concerned it wasn’t “enough” of a gift.

We have all been down that road before.

I really dislike the notion of any gift not being “enough”. Who decides what is enough?  My parents are actually pain relief going to the party which in my mind is gift enough but my mother would not let it go.

Finally I came up with the perfect addition to the gift.  Feel free to steal this and use this as we approach the holidays.  It is definitely the quintessential one size fits all and will be universally loved by all who receive it.

I told my Mom to write Sylvia a note and include all the special memories they have shared and why her friendship and connection through these many years has meant so much.

It is one thing to know this.  It is one thing to verbalize it.  Having it written down adds a new dimension.  It can be read, and reread, held close to the heart and touched.  Running a hand over a written note can be soothing and a connection can be felt to the words and the time and sentiment that went in to writing the words on paper.

A handwritten note is a gift that fills the heart. It can be read, and reread, held close to the… Click To Tweet

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I’m pretty sure something like this can’t be bought at Amazon…or at any store.

Not to spoil the surprise but I know what I want to give and receive as a gift these coming months..and it is more than enough!

Now you know what to do…go out and make it a Thoughtful one!!

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday…Cherishing those 45 seconds

It was a busy weekday afternoon.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  Life at my daughters’ house was full of kids, laughter, teasing and loud voices.

The voice of  urgency to get everyone ready for soccer practice rang out a familiar tune as kids ran around getting things together, filling water bottles, looking for lost shoes.

A little deja vu for me from years past.  I sometimes missed those crazy days and enjoyed being in the midst of all the chaos for a bit.

Ava Grace sat on her Dad’s lap getting soccer shoes tied with her long wavy hair in tangles around her head sweaty from a day of soccer camp.  She jumped down and handed me her hair elastic to help her put her hair up.  I was grateful there was no need to brush out the many tangles but I made an attempt as I gathered her hair up and stroked it gently…braid or pony tail ….pony tail…I gathered up her hair like I had done her for her Mom for  many years and quickly made a pony tail wrapping the elastic around it…akin to riding a bike, something I could do blindfolded.

How many times and how many pony tails had I gathered up for my daughters?  Did I relish the moment?  Did I cherish it? Did I know how special it was to have that moment.?  Nope. And  today I got a do over in my heart .

It was only 45 seconds.  Ava Grace did not give it a second thought, but I did.  There is something special and elegantly simple in creating a ponytail.  It is just an everyday ordinary moment that I have done a zillion times. And yet today it meant something.  If felt like an honor to do something so ordinary, so simple.  It is those simple things in life that connect us.  Making a meal together, doing dishes, brushing hair, whispering good nights.

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It is the simple things in life that connect us Click To Tweet

My wish for you on this Thoughtful Thursday is to honor those wonderful but often ignored moments.  Cherish those 45 seconds and savor them.  They are quick but oh so important.  Now you know what to do 🙂  go out and make it Thoughtful One.

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