Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Some Heavy Stuff

I must interrupt this blog series about our family vacation to get some things off my chest.

First, let me be very clear. This blog is my space to write about anything I wish. Writing is very cathartic to me. I am somewhat careful about keeping this reasonably anonymous. I'm sure people could find out who I am if they tried hard enough, but you'll notice I often omit names or details in an effort to just be a little bit faceless on the big ol' Internet.

It is not my intention - EVER - to offend, hurt, or call out anyone on this blog, on any social media site, or anywhere else. Especially not anyone I love. By nature I am not a spiteful or malicious person, with very few exceptions. Those few exceptions would be people who have done really awful things to me personally or those I love. My default disposition is rather sunny with periods of anxiety, worry and generally putting too much pressure on myself.

I have been struggling lately. There are people in my life who have said and done things that, whether I should or not, I have taken personally. I know this is on me. I'm just really tender hearted, like it or not, so when someone accuses me of being cruel or doing or saying mean things, or rejects me, especially for reasons unknown, I take it harder than I probably should.

Combine this with the realization a while back that I don't need to feel obligated to keep people in my life who are toxic, have a negative effect, or who just don't truly care about me, and there's just a shift happening. I really don't make any apologies for my feelings on this. Life is just too short. Thanks to some recent drama that I can't even begin to understand, I have been thinking about pulling away from people in general to try to protect my feelings a little bit.

The first step of my plan was to deactivate my social media accounts. I really didn't want to do that, as there are people that I communicate with primarily through social media and who I would not want to lose touch with. For example, kiddo's birth mom. I definitely don't want to risk losing that tie, and sometimes she is hard to reach any other way but Facebook.

During a much-needed talk with a friend today, I realized something. Well, she made me realize something. Not only can I not control other people's thoughts or behaviors, but people who behave this way will always find something to take issue with. If it's not a post on social media (which I am careful about; I'm not a passive aggressive jerk on social media)... it will be some other random thing.

The whole point is - the issues are theirs, not mine. They can try to make the issues mine (which I believe is usually unintentional), but I don't have to take them on. That is a choice that I have to make. I can be dragged down into the mud, or I can stay upright and just do the best I can to be gracious and forgiving and to love unconditionally. I feel like I have allowed other people's words and actions to dampen those qualities about me. And that's not okay with me. Time to take control back.

As much as I wish I could fix all of this damage and make things better and keep it that way... oh how I wish I could do that... I just can't. The only things I have control of are my thoughts, my words, my actions, and my reactions. So from now on, I am choosing to work on re-sharpening my forgiveness, my gift for putting myself in someone else's shoes, my understanding, and my knack for giving people the benefit of the doubt.

I will be happier and maybe I can make others happy in the process, too.

Win win.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

First Big Family Vacation - Day 2

I don't normally sleep that well in hotels. The bed is never quite right, there are weird noises, the temperature is usually a little off, and so on. But that first night in Seattle, I slept like the dead. It was incredible. (I blame exhaustion and stress!) I woke up feeling rested, relaxed, and so excited for the day ahead. Several times that morning, I thought, "wow, no wonder people go on vacation so much, this is awesome!"

It's possible that I need to get out more.

Anywho, on this the second day of our trip, a Sunday, we had breakfast with Grandma and Pop. Pop made 'basted eggs' - something I have never heard of but found to be delicious - and bacon. This is the day that I learned, at thirty-odd years old, that you can microwave bacon and it turns out decent! How did I never know this before?

After breakfast and another great visit with Grandma and Pop, we headed south to Issaquah to meet up with hubby's cousin (part of his 'new' family that we just discovered a couple of years ago). We adore her, so we were really looking forward to the day. I actually enjoyed the drive through/around Seattle on the interstate. The day before, I was still so stressed that I didn't pay too much attention. This time, we were in no particular rush and I felt like I could enjoy the sights. One of my favorites was this:

As a huge lifelong Seahawks fan, who booked this trip well before knowing her Seahawks would be going to the Super Bowl the day after she would be coming back home from Seattle, I was thrilled to see so much blue and green around the city. Actually, 'thrilled' doesn't even cover it. I was completely geeked out. I told Dave at the time that I had found my people!

After an hour on the road, we arrived at his cousin's house. It was a lovely place at the end of a cute street. As we approached her driveway, we saw someone standing outside. I didn't even pay attention to the person in the driveway, because the only other person we'd hoped to visit that day was Dave's aunt, who we were told would be in California during our visit. We were sad that we were going to miss her. As we got closer, Dave said, "there's my aunt!"

I may or may not have screamed in excitement! More than once! What a great surprise, and we had a great reunion! We visited and had a pancake party, which is one of Dave's cousin's trademarks. It consists of multiple griddles set up on a table with bottles of batter scattered about and tons of different toppings/mix-ins for pancakes.

Everyone gets their own spatula and it's just a lot of fun. I can honestly say it would never have occurred to me to try sausage, mushrooms and feta in a pancake before... but it was delish! I also had one with peanut butter and strawberries. Also very good.

After the pancake party, we piled into the rented Charger and headed off to this place. It was so beautiful there! It was also crowded, since it was a sunny Sunday afternoon and unseasonably warm. We stayed there enjoying the view and taking pictures for a while before heading out.

Our next adventure took us back into Seattle to a place called Alki Beach, which as it turns out, is where some of those incredible Seattle skyline photos come from. I was completely in awe at the view from this place. We went to Pegasus Pizza for dinner, which I highly recommend by the way and so does hubby, who shocked me by consuming a pizza with spinach on it.  We then went for a stroll on the beach. By then it was dark, so the skyline was stunning.

I wish I'd had my tripod, more time, and that I'd felt a bit safer setting up in a spot to take some good pictures there! As you can see, the few I got were underexposed and a bit blurry. I must say, though, I love that I was able to snap my own pictures of the Space Needle lit up in green for my Seahawks.

We headed back north to our hotel and retired for the night. I collapsed into the bed and fell right to sleep again as I wondered how I could get that bed on the plane with me to take it home...