Simple Pleasures

Life has seemed insanely busy and crazy lately. (I feel like I say that a lot.) Well, I guess I should amend that statement. Work has been insanely busy lately, which has made my life (or lack thereof) crazy. Based on opening dates for our neighborhood pool and deadlines to get budgets and budget amendments done, I’m anticipating another 2 weeks of massive craziness in the workload and probably another 2 weeks of semi-craziness and then hopefully things should settle back down to normal crazy levels.

Crazy work life means I’ve let my exercise schedule slip. It means my already poor eating habits have gotten worse. Getting home late means I don’t want to take the time to cook something. I either grab some fast food (expensive and generally unhealthy) or I end up eating a bowl of cereal.

Working late means I get home and plop down on the couch exhausted and talk myself out of changing clothes and heading to the gym. I forced myself to the gym Wednesday night because I realized it had been almost 3 weeks since I’d been. Can’t blame all of that on work though. I opted not to renew my personal training sessions because they were going up in price and they were already an expensive luxury. Much harder to motivate yourself when you don’t have a kick-ass trainer expecting you to show up. Continue reading

Posted in Life 2.0 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Grief and Love and What Not To Say

Photo by Felipe Cespedes

Tomorrow will be the 24th anniversary of my husband’s death.

We had no real warning. He’d had a mild heart attack a few days earlier but after an overnight stay in the hospital he’d been released with a laundry list of instructions of things to do (eat better) and to not do (smoke). They scheduled a stress test for the end of the month. We had health insurance, so naively, we assumed if they sent him home and didn’t schedule a follow up stress until test weeks later, then we didn’t have anything to worry about.

Mother’s Day 1999…the day my life fell apart. He woke me up and said his chest was hurting. We called an ambulance and I called his manager to see if he and his wife could watch our boys. The paramedics told me to get to the hospital right away after I told them I was waiting for someone to come and get our small children. I didn’t see him again until after he died.

What Not To Say

Losing a spouse is terrible. Such an obvious statement, I know. Losing a spouse when you’re young is a unique kind of grief, I think. Rick and I were together 5 years. He was 35 years old when he passed away and I was 25. Michael was 2 1/2 and Nick was 6 months old.

People actually told me, “Don’t worry, you’re young, you’ll find someone else and remarry.” Let me give you some advice: Don’t say that to someone who just lost their spouse. It doesn’t help. I had already chosen my person, I didn’t want to find someone else. Telling me it was God’s will was also not helpful to me. I didn’t need any help being angry at the world for our loss.

The Loss

I can’t imagine losing someone after being married for 30 or 40 years. They have a lifetime of memories and routines and shared stories. Losing someone early on in a relationship though, you lose out on possibilities and shared dreams. You’re suddenly celebrating alone when your kids do something great like scoring their first lacrosse goal, or getting accepted to that fancy private college, college graduations, scoring their first jobs after graduating, buying their first homes or moving out of state.

Losing a spouse when you have kids is another hurdle in the grief process. I hate the fact that my boys didn’t get the opportunity to know their father but honestly, I don’t think I would have survived losing Rick if I didn’t have my kids to focus on. You don’t have a choice about getting up out of bed in the morning and putting one foot in front of the other and trudging on with life when you have two little ones depending on you.

It was not an easy path raising my boys without Rick. I was fortunate to have a great village to help me along the way though. I am incredibly blessed to have great kids who have grown up to be great adults, who are incredibly patient and generous with their helicopter-mom. They put up with me and my constant need for pictures (because smart phones weren’t a thing when Rick was alive and I sooo wish I had more pictures of him.) Single parents, regardless of how you became one, are ALWAYS the bad guy but fortunately our grown up relationship seems to have survived any missteps I made along the way.

Another great blessing, at least most of the time, is the fact that both Michael and Nick in their own way remind me so much of Rick at times. Sometimes that’s not a good thing, lol, but most of the time it’s a gift I treasure. It might be just a look they give me. Sometimes it’s one of them knowing darn well he’s driving me crazy but he can follow it up with a a little mischievous grin and he’s forgiven and he knows it. And sometimes it’s just a tilt of the head and they look so much like Rick at that moment that it can take my breath away.

Another Year

What’s the point of this blog post? I’m not sure. As each year passes, I think to myself, one year May 9th and Mother’s Day (because that’s an extra perk of someone dying on a holiday that changes dates every year-you think about it twice most years) is going to come and go and it’s not going to be a day where I’m extra emotional. 24 years later, I’ve come to the realization that’s probably not true. If I’m honest, I probably don’t want it to be true. There are so many little things I find myself trying to remember about him that I struggle with now. May 9th or our anniversary passing as just another day might be the biggest gut punch of all.

Posted in Life 2.0 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Holly’s Favorites-Spring 2023 Edition

April through June is my crazy busy time at work. We’re preparing to open our neighborhood pool, which is fabulous for all the residents but a LOT of work for us. And to make things more complicated, it’s all time for us to prepare our new fiscal budget. Job security for me I guess but it’s a stressful period every year.

There’s always some good stuff to focus on though. I was able to watch my youngest son cross the finish line in his very first marathon. So proud of all the hard work he put in training for this. 

Also planning a trip to Indy to see my oldest son next weekend. He’s pondering a move back to Louisville and even if he stays in Fishers I think he’ll be moving apartments. Lots of possible changes on his horizon.

That means it’s time to shift my thoughts to another edition of Holly’s favorite things. I have to give credit to one of my favorite bloggers for this idea, Andrea Dekker. She does them monthly I believe. I have a hard time coming up with that many favorites though. Continue reading

Posted in Favorite Things | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Fix or Replace-My Car Woes

car repaird

Photo by Anna Shvets: https

Cars are the bane of my existence. First disclaimer is that I am admittedly mechanically challenged. Also, I was totally spoiled for a good portion of my life because my husband was a fabulous mechanic and car enthusiast and later my brother worked for car dealerships. 

A Little Background

I was stuck in the horrible lease cycle for years. I know, I know, they should take away my frugal mom card. It worked for me at the time because it let me drive nice, new cars and all the maintenance was included and I could afford the monthly payments. My last lease was a Nissan Maxima and once the lease period was over, I planned on purchasing the car and driving it until it died. Continue reading

Posted in Money | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Prioritizing Goals

busy office

With every passing year, I am more and more convinced that I have adult ADHD. Don’t get me wrong, I can sit quietly if I need to and I’m not a fidgety person for the most part. My issue is that I have so many things I want to do and accomplish, and I feel like I can’t slow down and get organized enough to do any of those things successfully. 

Case in point: I have 13 items on my 2023 New Year Resolutions list and I have a separate 50 before 50 list I’m working on that needs to be finished before March 6, 2024. I’m also working through not one, but two different courses that I’m hoping will eventually provide some side-gig money. Throw in a full-time job and you can see where I might be a bit stretched. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget about this blog!

The thing is, I feel like all of these things are important. Obviously, I have the same 24 hours a day that the rest of you do. What’s the secret to prioritizing goals then? Obviously, I don’t have the answers yet or I would be a legitimate superwoman and I wouldn’t need to be writing this blog post. Here’s the action steps I’m going to take to try to accomplish all these things. Continue reading

Posted in Life 2.0 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Sinking Funds vs Emergency Fund

money piles

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

This used to be my favorite time of year because I was preparing to get a large tax refund. Now that my kids are grown, it’s not so fun because those big refunds are gone. This year I there’s a $3 difference between the small amount I owe to the Feds and the small amount Kentucky is giving back to me. I know, I know, this is what all the money experts say I should have been aiming for all along. Don’t want to give the government a tax free loan, right??

Here’s the thing, I liked knowing a big refund was coming in because I earmarked that money for some annual expenses I owed at the beginning of the year like my life insurance premium, car tags and vacations.

So what do I do now that I still have those expenses and my now grown man-children are no longer financial benefits to me? (I still love you boys!) Sinking funds are my favorite tool now to save for these random expenses. Continue reading

Posted in Money | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

50 Before 50

Tomorrow is another birthday for me-49 years old. It really doesn’t seem possible. Despite a few minor health setbacks recently, I feel much younger. Of course, realizing my kids are 24 and 26 is a good reminder that maybe I really am as old as I am.

Since the number 49 is already stressing me out a bit, I’m quite sure I’m really going to struggle with 50. An anecdote to this I felt was to create a 50 Before 50 list. 50 things I would like to achieve in the upcoming year. I think my biggest issue with the idea of 50 is that there is still so much I want to do. Devising a list of things to keep me busy and moving forward will hopefully ease the “growing pains”. So without further ado, here’s what I’ve come up with. Continue reading

Posted in Life 2.0, Updates | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Hello March

February is a short month but this year it was especially whirlwind. My youngest son bought a home and I left for a 5-day cruise the following day. The eldest man-child came into town for a brief visit and then I blinked and the month is basically over. My February challenge for myself, which I’m not sure I announced, was to read 4 non-fiction books. So far I’ve only completed 2 but I’m part way through a third so it’s still possible…

March Challenge

What am I doing for March? I think I’m going to re-visit my decluttering challenge that I failed at in January. I’ve seen several people post about a 40 bag challenge for Lent. Basically, they’re getting rid of 40 bags of clutter during the Lent season (is season the right word??) Continue reading

Posted in Life 2.0, Resolutions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Vacation’s Over

Cruising Fun

Back to reality. 6 days of fun in the sun and woke up the morning after vacation to snow on my car. It’s warming up a bit again now though so I’m not going to spend any more time complaining about it. Our trip was great. My next post might be an in-depth post about my thoughts on cruising. For now, I’ll just say that I didn’t go hungry, love a good Miami Vice drink, tried a few other drinks that were quite good as well, and had lots of laughs with good friends. I will definitely take another cruise but since neither of my guys seem too keen on the cruise idea, I think I may look at all-inclusive resorts for my 50th birthday celebration next year. Continue reading

Posted in Life 2.0, Money | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Dream Life

Photo by Jess Bailey Designs

Recently I wrote about Dream Jobs. Today I’m going to write about your dream life. It’s a favorite topic of mine because I think everyone deserves to be able to live a dream life. Please note, NO ONE has a perfect life. Life is full of challenges and pivots and that’s okay because learning to respond to those is what makes us stronger.

I was looking back through some of my old posts and found this gem from 2017 where I had set some goals for my life in 5 years. Most of those goals have come to fruition.  My boys have both graduated college and working full-time and my car is paid off. Michael is living about 2 hours away but I’m able to visit him several times a year. I just took a vacation with Michael to D.C. and in a short few weeks I’ll be taking by dream vacation of a cruise. I’m living in a condo and technically now I have a room that can be dedicated as an office even though it’s not set up great yet. I also ended up changing jobs and although I really miss my old co-workers, this has been great for me career-wise and financially. Continue reading

Posted in Life 2.0, Money | Tagged , , | Leave a comment