Tuesday, August 28, 2012

London 2013

I am a travel addict.

They say you make time for that which is important to you. I make time and save money.

My first true trip, childhood vacations excluded, was in 2004 to Italy. I ate pancakes and ramen for a year to afford it, studied Italian voraciously, and it left an ever-present impact on my life. I believe you cannot adequately understand the world until you see it.

GRANTED... In my many travels, I admittedly have only been to Europe, which is a fairly narrow scope of our world, but even walking through the paved, car-lined streets with the comforts of modern civilization in all directions, people watching across the ocean in the heart of another culture speaks volumes of our common humanity.

2004 - Italy
2006 - Germany with a hint of Austria
2008 - Ireland
2010 - Paris
2011 - Ireland
2012 - Hawaii
2013 - LONDON!!!

I am a long-time anglophile that was over-joyed to find a documentary series about the British monarchy from its inception on Netflix. (I know more about the history of British royalty than probably most of you combined.) I have researched the interments of Westminster Abbey on more occasions than I can count, and there are few things that sound tastier than High Tea service. I have watched the House of Commons on CSPAN... voluntarily.

I recently started a spending diet, but planning a spring break venture with two of my best girl friends is the best incentive for hoarding it away. :)

When Roger died, one of my many points of loss was that of my travel partner. I am so thankful for adventurous friends!!!! :) :) :) God save the Queen!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Privacy Dilemmas

This woman wants to talk to me.

Cool stuff... I know... :)

I emailed The Suze Orman Show a while back asking if they thought I was doing the right stuff with my money: 30 year old widow, planning for retirement, making sure I can do it on my own if I need to. All the kinds of stuff people my age SHOULD be thinking about if they want to retire before the age of 70 and/or be able to have a normal existence once their monthly checks are dramatically chopped. 

So I emailed Suze. We're friends. I've watched her for years. I'm positive that she would always tell me "You CAN afford it" if I were to ask. :) 

But then the crazy thing was my email was actually answered!!! In the form of a phone call! A phone call that came in the middle of new-to-district teacher inservice I might add. I waited to pee my pants until AFTER I left campus that day. :) Would I like to be a guest on their show, they inquired. After an emphatic yes, I was sent a lengthy Excel file that covered every aspect of my financial status from top to bottom and a lot of places you forget about. 

I emailed my info back and then combed through it, piece by piece, with one of their producers... I talked at length to a producer. :) Yeah, I'm awesome. :) 

And then they called me back.

A quick search revealed a lot about my story, "my situation" as CNBC calls it, that peaked their interest. Originally, they wanted me as a phone guest for their "How Am I Doing" segment, citing there are far more young widows out there than we hear about, especially in the last several year with young, married men going off to Iraq and Afghanistan. A young widow is relatable. A young widow is interesting. 

But a young widow with my story is video interview worthy. 

And I don't know how I feel about that. It actually made my stomach churn a little. A piece of my heart will always belong to Roger. I will always cherish the time I was married to him, and even as I find it harder to remember his voice, I will never forget how loud it was or the sound of his laughter. But coming to a new school, I get a little bit of my anonymity back. 

I have felt under a spotlight for the last 2 1/2 years. Every time I walk into a room of band directors I wonder if he is what they think about. Probably not. I wonder how many of the looks are that of pity. Probably none. Maybe a couple. But I am very sensitive of the fact that I was thrust into the limelight for nothing that referenced my skill as a musician or dedication to my craft. We became recognizable through a horrible situation with tragic results, and as far as I want to know, maybe I get to be "anonymous" again. 

But "my situation" is unique. "My situation" is worthy of more time and a closer look. I just don't know if I want that. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Yarn & Diamond Bling

Today I did virtually nothing. :)

I did mow and walk the doglets, but for the most part I did nothing of importance.
And it was wonderful.

I've been stressing out a lot about my new job. Even though I'm capable of saying out loud that I realize  it's a brand new school, brand new program, that it's going to be a strange year, I'm not capable of actually operating in that mindset.

And so today, after a full day of leadership with a handful of my new kiddos, I did nothing. :)

For most of the day I worked on my version of an Anthropology necklace I found well over a year ago, that I've been planning for equally as long to make. While I crocheted, I finished up season 4 of Mad Men off Netflix. In the final episode Draper proposes to his secretary using the engagement ring he inherited from Anna. It was a sweet scene, but it made me pine for my own ring.

It just sits there.

I wore my engagement ring for only a couple of weeks afterward. I wore my wedding ring for months. I took it off after we spread the ashes.

I don't know what to do with it. There's no way I can part with it. "Make it into a necklace." I have a diamond necklace that I've worn every day for 12 years, and I'll probably where it every day for the next 12. If I tried to have it reset into a different ring, it would be pretty dang flashy and probably still look like an engagement ring. I really love it. It represents a wonderful time in my life, but it sits there. In it's box. Just as pretty as the day it was slipped on my finger. But nobody gets to see it.

I bought myself a very bling-y diamond band last year (because a girl shouldn't have to have a guy to be sparkly) as part of my retail therapy. (That probably could have easily been the name of my blog. I've made a lot of big purchases in the last year and a half...) But as much as I love my "new ring", the old will always be prettier.

So I wore it today.

Go ahead. Think it's awkward. Think it's strange. It's not fair that I have this awesome piece of jewelry that stays well hidden because fate has something against me. I know what you're thinking mom, but no, people would think it was weird if I wore a diamond solitaire when I'm not engaged or married, even on my right hand. But today I wore it for a few hours, just so I could remember how much it sparkles (and how heavy it is), and then I put it back in it's box for who knows how long.

Hard not to feel pretty when you got your bling on.