Don’t Stop Believing…..

Since I was a wee lad…..I have always had a love of art (for some reason I love saying that, maybe its the influence of St. Patty’s day on Monday..lol).  Painting specifically was something I absolutely loved to do. I took art classes all four years in high school and I remember I would sit in our kitchen and paint for hours after school.   I still remember entering my work in an annual art show and although I didn’t think anything would come of it, I won 3rd place. It was a really exciting moment and I still remember it to this day. Especially since I wasn’t a very sporty person and goodness knows I never brought home any field day ribbons. 😉 I guess this was my way to shine. Fast forward about twenty years (give or take), college, jobs, two kids, etc etc. and yes I had been negectling one of the things I most loved to do.  It took a few recent hardships and an illness to be introspective, reflect and motivate me to once again pick up a brush.  Since beginning to paint again almost two years ago it has been very therapeutic.  It is a way to express myself, be creative and to inspire (if only myself).  When I paint I feel connected to my parents who have past, as it was my dad who bought me my first paint set and easel in high school and always loved my paintings.  My mom who thought I could do anything and even if it wasn’t good she would always give me words of encouragement and love.   That is probably why I feel inspired to paint angels as I feel them surrounding me everyday and I know they watching over our family.   I often think of things that my mom might say to me when I paint and it encourages me to paint beauty and positive messages.   With much encouragement from friends and family I am continuing my passion and painting as often as possible and recently had a a great thing happen.  Although it wasn’t anything elaborate I recently put my work on display in an art gallery in Prescott called Textiles and Textures.  It was amazing to show my work, and a little scary and vulnerable.   The response has been great!   I still haven’t reached total confidence as I still have that feeling people are “just being nice” when they compliment my art but I know that confidence will come in time.

1796670_648706651861877_703334603_nMy Gallery Display! Hoorah!!

The main thing I’ve learned through all this is that you never know what life has in store next and if you have a dream, GO FOR IT.  You will never regret it.  As for me I’ll keep on painting and sharing my crazy adventurous  journey and life along the way.

Shelley

Birds of Feather Phlock Together

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For any who know me,  you know that my husband and I are self-proclaimed Parrotheads.  A Parrothead is what many fans of Jimmy Buffett call themselves.   It however is so much more than being a fan.  I like to call it a state of mind. Parrotheads love and live the life style of Jimmy Buffetts music. The party, the ocean, the sunshine, the freedom to have fun and escape to our own little tropical paradise if only through his songs. The thing I love most about being among fellow Parrotheads at gatherings, tailgating, pre-parties, tiki bars and concerts is their attitude. Parrotheads are people of all ages from kids to seniors and everywhere in between. All who come together to embrace living the good life and more importantly having fun and relaxing.  I don’t think I have never been around more friendly, more caring people in my life. We gather in our tropical shirts, flip-flops, outrageous hats, beads, leis and no one is afraid to express their creativity.  At a Parrothead gathering or a PHlock of Parrotheads as some may call it, it is all about escaping and being exactly who you want to be without the restrictions of the same ol’ rut and day-to-day grind.   There is no drama, no pressure, just like-minded people who want to have fun and for those of us who love vacations and the ocean (who doesn’t) we can live the beach life vicariously through his “songs we know by heart”.   When I hear the words  “Mother, mother ocean I have heard your call”, from one of my favorite Buffett songs,  A Pirate Looks At Forty,  I feel like I am sitting on the beach and just imagine either being on the ocean sailing or sitting on the beach with a margarita in my hand with not a care in the world.   After all don’t we all want to be at that One Particular Harbor, or waisting away in Margaritaville, or be with our Brown Eyed Girl on a Lovely Cruise just knowing that Come Monday it will be alright because guess what….. usually it will.  Life is too short to stress about the small stuff, just treasure what is important, have fun and be a little crazy because “if we aren’t all crazy we would go insane”.

I found this definition of a Parrothead in the urban dictionary and loved it.  Fins Up my friends!!!!!!

1. Parrothead

A Parrothead is a fan of Jimmy Buffett (there is no other meaning). The typical parrothead is pictured to wear a Hawaiian shirt, flip-flops, and other tropical attire, and to enjoy drinking margaritas on the beach. Parrotheads often decorate their homes in tropical motifs. In general the life of a parrothead is one of relaxation and being on a permanent mental vacation even while at work.

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Domo Arigato Mr……. Hashimoto….?????

Ok, yes for some reason every time I think of the word Hashimoto’s, I think of the song Mr. Roboto from the Styx.  I’m sure it’s the Japanese connection.  I also get hungry for Sushi so go figure. LOL  Going back over five months ago and I had never even heard of that word.  As a matter of fact when the Dr said it, I kinda laughed like he was making a joke.   “You have a disease called Hashimoto’s”… “Oh really ha ha ha.  Now really what is going on?”.   He said you have the highest TSH I have seen in 30 years of being a Dr.   He said it is so lucky we caught it today or you could have went into a coma and the mortality rate is really high from a Myxedema coma. WOW,  so If I wouldn’t have forced myself to go to the ER that day everything could have been much different.

Well,  now that I knew what was wrong  I thought I would take the little thyroid pill and it would all be better but it was far from that easy.   I have found that there are so many other things that go along with this disease like aches, pains, fatigue, headaches, rashes, migraines, weight gain,  gluten intolerance, hair loss, possibility of other autoimmune diseases like Lupus and too many more to list.  You know all the FUN stuff. LOL   I came close to giving up many times but I know that I need to be here for my family and make their life complete.  So I am pulling out all the stops.   I went gluten-free,   I researched the heck out of the disease,  I am taking all the supplements recommended by the Dr,  exercising,  and trying to remain as positive as can be.   It sure is hard some days as we are all tested by life’s drama etc.   But I know that I want my time here on this fantastic place to be lived to the fullest.  I have seen several members of our family pass on too young, including both of my parents.  You really just never know what could happen at any given day.

I’m taking a few months off work to get my health back in order.  Getting back to doing things I love like painting and you will also see that we travel a lot, follow Jimmy Buffett as avid Parrotheads and spend our time “livin it up”  We may die broke but we will have a lived a full life with lots of love, travel, and good memories.   To anyone out there struggling with chronic illnesses or really anything in life just try to keep your head up and keep truckin, its hard but you can do it.  Heres to good health and positive vibes to everyone and to beating the heck out of this autoimmune disease.

I’m Kilroy, Kilroy, Kilroy, Kilroy….. 😉

Peace and Love

Shellbell

Disneyland or bust and maybe a slight amount of batsh$t crazy

In the car driving to California, so excited because I LOVE, LOVE Disney and I am super dooper grateful we are going. It’s the freaking happiest place on earth, what’s not to love about it. However, it’s the drive there that usually puts me into a downward spiral of crazy that only Disney can cure. I love my kids and love being with them but there’s something maddening about being cramped in a car together for 6 hours with no escape. So far I’ve heard screaming, fighting, a few hundred “are we there yets”, “I need a drink”, “I have to go potty”, “the movie isn’t working”, “he’s wiping his snot on me” and many more famous kid backseat quotes. I considered pressing my face against the window and yelling help to the truck drivers but i don’t want anyone to think I’ve been kidnapped. After all I willingly put myself in this situation in a quest to make my little angels happy. I now fully get the famous Clark Griswold meltdown and why he punched the freakin moose when Wally World was closed. If we get to Disney and it is closed I’m busting a cap on a mouse and his whiney girlfriend. Oh dear God here goes the screaming and complaining again as I type this post. They have gone backseat cray cray and we still have another hour in the car. Well, as Clark Griswold said “this is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. You’re gonna have fun, and I’m gonna have fun… We’re all gonna have so much freakin fun we’re gonna need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles”. I’m on a pilgrimage to see a mouse, PRAISE MICKEY MOUSE. Where’s the Advil!!!! By the way, I love my family. I wouldn’t want anyone else in the world to drive me to the batsh&t crazy. 🙂

Almost 40! Sorry I won’t be able to tell you though.

So I’m coming to the age of almost 40….dun, dun, dun. It seriously seems like just yesterday I was 19 and off to college and now time is passing by faster than I have to run to make it to the bathroom. Boy, my bladder isn’t what it used to be after popping out two kiddos and passing a few kidney stones along the way, but I digress.  It really does seem like I was just 29 and celebrating turning 30.  I don’t feel old, well besides my health being kinda sucky lately.  I mean I don’t think a number is that big of deal but next year when someone asks my age I cannot fathom the word “forty” coming out of mouth.   I think I’ll just say I am “age which cannot be named”,  kinda like Voldemort from Harry Potter.

Turning this ripe old age comes with baggage,  like a saggy butt and lots more wrinkles but I know I am definitely more at peace with everything in life and I don’t care as much what other people think. I remember stressing constantly if someone did or did not like me when I was in my 20’s and early 30’s but not so much.  I mean there will be people who will judge no matter who you are, even family can break you down!  I have learned that you have to be yourself and if they don’t like it than move on.   Honestly,  I used to be the biggest ‘Miss Please Everyone Nicey Pants’.  I am still a very kind person but if enough shit goes down than I have no problem giving the big “get the hell outa my life”.  Really who has time for the people who constantly cause drama?  I call them the “Life Suckers”! They are ones when you are around them you feel like the life has literally been sucked out of you.  Life is too short for drama,  save that for your momma.  Well actually don’t save that for your momma because honestly she probably had a lot of it already from you. As a momma that already has a lot of drama from my kids I sympathize.  😉

So in conclusion, turning 40 isn’t the end of the world,  I actually like the place I am in.  I won’t like or be able to tell you how old I am next year but that’s ok.  I am sure in time I will defeat my fear just like Harry did.   I’ll probably eventually get some Botox to defeat the wrinkles and maybe even start working out (gasp).  I think the important thing is to keep having fun,  being silly,  and dancing whenever you can. Oh and add embarrassing my kids to the list too, they pretty much think everything  I do is embarrassing.   Life is good,  after all I’m growing older but not up.

Photo on 4-24-12 at 4.03 PMIf you ever get bummed about being 40, or life in general, do one of those face distorting things.  You can’t go wrong and can’t be bummed looking like an alien.

No Bad Days,

Shell

Holiday road trip – Nothing like a family vacation

We have all seen the movie “Vacation” with Chevy Chase.   It is definitely one of my all time favs.   I think we can all relate to the often stressful times that come with family vacations.   Lets face it, it isn’t always easy and in fact it is almost always a lot of work.  No longer are the days of packing up yourself and significant other and setting off footloose and fancy free.  With kids it’s a whole new animal. Packing for the kids requires making sure you have extra clothes for those bound to happen accidents, clothes for changes in weather, and never forgetting their special blankets and stuffed animal they need to sleep.  You also have to have enough snacks, drinks, sun block and you can’t forget the entertainment during those long road trips.  Luckily in our day of technology we have Ipads and rear DVD players to help us out.   My poor parents had to listen to us scream songs and play slug bug for hours on end.   Heading off with the kids requires frequent stops for bathroom breaks and hopes that you will be in civilization when one of them yells “mom I have to pee”.  Then there are the tantrums, the fighting from the backseat, and the persistent “are we there yet?” questions.  So why do we do it?  Well the answer is simple.  Despite it all, it really is wonderful.  I think what we long for is to see the joy in our children’s faces and their eyes light up with excitement.  When we see that, not only does it make our heart sing with joy but it reminds us of our childhood and what it felt like to be on vacation with our family and that one on one time with the whole family together that was so special.

We just returned from our Spring break trip to California.  We visited San Diego with our first stop to Legoland.   The weather was a little chilly the first day but overall the weather was great the whole trip.   Legoland is a great place for the little ones.   I think our kids may outgrow it soon so we wanted to get at least one or two more trips in since many of the rides at Legoland are geared for kids probably 12 and under.   The kids even tried out the water park the second day when it was a chilly 68 degrees.  My husband and I watched them enjoy their time in the water but that’s a little too chilly for me to swim.  We ate at our favorite BBQ place in San Diego, Phil’s BBQ.  That place is amazing!  I cannot even tell you how good the El’Toro is!  I can say that it is because of that sandwich that I don’t think I can ever go back to being a vegetarian. 😉  After several days enjoying San Diego we left to take the kids to Universal Studios for the first time.  We figured they finally are old enough to appreciate all the movie stuff.   We had an awesome time.  Zack did fall and scrap up his knee pretty bad the first day.  Then Ally and I came down with stomach flu the second day of Universal which resulted in Ally puking while we were in the line to see the Shrek show.  We just told everyone around it was part of the show.  Ogers are pretty nasty after all. lol.   She said “mom, this is the worst and most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me”.  I said “Ally, I hope that this is the worst and most embarrassing thing that ever happens to you”.  lol.  Well,  Ally and I had to end up back to the hotel the rest of the day to recover but luckily we had done almost everything at Universal the first day.  All in all it was a wonderful trip.  Jeff even surprised us with a last minute stop to Downtown Disney where we got to eat at our favorite sandwich place Earl of Sandwich.  Yes, I am pretty sure I gained about 10 pounds this trip.

Look how their faces are so full of joy.  There is nothing better than this in the world to me.

Look how their faces are so full of joy. There is nothing better than this in the world to me.

Vacations just like anything else are all about what you make of it.   I remember growing up and during many of our road trips we had things happen like our car breaking down, some or one of us got sick, hotels lost reservations, and once our luggage fell off our roof rack and our clothes were spread across the entire freeway in California.   But good or bad those are memories that you can laugh at later.   Trust me the luggage across the freeway and my underwear flying through the air wasnt funny when I was thirteen but now it really cracks me up.  Vacations even with the mishaps and even though sometimes hard work are my absolute favorite because of time we can spend together and the memories we create that will last a lifetime.

My Thing 1 and My Thing 2 at Universal.

My Thing 1 and My Thing 2 at Universal.

Its official.  We won the Best Parents award for bringing them on this vacation according to Zack.  This makes it all worth it.

Its official. We won the Best Parents award for bringing them on this vacation according to Zack. This makes it all worth it.

Some of its magic, some of its tragic…but I have a good life

Today I was pondering while listening to my favorite Jimmy Buffett song.  By the way for those that dont know my husband and I are die hard Jimmy fans aka Parrotheads.  I was listening to the song “He went to Paris” and it really resonated with me. The words, “Some of its magic, some of its tragic, but Ive had a good life all the way.”  There has been some tragic times in my life  as well as many, many magically moments.   Tragically, I lost my parents whom I was unbelievably close to way too early in life.  They were literally some of the best people I have ever met and I miss them so much sometimes it hurts deeply.  Despite the pain I know how incredible blessed I am to have such a great family.  Two wonderful healthy kids, a great husband, a roof over our head, food and ability to travel and make great memories.  Life is not perfect but you have to take it day by day.  You can’t dwell on the past or what you are missing but instead focus on what you have and what you are blessed with at this very moment. You can tell I have been reading a lot of Eckhart Tolle, “thank you Oprah!” lol.  Those lyrics while simply are incredibly true.  We all have had our fair share of tragic moments but really just being alive and being blessed with what we have is MAGIC.  There has been many times in the last 10 years between deaths in the family, illness and various other stresses that I haven’t always practiced this philosophy when I wish I would have.   I think with age (yikes I’m almost 40) there definitely comes clarity, learning to live without EGO and judgement and really just an overall appreciation for life.

This is one of my first paintings.  Inspired by my mom.  She would say this before she left anyone that she loved.

This is one of my first paintings. Inspired by my mom. She would say this before she left anyone that she loved.

I am new to this blogging thing but I love that this is a great way to express myself.  I am a late bloomer I guess as I am waiting until the ripe ol age of 38 to start my creative journey.   I hope to find it through my painting and journaling/blogging.

Peace and much magic to you all.