We’re Moving!

Truly, Margaret Mary logoLike all grown-ups, I’m feeling the need to move up in the world. That said, I’ve claimed the address http://trulymargaretmary.com and will be posting there from now on.

I thank the handful of folks that have started following this blog. I hope you’ll consider transferring your subscription to my new place. I really hope to do some interesting things with this blog in 2013.

I plan on shutting down No Longer Playing Grown-Up on February 1st. I guess we really aren’t playing at this anymore…

Happy New Year y’all!

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Here I Am, An Only Child

Oh gosh, that’s embarrassing. No writing for 10 months?! Unacceptable! But after a long hiatus  I’m back. I wish it didn’t take a tragedy to get me to write. It really is a fun hobby when I make time to do it. But that’s a topic for another day. In the meantime, here is a copy of my speech from mom’s funeral on Saturday. Sigh.

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The summer before I left for college was one of the most emotional times of my life. I think my mom could have said the same thing as we seemed to be in perfect balance. One of us would be crying and the other would be enthusiastic. Well, at least until mom played “Forever Young” and then we both just cried. My mom would tell me that she was so proud of me for choosing to go so far away to pursue my dreams, but she was nervous to let me go. For the most part though, she bit her tongue and gave me my freedom, never questioning my plans.

I was so excited. Yet so scared. I was leaving behind everything I knew. All of my friends. The room I grew up on. The Chinese restaurant I loved so much. There was so much potential for my future in South Carolina, but there was also a lot of unknown.

So the summer continued like this – back and forth, crying and laughing, supporting and more crying. And then I did something really dumb. I had all of my friends stay for a sleepover that last night before I left. In the morning, each one of them, INDIVIDUALLY, said goodbye to me. It was as if my heart was being ripped out each time. When, at last, I said goodbye to my dog Max, and gave Nikki one last excruciating hug, my parents and I got in that blue minivan and drove off. I’m not sure any of us stopped crying until we got past Gary.

Fast forward a few days and I found myself in the most perfect college setting. Simply, I loved it. The accents were so southern and the fellow students so friendly (well, until they discovered I was a Yankee.) But then it was time to say goodbye to my parents. Gosh, it was hard.

For a second.

After a tearful goodbye, I went skipping off with my first new friend, Tracy, to some party or other college experience, as my parents sat in the Holiday Inn watching me leave.

I spent the next three and a half years loving every moment about college, but also having moments of homesickness. When Nikki needed me, I couldn’t be there. When I got sick, I had no one to pet my head. When the car died, I had to learn what to do. And learn I did.

That first spring at school, my mom came down to visit. We had a great trip to Charleston and ate breakfast next to Strom Thurmond, who at the time was so old he couldn’t button his own shirt sleeves, but was still governing our country. I was so proud to show her the things that I had been doing. It was great to see that big smile on her face until we had to part ways and we both started crying again.

When I was just in Texas a few weeks ago, we had another great trip. We stayed up late talking and laughing. She was so interested in what was going on in my life. We visited a spa and this time when it came to say goodbye, I didn’t cry. Looking back on this, I’ve wondered why, but I think it’s because I knew what I was traveling back to and couldn’t wait to get there.

When my dad died three years ago, my earth’s axis was shifted so off kilter, I didn’t think the ship would ever be righted. It’s only in the last two weeks that I realize my mom’s ship simply could never be. She hasn’t smiled that big smile of hers in three years. She tried to take life on herself, but I think it proved to be too much.

My parents were quite the pair and needed each other. If for no other reason than to give each other the strength to give their daughter the freedom to explore the world on her own.

Last Sunday, when I walked away from them one last time, this time leaving them under a beautiful oak tree on a hilltop in Texas, I did so holding the hand of my prince. I again felt sadness, but also happiness. This is how it’s meant to be. Someday Randy and I are going to have our own babies that we send out into the world. I’m going to continue building the friendships that have become so precious to this only child. I’m going to do things I thought I could only dream of. And when my mom comes to visit me, be it in a dream, in a powerful gust of wind, or when we finally meet again in heaven, I’m still going to be so proud of my life. The life she gave me the freedom and guidance to live.

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2012 New Year’s Intentions

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t feeling the New Year’s resolutions this year. This is almost blasphemy for a goal-maker such as myself, but all in all, I’m happy with where I stood on January 1, 2012. I am relatively healthy. My monthly budget is workable. No regrets. No big goals unachieved (except for the elusive 5k run.)

Instead of resolutions, I’m giving this year purpose. Seven purposes, actually.

In yoga, a good teacher begins class by giving you a moment to come up with an intention for that practice. For me it is sometimes physical (stretch the hips!), but for the most part, it is a sentiment that can come off the mat. Given the nature of yoga, I think the latter is the point. So I have come up with seven intentions to focus on in yoga and in real life. Seven is a magic number because I could do one per day of the week, but I’m going to let this play out and see what works best. My morning run may be “test”, while forcing myself to stop checking email at 9pm may be “balance”.

Maggie’s 2012 Intentions

  • Balance
  • Test
  • Communicate
  • Clean
  • Celebrate
  • Environment
  • Support

I am very excited about this new version of resolutions. Stay tuned throughout the year to see how this plays out. I have a feeling that taking the specific pressure of “run a 5k in under 30 minutes” off of the list might give me permission to actually meet that challenge. Let’s see!

What are your goals for 2012?

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2011 Year in Review Goal 3: Grow.

My achievements under this goal are the ones I’m most proud of, but if you would like to see what else I did this year, check out posts about goals one and two.

Goal 3: Grow.

  • Work for myself and/or out of my home by the end of the year.
  • Create a business plan and official documentation of a venture.
  • Attend six networking events.
  • Make time to read for fun.
  • Try something new once a month.

Well, obviously and ad nauseam, you know that I succeeded in sub-point one. I’m a month into it and just starting to find a rhythm AND the fear that I should have had on day one. What if this doesn’t work? Am I pricing things right? How do I get folks to believe in me if I’m working from home? Why won’t anyone return my emails!?! Ack. Lots of worries, but also lots of excitement. This is still the third best decision I’ve ever made. (1. Going to South Carolina for college. 2. Marrying Randy.) What you may not know is that I do have a business plan and all the appropriate tax paperwork completed. I now have a mileage book in my car and a percentage of my house designated as office. If you have any interest in reviewing the business plan, I’d love for you to review and give me your thoughts.

I did attend my prerequisite number of networking sessions in 2011 and should probably up the number in 2012. I ended up making some great friends (and thusly business connections) through the #MKEfoodies tweet-ups and enjoyed AMA-Milwaukee Chapter luncheons. I didn’t get that much out of other activities, but I always learned something.

With school behind me, I rediscovered my love for the library where I come home with no less than eight books to read in a three-week time frame. Like everyone else in the world, I read the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo and The Hunger Games series, but after picking up an interesting read on the Medici family in Florence, I’ve been on a European royalty/history kick. If you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them! Reading is my version of meditation. I love that time for myself.

Now the exciting part – what new things did I try in 2011:

  1. Entered a food challenge.
  2. Tried sweet potato soup. (Concept sounds awful…soup itself was quite tasty.)
  3. Get married! (And share finances for the first time in my adult life. This was a personal challenge. Randy is better with money than I am, but..but… it’s my money.)
  4. Run 20 minutes straight.
  5. Take the bus to work.
  6. Go to Europe and all  the new experiences that entailed.
  7. Do a 10k.
  8. List a company as a LLC.
  9. Tried Mediterranean food. (Loved it. New favorite lunch spot!)
  10. Teach in a bathing suit.
  11. Quit a job without a sure thing lined up.

As you can see, I need to do one more new thing in 2011. With only 10 days left, what do you think I should do???

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2011 Year in Review Goal 2: Be Happy

As we finish 2011, I could not possibly be happier! I married the man of my dreams. I’ve got my health. I live in a beautiful home. I can wear pajamas to work and my “co-worker” Noah just sleeps most of the day. Life is good! But how did I do on the sub-categories??

Goal: Be happy.

  • Take more pictures
  • Share pictures and stories via blogs.
  • Make a homemade dinner at least four times per week.
  • Pay it forward at least once a month.

I did a slightly better job taking pictures this year, but I sure got a lot of help from friends, family, and wicked good photographers for the big stuff. As for sharing them, well…you better be my friend on Facebook or in real life. I plan on adding more pictures  to blog posts in 2012.

I’m proud of the documentation of our honeymoon. Hopefully y’all were able to play along from home pretty well. I didn’t do the best sharing the rest of the year, but I’m sure we can all agree I over share and you feel like you know plenty about my 2011.

A homemade dinner four times a week may not seem like that big a stretch for some of you, but with all of our extracurriculars and our how much we like to go out to eat, Randy and I weren’t eating a non-cold-sandwich meal at home very often. I can’t tell you specifics, but we did get better in 2011! Many thanks to our CSA, Springdale Farms, for providing us with abundant produce, the #mkefoodies group for inspiring me to freeze a lot of things in the summer, and my favorite food blog loves  for providing me with inspiration. I found a really cool calendar for 2012 to help me plan out fresh, healthy meals. Check it out here.

I made a very conscious effort to “pay it forward” in 2011. The whole point of this exercise is to be a humble person helping out their fellow man, so I won’t give you specifics. I’ll just say I did it. Happily. Hopefully this exercise becomes habit and I’ll continue this practice for all years to come.

In 2012, I hope to dedicate more time and communication to specific charities. I think I have found my home in a couple of local nonprofits. I look forward to getting more involved in the new year. If anything, I think I might over share vs. not tell y’all enough, so the blogging might stay the same or happen a little less. I’m also hoping 2012 is a little less eventful than 2011. This was a crazy year!

Do you volunteer? Do you prefer one-time opportunities or a year-long commitment?

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