Pluviophile Mama

a lover of rain;someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.

Pluviophile Positivity — September 19, 2021

Pluviophile Positivity

Summer is truly rough for a pluviophile. especially here in The-Middle-Of-No-Where California. I know we don’t have it as bad as some but temps of 111 are just not okay with me. I’m the opposite of a witch, I melt in summer.

I could bag on how much I hate summer all day. I could say how proud it makes me when we’re driving and my 6 year old tells me she hates the sun. I’ll never forget driving her to Preschool and her asking me to “turn down the sun, it’s too much”. Future pluviophile in the making.

But my cousin and I just had a long conversation about how negative we are even without realizing it. At first I was thinking that it didn’t apply to me. I’m a generally happy person and I laugh a lot so I’m not negative. But the whole next day I paid attention to every thought and every word that came out of my mouth and you know what? I’m pretty negative! Sure I’m funny, but that’s just a coping mechanism and is usually at my own expense! What good is the humor when it’s just beating myself up?

So we are both paying attention to our own attitudes and let me tell you… it’s not easy! I feel like I’m retraining my brain. I’m also paying attention to the people in my life. How I feel when I leave them, see a text come through from them, get off the phone with them. Some conversations have me thinking “I don’t feel good energy in this conversation” or with that person. Just going to put a little distance and see how I feel.

My hope/goal is that all this will make me a more enjoyable, pleasant person to be around too. Not that I won’t have moments, we both texted each other saying “my mood was brought down today”. But we’ll try again tomorrow. And every day after that.

I had started this post earlier in the week. I had finished yet but when I woke up in the middle of the night I smelled rain! Yes rain!!! When we woke up Rylan and I sat outside bundled in a blanket. I had my kindle and she snuggled in my lap and fell asleep while it sprinkled on us both. It was so perfect and made my heart explode with happiness. That moment is what life is all about and what encourages me to be positive and spread that energy from this morning around.

Wishing everyone positive vibes only going into the week!

Time Heals? — August 31, 2021

Time Heals?

“It has been said that time heals all wounds. But I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissues and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” – Rose Kennedy

I first heard that a few years ago on an episode of Criminal Minds. Side note: I hate that show but Pat always watches it and I can’t look away no matter how hard I try. But the statement stuck with me and really hit home in the last few months since Nana Passed.

Its been 8 months since my world was torn apart. It has been kept together with a mixture of the best husband in the world, an amazing mob like family, a strong friend circle (small but strong), and books. I can feel my mind creating the scar tissue to protect my sanity and while I keep it together for the most part (my husband will read that and strongly disagree) there’s still the very real void.

I’ve compared the grief to having the wind knocked out of me and 8 months later that’s still true. I tried counseling which was helpful, but virtual, which means it was too easy for me to ignore her and not want to deal with things. I read somewhere that women like texting because its easier to hide our emotions. Its significantly easier to lie to your friends with a text saying your fine and a funny gif than it is to speak to them on the phone or in person. Its harder to hide the pause while you regroup, the crack of your voice leaking out real emotion, or the welling up of your eyes at someone who cares for you asking how you are.

This scar tissue is helpful but just like a real scar it changes you. The tragedy itself changed me for sure in gigantic ways I was not prepared for. Friendships shifted and perspective radically changed. Priorities were scattered and only things that were absolutely essential became doable. But as life goes on (which it does despite the desperate urge to make it pause so I can get my bearings) I’m realizing this scar and my life are never going to stop changing.

That’s part of this “healing” process isn’t it? Realizing that things will always change and its up to me how to make that work for me instead of against me. It would be entirely too easy to curl up and not face our problems. Its tempting. But the stories that I love to read are never the ones that just end with giving up. That’s a short boring book. Its the stories about the girl who fought, who overcame, who persevered. Those are the stories that keep me up at night with the book light until the early hours of the morning. Those are the stories that light a fire inside me and keep me pushing through.

There’s a quote or a story (sorry for not remembering it clearly) that says when tragedy strikes look for the healers. Look for the good. Look for the people who encourage you to keep going, to keep fighting. You can see the same scars on other people but for me I didn’t see that until I had those scars myself. I didn’t know what to look for until I had them and suddenly I could see it on people I’ve known forever and I felt so bad that I hadn’t known before what this felt like.

It wasn’t my fault and I don’t blame anyone who doesn’t know. I’m thankful that they haven’t felt this pain before. But there will come a time when we all have similar scars. No one makes it out of this world unscathed and all we can do is be there for each other. Encourage one another to get up and keeping fighting. Even if those scars aren’t fully healed yet.

Sorry I kinda bounced around it’s been a while since I’ve posted and just had these things on my mind.

Unpopular Opinion — June 27, 2021

Unpopular Opinion

I love discussing books with people because of all the different opinions. Some might absolutely hate a book that’s my favorite of all time. I might hate a book that it seems like everyone loves.

For instance the book The Four Winds by Kristen Hannah. I’m sorry y’all, I couldn’t even finish it! I skimmed it so I get the point but really I could not keep reading. It’s the most depressing book I’ve ever read. I normally love the everything Kristen Hannah writes but this was a miss for me.

I also finished Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey which is a murder mystery mixed with a little magic and some family drama. Really a solid 3 star read. Which means I liked it but nothing to write home about. It was a great change of pace after the ever so depressing Winds.

Finished Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman. I love that author. This one was about a neighborhood and the lives of the people who live there. One struggles with her weight, one is having an affair, there’s a mystery over where one wife went. It was just a bunch of real life stories. Some of which it hit too close to home and I didn’t think I liked it but a few days after finishing it I was still thinking about it and I like that in a book.

Currently reading The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. I’m only a quarter of the way in but holy crap this book is just want I wanted. A real escape with mystery and fun banter and witty comebacks. Yup I’m all in on this one.

Listening to Malibu Rising and loving it on audio. Not far enough to say but pretty intriguing right from the start.

That’s all I’ve got. Just a summary of my reading life for now.

You’ve Changed — March 19, 2021

You’ve Changed

I’ve read a lot of self help books, listened to the audio books, gone to the conventions, done the meditation, I get it. We need to find and love ourselves and yadda yadda and so on.

Here’s what I’ve learned about myself. There are more than one side to me. I have emotions and different moods and different interest that make it impossible to put me into one category or one box. Even a big one (which it would have to be)! Ha see I can make fun of myself while also loving who I am and the many different versions.

There’s a lot of things not many people know. Like if I could go back and do anything over again… I’d join the military. It wasn’t an option that was presented to me in high school. No not because I’m a woman either. I’m not really sure why other than I was in high school during 9/11 and not many of the girls were jumping to head to Iraq. The point is, that side of me that would want to join, train, push myself, learn a ton, and ride or die serve my country is very appealing to me. It also would have been good for me. Helped the messy, lazier side of me.

The opposite side of me has the desire to be a debutante with fancy dresses, always put together, the vision of class and sophistication. I think overall military training would have helped that side of me. Instead I make due with what I have and try not to drop my kid off at school in my sweats. Try. I can proudly say that in almost a year that’s only happened once. Workout clothes don’t count yet. Baby steps. My friend and I have started a thing… we try to dress every day like we’re meeting and enemy. Which neither of us have but it sets the tone.

Then there’s gangsta Britt. She doesn’t come out often. Mostly cause my mom was not a huge fan and I grew up in the mountains surrounded by cowboys and jocks. Which was delightful overall. But I have that G side that wants to wear giant hoops and red lips while rocking an ‘I don’t care’ attitude and giant sunglasses. It’s really a Khloe Kardashian vibe. I have the sunglasses already.

I’m out going and shy. Introverted but also social. I like adventure and love staying home. I feel very strongly I don’t HAVE to be one thing or the other and my mood changes constantly. I make plans then decide I don’t want to go. That last one is mostly anxiety. Things always sound good then it comes to going and being around people I get uncomfortable. I do better in smaller groups.

I’m learning a lot about myself in my mid-thirties and going through this huge loss has rocked every side of me. It’s more of a struggle every day to put my self together and identify how I feel that day. The urge to stay in sweats is a strong one. Which is stupid because getting up, dressed, and ready to see an enemy actually feels great. It feels more normal and attempts to pull me back to myself. Whichever version that might be.

I read an article about how sometimes we are more comfortable around strangers than we are our own friends. The theory is that when we are around strangers we can try on new versions ourselves that we want to be without our friends calling us out with an “oh my gosh that’s so not you!” With strangers it can be us and they don’t know because they haven’t been around you for ages.

I agree with this. However I also think it depends on your friend group. I have very close friends who know all these sides of me and not one thinks “that’s not Brittany”. Because the closest ones to me know that I’m ever evolving. Because that’s what we’re supposed to do.

I hope no one judges me based on the person I was 15 years ago. Ugh!! Thank goodness I’ve changed and grown. I pray that I’ve matured. Grown more compassionate and understanding. I hope I’ve become less self centered. I know I’ve grown more sure of myself and am less insecure. I may have more anxiety but I have better tools and people to help me with that. I have a better relationship with God.

I like who I’m becoming. Yes I’m still becoming myself at 35. I’m a wife, a mom, a dog mom, a friend, a boss (yup the thought scares me too don’t worry), an employee, and most important I’m me. With all the sides and all the continuing changes. I’m grateful.

Anger? Grief? Who can tell! — March 7, 2021

Anger? Grief? Who can tell!

I’ve always been hot headed. I’m very reactive and I get fired up easily. I’m working on it. Not very hard but it’s better than nothing. Right?

So now two months after losing Nana, a year of my husband being diagnosed with cancer, and countless, equally as important family trials, I’ve noticed I’m a little more level headed overall. Until I drop my purse getting out of the car. Or forget a key ingredient from the grocery store. Or heaven help me if I wake up and my house is a mess because I didn’t clean it.

It’s the little things now that send me screaming through the house throwing things and swatting at the dogs like Mom-zilla. It’s taken these two months for me to realize that it’s not the knocked over purse, or my forgetful ness, it’s actually grief. Grief manifesting itself in anger and frustration.

I can feel it inside bubbling under the surface waiting for something to send it exploding at unsuspecting targets. Like my child asking for the 5th snack before noon. It’s not her fault. But there are days when arguing over eating a healthy meal feels hard so I cave to snacks then I get mad that she’s hungry for more snacks. Then poor Pat walks in and for F’s sake can you help me feed our child 12,000 meals a day.

See it’s not about the snack. It’s grief coming out to sucker punch me when I’m least expecting it. It’s the sadness that I was dealing with internally all morning that chooses to lash out at my unsuspecting family because that’s easier than crying.

I’m sure they would rather me be sad instead. But at some point I have to start living again and I pride myself on being able to power through. It’s only just now occurring to me that sometimes you can’t just power through on your own.

Here’s what’s been helping me get a leash on my Mom-Zilla moments. Going for a walk with friends. Bible study. Praying. Reading.

Fresh air is exponentially helpful when I’m breaking down. Getting out with a friend and moving and talking always leaves me feeling more refreshed and grounded than before

My friend Heather introduced me to the Bible app that has all kinds of Bible studies that I’ve started doing both on my own and with friends. I am a Christian and truly believe in the power of prayer and that God will bring me through this.

I believe that going through this extremely hard time is God changing me. He’s working on me to come out of this more compassionate and understanding. I hope that I can be there for other people turn this horrifying year into one of growth and change. Talking to him and friends daily has brought a kind of peace to the mom-zilla moments that no other substance could provide.

I also don’t know what I’d do without books. Fiction mostly because I rely on that escape at the end of the day. An hour or two to turn out the lights and leave my world behind for a whole different one. One where anything is possible and for the most part I know everything is going to be okay.

I don’t have everything figured out. But I do all I can and give the rest to God.

Are Any Words Better Than No Words? —

Are Any Words Better Than No Words?

Eventually I’ll write about more than just grief I promise. However, for now even though I’m powering through, it’s still front and center in my life.

Sometimes I’ll say something to Pat while we’re driving or hanging out at home and he’ll give me what my friend calls “The Pat Face”. Which is basically a blank stare like he’s confused, indifferent, or baffled but mostly just can’t bring himself to respond. I’d try and take a picture for you but it would turn from The Pat Face to the Pissed face faster than my phone camera can capture the moment.

Anyway after he gives me the Pat Face I have to explain how I got to that topic. It’s usually a long drawn out version of “well I as brushing my teeth and thought of Jeanette cause she cleans my teeth (when I show up!), which got me thinking about hanging out with them and how we should go on vacation, but we should go on a fun vacation, but not with jelly fish, but I like sushi, oh we should go to Vegas and go to Hells Kitchen,” which circles back to my original point of telling him I bought Gordon Ramsey’s cookbook. I can feel all of you giving me the Pat Face right now!!

Needless to say the last two months has got me wondering if saying nothing or even the wrong thing is worse or better than saying nothing at all. I have come to the long, Pat Face initiating, conclusion that saying something is always better.

When Nana passed I had people I hadn’t talked to in years reach out with a single text. “Heard about what happened to Nana and I’m thinking of you. Sorry for your loss”. So simple and yet it warmed my heart in a way I didn’t know I needed.

I have never reached out to people before. I was always uncomfortable and didn’t want to bring it up or remind people of the pain. Then Jeanette said something that stayed with me and I wanted to share with my two followers. When I told her I didn’t want to reach out because of that she said “it’s never out of someone’s mind. That loss and hurt is always there even when people are smiling and talking to you. It’s feels better to acknowledge it than to try and sweep it under the rug”.

Now having experienced that new level of pain and loss I understand what she meant. Telling me your sorry I lost Nana is not “bringing it up again” because it never went away. It’s always at the forefront of my mind. It’s always hovering in my peripheral vision. Always the rug I’m standing on waiting to slip out from under me.

It’s always easier for me when people say sorry for the loss or anything really because then it doesn’t feel as “Debbie Downer” if I mention it. It clears the air for me to even talk about it in passing or if it’s in the middle of one of my thought process tangents.

I truly believe it’s better to say something than nothing. Coming from someone who never used to say anything I can now saw with confidence that when I’m in those situations, it even feels better for me to acknowledge it. Saying “I know there are no words but I’m sorry and you’re in my mind” takes pressure off both of us.

I’m aware everyone might not feel this way. But in the grand scheme of things I’d rather acknowledge and let someone know I’m thinking and I care than have them look back and think “wow Brittany didn’t care enough to even send a text”.

So my words of advice is this. A simple something is better than nothing… example if you need one is simply this “I know there are no words! I’m so sorry for your loss and you’re in my thoughts”

Hope this is helpful!

Reading through Pain — March 1, 2021

Reading through Pain

As I’ve mentioned Nana passed away. What I didn’t say was all the other loads of crap going on in my life. 2020 was a crummy year for everyone (understatement of the century, I’m aware) but for my family Covid wasn’t even in the top 10 worst things that have happened.

My grandpa was in and out of the hospital for a better part of the year, nana was in and out of the hospital before she passed, my husband has thyroid cancer for the 3rd time, his grandpa passed away, his uncle was diagnosed and passed from pancreatic cancer, and I’ve had other family members in and out of the hospital.

More than once I’ve been told I’m strong. I appreciate the sentiment but I don’t feel strong. I feel like Evelyn Hugo in the book The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. She said “Everyone sort of assumes that when faced with life-and-death situations, you will panic. But almost everyone who’s actually experienced something like that will tell you that panic is a luxury you cannot afford. In the moment, you act without thinking, doing all you can with the information you have. It’s when it’s over that you scream. And cry. And wonder how you got through it.”

While my last year hasn’t been a “life and death” situation it’s been about life. And death. Mixed with turmoil, trauma, hope, connection, and a ton of other things all wrapped up and put on the scariest roller coaster you can imagine. Yes I’ve wanted to throw up many times. like the quote says through it all I’m doing what I can with all the information. Powering through and doing what needs to be done.

I have the best family in the world. We rely on each other and take turns holding each other up and when it comes down to it I’d be lost without them and God.

My other coping mechanism is reading. I’ve always read to escape but over the last year I’m really diving in and getting away from life. Which is probably why I fell head over heels in love with the Throne of Glass series! It was recommended by every platform imaginable and my Instagram book bestie encouraged me to read it. I miss Instagram for that only! Still not going back though.

Anyway I dove right into this series and was hooked. The main character is brilliant and through her story I drew strength. She inspired me and I am a firm believer that books come into our lives for a reason. This seven book series was just what I needed for this season of life.

Throne of Glass Series has so much to offer and there were sections that were extremely emotional. Lots of people post about trigger warnings and I think it’s important for you to know if reading something would be beneficial or triggering. For me reading emotional or powerful things is healing. There are times I can’t even identify what I’m feeling but I pick up my book and next thing I know I’m ugly face crying trying to explain to Pat that it’s both the story and my life making me melt down.

Sometimes you need to cry over fictional characters because crying over your own life means to have to process and deal with it. We aren’t always ready to do that but the release of crying, laughing or getting angry is healing. Even if its over an witch and her dragon (don’t judge me till you read the book).

So if you’re struggling I recommend reaching for a book. Find a friend who can make a good recommendation or ask me! I’ll do my best to bring the perfect book into whatever season you’re in.

This is how invested in the series I was. The last book and I don’t think the 3 of us moved for hours on end.

The Dash — February 28, 2021

The Dash

My Nana passed away on January 1st. Even writing that makes my eyes burn and my chest tighten. She was the best person ever. She was my best friend and a huge part of our community. I could write entire novels about how much she meant to me and everyone else but that’s not why I’m writing.

I’m new to grief. I’ve been blessed that this is my first real life altering loss. And that’s what it’s been. Life altering. It knocks the wind out of me and has left a giant hole in my heart that, if I’m not careful, threatens to swallow me whole. It’s a testament to Nana that she created our family to be as close as we are. That we have developed relationships that come together and lean on each other is because of her and Papa.

The day after her burial my cousin and I went to put the flowers from her memorial on her headstone. I would have never thought it would be a peaceful place for me but that day I found such peace in being there. The cemetery she’s at is beautiful. It’s quiet and lovely and I’ve started walking there once a week. I park at my mother in laws and walk about a mile to the cemetery. It’s become healing in a way to visit her and talk to her there.

I understand the cemetery and even visiting loved ones headstones is not for everyone. Not everyone finds it peaceful. Some think it’s creepy or that they don’t feel their loved ones there. I understand all of that. But for me it’s spiritual and I love having a specific spot where I can go visit her.

Today I took a friend with me. It was really nice to share my little ritual with someone else and we got talking about all the other headstones and people who have passed. We walked a few laps around the whole cemetery and I showed her Nana but also a few other people I know who are there. We talked about the lives of people there. Stories that are left untold, secrets people took with them, memories they shared with people who lived on and memories that have long sense been forgotten.

You see the flowers on peoples headstones. The trinkets that people leave that hold sentimental value. You see the ones that haven’t been visited in a while by anyone other than the cemetery grounds keeper. Those are the ones I like to visit while we’re out there. To stop by and hope they know someone is still thinking of them. Even though I’m a stranger I’m thinking of their lives.

Nana had a poem in her desk we found after she passed. It’s called The Dash. The premise is that on your headstone it reads “birthday – death date” but that dash in the middle is life. It’s how we live our lives, how we spend that time of the dash, that matters. So while I’m wandering around visiting everyone (most of my time is with Nana though sorry) it’s their dash I’m thinking of.

I have so many questions for all of these people! There are so many amazing stories that will be left untold. It sparks my overactive imagination and here’s what I wish: I wish everyone could write a memoir before they passed. Things they want people to know after they passed, things that were important to them, things they wish they could have said but didn’t, advice (can you even imagine the advice some people have to share but won’t have the chance!!) and really what their dash meant to them.

Here’s where my imagination goes wild. Everyone puts all that info a memoir and then it’s preserved at their grave site for people like me to come and read it. Oh the things we could learn!!!

I love you Nana. I pray my dash is as amazing as yours was. Anything I accomplish is because of you.

This was written by my cousins to Nana. I have no better words than these.

I’m baaaaack! — December 20, 2020

I’m baaaaack!

Wow what a break! I’m shocked I haven’t been back sooner since it’s been such a wildly shitty year and I have SO much to say.

I’ll start with my plan for this… website? Blog? Not even sure what to call it. But here’s my plan!

I plan on sharing my thoughts and book reviews. Mostly that’s what I’ll be talking about. I was doing that on my Instagram but just last night deleted my entire profile. I’d like to say this was a hard decision but it wasn’t. I’ll miss my book friends that I made though Instagram but that’s it. I left because I can’t stand the fact that Instagram has basically become a giant political platform used to censor information and force certain points of view. Not cool. Also there was talk about the terms of service and while I read it I didn’t understand a lot of it. Best to just delete and move on.

Which brings me back here!!! I can feel your excitement! Just a brief caption of what’s been going on: I still love the rain more than the sun, my daughter is growing up too fast, my husband has cancer but is handling it like a boss, we are running the Chevron, my family is truly the greatest group of people in the world, and I’m having Gilmore Girl withdraws and would like a new series to be made like yesterday!

So here I am again writing about life, books, and rain!

It Feels Like Goodbye — April 25, 2019

It Feels Like Goodbye

I deleted my Instagram. Well lets not get carried away. I deleted my Instagram App on my phone.

Have you ever seen a post and had strong feelings about it? Then continued to read other peoples comments on it and get even more heated? I’ve read both posts and responses and felt myself getting angry and wanting to reply with my own thoughts and opinions. Then before I hit send I got slapped with a reality check. These people are nobody’s.

I’m sure they are someone special to the people in their lives but they have no significance in my life what so ever. Want proof? I deleted the app and now they no longer exist to me at all. In a few selections on my phone I made them vanish from my life and you know what? It felt good.

There was a post the other day on Instagram from the Food Network where a mom made homemade pasta with her kids. It was adorable. I read the comments and people were BASHING her for the way she did it. Using a certain kind of flour and that she used eggs when she shouldn’t. Are you kidding me people? What is wrong with us that we feel we need to leave mean comments everywhere? You don’t like the way she did it? DON’T DO IT THAT WAY. But guess what? No one else cares!

I understand commenting on some stuff but can’t we just keep it positive? so you don’t like the way a mom does something, it is possible to think your thought and move on with your day. You don’t have to post it. Shocking I know.

Why are we so worried about what every one else is doing? Isn’t it exhausting? Isn’t being a woman, mom, friend, wife, even just being a human enough? Why are we making it more difficult?

Why are we trying to one up each other? Why are we trying to prove we are the best mom? Or cook? Or athlete?

We should be trying to prove that we are kind. That we care about people as humans. I want to raise Rylan to love everyone. I want her to be kind to everyone. Even those that aren’t kind to her. Chances are those are the ones who need a hug the most. She doesn’t have to hug everyone because lets be real… day care germs. But I’d like the sentiment to be there.

So yes I deleted Instagram. I want to live this summer like a kid from the 80’s. I want to spend my time at the lake and the pool and hiking around the most beautiful places in California (I say California cause I live there and while I want to travel, I’m realistic about hiking and traveling with at 4 year old. I’m not crazy). We live an hour from Yosemite. I should be there every day off. I want to do all these things with out worrying about an Instagram photo or stopping to see who liked it.

Rylan and I are doing things this summer that we want to do.  Things that make us happy not add more stress to our lives. I’m not going to put us in situations that cause us stress anymore.

This also means I’m deleting this website. Its a great outlet for me and I’ve enjoyed putting my thoughts online but I have a journal at home that basically gets the same number of views. *laughing out loud!* not a pity party at all! I have not invested a ton of time or energy into this so I haven’t expected to be making money from it. It started out as fun and its ending on a good note.

Best wishes to everyone! I hope you enjoy your summer as much as we plan to!

Oh and remember if you can’t say anything nice, take a look in the mirror and figure out why you’re being negative. The only thing you can change is your attitude not someone else’s opinion.

 

 

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