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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What's Wrong with Vanilla?

image: mitchellshomemade

I like vanilla ice cream. I really do. I like it, but I don't love it. If you were to ask me what my favorite ice cream was, I'd tell you something like rocky road or pistachio almond. Yup. Those'd be them. But really, anything with nuts is right up my alley.

image: ifood.tv
This being said, vanilla is fine, but in my mind, being kind of a nut, vanilla was invented to be topped--hot fudge, caramel, whipped cream....You get it. Sitting there all white and pristine. It taunts you and almost dares you to do something to it. Eating vanilla alone is just so self-depriving. At least, that's how I feel about it.

image: onceuponawin.wordpress.com
Vanilla was also meant to be mixed into. Add chocolate to it, and you've got chocolate ice cream, add strawberries or peaches and vanilla becomes those flavors. I've even seen my in-laws make cinnamon ice cream with their ice cream freezer by using red hot candies when they've made ice cream during the summer. Yum!

Yesterday, feeling a bit snarky (imagine that), I wrote the following status update:

"My goals for the week...
Monday...cut boys' hair
Wednesday...breathe some more
Thursday...continue breathing
Friday...breathe just a little bit more. You're almost to the end of the week. Hang in there. You can do it.
Saturday...breathe better than any other day so far
Sunday...set new goals

"Some weeks, this is all you can hope for."

image: cherryblossomadventures.com

When I wrote it, I really was just being silly. I have a cold, and I'm wiped out. I really did feel that if how I feel continues as it is, I'm done for. The week will all have been for nothing, and I'll look back someday and regret it.


image: in-spiros.com
Oh, I should also add that the only reason Monday had something more than breathing listed was because I'd already accomplished that. Do you ever create your checklist after you've done things, so you can just check them off instantaneously? Well...I guess I do sometimes. At least I did yesterday.

Here is today's update on that status:

image: mummamadeit.blogspot.com
"Okay, so yesterday I mentioned how most of my goals this week had something to do with breathing. Considering that as my criteria for today--just the ability to keep breathing--Man! I'm having a STELLAR day! I have not only continued to breathe, but I have done so much more than just that. Way to go ME!

The reason I'm thinking about ice cream sprouted from a comment to this status update from my friend Deanna.

Her words: "Way to go Julie! I, on the other hand, feel good to just be breathing today...."

It was funny. When I read her words, I felt a kinship with Deanna. I totally got what she was saying. Heaven knows I know that feeling.

I responded:

"I know some days are like that, huh, Deanna? Up until now, I haven't been allowing myself to just breathe and get through a day. I have been sorely disappointed in myself. Well, all of that has changed at this point. Breathing is just great. Everything else is gravy."

The thought of gravy led me to ice cream (I know. Don't question it. I must have been exposed to too much mercury or lead or Play-doh or something as a child. Just go with it). The fact of the matter is I really don't allow myself just vanilla anymore EVER. I was happy for Deanna that she was just breathing today. I was even applauding her when I read her comment, but what about me? Why isn't breathing good enough for me?

image: ocregister.com

When I was a kid, we would go to Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor. It was a great place for birthdays. They'd make a HUGE hoopla over you and make you feel like you were king of the world--sirens, drums...seriously, the whole nine. It was awesomely great in there, so great, in fact, that my dad would NEVER go with us.

image: yelp.com
One of the things that made Farrell's extra amazing was what was called the "zoo." The zoo seemed like every kind of ice cream you could imagine all scooped together and covered with chocolate and strawberry and well, you name it, it was there. It was seriously any ice cream nut's dream come true, and believe it or not, I fit well into that category. Scattered all over the zoo were little plastic zoo animals. What more could a kid want, huh?

Over the past number of years, vanilla hasn't been good enough for me. I have wanted the zoo--every day.

My problem is I start setting goals or creating a to-do list for the day, and even though I know that I should only set one or two, I just can't stop. I want to do and be everything NOW!

image: etsy.com
At what point did I stop allowing myself to just be happy enough with vanilla? Isn't vanilla okay on some days? When did the fact that at least I was breathing become something to be cursed? How did I get to the point where I always had to mix in or top just breathing?

image: blog.golbsalt.com
But, I think I'm realizing that some days should be allowed to just be vanilla days. Some days we just need to be kind to ourselves and allow ourselves to wallow in vanilla. Hold the nuts, hold the mix-ins. Just vanilla, if you please.

No, vanilla isn't climbing the Empire State Building. Vanilla isn't even getting the windows washed. You know what, vanilla might not even be doing the dishes, but vanilla is breathing, and breathing should be good enough on some days. Vanilla, and just breathing, should be applauded. They should be more than sufficient. They should be wonderful.

image: freerepublic.com
Well, yesterday I breathed, and I breathed really well. I allowed myself vanilla--no toppings; oh, except haircuts. The tough thing is that I have a family, so rarely is vanilla really okay. Usually, to be honest, I'm throwing bananas, hot fudge, sprinkles, and whipped cream (from those really cool cans) on the rest of my family's vanilla, and that's just in the first fifteen minutes of the day. Life is busy and complicated.

image: slavicabogdanov.com
I guess I'm finally coming to the conclusion that, darn it!, I'm glad I'm breathing, and I'm glad I'm so good at it. Life being as complicated as it is, vanilla needs to be good enough on some days. Any other topping makes life so happy, but I need to make sure that on those certain days, just breathing is more than just good enough. I need to stop, listen to myself breathe, and be grateful for that alone. Breathing and vanilla are wonderful!

1 comment:

LeAnn said...

OMG, I totally enjoyed your random thoughts. Let's see I don't think I can do Vanilla it would have to be chocolate. I have many days in which I just breathe through it. I loved all the pictures and especially the ones of ice cream. The ice cream place you talked about brought back memories of a Ice cream parlor that we went too during High School. I really am hungry now for ice cream and it is way to late at night.
Thanks for the smiles on this one and blessings to you!

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