Name them all?

I was going to write tonight about another topic related to marriage/divorce and some of what lies in-between .. because more good spinoff topics seem to keep coming up via (not even the Cowboy anymore but) friends, the more I write on any of this it seems.

But quite honestly, I just want to change the subject.  At least for now.  I need a breather because I’m relatively depressed after hearing from more friends that weren’t at all a part of the crazy mix last weekend .. Friends who are also struggling either personally or in their marriages.  And for some reason, having never read my blog before, they happened to log on this past week, digest the past couple of posts and reach out to let me know it was in some way helpful.  Which should make me feel good.  But I feel awful knowing any of them are hurting.  So .. I’m going to temporarily change the subject.

Come to think of it .. you know what else I might do?  (I’m always dreaming up new ways to further run myself ragged…)

What about creating some sort of ‘buck-up’ boot camp where we run everyone through a ‘things could always be worse’ series of events .. so whenever we might need a boost that our lives really aren’t that bad .. and we should appreciate even the crap we get from whoever it is when we come home each night .. (For me, that’s literal.  I come home to the dog that I have to walk each night and follow her with a baggie so that she can poop and I get to pick it up .. or the cats.  I hate cleaning out litter boxes.  But I hate the smell of litter boxes that haven’t been cleaned out even worse.  That may be obstacle, hmmm.  #3 I’m thinking) it is there to remind you.  Or, perhaps all it will do is prove to you, things are that bad and you’d rather scoop poop and run through a field of electric shock than go home.

People actually do pay good money to do that these days.  It’s called a mud run.  Look for one near you.  Sign up.  Toughen up and let’s get going on some positive changes in your life.

Sorry.  Tangent.

The whole point of what’s above is to say, I’m skipping relationship topics tonight.

In exchange …

I have a quiz for you.

(Insert cheer!  Or, collective groan.  You, of course get to choose.)

This is how I have spent the past couple nights now, with my daughter.  Studying states and their capitols.  There has been hand ringing, tears shed, some elation when she gets them right but mainly frustration that she gets any of them wrong.  If not what the state is or where, it’s how to spell it.

As she was struggling still with Connecticut and seemingly at wits end, I told her, “Try not to stress so much.  Just do your best and picture in your mind what you’ve written down time and again to practice.  Or, just write it down and then go back and sound it out to be sure you’ve spelled it as correctly as possible.”

She looked at me, I believe, still feeling rather defeated.

“Chances are,” I added .. “You’ll do better than most adults if we gave them the same quiz anyway.”

Her eyes flew wide open.

So there.. my challenge to you.  And, her challenge to me tonight.  Well, hers and ‘the boys’ .. that’s what the neighbor affectionally calls his stepson.  Despite the fact the two go to different schools, they have the same quiz tomorrow.  They were testing each other for a few minutes this evening.

Name them.  Can you?

The 50 states and capitols.

Not just name them, though.  Can you also get them in the right place?

Have fun .. good luck .. and in case a little music might help put you in the right frame of mind:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_HeLofy7IE   I had never heard that before this week. You?

Here’s the deal:

No matter how you do on the test, referring back to the assignment a couple days ago .. if you only talked nicely about your significant other today, you get an A+.

The Best Advice You Were (Never) Given?

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” – Mignon McLaughlin

…………….

I have a colleague who’s last day at work was today ..

At least for now.

We will see him again soon, only with one change.  Well maybe more than that.  He could come back with a tattoo somewhere we’ll never see.  Or have suddenly decided to become a vegetarian.  But one change that we’ll at least know for sure.  He will return to work in about a week and a half with a shiny new ring on his left hand.

He’s a great guy and he’s marrying a wonderful young woman this weekend, the two have been together quite some time, they seem like a great couple and they are excited to be getting married.

I of course, truly and sincerely wish them every blessing a lifetime of love can bring and the best in their marriage.  So do many, many other family and friends of theirs .. and of course all of our colleagues ..

Yet I heard someone say to him today, jokingly .. ‘it’s not too late.’

I might have said that as well a year ago.  But I would have meant it.

Quite honestly, I’m not so sure the relative newlywed that did say it today didn’t mean it. Actually, I know she did because she followed it up by saying just above a whisper but I was close enough to hear, “I actually meant it.”  Which makes me sad.  It wasn’t long ago she was that person rushing off, so excited to get married.  The wear and tear I already hear in her voice is heartbreaking.  (Perhaps I should show her yesterday’s blog.)

Anyway, a year ago for me, I was done.  Done dating.  For a very long time anyway.  That was my plan.  I had NO intention of even thinking about trying to connect with another person in regard to dating again .. and marriage?  Marriage was simply never again going to be a discussion.  The destruction I was witnessing in so many directions around me regarding other couples was enough to make me swear any of it off, I was almost certain, forever.

After focusing on my health and fitness, staying close to girlfriends I knew had my back and me theirs, working with a life coach and being faithful to pray and go to church, I put it all in God’s hands.  I told myself a year ago, ‘Focus on your daughter and your career because it is clearly a much better use of time and energy.’

I had had it.

Then along comes this cowboy.

…………..

My faith has honestly and genuinely (I am somewhat sincerely shocked) been restored that good marriages/relationships, heck even incredible ones do still exist.  That it is possible to connect with someone on a level so deep, that it’s okay to trust in it.  That it is safe to again, give another person (besides your child) .. everything you’ve got.

But I also believed that, the first go round.

A dear old friend of mine, one whom I miss terribly and have always looked up to, who I had no idea ever ventured to read any of these posts, left a comment today on yesterday’s post .. and the challenge I had linked to about being conscious to say only uplifting, positive things to your spouse and about your spouse to others, for 30 days.

She wrote:”I believe in love, family, marriage. I believe it. I know so many people of divorce did too at one point. Including my own parents. But if you really were honest….would those people of divorce have noticed flaws early on, red flags, where perhaps they should not have gotten married? My own mother said just that…..she always had a bit of a red flag moment in her, that said perhaps they shouldn’t. But it was the 60s…she was 22…EVERYONE got married.I feel awful hearing of friends’ marriages in trouble. Makes me so sad, yet its inevitable. Statistically, its going to happen. I will work every day to make sure that it is not me.

We don’t always see red flags as red flags.  We see them as challenges perhaps we can work through.  Troubles for one person, not you both as a couple, that might heal/get fixed in time.  Or with counseling.  Or that some red flags are ‘just stress’.  Or what I feel my ex and I believed, which was – that it was so great we were complete opposites – because somehow then we complimented each other.

In hindsight .. my ex says his family told him we would never work.

Maybe they did.  But we thought we knew better.  And, we loved each other so we tried.

But in trying, failing and throughout the years since, I have learned quite a few lessons.  Lessons I hope guide me well (they better or I’m going to be really peeved .. ) into the future.

Back to my colleague.  Knowing he and his beautiful bride were heading off into the great known, or dare I say, the great unknown that is marriage … I was pondering today, what possible advice would or could I ever give a couple just starting out, to help them succeed in love .. and marriage.

Would they care what I have to say anyway.

Probably not.  Most often we learn best by falling and getting back up on our own.

But for my own daughter’s sake…

I wanted to jot down a few thoughts so that she may look at this, someday, when she is contemplating any relationship of her own.

Love each other.  Speak kindly to each other.  More kind than is necessary where you can.  Date.. always.  Establish a good cache of babysitters.  Surround yourself with good friends and lots of family.  Know that sometimes friends are family.  But also know when it’s time for it to be, just the two of you.  Communicate.  And if you don’t do it well, find someone who can help you figure it out because it is perhaps the most important thing you can work on – for each other.  Laugh, a lot.  Listen every now and then to the tone of your voice and make sure it sounds the way you are hoping to be heard.  Hold hands.  Take walks.  Remember, it’s not always 50/50.  Chances are any slacking in one area by your spouse is being more than made up for by your slacking in another area.  Pray, together.  Don’t put a TV in the bedroom.  Ask each other about your day and mean it.  Spend less time worrying who is right and more time worrying about what is right.  Have one standing meeting each week where you can bring your grievances/frustrations to the table, talk about it and work out a solution together when it’s not in the heat of the battle.  (My ex and I learned this through years of counseling and thousands of dollars billing.  Don’t spend the money to hear the same, just do it.  It was one of the best things we did.)  Continue those standing meetings even if everything is going well and use it instead to celebrate all that is right.  (My ex and I failed on this part here.  Which may be among the reasons we are no longer together.)  ‘Let your love be stronger than your hate or your anger.  Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break.’  (- Jane Wills)  Remind yourself each morning of why the person next to you is a blessing in your life.  And perhaps do the same again each night, before you go to bed.

I’m sure I’m missing a few big ones here.  But those are just a few thoughts off the top of my head.  Thoughts that might someday be helpful to you, my beautiful daughter.  Who knows about anyone else.  Anyway, I never had a conversation like this with my own parents, in terms of what strengthens any relationship/marriage.  It’s one, in hindsight, I wish I had been able to have .. and still hope to with my dad, among others I know carry volumes of relationship wisdom from a life well lived.

Given I know a few people at least are reading this .. I am wondering, what advice would you give to newlyweds?  Or, to those even currently in a marriage but struggling.  What does it take to not only make a marriage work anymore, but work well, thrive and last?

You may now kiss the bride.  Or whoever has helped you learn those lessons.  🙂

Cheers.

Watering the lawn …

What are you doing to keep your own grass green?

(Not, lawn mowed.  Which would give this post an entirely different meaning.  Keep your minds above the waistline.)

Ok, so this is a follow up to yesterdays quote/post and initial thoughts on the fact that in the midst of a lovely weekend for the Cowboy and I, and one where it seems all we continue to do is build on what we have, we stopped to look at all of the relationship chaos around us (because it got to the point it was almost humorous if it weren’t so sad).  To ponder what it truly takes anymore to have a good marriage or lasting committed relationship.  And, who did we know we might look to, to serve as good examples or role models …

……………

I have a feeling today’s post won’t be very popular among some of my friends.  I have many, many strong women in my life and I know bazillions more out there who don’t read my blog necessarily but that would cringe at what I’m going to throw out there.

BUT I found it interesting .. and at the very least, food for thought.

One of the other blogs I follow is called Heavenly Ramblings .. and I haven’t checked it out in awhile. But for some reason I clicked on a post called, “Where Was God in That,” the other night.  http://heavenlyramblings.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/where-was-god-in-that/

This isn’t ultimately what I want to point out .. but why the title caught my eye:

I had just visited earlier that day, with a friend who had lost a child.

How many of us have looked at events in our lives .. Christ followers or not, and felt like were were terribly alone.  That God could not be present or this wouldn’t be happening. Or, there would at the very least, be some sort of a sign showing you the way past the pain and on through to better days.

We are so conditioned anymore to think pain doesn’t serve some valuable lessons, that our goal is to always just be happy.  And that if we’re not, to toss aside whatever it is and move onto whatever might be next.  There are actual wall hangings now for your home, magnets and cards everywhere promoting that belief.

We all know, life, death and the challenges we are presented with in-between, which include any and all relationships (spouse, being a parent, being a child of an aging parent, friendships, any of it) aren’t easy.

Where marriage is concerned, many unions are worth holding onto, fighting through the pain and frustration, watering the grass so to speak and bringing it back to life.  Others sometimes, as sad as it may be, we need to let go of, simply tear the whole thing up and try replanting.

I’m pretty sure at the lowest point in my own marriage and divorce, I was doing that.  Praying for signs that I wasn’t alone and on the right path.

Anyway .. I’m finally getting to the point here.  When I clicked on the blog post above, this happened to catch my eye in the margins of her webpage.  Especially because of the challenges many are facing around us .. and because the Cowboy and I and many others we know that have been through heartache or divorce wonder what we might do better in any current or future relationship.  Ring on the finger or not.

30 DAYS TO A BETTER MARRIAGE

http://seekinghiswill.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/30-days-of-encouragement-for-your-spouse/

……………

“Would you like to come to church with us,” we asked one of the couples we know that is struggling, via text Sunday morning.  We had been with this couple and a few other people Saturday night.  The evening ended with the party hosts/a married couple in a fight screaming ‘eff you’ endless to each other and the whole neighborhood to be quite honest, and one of them then kicking the whole group out in frustration we weren’t taking sides.

“We don’t do church.”  The text we received back.

I’m not trying to push religion on anyone here.  And I don’t know, that wherever you are at in a relationship, or life any of this will help.

What I do believe .. is that in an age where women especially are stronger, more outspoken, are told they shouldn’t bend, show weakness in the workplace or at home, are asked to take on more with family, community, at home and certainly not put up with less than 50/50 effort from a spouse or significant other, it can be tough to appreciate another person’s contributions to anything.  Because it may never seem enough.

In turn, how we speak to each other or about each other …. perhaps even we would cringe to hear at times.  (from the post.)  That’s all I’m saying perhaps we can give more thought to.   

All I know is 1.) I am always looking to do better, and this is probably an area where I could have done better in my own previous marriage.  I did the best I knew at the time, but I am always looking to better.

2.) Following the challenge mentioned in the post above – won’t make major marital problems disappear and it certainly won’t change some things.  This is just simply one area where it might be interesting to see if it helps your overall day to day.

3.) We also, all need some boundaries in terms of what is acceptable in terms of how we will be treated and communicate that to our families in an ongoing manner.  But how that is communicated ….

If you take away nothing else .. and I want this for my own daughter to think about years down the road when she may be in her own relationship as well as for myself because this can be applied forever across the board (job, parenting, friends, etc) .. but if anyone else might benefit from the thought here..

The challenge asks:  ”If all my family and friends knew about my husband/wife came from a filter of what I’ve said about him/her, what would they think?”  

Do you need to change the filter?  Do you talk positively about your husband/wife to others…or do you complain and criticize?  

Words should never “rejoice in iniquity.”  

Refrain (try it perhaps, for 30 days?) from listing your husband’s/wife’s faults to others.  Instead, present them before others today in a strong, positive manner.  Slip in a “good word” for your spouse.  Resist the urge to correct or belittle him/her in front of others.  Some of what you say may come back to them – May your speech always seasoned with grace.

A new text just came into my phone as I write this .. from one of the couples we know and hold dear that are struggling right now .. and that would be my wish for them.  That they find a way to better season, always, their words with grace.  In good times as well as when there is trouble.

It is also my wish and challenge for myself as a partner, as a mother, a daughter .. and a friend.

May we always find new and healthy ways to keep the grass green.

A good marriage …

The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence.  It is the greenest where nurtured and cared for.  If your grass is not green, what are you doing – or not doing – to have it that way?‘  –  Wedding Ceremony Sermon

…………….

The Cowboy and I had a wonderful weekend together .. filled with family and friends and more friends and family.

And some drama.

Fortunately, not between us.  But it was .. surrounding us.  And as we were caught between conversations (and this is just in one 48 hour period); 1) of a friend miserable in their marriage, wanting to know about a single friend 2) of a married couple we are close and spent time with but who were at each others throats 3) of a single friend over the phone wondering why the only people who want to date her are married 4) catching up with another couple who plans their week scheduling as much time apart as possible because its easier than being together and 5) of another couple in the midst of an affair and very open about it ..

The Cowboy asks me as we’re trying to navigate phone calls and how to respond to any of it, “Who do you know that really has a good marriage?”

I paused .. and when I went to answer, I paused again for a long time.

…………….

Thinking about the question posed, now almost a day later and as I write, I do know quite a few friends who are in wonderful marriages.  Not that any union is ever without its challenges.  But when challenges come, from what I have ever witnessed, they face them together, with respect, love for each other and a commitment to stick together.  And they have come through it stronger.

Far too many of us know …

… That’s not always possible.

Having been through divorce myself though, I get it.  I know the feeling of hopelessness. Years of it.  Of, no matter what you do, it’s not right.  Of defeat.  Of trying everything you can to save it.  Then being told its never enough.  Of counseling.  Finding hope.  Of a few months of things going well only to have the cycle reverse itself again.  Of knowing there is more to life than the misery it seems two people bring out of each other.  Seeing the pain in a child’s eyes of what the two of you are when you are together.  And imagining the sorrow and confusion in that same child’s eyes, of what it will be should you part.  Of wanting to run your car into a tree versus return home at night because it would be easier than making that decision.  Of knowing that’s not the answer.  And then, of getting to the point you know the pain of staying is worse than anything else you will have to go through to get to the other side.

My ex still says he wishes we had never married in the first place.  That it was the biggest mistake of his life and he should have known better.

While I don’t feel the same .. I get it.

And I’m not going to lie ..

There are so many reasons why one might choose the option of divorce over staying married.  Statistics show over half of our population now does.  While I was devastated to be the one to finally force that step we had both talked about for years, I have not regretted the decision to separate from my ex for one day.

But had there been any chance for us .. any .. to live in harmony and have the life we both wanted, I would have continued to try and make it work.

…………..

Marriage .. even just a committed long term relationship, is hard.  And as the Cowboy and I talk about where we go from this place we are at .. in life .. in location .. in any of this and we look at the challenges being faced by so many around us and the situations they are creating for themselves as well as having been in some of those places in one way or another ourselves, the question posed stumped us both.  At least momentarily.

We have something good.  But at one point, so did we with our -ex’s .. and so did all of these family and friends ..

How do you hold onto that, the good?  Or the great.  We have talked about this before.  Many times.

I asked the one married friend who was calling to ask about my single friend and if I thought they might have any chance to hook up with them .. first, I think I said, ‘Are you kidding?’  Second, I know I asked if they were willing to work on their own marriage.  Tend to the grass.  Work on making it green.  Had they even talked with their spouse about how devastated they were.

“No, not really,” they said.

“Wouldn’t that be an important first step?  Do you want to save your marriage or are you just done?  My ex and I went to counseling on and off for almost 8 years, you know that,” I said.

“I think I’m just done.  There is no love.  There hasn’t been for a long time,” this person replied.

……………

How .. how do you bring it back?

How do you make sure the grass is greener on your side of the fence than what it appears on the other.  And what can any of us do to regrow the lawn/a relationship when it seems so far gone?

Or are we just a throwaway society anymore and it doesn’t matter if there is still some life in the yard .. we just want to rip the whole thing apart, and start over with some fresh sod.  Because sometimes that is all you can do.

The Cowboy and I have been pondering all of this …

And they have been good, ongoing conversations for us, as we work to keep our own relationship strong and green and help others we love and care about through some pretty rough patches.

Something I need more time to think about .. before I write any more.  That will be tomorrow’s post.  Your thoughts in the meantime?

Surprises ..

Anyone need a big black sign that says Happy Birthday You’re 40?

I’m trying to clean up the mess that is my home this morning and I’m not quite sure what to do with the banner I’ve got sitting in a bag filled otherwise with wine, a bottle of locally made fine vodka, a whole slew of cards and a few gifts I have yet to get to on my living room floor.

I’m definitely hanging onto the beverages.  But the sign.  Given I prefer recycling to further contributing to the trash heap outside town where I can…  Anyone… Anyone want it or need it for their own celebration?

…………….

I’ve not given a whole lot of thought (yet) to the fact I’m turning 40 this year.

I figured I’d get around to that .. perhaps the night or the few minutes before the clock strikes twelve on my ‘special day’.

Our family has always celebrated birthdays, but very quietly.  Growing up it was always dinner with my dad, brother, grandmother, perhaps my aunt and uncle.  An angel food cake that my mom would make.  A few gifts.  That’s it.

Because of this, I have never made a big deal out of birthdays that I can remember.  In fact .. when I turned 21, just about everyone in my group that night was three sheets to the wind.  I drove them home.

I am also typically not a big fan of surprises.  So the two, surprises and a big party, combined in any fashion is not something I would ever say I want.

…………….

The Cowboy has been bugging me for awhile about what we’re going to do .. about the ‘special birthday’ I have coming up.

“I don’t know yet,” I keep saying..  “Well, I do want to get a few key family members together because we need to …  But other than that, nothing,”  I tell him.

With a few of those key family members in town, just a fraction of the larger group I would like to have time with … some of us were going to get together this weekend.  For dinner.  A nice, intimate little dinner I thought was a belated Easter get-together.

The Cowboy and I walked in.  I started to look around to see where they might all be.

Quickly a hand went around my waist, steering me left.

“They are over here,” says the Cowboy.

“How do you know where they are sitting,” I asked him.

And before he could answer ..

I see a room full of people.  All of whom I love … family and friends … all from very different parts of my life …

“Happy Birthday!” they shouted.  I think, anyway.  I was so taken back, and quite honestly, shocked .. I really can’t remember what all transpired or what was said.

It was the most wonderful chaos.

One I never would have asked for or thought I wanted.  But one I will forever cherish.

A night the Cowboy had planned for months with the help of a few friends, kept a secret and made special in so many ways, as I head toward a new chapter and decade in my life.

“I just wanted to get everyone together who loves you .. think its important you know how so many feel about you,” the Cowboy told me.

I’m still not sure what to say ..  other than thank you all.  For those who were there that night.

For those who came from far away, who rearranged plans, who lied to me for months out of the goodness of their hearts, who I haven’t seen in forever but who have touched my life far beyond what they will truly ever know.

For those that wanted to be there but couldn’t.   For those who helped the Cowboy pull it off.  For the notes and gifts and well wishes ..  especially the wine.  Please stop by and let’s share.

There are few opportunities we get in life I think, to really look around and realize in one moment, how blessed we are by the people in our lives.

Usually it is at a wedding, or a funeral.

Or .. a birthday celebration.

I am reminded though, after nights like the other night, how important it is we take advantage of every occasion to appreciate those we love and that are around us.  It is something I try to do as often as I can .. but that there never seems enough time to do, as well as I might want or like.  I would assume that is the case for us all.

But even those who stopped by for a few moments, made a statement that to me will last a lifetime.

Flavor of the day ..

I’m tired tonight .. it might be that I’m coming off a sugar buzz.  Or the dramamine I took earlier today so that I could ride in the passenger seat and not feel like I wanted to hurl.  I’m not sure yet.  But forgive me for being lazy right now.  I’m wiped out for some reason .. so I’m going to go with that whole feeling, actually go to bed at what some would consider a decent hour this evening and in the meantime, rely on a lot of photos to help me get through this post.

…………..

I believe I had my first taste of frozen custard years ago .. it was in the form of a Concrete which we grabbed from this hot little joint in St. Louis, with my Aunt and Uncle.

(Now, if you looked at that photo at all closely .. you’ll see the pic isn’t at all at a custard stand.  It is all of us at Grant’s Farm, http://www.grantsfarm.com/ part of the Anheuser Busch complex and these are beer cups and not ice cream cups .. but who’s fact checking.  It was the same time and close to the same place.)

Since then…

I have been hooked.  On frozen custard.  Don’t get me wrong, plain ice cream will forever be pretty good in my books, and there’s little left to call plain about most ice cream anymore.  It’s good and the choices are astounding.  Popsicles have their place, too.

But frozen custard.  There is just nothing quite like it.

I went through a banana strawberry malt phase when I discovered the likes of the old Cleary’s Frozen Custard years ago in Madison.

Cleary’s has since come and gone.  The empires of places like Michael’s Frozen Custard and Culver’s have built themselves up since .. making millions (one would think – have you seen the price for a sundae lately???) both here in the great dairy state and beyond .. on our weak souls and lack of willpower to grab, say an apple when we are searching for a snack each night.

Night after night .. especially during the summer, we stand in line seeking a taste of the good life.

And it is delivered.  Handed to us through a cute little window  and received with a smile on nights .. like tonight.

I have long wondered .. since we have always lived within walking distance of one storefront or another .. if hoofing it there and back meant we might negate the whole calorie transaction.

I’m not so sure that works.

But on nights like tonight.. when my daughter and the fine young boy next door who just got done watching a couple of our animals while we were away on vacation begged to go tonight for custard yet again .. because I said at some point I would take them (note, some point)

I decided I was worth continuing to try and figure it out.

And I picked up a schedule of the ‘Flavors of the Day’ for the month to be sure we’d know when we might like to get back in line again.

Mindless blogs and Making the most of our time ..

Leave it to a man,  I am laughing to myself, to point out the obvious.

(Well, to be quite honest, I know a lot of women that do that better than many a men.  But that was still the first thought that popped into my head)

While I don’t get a ton of comments on my blog .. which is fine .. I love and appreciate the ones I do get.  Even critical ones.  Which so far, I guess it’s nice I’ve only had one.  But I work in a field where I’m used to them.  I can usually take whatever gets thrown my way.

So when I saw the following response to my “Help Wanted” post from a week ago where I mentioned I could really use a personal assistant, something I’ve believed I would be much better off with since college, I about spit my coffee out laughing:

“Perhaps if you weren’t writing mindless blogs you would have more free time to do what the rest of us do??”

First of all, thank you, Mr. Obvious.  Or, what one might think is obvious.  It’s 2:23 a.m. and I’m up writing because I don’t sleep much, not when I’m alone anyway.  This is my usual time unfortunately, to be up yet doing things I simply want to get done.  Mindless or otherwise.  Because during the day, I’m busy.  Apparently according to your best guess, not making good use of my time.

Trust me, James .. I wish the DMV were open right now because I’d be the first in line late at night take care of what I need to get done.  In fact, I might call the appropriate state officials first thing tomorrow morning to suggest at least one office stay open 24 hours .. because I bet a ton of others would be right there with me.

Are you among the uber organized, incredibly efficient and ultra successful?  I do hope so and I am glad you have it all figured out.  If not though, perhaps it’s the opposite .. you don’t have a whole lot going on in life that you have time to read mindless blogs and then point that fact out?  Or best reality might be that you are lucky to fall somewhere in-between?

I could take a guess .. but I hate to ever assume I know a thing about someone else’s life let alone make a remark about it.

Life for most people, is hectic.   And for women it seems, more and more.  Women who might work.  Care for a child.  Try and maintain some level of health and fitness.  Take care of things around the house.   Volunteer.  Manage family time & relationships and friendships.  Take care of an aging parent.  Help a child with homework.  Visit a friend in the hospital who just had a baby.  Console another friend going through divorce.  Spend time on your own marriage to keep it on solid ground.  Or, exert far too much time and energy dealing with an ex who can’t seem to move on and blames you for everything that has ever gone wrong in his life.  Go to church.  Cook a meal for a family who’s going through a loss.  Make your own family dinner.  Run a child to their activities.  Shop for a child’s friend’s birthday present.  Take the dog to the vet.  Attend a fundraising event you feel obligated to go to because your friend with that organization just came to your benefit.  And if you’re lucky .. find time for a yoga class or a good bar where you can hide out for an hour and try to remember what it’s like to actually breathe and get over the guilt you’re just not doing enough .. or doing it well enough and you need to try harder tomorrow.  Finish that beer or wake up after the final yoga stretch and cool down.  And then kiss those you love goodnight.

While I truly am enjoying responding to James in this particular post, this is actually a discussion I do want to have with my daughter .. most likely routinely .. as she is growing up.  And one we have already started to have.

We want it all.  Or think we do, especially when we’re younger .. just starting out in life and career.  We try to do it all.  Women, especially.  But it’s tough to have it all.  Something’s gotta give.  And women tend to be too hard then on themselves when that happens.  They feel they somehow failed.  Well, that I know is a gender neutral issue.  Everything’s got to be, look and feel perfect.

I fight this myself although I’ve gotten much better about it over the years through time and life experience.  But I see it so much now in close friends and colleagues, especially.

Life’s not perfect.  At all.  We do the best we can and hopefully learn to let the rest of the chips fall where they may.  We may want to save the world, or the whales, or .. oh, this list could go on and on and on but I don’t want to give anyone any more ideas or items to put on their to-do list… but it’s okay if you can’t.  Still we try.  And that’s okay too.

But, James, this is why some of us would appreciate an assistant.

……………

Now I’m not done with James just yet.

From ‘Help Wanted’ to ‘No soup for you’ .. I wrote yesterday about good customer service and how at a very young age, I learned working service jobs that the customer is (almost) always right.

What’s wonderful about a blog is that the writer gets to determine who the writing is for.  Kind of.  Perhaps its better said, who is your audience?  Do you know the customer you are going for?  And are you making sure they are the intended target in your work?  For some bloggers the target may just be for themselves.  A creative outlet.  Others hope for a much broader audience.  And money coming in through ads.  But what is “right” here in the blogosphere, often means what is ‘right’ by the writer.  (Try saying that 10 times fast) Not necessarily by the audience or readers .. or in other words, the customer.

I have been meaning to write a better ‘About me’ page for awhile now, to explain why I have taken this blog, this personal project on.  A project James feels is meaningless.  An opinion he is certainly entitled to.  But many others have encouraged me to continue to write.  I am so honored so many of you are stopping in to read, offer support, comments and just plain time of yours to connect.

Anyway, James’ note prompted me to finally get the ‘About me’ page done.

If you’re so inclined to further care about why I am blogging/journaling/channeling my inner writer that I don’t typically get to use for anything other than 30 second copy .. please check out the tab.

It’s cool if you don’t, too.

Who I would like to see it and who will get a copy of all this when it is done.. is my daughter.  Because this is for her.  She may not appreciate it now .. but I’m hoping somewhere down the line my daughter loves the memories I’m able to record, the parts of me she will someday want to know more about when I’m gone and be able to look back and sincerely track the big changes that may or may not lie ahead for us all this year.

If anyone else might appreciate some of my random thoughts or days along the way, I am blessed.  Sincerely, thank you for stopping in.

But like anyone with a remote .. or a mouse on their computer .. you get to vote with where you click and spend your time.

On your TV, you don’t like the program, change the channel.  Online, if you aren’t interested in a site, keep surfing.  Lucky for us all .. we live in a time and place where there is infinite content to choose from.  And each of us gets to decide where our time is spent most wisely.

Best to you all ..