Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Big Things

Forgiveness - forgiving - being forgiven.

These are big things.

Lately, I’ve been working on forgiving someone. It hasn’t been easy. Actually, it’s really effing hard!
It’s not that this person needs me to pronounce forgiveness upon them to release them from what occurred. No, this is not about the other person. This is all about me.

*I* need to forgive this person for my own well-being and healing. Holding on to it - allowing “it” to fester is not doing me one bit of good – the opposite in fact.
But – I am having a hard time with the actually “forgiving” because…NO! (stomps feet in protest) This person hurt me in a humongous and very painful – I-almost-didn’t-come-out-on-the-other-side - way!

I wear it like a badge: “Look at me! I was wronged!”
The bitterness took root a long time ago and has been firmly in place for many years now. What good has it done me? Not a damned bit!

All it has done is allow me to use the “pain” and “hurt” to justify my actions (or lack thereof) and to give me a platform from which to throw flaming arrows when all else fails.
It has shaped how I respond in certain situations and governed my point-of-view.

I understand that it has to stop, that the time has come to pull the bitter weed. The soil in which it thrived has been fouled. It will need to be nurtured to allow good things to grow - things that will benefit and edify, not tear down and belittle.

Understanding does not equal ability. Not by a long-shot.
This is going to require much work on my part to release the demons that I have allowed to live - rent free - in my heart, soul and mind for a long while now.
Evicting them won’t be an easy task.

They have remodeled, added built-in bookcases, invited family to move in and have generally trashed the place.
There will be much work to do even after they are gone. Tearing down of walls and repairing of foundational structures – just to start.

It is work that needs to be done. I will have to remind myself often that Rome was not built in a day. When my tendency to channel Verruca Salt kicks in, I will need to forgive myself and trust in the process.
Learning to forgive (others as well as myself) is part of my Journey. This is not an easy lesson for me. If you look behind me you’ll see drag marks where I dug in my heels – over and over again.

The time has come to let go – learn the lesson – gain the wisdom and move on. I am certain that the next lesson is waiting just around the bend.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Once Upon A Time...

There was a little girl at Fuddrucker’s tonight wearing a pink super cape and pink mask to go with her blinky-flashy canvas tennis shoes – she is my new Hero.

Even when I was her age, (4? 5?) I don’t think I would have done something so brave. From an early age I had a strong sense of what was “allowed” and what “we don’t do” so-to-speak. Don’t think I would’ve been allowed to go out for dinner in my Super Awesome Girl get-up.
That’s just what she was: Super & Awesome!

Her mommy and little brother we already inside and awaiting the arrival of “Daddy and Chloe” when we placed our order (I have Mom Ears…I hear everything). When Chloe arrived she hugged her little brother who greeted her with “OH HI!” and returned the embrace (SIGH! My kids never did that when they were little – hell, they rarely do that now as “growned ups”).
I want to be – no, I SHOULD be - more like Chloe!

Free to march around Fuddrucker’s (or any ole place I choose) as if it’s my personal establishment, flaunting my blink-flashy canvas tennis shoes and swooshing my awesome pink cape - with the lightning bolt on the back…yeah, and a mask too…a bit o’ anonymity is always good (besides, it completes the look).
Sadly…I am not Awesome, Super, Sparkly girl…I am boring, responsible, reserved, introverted little me. No blinky-flashy shoes, no cape, no mask…just my long-ish shirt (to cover my hip and rear bulges) and my plain old flipflops (comfortable but not fashionable) and my drab, capri pants.  As always, hindered by my perception of “what I am allowed to do/be/wear” in polite company.

It wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time I was that little girl – afraid of nothing (except maybe of NOT being/expressing who I was) and somewhere along the way I lost that.
When did that happen? When did I become a slave to the “rules” others have determined are proper? For that matter who died and made those people boss? Huh?!

I have photographic evidence that once, a long, long, time ago…I “dressed up”! I wore outlandish outfits and dwelled in a world fashioned out of fantasy and a vivid imagination. I built blanket forts and coerced my friends into helping me “play school” (I was pretty much always “the teacher”)and "Pioneer Explorers" in the canyons. I was free to be whomever and whatever I wanted.
Now, I play by the rules. I squash down that little girl and her Super Tendencies and I put my “professional” face forward. I work my 40-hour-week, collect my check, pay my bills and gaze longingly at those who are able to express themselves freely.

What the hell happened?!
To Chloe’s Mommy and Daddy I say: Thank you! Keep up the good work! You have a Super Awesome Sparkly Girl! Don’t let her lose that spark!

As for me? I will stive to be more like “Super Chloe”! Sparkly, Awesome, Blinky-flashy and most importantly SUPER!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Comfort Zone

^This quote^
I saw this quote the other day and it struck something deep within me.
Most of my life I hid beneath the cover of shyness.

Looking back I realize that the truth is that I was afraid. Fear was the paralytic that held me in place – halting forward progress.

Realizing this, and looking back over my life, it makes me sad. There are gifts that I was blessed with that I didn’t share because of this fear. Opportunities were missed because of the lies fear whispered to me.
The few times I was able to rise above the fear a powerful joy to take its place.

And then, one day, I made the choice to become a nurse.  
There is no room in nursing for the kind of fear that had filled my life up to that point.

In order to succeed at my dream I HAD to step outside of what I knew, outside my habits and what was comfortable, and be - *GULP* - uncomfortable.
An amazing thing happened when I chose to be uncomfortable – my definition of “uncomfortable” began to shift. The very act of doing something that made me uncomfortable allowed me to *become* comfortable doing it!

This phenomenon continued as I progressed through my nursing courses, after graduation and on into my personal life. What I define as my “comfort level” changes each day. I have stepped so far beyond the boundaries that previously held me in check that I can’t even see that place from where I stand today.
I still have fears – old habits die hard. Every day I struggle with choosing the uncomfortable over that which is familiar and “safe”.  That voice of doubt still whispers in my ear: “What if you fail?” “What if you totally suck at this?” “What if they laugh at you?”

What if it’s AMAZING? What if *I* am AMAZING?!
…go away fear…I am going to try “uncomfortable” today!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Are We There Yet?

Have you ever set a goal for yourself or embarked on a personal journey?
Maybe, it was a decision to go back to school and finish something you started years ago. Perhaps it was choosing a different profession that requires starting over, from scratch. It might even be something as simple as adding exercise to your daily routine.

Or, it might be that you just “became aware” one day that you are supposed to be doing a certain thing with your life – as if the Universe was nudging you in a specific direction.
No matter what the goal or journey is, we often form a mental picture of what achieving that goal will mean; what life will look like when we cross the proverbial finish line. That image becomes a focal point.

Every journey begins with that first step. Often, the first steps involve research and laying ground work for success on the journey we have chosen. As we map out the road ahead we are filled with the amazing-ness of what we are about to do.  It’s all very exciting.
And then, the real work begins.

The thing is, sometimes we start down a path only to realize that it’s a lot more work than we imagined. It might even take longer to reach the end than we originally thought.
There may be times when the work is just too much – when we just can’t anymore.

Sometimes life throws curveballs at us. We might be happily walking down our new path and checking items off the To Do List when suddenly a huge DETOUR sign appears before us.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a professional goal, school, a spiritual journey, physical fitness, or parenthood…there are always bumps in the road of Life’s Journey.

We know this.
Knowing is half the battle.

Allowing is the other half.
No matter how frustrating and painful the detours may be we have to trust that all things happen for a reason. ALL THINGS. There are lessons hidden in even the darkest moments we endure on our Journeys here. Allowing the lessons to come to us and accepting what they offer can enrich us beyond our wildest imagination.

Fighting against the bumps and detours only causes more pain – spiritually and physically.  Go with it – ask the Universe what it is that you are supposed to be learning (be sure to take note of whatever the lesson is) - and wait for the challenge to pass.
Always remember: you are not in this alone! We’ve all been there. Ask your fellow human beings for support!

Oh, and this is important: BREATHE!!
When we are stressed, worried or hyper focused we tend to forget to take deep, cleansing breaths! Breathing deeply, from the center of our being, is vital for healing and grounding ourselves.

All of us are on journeys. We are all working toward goals and dreams. Enjoy your Journey and honor others as they walk theirs.
The Universe knows the moment when you will arrive at the end of this Journey – be patient – you WILL get there. You may find that the end result is far more amazing than what you imagined. Sometimes our minds put limits on things that the Universe refuses to observe.  =)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Of Faith and Promises

After spending nearly 50 years with the same person, you know them pretty well. You can almost read their mind and, usually, you can finish their sentences.

The vows you took bind you together with loving, honoring, cherishing and faithfulness to each other through thick and thin.
You’ve memorized their unconscious habits and the quirks of their personality. Perhaps you can even recognize them from a great distance solely from their movements or their walk. The sound of their voice is discernible even across a crowded and noisy room.

Imagine what it would be like if your partner, your soul-mate, suddenly lost their ability to communicate with you; their ability to speak gone in an instant. All that you knew to be truth changed – a new reality settled in its place.
Will your ability to seemingly “read their mind” prove to be accurate? When there are no sentence fragments to guide you – will you know all the answers?

Imagine, further, that along with the loss of their voice they have lost the use of half of their body. One whole side completely useless and limp. Everyday things like: eating, bathing, dressing, toileting…all impossible without the aid of another.
A love nurtured and deepened over nearly five decades put to the test in the refining fires of a stroke.

Sudden. Without warning. Silent.
Occasionally, in my line of work, I get to witness the kind of love it takes to weather that kind of storm.

Once, in a blue moon, I walk away from a situation feeling blessed and honored to have been in the presence of something that I cannot fully comprehend.
Last week I had one of those rare moments.

I watched as one spouse cared for the other and struggled to understand the “language” that the brain had created in the absence of true speech. Facial expressions, intonation and one-handed gestures all there was to go on.
In the several weeks since the stroke “yes”, “no” and “ok” had been regained. At least, now, there was confirmation of accuracy - immediately. Most of the time their closeness and the ability of one to understand the other proves accurate and the ailing spouse is “heard”!

The love they share is palpable and overwhelming. As I witnessed the strength of their marriage vows I was filled awe.

They do as much together as possible and their teamwork is allowing the slow and steady return of strength and movement in the limbs affected by the stroke. They have faith that, in time, full use of the affected limbs will return.

They have faith.
That is the cornerstone of their relationship. They share a faith in God that surpassed the “tragedy” that took away (temporarily) a voice and the ability to use one arm and one leg. They are holding on to that faith with everything they have.
“For better or for worse”

“In sickness and in health”
Those words carry more weight when spoken in the context of a major illness. I can only hope that I will pass the test should I ever be faced with a challenge such as theirs.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sticks and Stones

I used to chant that children’s rhyme a lot when I was a kid…but I never really believed it. Still don’t.

“Names” – when hurled in anger - can and do hurt. A lot.

I’ve been called a lot of mean things by many different people in my life…most I choose to forget. Some, I can never erase from my mind. I’m sure you’ve heard these words used carelessly in your life as well:

Stupid                                 Worthless                                           Useless

Ungrateful                          Crazy                                                    Ugly

Fat                                        Liar                                                       Dumbass

As we get older “names” can take different forms. Something like an off-hand remark by a colleague or an email you weren’t supposed to see, or even not being invited for drinks after work can be just as painful as being called “doo-doo head” by the kid next door.

The pain can be even deeper if the name calling is preceded by something (an act or event) that was stressful to begin with. Like realizing you’ve made a mistake. That alone is jarring…painful.

Having to own up to you error, and the scope of it, is torture. Apologizing for the mistake is not super-comfy either. Any “name calling” that occurs in that sort of situation can have a deep and scarring impact on a person’s integrity and their heart-of-hearts.

I am just as guilty of “name calling” as the next person…I’ve let words fly without thinking…and wished, too late, that I could take those words back. There have been occasions when I have stubbornly refused to accept a heartfelt apology based on my own pain and, perhaps, a desire to make the other person suffer along with me.

Every day, each of us has moments that give us an opportunity to choose our words and decide whether we impact those who will hear them in a positive or negative way. Choose wisely.

Words are precious. Words can never be taken back. It behooves us to THINK about what we are about to say – to ponder the potential impact they may have on the person(s) we are speaking to, near or about – BEFORE we utter them…releasing them, and their energy, into the universe forever.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Not in a Box...Not with a Fox

When I was a little girl, my mother loved to serve peas with our dinner. It seemed like there were peas on my plate  on far too many nights.
I was not a fan of the peas. Not. At. All.

Peas were mushy and slimy. Peas made me gag. Literally.
There were evenings when I would try to strike a bargain with my mom…”If you let me not eat my peas…I’ll…wash all the windows for you.”…never worked.

I got the standard speeches about “starving children in Africa” and the “poor children without mommies and daddies who’d love to have my peas”…I offered to let them have the stupid peas on more than one occasion. That usually earned me a week or so of no TV or even no playing outside (which used to actually be a punishment).

There came a time when my mother was over the whole thing. She sat me down and explained to me that she was The Mom. As such she was allowed to dictate what was on my dinner plate. Because I was The Child I had to eat what was on my plate or go hungry and risk losing privileges. Period.
Then she said the magic words that I have held close to my heart ever since: “When you’re The Mom you don’t ever have to serve peas in your house.”
**Hallelujah Chorus**

Yes!! One day I would be the one controlling what was on my dinner plate! AWESOME! Never mind that that day was eons away – it was a hope I could hold on to.
Additionally, Mom conceded that it would be OK if I held my nose when downing the nefarious peas…at least they were going in my tummy.

Fast forward thirty-something years to this evening. I tried a new recipe in my crock pot and made mashed potatoes to go along with that. What to do for a veggie? I looked in my freezer…there, staring back at me was the large bag of “organic peas” that I bought as part of a Cowboy Pie recipe I make frequently (the peas are part of a mish-mash of ingredients – you can hardly taste them! ).
Hmmmm? Peas? Maybe…NAH!!

But…then again. What harm could it do. I’m The Mom now…right? I do NOT have to eat them if I still *hate* them…right?
Here’s the rub… We might want to send someone to check on hell…see if it’s frozen over.

I sorta liked ‘em.
There! I said it! I like peas!  They were rather yummy with a bit of butter and some sea salt.

Please, don’t tell my mom =)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

It's a Trap!

 I've decided I don't want to be a "grown-up" anymore.

There is far too much yucky stuff (a.k.a. responsibilities) that comes with the title. Bills to pay, taxes to file, laundry to do, houses to keep clean, jobs to find...ick.

I'm over it.

I want to go back to the days when my biggest concern was whether or not the cute guy with the locker two rows down from mine knew I was alive.

Do you remember those days?

Homework was pretty much the biggest responsibility we had. Many of us had chores that we *had* to do for Mom & Dad - but, those paled in comparison to homework and our social calendar.

Now my calendar (the non-social one) is filled with reminders to pay this bill and that well as appointment reminders for annual check-ups and vehicle repairs. Man! Being responsible is hard work! Exhausting actually!

I miss the days when "weekend" meant deciding whose house we were going to hang out at - preferrably the one we can all crash at because their mom is cool with it - and which movie to rent. We'd easily divide up the snack responsibilities (chips, soda, pizza, ice cream) - go to the store - buy everything we wanted and hunker down to "hang out" with our besties. Now...weekends are often the time used for things we can't do during the week. Like yard work & household repairs. So boring.

Weekends of "fun" are now planned well in advance and often require saving extra funds and scheduling time off from work. Far too much work for what is supposed to be relaxing. It really sucks.

All those school holidays we had and looked forward to? Gone.

Couple weeks off here and there for Christmas and Easter? Gone.

The occasional babysitting gig to buy something special at the mall? Thing of the past.

Being a Grown-up means 40+ hour work weeks, W-2s, budgets and mortgages.

Yep. I definitely want off this merry-go-round. Same thing, year in and year out. Not much changes and there isn't much to look forward to anymore. All those milestone birthdays have passed - except, perhaps, the year that we qualify for a "senior discount" .

I miss the variety & spice that came with youthgul, ignorant bliss.

Life is filled with routine and requirement now...and I am not a fan.

Kids...enjoy your doesn't last long!

Don't be in such a hurry to "grow up"! It's a TRAP!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Role Reversal

I am not a fan of being on this side of the lab coat. I am uncomfortable without my stethoscope, blood pressure cuff and fancy name tag. This side of the lab coat doesn't feel natural to me.

Being The Nurse feels natural to me. I'm good at that. The Nurse is the one on the outside of the situation (supposedly), the one with some semblance of control over a few variables.

I am great at being The Nurse! Managing the care of others. Education and advocating for my patients. That feels natural, that is what is comfortable for me.

Unfortunately, today I am not The, I am on the other side of the lab coat. Today,  I am The Patient's Family Member.

I am not good at being "The Patient's Family Member". Plain and simple.

Specifically, I am not good at being told what I can and cannot do. I do not enjoy letting someone else have control.

I have a hard time asking for something as simple a blanket or a glass of water when I know where they are and *could*, *technically* just go get it myself. Also, I am not a fan of having to go all the way to the end of hall to use the bathroom (although I do understand the "why" behind that rule).

Having to switch roles in such a drastic way sends me way off kilter. It's disorienting and confusing.  Logic tells me that I can't expect all my Loved One's caregivers to know that I am a nurse, that I KNOW this stuff. Simple because, they don't know me. But...I get irritated when someone new comes in & begins to speak to me like I am a small child with learning disabilities. (Please, gawd, I pray I have NEVER spoken to anyone in that tone while caring for them). I tend to lose grip...and get snarky.

Snarky tends to become something more emotional - and the stress all comes crashing in - and I end up sitting with the previously mentioned blanket covering my face while I cry, softly, trying not to disturb my Loved One. He needs his rest, after all, he is the patient.

You know what? I really, truly do not enjoy being on this side of the lab coat! I will be grateful when everything is back to normal and I can be The Nurse again!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Email Spammers,

There are a few things you need to consider when sending your BS emails to me:

1) I am a straight female and, therefore, have no reason to "turn her on tonight"nor do I need your "penis enlargement" products.

2) I am not a "senior" hence I do not require any memberships or social/dating groups which cater to people "of a certain age". Similarly, I am definitely not yet eligible for Medicare or AARP.

3) As previously stated in #2 I am not yet in the category of those who may require a "scooter" or other motorized chair - thanks.

4) As a female I am not seeking a bride of any nationality - not Russian, Chinese or Latin whether they are "hot" or not.

5) I do NOT own a timeshare.

6) Golf is not my thing...never has been.

7) Although, (as previously discussed) I am not a "senior,"  I am also not a teenager and have no need for Proactiv, or any other "acne solutions". It would have been nice if they'd been around when I actually did need them however.

8) I have no need for "V.DiCarlo" or his "Dating Secrets"...thank you very much.

9) Just because it's February does not mean you can try to shame me into purchasing some quasi-romantic gift for my "special someone"...not even by sending me a dozen ads each day. Nope. Not gonna work.

10) If your "miracle" product was truly a miracle...why do I have to read about it in an unsolicited email?

11) Should I decide to seek out cosmetic procedures of any kind, you can rest assured I will not begin my research with your email titled "Anti-aging secret" or "Look Younger NOW"

12) This is not my first rodeo - I know you are not a Prince in need of my assistance to gain access to your fortune. Seriously, go away.

13) I'd love to know who told you I snore? HUH?! Who was it? I'll kill 'em!
p.s. I don't actually open any of the emails that fall into the category of "spam" - I have a system in place to mass delete them as well as a spam folder where they are banished...until the spammers come up with a work-around. Evil little bastards!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Rest is Still Unwritten!

I have those words on my wall . There was a time when I needed to be reminded of the “blankness” of my future – of the clean slate that lay before me.

In vinyl lettering, where I will see it EVERY day.

A failed marriage, a run in with a con-artist and several failed relationships had severely damaged how I saw myself and my life as a whole. It was a dark place to be.
Then, one day, the lyrics for Unwritten (by Natasha Bedingfield) hit me like a ton of bricks! Suddenly, it all made perfect sense.
As I drove down the road that day – listening to the words blaring through the speakers – it hit me! It's true! No one else can live this life for me. I can’t truly live if I am always afraid of the “next bad thing.” I have to live like I’ve never experienced the pain of rejection, the searing jolt of loss or the ache that comes with uncertainty.

Our society teaches us that making mistakes is “bad.” On the contrary! Mistakes teach us life lessons and skills that we need to succeed as we move forward on the path of our lives. If we never stumbled, or landed flat on our faces, we would never gain the wisdom we need to be successful at living.
It is vital that we take the knowledge gained from our mistakes, file it away in our hearts, leave the mistake behind us and move forward. There is no need to look back toward the mistake – we are not, after all, going in that direction.

Before us lies an unblemished path. There are no footprints on it yet, no mistakes, no pain and no expectations.
We have within us the information we have gathered and saved thus far on our journey. Our toolbox has more than enough items to aid us as we continue on our way. What works, what doesn’t, how to navigate specific situations and where to look if we need help. All these things are ours to tap into at any given moment.

Each of us knows where we’ve been and some of us even know where we would like to end up – and maybe not, that's not important now. That’s the beauty of life – we have the combined knowledge of all that have been through to guide us along the way – but…the rest is still unwritten!
No expectations, no judgement, just blank pages.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Morning at Wal-Mart

I have decided that I enjoy shopping at Wal-Mart on Friday mornings. Normally the mere thought of going there raises my blood pressure and triggers the beginnings of a panic attack - but not today. Today was different.

The people I encountered there this morning were far more friendly and personable than the “usual crowd.”
Just walking in from the parking lot I was greeted with several smiles and a “hello” – all from total strangers (yes, for you dirty minded ones, I made sure there wasn’t a “reason” for the sudden friendliness…no open buttons or cleavage showing).

As I made my way up and down the aisles (didn’t have a list today – which is out of character for me – normally I know exactly where to go for what’s on my list – today I wandered) I was met with people asking each other for advice regarding which cold/flu medications work best, how that pain product they were holding worked and was there anyone who could reach that thing on the top shelf. Opinions were being offered and assistance given to those who needed it. Very civilized and friendly banter.
Even the employees this morning were a cut above what I’m used to. As I stood in the fabric aisle - pondering which flannel print to purchase – a saleswoman said “Uh oh! She’s deciding!” I laughed and said “This is what happens when you spend hours on Pinterest finding craft ideas.” The saleswoman stopped what she was doing, came over to where I was standing and talked to me for several minutes about why I like Pinterest. You see, she isn’t a “crafter” or a “sew-er” (her word) so she didn’t see the point. I asked if she cooked…DING! That did it! She said the next time she sees me she may be mad at me for sucking away all her spare time. See? Not the norm for Wal-Mart (or anywhere for that matter these days).

Later, as I stood in line to pay for may mish-mash of items, the little girl in the cart two customers ahead of me - munching on McDonald's fries (lucky kid) waved and said “HI!” I waved and said “HI!” back. Then the gentleman in between us turned (I assume to see who she was waving at) and struck up a chat about the yarn I was buying. Soon, he introduced himself and asked me what I knew about “Irish wool”…not much, I’m afraid…beyond how expensive it is.

Just then another register opened up and I she waved us over…my new acquaintance let me go first since he had already placed his items on the counter.

Feelin' all blue-skis and sunflowery today
I am thoroughly happy with humanity today.
For just a few moments it felt like the “old days” when I was a kid and my mom took us with her to Gemco. Every trip was like the one I had this morning. Friendly people, impromptu chats and courtesy all around!

Why can’t it be like that again…all the time?
I miss the way things used to be.
The proprieters of the local shops knew us by name - remembered to ask about things & people that we held dear. Sometimes, they even offered deals on products because...well, just because.
I miss living in a friendly community like that. What makes the whole thing sad is that I still live in the same neighborhood I grew up in. What has happened to us as a society?
We probably ought to do something about it - soon.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Manners Rant

"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feeling of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use."
~Emily Post

The more time I spent outside my house lately, the more I strongly dislike people. It seems as though good manners, common courtesy and, dare I say it...common sense, have, for the most part, vanished from our society.

People are so rude and unaware of their surroundings that it makes me want to lock my doors and stay home. Permanently. I just can't stomach it anymore.

While shopping at Costco recently we were forced to stop and wait for the individual who was operating the cart, which was completely blocking the aisle, to move. She saw us (and the 3 other people she was holding up) but couldn't possibly have cared any less. Our presence did not disturb her revere in the least. When she finally got her sh!t together and moved she ignored the glares directed at her - oblivious.

A couple aisles over I encountered a younger version of the above mentioned aisle-hog. He had, apparently, been left to "man the cart" while mom wandered away to god-only-knows-where. This young person was too busy exercising his stellar balancing skills and trick cart moves to notice the adults trying to access the refrigerated shelves he was blocking. Not even "excuse me" or "HELLO?" could break his awesome concentration. Eventually I just opened the door and got what I needed...I pretended not to notice that it whacked him and ended a phenomenal cart maneuver he was executing at the time (picture BMX-type tricks only performed on the sides of a shopping cart...yeah...neat, huh?).

This afternoon while driving on one of our many beautiful California freeways (sarcasm? Me? No!) we were forced to SLAM on the brakes to avoid rear-ending the POS car in front of us that was - lost?...drunk?...confused? Who knows?! But she was suddenly NOT MOVING! Don't recall seeing any brake lights - just remember seeing her "I heart Obamacare" sticker getting larger and larger as it approached our front bumper.

Did I mention this occurred on a freeway junction on ramp?! There were vehicles behind us that were having to slam on their brakes as you think she gave a crap? Hell no! Eventually, we went around did the others behind us. Idiot.

Then there was the person in the grocery store parking lot who had picked out the front know? The one RIGHT in front of the door? You see, the gentleman who was in that space was putting his purchases in his trunk - so the guy in the lifted, fat tire, extra-cab, monster truck decided *he* wanted it next. So he waited...which seems like the right thing to do...except - he didn't use his blinker (so from our vantage point he just stopped) and he was blocking THE ENTIRE ENTRY ROAD - in BOTH directions! 

It was quickly obvious that we weren't the only ones peeved by this person's rude behavior as horns began to honk all around us. We were able to get around him, park and begin our walk into the store before Mr. Special got his mammoth truck parked. How'd that "front row" space work out for you there buck-o?!

Taking care to watch him exit his vehicle (we wanted to see what that level of "I-don't-give-a-sh!t" looks like) we noticed he had two small rudeness apprentices with him. Sigh! That's just fantastic! Then I saw the license plate...out of state...couldn't make out where he was from, but my money is on Massachusetts. *snort*

I don't believe I am the only one who has noticed this shift. It has gotten so rampant that I've noticed people are reluctant to strike up conversations or ask for help when out in public. It's sad really.

Since my mother drilled good manners into my skull from an early age - I still employ them on a daily basis. Usually, it's a one-way deal. That's OK really...cuz the one time I lapse and snark at someone - my mother will find out about it and I do NOT want that to happen. *shudder*

My kids have been raised in an environment that requires them to use "magic words" to function.

The boys have been schooled in Gentlemanly behaviors such as opening a lady's door for her and carrying the heavy stuff so she doesn't have to.The girls learned hostess skills such as asking guests to sit down and to offer a beverage. Easy enough, right?

This is not rocket science people! Manners are not optional! We live in a "civilized society" but many are acting like savages! It's just not OK!

I understand that you are on a tight schedule and running late...but that does not mean that you get to through caution to the wind, cut me off on the freeway and create a hazardous situation to better your position in life. Not one of us is more important that the other - we are all worthy and valuable. If we take turns (just like back in Kindergarten on the playground) everyone will get there - in one piece.

Seriously...if we go back to the basics...waaaaay back to when we were small and had to do what we were told - or else...the world would be a better place -- especially if we got to take naps every afternoon - just sayin'!!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Legacy of Courage

Tonight, I sat down and began to write about how sick and tired I am of rude people. Earlier, I posted on Facebook about the nasty cold bug that is probably taking up residence in my nasal passage at this very moment…I also joined a discussion about how unfair doctors’ office practices are…and then…I saw it, an announcement that stopped me in my tracks.

A beautiful lady that I have known since kindergarten lost her battle with metastatic breast cancer 2 days ago.

For five and a half years she fought with everything she had. Through chemo, radiation, and multiple surgeries she soldiered on, battling the disease while continuing to raise her family. A much stronger woman than I could *ever* hope to be, she gave everything she had until there was nothing left - and then she gave more.

This courageous lady has left an indelible mark upon the lives she touched while she lived among us on this Earth. She has given us an example to follow and a goal to strive for.

Her two gorgeous babies and wonderfully supportive husband will go forward knowing that they have a  wealth of wonderful memories that she worked diligently to create for them - her legacy.

Sinuses , finances and the rude people of this world don’t matter much when compared to the loss of a fellow human being.
There are much bigger things in life.

Family. Friends. Love. Joy.
“I love you”
“You are special to me”
“Thank you”

All those things have far more worth and resonate more deeply within our spirits than all the rest jumbled together.

I have opened my eyes - yet again - and realized the folly of my thinking.

Thank you, Michelle, for showing us what it means to really LIVE! For teaching us how to “Be the Bee”!

Rest in Peace
Michelle Lake

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Every so often I have to slow down and take a moment to look in a mirror.

I’m not talking about a cursory glance to check hair or make-up, no…I mean looking into the depths of the reflection – into *who* I see there.

Most of us focus on the *what* of our reflections – our looks, signs of aging on our skin, clothing lines…but those things are not important – not really.

What matters most is seen only when we gaze deeply into our own eyes – the window to our very soul.

There was a point in my life when this was an uncomfortable exercise for me. I couldn't look for long…I’d begin to squirm and a blush would begin to creep across my cheeks.

Shame will do that to a person.

After years of hearing how wrong I was, how fat I was, how useless and ungrateful I was…among other things…I had grown ashamed of myself.

Wait…that’s not entirely true…I was not ashamed of *myself* …my True Self was always there, whole and waiting to be recognized…she had been forced back, to cower in a dark corner – but she was there. I had learned shame – shame of “self” that was being projected by the constant reminders of the wrongness and imperfections within me.

None of us is perfect – not one. However, we are not so flawed that we cannot exist and thrive in the confines of this world – an imperfect world for that matter.

Society goes out of its way to point out our flaws and imperfections – in high definition on gigantic wide-screens with surround sound & CG special effects…but we must remind ourselves that those are superficial qualities.

Our True Self lives at the core of our being – it cannot be touched by “the world” and all its infectious hatred. Deep down you are exactly as you were the day you entered this world – a true reflection of what YOU are intended to be …with only gained knowledge added to the mix.

Only by gazing deeply into our own eyes can we grasp how amazing this Self is. 

The first time I tried this little “self-awareness” exercise I was in tears within a short while…I found that I wasn’t able to pretend when connected to my Self…I had to face the music, deal with the baggage I had allowed to accumulate and throw away the useless junk and clutter.

After the housekeeping was done…I was amazed! I’m a pretty neat person! =) No, really! I am! SO ARE YOU! You are an amazing, wonderful, loving, lovable human being!! You were placed on this earth for a time – to learn some lessons, to meet others, to love and be loved – and to pass on the wisdom you gain alone the way.

This life is a Journey – the path is much smoother is we connect with who we really are deep down.

Take a few moments to look in a mirror. Lean in. Lock eyes with the person you see there. No pretense, no veils, just you and your True Self. 

Who do you see?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It's Been a While

I haven't been able to write for a long time. It's very frustrating. I'm not exactly sure what the deal is, I just haven't been able to put coherent thoughts down on paper.

The last time I wrote was the morning of a day that was going well. The sun was out, it was warm and I was on top of my game at work. That afternoon I learned that the job I'd held for the previous 4 years was being "eliminated".

Poof! Just like that. No warning.

Something within me snapped. I helplessly cycled through all 5 stages of grief that weekend. The whole thing was such a shock to my system.

Over the next several days, additional stressors arrived in my life (health issues with immediate family) to add to the already overwhelming reality of no job in the very near future.

It was too much. Suddenly, I found myself short of breath while sitting still. My heart was pounding within my chest as if it needed to escape. My skin felt like it was crawling with electric currents. Tears would begin to fall with no warning. Bizarre sensations that consumed physical and emotional energy as well as my sanity. I soon learned that the sensations had a name: "Panic Attack."

For the first time in my life I was put on medications to balance out chemicals in my brain that used to regulate themselves. I have a bottle of pills in my purse - just in case the panic comes back at an inconvenient moment. I meet with a professional several times each month to work through the issues that all this stress has brought to the surface.

Funny...I've been through some serious shit in my life: Emotional/verbal abuse, nasty divorce, the lies of a con-man and raising kids by myself while struggling financially....not once did I fall to pieces like I did this time.

When I step back and consider this odd reaction I come to an interesting conclusion - this is the first time in my life that I don't *have* to be strong - I finally have someone I can lean on. Yes, I have always had a fabulous family and amazing friends but I'm talking about the kind of "leaning" that requires complete trust and absolute assurance that there will be no condemnation, no backlash and 100% support, no matter what. The kind of support one gets from a partner, a soul-mate - the other-half of yourself.

In the past I was not allowed to fall apart. I had no choice but to keep it together and be strong. If I fell to pieces there would be consequences - for me and for my kids. I could vent to my family and friends and they did what they could to ease the load I carried - but I was never truly allowed to just "let go" – to show weakness.

This time, I have someone who is standing WITH me, someone who SHARES the responsibilities of this house with me...someone who does not seek out flaws to point them out with malice...someone who loves me for who I am. Period.

This time - I was safe, protected, surrounded by love.

It was perfectly OK for me to sit and cry if I needed to. I was allowed to verbalize my fears and to give in to the need for comfort from someone else.

SIGH! I never knew it could be like this!

Although this journey is not over - I am still looking for a new job - I have been given a gift...the silver-lining of this dark cloud...I have been given time. Time to spend with my grandparents, my children, my man...time to get things done around the house that have gone undone for far too long...time to create...time to take care of me...time to just "be" and focus on the things that really matter.

For the things I have learned, the blessings gained, I am grateful. Someday I will look back on this time and shake my head...but for now, I look forward to the lessons to come, the gifts awaiting me in the future.

Would you look at that?! I wrote something!! =)