Thursday, February 21, 2013

Filling the silence with awkward statements

I have often made inappropriate comments when I feel socially awkward, just to fill the silence. It's ironic considering that I actually speak for a living and feel very comfortable speaking in front of lots of people, off the cuff.

It actually happens mostly in smaller social settings, and I don't even usually know I am doing it until after I am staring into the face of someone that I have just made really uncomfortable.  Usually, I am trying to be funny, hoping that humor will break the ice or make the other people in the room like me more.  (Pitiful, I know...but sometimes, it works for me...)

One of those moments happened when my husband and I had only been dating for a few months.  We went to a Christmas party of a coworker, and I wanted to be one of the "cool kids".  I made special cookies and brought them with me.  Apparently, in my haste to get out of the house, I hadn't noticed the glob of peanut butter that made its way into my hair.

To my horror, the errant glob of peanut butter lodged in my hair was one of the first things that the hostess noticed when I walked into the party.  It didn't help matters that I had carried in a plate of cookies that were in the shape of balls.  (I'll let you conjure your own inappropriate comment about that aspect of the evening.)   Instead of politely placing the cookies on the counter and excusing myself to the bathroom to address the glob situation, I loudly said to everyone in the room:

"It's not the worst thing I have ever had in my hair." 

I thought I was being funny!  Mission unaccomplished.  There was a big pause of awkward silence, until someone far more graceful than I am changed the subject, took the cookies from me and guided me into the kitchen to get a beverage.  S was horrified, and has repeatedly used that as an example of a how NOT to act when we are in a new social setting.

Today, I ended up in one of those awkward social situations again.

While I was in a ladies' locker room.

Mostly naked.

S bought me a fabulous spa day for Valentine's Day - massage, facial, and a mani/pedi! - and I was in the ladies' locker room changing into the spa's robe and putting my clothes and purse in a locker.  A woman approached a locker two doors down from mine.  We exchanged awkward smiles and then, she sighed.

Lady:  I have been here all day.

Me:  Lucky you.  I am just getting started with my day.  My husband got me this as a Valentine's Day present!

Lady:  Me too.

Me:  That's exciting!

Lady:  (rustling around in her locker, head buried looking for something) Yeah - I guess.  I think it's kind of weird.

Me:  What?  Why?  I have never had anything like this ever, and I am so excited.

Lady:  Well, we are in the middle of a divorce.

{giant awkward pause while she made extremely awkward eye contact}

Me:  At least it's a really nice parting gift? 

{She walked away.}

Anyone else guilty of doing this?  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Does this count as her first word?

Saturday night, I was changing Diana - and she was talking up a storm!  Just making noises, being, after I got her redressed, I decided to roll a little video so I could show S later that night.

Then, it sounded like she said her first word....

Does that count?  Did she say what I think she did??  S is pretty psyched.  Now, we haven't been able to replicate the moment...but he is claiming dibs on her first word! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A double standard rears its ugly head

Quite frequently, I feel like I am failing - because I can't find time for all the things I want to do.  I am a woman that wants to do it ALL - and sets a crazy amount of New Year's resolutions to challenge myself to make it happen. 

Often, I feel like I am playing one of those whack-a-mole games where I can never quite get all the moles back in their holes.  If I spend time working out, then, I am not spending time working on getting my real estate license.  If I spend time on my real estate license, then, I am not spending time working on fundraising for Komen.  If I spend time fundraising for Komen, then, I am not spending enough time with my husband.  If I am spending time with my husband, I am not getting the house clean. And the list goes on....

Recently, I had a conversation with my good friend Donna and got very honest about feeling so very overwhelmed and burnt out.  It was the end of a week of my daughter being sick, which had required me to stay home with her and derailed a lot of my best laid plans to check things off my list that week.  I was feeling like I had massively failed - when the reality was that I hadn't failed at all.  I had my most important job:  taking care of my daughter.  And, I'll go ahead and pat myself on the back a little:  I had done it well! Instead of focusing on that fact, I was only focusing on the things that hadn't gotten done - and on burning myself out trying to find time to get to them. 

Donna reminded me to slow down, and focus on the care I had given my daughter.  To stop and remember to take care of MYSELF and not try to do it all, all at once.  It felt like GRACE. 

If the conversation had been reversed, and it was her calling ME to share with me the same situation, I would have responded to her with kindness, caring and compassion (exactly like she responded to me!). 

Why is it so hard for us to extend ourselves the grace that we gladly give our friends?  Why do we impose impossible standards on ourselves?  Why do we berate ourselves for falling short of those standards - especially when we know that, in reality, there's really no way to have and do it "all"?  

I wish I had some great, wise answer to share - but for now, I will just share this: When I catch myself being hard on myself, I am going to try to back up and talk to myself like I would to a friend.  When I set my resolutions, they were supposed to be fun goals for the year - not something to make myself feel bad if I don't do it all, right NOW! 

In the wise words of one of my favorite bloggers, Jon Acuff, I am going to give myself some grace today.   In the wise words of Brene Brown, I am going to try to focus on the fact that I am enough

Do you have the same double standard when it comes to how you treat yourself vs. your friends? 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Now, I know where the name comes from...

I've done yoga for years - and have always done the pose "happy baby" without really thinking much about the name.  Now, I know where it comes from - Diana demonstrates:

She has also mastered the "upward dog" pose:

My 5 1/2 month old is a yoga master!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Advice from an old 40 year old....

I love this letter from Julianna W. Miner, a 40 year old mom, to her kids!  Great advice to pass along - or for me to remember TODAY (at age 36!).  

Hello my very beloved offspring,

Someday when you read this, I will be even more ancient than I am right now. Someday I hope very much to be a crotchety old lady who says wildly inappropriate things and embarrasses you by grabbing your father's keister in the retirement community where we live. But for now, I'm only 40.

Everyone says turning 40 is a really big deal but I have not found that to be so. But upon this occasion (and just in case I drop dead tomorrow), I thought I'd tell you what my perspective on life is at this particular moment. Then when you turn 40 and start wondering "Why don't I feel like a real grown-up yet?" you can read this and feel better. Because at least you will realize that your immaturity is in part hereditary. Sorry about that.

Relax, we're all faking it.
This is kind of a big deal, you guys. Because your whole life -- there will always be someone. Someone who you look at and think, did I miss something? How come that person gets to be like that and I have to be like this? Sometimes it's not just a person; sometimes it's a whole group of people. I wasted a lot of time thinking that at any moment, those folks would figure out that I was a big fraud and then they would shun me. It's actually a thing. It's called Impostor Syndrome and lots of people experience it at different points in their lives. So guess what? Turns out it's totally normal to feel like you're faking it. Just do it with good manners and you'll be fine.

Know what makes you happy.
Here's what makes me happy: the three of you. What the tops of your heads smell like. What it sounds like when you laugh so hard you might pee yourself. What you're like right now, what you were, and all the things you're going to be. Your father -- all parts. The rest of our family. Friends who are kind and who don't get mad at me if I forget to call them back right away. Having a big, silly dog. Also Korean barbeque, aged Gouda, and pretty much any kind of dumpling. I know what makes me happy and as a result, I know what's important to me. It's called having priorities and thanks to you, I finally have some.

Don't invite poison into your life.
Did you ever read something and you were like "holy crap -- THAT IS A MOTHERFUNKING TRUTH BOMB"? Terry Pratchett is my favorite writer and he wrote that: "poison goes where poison's welcome." You know that's right. And guess what else? Drama goes where drama's welcome. Pain goes where pain's welcome. Betrayal goes where betrayal's welcome. All these things are going to find you anyway, so for the love of GOD, don't make them welcome. But you know what else? This thought has a bossy older sister and that sister says "light and love go where they're welcome, too. SO MAKE THEM WELCOME." Even when you feel like you don't deserve them, you really do. And so does everyone else.

Simmer the hell down.
I know that you probably think I'm an unrepentant shrieker. But here's a little nugget for your bucket: I have never regretted a single time that I kept my mouth shut, got my crazy under control, and didn't lose my schmidt. But I regret every single time I ever yelled at someone (including you guys). I regret every time I ever unloaded on someone because "they need to hear how I REALLY feel." I regret saying things that made me feel better for about five seconds until I realized they could never be unsaid. I find myself at stop lights, cringing at things I said 20 years ago. The words that haunt me are not the angry ones people have said to me, you guys. Let's just leave it at that.

The universe doesn't give you something without taking something away.
There are a million different ways to say this. Isaac Newton said, "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction." Bridget Jones said, "When one part of your life starts going OK, another falls spectacularly to pieces." And everyone's grandfather ever said, "Nothing comes for free." It's all true. You get married and have kids? You will get so much, but don't kid yourself -- you will have given stuff up along the way. You want a promotion more than anything and you get it. Then suddenly your whole life is about your job. You will do anything to be with that one person or get that one thing or achieve that next gold star... But getting what you want comes with a price (and you usually won't know what it is till long after the fact), so just be prepared for that.

Everything that sucks in your life is there to teach you a lesson.
Take your time, but make sure you try and figure out what that lesson is, because it's always good for you. So when you're lying prone on the floor, surrounded by dirty underpants and Pringles crumbs, maybe stop sobbing "Why is this happening to me?" long enough to ask yourself "Why is this happening to me?"

Value resiliency and not just brokenness.
There was a time when I was young where I felt damaged and I pretty much only identified with people I thought were as messed up as I was. Because they would understand and not judge me. But at some point, I decided to focus on people who are trying to deal with the junk in their trunk and are trying to make things better. Sometimes it takes a really long to time to do that, I think. And notice, I didn't say succeed -- I said try. That's the thing about going through shit in your life. You have to try and wade through it because the alternative is just to stand there, neck-deep in feces. There was a time when I could stand by the people who wouldn't even try to fight their way out, but I can't now. Because I don't want to get sucked in. Now I have priorities. Besides, it's really not your job to fix people. It's your job to love them while they fix themselves.

Understand the power of an honest apology.
Oh my sweet baby condor, I have screwed up so many times. But I try to admit when I'm wrong and I try to make amends for my mistakes. The thing is, though -- you have to really mean it. A disingenuous apology is a very bad thing. It's a lie, wrapped in bacon. But not the good bacon. The kind of bacon they serve in England, that never gets crispy. It's a lie wrapped in flaccid, probably contagious bacon. It's bad.

Gratitude is actually about respect.
I'm not just talking about saying thank you (though saying please and thank you is incredibly important). What I'm talking about is the more Oprah-esque kind of gratitude for the big picture stuff. If you have a family who loves you, if you're healthy, if you have food in the fridge, a job, health insurance, clean water to drink -- be genuinely grateful for that stuff. Be grateful because you are no more entitled to those things than any other human on the planet. And there are millions of good, hard-working people in this world who are desperate for all those things. And it's profoundly disrespectful TO THEM to take what you have for granted and throw it around like it doesn't mean anything.

When you're feeling your worst, when things seem hopeless, there is one thing that will make it better.
Here's the deal: there will always be people who really need help and there will always be something you can do. So pull your head out of your haunches, get your hands dirty and do some good for someone else. This will remind you of who you are and will help repair some of the worm-holes in your soul that come from seeing and feeling stuff.

You can always start over tomorrow.
You're going to make mistakes. You may find there are stretches of your life when you don't like who you've become. You may find yourself listening to the Talking Heads and wondering, "HOW DID I GET HERE?" You may forget to go the gym for about three years. But if you wake up tomorrow and try hard enough to wade through it, you will eventually come out on the other side.

And, God willing, I'll be there waiting for you on the veranda at the retirement community. With one hand holding a refreshing cocktail and with the other, squeezing your father.

Your mom

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Monday, February 4, 2013

My cute little cupid!

Diana has been under the weather for the past 10 days (argh!), so I am having to get creative to keep us occupied and come up with fun things to do indoors, at the house.  One of my friends sent me a photo and said "You have to do this with Diana...", that featured several shots of a very cute baby in a onesie with a heart on it, next to the letters that spelled out "LOVE".

Challenge accepted!

We had fun doing our little photo shoot - and I loved the result!

What do you think?? 

It was actually a lot more simple than I thought it would be!  I used a tablecloth from Christmas time (yay for red being useful for multiple holidays!) - and taped regular 8 1/2" x 11" printer paper together to cut out the big letters to lay down next to Diana.  I stood on a chair and zoomed way in and took as many shots as I could with each letter next to her before she rolled over on to it.

I sent them to my iPhone, and used a free app called Fuzel to pull them together into the 4-shot.  I also chose a border and caption.  

We like the way it turned out so much that we ordered cards for Valentine's Day for the family and friends that live out of town!