Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Meatballs & Waffles & Wings, Oh My

Only one more day of work.  One. More. Day.  And then its hop in the car for 9 hours on our way to Utah. Zion. The Motherland.  Home of Wingers and Red Iguana.  Most people thrill over the canyons, the hiking, the outdoorsiness of it all.  Or maybe Conference or Temple Square.  Yeah yeah yeah.  All of that.  But I've mapped out the FOOD.  The Belgian Waffle place we'll have breakfast - Bruges Waffles and Frites..

Sweet Tooth Fairy Bakery.  And Guy Fieri's picks (Diners DriveIns and Dives): Blue Plate Diner, Moochie's Meatballs, Lone Star Taquiera, Ruth's Diner, and Pat's BBQ.  Anybody eaten at any of these places?  Anyone??
I imagine I'll have to do a fair amount of walking/hiking to make up for the luscious yumminess of it all, but I'm excited.  Oh, and I'm excited to see Andrew and my brother and wife Greta and niece Ari.  Of course.  It'll be great.  And I'll get to meet/visit with Jess - maybe she'll want to go out to eat with me!
Work has been grueling and chaotic.  I'm anxious to leave it all behind for a few days and think about anything else.  I need to relax and recharge and spend some time not packing boxes, and counting inventory.
Too focused on the food?  Probably.  But I know you'll wish you were with me when I'm having a waffle covered in hot fudge and piled with strawberries and whipped cream.  (I know I'll wish you were with me, too, so I would have someone to share it with...)  Delicacies such as that are much better shared with your sister friends and good conversation.  I will be with L and Andrew, who don't cotton much to loud laughter and chatter.  My two Silent Partners.  *sigh* { I'm counting on you, Jess... more than you know... }
I'm sure once I hear the words spoken at April Conference I'll be able to get a grip, and put the eating part of the trip into proper perspective.  One would hope.  But the boys - L and Andrew - are going to the Lakers/Jazz game on Friday night.  I don't know if they'll be able to reach my lofty spiritual height after that.  It'll be tough, and may depend on whether the Lakers win or lose.
One thing I need to remember: while in Utah I may be able to hide a little bit longer in jackets, coats, and boots.  But I'll need to go easy on the eating, because back home in Cali it's 87 degrees.  No hiding the cupcake tummy in weather like that.  *sucking it in*  I need to pack my hiking boots.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

No Spring In My Step

I've been absent this week.  I'm sorry.  I just couldn't work up the energy to write anything.  My life is all up in the air, I don't know what's going on with my job, I miss my little grandkiddies, I'm worried about how Katie and Zach will handle the big move to Boston, Scott had an important interview (it went great!), and now Rex has something big coming up, but isn't saying what quite yet.  On and on.  Tortuous to a mom.  To add to the pile, I found out last week that I will indeed have to fly up to San Francisco to interview for the new position at work.  That's kind of exciting, but I wasn't planning on it, so now I need to get something to wear for the interview, and for some reason that really threw me.
Our little office is pretty casual.  Suits or dresses?  Never.  Pumps or heels? No.  I'm used to wearing casual slacks or skirts, and sandals when it's warm, or boots - even Ugg boots - when it's cold.  With my old, arthritic ankles, heels are a thing of the past.  But now I have to interview and I realize I have no proper shoes, and I really don't even have a proper interview outfit.  So to add to the pressure I'll need to go out and find something suitable, and - being the impatient shopper that I am - I'm not looking forward to it.
So with all of the uncertainty and nonsense swirling around me this past week, I've found myself a little down.  I've come home from work each night feeling like I was in a little funk.  Not downright unhappy, but not optimistic like I usually am.  I'm not sleeping well, and it shows.
Last night was the icing on the cake.  L and I had gone to the temple to the last session starting at 8:00.  I was feeling fine, but I was just having trouble concentrating.  I was stiff and sore, and that made me have even more trouble concentrating.  By the time we came home I was tired and it was time for bed.  I think I slept for a few minutes, but when I woke up I couldn't settle back down.  I was up most of the night, not being able to fall asleep until somewhere between 3:30 and 4:00am.  I tried moving to my office and snoozing on my chaise but that didn't work, so I dragged my achey old bones back to bed, hoping I wouldn't wake up L.
Needless to say, when it was time to get up for church, I couldn't do it.  My eyes ached along with the rest of me.  L got up, and went to his early meeting and I couldn't even move.  He came back and I was still in bed, and just waking up.  He said he'd felt super tired this morning too (I felt guilty - probably my fault being restless all night!) and so he'd stopped off and gotten a Diet Coke and a doughnut.  He said he couldn't believe how good that sugary doughnut and soda had tasted.  (I could well imagine.)  He laid down on the bed with me and we talked about nothing for the length of Sacrament Meeting.  So enjoyable.  About the time Sunday School started, he told me to go back to sleep.  I did.  When I woke up, he was just leaving to go to the third hour meeting.  I got up, washed my face, put on my Crest White Strips, and threw in some wash.  I felt a lot more rested.  Funny how that is - just about the time church is over... (don't be like me.)  It reminded me of Fast Sundays when I lived in New Jersey.  My friend (also named Karen) would slip out, walk to her house, cook a fast mini pizza, grab a bottle of No-Cal and walk back to church, eating as we went, and arriving just in time for it to be over.  Yes, it was bad.  No, I was not improving myself.  At all.  But it still makes me laugh to think about it.  And a little nostalgic.
I swear - I always go, but today, it felt so good to play hooky.  I'm not proud of it, but I did get the rest I needed, and I was able to get things done.  And I was able to think a few things through, which I wouldn't have done being surrounded by people at church.
I had a small burst of domesticity in the late afternoon.  I threw in a roast, L made a salad with homemade croutons, and some cornbread.  There were some blueberries losing their freshness in the fridge and I made some blueberry scones with a hint or orange zest.  And then, to top it off, we made 10 individual little pies from some leftover apple pie filling.  To be sure, I don't need to be eating small apple pies or tons of scones.  But there's plenty to share with our work friends, and it just felt good to bake.  It made me feel accomplished and I like having a small bounty of goodies to give out.
This week will be a four day work week.  On Friday we leave for a small vacation to the Motherland (Utah).  It'll be good to see Andrew and my brother Matt and his family.  And my blogging friend Jess!  We'll go to conference and visit with family and friends.  It'll be good to get away from work and worry for a little bit.  I can't wait to meet Jess.  I hope she doesn't think I'm weird.
So that explains my writing hiatus this past week.  I'll try to get back the wit and sparkle this week.  One nice thing that happened though: Mia called me on the phone to invite me to her birthday.  Because she's going to be 5, and that's a very big deal.  First Lexi turns 5 in April, and then Mia in June.  Buckle up: these little girls are headed for big stuff ahead.  Serious. Big. Stuff.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Customized Trio Of Days

It's another linky party over at Jen's blog.  The question posed today was this: what would you do if you had a day, or two, or three all to yourself?  No obligations, no small children clamoring - nothing you didn't want to do. What would you do?  That one made me stop and think.  I'm so accustomed to having very structured days that it was hard to come up with anything.  But then my mind began to wander, and I changed the rules a bit to add the fact that I could also control the weather.
My perfect 3 days would be stretchy and adjustable.  They would allow for lazy mornings reading in bed (I hear it's bad for you but I don't care.  It's a guilty pleasure.)  Somehow blueberry pancakes would appear.  And fresh squeezed orange juice.  Eggs over easy.  Into the shower, and just for today my hair wouldn't take an hour to blow dry and style.  It would be frizz free and shiny.  All of the girls would be in town for the day (a miracle in itself!) and we would have a girl's holiday.

So it's off to shop and lunch and enjoy the sunshine down by the beach.  Lots of girl talk, lots of laughing with all my girls.  We all find something to love while we shop, and we all like our bodies (I know - I live in a fantasy world).
By late afternoon we've headed to the spa and we're all having massages,facials, manicures, pedicures - whatever we want.  (It's my perfect few days, right?  So I've also got plenty of money.)  Relaxed, happy, and skin glowing and toes painted, we head to my house where we'll whip up the perfect little meal together.  Some kind of good salad with maybe a little BBQd steak on the side.  Our hair is all wrecked up and oily from the massages and facials so we can't really go out.  We have movies - our favorite chick flicks - and we watch them together and continue the laughter and silliness and love.  And that's Day 1.
Overnight, the clouds roll in.  I wake up in the middle of the night and I can smell the rain in the puffs of fresh air blowing through the open window.  (My perfect days are in early summer)  You know that smell of moisture and damp earth that comes just ahead of the rain?  Yeah... that's what blows in the window...  A little bit of lightning, not too close, and distant thunder.  Then the rain... I can fall back to sleep listening to the sweet rain falling.
Never mind that this is Puerto Rico - I wish it rained like this everywhere.  And last night, here, it did!

Day 2 is a rainy day.  I'm content to stay inside, drag out neglected projects, and get things done.  I may paint something, I might clean out a closet, I might just lay on my chaise and catch up on my reading.  It's my day.  It feels good to accomplish something in the warmth of the house while it's rainy and wet outside.  My soul is renewed, and I've improved my world in some small way.  I think there are also clean, warm sheets on the bed, and I go to bed that night tired and happy, sinking into cushy warmth.

Day 3 is bright and sunny.  It's a day for L and me to spend together.  I've already seen my girls, we've pampered ourselves, we've sunned ourselves, and we've had girl time.  I've had my solitude, getting my own little projects finished and my spirits lifted.  I've had time to think and reflect.  So Day 3 is for my best friend and me to spend together.
Yes, L would love to hike all over the Grand Canyon. He has to adjust to my limitations.  My bad knees and ankles.

I can concentrate on him and enjoy his company - which I do anyway, but just for today there are no distractions like work or church or family obligations.  Just the two of us.  We take a long walk around Balboa, or maybe a hike in the hills.  We eat at our favorite places, or maybe we shop and bring good things home to cook and eat.  We have fun either way.  L likes to plug his i-Phone into the stereo system and blast his i-Tunes while we cook.  Beatles, Neil Young, Jack Johnson (my fave!), Jackson Browne.  We sing along as we cook.  Unless it's Yes - "Greatest rock and roll band in the history of music" says L.  But I don't think so, and I roll my eyes.  We agree to disagree.  Later, we snuggle in front of the TV and have a little something sweet and a Diet Coke.  Off to bed, and I fall asleep with my head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat keeping time with my thoughts as I drift off.  And a ways off, I can hear the train clacking on the tracks as it rushes  through the late night air - our final nighttime lullaby.
3 days with no particular routine.  One for my girls, one for me, one for my love.

I hope my boys aren't feeling left out.  Tim is planning a wedding, so nah - he's occupied.

Andrew would rather be hiking in the mountains with L.

Zach is so deep into med school he'd never even notice.

But Rex likes to go and do, so I'd need to have a special day just for going and doing with him.

And knowing Scott, he'd probably come and crash our girl's day.  And we'd all wonder how we would've had any fun at all without him.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Zach Gets A BRILLIANT Match

As many of you know, my son-in-law Zach (husband to daughter Katie) is in med school.  For over 3 years they lived in Puerto Rico where Zach plowed through his training in Spanish.  This man is brilliant, and he doesn't give himself half enough credit.  For the last year their little family has been based in Mesa, AZ while Zach has traversed half the United States on his various rotations at different schools.  Katie and their two beautiful little girls were home alone for weeks on end without him.  They've had a rough go, but they've been strong and persevered.  I've so admired Katie's courage and resolve.  She may get down, but she doesn't stay there very long.  As my friend Sue says, she makes lemonade out of lemons.
Zach applied for residency to his top 6 schools: North Carolina, South Carolina, Gainesville, FL, USC, Phoenix and Tucson, AZ.  All interviews went well and he was even invited back to South Carolina, his favorite.  He didn't apply to any cold weather schools out of deference to Katie who, having suffered a broken neck and two knee surgeries when younger, doesn't do well in the cold.  His applications went into the system and matches were announced on Monday the 14th.  I'm not sure how the matches are made, but Zach did not get a match.  He called Katie as she was going through security at the Phoenix airport, completely distraught.  Katie got to think about that for the rest of the day as she struggled with two small girls for the over 7 hour flight.  Devastation and tears.  That's pretty much what that day was about, when it should have been a celebration at being reunited after over a month apart.
I was sick at heart for them.  These med students work so hard and put in endless hours of work and study. It's almost unimaginable.  And still, there was a small part of myself that kept whispering "Stay calm. It will all be fine."  And so I did.  And I prayed.  Oh how I prayed.  Prayers for their family, prayers that they would hold onto hope, prayers that whatever happened it would be good for their family.
Yesterday the call came from Katie.  After putting his name into the "scramble" (lists of med schools that still had openings) he not only had a match, but had gotten a match for his specialty: psychiatry.  And it wasn't just to any school, it was to the University of Massachusetts, one of the most prestigious medical schools in the country.  A school he didn't even apply to.
I called everyone I knew and I couldn't stop crying from relief, from happiness, from sheer JOY.  Yes, it's cold there in the winter.  Katie is very worried about that, but slightly comforted by the thought of cute boots, sweaters and coats.  But the history and the beauty of that part of the country is amazing.  What a great adventure they'll have!  And, as son Scott put it, "Katie's had enough beach for 10 lives." (She's lived in Hawaii, Huntington Beach, CA, and Puerto Rico.)  And I think Cape Cod is a lovely beach.  Their little girls will prosper, get good educations, and be able at long last to put down some roots.  And they'll learn the joys of sledding in the winter.

On one level, I'm sad.  Massachusetts is SO. FAR. AWAY.  But so was Puerto Rico.  On the bright side, Boston is a great city to visit in any season, and there is so much that is close by.  I'm hoping for some great trips in our future.  Now we'll have 2 kids on the East Coast to visit: Katie in Boston and Tim in NYC.  Ashley said last night that Boston is one of her favorite places, so I will maybe have a travel buddy if LaMar isn't able to go.  Add in Ronna and you've got the makings of a girl's trip!  I can see/wish for Christmas shopping in Boston, summers in Cape Cod.
For now, their little family is enjoying a much needed month together in Puerto Rico.  A condo on the beach, white sands and sparkling blue water during the day, the sound of ocean waves lulling them with to sleep each night with a Puerto Rican lullaby.  And most importantly, being together as a family.
I have so much to be grateful for.  This was a better path than anyone ever envisioned.  Proof once again that we should never despair.  There is always hope.  There is always a silver lining.  And most times that silver lining is brighter and shinier than what we hoped for in the first place.  Next time I'll be quicker to look up and see it coming.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sugar Is The Devil

My millionth stab at trying to stay away from sugar.  It was going well until now.  I'm hungry, but I guess I need to feel hungry - otherwise I wouldn't be eating any less, right?  Plus, I'm not exactly hungry for carrot sticks.  I'm hungry for a bag of marshmallows.  Ice cream. Anything sweet.  A clear sign that I need to stop.  Now.
I've done well today.  I walked a slow mile at lunchtime.  Slow because I can't go back to the office sweating like a pig.  L and I walked a couple more miles tonight after dinner.  A fast couple of miles and I sweated like a pig.  After walking we went to the store because we were out of butter.  L kept telling me to get things for my lunches.  The only thing that looked good was cheese.  So I got cheese.  String cheese, Irish cheddar cheese, Mini Bonbel cheese.  I'll probably regret that later.  I also got a package of sliced roast beef.  It's weird about my lunches.  I have to make them really plain and simple.  If they're too delicious I want to eat too much of them.  Just pack smaller portions, you say?  I won't.  If I like what I'm packing too much, I take an abundance so, you know, I won't get caught with not enough, and starve to death at work. I am a champion rationalizer when it comes to food and other bad habits.

What works better for me is to keep things plain and simple.  Keep it to things I like but don't love.  Some cold chicken or sliced roast beef.  Blueberries and cottage cheese.  Tuna and some crackers.  Good and flavorful, but it's not so exciting that I don't want to stop eating it.  Sadly, I'm kind of an all or nothing girl so I have to stick closer to the nothing end of the scale.  When I first found out about my job shift, I went right to the comfort food.  L and I cooked chicken fried steak, we fried onion strings, we made pizza.  It was all so good, so fun to cook.  It was irresponsible and delicious.  It was abundant, and having lots of good food around always makes me feel rich.  (Now that would be something to psychoanalyze...)  For a few days it was easy not to care about the calories and carbs.
Fun's over, kids.  Back to plain eating, low carbs, little or no sugar, little or no eating fun.  Lots and lots of water.  Except for tomorrow night.  Girls night out with Ashley tomorrow night.  I'll try very hard to be sensible, though, and not gain back the 10 pounds I'm absolutely sure I lost today.  *crickets chirping*  My goal is to gab more than I eat, and listen more than I gab.  And to absolutely enjoy the time spent being girls together.

ps: I submitted my application today for the new position at my company.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cats...And Thumbs...

This is for all you cat lovers out there.  Something to think about...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Clueless Believer In Myself

Jen over at Denton Sanatorium posed a question: If you could know what your future holds - good and bad - would you want to know, or would you rather take life as it comes?  Would you take your best shot at door 1, 2, or 3 - or would you want a sure thing, a clear choice?

I've been giving this some thought over the past week, as I've had a life changing event happen just last Thursday - my job position being eliminated.  It might have been helpful to have seen it coming.  It might be helpful to know now what the new position being created will be, and will it even be something I want?  I've always been the kind of person who, when knowing a secret becomes possible,  NEEDS to know.  I know I'd always want to know the sex of an unborn child, just like I've always searched out Christmas gifts in their hiding places, or carefully, furtively, unwrapped them, peeked, and wrapped them back up.  (Alas, my family is onto me now and L has my gifts sent to his work.  No more peeking.)  So if I were given the choice to know the future, or not know, I don't know if I could resist the temptation to peer into it.

Just as well, then, that we don't have the choice.  I feel that it would alter our choices.  If I'd known that, in the end, my job would be eliminated after 9 years, I doubt I would have tried as hard as I did.  And that would have been a shame, because I've learned so much, and become a much more polished person in the process of my education.  I've grown to love the people I spend 5 days a week with - my work family.  If I'd known it would all end, I might have pulled back, not wanting to feel the sadness I'm feeling now.  I'd have lost out on a lot of good stuff.  Knowing can keep you safe, but safety doesn't always offer the richest experience.

Having a future be certain and unshakable takes away hope.  Sometimes hope is silly and impractical, but it makes your spirit soar and gives you a can-do attitude.  If we could see our failures ahead of time, most of us wouldn't put in the time trying - fighting - to make them successes.  And we'd lose so many opportunities for growth.  Human nature would take over, and we'd naturally turn away from the very situations that would give us the best stories to tell later.  Success and happiness aren't necessarily the things that build our characters, and give us strength and resilience.  We become strong from trying, and trying again until we get it right - sometimes after many failures and some heartache.  We're never sure how many tries it will take to get it right - or even IF we'll ever get it right.  But because we don't know for sure, we keep trying.  And trying.  And trying again.

It's a beautiful lesson to teach our children, and illustrate to them each and every time we get the chance.  So many times I've been discouraged, thinking this or that will never work out.  And then I'll be inspired by the words and actions of a friend, or even a stranger.  And I'll think that I'm not done yet.  I can still win.  I don't know for sure, but I'll always have my hope.  Because no one has revealed a cut and dried future, I can still soar in the belief that anything is possible.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Going To Les Mis

I know we have our big writing assignment with Jen at Denton Sanatorium tomorrow, but I needed to squeal a little bit first about the big surprise that L gave me tonight.  I think he's been feeling sorry for me because I've been a little wigged out about my job going bye-bye in a couple of months, so he made up a "Half Birthday Surprise" for me: tickets to Les Miserables in July at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles!!  SQUEEEEE!!!
I'm not a huge fan of theatre - not even Phantom of the Opera, which everyone else went nuts for.  But this one - it just struck a chord with me.  I saw it many years ago in Los Angeles before LaMar was ever a twinkle in my eye.  I've been yakking to him for years about how wonderful it was and how much I love the music, and how inspirational the story... don't even get me started on the book.  Tonight he forked over tickets as a surprise.  Seriously, I almost started crying.  I'm so excited, and it will be a really nice thing to look forward to over the next few difficult months of transition.  Because I don't know what I'm transitioning TO makes it all the more difficult.  But Les Mis tickets...  I think I can handle anything with that on the horizon.  What can I do for L in return?  Probably stop moping around and talking incessantly about work.  Yep, I think that'd do it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

I've Got Some Good News & Some Bad News...

Which would you like first?  Good news?  Don't blame you.  We found out this week that L's oldest son, ("our" third oldest child) Tim is engaged!  He lives in New York City, has been a school teacher, and recently decided to go back to school to get another Masters degree - this time in Social Work.  He's about to graduate, and has been dating Autumn, who is an actress.  Everyone else got to meet her recently when she and Tim were here in Los Angeles for a meeting of some sort she had.  They all got together one weeknight in Los Angeles at 6pm for dinner.  I work in South Orange County.  Ever try to get to Los Angeles from South Orange County by 6pm?  You'd have to leave work by 2 or 3:00.  And you still might be late.  So I am the only parent type person who hasn't met her.  I hear she's delightful so I'm looking forward to having my chance.

Tim decided to propose one afternoon in Central Park.  Luckily a bystander with a camera and quick reflexes shot the whole thing and offered the images to them later.  Here's how it went:

Tim has romance in his soul and delivers the big question

The ring is slipped on

And then Autumn really gets to admire it

A big hug but she's still looking at the ring!

And it IS pretty... nice manicure, Autumn!

The happy couple!

We don't really know much else at this point.  We've heard they'd like to have the wedding in the fall but... can they pull off a fall wedding?  In NYC?  Time will tell.  No matter when it is, we're all excited to welcome Autumn into the family - and I'm still looking forward to meeting her.  I haven't heard Tim sound this happy... well... EVER.

Now... for the bad news.  Remember how I was worried about company layoffs?  Well, it happened.  Thursday morning we were dealt the near death blow.  Near death because it doesn't actually happen until June 30th.  The company decided to close all of its district offices (of which we are one) and most of it's regional offices, leaving open only Parsippany NJ, Minneapolis MN, Atlanta GA,  and San Francisco, CA.  {insert sad face here}  The offices will close by the end of April, and then we will work from home offices until June 30th, at which time the admins' jobs will be eliminated.  {insert REALLY sad face here}  I've worked for this company for 9 years, and although it drives me crazy sometimes I've enjoyed it overall.  Well, as much as you can enjoy work, I've enjoyed it.  And I love my boss.  He was so distraught the morning they told us that I felt I had to be strong to comfort HIM.  
Now, the silver lining is that there are 3 jobs available in each region that us admins can apply for.  If we get it, we will work from home (BONUS!) and will do (I think) many of the same things we've always done.  The downside is that we won't be working directly with the same sales teams - it will be more removed and spread out.  But the upside is that we would have a job and we wouldn't have to uproot insurance and life as we know it.  For the last 2-3 years the admins in our region have been forced to take on 2 sales districts and many extra responsibilities, for no more pay.  We were lucky to have a job, right?  But secretly we complained and felt overworked.  But now, that same downsizing of admin positions has worked in our favor.  Our region has only 4 admins competing for 3 positions.  Other regions have as many as 8 or 9 admins competing for their 3 positions.  I'm in a very good position right now.  I am still looking and will also apply outside the company (anyone know of any openings?), but I'm really really hopeful that I'll get one of those positions.

So the last couple of days have been surreal.  I've received emails from people I work closely with, as well as others all over the country expressing their dismay at the layoffs.  People have been so kind.  Every single one of my sales reps have written emails to the regional VP (who is in charge of choosing the lucky 3!) singing my praises, and letting him know I should definitely have the job.  My boss keeps buying me lunch and making lists of people he can network with on my behalf.  (Did I mention that he is the nicest man?)  We've had such a good working relationship that I was thinking today about how sad I will be on that last day of working directly for him.  He'll be a little lost without me - I am like his work wife.  (Side note: his real life wife's name is also Karen, and sometimes he emails me personal notes when he clicks on the wrong email address.  And one time he called me honey by mistake.  :-)  I'm going to miss him.)  He even said he would pray that I would get the job, and then added that he hardly ever does that.  I took that as a compliment.

So there you are.  The next few weeks will fly by.  Before you know it, the last day in the office will be here, and I'll have to say goodbye to the place I've gone 5 days a week for the past 9 years.  Hopefully by then I will know whether or not I have that other position (please oh please oh please oh please...)  Seriously.  I'm too old to want to start over somewhere else.  On the other hand, I've been surprised at my resilience and strength the past couple of days.  I feel pretty calm.  I feel that everything will be OK as soon as the dust settles.  And WOW - good thing I just got my home office in shape, huh?  That was timely.

A week of impending weddings, and uncertainty.  A week of extremes.  A week of being so exhausted you fall asleep immediately, but when you wake up in the middle of the night your thoughts are racing with all of the things that need to be done, and you can't get back to sleep.  I hope that part settles down because it's giving me a headache.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fun With Wendy & Lori

I just got home from the nicest evening out I've had in, well, I can't remember when.  I've lived in this area for 17 years.  I raised my kids, met my husband, got married (again), sent two sons on missions, put on or participated in 4 kids' weddings, celebrated the arrival of 4 grandchildren, and will soon rejoice in the arrival of another.  The one thing I've really not done in all these years of living here?  Had any really good girlfriends.  I mean, I've had good friends, but they didn't live here.  In my area.  In my state.  I've had acquaintances, I've had friends sort of, but not the kind of friends you can sit at dinner with for hours and discuss anything and everything from life's disappointments to Glen Beck. (Bad example because for a lot of us life's disappointments and Glen Beck are one and the same)  But you know what I mean.  No judging, no putting your best face forward, just real discussion.  Compassion, sympathy, laughing, joy in the great time you're sharing.  Joy in the Diet Cokes.  That's the kind of time I had tonight, and it's been a long time coming.
Probably mostly my fault.  I'm not a joiner.  My daughter in law and I were discussing this the other night.  It's hard for us to imagine that others have as hard a time reaching out as we do.  We tend to sit back and wait for everyone else to make the gesture, and when they don't we feel hurt.  It's only (lately) when I've realized this about myself, and have made a conscious effort to smile the first smile or say the first word that I've seen people respond.  Because I've been nice, and I've been friendly.  I haven't been that sulky person who looks like she might not be nice if you talked to her.  (Shy people look like that a lot, you know - it's smoke and mirrors.  It's a defense.)  I told Ronna that I'd been having some good results and that I felt happier, but I'm still a work in progress.  (Aren't we all...)  We agreed we'd both try to do this and work to improve ourselves to a point that it felt comfortable.  We are envious of Katie who does this in a seemingly effortless, fearless way.  I've never known Katie to be without friends for more than 5 or 10 minutes.
Anyway, my point is that it's too bad it took me 17 years to figure this out.  But I'm glad I figured it out.  Our girlfriends are a wonderful support.  They get it.  They understand what a unique thing it is to be a woman, and how crazy and wonderful it can be.  Husbands are irreplaceable - L gets me in a way that no one else does - but every so often I do wish he were more girl-like.  And that's where the girlfriends come in.  It was great to get out and laugh and discuss life's absurdities, problems, and fears with ladies who are sympatico.  I'm tired and it's late.  But I feel refreshed.  And I can't wait to do it again.

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