Gratitude Saturday 6/30

It’s summer and it’s hot.  I am grateful for summer, but not so happy with the humidity level in the city.  C’est la vie…

  1. My friend received word that the cancerous mass was removed entirely.  She obviously has to go for check ups every three months, but so far…
  2. my favorite walking sandals did not break until I got home
  3. Sketchers had sandals 30% off and I found a comfy pair in my size
  4. the worst problem I had this week was that my favorite comfy sandals broke
  5. air conditioning (I know I’ve said this before, but NYC is hot right now, and getting hotter)
  6. great dinners at beautiful restaurants with  great friends
  7. veggie chili frito pie
  8. cell phone cases with room to store credit cards
  9. AMEX fraud hotline which alerted us that our card was hacked
  10. my new dishwasher was installed
  11. don’t need to handwash dishes
  12. little cascade pods that come free with new dishwasher
  13. roof tops
  14. blogging friends

Honestly, there were probably more, but once you know a friend is going to be fine, does anything else matter?

Peace and love!!!

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The Fork in the Road

A few weeks ago I had a crisis of faith, of sorts: I didn’t know if I wanted to continue blogging.  I hit a point where I sat down, looked at my computer and thought “Why?”  Why am I doing this?  Where’s the satisfaction? Am I getting what I want/need out of this time expenditure?

I immediately thought back to a statistic that I had read: average blogger life is 18 months. I was only at a year: was I below average?  The competitive part of me could only think about how I only needed to blog for six more months and then I would be “above average”.  But was that a good enough reason to continue blogging?  To beat a statistic that I’m not even sure of its validity?

I told my friend SF that I wasn’t sure what I was doing.  I felt like the words pouring out of me were meaningless.  Did it matter what I said?  Was anyone really listening to what I was trying to say?  I went to the dark side of the writing – the side that questions the very decision to put words on paper.  Did my writing matter?

I didn’t blog for two days.

Then a funny thing happened.  I’m sure my friends K and G would say there was some sort of cosmic significance here at work.  I ran into an old friend that I hadn’t spoken to for awhile.  While  playing catch up 20 questions, I explained my blog.  And in explaining my blog, I sort of remembered all the things I loved about writing every day.  How much I enjoyed interacting with all my blog friends.  How much joy I got out of forming an idea and thinking of a way to put it on paper, and then sending those thoughts to the whole internet world wide thing.

As K and G would say, you put the question out there, and then the answer comes to you.

So, I’m going to continue blogging.  I going to continue to think about topics and how to formulate them.  I’m going to keep thinking about, well, lets go with everything, cause I never know what is going to pop into my head on any given day.  But, as we’re always evolving, things may change.  I know my summer blogs will change a bit just due to time away and such. And maybe the fall will usher in new ways of doing things so I can keep my mind fresh.  But for now, I’m going to get up in the morning, feed the pets, go to the gym, and write my blog.

Thanks for listening.

 

Straw into Gold

I always jot down blog ideas by putting them in my planner.  Most of the time I see my note and I know immediately the direction I want to take: I have a clear cut path.  Today is not one of those days.  Today I looked at my note and went “hmmm- what was I thinking when I jotted this idea down?” So, we’re going to see if I can turn straw into gold.  Or if not gold, at least something of worth.

My daughter just finished Junior year of high school.  She did well- this is not a complaint about her academic achievements.  She has an impressive three year GPA, she did well enough on her SAT that if it wasn’t that she needed to do the optional essay, she would not be taking it again. (In NYC, all students take the SAT courtesy of the city- the only catch is, it is given without the optional essay.  My daughter is applying to at least 5 schools that require the essay)

Here’s the thing when people see someone with high grades- they somehow assume that those that have high grades do not study.  They think these grades just happen.  And maybe, for some kids this is true.  But my kid is not always one of them.  My kid studies. And some classes are more of a struggle than others.

History is not one of those classes.  For some reason she has an almost eidetic memory for history- she has an uncanny grasp of dates and concepts.  When they played US History Jeopardy, her team won 7000-300 because if her teacher started a question “In 1887…” she would ring in and say “Dawes Act”- and then give the description.  She got a 99 on the Regents Exam (NY State test for high school) and thought about asking to see her answer sheet because she couldn’t figure out what she got wrong. But, to be clear, she still reads the books and does the homework.  It just settles in her brain the right way.

Physics.  Well physics was a bit of a challenge.  She spent more time studying physics this year than every other class combined. She was at every review session.  She signed up for a physics video website thing.  She bought about a thousand physics study guides.  She worked her tail off, and she was rewarded with a good grade.  But she worked hard.

Some people don’t seem to realize that success comes with hard work and sacrifice.  When my family was over on Father’s Day, my daughter excused herself to study physics, because she had the exam a few days after.  My FIL said “Why is she studying?  She’s smart. She doesn’t need to study.”

So here’s the thing: just because you are smart, or athletic or funny doesn’t mean that you are automatically get all A’s, or play in the major league or be a late night talk show host.  Just because you have raw talent doesn’t mean you don’t have to work at something.  To be good at anything you must consistently work towards that goal.  You must consistently put in time and effort.  Study, practice, whatever- you must work.  No one is entitled to grades or recording contracts or pro careers.  No one succeeds by putting in minimal effort.  No one is that lucky.

So here’s the thing: don’t spend your time buying lottery tickets in hopes of changing your life.  Figure out your passion and work towards a goal.  Take your straw and weave it into gold.

 

 

The Day I Lost My Cool

I don’t like conflict.

I don’t like yelling.

This may come as a surprise, because we all know that I love a good argument.  I have no problem picking a side and defending its merits.  Those of you who have heard my tales of customer service experiences would also wonder about the above statement, since I’ve told a story or three about dealing with customer service. (truth- my daughter thinks that every call center around the world has my number and picture with a big line crossed through it, and that  their free time is spent throwing darts at it)

But as a rule, I don’t like to yell at people.

You also know that I don’t discuss politics on my blog.  What you may not know it that I also refuse to discuss politics in real life (there are only about 3 people I will ever talk politics with) I am of the belief that everyone has an opinion that they are entitled to, but I also strongly believe that people don’t want to have a discussion, they want to get you to change your mind.  Obviously this is my opinion, which I am entitled to.

But anyway.

Everyone in my real life knows that I do not like discussing politics, especially at an event such as Father’s Day (see- you knew this would become topical).  Most of my youth was spent sitting around the dining room table on holidays, with people yelling at one another (the common refrain was – ‘we’re Italian- it’s not yelling- it’s how we talk- and my Mother adds facebook comments in ALL CAPS BECAUSE SHE JUST CAN’T HELP HERSELF) So my goal was to have holidays with the least amount of verbal conflict possible.  I did not want my daughter to feel like I did growing up.

My Father in Law knows that I do not like discussing politics.  I have said this to him about a thousand times.  No- make that a million.  My husband knows that I do not like discussing politics in an open forum.  Let me make this clear- if you know me, you know I do not discuss politics.

So naturally, on Fathers Day my FIL sat at the table and asked my daughter about politics.  And my daughter blew off the question the first five times because she knows that I don’t like political discussion at the dinner table.  So, the conversation went like this:

FIL (to daughter) What do you think of X?

Daughter: Can you pass the potatoes?

The above was repeated about five different times with my daughter varying her answers slightly

FIL- well you must have an opinion

Daughter: Actually, the past month has been crazy with tests and year end stuff.  The only things I’ve been reading are about school, and trying to get an internship for the summer, and pre season tennis practice.  I haven’t read a paper or watched the news.  I’m not informed enough to discuss X.

FIL- but don’t you think it’s wrong?

Daughter- I don’t know

FIL- makes ridiculous statement

Husband- makes opposite position ridiculous statement

My Father- alternate ridiculous statement

Father and Husband yelling at one another

Me: Hands slam the table saying in my loud, authoritative bond trading floor voice that I haven’t used in 18 years: “AND THE DISCUSSION OF POLITICS IS NOW OVER

FIL: (stands up from table) = “Oh, I guess your house, your rules.”

Me: (looking directly at him) You bet your ass.  My house,  My rules. (me staring him down till he sat back down at the table.

See- this is why I don’t like discussing politics, or yelling.  Because the fierce side of my personality comes out- the person who doesn’t put up with shit.  The person who takes control of the situation.  And normally this part of my personality is my friend- this part of my personality has gotten me through life.

But I don’t want to do it at the holiday table.

I don’t want yelling at the table.

I don’t want to yell at my Father.

And I was mad at myself for yelling.  I was annoyed that my FIL and Husband have so little respect for my one wish that politics are not discussed ( to be clear, my Husband engaged the conversation with the stupidest comment ever). But mostly I was mad at myself for yelling at my Father.  My Father is 80.  Thought there no imminent threat to his health, he has about a thousand issues.  I don’t know if I get another Father’s Day with him.  I did not want my last Father’s Day memory to be of yelling about politics, of all stupid things, and me losing my shit.

Yet, that is what happened.

I so want to blame everyone at the table.  But in the end I must take responsibility for my actions. But I can’t take back what I said, or what happened.

And I need to live with that.

 

The Intern

My daughter started her internship yesterday.

Ok- so that’s the lead- but what’s the rest of the story?

She applied to a few different internship programs, because as you know, internships are difficult to get, especially if you have few connections.  Many firms are cutting back on these types of opportunities, so for a High School student, finding an internship can be daunting.  Though she interviewed for many, there were not a plethora of offers.  But, she did secure a good spot which more importantly fit her time frame.  (TBH, she needs to look at colleges this summer, and she has a TON of summer homework, plus she takes her second SAT in late August, and oh yeah, because she plays a fall sport, tennis practice begins halfway through August- three weeks before school starts.

Of course- my daughter had delusions of grandeur:  in her mind she was going to sashay into the office and start running things.  I kind of put in perspective that she would probably have a lot of busy work.  As it turns out, we were both sort of right and sort of wrong: though yesterday she did a bunch of folding and envelope stuffing, tomorrow she actually begins a project that is tedious by the sound of it, yet important.  Like anything- tedious but necessary.

Sunday night she had a little attack of nerves.  She said to me “What if I make a mistake?  What if I screw up?  This isn’t school, where I might not like a bad grade, but I know I will survive.  What if I do something wrong?”  I reminded her that she wasn’t performing brain surgery.  She wasn’t defending someone of death row.  And that everyone makes mistakes.  Everyone.  Just because it’s a job and people are supposed to be adults doesn’t make them infallible.  I doled out the Mom playbook and I told her to listen to what she’s being told, take notes, write lists, and ask questions.  Just like she has done since she was four years old and went to Kindergarten.  I reminded her that the qualities that make her a successful student will be the same qualities that make her a successful person in the work force.  I don’t know how convinced she was, but she nodded her head.

I went back down memory lane as I helped her get dressed yesterday morning: I took her suit and blouse out of the closet, secured her necklace clasp, smoothed her hair down under the rarely used headband.  As I stepped back to look at her, all I could think was “How did this happen?  How is my kid old enough to be heading to an office for a “real” job?  Wasn’t she just starting nursery school?” For a second, I had a little attack of nerves.

Yes- I had one of those Mom moments.  I busied myself with making sure she had tissues and her metrocard.  Made sure she knew where the closest deli to the office was.  Straightened her suit one more time. Kissed her cheek as she went out the door….

No.  I didn’t cry.  I didn’t even get weepy.  Because even though this is a new stage for her, I know I have given her as many tools as possible to survive in the real world.  I know I have spent the past 16 1/2 years preparing her to walk out the door and survive in any setting.  I have prepared her to not need me.  And that felt good.  She knows I’m in her corner, but she also knows she can tackle anything she sets her mind to.

I’ve parented her to the best of my abilities.  She will always be my baby, and I will always be her Mommy.  But I know she’s ready to get on with her life.  And I’m ready to get on with mine.

Alone Again, Naturally

In early June, Husband went on a “boy’s trip” to the Bahamas to celebrate his and his friends 50th birthdays.  (Yes- he’s 4 1/2 years younger- just call me Cougar…) Now to be obvious, if he is away for six days, I am home with my daughter and the pets for six days.  Now, some people don’t like being the one stuck at home while the other is off having fun.  Some people miss having their partner around to help with the household stuff.

I am not one of those people.

For the most part, things run smoothly around my house on any given day.  They run even more smoothly when Husband is away.  He has this annoying habit of coming home from work, putting papers on the dining room table, his work clothes on my desk, and leaving his keys in one spot and his sunglasses somewhere else. (FYI- we have a key bowl on the console when you walk into the apartment) When he’s away I spend zero hours looking for things he has misplaced.  This is a good thing.

As my daughter is 16, she is fairly self sufficient.  She is also very busy.  I normally don’t see her much during the week: her post school hours are filled with homework, activities and her tutoring job.  On the weekends our goal is to spend some sort of quality time together- but as it happens- that was not to be that particular weekend.  She had end of year exams to contend with, as well as a concert and a birthday lunch for a friend. I was completely free.

At first, the thought of a completely family free weekend was daunting.  What would I do?  I knew I had a luncheon on Saturday, so my afternoon would be taken up.  And Sunday I wanted to head to the Botanic Garden for rose weekend.  But, I don’t usually go to rose weekend by myself: I normally go with Husband and/or daughter.  Should I go alone?  Should I ask a friend?

I ended up going alone.  I rode the train to the botanic garden stop by myself, reading a book as the areas of the Bronx whizzed by the window.  I do a lot of things by myself, so I didn’t understand why this particular trip felt different, yet it did.  I felt slightly self conscious as I stood on line to buy my ticket to enter the garden and I saw that everyone else was in duos or trios.  I took my map and solo navigated the areas I wanted to look at, checking the what’s in bloom section. And I set off to the rose garden.

I felt a bit lonely: for about 10 seconds.  As soon as I took my camera out of my cross body bag and strapped my camera around my neck I relaxed.  I started taking pictures of all the gorgeous foliage, and I was lost in my own world.  Turns out, the botanic garden is the perfect place to go by yourself.  Even though it was an overcast/drizzly sort of day, I spent far more time at the garden than I do when I am with my family.

I was alone, but I wasn’t lonely.  I was happy.

What’s the point, you ask?

It’s nice to be with someone, and to enjoy another’s company, but you need to be happy by yourself.  You need to be able to stand your own company without a buffer.  You don’t always need to be surrounded by others to have a good time.

So…spend some time by yourself.  You are worth it.

My Week in Review

I am a little tired right now- for reasons that will be obvious in a moment.  This was a pretty good week- sometimes things work out fine.

I took my friend for her procedure the other day.  I will expound upon this in a future post.  She got through the procedure very well, and needs to go back for a follow up next week.  Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and good wishes!!!

My daughter finished her last test, and begins her internship tomorrow.  (I’m pretty sure there will be a future post about that as well)

What I Watched:

  1. “Tag” in theaters.  Fun movie, though not exceptionally great filmmaking.
  2. “Queer Eye” Netflix – I like the original Fab 5 better, but these guys are still pretty cool
  3. Conclusion of Haley Dean Mystery Month- Hallmark Channel. Obvious, but fun

What I Read:

  1. “The Atomic City Girls” Janet Beard –Last Sunday, as I was organizing the week ahead, I realized “Oops, I have book club this week, and oops, I haven’t read the book.  (OK- I didn’t say “oops”- it may have been another 4 letter word) so I had to power through this one.  Luckily is was light, trite and brainless…
  2. “One of Us is Lying” Karen M. McManus— My daughter just read this book (YA) and asked me to read it to see if I figured out the who in who dun it… I have a guess, but today’s YA goes out of its way to “trick” the reader, while giving no substantive clues, so who knows…

What I Saw Live:

 

Yes- I saw Lynyrd Skynyrd live.  For the first time.  And I got to hear “Freebird” – one of my all time favorite songs- for the first time live.  And it might be the single greatest song I have ever heard performed live.  Awesome moment…

What appeared on my playlist:

  1. Lynyrd Skynrd- obviously this featured heavily on this weeks playlist
  2. T
  3. Ty Segall
  4. Drive by Truckers
  5. Brothers Osborne
  6. Bon Jovi
  7. “Revamp; The Songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin” – stars covering the songs of this duo
  8. Elton John – Duh…
  9. Brandi Carlile
  10. and…this weeks earworm song (OK- not really earworm- my daughter has been playing/watching video of this song constantly so I can’t help but hear it…  “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5

Random Question:

What’s Your Bedtime Routine:

  1. wash face, three times a weeks apply masque, make sure I use at least 5 million facial products
  2. moisturize entire body
  3. make tea
  4. go over next day schedule and to do list
  5. lay out gym clothes and outfit
  6. make sure anything that need to go out of house (dry cleaning, etc) is on top of entryway ottoman
  7. write in my journal
  8. read for half hour

 

Have a great week all!!!!!  Peace and Love

 

 

 

Gratitude Saturday- June 23

This week was filled with many great things, though I have friends that had tough weeks.  I’m trying to remember that life has ups and downs, and we just need to learn to navigate them as best we can.  So on that note, my serious and not totally serious gratitude list:

  1. calories don’t count when you eat the samples at Trader Joes
  2. that there weren’t too many accidents when the two lines of people trying to check out of Trader Joe’s had to merge to one line
  3. That the line was just long enough for me to think of things to be grateful for while I was waiting in a very hot store
  4. my daughter only had a mini meltdown two days before the Physics regents
  5. tulips (back at Trader Joe’s references)
  6. I still have fingers, and my dog has eyes, after I needed to trim the hair around her eyes
  7. having a spare AAA battery when my digital meat thermometer died as I was preparing a very temperature sensitive beef tenderloin
  8. having the ability to support by friends who needed a little help this week
  9. dreams
  10. the ability to help my daughter find inexpensive work appropriate clothing
  11. that I didn’t throw my ipad out the window when I reached the final question on HQ THREE times this week and I did not win…
  12. books that make me realize that other people have the same issues that I have

Family: Too Much? Too Little?

 

Family: the people who raise you, the people you marry, the relations of your partner, the children you create or take into your heart.  These relationships can bring much joy and happiness.  They can also put you into a pit of despair.  So is there ever a time to push family to the side?

Recently there was a case in New York state where a Mother and Father sued their 30 year old son because he would not leave their house.  They wanted to evict him, and guess what?  They won. Son had to move out.  There was a lot of controversy over whether or not the parents should have sued their child.  I won’t give an opinion on their situation, because I was not their intimate: I have no idea what was going on in the household.  But, the parents had obviously had enough of the situation so they did the only thing that they thought would help them: legal action.

At what point does family get you so crazy that you take them to court?

At what point does family annoy you so much that you try to keep distance?

At what point does family get you so down you can’t see them anymore?

Which brings us to: Should family get a “free pass” for bad behavior?  Should we just accept our families for how they are, and pretend that everything is fine?

As it is what I often refer to as “Write my blog Thursday” I will ask you all:

  1. Is it OK to get angry/be angry with family?
  2. Is there a point where you should walk away from family?
  3. Should family be kept at arm’s length?
  4. Should you accept boorish or disrespectful behavior just because someone is family?

You know there will be a follow up…