Choosing Sharing Over Shitty

I don’t have an overwhelming number of shitty days but today would be one. Ok, honestly so would the last 6: but work days only. Because in between all of the layers of shittiness, I choose to beef up my  Dagwood sandwich with good things and good people.  Blessedly.

Briefly, I (and my staff)  have been criticized for unresponsiveness: we record everything with time and date stamps-not sustained. In another case, someone complained for 15 minutes about an issue that had been resolved a week earlier (she didn’t have time to call before).  Someone who sustained that sexual assault wasn’t always forcible (it wasn’t Donald Trump) and, most furiously, someone who questioned my integrity. I have strived to do the right thing, many times to my own detriment.  Am I 100%? But I’d say 98% – pretty close.  And I will own up to it if I’m wrong. My friends know I will fight for what’s right, even if it’s unpopular.

So that was last Friday,  Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. In survival mode, I choose to review and share the amazing layers in between because I can, and I have to, for me.

Friday, a bike ride, an evening with friends, a really cute baby “I stole”. Singing harmony with a street performer because we can. And paying it forward.

Saturday, sleep, community fundraiser, soccer, field hockey, shopping for a great dress (on sale), wine tasting, karaoke (my friends are f’ing awesome), dancing, more friends.

Sunday, work (gotta get shit done) then off to Vermont to have dinner with one of the many teachers who shaped my love for learning and teaching  and he’s funny and he has a great spouse. I could not possibly encapsulate all my teachers have shown me.

Drive home: Patriots Win!!!!

Monday, I come in to my office to see the people who mean the most to me along with my family and friends: those who respond when others call for help and still show up every-damn-day. They cannot be exceeded.  Pick up the phone, blah, blah, blah, problem already solved.

To Concord for stressful doc appt, email about more aggravating stuff. Really? Call friend who rescues me from myself.  I asked for help and someone answered. Still sometimes feels like foreign territory to me: I worry about rejection based on so many old messages.

And everyday, I come home to a 4-legged, “I love you no matter what” amazing  shitzu-poodle, named Dobbie. Friends and dogs are God’s gift to helping us maintain our sanity and sometimes just helping us maintain.

I have so much more good in my life than not good,  and I have a being that appreciates me and that immediately recognizes my need for love and comfort.

Asking for help, loving your friends. Scary/great. I have so much more than I realize sometimes and that’s what I choose. 💕❤️ .







New-Old Things (repost from FB August 10, 2014)

imageI’m embarrassed to admit the last time I went berry or anything picking was 2 age brackets ago so yesterday’s blueberry outing with friends was a welcome new-old venture. A leisurely drive up the winding country road to Pitcher Mountain on a warm and sunny Saturday morning set the tone for a relaxing day.

After gathering our baskets and buckets we walked up the main path together in search of blueberries to be mixed, frozen, snacked on, sprinkled, baked and pancaked. The loud and clear voices of other pickers nearby drew us to a quieter area to find bushes less picked over. I focused my attention on finding areas with abundant fruit in larger bunches deeper and deeper into the field, trailing off by myself. Treading carefully between branches and over old rock walls, I walked through a labyrinth of growth, periodically settling in an area abounding with mature berries waiting to be liberated.

Voices faded to low murmurs, the buzzing of a bee or fly became my soundtrack accented by the periodic laugh of an excited child. The morning sun and breeze created the perfect climate. My initial industrious intent to collect as many as possible, melded into a walking meditation, my sole focus seeking out these minuscule globes that grow wild, so miraculously without tending or interference. The power of nature captured in these sweet blue-purple orbs.

I was roused from my trance with the brisk ring of a text calling me back to the parking lot and to reality. We packed up our treasurers and descended back into the world on the bumpy dirt road leading to the honor box to account for our bounty on trust.

As I popped the fruits of my labor, yes literally, into my morning pancakes, I was able to appreciate them as much for their being as for the gift of nourishment and how wonderful they would taste with my morning coffee. A blessing in any age bracket.

Stop Mowing the Weeds

I moved into my new-to-me house last September and have enjoyed watching things bloom and grow in my yard through the Spring and Summer.  I’m relieved to have a smaller yard (downsized from 2 1/2 acres); gardening and mowing are now doable tasks without committing an entire weekend. I’ve downsized my life as well: big yard to little yard; big house to little house; lots of stuff to less stuff; “frenemies” to friends; couple to single. I had to do a lot of weeding on all fronts during the transition and it wasn’t easy.

My previous yard had beautiful green grass. My new lawn, well, not so much. The dirt is more sand than anything else. The few times I’ve mowed, I kicked up enough dirt and sand to look like I just face-planted in a dirt pile. My friends know this is a very real possibility. I’ve managed to locate 6 or 7 healthy blades of grass among the dandelions, horse weed, crab grass, ragweed, quack grass, and mug wort (thank you Google Images). But as long as it looks like grass on the surface that’s good enough, right? For a minute maybe.

I went out this morning to weed and mow before the heat took over the day. The gardens looked good so I turned my attention to the lawn and the plethora of non-grass plants (weeds) protruding from same. I could clearly just mow over the weeds, like unpleasant problems, and move on with the rest of my yard.  But as I said, I’d done that before but the weeds kept coming back because the roots were still there, under the surface, ready to spring forth unbidden at any time.

I decided that today I would try the same approach with my lawn that I’d taken with my life. I would dig up the weeds first, thank them for keeping the soil together when nothing else would, and then unceremoniously toss them into the pile of detritus that no longer served a purpose in my life. I grabbed my pitchfork and shovel, my tools of destruction, to have at it.

The smaller weeds came out easily with a twist and turn of my hand. Gone. The larger weeds, the ones that had planted themselves and taken root many years ago, took quite a bit of effort and I considered just cutting off the tops to make things look better. But I was committed to doing the work to rid myself of them long term, roots and all. After about 45 minutes I looked around and realized that once I dealt with the weeds, the rest of the lawn looked pretty good.

Weeding is hard work. I fully anticipate that some of the weeds will return on occasion and some new weeds will appear as well. But now I have the tools to manage them. Stop mowing the weeds.





Date Bait: Pictures

If you’ve done any surfing on any dating website at all, admit it, you look at the pictures first. If you haven’t, don’t – you can’t unsee it. We all like to say we’re not shallow and that the person him/herself is more important than the appearance but we know we’re lying to ourselves. And it doesn’t make us shallow, it makes us realistic.

Subconsciously we want to date someone at least at the same “level” of attractiveness, for lack of a better term. Ideally someone with the same interests…and a soul. The pictures can reveal that certain “je ne sais quoi”: the handlebar mustache; the mountain summit; the proud marathon finish moment; the joy while holding the grand babies, bringing in the big bass/trout/tuna/shark, etc.

One or two selfies on your profile is great. If all you have are selfies to post, that’s just sad. Ask a friend to take your picture. If you don’t have a friend perhaps you should start there before dating. It’s a challenge figuring out which pictures to post. Fortunately, I have friends who take great pictures (thank you Debbie Pickering and Dave Teubner). If you’re posting an older picture, please date it. I recently went on a date with a man who clearly looked waaaay older than represented.

Look at the pictures as illustrative of your profile. I love the Patriots and my amazing little shi tzu-poodle; the pictures of me at Gillette Stadium and me with Dobbie are prominently featured in addition to a few other just plain old pictures.

So, here’s a few pet peeves in the photo department:

  • Motorcycles everywhere – If you love motorcycles, a photo of your Fat Boy is cool. If all of your pictures are of your bike, you may be perceived as one dimensional.
  • Hats – I am a fan of the hat in a big way. I love wearing them and I like a man in a hat. If you’re wearing a hat in every picture, it’s hard to tell if you’re a die hard Patriots fan or if you are camouflaging a bald pate (just own it, bald is sexy), a hideous comb over, or some oddly shaped protrusion that looks like a broken finger.
  • The one armed photo – The only decent picture you can find of yourself is of you and the ex so you grab the scissors (old school) and/or crop the crap out of it. This is a dual offense: the photo is most likely old (the baby blue tuxedo is a dead giveaway) and there are no solo pictures of you – refer to no friends/sad above.
  • Fishing – Great hobby/great profession particularly since I come from a fishing town where fish are serious business. But there must be other prized moments that don’t include you, a set of dead eyes and gills. On the viewer end, we read this as “OMG, I don’t want to be a fish wife”.
  • Bathroom mirror selfies – Resist the urge to post these. They are not as flattering as you think and there is something horribly unappealing about seeing your toilet or dirty bathtub in the background.  Speaking of which,
  • Beware the background – A sink full of dirty dishes, trash and empty beer cans on the floor, dirty laundry, the hole in your wall (yup, seen them all) say more than any words.

Dating advice? Cautionary tale? You decide.

image#dating #onlinedating #datingprofiles #badphotochoices




You Lost Me at “GPS on My Wife’s Car”

Yes, I heard this. On a date. A very rare second, and now final, date. Oddly preceded by, “I’m probably revealing too much but…”. Why yes, yes you are, and I’m happy you did.

Ironically, the first date was after a sexual and domestic violence seminar at which I listened to a woman talk about being stalked by her ex-husband.  My date, I’ll call him, Terry,  was a nice, successful IT professional, fairly recently divorced. Smart, successful, humorous, devoted to his kids. The first date was iced tea and chatting about our lives and what brought us to our date – yes, online dating. Nice guy. No sparks but good conversation. Actually, didn’t think I’d hear from him again. No harm, no foul.

The next day Terry texted and asked to go to dinner. OK, maybe I missed something. I was going out of town for a week so we planned to meet when I returned. Dinner at a place I’d been to before (always a prerequisite), just outside of town midway between our homes. Much better conversation than the first outing, better energy. Until THAT. As much as us divorced folks like to say we’re not going to talk about the exes, it always comes up. We want to make sure that there is no possibility of going back. The greater danger is our inability to move forward.

Marriages don’t immediately combust. The deteriation is slow, gradual, mostly painful, and in the end liberating, with a soupçon of regret and/or anger. We try to move on quickly. In the short term we think we’re there. The farther out we get we knew we weren’t then. A year makes a difference…unless there is a GPS involved.

For Terry, his wife admitted to 2 affairs and instead of taking her at her word that she was a cheater and calling it quits, he needed to catch her. And he did. Because he put a GPS under her car. He caught her “in the clinches” in the back seat of that car. And then he waited for her to divorce him. His point in telling me the story was that his older son needed a car and “she stuck it in (my) face by giving him that car”.

I’m a nice guy, I’m smart, I’m educated, I’m funny, I work hard,  I love my kids, but don’t ever go somewhere where I can’t find you. Did I mention angry?

#dating #baddates #onlinedating #relationshipviolence #stalking

Don’t Take This the Wrong Way But…

Oh no, you didn’t…inhale really hard and suck the words back in…reverse, reverse…Control Z…something…please. There is no good that will come of this beginning. Ever.

Let’s start with the words themselves. “Don’t” or do not – starting with a negative right out of the gate. Then we have “wrong” – another negative. And then there’s the “But”; a conjunction, a joiner, BUT in a phrase like this, a joiner of two not so good things.

The speaker (allegedly) means no harm but the phrase establishes a position of judgement, of superiority, as in, “I have such amazing (pick the word of your choice) insight/perspective/education/style/beauty/talent/knowledge/fortune/finances, I’m going to tell you how to fix your little old flawed self”. Oh, oh, thank you soooo much.

The recipient (target) hears the wind up. “Don’t take this the wrong way but…” and is immediately on the defensive trying to figure out which of their terribly personal foibles has been the subject of scrutiny. Every adolescent insecurity bubbles to the surface, setting your teeth on edge, bringing back the odd eye twitch you overcame in college, the “here we go” eye roll and that little ache between your eyebrows. You want to hang up the phone, walk out of the room, close your eyes and ears, and start humming.

As the fight or flight response gears up, the pitch is made and it has to compete with the sound of pounding in your ears because of the elevated blood pressure that so kindly wreaks havoc on your heart. Oh, yeah, I’m really open to hearing this and I’m sure I’ll absorb every single word and change myself immediately and irrevocably.

Unless your, “Don’t take this the wrong way but…” is followed by:

  • …you’re the kindest person I’ve ever met;
  • …you have the most amazing insight;
  • …you have a beautiful voice;

…use a different phrase. Or better yet, resist the urge to speak at all.

#dontsayit #saynothing “donttakethisthewrongway #relationships #friendship