Tuesday, October 18, 2011

To My Mother

Howdy! Howdy! Howdy!

I just want to write about women......well in particular Mothers.....and to be exact my Mother.

She just celebrated her 79th birthday a couple of weeks ago.  Really hard to imagine since she is quite nimble and very with it for 79.

She is adamant that there will be no 80th Celebration!  Not that she doesn't want to get there.... she doesn't want to be the center of attention. The truth is that considering her today I would be very surprised not to see her here for her 80th and possibly her 90th if she continues at this rate.

It is interesting to watch the ever changing roles that women play.  My Mother has just re-entered the world of caregiver.  Not that she really ever left it but recently she has been thrown into it a bit more in the care of Joe.....her husband of almost 58 years.

I find it interesting how we just seem to metamorphosis into whatever we need to be.  Although she is in pretty good shape she still is almost an octogenarian and she cannot do everything she has always done but I notice an increased energy in her step now that she has more responsibility.  I guess that is ageless.  We all need purpose and responsibility.

I watch her now with Dad and she plays both Wife and now a wee bit of Mother to him.  Small things like playing crib with him but not really caring if she wins.....giving him way more chances to get points than normal and just happy he is there to play.  Keeping him happy!

And walking down to get the mail when it is normally Dad's job.  She had quite a spring in her step knowing that she needs to be doing the things he cannot.
Paying bills as well.  These tasks are very quickly becoming her responsibility with his approval of course.  I taught her how to pay her bills online but she still needs to ask him if it is okay to go ahead and pay the bills.  Something our generation would never even dream of doing as those roles have long since been disintegrated with men and women equally sharing the responsibilities of running a household.

It is kind of strange to watch her gain energy as he loses it.  Mother Nature is so powerful in her ways.  Preparing us for our futures without us even catching onto her sneaky little foreshadowing.

Here's to my Mom and all Women ....Mothers....Wives....Daughters....Sisters....Aunts......Caregivers.....

All the women in my life!!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blog about the Blog

I just finished reading my sister's first blog which coincidentally was about us and it was lovely.  http://abster-gabster.blogspot.com/ 

Having a sister is really great and I was lucky enough to spend Easter weekend with my sister and her family and it was the best visit.  We finally have reached the age where the pressures of raising children are dwindling or at least diminished enough that we can actually share other more adult things.  We still have responsibilities but they are not as pressing and that has given us a renewed sense of sistership.

During the "busy years"  you spend all your visiting time discussing and focusing on kids...kids...kids!  Which is not a bad thing but you leave behind the sister stuff that only sisters can understand.

So to have a few days together with relatively few interruptions was amazing and we packed a lot of sister stuff into the visit.  Things that we share like fitness and cooking and baking and shopping and visiting family.  We did a lot but it flew by and suddenly it was over.

It makes you realize the value of that relationship and what it can continue to be in the future.

Just when you think your life is feeling a void from your children spreading their wings this comes along and I feel very fortunate to have such a great sister and look forward to more of these visits now.

There really is nothing like a sister!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Just passing the word along!!!

These are not my words but are a repost of something I just read......loved it and wanted to share.  This is "by Marc".  Thanks Marc.  Good to hear!!
Far more often than any of us like to admit, our actions are driven by an inner desire to impress other people.  This desire is often reflected in the brand name products we use, the bars and restaurants we frequent, the houses and cars we buy and the careers we choose.
But are name brand products, fancy bars, houses and cars really that impressive?  What about a person who holds an elite position in a career field they dislike?  Some of these things might capture our attention for a minute or two, but they won’t hold it for long.
Why?  Because tangible possessions are not as impressive as intangible qualities.
Consider the following questions:
  • He drives a Porsche, but can he truly afford the car payment?
  • He owns a big house, but is it a loving household?
  • He makes a lot of money, but does he enjoy what he does for a living?
You get the idea.  Whenever the answer to questions like these is ‘no,’ the subject who initially appeared to be impressive no longer does.
Now take a moment and imagine a person who loves what he does for a living, smiles frequently and bleeds passion in every breath he takes.  Would he impress you?  Would it matter that he wasn’t a millionaire?
Here are 28 dignified ways to impress everyone around you.  If you practice these tips on a regular basis, they won’t just impress others, they’ll help you become a better person too.
We make a living by what we get.  We make a life by what we give.
- Winston Churchill
  1. Be authentic.  Be true to yourself. – Judy Garland once said, “Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of somebody else.”  Live by this statement.  There is no such thing as living in someone else’s shoes.  The only shoes you can occupy are your own.  If you aren’t being yourself, you aren’t truly living – you’re merely existing.  And ask yourself this:  If you don’t like who you really are, why should I like you?
  2. Care about people. – If you don’t genuinely care about people, they won’t care about you.  The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.  Love and kindness begets love and kindness.  And so on and so forth.
  3. Make others feel good. – People will rarely remember what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
  4. Be honest and take ownership of your actions. – Nobody likes a liar.  In the long-run, the truth always reveals itself anyway.  Either you own up to your actions or your actions will ultimately own you.
  5. Smile often. – Everyone likes the sight of a genuine smile.  Think about how you feel when a complete stranger looks into your eyes and smiles.  Suddenly they don’t seem like a stranger anymore, do they?
  6. Respect elders.  Respect minors.  Respect everyone. – There are no boundaries or classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected.  Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother.  People will notice your kindness.
  7. Address people by their name. – People love the sight and sound of their own name.  So make sure you learn to remember names.  Use them courteously in both oral and written communication.
  8. Say “Please” and “Thank you.” – These two simple phrases make demands sound like requests, and they inject a friendly tone into serious conversations.  Using them can mean the difference between sounding rude and sounding genuinely grateful.
  9. Excel at what you do. – I am impressed by great guitarists, writers, bloggers, painters, motivational speakers, internet entrepreneurs, computer engineers, mothers, fathers, athletes, etc.  There is only one thing they all have in common: They excel at what they do.  There’s no point in doing something if you aren’t going to do it right.  Excel at your work and excel at your hobbies.  Develop a reputation for yourself, a reputation for consistent excellence.
  10. Help others when you’re able. – In life, you get what you put in.  When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life.  Do something that’s greater than you – something that helps someone else to be happy or to suffer less.  Everyone values the gift of unexpected assistance and those who supply it.
  11. Put a small personal touch on everything you do. – Think of it as branding your work.  If you’re funny, add a little humor into it.  If you’re an artist, decorate it with illustrations.  Whatever you do, customize it with a little personal touch of ‘you.’
  12. Over-deliver on all of your promises. – Some people habitually make promises they are just barely able to fulfill.  They promise perfection and deliver mediocrity.  If you want to boost your personal value in the eyes of others, do the exact opposite.  Slightly under-sell your capabilities so that you’re always able to over-deliver.  It will seem to others like you’re habitually going above and beyond the call of duty.
  13. Get organized. – How can you get anything accomplished if you aren’t organized?  You can’t.  Make a regular habit of organizing your living space and working space.  For some practical organizational guidance, I recommend David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
  14. Do your research and ask clarifying questions. – Don’t be that clueless dude in the room who just nods like he knows what’s going on.  Prepare yourself by doing research ahead of time.  And if something still doesn’t make sense to you, ask questions.  The people involved will respect your desire to understand the material.
  15. Share knowledge and information with others. – When you can, be a resource to those around you.  If you have access to essential information, don’t hoard it.  Share it openly.
  16. Be positive and focus on what’s right. – Everything that happens in life is neither good nor bad.  It just depends on your perspective.  And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  So stay positive, appreciate the pleasant outcomes, and learn from the rest.  Your positivity will rub off on everyone around you.
  17. Listen intently to what others have to say. – Eyes focused, ears tuned, mobile phone off.  In a world that can’t move fast enough, someone who can find time to listen to others is always appreciated.
  18. Be faithful to your significant other. – Tiger Woods was everyone’s hero until recently, wasn’t he?  Sustained fidelity in a long-term intimate relationship is not only impressive, it creates a healthy foundation for everything else you do.
  19. Learn to appreciate and love Mother Nature. – Those who truly appreciate and love the natural world surrounding us typically exhibit the same high regard for all humanity.  It’s a positive way to live, and it’s something people notice.
  20. Invest time, energy and money in yourself every day. – When you invest in yourself, you can never lose, and over time you will change the trajectory of your life.  You are simply the product of what you know.  The more time, energy and money you spend acquiring pertinent knowledge, the more control you have over your life and the more valuable you will be to everyone around you.  For fresh ideas on self improvement and lifestyle design, I recommend The 4-Hour Workweek.
  21. Perform random acts of kindness on a regular basis. – Pay for a stranger’s coffee in line at Starbucks.  Buy the office receptionist flowers just to say, “Thank you.”  Help an elderly lady with her groceries.  There’s nothing more rewarding than putting smiles on the faces around you.
  22. Compliment people who deserve it. – Go out of your way to personally acknowledge and complement the people who have gone out of their way to shine.  Everybody likes to hear that their efforts are appreciated.
  23. Speak clearly and make eye contact. – Most people have a very low tolerance for dealing with people they can’t understand.  Mystery does not fuel strong relationships and impressiveness.  Also, there’s little doubt that eye contact is one of the most captivating forms of personal communication.  When executed properly, eye contact injects closeness into human interaction.
  24. Make yourself available and approachable. – If people cannot get a hold of you, or have trouble approaching you, they will forget about you.  Your general availability and accessibility to others is extremely important to them.  Always maintain a positive, tolerant attitude and keep an open line of communication to those around you.
  25. Be self-sufficient. – Freedom is the greatest gift.  Self-sufficiency is the greatest freedom.  And self-sufficiency is quite impressive too.   In the business world, it’s one of the primary dreams that inspire people to give-up their day jobs to pursue entrepreneurship.
  26. Exploit the resources you do have access to. – The average person is usually astonished when they see a physically handicap person show intense signs of emotional happiness.  How could someone in such a restricted physical state be so happy?  The answer rests in how they use the resources they do have.  Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited his sense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has 25 Grammy Awards to prove it.
  27. Be a part of something you believe in. – This could be anything.  Some people take an active role in their local city council, some find refuge in religious faith, some join social clubs supporting causes they believe in, and others find passion in their careers.  In each case the psychological outcome is the same.  They engage themselves in something they strongly believe in.  This engagement brings happiness and meaning into their lives.  It’s hard not to be impressed by someone who’s passionate about what they’re doing.
  28. Stand up for your beliefs without flaunting them. – Yes, it is possible to stand up for your beliefs without foisting them down someone else’s throat.  Discuss your personal beliefs when someone asks about them, but don’t spawn offensive attacks of propaganda on unsuspecting victims.  Stand firm by your values and always keep an open mind to new information.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Original Social Network

My sister visited recently from out of town and it gave us an opportunity to join our Mother for her monthly women's  Birthday luncheon.  This group of women's commonality is that at some point in their lives they have resided in the Town of Vauxhall or area.  The group started out taking turns hosting once a month in their homes so they could stay in touch with each other and celebrate their birthdays.  This has been going on for over 30 years.  The group continued to grow until it was necessary to meet in a restaurant as no one had the capability to host so many women.  This group now is almost 50 strong.

 Just to put this in perspective Vauxhall is a town of just over 1000 residents.  It is hard to imagine how strong the bonds are that tie together a community of this size and how long lasting the relationships are to keep this group growing and meeting over such a long time span with no signs of it stopping or even slowing down.

Not to mention that hardly any of them have computer skills and even fewer are on Facebook or some other Social network.  They plan each month from the last month and somehow the information highway works and they show up at the next function ready to visit and catch up with old friends.

It was remarkable to be a part of this group and see familiar faces and hear stories of how their families are doing and how many additions or deletions have happened.  And more than that it was nice to see their smiles and feel their genuine interest in our lives as we brought them up-to-date on what is happening.  The hugs and heartfelt emotion cannot be replaced inside your computer.

I am a huge Social network advocate but there really is something about those face to face "make the effort" meetings that really cannot be replaced by Facebook or Twitter.

So here's to the original Social Network...."the real deal"...."get off your butt"......"make the effort to see your friends".....network.

We could really learn a lot from this group of lovely ladies.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Middle Children

Interesting.....I am a middle child......I have a middle child and I see comments about middle children all the time.

It is something we don't work toward being on our own but take on this challenge (as it does appear to be a challenge) with vigor.

Besides actually being in the middle, we appear to always be in the middle of something.

We envy the oldest child as they always seem to have that special bond with their parents.  It is not that they are loved more....they just paved the way for our parents in their all important role and it does make their relationship different than ours with them. Of course when you are 2 you have no idea that is what you are in the middle of (pardon the pun) but you do know that you are different than your older sib.

We envy the youngest child as they too have a bond with Mom  and Dad as "the baby of the family".  Special privileges come with this position as you seem to have a more mellow set of parents who take life a bit easier and the youngest child reaps the benefits of this because if they do mess up it is really not such a big deal.  And again, at an early age this means trying to find many outrageous ways of getting some of that attention you are certainly due from Mom and Dad.

Clearly the oldest child always knows what they are doing and where they are going and the youngest child knows that whatever they do it will be alright because they are "the baby" but we middle children are always left wondering what our position entails.

Then, in the blink of an eye, we are parents and we see our own middle child and  it suddenly clears up a lot about the position.  Middle children need to be reassured that their position is valuable and they are not missing out on anything. They watch carefully what has happened and what is happening with their younger and older siblings and usually use this as ammunition to make us feel parental guilt.

I would suspect that their high activity at an early age really has more to do with how we are as parents than how they are as middle children.  The parents already have relaxed their ways and the middle child instinctively knows they can push the boundaries out further.  They have watched what older sib has attained and can prove to you that they can do more.....higher, faster, louder.....and the list goes on.  This happens even before we become middle children as our activity level is higher even before #3 arrives.

Then when #3 arrives "middle children" as they now have truly become have already earned their badge and now they define the true image as they have younger sib to compete with......AAAAAGHHHH!

I like to focus on all the good things we middle children do........like hold things together.  Being in the middle is natural for us and since we are so conditioned to it we migrate to it in our work lives our social lives and pretty much in every aspect of what we are forever and ever.

So much so that at times in your life you wonder.....how the heck did this role happen to me....can't I get out of the middle?  Well the answer is ....Yes!  but it is hard work and you are continually egged on by those around you to lure you back into the middle.

Especially Moms love to lure you back into your role.  I actually heard my own Mother recently say to me.."You never have an opinion about anything!"  Now how ridiculous is that?  Of course I have an opinion.  I have just tried really hard to keep those opinions to myself and stay out of the middle of things.  She secretly cannot wait for my younger sibling to arrive to have a good fight with someone as I rarely take the bait.  A big disappointment to my Mom who is conditioned for  me to be the "middle child".

So stand up Middle children and unite.....you have choices.....and always remember there is good and bad about our positions.

Interestingly enough the only people we have to blame in this entire situation is our parents because they really could have stopped having kids and we could have turned out to be that spoiled youngest child and who would really want that?  :)



Friday, January 14, 2011

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Well now that I have started blogging I have been wondering what is appropriate timing for blogging.  I have a lot of ideas but don't want to pressure myself to blog every day or every week.  I think I will just go with the flow and when it comes .... BLOG!

I am interested if other people have the same weird thoughts that I do about certain subjects.....and one of these subjects is WRINKLES.

During the Christmas break I had my son take a new photo of me for my work.  I thought it was time to get rid of the blonde streak.....since I have not had that for a couple of years now.  It was also known as "the skunk" look by my youngest dear son.  It was soon after that comment I suddenly had the urge to rid myself of the streak.

Reilly was very dedicated to the task and immediately popped it onto the computer screen for us to review and choose an appropriate photo.  Well the last couple of years have definitely changed my look.  You do look at yourself every day in the mirror but strangely you do not really look at yourself as you do when someone takes your photo.  I was wondering where the old me went.....well I guess that would be the young me.

So, while I was busy wondering that I noticed that he was busy working on my photo.......and yes, he was removing my wrinkles on Photoshop.  I asked him what he thought he was doing and he said, "Well you do want me to remove some of those don't you?"

That left me wondering......really is that necessary?  Do I really want to look younger....I mean yes I want to look younger but do I really want to look younger enough to change my looks on a photo?  And why should I do that?  It is me as I really look and why should I be ashamed of that?  Is this society's pressure for me to want this?

Of course he continued and I finally said, "Well don't take too many off....I want to look like me you know!"

I think we need to stand up to this obsession and say.....HELLO....we are what we are and let's face it....we are going to get old or die...and personally, I think I want to get old, have Grandkids, love my kids, enjoy life and experience it to the end.

I have earned every one of those and hope to earn some more.  I have a vivid memory of a woman in an old National Geographic magazine that I saw many years ago.  She was very wrinkled, almost to the point of looking like an old potato, but she was incredibly beautiful and so full of life.  Her face exuded all the years and experiences she had lived and I just loved that photo.

I want to make a change and it is going to start with me.....Mrs. old potato.....want to join me?

Monday, January 3, 2011

My First Ever Blog

Well my niece and cousin's daughter got me intrigued about blogging so I thought I would give it a try.  Not sure what a middle aged woman like myself will have to say that is read worthy but who knows it may be fun?!

January is such a dreary month and, in my already Vitamin D deficient state,  that may be a very good reason to try to take my mind off what is happening outside....as in snow and cold and concentrate what is happening inside....my mind that is.

I just finished reading all the New Year tips on Oprah.com and am left wondering if this yearly cycle thing is healthy.  Women seem to struggle so much with the constant back and forth and push and pull of weight loss....weight gain, feeling happy ....feeling sad, sexy....not sexy....you know how it goes.  I watch my house full of men and they never seem to go through any major ups and downs like women do.  I don't know if that is good or bad but it sure is different.  Sometimes I could just scream but mostly I just end up sitting back and laughing at how utterly ridiculous I must appear to them.

Of course, they appear quite ridiculous to me as well when they preen themselves in front of the mirror all happy in their pot-bellied bliss.  They could care less if they don't look exactly perfect. I  actually feel kind of sick when I hear my son say...."Oh I really need to gain weight!"  Who in their ever-loving right mind needs to gain weight.  Don't they know the entire world is trying desperately to lose weight?

They also never appear to feel sad....in fact they don't appear to feel anything at all!  They spend their entire time wondering what we are feeling and terrified to ask as we darn well would tell them and it would likely end up being their fault as well.....even the weight thing somehow is their fault.

And feeling sexy....well that is a whole other kettle of fish.....I frankly cannot remember really what that is except maybe on the odd occasion another woman may comment on how great you look or that you are really seeming healthy....who wants to hear that from another woman?  Well I guess I do at this point as I don't hear it anywhere else :)

And so....welcome January 2011......feeling a bit overweight, not entirely happy and definitely not sexy!  Bring it on!