Thursday, November 21, 2013

I'd like to thank

A very good friend of mine is the Director of a local Chamber of Commerce.  (I'd like to name the city, but I can't - she would kill me).  She does a great job.  She has done an incredible job of helping the local community become all they can be.  And a variety of business owners/employees become all they can be. She has done a fabulous job.

We've known each other for about 10 years.  I had just bought my gift company.  She and her husband were starting a computer consulting company.

We met through the same Chamber of Commerce.  We were in a "leads" group together.  A "Leads" group is where one person from an industry meets with about 20 other people from different industries.  Industries are not allowed to overlap (for example, if you are in the mortgage industry no one else can come to the group from the mortgage industry).  The point is to develop business relationships so you have trust to refer other people you know to those people in your group.

We met every Tuesday - this group of us - at 11:30 - 1:00pm.  I was a member of this group for 5 years. Then one day, I just couldn't go any more.  I had checked out.  But a funny thing happened.

When you have lunch with the same group of people, every Tuesday for 5 years, well, you get to know these people.  Yes, some people would come and go.  But a handful, I'm still friends with today.  One of them is Heidi.

Heidi and her husband divorced.  She quit talking to me.  You see, I was good friends with her husband too. That's okay though.  We all go through rough patches in life.  And she will tell you the story.  I wouldn't quit calling.  I didn't call her every day or even every week.  I just reached out to her here and there.  We had a couple of awkward lunches.  But she will tell you the story, I never quit being her friend.  Even though she wasn't being a friend to me.  Isn't that when we need our friends the most?

I was still good friends with her ex-husband.  It was like I had to choose.  But I didn't have to choose.  I'm very good at compartmentalizing my life.  When I'm with him, I'm his friend.  When I'm with her, I'm her friend.  She just needed her space.

She came back around.  I knew she would.  All real friends do.  There was never a "talk" about "not talking" for a year.  She just called one day and asked if I wanted to do something.  To tell you the truth, I don't even remember what it was.  I just knew, that we were back to our friendship.

Heidi and her husband also had a triathlon company.  They would take triathletes to compete in an Ironman distance race called Challenge Family triathlons in Germany.  She kept the company after they divorced.
I had been asking her for years "I want to go with you".  She finally asked.  I went to help.  She got there first.  I took a plane by myself to Frankfurt, then a train to Nuremberg, then she picked me up there in a great big red conversion van and drove us to Roth.

I worked harder in those 4 days than I probably ever will again.  We had athletes from all over the world as a part of our group - "A" type personalities all about competing.  We have some great stories from that trip.

Race day - we are up at 4 am to get ready to get the athletes to the swim.  We all just had to walk, but we needed to get them there.  (The day before we had all driven the course).

Long great day.  Our athletes did great.  What a great group of people.  Oh yeah, two nights before we had been to a festival in this small town and met many locals.

While on the way back from taking one group of athletes to the hotel (after the race), we got stuck in this traffic jam - a one lane road with cars parked on each side.  No one was alternating.  Heidi was freaking out that we weren't going to get the athletes in time.  I just tell her to stop and let me out of the van.  She unlocks the doors.

In the middle of Germany.  Where I don't speak a word of German, I got out and directed traffic. Apparently, when you hold your hand up in the stop position and push it away from you - well, is universal for BACK UP.

Needless to say, I got the traffic flowing.  She pulled up.  We went on to get our athletes.

Friendships sometimes need some space.  Or maybe just a continent change.

Which brings us to tonight.  I was at a Chamber silent auction.  She's doing her "part".  Telling about the chamber, the sponsors and THEN.  She goes to thank her "committee".  Only, she says "I'd like to thank my kitties".  "Oh, I meant my committee"

We all smiled.  She did explain she has "two and a half kitties"  (the half is the neighbors kitty whom comes in through the kitty door) - although, no one else there knows this story.  I just smile.  She looks over and shakes her head at me.

All I could think was, "It's okay.  It makes a really good story. If you were a kitty, I would thank you too"  ;-)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Addicted to the Drama

We've all known those people.  People whom, no matter, what, something is wrong with their life.  One problem gets solved, life is good for day or so, then there is another problem.

I guess these are "glass half empty" types.  Also, most of the time, these same people don't look in the mirror and accept that they are causing most of their own problems.  It's easier to blame someone else.

You know, those classic examples:

  • The waiter was rude to me, so I had a lousy dinner.  
  • My ex-wife won't share the time with the kids, so I don't get to see them.
  • I have an allergy to wheat, so I'm fat.
  • No one ever calls me, so I don't have any friends.

I could go on and on.  But what I realized is people are just addicted to the drama of it all.  Without complaining about each and every thing, they wouldn't know what to do.  They just play the "victim" card.  Poor me.  If everyone else would just let me do things my way, it would all be fine.

Gee, I wish life were really like that.  But no, instead, people need to understand we cause our own drama.

In the four cases above, there are a million different scenarios where it's just the situation.

  • Your dinner was lousy?  You were tired.  It was cold out side.  YOU were grumpy, not the waiter
  • Can't see your kids?  What you are retired and live in another state?  YOU move.  Did your kids move?  Or was it you?  
  • Wheat is making you fat?  Stop eating wheat.  No one is forcing you.
  • You don't have any friends?  You have to call them too.  The phone rings both ways.
Of course, I've over-simplified these examples.  But, the holidays are here and in order for us all to get along, we all need to accept our own responsibility for OUR own thoughts.

And once you walk away from the drama, once you realize that YOU are in charge of your own happiness.  Well, it's a pretty darn good world out there!

Friday, November 15, 2013


I bought a juicer.

Not a super duper Vitamixer.  Just a regular juicer.  A used juicer on top of that.  Yes, off Craigslist.  This juicing crazy has been around for a while, but I always seem to be late to the party.  I'm okay with that.

This juicer is a Jack Lalanne juicer - probably $100 at Target.  I got it for $30.  It had been used once.  Of course it had.  That is why I looked on Craigslist - and kept looking.  There were many out there for $75 and $100.  Still quite a few at $50.  Finally got the one at $30.

We had to drive to the suburbs to get it.  Duncan needs more driving hours.  There was no school on Monday - so we ventured into the burbs.

Got the juicer.  Stopped at our local "Sprouts" store (cheaper version of Whole Foods and better than Vitamin Cottage) and picked up lots of veggies and fruit.

I found a 3 day juice diet on the internet.  Not that I have any interest in doing a 3 day juice cleanse, but figure it might give me some good ideas for juice.  It has five different juice ideas.  Of course, the machine came with a "recipe" book.

Really though, you can pretty much just put whatever you want into the machine and it will spit out juice.  Pretty nifty.

The first night - we made pineapple (Duncan won a pineapple for being best player - and yes, only my kids team in the middle of Colorado would hand out pineapple's), strawberry and apple juice.  It was pretty yummy.  Although it take a LOT of fruit to make 3 glasses of juice.

The next day?  Let's see:  kale, cucumber, ginger, apple & lemon.  It was pretty yummy.

The next day?   Beet, celery, red pepper, apple & carrot.  It tasted a bit like dirt.  I did wash the stuff.  Maybe I need to wash it better.  I think apple is in everything to make it sweet.  I'm not big on sweets, so I could probably make it without the apple.

Still working on those juices.  I'm not quite use to so much juice.

Then there is the pulp!  What the heck do you do with all the pulp?  We don't compost around here.  (We tried that once years ago and ended up with mice in the compost - ACK and YUCK).

I did read some good ideas for the pulp:

  • Mix in with plain Greek yogurt as a dip.  (that to me actually sounds yummy)
  • Make latke style pancakes
  • Put in spaghetti sauce as extra nutrient
  • Put in a food dehydrator and make chips/crackers out of it
To me, the last one sounded like a good idea.  Only I don't have a food dehydrator.  Well, maybe if I put it in the oven on low heat - for say 50000 hours, it might work the same.  Maybe.  It didn't.  (Martha Stewart is trying to come out).

Maybe I should just look on Craigslist for a food dehydrator.  Then I can make chips.  Then, I'm sure it will be something everyone else wants.  Which I will have to turn into a business.  Which I'm sure will then cause another purchase.  And then another......

All I wanted was a way to get my salad into liquid form.  All I wanted was a glass of juice.  

(Really though, you should hear the boys version of this story - they thought I was crazy before)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Muscle Memory

Our bodies are an amazing piece of machinery.

We use our bodies.  We abuse our bodies.  It forgives us - most of the time.  It may punish us for not taking better care of it, but for the most part, well, our bodies are as good to us as we treat them.

What I find really amazing is how we can ignore our bodies.  Ignore our health.  And yet, still, our bodies continue to function.

Think about it - we wouldn't treat our cars the the way we treat our bodies.  The car manufacture tells you to put in high grade oil and high grade gasoline - you don't do it always.  But, you wouldn't ever buy the cheapest gasoline - made with "fake" oil, from a discounter, with aspartame and put it in your gas tank.  Or what about bad tires?  Driving on bad tires isn't safe.

Even if you can afford the most expensive (best) tires, you make sure you have good tires on the car.  Our health?  Ah, well, we can put that off.

We put off exercise.  We put off eating right.  Going to the dentist?  Can't that wait?

What we put INTO our bodies could be an entirely different story.  What about what we put ON our bodies?  They say the skin the the "Rodney Dangerfield of the body - it gets no respect".  I don't ever look at ingredients in skin lotion/oil - just slather it on every day.  I'm kind of in the camp that Sunscreen ingredients probably cause as much cancer as the sun.  (BTW, try Coconut Oil - it's a natural sunscreen)

What about exercise.  Yes, exercise can also put stress on joints, bones, muscles.  But, overall, exercise is SO good for your health.  Not to mention your mental health.

I HAVE to at least go for a walk every day.  Otherwise, I live too long inside my head.  Walking helps clear the mind.

For over a year now, I haven't trained for any particular event.  No marathon.  No triathlons.  No half-marathons.  No 5ks.  No bike rides.  No nothing.

I did participate in a biathlon this summer - but there was no training involved.  I just did it.  I was also in the Canoe Club.  But once, no training.  No everyday rigorous activity.

And you know what??  I'm out of shape.  For the first time in a very long time.  I'm sluggish and out of shape.

But for the last three weeks, I've been back on an exercise routine.  Not training for anything in particular, but actually a "routine" workout.

No, my walks will no longer cut it.  Also, just going to the club for a steam and shower and to get dressed - that doesn't cut it either.  Neither does a once a month or so toning class.

I mean a routine.  I mean 30 minutes on the elliptical and two sets of different weight machines.  One toning class a week, if not more.

It's amazing what the body remembers.  I haven't lost any weight, but I can already see the definition in my arms.  The tightness of my abs.  3 weeks - 3 times a week, maybe 4 and I can already tell a difference.

My muscle remembers what it wants to look like.  Maybe my brain will remember what it wants it's body to look like.  I'm hoping it remembers soon.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Library

I LOVE the library.  Yes, I still go to the library.

AND, I swear, the same old ladies whom were working at the library when I was a kid, well, they are now in Denver, working at these libraries.

They know EVERYTHING.  Can still tell you what book is where.  What book you might like also in addition to the three in your hand.  Won't excuse you from the overdue book fine.  And yes, will still "sush" you.  (BTW, when is the last time you "Sushed" someone?)

Yes, I still read BOOKS.  No, not e-readers.  Not, whatever electronic version of anything they send and call it a book.  A real book with paper.  (Back to my old-fashioned ideas - you must read the Newspaper and the Post Office).  I like being able to GIVE someone a book.  Not send them an e-mail.

Maybe it's my last hold out.  Although, I thought the others were too.  Which tells me, if any indication of my past behavior is a future predictor, I will one day NOT be reading a paperback book.  But in the meantime, I love my paperback books.

That's really not the point of my whole topic here, I'm more about the PLACE not the BOOK.  Denver Public Library also allows you to check-out on-line books.  They just expire after two weeks (maybe three). Poof.  Just like that.  The book is gone.  You checked it out, then you can no longer access it.  No late fees.
Helping you get to where you need to be, right on time.  (how can we NOT like that?)

I was reading a library book before Duncan's hockey practice the other day.  One coach commented, "I LOVE the library".  It made me smile.  A few years ago, another coach, stopped and commented on the book I was reading ("Rum Diaries") and says "I LOVED that book, maybe I need to pick it up again.  I should stop by the library."

Once again, I'm not sure what people ACTUALLY do, just we all miss something we don't do.
At the start of this year, I mentioned a blog, and a story she wrote.  This is the part of the story:

In The Library you are safe.  It smells of old books and worlds you’ve yet to explore.  It smells of worlds you’ve loved that beckon you back.  It smells of the bacon sandwich the guy in the corner has smuggled in while he devours words and food, not sure which is more filling.
In the library you are prepping.
Everything that happens in the library is just preparation for the next year.  That means if you fuck something up this year it’s fine.  This whole year is just practice.  The library is made for that.  Maybe you spend the year writing a book no one will ever read.  Maybe you spend the year recuperating from last year.  Maybe you burn the Thanksgiving turkey and forget an important birthday.  It’s okay.  It happened in The Library.  It was just practice for next year.  Maybe it’s insanity, or maybe it’s just me, but somehow I think we all need a year in The Library.  A year where it’s safe to make mistakes.  A year where it’s okay to have to escape and stare out the window without someone asking you when you’re going to get back to work and fix your life.  A year where we all whisper quietly about our plans and our wishes and dreams and darkest fears.  A year in The Library.  A year of getting lost in dusty, forgotten corners, and a year of finding the want.  (The want to leave.  The want to play.  The want to shrug off the dreams and walk out in the sunlight.  The want to pounce on 2014 with glee and rapture.)

My favorite line from the quote "a year of finding the want".

To my overall being, this year has been BORING.  A year spent in the dusty old library. The gypsy girl?  She went to Hawaii, she was happy for a bit, but she has an itch of reading a classic, of dreaming and escaping.

The hockey mom got lost back in the stacks.  Dusting. Trapped and Depressed.  Back in the section where she's not happy.  Martha Stewart must be hiding in the library too.  As we haven't seen her for a while.

The Vail girl?  We haven't really seen her in years.  She pokes her head about about once a year, but has let someone else be in charge.

The athlete?  The lover?  The business owner? The adventurer?  The mom  (you know the one making baskets. The one paying attention to the details)

Where the hell has all my support staff been?  Where were they when I needed them?

I think they have all been in the library.  Reading some books.  Recovering from their mistakes. Learning new things.  Deciding what to dust off. What to leave on the shelf.  But never wavering.  Always there.  Gathering speed.  Recuperating from their past, to make them even stronger and better.  Setting their goals.

Here at the start of the year, I was thinking a year in the Library might be a bad thing. Now, well, I'm thinking, it's just what we needed.....

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A funny thing happened

I recently wrote a story called "Words with Friends" and told of playing the game with an old friend.

An old friend whom I will always hold dear.  We went on a rampage of playing.  I think we played two games in one week. (and that is TONS for me).  Then we were going to take a break.  Only I was bored at a hockey game and asked to play again.

We started again, only a bit more slowly this time.  Not playing a bunch of times in a day, but just once or so a day.  More like a "good morning" and a "good night".  It was nice.  I liked the good morning.  I liked the good night.  It was just enough.

One morning though, I didn't want to play any more.  I wasn't tired of the game.  I think I've even learned a thing or two.  Learned the meaning of some new words.  Learned that some words, well are actually words (oohed - for example.  They "oohed and aah ed" at the performance.  Only "aahed" is not a word, but "oohed" is.)

I realized the game was making me sad.  I don't like playing games.  I don't like that you are playing a game with someone else and me too.  I don't like that I'm playing games with others and not just you.  After all, I'm pretty loyal.

Yes, I've cheated.  I've had to look up words and try over and over again to see if something is a word.  If it's real.

I went to resign.  Quit the game.  I no longer wanted to play.  But then I realized, if I quit the game, it would then start a new game - a game of me quitting first.  Where you wanted to quit first.  An entirely different game. You can't just quit.  When you've played for this long.

Then a funny thing happened, I realized sometimes it takes a bigger person to quit then to hang on. Just because you are use to playing, doesn't mean you still should.

So, instead of resigning, I quit.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

What does your husband do?

For some reason, last summer, I heard the question a lot.  "What does your husband do?".

I don't remember hearing the question the summers before.  I always answer "I don't have a husband'.  Then, without fail, the question is "Are you a teacher?"

The question was asked many times last summer.

Although we know what they are really asking.  "How do you pull this off?".  Only by saying "What does your husband do?", well, seems a more polite way to ask.

The truth is, this is EXACTLY how I wanted my summers to end up.  I just didn't figure out what I wanted the other 9 months to look like.  We all have to be careful what we put out into the universe - be very specific.  I knew what I wanted out of my summers.  I just wasn't sure what I wanted the other 9 months of the year.

Yes, I could have had that husband.  The one where he keeps working and the kids and his wife go to the beach for the summer.   He joins us with Carolyn's husband for a week.  Then we get the rest of the summer with the kids at the beach.  We meaning Carolyn and I.

Only my picture doesn't look like that.

It's a little more clear now.  And my husband?   He's not here right now.  He will be here soon.  But, until he joins us.......  I"m not quite sure what he does.......