Friday Jams: Aloha Darkness

I lost a friend two weeks ago. Well, I didn’t lose her, she left. And I don’t understand why.

However; what I’m coming to realize is that I never will understand. I will never understand how she could leave her daughter, knowing how much she needed her. I will never understand how, while dedicating her life to helping those in mental health distress, she herself couldn’t reach out. I will never understand the depths of her hopelessness in the one moment that became too much.

I can just be sad. Sad for her (I am so very sad for her that she was living with this pain. Of all things, I am so sad for her); sad for her young daughter who is walking through a horrible nightmare and appears completely shell shocked; sad for her family, friends, and coworkers who so clearly love her. Sad for the police officer who now lives with the images of answering a well being check that day. But for my friend, I am most sad that the darkness was too thick to recognize a glimmer of light.

shelly

Shelly and I shared the ultimate bond; we were goalie moms. Even more, we were goalie moms in a small town where neither of us were part of the “click” and so our daughter’s were easy targets for opinions from people whose entire hockey knowledge came from their husbands or worse, those who played the game ‘back in high school.’ (Dude, you were an average player in an average town, let it go.) The head coach was your typical small town head coach which meant that he didn’t have a clue what to do with goalies so he’d berate them thinking the shame will be enough to step up. Other players did drills, goalies got shot on (uhhhh, there are goalie drills dude.) To this day, when I’m in town and run into him on Mai Tai night, he has the good grace to quickly look like a scared dipshit that he is and bolt for the door. Dipshit.

Anyways. Shelly’s daughter, Desi, started playing goalie a year or two after Zandra and I finally had friends. Shelly and her husband at the time, Jeff, adopted me somewhat into their fun loving, musical crowd and I rarely went a weekend without an invite to somewhere fun.

Shelly wanted good things for everyone around her. It drove her nuts that I was single. She was constantly on the lookout to find me a match, even though I was just fine. I dated a guy here and there from their crowd (one was this tall, skinny, weird looking guy who had this quirky Steve Buscemi quality about him. Can’t explain it. Didn’t last long but it is one of those things I look back on and ask myself ‘wtf were we doing there, Jules?’)

She would suggest guys here and there for me and I would ask if she were serious but at the end of the day, being with someone equated happiness and that’s what she wanted for me. We argued about it sometimes. Seriously. That seems silly now but I just didn’t understand why it was so important to her and she didn’t understand why it wasn’t important to me. Such is life. But at the end of the day, she wanted me to be good and to be happy. Isn’t it nice to have friends like that?

We laughed a lot together. There was one time when she and Jeff stopped by the house to pick up something later in the evening and I left it in our mailbox for them. Now, I’ve written before about how our mailbox was outside of an entry window and whenever the mailman came, she would be terrified of Preacher when he jumped in the window and tried to eat her (silly mailman.) Anyways, I heard them pull up and looked down from my bedroom window when two things happened at once; Preacher started barking his scary bark and I saw Shelly rear back in the passenger seat and start laughing hysterically. I guess Preacher scared the ever’living out of Jeff when he jumped in the window and Jeff flew back about 10 feet in utter fear. I can see it so vividly. Shelly laughing. She still laughed about it years later. Me too.

Since she was human, Shelly had struggles. We all do. We all have things that can be hurtful to those around us. We all have habits where we think we’re being helpful but actually aren’t listening to the needs of others. Some of us have struggles that we just can’t seem to put behind us. Scary struggles that only one or a few who are especially close to us recognize. There are even some struggles that are destructive enough where we begin to lose out on the joy of life. Where addictions take over and even when old friends come to town, they become more important than spending time together.

But I didn’t know how deeply she hurt and I am so sorry for that. While I wasn’t a fan of her new boyfriend, I respected her decision to spend time with him. As opinionated as I am, I don’t feel the need to share EVERY thought with people. But maybe I should have about him. He had a darkness to him. Bad aura. Nothing that stood out in a remarkable way, just not altogether right. And I can be a bit hyper-sensitive about other people’s energy. If it’s off putting for me, I stay away. And I stayed away. Now I’m so sorry that I did.

No, I don’t feel guilty. I just feel sad and so sorry. I told her that, this last time. Laying in her coffin, the horrible nightmare jolted into reality. I am so sorry Shelly. I’m sorry you were so sad and felt so hopeless. I’m sorry I wasn’t there. I’m sorry I didn’t push harder to make time for me when I came into town. I’m sorry I distanced myself on the Facebook. I’m sorry that I distanced myself at all. I’m sorry I didn’t help. I’m sorry that I didn’t know. I’m sorry.

all of a sudden. you were gone.

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Friday Jams: America

Well, here we go.

Today, we welcome a new President. Well, welcome is subjective I guess. Ronald Reagan said, “If we love our country, we should also love our countrymen.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I love America. I have loved it through Carter (gas lines); Reagan (tear down this wall!); Bush (no new taxes); Clinton (what the meaning of the word “is” is); Bush (mission accomplished), and Obama (hope and change.) Yes, I was around for LBJ; Nixon, and Ford but was too young to know anything other than what my parents thought of them. Honestly, the only thing I remember about my folks saying anything about those three was that LBJ would have Lone Star beer flown in to the White House from Texas. Lone Star. Ever have a Lone Star? Barf.

To all of the “Not my President” types: I feel your pain. I’ve been there. I’ve already mentioned it but I understand your fear of the direction our country will take. I’ve been there for 8 years and if today’s FB is any indication of where we’re at; well, we have a long way to go to love our countrymen. But I do. And I will continue to do so.

Also,yup, I’m nervous too. I voted for Trump. Partly because I could not in good conscious vote for Mrs. Clinton but also because I believed in part of his message. Not all, but enough that I cast my ballot. So ya, I want him to succeed. Because if he does, we do. That’s a good thing.

But this is America and if you don’t want to play nice, really, you have every right not to. People wanted me to give Obama a chance and really, at the end of the day, what choice do we have? I didn’t believe in his promises but I didn’t want him to fail, because if he fails, we fail. We didn’t want failure. This is like wanting your competition to fail just so you don’t have to step up and do your best. Not acceptable.

But we are divided. And there is a large portion of America who are choosing not to give Trump a chance and I fully embrace your right to do so. But I want to ask this: if Trump fails as President, how does that help you or your cause? If Trump fails, how does that help your neighborhood? If Trump fails, how does that help America? Are you willing to spend the next four to eight years angry and combative? Gawds I hope not. For your sake. For mine.

We can do this! Together. As long as we stay together (except for Fucknutt Francis next door. Screw him) we can do this.

We’re going to start right here. I first heard Audrey Rose Walker’s name on my near friends podcast: Fork Talk. She is a huge fan of Big Daddy and Hoss and was quite adorable when they did a field side interview with her and she called them out on a couple of items she disagreed with. OH! Audrey Rose was born without eyeballs and severe heart disease. Add to that: she’s amazing. I threw in a Masters group with her father, Jim Walker, in Pleasanton a couple of years ago and it was an absolute delight. Audrey Rose AND her siblings were entertaining and supportive of their dad throwing and I’m so fortunate to have had an opportunity to spend a little bit of my weekend with them.

This was also the first time I heard Audrey Rose sing. Ohhhhhhh, to sing like that! Something I will never do but have so much admiration for. She is so bold! I love that. She lives a bold life, one to admire and respect. And she sings. OH how she sings!

Here she is singing the National anthem this past fall at the San Francisco 49’rs game. She’s 9. You need to know that because once she opens her mouth, you’ll forget that she’s 9. No matter how you feel about what’s happening in Washington today, please love America. And don’t just love, be loving.

And be in awe of Audrey Rose. We can all do THAT together!

Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressman and government officials, but the voters of this country.

Franklin D. Roosevelt 

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Lessons Learned

lesson

I may be a bit excited about turning 50 this year. Honestly, I remember being in my 20’s and wondering if I would be young enough to still want to party on New Years in 1999 (I was pregnant with the Ozman and in bed by 10. I found it annoying as F! that Texans wanted to shoot off 30 minutes of fireworks when the clock turned to a new century. Didn’t they know I was sleeping???!!!) OH, also, this year we made it until 11 or so on New Year’s Eve. What I’ve learned is to be efficient when it comes to partying. Drink wine; get sleep. Done and done.

For some reason, 50 is special. Now, admittedly I have a couple of more months and shit could turn before then. If so, that sucks. But according to USAW, I’m a 50 so I get to behave as if I’m a 50. Suck it 40’s! So in the spirit of being a 50, here are some lessons learned in the last half century:

Learn: my Grandpa took painting lessons when he was long past retirement. I remember that being a cool thing. I have some of his paintings, they are treasured. Never stop learning. I know too many 30-somethings who think they have nothing to learn. They are among the stupidist people I know. I have worked among engineers long enough to know that they hate to admit when they don’t know something. In my opinion, it is their biggest weakness. Allowing yourself to learn is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. If you have a low enough self esteem where you believe admitting you don’t know something makes you look bad, well, too late. You already look bad. If only to yourself. Never stop learning. Learning is cool.

Live with passion: find what you want to be passionate about and hit it hard. This is between you and the universe. Your passion and you answer to no one. I believe this is the biggest stumbling block when people want to follow a passion, they are afraid of what those close to them will think. Look (shit get’s serious when you say, ‘look’), I just saw an episode of House Hunters where the husband had about 9 boxes of board games because he writes a board games blog and needed one whole room just for his games. I thought it was stupid. But this is his passion so F! me. You go guy! There is a club full of people here in town called the Milwookies. Needless to say, they are a bit crazy for Star Wars. I thought they were morons, even if they are actually quite smart in various fields. But the whole Star Wars thing was a bit much. Guess what? Who cares what I think! This is something that brought a very eclectic group of people together to form a very strong friendship. Good on them (but I was still relieved when I didn’t have to go to their parties anymore. It was too much for me and their parties always had the shittiest food possible which would send me on a fat girl bender for about 2 weeks.) Go after your passions, F! the detractors. And on that note…

Never allow others to disrespect what you’ve worked for. Ever. This one is personal. Years ago, when I decided to try to compete in weightlifting, I called it Olympic Weightlifting (now I say nothing unless asked what my next competition is. Just easier that way.) When my mom would ask what I’m doing and I would say, Olympic Weightlifting, she would snarkely (totally a word) say, “OH, are you going to the Olympics?” No, no I’m not. Ever. Unless it’s as a spectator. But guess what. There is a very large space of ‘watch what happens’ in between nothing and the Olympics. Maybe an America Master’s championship. Maybe a World Master’s silver medal.  Maybe just simply the respect of others in the field for working hard and being coach-able. Maybe training hard for a Master’s National Championship. If nothing else, I’ll step up on that platform. (There was a bit of fuel on the fire here for this one when both she and my dad would go on and on about how awesome my brother in law did in his softball beer league. They went to the games. Sometimes, even being a forgetful 50 doesn’t make you forget the hurtful stuff you’d like to;) Heh.

Be trustworthy: I have mentioned before and I guess I’ll say it again, when something is told to me in confidence, it goes to the grave. If someone else asks a direct question about it, I will look them directly in the eye and say I don’t know anything about it. Many things exist only between me and someone else. This makes it non-existent for others. You may call it a lie. Don’t care. I have been affected this year by people I trusted who shared personal information with others as gossip. I don’t know why. These were people I thought were safe. I was wrong. Lesson learned. It hurt a bit, but you know me, I bounce back.

Make your word count: this goes a bit to the above. When I give my word, I mean it. Others around me know that. The more you water down your word with half truths; non-action, and failing to follow through with things you’ve said you would do, the less your word means to those around you. Do your co-workers see your word as solid but those at home don’t? If so, you’re missing the point. This is probably colored slightly by the hypocrisy of living in a Pastor’s home, but it’s a good policy to be the same person in every situation. Do what you say and say what you do. Sounds simple, eh?

If people are shitty, they won’t change: move on. Fast. Even if people aren’t shitty but bring stress or frustration to your life, move on. We’ve learned a lot about this in 2016, mostly due to things we were going through here. What are the situations that brings more stress than we had realized into our home? Ya, avoid those. Even if, at times, they are fun. It’s okay to love people from afar, wish good things for them but understand exactly what the relationship brings to you and knowing when it’s not awesome. NOTE: strive for awesome.

Take time to heal: mentally and physically. Look, we live in a fast world with so many distractions to keep us far from being grounded that to take time to heal is almost looked at negatively. What the actual fuck is wrong with healing? One thing social media does is give us a birds eye view of when someone is on the path to crash and burn. People may have even seen it in my training the last few years (thank a lot for saying something. Dicks.) We’re athletes who believe in pushing hard to meet goals and especially as Master’s athletes, we know the clock is ticking on what we’ll be able to do while watching that performance line start a steady line downwards. Sucks. But we must take time to heal. From injury; overtraining; illness; a season of competition; bad coaching, to name a few. And that’s just physically. If needed, we must take time to heal our mind. Negative self-talk; painful personal situations; betrayal. Whatever it is, stop using the world to avoid healing. Heal. And then move on. Live a beautiful life. Stop living in your pain. What a shitty way to go through life, refusing to step away from your pain. Heal. It is very likely that you are loved. Live loved.

Invest in your tribe: I’ve written about this a lot lately. I can do better at this. I have some ideas, time will tell if I’m successful. We have an amazing tribe and in many ways, Matt and I are still walking the earth together because of them. That’s how vital they are to our world. I worry sometimes that I don’t give back enough to what they give me. I hope I do. But I can improve. I’ll let you know at 60 if I’ve been successful. Heh.

Take care of your home and your car: seriously. Maybe it’s because being homeless as a child and with children was a very real possibility at times in my life and/or maybe because I’ve only had three cars in my lifetime (my 2005 Tahoe only has 210,000 miles on it which means I have another 2-3 years with her. Matt took her to get the oil changed about a month ago because it was past due. The oil changer guy came in and said the oil actually looked good and didn’t really need a change. Matt told him to change it, that the reason everything looks good is because of the care I give my car. True story.) I remember when I moved here, I was talking to Matt’s mom and whined a bit that not one piece of furniture made the move without a nick or an actual chunk taken out of it. Her reply? “That’s okay, it’s just stuff.” Uhhhhhhh, no. It’s not okay. It’s MY stuff and I take care of my things. I didn’t grow up in a world where stuff was just shit that could be replaced constantly. If I broke my doll, I now had a broken doll. There was no clergy money tree out front. So I took care of my stuff because I knew that it’s all I had. Same goes with my car. Now, it does have bumps and bruises and probably dog hair all over the back of it. But she’s loved and I’m thankful for her steady performance. I’m also thankful for an amazing mechanic up the block who helps me take care of her. I once read an article where a potential boss would ask to take an interviewee to lunch if things were going well and then make that person drive to see what kind of condition their car was in. I liked that. If you treat your car like a garbage can and your home is falling apart around you while you sit and watch 5 hours of television a night, it speaks volumes to what kind of person you are. Barf. Don’t be that kind of person.

Live with romance: this has been a big one for me lately. One of the hardest things for this former single mom is to quiet the masculine side of my personality. I had to be mom and dad for many years and many of those years were tough. I had no time for frivolities and I kind of forgot how to even want those. And now I’m a 50 and married to a wonderful man. So I not only WANT to girly up, but I need to. However, I need help with that. So I’ve asked for more romance from the Bigg guy and he’s working on it. But I don’t want other women to wait until they’re 50. More Nora Roberts, less Stephen King. Heh. Not really, but kinda. Feminists want women to believe that they can do everything a man can do and then some. Well, sure. Whatever (rolls eyes.) Somewhere along the last 40+ years, no one came back and said hey wait a minute, I like being a woman who is taken care of by a man. I like being the weaker sex (sure I’m weaker to Matt but not to many other 50’s chicks in the world. heeeheeee.) I want to be nurtured and treated as if I’m something special. Why is that bad?  Probably because the feminazi’s would come back with YOU TRAITOR, HOW DARE YOU LET A MAN OPEN YOUR DOOR! Matt and I were at his favorite beer bar one winter night a couple of years ago. A couple around our ages (I’m horrid at guessing peoples ages) came in and the man helped the woman get her coat off. Yes, he also helped her get it back on when they left (yes, we stayed there a while.) It was very sweet and something I haven’t seen in quite a while. And for those living without a partner right now? Romance yourself. No, pervs, I don’t mean that. If you don’t have anyone buying your flowers, go buy some yourself. I love flowers, especially bedside flowers. Lily’s and tiny roses and carnations in a pretty vase on my nightstand gives me joy and makes me feel girly all day long. Don’t let anyone tell you that wanting to feel pretty is a silly thing. Hell I tell my beautiful friend, Victoria, every time I see her that I’d dress so much prettier if we lived closer. But we don’t, so tank tops and leggings it is. But I’m working on it.

Be authentic: I’ve written enough about this. Do it or don’t, but believe me, you’ll like yourself a lot better if you live with your shortcomings out there in the open rather than live in a bubble of bullshit. ‘Nuff said.

Lastly, but certainly not least (and don’t call me Shirley)…

A good night’s sleep is everything. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a good sleeper. Or at least, I wasn’t. 7-9 hours a night is standard for me now. Something I learned back in November when I backed way off of my training is that I was only sleeping about five hours a night but felt pretty refreshed. My body adjusted to a need for less sleep and I thought that was pretty cool. Once training started ramping back up, so did the need for more sleep. And I get it. Matt is looking into getting a sleep study done and hopefully finding more restful sleep. That would be good for him. Nothing good comes from being overtired. Nothing. Chronic fatigue poisons everything physically and mentally in your life. If you need a nap, go take a 10 minute nap (I adore 10 minute naps.) Value sleep. Give it the attention it needs. Your life will thank you.

OH! Here’s a few honorable mentions:

Eat right. If you don’t know what that means, find someone who does. Food is the biggest drug. It can kill you or it can cure you (to a point, obviously.) It can age you and it can help keep you “young.” It can make you feel like shit or like a Ferrari. Be a Ferrari.

Be loyal, but not to assholes. If you think your loyalty is wasted, take inventory on the situation. Could be that it is.

Let your children make mistakes. Being a bulldozer in front of them their whole childhood will make them fear life and will be your greatest failure. Trust your parenting. When they stumble, they may call for help. Help them without bailing them out (especially if they need bail.) Teach them how to walk the earth without you. And then be thankful when they can, but won’t want to.

Be proud of yourself. Yes, others being proud of you is good too. But others can feed you only so much. Feed yourself. Take pride in your life. If your life isn’t one to be proud of, fix it. Then be proud that you’ve adjusted.

Be nice. Even on the Facebook.

Try. You may fail, probably will along the way. That’s okay. Failing doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means you had the balls to try. Adjust, then try again.

There ya go. Words of a half centurion. They may mean something or may mean shit. But hey, I’m probably older than you so show tutu some respect! Heh.

I’m nearly 50. I’m past being photographed falling out of bars.

K.D. Lang

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Monday Bacon: 5 Ways to Kick Negativities Ass

I usually leave Monday’s to rants (again, don’t number my rants, you can’t count that high.) But I’m so sick and tired of the negativity on the interwebz that to add to it would make me sick of myself and that seems like a pretty self destructive start to the week. While I’m no Stuart Smalley, I would like to have something positive to say (and no, saying “I’m positive you’re a moron” isn’t what I’m looking for today. Even if it’s accurate.)

So, here are my today’s 5 ways to kick ass on the negative attitudes of social media:

AFGHANISTAN MARINES

Write a letter.

I am lucky enough to have a friend or two who still love to write letters. One showed up the other day and it absolutely made my day. Personally, I love to write letters. No one ever needs to stress about finding me a prize, just give me stationery or cute notes I can mail (or steak. Either one.) My friend, Victoria, even makes her own notes. She’s on a higher level than me. True story.

Just putting a letter in the mail, knowing someone will be getting something different amidst the bills and junk mail is fun for me. It’s little, I know. But it’s fun. I’ve even sent a post-it note in the mail, then I forgot I did it so when I heard from the person that they received it, it made me giggle all over again. Being elderly and forgetful has it’s fun.

They have 99 cent cards at the Walgreen’s, come on! For the same price as a really crappy cup of coffee (for those of you who don’t already know, my beloved Bigg guy will pretty much drink coffee anywhere. Even on an airplane. He will then go on to tell me what a crappy cup of coffee it was. While I admire his optimistic attitude that it would be anything other than crappy, I still must shake my head at the idea that it wouldn’t be) you could send a fun card. Maybe one with a sloth on it. If it has a sloth, send it to Jasmine. She loves sloths.

five1

Clean a closet.

While I have about 1/8th of the amount of clothes in the picture above, my closet can still get a bit messy. Even worse are hall closets. Hall closets become the hideaway of everything hide-able when company comes. No one is upstairs digging through my hall closet (we also don’t have a medicine cabinet in our downstairs bathroom so snoops will have no fun in my house.)

30 minutes and a garbage bag are all you need to feel good about a junk space that you once avoided but now open every time you pass by just to admire your work. Seriously though, ever wonder why moving is so torturous? It’s because of all the crap we accumulate and never dump but then have to face. Take the step to dump now and you’ll be amazed at how it inspires you to keep it going around the house.

I guess if I were to be trendy, I would say “de-clutter.” But I’m not. Just throw shit away and organize a bit. 30 minutes. The same time as it takes to watch the useless 5 o’clock news (I really tried to watch the local news once but in the first 5 minutes they had a story of Brittney Spears. Brittney Spears. Not even that she was in Milwaukee, but she did something stupid. Dudes, if I want to hear about the stupidity of celebrities, I’ll watch TMZ. But I don’t, so don’t put it on the local news.)

Just grab a gin and tonic (it’s medicinal) and head upstairs and clean a closet. Or a drawer. Or your briefcase. Anything that you can look at and say to yourself, “self, look what we did today! Aren’t we grand!!”

Yesterday was get rid of any remnants of Christmas day around here. Honestly, I really hated to see our tree go. It actually still had a pine scent to it and looked beautiful. Oh sure, it kept wanting to fall down which really kept us on our toes but it was probably my most favorite Christmas tree and had enough green in it that I seriously considered giving it one more week. But then I went to take an ornament off and the brittle needles almost cut me. Uh oh, time to go. So we got everything put away that made sense (we still keep out some winter decorations until spring) and got ready for Valentine’s day decorating (YEAH!) That was my version of cleaning a closet; however; the upstairs hall closet is on my radar and is on this week’s agenda.

five2

Make a stranger smile.

Honestly, it’s not hard. In the Midwest, a “how are you doing?” is a standard greeting. Like “Howzit” in Hawaii. Now, the nice thing about Hawaii is that no one expects you to answer How ‘zit’ actually is. Just smile and say ‘howzit’ back and we’ve just recognized that there is another human on our planet. But in the Midwest, you are expected to answer with a “Doin’ great, how are you?” I don’t care if you aren’t doing great. I don’t care if you don’t care how the other person is. Just say it and move on.

Of course the problem comes when the other person actually starts telling how they really are. Gawds, srsly. However, how hard is it to listen in the time it takes them to ring up your groceries to how they really are and give a thumbs up or a “I hope the day goes better for you” before you leave? Not very.

Years ago, I was going through something with my daughter. It was a tough morning and I stopped for coffee in a town I’d never been in before and had clearly been crying. In fact, I tried to hold it together long enough just to TeeTee and get my coffee and it took everything I had to get through it. The overly caffeinated young man at the register gave me a “HEY GOOD MORNING ISN’T IT A GREAT DAY? HOW ARE YOU DOING TODAY!!” that nearly put me over the edge. Luckily for me, an attentive manager next to him jumped in front of the register and quietly asked me what she could get for me. When she handed me the coffee, she simply said, hang in there. Tell ya what, when you’re ready to crash and burn, a simple hang in there can get you through a bad moment and that may be enough to get you to the next five minutes. Well done coffee lady, well done. I also imagine she had a talk with over caffeinated dude in learning to read people.

And that’s really what we can take 8 seconds to do in order to put a smile on a stranger’s face. Just read people. You don’t have to get all up in their grill to make yourself feel better but if given the opportunity, get someone to the next five minutes. You have no idea how important that can be.

When I was in high school, I was a hostess at a Perkins. Hostess at a Perkins, I found, is one of the most thankless jobs a high schooler can hold. Waitresses are always pissed off at you for not seating people in their section or seating too many at once. Customers are always pissed off at you because they want their omelette or mile high chocolate cake right fuckin’ now! I hated it. One slow, winter evening a woman came in the door shaking off her scarf just as I was about to seat another table. I quickly looked at her and told her I’ll be with her in a moment. Very standard. Didn’t even think about it. I came back, walked her to her two person booth and gave her a menu. She stopped me by holding my arm and said, ‘thank you so much for your smile when I walked in the door. I really needed that smile tonight.’ Of course I was a stupid high school kid so had no idea how to respond so probably mumbled something stupid, turned red, and walked away. But I guess maybe I got her to the next five minutes.

You never know. So try.

Give a compliment.

I couldn’t find a meme for that one. Sorry.

This one isn’t hard. At all. There are hundreds of ways to compliment a person, whether you know them or not. I would need more than my two hands to list the ways my husband compliments me each day. He’s far better at it than I am. I’m a little better at complimenting others while we’re out and about or with friends but it’s something that’s clearly important to both of us.

We had the awesome opportunity to spend New Years weekend with friends in Arizona. It was one of our favorite weekends of the year (both ’16 AND ’17) that included tons of fun; laughter; wine; connecting; weightlifting, and even a Highland Games (by the way, I’ve spent 8 days already as the number one ranked woman on NASGA. Suck it Elites! I have about five days I think to start sinking down the ranks but you bet your ass I’ll boast about being the first 49 year old ranked number one on NASGA. heeeeeheeeeee!)

Our friends, Max and Yvonne, have a desert oasis in Scottsdale which is absolutely gorgeous. Yvonne’s mom is there with her pups so we got puppy time and her niece and nephew were also visiting from Louisiana. They added a lot of fun and a nice youthful quality to the weekend. On Monday evening, we went out to dinner and Auntie Yvonne fixed Kyla’s hair before we left. I was in the kitchen when Kyla walked in and she lit up the room. I told her how pretty she looked and she was happy enough to give me a quick hug. It was very sweet.

And that’s how easy it is to make someone feel good. Give a compliment. Get out of yourself and compliment someone. Whether in person or even on-line. No, a “like” isn’t a compliment. Stop it. I’ve unfriended many people who seem to want a relationship of “likes.” Grow up, we’re not 13. To have a real relationship takes work, not a click. There are hundreds of qualities others possess that I don’t that I admire. How hard is it to tell them so?

Not hard (thatswhatshesaid)

five3

Get outside. Without your phone.

One thing I noticed right away about our neighborhood is how many people walk. They walk alone or with kids or with dogs or with their pet snake (yup, that happened.) Coming from ‘record heat’ Texas, it was refreshing. No one walked there. It was too hot. Here? Everyone walks, still. We’ve had a cold snap here, right now it’s a balmy 27 which is 20 degrees warmer than last week. It’s supposed to be 38 on Wednesday, shorts weather. Yet even with the cold, people are still walking. Dogs have their sweaters and booties on and their people are bundled up, but they’re still walking. I’m uber impressed. At 27 degrees, the pups and I can walk up and down the street but that’s it for now. Our old girl is 9 1/2 and her little feetsies get too cold right now if we go further. But we can get outside for 5 minutes.

Without the phone. I admit; while it has to affect on me whatsoever; it annoys the ever livin’ out of me when I see moms with a kid in a buggy; dog on a leash, and is still connected to her phone. Can you NOT for 10 minutes?

But you can. Ten minutes away from your phone. You can do it. Breath in the fresh air, even if it makes your nose hairs freeze. They’ll thaw. And you get to enjoy 10 minutes of peace.

Doesn’t that sound better than fighting about politics on the Facebook?

The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you’re the pilot.

Michael Altshuler

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