Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Sunday, February 14, 2016
|My Furry Valentine|
As I type this on my cellphone, Diego and I are lounging on the sofas. The fire my husband built warms us.
Lots of people celebrated Valentine's day last night. I did, too. My dad and I drove to my cousins' home and ate a fantastic dinner. My aunt is famous for her cooking, and last night didn't disappoint! We talked family lore and politics. Everyone's favorite subjects.
This morning I thought I would have a quick breakfast with my mom's cousin. We couldn't stop talking, and hung out for three hours. Heaven.
Driving the four hours that separates my father's home from ours, I had a long heart-to-heart with someone very special. Talking to her made the miles go by so much faster. We don't have to remind each other that we're valentines - we just are.
As I wait, I'm texting friends, reminding then that I love them. Sometimes, with corny lyrics from Beatles songs for good measure.
Soon C will return from her celebration. (If need be, I'll lure her home with pulla). We all be home, under one roof, in a house warned by a fire, good food and family.
That's what happiness is. Happy Valentine's day.
"PS I love you!" Emoji hearts for all-y'all.
Monday, February 1, 2016
Today is Groundhog Day. I see the sun, which... since it's going to be in the 50s, must mean 6 more weeks of.... political rhetoric.
I don't think I can take more hateful speech, overblown half-truths and finger pointing. I'm not an undecided voter. I know whom I support, and if you know me and know where I've spent about 20% of my life, you can guess. Some of you like me because of this, some of you like me in spite of my political opinions, and that may be how I feel about you, too. Growing up in a "mixed" household with parents who were members of different parties, I saw that you can love someone unconditionally even if you don't agree on politicians. Can you hear Mom's sarcasm, "George, your president is on TV."
Plus... And here's the surprise... Most of us have nuance to our opinions. Voter A can be against abortion but support the right to choose. Voter B can be hunter but want stronger controls of who can purchase weapons. And the list goes on.
A few weeks ago - out of the blue - a college friend whom I haven't seen in more than 5 years sent me a private message to check in with me, because by the tone of my Facebook postings, apparently I don't seem like myself.
She's right! I'm very stressed. Just thinking about a list of my stress factors in the most superficial way as I write this has me tearing up. Most items are out of my hands (which schools will accept my daughter, my father's aging and his increasing needs), but there are a few that I can influence or otherwise temper their impact on my stress level.
So I'm going to do that. I'm going to avoid stressful encounters, get more sleep and eat better.
One thing I'm going to do, which you may not like, is to change some of my social media settings. If I could, I would increase the pictures of friends and family sharing time with their loved ones. I would cut anything hateful or upsetting. Images, campaigns or advertising designed to produce a strong emotional response. Much of it is offensive anyway, so even if it supposedly supports someone on my side of the fence, it's just too much right now.
Anyway, in light of the fact that I'm feeling 90% capacity on my stress-meter, I'm taking charge. I'm unfollowing (not unfriending) anyone who posts hateful things. If it brings about the emotional response that the senior marketing strategist intended, I'm avoiding it.
If that means that I'll miss news I want (what my friends and their families are accomplishing) so be it. If you want me, pick up the phone. Drop me an email or stop by my house. In turn, I'll try not to "increase conversion" for my candidates online.
As with all of my resolutions, this might not work, but I have to do something to lower my stress and increase my happiness. I encourage you to do small things to improve your stress levels, too. And share your tips, especially over coffee. I could use it.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
|All grown up - N spent 6 hours shoveling on both Sun & Mon|
|Commuting may suck sometimes, but I see the sun rise|
Sunday, December 6, 2015
Bridgewater Soccer Mom ponders her ultimate what-if...
|Brothers Ron (left) and Dino (right) with baby sister, 1971|
|The siblings on Dino's wedding day - 1981|
When he died, my Mom, sister and I were in New York. (You can read more about that day here). My mother never shared the extent of Dino's illness with anyone except my father - including her own mother or her siblings. My father couldn't tell my sister and me that he died (although we knew about his illness, she couldn't hide it from us). Ultimately my Aunt told us that he died, even after we asked my Dad. Then my Aunt, Uncle and cousins took care of me and my sister in those first days and it created a special bond (at least for me) between us. While it took decades, I have let go of the resentment and now I have a peace about it that I didn't have even five years ago. I have had to accept that even my own parents make mistakes... so it's time to forgive them.
Editor's note: My father read this and says that it is unclear that he didn't choose not to tell us. Our Mom asked him not to. Even if it would be better to hear this news from him than from my Aunt or Uncle, I am guessing that he didn't want to argue with my mother about this just after her son died.
Monday, November 16, 2015
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
|Lunch with friends: chocolate fondue - Not exactly a salad|
I need to do the same for myself. Take responsibility and focus on being happier and healthier. If you are reading this, you should know that you deserve the same.
For me specifically, this means focusing on my health and on the people who matter to me and taking the same advice I give my loved ones:
- "Dad, you should go to sleep earlier."
- "Husband, turn off the TV and get fresh air."
- "C, be more empathetic - remember not everyone is as fortunate as you."
- "N, clean your room!"
- No, I don't need the instant gratification of seven cookies... or thirds on dinner.
- Yes, even if it is only a mile or two, I should go for a run or a walk.
- Avoid things - or people - that tempt you into doing things you shouldn't do.
- Plan better and stick with it.
Case and point: Many years ago when my kids were both in elementary school, I was about to go to kickboxing. The phone rang - I should have just let it ring, prioritizing my exercise. But, no, I saw it was a class mom and I answered the phone to be polite. It was about something that seemed so very important at the time but from my 2015 lens is silly. The school delayed a first grade concert for a third time because of weather, so they finally called it off. The parent on the other end of the phone was incensed and lured me into the mix. So I listened to her rant, then I tried to take action, even though my own son was relieved because he doesn't like performing. If he was happy that they canceled it, what made me get involved?
Many times I looked back at that moment as a pivotal - but very telling - mistake. A blip in my lifetime that symbolizes so much.
Last night I saw a teacher from Van Holten school. I was running, but stopped to say hello because we are friends. She informed me that Bridgewater teachers are working without a contract. I stayed and listened, but ran home. I as I ran, I realized that I had let go of so much anxiety by not following school politics anymore. Of course, this "anxiety hole" has been replaced by other stresses: work, college planning and many others. It was so freeing knowing that I wouldn't be getting involved this time.
Maybe I'm learning. But I can do more: I can be negative about changes at work, about my commute, about my messy house, or I can be positive spin or make a smart change. No one is going to do that for me.
|The Borg. Image from:|
What are your strategies to resist? They may not work for me, but I'd love to hear them as I develop my own. Just remembering that we live on earth - with a certain amount of free will. This is not the Borg. Don't get assimilated.