When irony occurs, It’s both amazing and amusing. I’ve received several benefits and insights from that missed haircut last week. Go figure. Mistakes have a way of providing those things.
First, Kris, the stylist, was gracious about my no-show. How does he do it? I’m not sure if I could be as forgiving. This a good lesson. Second, someone’s cancellation provided an opening for me and while there, I found my black scarf I’d left last time. Third, my no-show last week inspired me to adopt an appointment keeping system.
PROCLAMATION: It is hereby noted that said turquoise 2020 planner will accompany me wherever I go.
How’s it going with the planner proclamation? Here’s how. The muses of time think my idea is a joke.
They’re laughing at me, “You know, Bobbe, your planner concept sounds logical, but it’s merely like a fart in a windstorm. You made a little noise, but it’s possibly already lost and forgotten.”
This became my reality as I exited the car for my makeup haircut. I held my wallet and planner. The wind blew that planner right out of my hands.The pages stood straight up from wind gusts. It slid down the sidewalk like a flat rock, skipping happily upon the water surface. There I was, chasing and being teased by my planner. Every time I reached it, poof! It took off again. And again. What a mean trick.
Clearly, becoming aware of a habitneeding attention is the first step. Then you really have to step on it. Eventually, I was able to step on it. More accurately, I stomped on it. There is now a huge boot-print stamped upon the month of January. Hopefully, the boot will kick me in the tush, every time I have an appointment this month. And I’ve got a bunch of them.
People driving by probably found paper chasing activity fairly typical of windy day activities. They wouldn’t know the pure irony of me chasing the planner.There I was, literally and figuratively chasing my appointments.
What habit are you needing to improve in 2020? And willing to share?
Once you speak it, it becomes real. And that’s a pretty big deal.
We’ve been hearing this phrase a lot lately. It’s a handy one. It can tolerate any pronoun:
That’s on me.
That’s on you.
That’s on us.
That’s on them.
I think this phrase be used a lot or a little. It depends. If we’re taking ownership in something we’ve done that doesn’t turn out particularly well. Well, that’s on me. I need to own it.
Before slinging this phrase around, perhaps the best idea is to turn the phrase into a question “That’s on who?”(For you grammar gurus, I suppose it’s more correct to say, “That’s on whom?” Whichever, it is and right now, I’m getting confused about the wrong thing, so let’s move on, shall we?)
If someone is trying to throw blame on you for something, they might say, “That’s on you!”If it’s true, then it’s going to hit right where it hurts. Why? Because truth is hard. Truth can hurt. But the truth is the truth is the truth. And that’s the truth. Or as our Nick would’ve said it as a little kid, without front teeth, “That’s the troof!” And that’s okay. We need to hear a little more troof!
The problem with hearing the troof is that we become so damn defensive. It’s a natural response.If we don’t go down the defensive road, I know that for myself, I will just crumble into a puddle of woe. Woe goes like this:
“I’m so stupid. I’m such a loser. I should’ve known better.” Yeah, let’s be self-defeating. That’s so much more fun! This is because someone has just validated what I’ve known all along. And the troof can feel like crap. So, be careful before you sling around “That’s on you.”
However, if we’re to correct our actions and become better humans, then it’s important to know what troof feels like. I think I really like using this version (troof), because it makes me laugh. And maybe we all need to do that a little bit more when it’s on us. Bw
After 67 years, my parents had been split up, not by divorce, but by different aging conditions.
While there was no question about the strength of our friendship, it was confirmed many times by Michele’s willingness to accompany me on my visits.
There are two kinds of humans in this world: those who can deal with the elderly and those who cannot. Now a successful banker, Michele had CNA experience a couple of decades before this.
CNAs must deal with the messiest of patients and there was nothing that could violate Michele!
At this time of the year, I’ll never forget when my ninety year old mom was in the hospital one winter, three times in six weeks, for recurring pneumonia. Her diagnosis was, “pneumonia and failure to thrive.” Her prognosis read, “Poor”. She wouldn’t eat or drink and it felt like the beginning of the end.
One Sunday morning, Michele offered to go with me to the hospital. Very few people assume the invitation is always open. I would never ask anyone if they wanted to go, except a family member.
Mom had just had a bath and was ready for a breakfast that she wouldn’t eat. Her hair, thin from aging and wet from her bath, was plastered against her small head. It was unsettling.
There were two basic things to do: get food and liquid in her and set that hair! Michele coaxed her kindly and fed her easily from the front, while I put her hair up in Velcro curlers, from the back. It was a two-pronged approach and quite a vision, I’m sure.
Perhaps it was because of Michele’s kind, gentle easy nature with Mom, orr maybe it was the ever-present sparkle in her eyes, but it was the loveliest gesture a friend could offer Mom and me.
We see this aging parent scenario unfold hundreds and thousands of times. Let this be a positive lesson to us all that we, too, can dish up kindness and assistance with a spoon or a fork. And a little Dippity-Do!
Recently, Jenna, my daughter-in-law, and I popped into Pappion Artistry, a petite New Orlean’s area gallery. The artist, Christina Pappion brings New Orleans culture to life through whimsical painting. She accents certain pieces with gold flecks that makes them fancy. Christina greeted us. We browsed and read publicity pieces hung on walls and easels around the shop. In addition to painting on coasters and canvas, she paints on football cleats. Not just any old stinky, muddy cleats, New Orleans Saints’ cleats.
Nosy (me) leaned into her studio. While she painted, I asked about the cleats. “It’s a weird canvas, but I researched and figured it out.” She literally creates masterpieces on cleats. Pappion learns the foundation/cause each player supports and incorporates the theme onto the boot (e.g. Brandon Coleman (Alzheimer’s Association) and The Mark Ingram Foundation (Children of Incarcerated Parents).
The Saints wear these decorated cleats during one designated game a season, they named “Cleats for a Cause.”The cleats are auctioned afterwards to raise (a lot of) money for the respective organizations. It’s the ONLY game Saints are allowed to deviate from their standard uniforms.
Naturally, we asked about Drew Brees’ cleats. Not surprisingly, he commissions his own artist but, and this is a BIG but, Drew’s wife, Brittany, contacted Christina, after seeing her “Streetcar” at a fundraiser. She was disappointed she didn’t bid enough to buy it. She had Christina paint another streetcar painting and asked her to paint Drew into the picture for a Christmas gift. (See Drew at the end of this article.)
Christina assumed delivery would be an exchange at McDonald’s parking lot or somewhere neutral, but it was delivered to the Brees’ home.While balancing a baby on her hip, Brittany wrote the check. She then asked Christina to help her hide it. They ran around the house, then up to the second floor to explore potential hiding places. Holy baldy! Christina was running through Drew Brees’ house!
Many years since, Brees’ has commissioned Christina to paint streetcars, incorporating their growing family. One year, she requested the extended family of thirty be featured. “Thirty people! All I had to go on were family photos, texted photos or social media. I didn’t even know how tall people were, in comparison to Drew, so I painted him seated!” Somehow, she managed to nail it.
Pappion shared other victories with us, but also failures, such as rubber boots (i.e. Hunter brand) on which she painted for $200 for a Kentucky Derby dignitary. “These boots were stunning!Until the woman stepped into the rain and onto the race track (not to race, but to pose for photos, haha). The design got wet and slipped right off those boots! All that remained of the $200 artwork was colorful mud. I was mortified.”UGH.
“I cried for two weeks after that disaster. I was sure I’d never work again. But the drippy boot buyer was gracious and commissioned me for further work. I couldn’t believe it!”
Another low point was a large painting for Mrs. Benson, widow of Saints’ owner Tom Benson. First attempt: botched and tossed aside. Take two: flopperino. The third time was NOT the charm. “I could not deliver, but Mrs. Benson’s secretary insisted it would be fine. It was a mess, but she insisted. Amazingly Mrs. Benson LOVED my mess and wrote me a big, BIG, HUGE check. I showed my family the check while dancing around chanting, “We’re going to Disney World!” My kids joined in the dance. And we went. Best trip ever!
My family thinks I’m a busy-body, talking to random people like this. In fact, I’m pretty sure they roll there eyes out loud at me a lot, as in, “Oh noooooooo, there she goes again. We’ll never get out of here!” I can’t help it. People are interesting. Talk to them. Ask about them. Learn about them. You never know what treasures you can discover. In honor of meeting an artist phenom, I purchased four coasters, representing the four major food groups we consumed during my stay at Nick and Jenna’s in Louisiana: shrimp, oyster, lobster and red fish.
Recently, Sam Horn, Intrigue Agency, wrote about being Bolder in Boulder. She was entered into a 10K walk and almost let self-doubt demolish her plans. She asked us readers if we were being bold on our own behalf. I replied and she suggested sharing my reply, as others might relate. The last twenty-four hours have been a cacophony of “Should I or shouldn’t I? Be bold or bashful?” Aha! I was practicing the exact self-doubt demolition to my idea. Would readers think I was a nutcase or normal? Asking for affirmations and compliments? My people will always think I am a bit of a nutcase, only because of my trudging through a number of human struggles. Oh, right, like everyone else. In that spirit, here is my attempt to be bold today. Read it, reap it or recycle it. It’s simply my offering.
My body image brain has two heads. On one hand, I am the wellness program coordinator for our company. It pushes me to participate to the fullest as an example, if I’m leading the program. I would probably workout with or without the program; always have. I am proud of the fact that as one of the oldest employees at 62 and 11/12 , I’m in decent shape, energy-wise, fitness-wise. Last Thursday, I wore a pair of slacks to work, or rather, they wore me. I felt fat around the waist all day. I started doing that thing I do in my head.
“You don’t work out hard enough.”
“You don’t work out often enough.”
“You finally let yourself go. Great.”
“You’re getting the middle-aged spread.” I have felt that I delayed the onset (like it’s a disease) until 63.”
And so it went for a few days. I was so angry and disappointed in myself, that no matter how much effort I would throw at my waist, it would never be enough. You see, I’m a recovering enoughaholic. Yes, I suffer from Enoughaholism. I’m considering writing this idea for a book title, but would enough people want to read it? There I go again.
Saturday morning, I signed up for Pound Class with my daughter. I was forced to stand in front of the mirrored wall of truth. However, during the forty-five minute class, some switch flipped. I was actually able to look at myself objectively. This is not an easy thing for PLU (People like us) to do. Somehow the wellness demon decided to ease up. Perhaps she had seen me berate myself enough the last two days. I assessed myself from head to toe. I didn’t hate what I was seeing, as much as expected. First, were my shoulders. One time a physical therapist described them to his co-worker as, “Well developed.” I liked hearing that. My upper body workouts were actually having a positive effect. Who knew? Next, were arms. There was a little jiggle underneath them, but overall, the biceps actually had definition. Moving south, the waist and tummy were next. Ehhhhhhh, they’re not HORRIBLE. Passable, I suppose. “However,” I reminded myself, “Remember, Young Lady, you’re wearing LOTS of Lycra.” Oh, for heavens sake, who let in Bobbe, the Body Bubble Burster? The self-sabotager. Finally, I looked at my legs; they aren’t twigs by any means, but they’re strong and they still work. Good grief, listen to me!
After class, I glanced once more in the mirror as we walked out. I’m used to being the oldest in most classes. It’s obvious, I’m not as lithe and flowing as younger specimens, but, by golly, I’m there. I’m okay for turning 63 in six days. Yes, I could work out harder. And more often. Push, push, push. Does it ever end? Or are we working ourselves out to death, literally and figuratively?
Choices I make are just that: choices. Live with them or make different choices. Ease up and give a little gratitude to the physical abilities I have and start bursting those bubbles that say, along with my rationale,
“Not strong enough,”
There will always be someone stronger.
“Not coordinated enough”,
There will always be someone more coordinated.
“Not thin enough”,
There will always be genetics that dictate body type.
“Not flexible enough”,
There are always ways to improve flexibility.
“Not smart enough”,
There will always be someone smarter. Hello genetics.
“Not pretty enough,”
There will always be someone prettier. By whose standards?
“Not rich enough,”
How much is enough?
“Not popular enough.”
There will always be the high school mentally.
”Not successful enough.”
There will always be someone with more drive, better timing, more bravery.
Sound familiar? Any of it? If yes, then let the mantra be,
“Enough OF enough.”
“Enough IS enough!“
I’d love you to PM me if you struggle with Enoughaholism too. Or am I the only one? Be bold. Be brave. I just was and it wasn’t that bad. The first step is recognizing what we’re doing to ourselves. bw
RECAP: the three wise monkeys. Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil and See No Evil. Yes, I know you read about this months ago, but stress is one of those concepts everyone understands differently. We know stress is the devil incarnate to our bodies, our relationships, our work and our brains. So why can’t we get a grip on it? Great question. We all need applicable tools.
What I know is this:
Stress feels different to each of us. If you hadn’t read this previously, I arrived at a cockamamie (I’ve never used that word, but I kind of like it.) acronym, to pull together about ten (okay, twelve) ideas that I have employed this year. To give you a visual, there is now the fourth monkey. “Stress No Evil” is the name. Busting stress is the game. Imagine the three monkeys, doing what they do and then Stress No evil is doing yoga. Make sense?
Here’s a rundown, if you’re still battling stress now and then.
S ilence. Yesterday I drove to work, lunch errands and home in quiet. Nice.
T oxic people. Surrounding myself with others who bring me up.
R est. Stayed up late last weekend. Next day was awful. Can’t do it anymore.
E xercise. Do what I can. It could always be more. It’s good for what ails me.
S ocial. Hung at a bar with Friday AND Saturday. (I know!) Great friends/music.
S olo. I’ve attended 3 Broadway shows this year. Alone. I’m over feeling weird.
N o. This week I had an opportunity to lie, but I went with honest and said, “No.”
O utdoors. How is it out there? BIG! And springy. And calming. Get some sky!
E xplore. Okay, I took this one to the limit, read below*.
V ulnerable. Toughest one: put yourself out there and being open to wounds**.
I nhale. As in, b-r-e-a-t-h-e. Meditate-ommmmmm-whatever, just stand still.
L evity. Well, you know how I feel about fun and funny…
**Being vulnerable can be physical or emotional wounding. Physically, it can be an attack. This read leans more to the emotional, (i.e. Being open to criticism and hurt feelings.) Even bad-ass personas have vulnerability. Example: I used to think Jeff didn’t have feelings, so when I’d get frustrated with him, (which was more than once!) I’d spout things that wouldn’t phase him. I found out 41 YEARS later, my words hurt. Even him. Everyone’s vulnerable. Don’t think otherwise. Bad on me. And I’m sorry, kind of late.
On a brighter note, here’s my 2018 exploration experiment:
January: sensory session. Gong, drums and scents, oh my!
February: drum circle at a nursing home. Where everyone felt like Ringo!
March: Chicago cooking class with Jeff. Call me the “Crepe Queen”. Oh yeah.
April: Soul drawing session: five hours of meditation and paint. What appeared abstract was amazingly, correctly interpreted about my picture, by ten others. Incredible.
Shout out if you’ve tried any of the above tools lately!
Most of my writing referenced Dad, be it customer service, strength or humor. It was safe to say that Mom lived in his shadow, but was no shrinking violet. I looked up shrinking violet: it means shy or timid. This was not my mother. Call her, “Quiet Steel.” Man, she was/is a strong woman! Most acquaintances did not experience this quality about her. Here are examples.
CRYING: I’ve seen Mom cry, oh, maybe three times in my life. If she’s 93, this averages once every 31 years. Not often. It doesn’t mean she was unfeeling and certainly, it wasn’t that she didn’t feel sad at times. She just expressed it without tears. She was a soldier when all else crumbled around her.
WARM & FUZZY: Not. My sister, Cathy, and I regret we didn’t get many hugs, kisses or “I love yous,” from her. This was just Mom. It is one thing, however, Cathy and I have vowed to do differently with our own children and grands.
DRILL SERGEANT: If swim practice was scheduled, my fanny was in the pool, on time, every time. She slid on ice into a ditch once, on the way to practice; we eventually made it. Piano lessons? We were there. Dance class: in our tutus, on time.
DISCIPLINARIAN: Whenever we went out to dinner, if we even hinted at misbehaving, Mom pinched my thigh. YOWSER! I’ll be good. I’ll be good. She didn’t tolerate back talk or eye rolling. Cathy tested this more than me; I remained very afraid. At age four, I shoplifted (one and only time) at Illinois School Supply. I was so excited about my colored pencils I showed everyone in the car. She made my sister march me right back in the store and confess. Geez.
HEBREW SCHOOL: Every Thursday. Get over it girls and learn something.
ORGANIZATION: Mom planned and executed. She made a list for everything. Even into which dish the broccoli should go. We never – I mean NEVER – went anywhere, when she didn’t say, “Do you have your raincoat?” Even during a ten-year drought, we’d have our vinyl raincoats or ponchos rolled up tight and stashed. Just in case. (See photo of Bobbe in her raincoat, age 2. Yes, even then.)
THE SOFTER SIDE OF SHIRLEE: In 1970, some unusual events inspired Mom to write the booklet: “Love Is…” It is profound. She never promoted it, obviously, when I unearthed a shoebox full of them in their house. I also found a treasure she wrote and here it is. It’s rather deep and I had no idea Mom’s brain was so prophetic. It almost makes sense it was written in the 70’s, except I know mom didn’t smoke pot! (I’m sorry, Mom, I realize I could get my thigh pinched for that one!) Interpret it to your own needs…
WALK WITH ME
April 4, 1971
Walk with me in the sun or in the dark – the sun melts your tension and the dark holds you close to let you think. To walk alone is to free yourself from the bite and snap of the scene about you- to feel the wind, whether it’s warm or cold, is like a shower in the morning that wakes you and makes you tingle and get alive again to face what will still be there or what is yet to come-
The walk alone is needed; but to walk with another is better. To talk is to walk with the mind as well as the body. It can be brisk and pointed, sharp and stimulating; or it can be quiet and meaningful and an easing of doubts and soothing to a tired soul. One can be alone and walk, but then you walk with your God; and in thinking, you talk with your God and you are not alone.
To walk with another is to be aware of sharing, but even then, two alone cannot live on an island and survive for long; neither can just two walk together. Each one must reach out to many whose lives touch and whose paths meet, some in love and some not.
A family shares and family loves; and where there is strain within that unit, you find an ingredient so vital that it pursues your whole direction. One cannot turn off the emotional self- you are surrounded by it and cannot walk away from it – it can surround you like barbed wire and there is no escape, then you walk in a circle; but in walking, you are doing, and to live and survive you must do something. Then you are making the motions of being alive and find there is always a way out of the circle that seems to close in like a whirlpool in the water, first pulling you down, then releasing you once more to tread the water up and thereby walk again to life –
Walk with me and share life with all those who touch my life –together. –Shirlee Schecter, 4/7/71
It’s recommended that we find our “third place” to write, do taxes, work, read, pay bills, think, study, sketch, paint, workout or meditate. I tried a Third Place on Sunday.
What and where is your third place?
It’s not home, or work.
It is a neutral, mostly distraction-free zone. Think: coffee shops, parks, libraries, gyms and beaches.
Third place-why? First and second places tempt us with many diversions, such as:
An instant burning desire to wash, dry, and fold every last article, which includes ironing Jeff’s Jockey’s or sockies.
Without hesitation, you’re outside the house or down the office hall chatting with neighbors and co-workers, whom you’ve ignored for years.
-Eating: Before starting, you need a little snack, which turns into a full out pantry and floor sweep for crumbs, expired spices and old food in the fridge. Sure, the kitchen sparkles after this effort, but you haven’t done one intended thing yet.
Home closets, credenza drawers or under your work desk are favorite diversionist destinations. A simple pen search evolves into sorting envelopes, medications and paperclips. There’s something safe about diving deep into closets, drawers and other dark spaces.
Why are these activities appealing distractions? Google it. I’ve decided to term it: “Ostriching”.
A flightless swift running and the largest living African bird with long neck, long legs and two toes per foot.
Myth: ostriches bury their heads in sand to avoid predators.
Fact: they would die from asphyxiation.
Fact: When nesting, they dig shallow holes to bury their eggs. From afar, ostriches appear to be burying their small heads, when they’re simply tending their eggs.
Human ostriches (i.e. procrastinators):
People who refuse to face reality or accept facts, such as finite time. While ostriches are actually engaging in functional activity in their nests, humans, on the other hand, creatively try to avoid the intended task by burying their heads into places like closets, washers and refrigerators.
Our third place isolates us from distractions and enables us to stay on task.
Starbucks was my third place Sunday morning. I sat in the corner with my ear buds inserted and thought, “I don’t know anyone here!” Which was shocking. Then, a man, whom I scarcely knew, approached me while chatting, but I couldn’t hear him, of course.
I decided I had to give him the finger or he’d stay all morning. Mom always gave me the finger too. The “Wait-one-second-I’m-in-the-middle-of-something-on-which-the-survival-of-the-human-species-depends” finger. To further indicate my intention to stay on task, my eyes remained on my paper; ear buds stayed inserted. I felt (a little) bad being rude, but these types of people are easily encouraged and hard to disband.
What I learned
If you want your time uninterrupted, you must be willing to protect it.
When I happen upon someone who’s obviously busy, I will resist the urge to engage him or her in mindless chatter. Unless my pants are on fire. bw
We have an unconventional method for gauging aging at the White house. It involves baby gates to keep Lily White, the black Lab, from roaming room to room. After reading, you’ll understand how gates experience aging cycles, not unlike humans.
For Puppy Lily, we used 24” gates. She never attempted to breach security. As she grew from tip to hip, our hips were growing too. Growing older. I occasionally caught the gate, with either the front or the back foot, causing the whole damn contraption to fall down. I wasn’t alone. Jeff cussed puppygate more than once, too. At this point, we should have tried harder to maintain range of hip motion by bicycling, if only to practice mounting and dismounting. (i.e. swing that lead leg a bit higher.)
We downsized to a 17” gate. Thankfully, Teen Lily never attempted to escape. It was a major victory, physically and aesthetically. In time, however, we started tripping over 17”. I purchased replacement gates and pitched the broken ones.
Clearly, it was downsizing time again. We now have a 7” gate. It’s a breeze to hop! Old Lady Lily still minds, mostly because her 77 year-old hips couldn’t do it, unless there was a piece of salmon, ham or pumpernickel on the other side. Obviously, we don’t store our food on the floor, so she’s out of luck and leap, as well. Every time I scale that 7” gate, I fist pump the air and yell, “YES!” Sadly, it’s only a matter of time before the 7” gate trips us too.
Aging stinks worse than a dirty dog, but I’ve determined our next four gate levels, in descending order.
Level Four (3½”): Playing cards propped vertically across the thresh-holds.
Level Three (2¼”): Playing cards will be turned horizontally, end to end. That should be a piece of cake…
Level Two (1”): Dominos, and
Ground Zero: dental floss. I figure that, by then, we won’t be able to pick up our feet and can just shuffle across the border. Not only that, we probably won’t have any teeth anyway, but we can still floss everyday. It’s just that we’ll be flossing the floor. Sit. Stay. Floss. bw
(Photo guide: Lily White is pictured above. The 7″ and 2 1/4″ gates are featured. If you look very closely, you’ll notice a Royal Flush…)
My extremely wise friend, Lisa Pemberton, says, “Ask not what are you doing, but ARE you doing?” She knows me well. If anything speaks my truth, this is it.
When our son, Nick, was a little pup, he’d ask many times a day, “Doing?” We would tell him, but he never seemed satisfied with our answers for very long. Maybe as a little guy, he was Buzz Lightyears ahead of us and wanted to ask, but lacked the vocabulary:
Doing something meaningful?
Doing what you need to be doing?
Those questions are an obvious segue to my 2018 DO YEAR LIST:
Monitor the rabbit holes. Rabbit holes are the social media links which we begin reading for seconds, turning into minutes and sometimes into hours. It means keeping the lure of Amazon, Insta, Facebook and eBay at bay.
Fold bed sheets better. Okay, I admit this is random, but the Quincy Wash Tub attendant has offered this tutorial. That gal can fold a wad of cloth into a postage stamp. Not kidding. Our linen closet deserves it.
Write fewer words. Say more. I typically write 500 word posts. But nobody really wants lengthy reading. Less is more. Always was/will be.
Listen full in. People observe when you aren’t present. Also, my kids will appreciate not having to say, “I already told you that, Mom.”
Sit. Stay. Do. P2C is my mantra. (Project to Completion).
This last DO is a DOozie of a DO – to return this home to my husband. I have seeped my DO into every room, nook and cranny of this house. It’s time to undo. It’s probably another article as well as to why we do this.
Let this year be the year of the doing and when necessary, the un-doing. HaPpY dO yEaR tO yOu! Let’s do the do!