Monday, December 26, 2011

Is it time to change how you approach change?

"The key to change is to let go of fear." - Roseanne Cash
Not easy for some people, and I am one of them. I like things comfortable and familiar. I like to know what to expect. I like the "norm." Even when the norm isn't good, I still prefer it to the unknown.

Some people get excited about the unknown. The adventure of something new. I envy those people.

Objectively, I see the benefit of change. And realistically, I know life is all about change and you can't avoid it even if you try. Nothing stays the same - EVER.

Not all change is for the better. But we do well to see the opportunity of change, even when we don't ask for it or want it.

My friend Brenda recently wrote a wonderful post on her blog Passionate Pursuits. Her post was thoughtful and reflective, and wasn't specifically about change, but it made me think about it in a roundabout way. She talked about events in life, broken down into three parts--the beginning, the middle and the end. It was really eye opening for me to think about life events in terms of parts. When I ponder change, I realize I tend to focus on the ending aspect.

I'm sure my focus on endings is a result of my own life experiences and one reason why I resist change so much. If you read my blog regularly, you know that my father was in the Army so we moved around a lot. Each move was about a new location, a new house, new friends, a new school, and new activities.

That's a whole lotta new. A lot of beginnings.  At the time, I enjoyed this. At least I thought I did. But once I got older, I began to crave stability.

I dig the middle. No change involved there. That's where I'm good.

So it's not ALL about saying "goodbye" it's about feeling in control. When you know what to expect, you feel in control. When you are in control, nothing bad will happen.

That is clearly an illusion, but it's funny how the human brain works. Fear is created when we don't even realize it. Fear that keeps us stuck in old patterns and behaviors, unable to move forward.

And mine is clearly fear of change.

"Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't. - Steve Maraboli

How do YOU feel about change?

With another new year about to begin, and many people making their New Year's resolutions, this seemed like a good question to ponder.

Predictably, I leave you with this song by David Bowie. You can't write about change without THIS one going through your mind! It's still one of my favorites.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Moms Don't Dance

Ok. Here's something to blog about. It's the shortest blog post ever and not even my material.  But I thought you would enjoy it. I'm saving it for my parental archives. Something to make me smile in my very old age. 

I was sweeping the front entryway and dancing with the broom. The boys were in the living room watching t.v. and they saw me and rolled their eyes.

Me: What? You guys just don't appreciate the entertainment I provide for you.

Kevin:  It's just not right.

Me:  You think I should have curlers in my hair and act like a grandma?

Kevin:  Just don't dance.

Me: What's life without dancing?

Jack:  Footloose




Hope that made you smile!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ghosts of Blogging Past

Woohoo! Ok, this idea definitely will save my ass because I have been completely unmotivated to write anything new lately. I have a LOT of junk going on in my personal life (sorry, don't want to share yet) and I just can't seem to summon up anything to say that isn't too private or depressing.

SO.... along comes this great little blog hop and I'm definitely hooking up!! The idea is to go to your first week of blogging and repost what you wrote. I'm all into recycling! Plus, this gives anyone who is new to your blog, a chance to learn a little something about you.

After you read this, you can go have more bloggy fun by following the links at Mommy2cents and Chosen Chaos. You can have fun reading some other wonderful blogs and even join up yourself.  Enjoy!

What's in a name?

Hi. My name is Michael Ann. Yes, Michael. Ann. Like Mary Ann, but Michael instead. Yes, like the boy's name.

My  name was supposed to be Melissa. Isn't that nice?? But mom changed her  mind at the last minute while watching her favorite tv show, Dr.  Kildare. There was a nurse character named Michael Ann, and I guess  that just tickled mom's fancy, and she changed her mind only days before  I was born. Curse Dr. Kildare!

All my life I've had to suffer through the same questions by well-meaning strangers.

"Are you sure it isn't Michelle?"

Uh, yea, I'm sure.

"Did your parents want  a boy?"

No, they already have one.

"Are you named after your dad?"

No, my brother is, and his name is Peter.

Grr....  I understood their curiosity. I understood my name was unusual. But I was just a kid for goodness sake.I  just wanted to be normal. To fit in. Why couldn't I have a name like  Susan or Debbie or Kathy like all the other girls?

When I was in high school, I had the idea to change the spelling of my name. I thought maybe  that would make it seems less unusual, or less "boy." I changed the spelling to Mykle. Um...yea, I know. That didn't really help. In fact I  think it made it worse. So I changed it back to Michael, causing even  more confusion. When I was in college, someone in my dorm started  calling me Mickey, and others followed suit. I didn't really love it, but I  thought it was  better than dealing with all the Michael questions. After awhile, that  nickname grew on me and I liked that most people didn't even know my  real name was Michael. Mickey suited me--it's cheerful and spunky,  exactly like me. :-) My college friends still call me Mickey.

That  was fun while it lasted, but when I got my first job out of college, I  decided it was time to let go of Mickey, and embrace my adult self and  the name that I came with. I decided to reclaim it with pride. Yes, I  am Michael Ann! That's my name and don't wear it out! Oh, did I say  "adult?"

Now days, having  an uncommon name is not, well, uncommon. In fact it seems to have become  desirable. The weirder, the better. Children with names like Apple and  Rocket probably won't experience what I did while growing up. Different  has become the norm. Kind of defeats the purpose huh? Better off  choosing a name like  John or Ann. Now THAT will really be unique!

I would like to  give this story a happy ending and say that as an adult, I am finally  learning to accept and even appreciate my special name, but honestly, I  still struggle with it. Maybe I just can't shake my history. I know I  could go and have it legally changed...but I've never been willing to go  that far. That just somehow seems wrong. It wouldn't be ME.

Wait  a minute. Me. Yes....I guess Michael Ann really does feel like me. It  should after all these years, huh? Ok, I admit, it hasn't been ALL  bad. I have had my share of compliments too. And I have to tell you,  when I am introduced to someone and they immediately say, "What a lovely  name!" it completely makes my day!

I realize in the grand  scheme of things, this is a minor issue, but I'm still going to tell the  Starbucks barista my name is Michelle.

Do you have an unusual name?

I leave you with this song.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Random Thoughts 2

Here's what I'm thinking in my head today.

Baking. Doing lots of Christmas baking. If you need some ideas for Christmas treats, check out my blog, The Big Green Bowl. The Rocky Road recipe is to die for!

Christmas Shopping.  Almost done, but still have a few things to purchase.  I might have bought myself a few things in the process. It oddly helps with holiday stress, to spend money on oneself, especially when the stress is about how much money one is spending.

Ozzie. My dog. He's a big black lab/pit bull mix who is not the sharpest tool in the shed. He's sweet but crazy.  I seriously need to get a video of him racing around the house like a bat out of Hell, and I need to accompany this video by Ozzy Osbourne's Crazy Train. I think we could win America's Funniest Home Video.

The dog has no couth.

And no, he is not named after Ozzy, he is named after Ozzie Smith, the greatest Shortstop who ever lived. 

The Wizard of Oz

Next to him is Omar Vizquel, the second greatest Shortstop who ever lived.

Amazing!!!


Isn't he cute? Sigh...

The first Giants game I ever went to, all I cared about was seeing Omar. We had great seats, right down by the Giants dugout. I had brought a big sign I had made that said, "Omar, you short-stop my heart!" When he went out on the field to stretch and warm up, I yelled his name and waved my sign. He  flashed that amazing smile and gave me the peace sign over his heart gesture! My children were mortified but I was on Cloud 9!

Ok...anyway, where was I?

One of our cats is named after Omar.  He's cute too.


I mentioned here once before that my favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz.  There seems to be a theme of Oz in my life. I think I should think about this.

Anyway, Ozzie was running around the house this morning with something in his mouth and it didn't look good.  It was my son's soccer shin guard.  Crap!!  Ozzie is truly in the dog house now.

Anyone want a cute but destructive and clueless big black dog? Free to good home!

Ok, last thing. One random thought leads to another. That photo of Omar Vizquel catching the ball in mid air? He isn't the only one who can do that.


That's my son Jack!



Happy Day, everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Who stole Christmas?

It's been two weeks since I posted. I was out of town and didn't have anything prepared ahead of time. 

Then, well....I wanted to write about the holiday season being upon us now and my feelings about it, but whatever I have to say is rather negative, and I wasn't sure I wanted to go there with you all.

But... since this is weighing very heavy on my heart, I decided to go ahead and write about it.

Christmas used to be my favorite time of the year. What kid doesn't love Christmas?  Kids have nothing to do but soak it all in. They write letters to Santa, help decorate the tree, eat Christmas cookies and basically spend all their time getting excited about the presents on Christmas morning.

As a young adult and especially as a young parent, I still enjoyed Christmas. I loved doing all the same things that my mom did to make the holiday special. Decorating, baking cookies, buying presents, and playing endless Christmas music on the stereo.  It was fun watching how excited my children got during this time of year. I loved participating in the fantasy of Santa and the North Pole and the reindeer an elves. It was still magical.

A few years back though, I got burned out. As my kids got older, the magic seemed to disappear. They no longer believe in Santa and the gifts they wanted became more expensive.  But this is not about them. It's not their fault. It is more a cultural thing for me at this point.

Two words -- BLACK FRIDAY. 

Giving an actual TITLE to a day for shopping-- treating it like another holiday?  The creation of a day where everyone goes out to buy and buy an spend and spend like a bunch of mad people....  I don't remember any Black Fridays when I was younger.  What is happening in our world that this day even exists? It is just too much. We have sunk to a new low.

And in this economy,  how is everyone paying for all that shit they are buying?  CREDIT CARDS. This is what is wrong with our culture. Buy now, pay later.  Or not. Go bankrupt instead.  If people don't have the money now, what makes them think they will  have it later?  What ever happened to only buying stuff we could actually afford? 

Is this what Christmas is supposed to be about? 

I know, I know. I don't have to make MY Christmas about this, and why should I care how others choose to spend their Christmas? I care because it affects everyone. Materialism and the focus on STUFF as a source of happiness is just plain wrong. That's why our world is the way it is.  People are disconnected and feeling empty.  They fill this void by shopping for STUFF.

Shopping is something we do all year long anyway. Why can't we have one time of year when that is NOT the focus? 

What if we all boycotted shopping for one Christmas season?  Just imagine how that would look. If everyone just focused on their relationships and their communities, what would that look like?

I don't give a damn about supporting the economy by shopping. I do give a damn about supporting my family and my community by not encouraging  everyone to go into debt.

I don't know..... the Christmas season just shines a light on all this for me, and it makes me depressed.  I find it hard to get excited.  I am trying. I am going through the motions. I am trying to keep it sane in my own little world.

I do love baking Christmas cookies and sharing them with my family and friends. I take a tray to our veterinarian's office and the doctor's office, and I love seeing how happy that makes them.  I enjoy buying little treats for my co-workers and my kids' teachers. I do enjoy shopping for just the right gift for my special people, and I don't overspend. 

I love spending a foggy morning at the Christmas tree farm, choosing a tree, drinking hot cider and riding in Santa's sleigh, even if the kids don't believe anymore. I enjoy the lights on the houses and I adore all the holiday music.

I'm keeping the traditions in my own little family and trying to be cheerful.

I'm thinking about starting some new traditions too, to help myself and my family better focus on giving and community.  We do all the donation things that come up, but I'm thinking of some larger scale volunteerism.  Something has to change. I really don't like feeling like the Grinch!

How do you stay focused on the good parts of the holiday season?


Friday, November 18, 2011

California Dreamin'

"Goin' to California with an aching in my heart."  - Led Zeppelin

In my last post, I wrote about what it was like to grow up in the military lifestyle.  It got me to thinking about HOME and what that means. It probably means something different to all of us.

When I was younger, home meant where my family was, wherever it was we were living. But I also had another sense of  home--a deeper meaning which came from my family history. A sense of place based on that history, filled with stories of family beginnings, lives lived, and stories told.  A place where we would go back to in between moves, where our extended family was, and where we felt we belonged. That place for me was always California.

California is the home state for both my parents. My dad grew up in San Jose and my mom grew up in Roseville. When my dad was in Vietnam, we lived in Roseville in a small rented home. This was so my mom could be near her parents and have some support and help with us kids. When dad came home, he was stationed at Oakland Army Base, so we moved to Walnut Creek, a small town closer to Oakland.

Then we got sent to Maryland, and my brother and I were NOT happy about it! We were quite content with our life in California. Well, as it turns out, Maryland was a great place to live. But as much as I enjoyed it there, I still pined for California. In all the places we lived after that, I never lost my longing for HOME. I knew someday I would get back there.

All the years we moved around, we would always make trips back to visit my relatives, usually in the summer. We loved spending time with my grandparents and my cousins, and we loved the sunshine. It was always hot in California! I think most of all though, it was the connection to something consistent. I was always very sad to leave.

My longing for California intensified when we moved to Ft. Lewis, WA. Let me tell you, for a girl who loves the sun, the constant rain and darkness up in Washington just put me into a depression. Every year, I tried to scheme a way to get to California. Couldn't I go live with my grandparents? How about my cousins? Please? No, my parents did not go for these ideas.

When I was in 9th grade, my best friend, Jean, and I devised a brilliant scheme that we called "Operation C." The C of course stood for California. Our plan was to save all our money, every last penny, and in the summer, we would hop on a bus and take a trip down there all by ourselves. We didn't know exactly what we would do once we go there, but we were pretty certain it would involve rock music, Birkenstocks and San Francisco.

We saved all our allowance and babysitting money. We even begged small change from our friends, saying we  forgot our lunch money. Shameful, I know! We put all this money in a shoebox, and by June we had $300. Not bad for piddly change, I'd say.

Well, then of course we realized the futility of our scheme. What would the two of us really do out in California? Where would we stay? Was $300 enough? We might be in danger and we wouldn't want to worry our parents.... So much for our California dreams. Instead, we split the money and went to the mall.

All through high school, I continued to fantasize about living in California.  Then it became obvious to me how I would finally get there.  It was simple really. All I had to do was choose a California college.  So, in the fall of '82, my dad drove me down to Sacramento to begin my new life--the one I had dreamed of for so many years.

I never looked back.

I  love living here as much as I knew I would. Even with all its financial and political problems, I still love it. It is a beautiful state with interesting people and a laid-back, free-spirited culture that I enjoy. It is HOME and I don't see myself ever leaving.

What does home mean to you?

"Someone told me there's a girl out there, with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair." - Led Zeppelin

Friday, November 11, 2011

I was a brat

It's Veterans Day. While I am grateful to all service men and women who have made sacrifices for us and our great country, the person I think of the most is my own father.
My Handsome Dad

You see, my dad was a career Army man, so I grew up immersed in the world of soldiers and all things military.  Base housing, military schools,  the PX (Post Exchange), the Commissary (grocery store), MPs (Military Police), military IDs, moving every 1-3 years, making friends and leaving them, standing and listening to the Star Spangled Banner at the theater before the feature movie, epic 4th of July celebrations, security checkpoints to get on base, and seeing my dad in uniform almost every day of the week.

Growing up military was a mixed blessing. But overall it was pretty awesome.

My brother and I both agree on that. We didn't know any other way of life. As military "brats" we got to do and see a lot of things that most children never get to. We lived in many different parts of the country and even in Europe. I was born in Frankfurt, Germany and we lived there for several years, so I actually have some memories of it. I remember our apartment building and I remember my Oma,  a lovely German grandmother who would babysit us and help my mom when she needed it. We also lived in Italy and I remember going to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Venice. In the states we were stationed in California, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, Kansas, and Washington.

My favorite place we ever lived was Ft. Meade, Maryland. Although when we first stepped off the plane and felt the extreme humidity in the air, I wasn't so sure I would like it! We were coming from California and I had never felt that feeling before.  Humid summers aside, it was a great place to live with so much to see and do. Historical towns, battlefields, museums, and of course Washington D.C. was right next door. We'd go there almost every weekend in the summer and there was always something new to see.

Friendships are made easily and quickly in the military. Everyone is in the same boat--new place, new people. Most folks were friendly and eager to make the new place their home. However, that was also one of the draw-backs. We made good friends, but then everyone moved away. We got used to leaving people behind, but it was still difficult.  I so wanted to stay with my friends forever and grow up with them. But instead, we had to pack up and move to a new home and go to a new school.

My least favorite place was Ft. Lewis, WA because they had no schools on base, so my brother and I had to go to a civilian school.  That was difficult because the civilian kids had grown up together and weren't eager to let new people into their groups.  All us military kids kind of stuck together. It took a long time to make new friends and feel like we belonged.

Our base housing at Ft. Lewis.

That was the last place we were stationed.  My dad retired and my parents bought a house and remained in Tacoma for awhile.  Now they are happily settled in Oregon. After high school, I left for college in California and am still here. My brother  joined the Marines and then the Army (just like Dad), but left the military after the first Iraq war. Thankfully, he did not have to fight in that war.  He also lives in California, not far from me. 

Though mom and dad are settled, they still have a strong love for travel and are lucky enough to do so often.   Me, not so much. I guess I  had my fill, and now I prefer to stay in one place. 

The military life shaped and formed us all in many ways. There was a camaraderie amongst us that I have not experienced since.  Military friends are always your friends. My parents have stayed in touch with many of their old friends, and they have had several reunions. Since Facebook came on the scene, I have found a couple of my childhood buddies and it has been really fun to catch up with them.

I feel lucky to have grown up the way I did. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for giving us a unique and wonderful childhood.

Thank you to all those who are serving our country.  Your way of life allows us to have our way of life. You are much appreciated.

This song is for all those old friends....

Friday, November 4, 2011

Random Thoughts

I've had a busy and stressful week and my brain is pretty fried. This is what I'm thinking in my head today....

1. I really like the foamy soap that comes in a pump. WAY better than the liquid soap. That stuff tends to pool under the dispenser and make a gloppy, soapy mess on the counter. The foam just goes right where you want it and is so much easier to use. Two thumbs up!

2. I know the organizing "experts" say you should dispose of all your junk mail the minute you bring it into the house from your mailbox. But what about recycling? I am obsessed with recycling. And you can't just toss most of that junk mail in your paper recycling bin for a few reasons. First, most of those envelopes have plastic windows and you can't recycle paper with plastic. Second, some of that mail has private information you don't want to make available to those identity thieves that are rifling through all your trash. So, you really do have to OPEN the damn junk mail to deal with these sticky situations. You have to rip apart the envelope to get the plastic off, and then throw the paper parts in the recycling bin. Then you have to separate out the personal information so you can put that in the shredder. Oh! And you can't just put an envelope with plastic windows straight into your shredder for future recycling, because, again, there is the plastic issue.

So see? All you organizational "experts" are just wrong on this one. It's much more complicated than that.

3. Why am I getting mail from the local funeral home? I'm staring to get concerned.


4. Send us your tips!  Why do women's magazines pay someone money to give us stupid advice like, "Have your kids set out their backpacks the night before, so they won't have to rush in the morning." Really? Someone got paid $100 for this tip?

5. I stayed in my bathrobe today until 2:30 p.m.

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's just emotion taking me over

Last weekend, I went to see a great movie called 50/50. I loved it, but I went through  a whole package of pocket-sized tissue.   I know I wasn't the only person in the theater who was crying, but I think I was the only person you could actually HEAR crying. Yes, embarrassing.

This movie tells the story of a young guy who finds out he has cancer and everything he goes through after his diagnoses. It's an exploration of not only what the medical experience is like, but also the social and psychological experiences. We watch what this young man goes through during his cancer treatment--some of it is funny, some serious, some sad. 

I don't know WHY I even go see movies like this because I know I will be transformed into a blubbering fool. Then my eyes get all puffy and my nose gets all stuffy. When I leave the theater,  I have to hold my head down in order not to catch anyone's eye, lest they think something horrible has just happened to me or wonder if I am psychotic and dangerous. 

Well, I admit it's not just these kinds of movies that make me cry. It's commercials and t.v. shows and well, anything with ANY amount of emotion. Stories about animals, children, death, and love especially. I guess that covers most everything. I take it on. Within myself. I absorb it and FEEL it as if I whatever is happening, is happening to me.

This is why I could never become a therapist.

I've been this way my whole life.  When I was little and the family would gather to watch t.v., the theme song for Lassie would start me to weeping.  The minute the song came on, I'd tear up in anticipation of the drama and emotion that was ABOUT to happen.  I'd see Lassie running and I'd start sobbing.

My family said I was "too emotional."  I knew it was upsetting to them when I'd give over to my emotions, but I didn't know how to control them.  I felt bad for being this way.  Like something was wrong with me.

My mom said I was very easy to discipline because all she had to do was give me a disapproving look, and I'd start to cry.

It took a long time to accept this part of myself, but now as an adult, I realize it is not bad or good  to have strong feelings. It's just who I am. We are all different and that's a good thing.  I am a sensitive woman with strong emotions.

But, I've also had to learn how to control those emotions and not let them get the best of me.

I've recently learned that sensitivity and strong feelings of empathy such as mine, are common traits in people who gravitate towards the arts. Which makes total sense. You must strongly identify with others and the world around you to be able to create. 

Scientists are actually studying empathy and people who are "extreme empaths" to determine what makes them so. Turns out it's all about DNA, neurons and brain activity, and the area of the brain that controls this behavior    The study of this area of the brain helps us to understand why some people have more compassion and empathy than others. It also helps to explain why some people have LESS and how this can lead to violent and criminal behavior.

So, I learned that I am unlikely to become a serial killer. This is good information.

Yes, it's tough being a woman of strong emotions. But honestly, now that I'm comfortable in my own skin, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Do you wear your heart on your sleeve?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

They paved paradise...

...and put up a parking lot.  One of my favorite songs by Joni Mitchell. What a great excuse I have to feature that video today!

But today they did the opposite.

Today is Park(ing) Day, a day for artists across the world to transform parking spaces into public art.  The movement was started in 2005 in San Francisco, when staff from a local art and design studio decided to create a temporary park within the space of a few parking spaces downtown.  The idea has since grown into an international event.

The theme this year was interactive art based on the question, "How do you create a design that responds to the needs of the people?" The artists used recycled materials of all types--cardboard, paper cups, bicycle parts, tree branches, even old record albums.  Many of the displays reflected the purpose of the stores they were put in front of. Paper coffee cups were used in front of a coffee shop, cardboard dress forms in front of a clothing store, and the record albums in front of the music store.  We could walk through the displays, touch them and even sit on the "furniture" that was surprisingly sturdy.

I read about it in our local newspaper and thought it would be fun to go check it out. My son went with me and we really enjoyed it.  Here are some photos so you can experience it too.






Friday, October 21, 2011

And how!!!

By Cracky! I've won another blogger award!


I had to use that expression because it's been in my brain ALL week.  I posted a recipe on The Big Green Bowl for  these delicious By Cracky Bars, and ever since, I can't get that saying out of my mind. Ack!

Speaking of sayings, my friend Laura from Catharsis was  getting all riled up about the saying "And how!"  It really distresses her and she is ready to cause some serious bodily harm to the next person who says it or writes it.  I know, that would be ME. Yes, I'm watching my back and looking over my shoulder as I type this. But for the sake of humor (and a great segue from "By Cracky") I took the risk. I think she likes me enough not to retaliate.  After all, she gave me this award.

Check out what Laura has to say about "And how!" and many other topics on her blog Catharsis.  Laura is a funny, clever and witty writer who has a lot to say about pretty much everything. And she will tell it like it is, holding nothing back.  I always enjoy her blog and I know you will too.

So the rules of this award are to share a few things (seven to be exact) about yourself, and then to pass the award along to ten other blogs.

Some things about me:

1) I am very flexible. Like a rubber band. Although with age, it's getting a little harder to do the splits. Ok,  I can't do it at all anymore.

2) I can't stand Salmon Patties and I'm sure my mother made them when I was younger, just to torture me. Oh, but Salmon is my favorite fish.  I know ???

3) My favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz and my favorite performer of all time is Judy Garland. I used to think I was her reincarnation because I can sing and dance and wanted to be in the movies just like her.

4) I am deeply disturbed by the existence of cock roaches.

5) I am an expert dishwasher loader. Just when you think not one more dish can fit in, I will reorganize the whole thing and find room for six more plates, 10 glasses and 50 pieces of silverware.

6) My favorite color is purple. I know, that's not very interesting.

7) I have six tattoos and a pierced nose. And how!


Passing the Torch to.....


Friday, October 14, 2011

Oh What a Night!

It's a Friday night in 1975.  I'm in 6th grade and my friends and I are getting ready for a fun night at the roller rink. Choosing our outfits, putting on some perfume, sneaking a little eyeshadow.... wondering what boys will be there tonight and which songs they will play. 

When it's time to leave, we all pile in my dad's car with my brother and his friends. Us younger  girls trying to act cool in front of the older guys.  No seat belts were required back then so we squished in, all six of us in a small sedan. Young bodies touching, boys and girls, thrilling and terrifying at the same time.

The excitement builds during the half hour drive out of town. We giggle and fidget in anticipation. Dreams and fantasies of what might happen tonight....what adventures await.

We finally arrive! We all scramble out of the car, straighten our clothes, and rush inside, hearts racing.  We have to pay and rent our skates, and oh it took so long to get those skates on.  Hurry so we can get out there! The loud music beckons us onto the skate floor. 

Clap for the Wolfman
is playing as we enter the rink, going with the flow of traffic, picking up speed, around and around the wooden oval shaped floor.  The sound of metal wheels on wood synchronizes with the beat of the music. My friends and I hold hands in a chain, trying not to break apart as we round the corners.

Then I see him....and my heart flies up in my chest.  It's him, Mark Northridge, the love of my young girl life. My brother's best friend's brother. Our families are friends. I've had my heart set on him since the moment I first saw him  in the elementary school hallway. His shoulder length blonde hair that hung over one eye, his flashing blue eyes and his lopsided grin stole my heart almost immediately. 

I'd had a crush on him for years. We were friends but did he feel more for me than that? He was so quiet and shy, I couldn't be sure of anything.  He was always kind to me and seemed to enjoy my company.... I always held out hope.

I catch his eye and he shyly waves. I smile and I'm sure I add a little more flair and style to my skating form as I continue around the rink.  Eric Clapton is singing  "I shot the sheriff...." as my friends and I talk and giggle as we skate. My eyes never lose sight of Mark.

The night flows on.  Races, games and couples skate have come and gone as the DJ has kept us entertained.  We take a few soda and snack breaks, sitting in the dark watching the other skaters and averting our eyes to the older teenage couples making out in dark corners.

It's almost time to go and my heart is feeling heavy as my dream of skating the couples dance with Mark did not come to pass.

Then it's the last song of the night and it's girls' choice. Girls' choice?  My heart starts racing as I wonder, "Should I ask him? What if he says 'No?' Do I possibly have the nerve?"  And then I hear Frankie Vallie crooning "Oh what a night... late December back in '63..." and it's my most favorite song in the whole world and I feel my body get up off the bench, and I am floating over to Mark where he is sitting, and I hear myself asking him if he would like to skate with me, and then I hear him say "Yes" and we are on the skating floor and then.....he smiles at me and takes my hand in his.....and it's not just a friendly hand holding...he slowly and deliberately  intertwines his fingers with mine!    And I swear my little heart is going to pop right out of my chest at that very moment.  I can hardly breathe as we skate slowly together, hand-in-hand. And I never want that song to end.

To this day, whenever I hear any of those songs from that long ago year of Friday nights at the roller rink, all those pre-teen memories and feelings come flooding back and I am transported back in time -- to a time of innocence and coming of age.  And that song by The Four Seasons will always hold a special place in my heart.  A reminder of  that one magical evening when I was Mark's special girl for three minutes at the skating rink. "I remember, what a night..."

Is there a special night in your memory?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Zen and the Art of Laundry

Lace and Laundry by Carol Apple

So I've been wanting to blog about laundry.

I kept putting it off because well, laundry might not be as thrilling to you as it is to me. I wasn't sure I could express my feelings properly. The ideas weren't flowing.

Then I saw this drawing on my friend Carol's Face Book page, and it totally inspired me.  It embodies everything I feel and want to say about hanging clothes on the line. The wistful look on the girl's face, the beautiful sky and the clothes swaying in the breeze....

It's perfect.  I love this drawing. I love Carol's art.  I want to be the girls in her drawings. There is something about them....

Carol is a writer who "doodles." At least that is what she calls it. But so many
of us have told her this is real ART, that I think she finally got the message. She recently launched her blog Scribbleflowers, where she shows us some of her drawings and chit chats about art, in layman's terms. She brings art to a level we can all understand and maybe believe we can do it too. Or at least try our hand at it and enjoy the process. I hope you will take a minute to go visit her over at Scribbleflowers when you are done here!

So back to laundry. I don't have anything profound to say about it really. The actually process of washing--loading the dirty clothes into the hamper, filling the washer with water and soap, putting the clothes in...it's all very mundane. But somehow satisfying. It's the only chore that sort of does itself while you can go do something else. All you have to do is start it up. Then the washer does the rest. Aren't we lucky we no longer have to use one of THESE?

Okay you say, but you still have to dry and fold. Yea, I know. But if you have a dryer, that's still a machine doing the work for you. And all that folding can be done by those other people who live in your house and need more chores to do.

Back to my original thought...... the clothesline! Do you have one? I know, this sounds like work and we were just talking about letting machines do all the work. But this is a chore I never mind doing. Hanging your wash on the line takes laundry to a whole new level. Instead of a chore, it becomes an act of meditation.

There is something about taking my basket of laundry outside, being in the fresh air, and one by one, pinning each article of clothing up on the line. Clothespins are  just so old fashioned, and I love that. They are so simple and they do the job just the way they are meant to. If they break, you just grab another. No need to send it to a repair shop.

Now, I don't dry all my clothes on the line. In fact, the only ones I do are things that won't wrinkle or get so stiff that you can't wear them. Most of my sons' clothes fall into this category. And bed sheets. Those are my favorite to hang on the line. They dry very quickly, and you just can't beat the wonderful scent of sun and fresh air that lingers on them when you bring them inside. I don't know how sunshine has a scent, but it does.

And if that isn't incentive enough, for those of you who are "green," this is the ultimate way to be good to the environment. Only wind and solar energy required. Good for the environment and good for your pocketbook. It's a win/win situation.

That's all I have to say about laundry. Oh, except if you are going to hang your clothes on the line, make sure it isn't going to rain that day. I have forgotten this rule on several occasions.

The song I leave you with has nothing to do with laundry. I know the obvious song would be "Dirty Laundry" by Don Henley, but honestly, I can't stand that song. And this one by the totally awesome band, The Hollies is actually the song that has been in my head while writing this. Things are not always logical up there. In fact, they rarely are. "The Air That I Breathe" makes perfect sense to me...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Life is no fairy tale....

....and either are most novels.

That is the title of my blog today, but it's not here! Today, I am the guest of my friend Samantha, over at her blog, The Blooming Late Journal. I hope you will hop on over there to read it.

Samantha is a fellow writer and friend that I met on SheWrites, an on-line group for women writers. She has a lot to say about starting a writing career in her, um, "late blooming" years. Samantha is also the pioneer of a group called "Blooming Late" for women writers "of a certain age." That wouldn't be ME of course! I'm just there to hang out. :) Ahemm.....

See you over there!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Corner of Picasso and Renoir

Our neighborhood is called the "Artists Colony," but not for the reason you might think. Although many people who live here may indeed be artists, it's really called that because the streets are all named after famous painters. Picasso, Van Gogh, Matisse,  and Monet live on, here in our little corner of the world.

Our development was built in the late 1970s, and back then, I'm sure the houses were very state-of-the art. In typical 70s style (at least in California), the structure of the homes is very linear, with few windows and very small yards. The front yards have low fences and a little swinging gate, that seem to say "stay out" and "welcome"  at the same time. The 70s were a confusing time, so this juxtaposition shouldn't be surprising.

There are about six different models  in our development, but they are all similar in that the insides are very dark and cave-like, with many walls to divide up the living space. I joke that our house is a maze, as you can easily lose your way if you've never been inside before.   I can picture it the way it might have been decorated once,  with green shag carpet and mood lighting.

I know this description doesn't sound very charming! That's what I thought at first too.  At the time we moved in, the neighborhood was in flux and many of the homes were in disrepair. The price was right though, so people were buying them up, with plans to remodel and improve.

That is what we have done too, and now I really like our little house. We've painted walls and doors and cabinets and added new fixtures, so now it's much lighter and cozier. The outside got a face-lift too. New paint, with trim added to the windows, new plantings in the yard, and that ugly fence and gate were torn down.

Our  whole  neighborhood looks so much better now, it's easy to forget its humble beginnings. It has become a little haven of cottages within the sea of newer homes that surround us.

One thing that makes our city special, is our wonderful greenbelt.  Back in the 70s (yes, THAT decade again) some enterprising citizens came up with the idea to have a path that you could walk or ride your bike on, that would take you through the entire city without having to share the road with cars. They made it happen and we are all reaping the benefits. It's fantastic really.

Throughout our neighborhood, we have a good portion of greenbelt, with the path meandering around homes, parks, beautiful plantings, and open spaces. I walk these paths almost every day.   I love that time to myself,  to ease the tensions of the day and clear the cobwebs from my head. 

The other day when I was walking,  I realized that street signs had been put up along the greenbelt to inform travelers which cross street was nearby.  Isn't that thoughtful? Then I was struck by the irony of  it all....the beauty of the greenbelt itself, the beauty of nature all around, and the creative upgrades of the homes surrounding me.  Art is all around us.  Cezanne and Michelangelo would approve.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Only God Can Make a Tree

I think that I shall never see
a poem as lovely as a tree. - Joyce Kilmer

I climbed a tree today. I'm 46 years old and I climbed a tree. I was walking my dog through this lovely wooded area in the park by my house, and admiring the old "climbing tree" that my kids used to climb when they were small. It looked inviting.... I thought about it but walked on. Then I turned around, walked back to the tree, and climbed up to the little V crook and sat down.  I held onto the branches next to me. The bark felt rough but nice. I looked around at the view. I looked up into the higher branches. I examined the leaves. And I just sat there for about 5 minutes, taking it all in, enjoying that same exact wonderful feeling that I used to have when I climbed trees as a kid. I felt part of nature and connected to the Earth.  I could feel my heart rate slowing down and my body relaxing. It was quiet and just so...peaceful.

I was only up there for about 5 minutes and I really wanted to stay longer,  but since I had my dog with me, I really couldn't.  I had hooked his leash on a branch, which, if you know anything about my dog,  was a very risky maneuver. If another dog or squirrel  or cat came by at any moment, he would rip that entire tree down to get to it.  I didn't want to test my luck by staying too long, so I reluctantly climbed down.  I will go back another day without the dog. Next time, I will stay a lot longer.

I've had trees on my mind all week. It started with some photos that my aunt put up on Face Book. She lives in Portland, OR in a high rise apartment building where there is a beautiful grove of trees in the front. She sent the photos because the trees are soon going to be cut down to make room for a new stretch of track for their city transit system. She is sad about the trees being cut down, even though the expansion of the transit system will be a good thing.  The people in her building had a little goodbye ceremony for the trees and that really touched me.

A few days later, I read an article on DailyOM about tree houses. The article was about the benefits of having your own tree house. A private sanctuary to go read or think or just be still. I thought to myself how lovely it would be to have a tree house in our yard, except we don't  have an appropriate tree so that isn't going to happen.  My teenage kids would totally balk at that idea anyhow, and if I told them the tree house was for me, that would only confirm in their minds that I truly am the weird,  tree-hugging hippie mom they claim that I am.

Oh well. A mom's gotta be herself. I feel good. I'm glad I did that and I can't wait to do it again. And next time, I'll climb even higher. I don't care who might see me.

When was the last time you climbed a tree?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Watch your language!

Hello friends. I've been so excited to share this with you. I won a writing contest!

There is a wonderful columnist who writes for our local newspaper, The Davis Enterprise. His name is Bob Dunning. He's lived here practically his whole life. He shares stories of Davis past and present, and provides commentary on everything from sports to local politics.

Every year Bob runs a contest to "replace the columnist." He invites anyone who is so inclined, to submit an article on any topic they like. His "large judging body" ahem...then chooses the winners. Each winner gets their day in the spotlight as Bob's replacement in the column space.

I look forward to reading these columns every year. This year, I decided to submit my own essay, and much to my delight, I am a winner!

So my column is in the paper today!! You can click HERE to see it. You can also check out the other winning essays. Or you can read my essay below. My blog here includes the usual music video (and it's a doozy)!

Watch your language!

Ok, big confession. I have a potty mouth. I do. I enjoy inserting a four-letter word here and there. It feels GOOD. It adds emphasis to the emotions. It puts the exclamation point on the exclamation! I know...it's not very lady-like. I've been told this. But I just can't help myself. Besides, I never claimed to be a lady. I'm a woman -- with strong emotions.

This penchant for cursing goes back to my youth. Like most kids, I began to experiment and test the boundaries, and using foul language was part of that. I remember a time when I was playing outside with my friend Pam, who lived next door. I was only 9 years old. I don't remember why, but I started swearing, probably just to sound cool. Well, Pammy's mom heard my lovely little diatribe. The next day, when I called Pam to see if she could play, she said, "No, my mom doesn't want me to play with you anymore.” What? Why? A bad influence? Me? But I'm so sweet and nice! What mom wouldn't want her daughter to have a friend like me? Her mom had it all wrong.

I had a lot to learn. Language is one of the ways, perhaps the strongest, that we present ourselves to the world. Everything we say leaves an impression. This has always been true and will always be true.

So why have the rules of language become so lax over the years? Don't people care about making a good impression anymore? To hear the young people talk, you would think not, but it’s not just youngsters. I hear more four letter words coming from adult mouths than ever before. Our societal "no-no" on cursing seems to have been lifted. Did we just give up on the rules? It seems we have agreed this battle is just not worth fighting.

Is it a matter of rebellion? It's hard to live by the rules all the time! Maybe our society is going through a collective letting down of the hair. We have done this throughout history. We've gone through periods of conservatism that led to periods of wild abandon. Victorian prudishness to flappers and speakeasies. 1950s "Leave it to Beaver,” to 1960s sex, drugs and rock n' roll.

Television must certainly play a role. If you watch one episode of “Family Guy” you’ll see what I mean. What about the Internet? With email and Face Book and Twitter, the goal is to be pithy and clever, and swear words are a quick way to make a point. Sarcasm is too. Politeness flies out the window. We get into bad habits and they translate into real life.

Well, I am happy to speculate on the subject, but we could take a more scientific approach. Did you know there is an academic discipline that studies such things? It's called Linguistic Anthropology. I Googled "curse words and society" and found it on Wikipedia, so it must be true. Wikipedia defines it as such: "Linguistic anthropology explores how language shapes communication, forms social identity and group membership, organizes large-scale cultural beliefs and ideologies, and develops a common cultural representation of natural and social worlds." If you prefer a more credible source, I found another definition on Oregon State University's website that says this:

"linguistic anthropology - study of how language is used in various social contexts. Anthropological linguistics focuses more on the interplay of language and culture."

There is even a Society for Linguistic Anthropology (SLA). So if you want to delve into this fascinating subject further, you know who to turn to.

Language, and what is acceptable, is changing in so many ways. Including curse words in everyday conversation is just part of it. It will be interesting to see how that boundary either stretches or bounces back.

Oh, and in case you were wondering.... there is a happy ending to my earlier story. I apologized to Pam’s mother for my behavior. I told her that the girl hurling swear words in the backyard wasn't the real me. I'm really a very nice girl, honest. I would make an effort to watch my mouth. Like any mom would do, she took the opportunity to lecture me, and I actually listened. For years I did not use foul language, even though it went against my natural emotive tendencies. Then, slowly but surely, the curse words crept back into my vocabulary. However...I try not to use them around my kids (does "crap" count?) or in public. I save them for special occasions and for the privileged few in my inner circle. Lucky them!

If swear words offend you, you may want to avoid listening to this video. It's really no worse than George Carlin's famous "Cuss words you can't say on t.v." routine. I thought it was hilarious, but not everyone shares my enthusiasm for such things. Proceed with caution!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Showered with Love

Oh my! I am so blessed.  I've been bestowed  with not one, but TWO more blogging awards.  Thank you, thank you! I am truly honored.












I'm not certain what the rules for winning the Blogger on Fire award are, but I do know the rules for the Versatile Blogger Award.  So.... I think I will just sort of make up my own rules (I know, so what's new?) It's good to be a rebel.


Here are the rules for the Versatile Blogger Award

1) Thank the blogger who awarded you and link back to them.

2)  Share 7 things about yourself.

3) Pass the award along to 15 other newly discovered blogs.

I will do the first two and part of the second. I like the number seven, and since rule #2  has a seven in it, I'll change rule number 3 and pass the award on to 7 newly discovered blogs. Is that confusing? :-)

The woman I get to thank for these illustrious awards is um..... um... I haven't got a clue!  And don't you love a good mystery? Her blog is called Mommy Bags and it's one of my favorites. She writes about first time parenthood and anything else that pops into her head. She's a straight-shooter who tells it like it is. My kind of woman! A popular feature of hers is WTF Friday, which will have you laughing out loud for sure. Don't miss it!


Seven things about me that I'm sure you are just dying to know.

1. I am Italian and my maiden name is Pedone. 

2. I am very short (barely 5 ft. 1") and petite.

3. I love animals but am especially fond of cats. Love their independence! 

4. I love to sing and play guitar and am in a little folk-ish band called Vocal Karma. We may change the name but I don't want to. Just sayin'.

5. I am a military brat. Some people might remove the word military from that sentence.

6. I love baseball and  enjoy score keeping. I teach a score keeping class for Little League. I know...this surprises even me. 

7. I love to bake! Shameless plug for my recipe blog The Big Green Bowl.



Now for the good part.  Here are the 7 blogs that are so deserving of these two awards. I hope you will pay them a visit!!
A Memorable Time of My Life 
Books and Bowel Movements
Crazy Lady with a Pen
  Of Woods and Words
  Ramblings of a Diva
Scribble Flowers
  The Neurosis Files


Congratulations!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Speak or Hold Your Peace

I'm a big one for talking. I don't like to keep things inside. Just ask my family. I'm sure I drive them crazy, always wanting to talk about things, tell them how I feel, figure things out. It's just who I am.  I don't really know any other way to process life, besides writing, which is a form of talking too, just quieter.  I've been told I'm an "external processor."   Sounds about right. I do process in my head, but usually things just gets confused in there so I have to get it out somehow to make better sense of it.

Some people don't like to talk about stuff. They keep it all inside. They figure it out on their own, or maybe they just don't worry about things too much.   For whatever reason, they don't share.  But feelings have a way of coming out eventually, and when you stuff them, they usually come out in not so good ways.  They might come out all at once in some giant gesture or verbal storm.  Or worse.

I definitely think, overall, it is better to express our feelings than to hold them in. However, expressing feelings can get us into trouble  if we aren't careful. There are good ways to do it and bad ways to do it, and unless you are a professional communicator, you've probably made a few mistakes with the whole communication thing. I know I have.  And I've been the victim of some not so good communication as well.

It's something we have to just learn as we go along, I guess. With each person we interact with and with each of our relationships, we learn and grow and hopefully, develop better communication skills. We learn when to listen and when to speak.  We learn when it's important to express ourselves and when it might be better to hold our tongue.

Ok, that's totally in an ideal world, I realize! There is crazy, awful, messy communication going on all over the place, all the time. You only have to watch a minute of reality t.v. to witness that. It seems the general rule of thumb is just say whatever you feel like saying at any time, to anyone, and damn the consequences!  It's ok if you hurt someone's feelings, break someone's heart, or mess with their psyche. As long as you get to vent and get it all off your chest, that's all that matters. At least YOU feel better.

Emotions are tricky things. They can take over and make you say and do things you might not otherwise say or do when you are calm. When you are upset it is NOT easy to think before you speak.  I know first hand how this works!

To share your feelings or not, should be a decision not a reaction. It takes some of us a long time to learn this. Think about the consequences of what you are about to say. What is the goal? Is it to improve your relationship or circumstances? Or is it simply to vent?  Venting is ok--sometimes we really need to do that. But if venting comes with a cost you aren't prepared to accept, you might want to rethink things. Is it worth it to share? Maybe this is something you should process on your own. Think about it, write about it, pray about it, talk about it with a friend.  You might even realize it's YOUR issue and not something the other person needs to hear about at all.

We all know our words are powerful.  Say what you need to say--but with respect, kindness and purpose.

Here's the song that was in my head while I was writing this. LOVE him. Love this song.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Little Liebster





The other day, I was very excited to get the news from my friend
Laura of Catharsis, that I am the recipient of the Liebster Award! The
word Liebster means beloved in German--and a show of love and support is what this award is all about.
The idea is to bring attention  to new blogs with less
than 200 followers.

The rules of winning this award are the following:

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award
by linking back to them.

2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know
by leaving a comment at their blog.

3. Post the Award on your blog.

4. Enjoy the love of some of the most supportive people on the Internet!

So first, I would like to thank Laura for choosing me.
As an admirer of her blog, Catharsis, I was honored to receive this
award from her. Laura is bold, outspoken and witty and will always make you think!



And without further ado, I would like to present the Liebster Award
to these 5 blogs

Wouldn't THAT Rip the Fork Out of Your Nightie?

I hope you will all take some time in your day to go visit
these wonderful blogs.

Congratulations to all!



Friday, September 2, 2011

Ten Years Later

The editor of the on-line new source that I blog for (DavisPatch.com) asked me to reflect on the 10 year anniversary of 9-11, and perhaps write about it. If I wanted to. This was a few weeks ago and I had a lot on my mind, and honestly hadn't even thought ahead to this. Guess I don't have quite the journalistic mind that he does. That's why he's the editor! (You can see my essay on Davis Patch at this link.)

So, just this fact alone, that I hadn't thought about it, is a good place to start. It's not that I've forgotten it -- never that. But it has fallen into the background of my mind and my life. I imagine I am not alone in that. Unless your own life was directly affected, I suppose that is what happens. Horrible things take place, and depending on how close it was to you,  it eventually fades to the back of your mind as you go on with your life.

At the time, I couldn't imagine that life would ever be the same again. That day affected all of us to the extent that our safety was in question. Most of us had not really thought about that before. Ten years ago, my children were very young, and like most parents (I imagine) I was fearful for them, not myself. What kind of future would they have? How was life in America going to change? 

We have seen changes--some subtle, some not. Not to the degree I imagined it.  Certainly on the larger scale, security has been tighter. Homeland Security was created and all the practices and laws that have come about because of it. Most of that is behind-the-scenes. We experience it ourselves at airports, sports venues, and concerts. Cultural relations and racial profiling have become issues of more concern. On a smaller scale, we might approach life just a bit differently--being more aware of our surroundings and our habits.   But even with these changes, most of us probably go about our lives as we did before

That's a good thing.  I think. That was our goal as a country, right?  Political leaders stressed that we should not live our lives in fear, rather we should continue to live as we always had. If we chose to live in fear and changed our habits, then the terrorists would win. We could not let them scare us into changing all the values that we hold dear as a country -- freedom, independence, the pursuit of happiness.

But, the consequence of trying to live our lives as before, is that it's easy to forget that we are still vulnerable.  Something like 9-11 could happen again at any time. How many of us worry about this? I think about it sometimes, but I don't dwell on it.  I personally feel that our government is doing an overall good job with security, but I realize that others do not.

How will 9-11 be reflected in history? Major events like this, while affecting the lives of people living at the time, don't have the same impact on future generations.  They can maybe appreciate their significance, but in a detached way, like Pearl Harbor or the assassination of JFK. Those who lived through those events can recall them vividly, but those of us who did not, can only view them objectively.  Children who were young when 9-11 happened, won't feel it emotionally like we do.  It will be just another lesson in history.  It's up to us to keep talking about it. To help them remember its importance. This year on 9-11, we will read again about the tragedy. We will see photo montages and hear personal accounts. We will watch again, the newsreels on television from that day.  And then on 9-12, we will go back to business as usual.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Head and the Heart

I have a hard time making decisions. I don't know why I struggle with it so. I think I just don't want to make a mistake -- do the wrong thing then regret it. It has always been important to me to do the right thing. But how do you know what the right thing IS?

When I was younger, I remember my mother sitting down with me and teaching me a popular method for making decisions. She took out a piece of notebook paper and drew a line down the middle. On one side she wrote "pros" and on the other she wrote "cons." She explained to me what this meant. Then we started writing things down in the columns. I don't remember what dilemma was troubling me, but I remember this exercise.

And I remember it left me feeling a bit empty. I had a lot written on one side, and not a lot written on the other, and yet something in my heart was telling me to go with the side that had the least things written, which was exactly the opposite of what the exercise was supposed to accomplish. This, of course, confused me even more. I didn't understand at the time what this meant.

That exercise was all about logic. What looked "right" on paper. This became my standard for decison making and I think this might be where I lost the ability to listen to my gut and follow my heart. And that is funny because when it comes to anything else, I live mostly by my heart. I try to be logical, but in the end my heart usually wins out. In making big decisions though, I still struggle.

I have an important decision to make in my life right now.  The pros and cons are weighing heavily upon me. I think I feel my heart steering me in the direction I need to take, but I'm still uncertain. It's not logical, what my heart says.  It goes against my sensibilities.  One day I wake up and think, "Okay, I know the answer. This is what I'm going to do." Then the next day, I wake up feeling just the opposite. It's driving me crazy! And this is my typical pattern.

So I'm doing what I always do. I talk to people. I ask their opinion.  I ruminate on what they have to say.  And, as always, the opinions vary and they ALL make sense! Everyone has a good point. And I suppose, in the end, all this talking only buries my heart's voice even deeper

I also pray. I ask God to steer me in the right direction. "Tell my heart what to do. SHOW ME PLEASE!" Why can't God just yell in my ear, "Do this dummy!" Why does He have to be so secretive?

I often wish life was like that insurance commercial. The one where the green line shows up and all you have to do is follow it to go in the right direction.

Fear. Change. Consequences. The unknown. All factors in making important decisions. I guess in the end it's about listening to your gut and then taking that leap of faith. Not always playing it safe. The right thing for you might not be the right thing for someone else.  Maybe the choice won't seem practical or responsible. I suppose that isn't what is important in the end. It's about opening up a space in your life for good things to come in. Letting go of what isn't working for you. Life doesn't come with a blueprint. I wish it did!

What guides you in your decision making?

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