Life thru the haze of cat hair.

Monthly Archives: January 2012

“It’s the friends you can call up at 4am that matter.”
– Marlene Dietrick

So, this morning, I pulled up my chair and my coffee and opened my reader to peruse the blogs that have been updated. I do this most mornings. Why would today be any different?

It was.

I met Debra via Twitter. I don’t even remember who followed whom first. But I found her to be engaging and honest and lovely. We hit it off and we became part of each other’s lives, as much as is possible when we live more than 1,200 miles apart.

For a long time, Debra and I spoke via Twitter, or on the phone, daily. We heard about each other’s successes and hardships. There were well-wishes and hugs being sent through the ether, back and forth as needed. We both knew that if a 4am call was needed, that would be okay too.

At the end of 2010, Debra made a trip out to meet me. I met her in person. And she was just as lovely as I had imagined. She did spend a good amount of time stalking a giant lobster while she was here, but even that was endearing.

At the start of 2011, we had both been through a fabulous class together. (I was only able to attend due to Debra’s generosity.) We both started 2011 full of the desire to make significant changes in how we approach life. Sadly, my desire waned and, while I did make some changes, I ended 2011 not too differently than how I ended 2010.

Debra, however, made lasting and wonderful changes. It was exciting to watch the change which was visible in the tone and content of her Tweets and blog posts. It is my opinion that in 2011, she became fully Debra last year. The changes she displays are profound and noticeable and inspirational.

So, what is my problem today?

This. This is my problem.

And before you say it, I *know* this post isn’t about me. The decisions she’s made aren’t about me in any way shape or form. They are decisions she’s made to continue her own growth and happiness and (jeepers, I hate this word) journey.

And all of that? I am applauding and cheering and I honestly cannot wait to see how it all turns out.

I couldn’t even leave an appropriate comment to that post. (Sorry, Debra.) And for a while, I couldn’t even figure out why.

And then I did.

Friendships are fragile things and require as much care
in handling as any other fragile and precious thing.
Randolph S. Bourne

 

1,200+ miles is a long distance. For anyone.

Now that Debra is not on Twitter, I won’t see her smiling face in my timeline. I won’t see her smiling face on Facebook. I don’t really see the point of G+, so that’s not a big thing.

But the reason Debra’s post affected me this morning is that I am afraid. And a little envious. And afraid.

I am afraid that this friendship is going to end? I don’t know that that is the correct word. I think on some level we will always be friends. I think my fear is that we will become polite acquaintances. And that will make me sad. What makes me sadder is that if that *does* happen, it will be my fault.

Why?

Because I am a terrible friend. I am working on making that an invalid statement, but for now? It’s true. It stems from my own insecurities. It manifests in that I am rarely the one to reach out because, in my mind, the other person always has something better to do. The other person gets tired of always being the initiator. And understandably so. I would get sick of that too.

I have lost a lot of friends this way. Looking back, I know now that some of those people were not “friends” in the true sense of the word. But others were.

Reading Debra’s post affected me the way it did because I immediately went to that place of “I’m losing yet another friend! What is wrong with me??” In my self-centered mind, I immediately made it about me – how it would affect me, what that would mean to me.  Rather than celebrating that Debra is now fully Debra, and that she is out there, actually LIVING life, I internalized it just like I always do.

This is where the envy comes in to play too. I see how far she has progressed since we first met, how happy she is, how many positive changes she has made, and I think: Why not me? When will it happen for me? Why can’t I have epiphanies like that?

I know the answers to those questions, by the way. Debra has put in the time, and the work, and the effort. I haven’t.

“Some friends come and go like a season. Others are arranged in our lives for good reason.”
—Sharita Gadison

Debra – this is to you.

I have watched you grow and change and become happy, over the past few years. I think you are amazing and an inspiration. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life. I don’t think this will be the end of our friendship, but too often, we never say thank you to our friends. Or even indicate the role they have played in our lives.

Thank you for your post. It shook me. It showed me how wonderful life can be when fully embraced. It showed me to not rely on cyber-friends exclusively.

Thank you. You have set such an exciting path for yourself. I cannot wait to see where you go, where you end up.

Thank you.

 

These are the feelings I am having.


23,677

Better than last week. Not as good as my best.

I was actually a little surprised that it was so low. I took the day off Friday and did some shopping, so I thought all that walking around would be reflected. I’m going to choose to look at it like, wow – think how low it would have been if I HADN’T taken the day off.  Mark one in the WIN column.

Back to work today with lots of conference calls. More sitting. I don’t think I have to lead any of them, so perhaps I can pace and get some moving in.

And while I know it’s still winter, February starts Wednesday (?!?!?! I know!) so warmer weather is heading our way.

80,816 down, 1,919,184 to go.

I need to get out of the 1.9s!!


This has been a week and a half in 4 days. So to end the week, I’m going to fluff. I heard about fluffing from here who heard it here.

Clearly, the survey is written by a young person. But, this is a way to chill and be silly.

Without further ado:

Do you have a crush right now?

A Orange Crush? No. I do like Orange Crush, though, even though it’s so sweet, it makes me need to spit. Which is hella attractive. So no wonder there isn’t a person I’m crushing on.

What is your favorite color?

My favorite color what? M&Ms – green. Hair color – red. Sky – blue. You really need to be more specific in your queries.

What about your favorite animal?

What about it? My cats are pretty freakin’ awesome. I love puppies. Flamingos are slamming. OOO! I know! Fainting goats.

Choose one … 😉 =) >:D :-{D

Um. No.

Did you ever have an F on your report card?

Would I be alive today if I had? I’m going with NO.

What about straight A’s

Often. I’m really quite brilliant. Or nerdy. Maybe that.

If you could go back in time and change one thing that you did, what would it be?

I don’t know that I would. Everything that happened made me who I am. I might change that I didn’t stand up to those bitchy mean girls. That was f*cked up.

Do you enjoy singing?

I do. You should hear me in the car. The acoustics are FANTASTIC!

If so, has anyone ever told you that you can sing well?

I tell myself that all the time.

Again…Choose one… , * , @(^_^)@

Um. Again. No.

Are you listening to music right now?

Yep.

If so, what song are you listening to?

Who knows. Everything sounds the same these days.

If not, what song do you WANT to be listening to?

Relentless, by Audry Sessions.

What is your favorite subject in school?

Um. I don’t go to school. School is wack. Not really. I liked English. And math. Latin was fun.

What is the month of your birthday?

May.

Do you like country music?

Sometimes. I think I like the earlier stuff though.

What about rock?

Rock is always good to liven things up.

….rap?

Not so much. I like Luda in some other people’s songs.

If you had to eat one fruit for a month straight…what would it be? oranges, bananas, grapes, apples, or kiwi? (or other)

Any! Except bananas. Bananas have a very short window of opportunity for perfect ripeness. Otherwise, I’d pick any.

Do you like roses or tulips better?

Of those? Roses. White roses. But Gerber daisies make me smile. And lilies. Gorgeous.

QUICK THINK OF A NAME!!!

Gwen

Was the name that you just thought of a member of your family?

Nope. I don’t know anyone named Gwen.

What about a close friend?

No.

Ok…what about your crush?

No.

Do you watch SpongeBob?

What exactly is SpongeBob?

What is the name of your best friend?

Growing up it was Julie. Then Cheryl. Then a different Julie. But Cheryl and Julie II both f*cked me over. So now, my closest friend is Kim. But I hang most with my brother. But not in a creepy way.

Do you like fish or chicken more?

I like fish if it’s done right.

Are you a vegatarian?

Not anymore.

What about your steak…Rare, Medium, or Well done (for me … well done :P)

Medium Rare. YUM!

Did you like this random survey?

No. This was long and sort of boring.

Last thing…..Pick a # out of these… 1,2,4,7,14

14

Hmmm. Ok. Maybe this wasn’t a good one to start with.

Don’t stop reading this blog based on this fluff.


“You shouldn’t go in there.”

“I should lose weight.”

“I should be able to do that.”

“You should be able to fit.”

You get the idea.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary that I keep on my desk at work (don’t judge) defines  “should” as:

past of SHALL; used as an auxilliary to express condition, obligation or propriety, probability, or futurity from a point of view in the past

I have developed a real hatred of this word, should.

Why “should” I do anything? Who is the supreme ruler of my life that dictates whether I “should” do this or that?

I don’t like to think of “shall” being sullied with an association with “should”. “Shall” is a perfectly lovely word – I shall go meet you for tea. I shall enjoy this meal without guilt. Yes, I shall have that walk with you.

“Should”, on the other hand, just sounds like judgement. Almost as if when you don’t do what you “should” you are a big failure.

“They should get married.”

“You should move to a bigger/smaller/less expensive house.”

“You shouldn’t have paid so much.”

Can we stop with “should”? Even “ought” seems to be a better option. It feels more affirming to me. “They ought to get married.”

See?

Since you are the only one who can decide your state of mind and level of joy, how about you stop “should-ing” on yourself. “I should get up and put that laundry away (because if I don’t, I’ll look like a lazy slob).”  Try to “ought” yourself instead. “I ought to get up and put that laundry away, (but I’m so cozy here in this bed/chair/embrace that I will savor this moment a while longer).”

See?

I’m going to stop letting outside influences “should” on me. They don’t know what’s best for me or what’s in my heart or why I am doing/moving/acting the way I am. Mostly, I’m happy. When I let “should” in, that’s when the doubts start. That’s when I question myself.

The next time someone tells me “You should….”, I will look them straight in the eye and ask “Why? Why should I?”

I might try to bring back “shall”, while I’m at it.

 


One thing I’ve never had is a charm bracelet. I find them fascinating. Each piece telling a story about the person – where they’ve been, who they’ve loved.

When my niece was born, I started a charm bracelet for her. For the first 10 years, I kept it to myself. I tried to find charms reflective of what she was into that particular year. On her 10th birthday, I gave it to her. And now every year I send her another charm. Honestly, I don’t even know if she still has it. I’d like to think she does and that she appreciates it.

The past few years have sucked been less than optimal, I think, for many people. So last year, I decided I needed a reminder of good things – affirmations, if you will.

I decided to make myself a charm bracelet.

However, there are some drawbacks with charm bracelets. They can be very jingly, which some people at the Gas ‘n Sip would find annoying. (I know I shouldn’t care about that, but there you go.) Also, by being jingly, they can prompt questions from random people; people who don’t need to know what’s going on in my life. People who don’t care, really, about what I’m trying to say with my charms.

So instead, I bought myself a 24″ sterling silver necklace. It’s long enough that it hangs near my heart, and it stays tucked into my shirt, so no one else needs to know it’s there. Also? No jingle. Ergo? No questions. Now if I’m playing with it or someone sees it, and they ask questions, I can tuck it back in, out of sight. Or I can answer questions if I choose.

Why am I telling you this now? Excellent question. I’m telling you now because I am using this now, not so much as a chain of affirmations, but more of a reminder of the journey. Does that make sense?  It’s much less a tangible life raft, and more of a comfortable friend. I don’t need it to be a secret anymore.

So. Do you want to see it?

 

Fabulous, right? Now, would you like to know what they are?

Okay. Since you’ve asked nicely. And really, more that despite WEEKS or MONTHS of no activity, you still keep coming back. (What is wrong with you? *snort*)

I’ll start from the right, because they have been around the longest.

(OMGoat. Why am I nervous??)

The Beginning

The first 3 disks go together. They say Fear, Less, Ness.  Sometime ago I wrote a post that I wanted to get that in a tattoo. But who knows what I called it. I looked for the link but can’t find it. I bought the disks from someone on Etsy. I would totally post links to the store (well, stores really, because a few of these are from Etsy) but again. My organization leaves a lot to be desired.

Anyhoo. Fearlessness is a term I love. And aspire too. I found it on Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart site. She sells one there that is gorgeous (and you can see her wearing it every week on her show) but last time I looked it was $450. Love the sentiment. Don’t love the price.

The next is a heart. It’s to remind me to keep my heart open.

You can’t really see the little clear crystal thing I have. It’s my faux diamond. Because I deserve diamonds.

And the last in this grouping is for courage. Similar to fearlessness. But it’s a reminder to step out of my comfort zone more often. I tend to limit my risks. About this time last year, I broke my comfort zone by signing up for a triathlon.

Next group:

The Year Continues

From right to left: “Follow Your Bliss”, a faux topaz, “I Am Enough” and a little prayer box.

Follow your bliss is something I got at Etsy also. We all need to do this. Listen to your heart. It knows what is right. Also, don’t get trapped in doing what other people want you to do, what will make them happy. Follow your own path.

The topaz is my mother’s birthstone. I have written about her a lot. She is my hero.

I am enough. How many of you can say that, on a regular basis, with conviction? I got this from Tracey Clark’s wonderful blog. There hasn’t been an updated post there in a while, but the message is still true. Have you had your breakthrough moment yet? That moment where you have the epiphany that yes, you are enough?

The last one in this group is a little prayer box. It opens up, so you can put a prayer/wish/plea out to the universe. Once it is out there, the universe begins to conspire to make it happen. I change out my little slips of paper about once a month.

And finally:

Last, but not least. And I'm not done yet.

 This group shows a little disco ball, a butterfly, a breast cancer ribbon (with a little rubber ring) and an owl.

The disco ball is just a reminder to have fun. Dance when I feel like it. Listen to music that makes me happy.

I think the butterfly is pretty self-explanatory. I know that I am working towards becoming something more beautiful than what I started with. And I don’t mean just physically. I know I am becoming a nicer person. I can feel it. The outward appearance is just window dressing.

The breast cancer ribbon? I gave that to myself after I completed the triathlon. It wasn’t pretty, but that wasn’t my goal. I finished – and was seen in public in a wetsuit – and I am still pretty damn proud of that. The little rubber ring came with the ribbon. I like to think of that as the life-saving ring that I might have needed during the swim portion. 8^D

And finally, the owl. Debra got me started with the owls. (Turns out, owls are the new *it* girl). Everyone loves owls now. But for me? Debra reminded me that I am wise, and that inside me is the wisdom I need to succeed. Plus? It’s sparkly.

So that’s my charm necklace. I didn’t buy all the charms at once. I buy a new one when I see something that strikes me. I don’t think the owl will be the last one either. Just as I’m not done improving, my necklace needs to reflect that.  The first charms – Fear, Less, Ness – are looking pretty beat up and worse for wear. But they’ve been with me the longest. The owl? Still pretty new.

There is your glimpse into my life. I don’t let it show often. But Courage, right? If I don’t show it, I won’t have new experiences. And that’s what life is for.


A few months back, I ran out of coffee in my house and, displaying the height of laziness, I didn’t go buy more. After going through the caffeine detox, I decided to not drink caffeine anymore. The headaches are excruciating and I didn’t want to go through that again.

Since then, I have been caffeine free.

All of this is another step towards removing chemicals from my house and life.

So, what’s my point?

Today, I was getting a cup of decaf and chatting with a colleague about random stuff. She commented that decaf wasn’t going to help me. So I told her I didn’t drink caffeine. To which she said, “Well, do you still eat chocolate? There is caffeine in chocolate. You aren’t really caffeine free.”

Really?  Why do people do that?

The same thing happens when I mention I am trying to cut out sugar. Heaven help me if I don’t say “processed” sugar. Because then it’s “Well, are you going to give up fruit? There’s a ton of sugar in fruit, you know.”

My friend Debra wrote about something similar not too long ago.  Her story is different, and yet, the same.

Why do people do that? Why do they feel the need to make comments like that or minimize what you are trying to do or somehow act as if they are superior to you in some way? 

I’m not asking them to cut out caffeine. I’m not asking them to cut out sugar,  processed or otherwise. I am simply minding my own business and taking care of my own self. I don’t judge them for eating their can of soup which likely contains enough salt to satisfy a week’s worth of requirements. I did the same thing a few weeks back. The can of soup I had was beyond salty. Horrible stuff.

And people wonder why I don’t like to “share” at work. The Gas ‘n Sip is a very judgy place. I’m judgy enough towards myself; I don’t need your judgement on top of it.

Do people do this to you? Do you have a good response for a comment like that?


16,573

Ugh! Not a good week. I know I could list all kinds of excuses, but they were just that. Excuses.

Work was busy, I didn’t feel well, it was cold/snowing/raining.

All I can do now is do better this week.

This week, I am fighting a cold but I want to do better than last week, so I’m going to suck it up and do better. So far in the past 2 days I’ve done remarkably well on achieving more. So yay me!

57,139 down, 1,942,861 to go.