Monthly Archives: January 2014

My new career – Tech Geek!

Laying in bed last night (when I should have been sleeping), I was fooling around on my phone and I realized that I needed to find an app to solve a problem of mine – getting my kids to brush their teeth.  Now, you might question why I have to remind my boys to brush their teeth at night (“Why do I have to?  I brush them in the morning.”)  S***!  But, that’s the nature of 14-year-old boys.

So, I thought it would be great to have BrushMe App.  It would set off an alarm with the picture of a cute girl laughing and saying how horrible their breath smelled right as they were turning off their phone to go to bed.  That’ll get them to the bathroom!

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, I kept going:

1. AgeMe or SizeMe App:  I’ve often wondered what I will look like when I get old(er).  So, what if I could show myself aging (I feel like it’s happening rapidly) until I get to the point where I just don’t want to look anymore! Or, what if it could show what I would look with more pounds or less.  Wouldn’t it be cool to see ourselves 30 pounds heavier?  It might prevent those late night trips to the freezer for that carmel swirl ice cream …

2. GroceryStore App:  As you know I spend 1/2 my life at the grocery store and I would love to have an app that records all my purchases and tells me when I am likely to need to buy that new ketchup bottle that the kids have emptied and left in the fridge.  G-d that bugs me when they do that!

3. FartingSounds App:  I wonder if it would help quell the gas coming out of my boys if I played actual farting sounds and they could see how bad they really sound.  I could actually record theirs (which have got to be the worst) and use them on the app.  Maybe this might be too fun for them …!

4. Excuses App:  I often need really good excuses why I don’t want to do something but I feel too guilty just saying no.  What if I had an app that gave me an excuse like, “Sorry, I can’t meet you for dinner.  My credit card was stolen and used at an adult book store and I need to head (no pun intended) down to the store and identify my card.”

5. HairDryer App:  My hair takes forever to dry.  Why can’t my phone double as a hair dryer?  It’s used for everything else.  Imagine if I could be talking on the phone and drying my  hair at the same time!

Maybe I should create an app which forces my phone off at a certain time so that I use my sleeping time for sleeping and not doing stupid stuff and likely losing brain cells in the process.

Have a great weekend!

Are you loved (or willing to be loved)?

If we were sitting in a room filled of people and asked, “How many of you want to be loved?” I bet most of the hands would go up in the room – without hesitation. We might not think about it as often as we think about food or water, but it is something we all want — and need.  We want to be successful and well-liked, but, above all, we really want to be loved.

Yet, despite wanting it, many of us are actually scared of it.   I once read an article where the author made this comparison:  Love is like when you give a dog a bone.  When a dog is given a bone, it will run up to it sniff it, sometimes it will take it, sometimes it will require you drop it first.  Sometimes, it will just run away for some period of time.  It has a fear of the bone.  It wants the bone but is weary of it.  Sound familiar?

Being truly vulnerable, transparent and being intimate with a partner is not for the faint of heart.  You have to learn how they want to be loved (not how you want to love them) and you have to be open to letting them love you.  It requires the most unbelievable internal strength to accept love.

Why are we afraid?  Many people are afraid to love because they have been hurt before, they fear loss, they feel they’re not good enough or they’re afraid they aren’t capable of love themselves.  Some of us know how to love others but have no idea how to accept it in our own lives.  Why is something that seems like it should be so easy, so difficult?

I’ve written about fear in many contexts. It keeps us in a box. In a small world.  And, it inhibits our ability to allow love into our lives.  We must learn to trust (despite a world filled with messages about not trusting people, gov’t, sales people and yes, us lawyers!).  I think if we can find a way to find our internal courage we are better able to allow ourselves to be more vulnerable.  And, in turn, better able to accept love.

I know people who go through life just holding their emotions in.  Never fully committing to anyone (even when married) because they don’t want to be hurt.  Here’s my thought:  I’d rather experience the hurt and open myself up than just live in my cave at 123 Fear Drive.   Yes, pain may very well be part of the picture.  But the risk (to me) is worth it.

I love this quote (I don’t even know where I found it!): “It takes a brave soul to really trust enough to be intimate. Although the protective shell of non-vulnerability helps when dealing with the outside world, those closest to us deserve to see us as we truly are.”  

Leave yourself open to the possibilities of today!

 

I want these words to be said to my kids by the person they love (and don’t you want to hear it too?)

I’m using part of an article posted by a friend yesterday.  This is what I hope we all hear from the love interest in our lives. Hang this one on the fridge!

I adore you. This isn’t about sex (although I’ve always got the hots for you). This is about how you make me glow whenever you walk into a room. I’m glad you’re in my life.

You inspire me. I love how you’re living your life, what you’re devoting yourself to, how you’re spending your time and how you deal with the people around you.

I respect you. You’re the first person I think of when I want a serious opinion on something.  Really.

I just love kissing you. No matter what happens to us as we get older, I’ll be fine as long as I can kiss you as much as I want.

I don’t want to change you. Yes, there are some things about you that I don’t get. That I don’t love. But you’re you and I don’t want to disturb the equation. I want to keep you intact (with all your “stuff”) and watch you grow.

I accept your drama. Sure, you’ve got some anger issues. I can handle it, even when it’s a bit exhausting. None of us is drama-free, especially me.

I love that you tell me off sometimes. Seriously. I may not always admit it, but I respect it. I’m full of bulls*** sometimes and I like knowing you won’t take it. If I’m gonna have someone by my side, I better know she didn’t just fall for the first guy that came along, and she’ll hold me to higher standards. I don’t want a pushover.

You’re on my mind. Constantly. Especially when I’m supposed to be thinking about something else. No matter what I’m doing there you are, in the middle of my sh**.  And yet, I can’t help but smile.

I forgive you. The other day, you were completely crazy. Seriously, you went off the deep end and blamed me for something I didn’t do, or didn’t actually say, or didn’t actually think. But hey, you’re human, you’re allowed a ‘gimme’ now & then. (as am I) And look, with all the beauty you bring to my life, I’m still coming out way ahead.

I love you. I can say it out loud.  You’re wonderful.  You’re my idea of a fantastic person.

I can’t stop talking about you. You’re not some little secret I keep. You’re my favorite thing on the planet and I tell everyone.

Thank you. For being you. For your smile. For having a point of view and a strong sense of self. For having standards. For getting pissed when something matters. For showing your appreciation when you see beauty.  No matter where we end up, thank you for bringing color to my life.

If you’re not hearing this (or saying it) – move on.  Life’s too short. Have a wonderful day!

Music (the end of this should make you dance … or at least smile!).

Last night the kids and I do what we do every year on Grammy night – we make popcorn and listen (well, I stand and dance … and sometimes they join me) to the top songs and artists of the year.  In our house – music makes the world go around.

I grew up with music.  My mom would play all kinds  at home — dancing to almost anything.  My father and his mother gave me the opera bug, and (if you didn’t already know this about me) when I taught my crazy busy aerobic classes … it was all about the music.  I’ve been known to dance almost anywhere — including at the grocery store (yes, the best place to do it!).

My kids and I have a game: when we are in the car, we each take turns plugging in our phones to the radio and playing our favorite songs for each other.  I get to hear their music and we all get to show off our new favorites!  While they each have different tastes (not all pop – some classical and instrumental too … !) all the music has the same thing in common – it makes us feel good!

The science of why music makes us feel good is fascinating.  Studies show that people listening to pleasurable music (of any kind) had activated brain regions, which are connected to euphoric reward responses, like those we experience from sex, good food and addictive drugs.  Those rewards come from a gush of a neurotransmitter called dopamine.  It’s interesting and easy enough to understand why sex and food are rewarded with a dopamine rush: this makes us want more and so contributes to our survival and propagation.  But why would a sequence of sounds with no obvious survival value do the same thing?

Kids – you want to take drugs?  How about I get you an iTunes card instead?  Can you imagine telling your partner, “Honey, I’d rather listen to music instead of having sex … or eating that dinner you spent hours preparing.”

Here’s the thing:  I question a lot of things in life but somethings are just normal to me.  One of those things – how great music makes me feel.  It just does.

My kids have promised to show me how to link my favorite songs to my blog site so I can do a post on the music that makes me dance in the cereal aisle.  Until then, I’m dancing today to KC and the Sunshine Band!   I can even get my kids to “boogie” to this one!  Here’s the link (I think) – turn down the sound just in case it works!!!

Welcome to Monday. Have fun and stay warm today!

 

Some people like the drama of this story …

I know some people who live on the drama in their life.  I am not a lover of drama.  I once heard about a talk by Kurt Vonnegut where he discussed why people have such a need for drama in their life.   I kept some of the charts. Here are a few of his examples why people think their lives are supposed to be like the stories they read and see:

First, Vonnegut drew an empty grid on the board, like this:

empty grid

Time moves from left to right. Happiness from bottom to top.

He said, “Let’s look at a very common story arc. The story of Cinderella.”

Cinderella story

Look at this crazy life!  She’s working like a dog for her evil step sisters.  She gets an invitation to the ball!  Fantastic!  Then her fairy godmother makes her a dress and a coach and she gets to dance with the prince! Sadly, at midnight she has to go. Back to her humdrum and sad life. But it’s not as bad as before, because she’s had this exciting experience. Then, the prince finds her and her happiness is off the chart. She’s happily ever after (the Pretty Woman story).

“People LOVE that story! This story arc has been written a thousand times in a thousand tales. And because of it, people think their lives are supposed to be like this.”

Then he wrote another:

disaster story

It’s an ordinary day and then something horrible happens. A child falls down a well. The whole town gathers to save her. People work together. The child is saved, and all is well. But notice it’s a little better than it was before, now that this  has brought them all closer together.

Because of all these stories, people think this is how their life is supposed to be. Yet, he says with his next graph, life is really more like a straight line with little changes along the way ….

real life

“But because we grew up surrounded by big dramatic story arcs in books and movies, we think our lives are supposed to be filled with huge ups and downs! So people pretend there is drama where there is none.”

Maybe this is why people invent drama.  Why they want to fight.  Why we love sports.  We like the big events.  Are we sometimes trying to make our lives like a story?

Maybe we can (and should) just appreciate the quiet right in front of us and be thankful for its imperfections but its steadiness.  Food for thought as you enjoy your weekend.  Stay warm and safe.

 

Minnesota land of 10,000 (+) passive aggressive people.

Minnesota is known for lots of things: its lakes, being the healthiest (and now clearly the coldest) place to live, and for being the passive-aggressive capital of the world. My family is from NY and we are super direct (maybe too much so) – but I do know a few Minnesotans!

In Minnesota you are not supposed to tell another person how you actually feel. It’s considered “bad form” to share your personal life here in our great state. You can allude to how you feel but not say it directly. And, if you do, someone will appear as if they are listening politely but inside they are checking out how “bad” your outfit really is.

Minnesotans are so bold with false attention. Minnesotan’s version of false attention is amazingly obvious. I guess I’ve gotten used to it. That includes being good at talking behind someones back and at the same time making sure no one knows its us. We are too “nice” for that.

Let’s be honest here, what other place in the planet would you hear people say, (when they really do want to get off the phone or walk away from the conversation), “Well, I’ll let you go. You seem busy.” Love when I get that one!

For you transplants, someone once gave me some steps on learning to be passive aggressive (no comment on how well I’ve learned these!):

Step 1: Never show that you’re angry or frustrated. No matter how mad you are, you must maintain a blank face and your normal, relaxed posture. And for goodness sakes, do not let your words betray you either. Don’t worry, you will get your revenge later.

Step 2: Avoid conflict at all costs. Even if you hate the person’s idea or are repulsed by a person’s actions, avoid conflict. Talking about it will just make it worse.

Step 3: If you didn’t think of it yourself, or had a hand in making it, or grow up with it, be highly sceptical. Doubt that it could ever work. Doubt the idea is any good. Skepticism makes you brilliant.

Step 4: Performance review tomorrow? Maybe you’ve got a sudden “illness” or it’s too cold to go to work. Maybe have to do it another day.

Step 5: A colleague doing something incorrectly? Same mistake over and over again? Just sit back and watch the show (and by all means don’t say anything to them or help them out!).

Step 6: Cover up your own mistakes quickly. You must keep looking cool (but not too cool) so find a way to hide your mistakes before anyone notices.

Step 7: You want to let loose? You are only allowed to do it on family and a few close friends (if you have any left).

Have a great day today (she says with her “genuine” smile). 🙂 🙂

What’s the freaking deal at the coffee shop?

For those of you who’ve been reading my posts for the last year and a half, I tend to have the most unusual experiences at coffee shops.  And, here’s the thing … I don’t drink coffee!  Well, I do like decaf sometimes but more often than not, I’m getting hot or cold tea.  Moreover, I almost never go to a coffee shop.  I’m maybe there once every other week – at best.   So, to say yesterday was the unusual, is maybe a bit usual (does that make sense?).

Yesterday, after lunch with a client – way out in Maple Grove, I was heading back to the city and decided I wanted a cup of tea.  As I walked into the C-named coffee shop, I noticed a woman coming in right behind me.  She was on the phone, whispering … not that I was listening or anything. 🙂  As we stood in line I heard her say, “It’s ok.  It’s ok to go.  I’m coming over right now.”

I ordered my mint tea and told the cashier I wanted to buy coffee for the woman behind me.  As I turned toward her, I could see that while she wasn’t crying, her eyes looked red.  She tried to refuse my offer, but I was insistent.

We walked together to the pick-up counter and started to small talk. She was visibly upset.  I had to ask her if she was ok (it is me, after all!).  Here’s what she told me:  Her mom loves the smell of coffee and she was bringing some to put by her bed, with the top off, so the smell of the hot coffee would just float near her mom.  She might even take a sip.  Turns out her mom is in hospice and that was her on the phone telling her daughter that she was really ready to die.  Her daughter told her, “It’s ok to go.”

I felt sick and shocked at the same time.

Here’s what you don’t know:  I’ve been thinking a lot about my mom lately — more so than normal.  I’m not even sure why.  And, the very last words I said to my mom  as I was leaving her hospital room (she was in a coma) was “I love you. It’s ok to go.”  She died 1/2 hour later.

I told the woman I was sorry she was joining my club of no mother to touch and smell and talk to.  But, I thanked her for letting me buy the cup of coffee.  We hugged each other, took our cups and left.  I cried all the way to the office.

A cup of coffee.  The smallest of gestures, yet it gave me the biggest feeling.  Maybe it was my mom letting me know that it’s ok.  That everything is OK.  Whatever the reminder, it was for me.

If your mom is around, call her and tell her you love her.  If not, say it in your heart.  It means the same thing.

Have a wonderful day!