Do we pick our friends?

I’m not sure we ever pick our friends.  Usually we meet people and it just happens.  “They” say that your partner is supposed to be your best friend, and I’m sure that’s true for some.  But I’m talking about something different.  I’m talking about the people (friends) you can share everything with … even the stuff about your partner and you know (or hope they won’t) judge or walk away.

I’ve been fortunate in my life to have some amazing friends.  One that I’ve known almost my whole life, many I’ve met through work, school, running or volunteering and the one I had dinner with last night.

I am in DC on business and I’m here with another attorney who is a part of this matter I’m working on.  I’d met her only once in person.  But when I did, I knew right then that we would be friends long after the matter was resolved.  From the moment we met for a glass of wine last night all the way through dinner – we talked non-stop.  About almost anything and everything.  I love that about friends.  You know what I’m talking about?  That cool way you can just share anything and not worry how it sounds or if they will think you’re weird (well, I am but that’s beside the point).

In this fast paced world of the internet, our ready to eat meals, homework, sports, modern toys, we miss a lot of the simple things in life.  Our jobs change, our marriage ends, we get older, but none of that changes real friendship.  But real friendship never goes away with time.  In fact, it is one of the things in life that ages well!

During dinner last night I was reminded of Elton John’s song, Friends.  I think I will just leave you with the lyrics and a reminder to check in with those friends who are there for you no matter what … even if you are a week behind in returning their calls (sorry to my closest and longest friend in NM!).

I hope the day will be a lighter highway
For friends are found on every road
Can you ever think of any better way
For the lost and weary travellers to go

Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need
With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there then everything’s all right

It seems to me a crime that we should age
These fragile times should never slip us by
A time you never can or shall erase
As friends together watch their childhood fly

Have a wonderful day everyone!!!

Comfort food that burns fat?

Where does Yahoo get these titles?  Really?  I’m going to turn my comfort foods into something that burns fat?  Let’s look at what they say will “burn” our winter fat:

Hot Chocolate

They say nothing about its fat burning ability but the article does say that it can ward off dementia in elderly people.  I’ve had two cups already this morning.  Why drink wine?

Oatmeal

The article says that oatmeal “sticks to your ribs” and topping with nuts or fruit can give you energy.  I don’t think of oatmeal as “comfort food.”  Try again.

Chicken Soup

“People who eat a broth or vegetable-based soup before their meal consume fewer calories overall” was their quote.  This might be a comfort food when we are sick but so is Advil.

Pot Roast

Now you’re talking.  Digesting protein in general requires burning calories, as the body has to work harder to break down protein.  Plus, protein keeps you fuller for longer than carbs or sugars.

Roasted Veggies

I love veggies as much as anyone, but unless they are collared greens, they don’t count in my book as comfort food.

Potatoes

Love them!  Roasted, fried, baked …. you name it and I like them.  These carbs are right up my alley … with a lot of butter to boot!

Chili

Sure.  I agree here and we make this all the time in the winter.  Meat or no meat, it’s great.

Pumpkin Pie

Why do they wait for the best at the end?  I’m quite happy to hear that I can eat a pumpkin pie a day and burn fat!  Well, I guess they didn’t say that.  But they did provide that pumpkin (not the pie) fights oxidative stress and inflammation with beta-carotene, an antioxidant.  That’s almost as misleading as an attorney’s arguments in front of a court!

My comfort foods were not on this list: ice cream with caramel sauce, apple or rhubarb pie, wine (I know it’s a drink but you can use it as food), wild rice soup (fav), chocolate (any time of the year) or even my three cheese grilled cheese!   Frankly, it doesn’t matter to me when I eat my sugar, salt or fat.  I just know that I need those things and my “comfort” will always win out over calories!

Hope you have a great day!

His talk was cheap.

Urban Dictionary “talk is cheap” definition:  a phrase used to indicate an individuals’ inclination to verbalize opinions, stances or other traits and subsequent reluctance to act upon said traits.  e.g.  “He kept telling me he would do X, but he kept doing Y.”   Know any one who fits the bill?

People talk a lot. I guess it’s human nature.  It’s easy to find people who talk non-stop, who try to convince you that the world is exactly how they see it.  But those people … well they don’t think before they speak and they certainly don’t act on their words.

Talk is cheap. Anyone can say anything they want but it takes more than that to be able to produce “talk” that is worth being heard or read or acted upon. That’s what’s bugging me – there are some people who do a lot of talking with absolutely no follow through and no intention of doing anything more than putting the words out there without any actions.  Sadly, those are the people who miss out on the really important things and people in their lives.

As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.  Andrew Carnegie

So true.  You can listen to words all day long, but if you are watching someone talk and their feet don’t match their words …   run.

My soap box advice for today?  Talk less, listen more and think before you speak.

I know some of us who can do it.  I know some of us who are working on it.  And, I know a few who just love themselves too much to even think this makes sense.

Hopefully, we all know where we stand.  Life’s an amazing journey – with benefits!

Have a fantastic start to your week!  And to my marathon friends – enjoy the day off.

I’ve lost my patience.

I’m on a business trip and my room is on the 3rd floor.  Third floor!  That means that the elevator ride is short.  Yet, I get in the elevator and I age 10 years in the amount of time it takes to get to the 3rd floor.  What’s my problem?  (In reality, it was only about 2 minutes).  Yet, I find it to be so outrageously slow that I begin to take the stairs each time I leave and then race myself to see how long it actually takes me to use the stairs.

I’ve got a lack of patience lately.  Sure, I’m tired and desperately need a vacation (stay tuned for a cool vacation announcement!), but that is no excuse for this behavior.  Not only am I fed up with the elevator, but I’ve been super frustrated with the lines at the grocery store, how long it takes to pump my gas and how many times I have to ask my kids what they want for breakfast, with no response.

Mother Teresa said, “Without patience, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, rush and more usually mean less.”

Life’s challenges require that we practice patience.  But the speed of life of our lives wears our patience thin. Patience helps us be more loving, more attentive and to reach those places that we want to reach.  It’s really a choice.  It’s having the right attitude that gives us the patience we need to see more, not less.  I’ve got to work on this one.

I’m going to strengthen my patience muscle by counting to 10 when I feel frustration creep in.  I’m going to take three deep breaths before I let something come out of my mouth when I’m feeling edgy.  I’m going to work at not getting frustrated when little things don’t go my way.  And, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’m going to focus on what I’ve accomplished, not on what remains to be done.

Look, I can pawn a lot off on menopause, but I think this one I’m going to have to take full non-hormonal responsibility for.  Or, maybe you can loan me some of your patience (or do our laundry … something I will never develop patience for!).

Have a very calm weekend! 🙂

When she told me that she didn’t grow hair in her arm pits, I paid attention.

I had an eye appointment yesterday at the University.  One of those appointments where you see three different people before you get t the specialists.  They were great there – just a lot of waiting.

In my second waiting room (with my phone up to my face because my eyes were so dilated) a woman with a wheel-type walker came in.  Her eyes looked closed and she was with another woman.  They both were pretty young … well they looked younger than me.

As I was reading something on my phone, I laughed out loud. The woman with the closed eyes said, “Tell me what’s so funny!”  I looked up and realized she couldn’t see me.

We started chatting, kids (hers a bit older than mine),  menopause (universal woman’s topic) and that as a Native American, she’s got the added advantage of not growing hair on her body (don’t ask me how we got to the hair discussion!).  Then, she told me that she started losing her sight six months ago and now it’s gone.

How do you respond to something like that?  I told her how sorry I was.  She told me not to be.  She said that the love and support she’s had in the last six months – amazing.  That she’s experienced things – sensations – that she said were “g*d given.”  I asked her if she was scared.  She said no.  Then she said yes.  Yes, she was scared about what could happen to her children because now she can’t see them.  I felt sick to my stomach.  I just can’t imagine.

Her sister was there helping her.   Another beautiful woman with long dark hair, smiling with love as she listened to her older sibling talk.

What can I say about this?  We take our trials in life and we either do something good with them or we grow bitter.  And, although she told me she does has some days where she feels down, I could see that she clearly was about embracing the change.

It was nice experience.  We just can’t get enough reminders to be thankful for what we have.  Plus, I never knew that Native Americans had such a great deal with the lack of body hair!  It just goes to show that they are way more advanced than some others of us, who are still trying new (and creative) ways to get rid of that hair!!!

Have a wonderful day!

Top Ten Speed Dating Questions (and answers).

I’ve never done speed dating and have no intention of doing so.  But a friend recently tried and I couldn’t help ask her about the questions she got.  Here’s the top ten (that I actually remember) questions and what might be my answers:

1. Where are you from? I’m from here – Minneapolis.  Land of frozen brain cells, Lutheran hugs (they don’t hug, they pat), flip-flops until November (because we can’t admit what’s about to happen to us) and the most beautiful marathon course in the US!

2. How many kids do you have?  It depends on the day.  Sometimes I have 4 because I’ve adopted my daughter’s best friend.  Sometimes a few more because when I’m in a relationship, I take them on too.  Sometimes zero when they are all driving me crazy and I have to go for a LONG run just to pretend I’m a real person.

3. What are your favorite things to do?  I like to eat and sleep.  But, I don’t get much time for either.  I enjoy cooking (lie), cleaning (lie) and doing laundry (lie).  I think I’d make the perfect wife (lie)!

4. Do you have any pets?  I have three kids and an ex husband.  Why would I add to that?

5. Do you have a place you’d like to vacation?  Target.  Any grocery store.  Wait! I’d like to go to the airport and tell the reservation agent to pick a place for me and then to send a nanny to my house to take care of my kids (and ex) while I’m gone.

6. Why are you here?  Because I needed a night away from cooking, cleaning and doing laundry – oh wait, I said I love that stuff.

7. Name one thing you like about your job.  I’m a blogger.  I don’t have time for a real job.

8. Who do you admire most?  Anyone who is not here speed dating.

9. Do you like motorcycles?  My hair doesn’t fit into a helmet. So, no.

10. Can I get your number?  Sure!  1-888-dnt-call.

Have a fun (and not as sarcastic as me) kind of day!

I do not want them to take a picture of me.

Last weekend I attended an event with a photo booth.  You know, the kind where you and your date/spouse/child go in and make funny faces and have 4-6 pictures taken.  It appeared to be the hit of the party with people lining up to have their evening memorialized.

While I was as dressed up as I get when I go out and I looked “ok,” I didn’t want to go in and have my picture taken.  I just hate that stuff.  I always think I look a bit off.  My hair like Roseanne Rosanna Dana.  My skinny neck sticking out or my crooked smile.  I think I’ve always been this way … hating to memorialize myself.  To be honest, I even avoid mirrors.

When I’m with the kids, I’m constantly taking pictures of them.  I want to record it all!  I love their funny smiles, the way they play with one another and how I can capture those moments for myself.   I cherish my “first day of school” picture I take every year.  Or the holiday picture I take with them wearing the new pj’s they get every Christmas eve.  They too hate having their pictures taken but I do it anyway (and, I do see them looking fondly at these “old” pictures.)

When I look back at pictures of my mom or my family, I don’t see fat or wrinkles or weird clothes.  I see their loving smiles.  The eyes that I remember so well.  It helps me to recall their smell and the feel of having them around.  The pictures are wonderful reminders of my time with them.   That got me thinking …

I need to have some pictures of me.  Not because I like looking at me or my odd-looking clothes, behaviors, glasses.  But because my kids are going to want reminders of our life together … and pictures with me in them.

I want them to see that at 51, I could still kick some (very little at times) ass finishing a 10 mile race.  Or that I could swim 2 miles in a lake and still come home, looking refreshed, make french toast and dance to some weird music (although I don’t like her taping those dance moves!).

I want my sons to see that their mom was strong and could be accomplished – like their future wives, but can also do wacky fun things.  I want my daughter to see that I can wear a wet suit and a business suit.  I need pictures of those things.

Now that I think of it, so much of our lives go by undocumented.  I’m going to make a point of changing that a bit for my kids.  Thank goodness for the camera on my iPhone!

Have a wonderful day!

 

He said, “There’s no such thing as a chance encounter.”

I went for a run with friends yesterday.  They wanted to do two lakes and I wanted three (stress). So, we bid goodbye after 7 miles and I set out to complete my run.  As I rounded the first 1/4 mile I heard someone call my name.  I looked back to see a former “friend.”  I hadn’t seen him for a couple of years and he was out for a last jaunt before the marathon.  We caught up on kids, work, and then we somehow turned to the topic of trust (it’s amazing what you can discuss on a run!). Here’s the gist of our conversation (I had to make some serious mental notes!):

While we all talk about the importance of love – love is nothing without trust.  And, you can’t have trust without honesty. For some people, honesty is just a word to which they pay lip service.  And, as a result, it’s one of the first things to go in a crisis.  Yet, honesty in a relationship must be the critical value.  In fact, I would argue that the health of any relationship depends on it.

Actually, the reason for being honest in a relationship is that it leads to trust and, without trust, any relationship will fall apart. Why?  Because if we can’t trust those closest to us, we can’t rely on them in times of need – when we need them to be there for us … and that it leaves us filled with doubt, rather than confidence, about the relationship.  That doubt will gradually eat away at the relationship until it’s destroyed.

What are the words you read most often in dating sites? (Yeah, ok, I’ll answer that) – “Looking for an honest man/woman who will accept me the way I am.”  This is the universal law of relationships … being honest and acceptance of flaws.

Why are we afraid to be honest?  Because we fear that if we are, our partner/friend will leave … will not accept us.  So, we tell ourselves and our partners unintended white lies to avoid that fear.  Yet, those little mistruths, as innocent as they are, damage us and the relationship.

Honesty is absolutely necessary when expressing feelings.  Sometimes you know when your partner is feeling a certain way (angry, sad, etc.), yet, when you ask you get, “I’m fine.”  Usually this is because the person wants to avoid a potential argument or “issue.”  But, that’s not true honesty and the more the partner denies, the less honesty there is and the trust begins to erode.  In a love relationship, you should be able to share your feelings and have them acted upon, even when it’s contrary to their own needs and visa versa.  Try it sometime and see if that rings true for you.

This was a pretty deep conversation for 3 miles and as we said good-bye, I told him it was a great coincidence running into him.  He said, “Jess, there’s no such thing as a chance encounter.”   Maybe he’s right.

Have a wonderful start to your week!

“Please don’t divorce me for being late.”

I recently made this comment to my son.  I was, of course, 10 minutes late to pick him up for an appointment – for which we were going to be late.  He said, “I really don’t have a choice, do I mom?”  True.

I read an article on excuses that moms (I’m sure this holds true for guys too) use for why we are often late.  It’s true that being a parent puts a new spin on punctually.  And, being a working mom, I find I am afforded additional excuses (or I just make more of them up).

I must admit, that my lateness is not due to my doing my hair (I don’t) or my makeup (I don’t).  It’s just stuff.  Stuff happening at work, at home and just because I’ve got a lot of stuff on my plate.

So, here are my top “reasons” I’ve had to give for being late:

1. I couldn’t find my keys … usually in my hand or in my purse.

2. I had to go to the bathroom.

3. I couldn’t find my purse … usually right where I put it. Or my glasses (on my face).

4. My kids needed to poop.  (This was a huge – no pun intended – issue when they were younger.  We were always late for this reason!).

5. I hit my head cupboard door as I was trying to get out of the house. (You’d think I’d learn my lesson on this one).

6. They kids were too hungry to get in the car without making some elaborate snack.

7. Since I didn’t “give them enough warning” (although I said at least 10 times that it was time to go) they were not “ready.”  I really hate this one.

8. They could not stop their “game” because they would lose all their points.  OMG.  This literally puts me over the deep end.

9. My phone was lost (usually it’s in the car or a kid is playing a game on it).

10. I could not find one of the kids (usually I find them in the car waiting for me).

11. I was chatting with someone a “bit” too long.

12. I had to go to the bathroom “one more time.”

I’m sure you have your own set of reasons (excuses) for being late!

Have a great weekend!

The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat.

It’s been brutal in my house lately.  My usually calm daughter has been totally stressed out.  I’d like to say it’s because she can’t figure out what to wear to homecoming (she doesn’t even want to go!).  Or, that her brothers have stepped up their incessant teasing of her (they have!).  No, it’s been her competing for the last seat on a varsity boat going to the Head of the Charles.

Let me back up here.  My little darling started this rowing-sport 10 months ago.  I still don’t have one-half an idea about her rowing lingo regarding splits, steady state and the like.  I just buy the warm clothes, give her the good protein powder and send her off.  So, when she said there was one seat left and she was going to compete for it, I figured this would be a good exercise in learning the agony of defeat.

Every day for the last 6 weeks she’s been stressed out.  She goes to practice, works hard, but no decision.  Every day I pray to the teenage g-ds to do something — just a simple yes or no, is all I’m looking.  We want our girl/sister back.

Then, Tuesday she comes home and says – the last race will be on Wednesday and at that point, they’ll decide.   On the day of,  I send her a text telling her to “kick ass” and then “be done worrying.”

When she’s heading home from the lake, she calls me.  I ask about practice and she says she’ll tell me when she gets home. This must be bad news.  I felt sick.  Her brother asks, “How bad is she going to be now??!!”   Thank goodness that narcissistic streak of his is tied to being a teenager.

She walks in and I scan her eyes.  Are they red?  I can’t tell a thing.  I want to cry.  Then, as washes her hands for dinner, she turns around and says, “Hey Mom.  Guess what?”  I look up and she’s smiling!  She’s on the boat and I start screaming.

She immediately calms me down (why can’t kids just let you cut loose once in a while?)  She looks sad.  She tells me how awful she feels for the girl who didn’t get on the boat.  This is her main focus.  She wants to know what to do.  What to say.  I tell her just to be as humble as possible when she sees her.

An hour later, she gets a text from the girl  – congratulating my daughter.  We then realize that the real winner is the other girl.  Because in her agony of defeat, she has the chance to show what an amazing person, teammate and friend she is.

So, for my daughter,  I’m proud of her.  For all of us, I’m thankful that we learned the oh-so-valuable lesson that a loss can be an even greater win, if you play it right.

Have a wonderful day!