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!

What a mom (this mom) does on a free night!

I get some free nights but usually I’ve got something planned with friends.  Last night my plans were cancelled.  What would I do?

I contemplated all the usual places: Target, any one of 5 grocery stores, the bookstore.  Then it hit me.  I’m going to do what guys do – the sports bar!  Why not?  I figured it would be interesting, but I had no idea.

I brought my Mac in so I could do a bit of work while eating.  You’d think I’d brought in a cute dog that everyone needed to stop and pet.  I ended up with one too many “lines” about my computer, my work, my work clothes (Really?  Guys still say those things?  Yes they do, says the employment lawyer).  I eventually shut it down to focus on the TV and my food.

As I was talking to the bartender, a couple sat down.  They didn’t look happy and weren’t talking with one another.   At some point, she got up to use the bathroom and he turned to me and started chatting.  I couldn’t, as you might imagine, resist asking a few questions.  Turns out they were fighting.  She was upset about some plans they were making for a trip. She was scheduled to meet him half-way through the trip but she was frustrated with his being gone so long before she got there (guys weekend sort of thing).  Hmm, right up my alley.

When she came back, I realized she looked familiar.  I’d met her at the health club.  We started chatting about running, kids, etc.  Then the topic turned to their “date” night.  She immediately said that they were having an oh-so-enjoyable discussion in the car on the way over about a vacation.  She talked about almost never getting a vacation because of the kids, yet he seems to get more vacations and didn’t worry about the kids.  Yes!  I’ve heard/experienced this one before!

I told them a story about a relationship I’d been in that tanked for a number of reasons, but not the least of which was vacations.  I told them to pay better attention to the feelings behind the argument – she wanted to get away but felt guilty about the kids.  He didn’t feel guilty and didn’t really acknowledge (or understand) how she was feeling.  I suggested that they put themselves in the other’s shoes and then respond.   Long story short, they decided that he would take only a few days with his guy friends and she was going to join a few girls and go for a spa weekend another time (now that’s REALLY up my alley!).  We laughed about the bartender not doing his job as the therapist, they grabbed my check and paid for my dinner.  They stayed for dessert and I left for Target (You didn’t think I was going to spend all my time in the bar, did you?).

So, I guess it really was a free night!

Have a great day!



My gift was a total bomb.

I recently gave a gift to someone.  It wasn’t well received.  I really thought I was doing the right thing, but apparently I had not thought it through.  And, I didn’t realize I’d made a mistake until the person didn’t thank me and actually became upset with me.

It led me to thinking about gift giving.   Why do we give gifts?  I hope we do so to make someone happy and feel good … to let them know how we feel about them.   But, do we really think about what the other person wants?  Do we really do it all for them or is part of it for us?  What should we do when the receiver is unhappy with the gift?

Giving has been a subject of studies on human behavior by psychologists, economists and retailers.  Giving gifts is a surprisingly complex and important part of human interaction that helps to define relationships and strengthen ties with family and friends.  Psychologists say that it is often the giver, more than the receiver, who gets the greatest psychological return from a gift.

Unconditional gift-giving starts by sharing a piece of yourself – the love you feel for someone, shown by the time taken to select a gift in a considerate manner, and combining it with not wanting anything at all in return.   It is not about how much you spend, it’s about how much thought went into it.

Giving to another reinforces our feelings for them and makes us feel happier.  It is a reflection of our gratitude (even when it is not so well received).

The important thing about gift giving is to remember that everyone is different and we can’t expect smiles or “thank you” every time.   However, if we’ve given with a good heart, the receiver’s reaction or lack thereof, should not bother us (in a perfect world – and in this instance, I was not perfect!).

Despite the fact that this one didn’t work, I’ll still keep giving gifts … it’s totally my nature!  However, I’ll be a bit more careful about the gift, to whom it’s going and whether it’s the right thing for the person on the receiving end.  I’ll also make sure that I’m not hoping for a thank you or acknowledgement of some sort.  Lesson learned.  And, it only took 51 years!

Oh, I should say … I love any kind of gift and “thanks”  comes pretty easily to me so don’t hesitate to try!!! 🙂

Have a wonderful day!

My mind and body don’t always like what I’m doing.

Yesterday I ran a 10 mile race.  I had to chase my friends the entire way.  During most of it I was asking myself, “why the hell am I doing this?”

My mind’s got a lot of power with me.  And, if I don’t control the chatter while I’m running, I will eventually stop.  My mind often tells me it’s dying, that I can’t go one more step, that I need to walk up that next hill, that I’ve got to take 10 bathroom stops.  And, I usually listen.  It really is a mind game for me and as I’m getting older, my mind and body are not always happy with my life choices!

Running’s changed.  It’s not the strap-on-your-shoes thing it used to be.

I still run in clothes I bought 20 years ago.  That’s what we did in the olden days.  Now, I also run in my kids old clothes.  But have you seen the cute new skirts, tops, shoes that people run in?  Seriously, better than what I wear to work!  I’m just not sure about spending $150 on an outfit that I am going to sweat all over.

Also, there are all these new powders, gels, drinks that people take.  I bring a pack of Barbie gummy fruits.  When I started running that’s what my kids had and that was what I took as I ran screaming from the house, to get out for a “save-my-mind” run.  I’m having a hard time giving this up for the fancy stuff.

There are training watches, heart monitors and a million other gadgets.  There are fanny packs, back packs with water straws … what the heck?  I put my keys, phone and a few bucks in a baggie.  Done.

Some people do this running/training thing and it looks so easy (I know it’s not).  But, they’re able to build beautiful muscles, they can run, bike, swim and still feel good the next day.  They do it for the love of it.

Why do I do it?  It’s the only way I remain sane.  I am certain I’d be in prison by now if I didn’t run.  But, I’m not like my cool training buddies.  I can’t build any muscles.  I lift and lift but my arms are still like sticks with flab on the back-end.  Moreover, there’s no way that the skin stretched from pregnancy with those kids (really those two boys) will ever go back from whence it came.

Yet, I’m ok with my aging mind and body.  The changes are inevitable and I have little say in the process anyway.   The mind chatter?  Well, at least someone’s talking to me!

Have a great start to your week!

Do you have the signs of being too busy?

As evidenced by the lateness of this post, I’m a bit too busy lately. Yesterday as I was running, I made a mental list of those things that were evidence to me that I’ve gone too far. Here’s my sad, but true, list:

1. I find myself brushing my teeth in the shower to save time.

2. It feels like a luxury to sit down at Taco Bell to eat a burrito.

3. I prefer to talk on my cell so I can look at emails at the same time.

4. I never sort the laundry, as it takes too much time (I also don’t fold or iron – sorry kids!).

5. I’ve caught myself trying to load the kids’ dishes in the dishwasher when they’re not done eating.

6. I mentally multitask when I should not be multitasking!

7. Red lights are my friends, my down time – vacation-like and when I write blogs.

8. My kids are shocked when I am on time (and I am too).

9. I find myself yelling at the microwave to hurry up.

10. When I fall asleep at the dentist during root canal!

Have a relaxing weekend!!