discretion, friendship, humor, life lessons, love, mindfulness, work life

Take Me As I Am – Whoever That May Be




There’s always a little voice inside my head that questions whether I’m good enough.  As I’ve gotten older (please note, I did not say “matured”), it occurs to me that I’ve got to get on the stick and kick this hefty can down the road and out of sight.  It’s rusty, dented and contains so much stuff that I will likely never resolve, so I might as well get rid of it.  Besides, I like the look of this guy…

It feels so defiant to say ‘take me as I am’.  So risky.  At least for me.  Of course it also suggests that I am completely sure who I am – and I guess that is sort of  a work-in-progress exercise.  I’ve never been an either/or person, the world to me is so resplendent with colors and shadings that absolutes are the bigger challenge (one exception – the words of one of my first bosses  “Today, you have full authority to do the right thing” – I try to remember that daily.  Other than that, all bets are off).

So despite my continued lack of personal clarity, I marvel at my friends who love me in spite of myself.  Jo and I go months without seeing each other and literally pick up conversations mid-sentence.  When we finally saw each other Friday night, all Andy could do was shake his head with a smile and say “I totally get it”.  I know her eyes, can see what they’re telling me; I can tell by what she doesn’t say, exactly what she wants to say.  This friendship from childhood provides a secure knowledge and confidence that the elemental aspects of who I am is understood on the most intrinsic level. Whether or not you are sure, someone with a historic reference  is sure I’m more than ok.  The joy of rediscovery.

The prism through which friendship is viewed, can be seen from a different perspective with new friends.  Carrie, Donna, Lori, Rhonda…I have been blessed with these women through serendipity (waiting for a manicure, Andy’s bowling team and through our blogs respectively).  As Carrie and I spoke yesterday over mediocre Greek salad (a nod to my Jenny Craig efforts – I am craving a milk shake about now), I realized how our friendship developed without pretense or guile – we passed those markers somewhere along the road and no longer have any patience for either.  I have connected with women who are wise and strong, experienced and romantic, tender and tough enough to have withstood their share of challenges and pain.  They don’t suffer fools, but they embrace you if you hurt.  They hug hard (figuratively and literally) and protect fiercely.  If I am defined in part by my newer friendships,  I’m feelin’ pretty damn good.  The joy of renewal.

The knowledge that I have gained from less-than-positive choices runs deep and is beginning to hurt less.  Learning the difference between providing a service to someone v. sharing in a friendship is a tough lesson for me to absorb.  This first year away from the firm has been painful in that regard.  On the one hand I am surprised at myself – I know a little bit about human behavior, what drives office dynamics and what distinguishes mutual understanding –  ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’  – from friendship.  I was unceremoniously dropped and the pain of landing on my butt was unexpected.  A year later, I wish I had chosen to be the one who walked away.  I certainly would have felt more graceful.

How cool to still have the time and luxury of finding me – if I choose to look – and to do so with the confidence that I may never know?  Better still is the feeling that I can look around and find the best, most flattering definition I will ever seek.   My friends.

friendship, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness

The Beauty That Is Us

..all of us.  I spent more minutes than I care to admit just marveling at these pictures this morning.  How can we look in the eyes of another human being and not feel connected to them somehow?  We love our families; want the next generation to enjoy a more peaceful, prosperous, kinder world; we value our traditions and celebrate love in a myriad of ways.   Our faces tell a story, our culture gives it context.  And each one of us weaves a story that is unique, marvelous, heartbreaking, celebratory.  I look in these eyes and I wonder – what is the story?   And though I may never know each and everyone, I believe with all my heart that there would be more that I would understand than not.



discretion, inspiration, leadership, life lessons, management, mindfulness, motivation, work life

Thoughtful Thursday

Oh Al I swear, you’re a genius!  Even before ‘multi-tasking’ became part of the social lexicon, you were decrying its effectiveness.  Good on you big guy, and lucky for the woman you were kissing in the car.  Better to pull over and focus.  A taboo idea I know – doing one thing at a time and getting it right.

When I was at the firm, he who juggled the most balls in the air without dropping any, won.  Yes, there were migraines, emotional short-circuits, missed anniversaries and birthdays – but man, could people juggle conference calls, client meetings, intra-office drama, toggling between dual monitors in their offices while checking Blackberries and texting on their iPhones.  Conversations – if that is what one chooses to call them – were stolen in the Starbucks line, or in fifteen minute intervals, or checked in a box.

You’re right – balls got dropped.  Perhaps not the ones that determine the size of a year-end bonus, and most assuredly not those that would compromise the zealous representation of one’s clients.

I spent a lot of time with people who had dropped the other stuff along the way – without thinking that the ramifications would be so profound.  The parent who routinely watched her daughter play in a sports tournament while emailing on her iPad and chairing a conference call and genuinely fretting because she and her child weren’t close; the husband who couldn’t reconcile the wonderful woman he had married with the raging, angry alcoholic she had become – for she had never shown any signs.  The affair that grew over time because neither person was ever home long enough for intimacy and friendship to grow roots there – though they insisted they tried.  They didn’t intend for this to happen.  The thrown blood clot that resulted from excessive time on planes and trains.  The pseudo-friendships that ended up defining one’s inner circle because there was no time to cultivate genuine loving relationships, and the resulting  isolation and loneliness that prompted yet another script for antidepressants.  The young associate who wept in my office upon discovering that this brass ring for which she had sacrificed much was not what she thought it would be and didn’t want to ride the carousel anymore – but for the enormous debt, mortgage and car payments.

No signs?  Really?

I didn’t judge it then, I’m not judging it now.  I do find the sincere disbelief…well, surprising.  We all struggle to do the right thing in the face of competing demands and increasing competition.  But what do you want to win?  And who are you kidding if you think that everything you are juggling has equal weight and heft, allowing you to balance it all equally?  The reality is that those weights change and morph according to time and circumstance.  Sacrifices will be made and balls will drop – that’s the reality.  There is also this inalienable truth – you have to decide what to focus on, what values you will only compromise so much and how to give the people you love the best of who you are.  Maybe you should focus on that kiss.


I am reblogging Ivon’s post because his blog typically inspires the thought and consideration one would typically give a teacher who captivates you. I am appreciative of the inclusion in his list of bloggers and intend to check them out – as I hope you do too!! Thank you again Ivon! I am truly appreciative and am typing with a big smile on my face – even though it is before 5AM…

Teacher as Transformer

Before I post, I wanted to acknowledge inspiration is reciprocal. Each day, with anticipation, I check my email and follow blogs I subscribe to.

I have gained a considerable amount from blogging, but is humbling. When I began, I had few visitors, no likes, and no comments. Gradually, this changed and blogging became rewarding in and of itself as I learned its nuanced context. It is still humbling in two ways. First, when I check creative blogs posted about passions people hold dear, it impresses me with the process and product. Second, I keep it real . Statistically, the blog I follow with the largest following has about 15, 000 followers. This is about 0.000002% of the world’s population and my 300 followers is about 0.00000004%. Against the odds we form a small, appreciative community and share parts of our lives. Thank you.

Thank you Kay Lynté at Thinking is…

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friendship, humor, life lessons, love

Puppy Love – Literally

Ok, I’m a dog person…a crazy, mushy dog person.  I get the whole cat thing – really I do.  We’ve had cats in our family and when they snuggle and purr and deign to acknowledge you with an arbitrary display of affection, it feels good.  But for me, there’s nothing like a dog.  Teddy sits in my lap while I write, Archie encourages me to forget what I’m writing about by bringing me his ball in a never-ending game of ‘stop-taking-yourself-so-seriously-and-play-with-me’.  Neither of them are going to score off the charts on any canine I.Q. test, but they would be in Mensa if the requirement was affection and loyalty.  Teddy did get a certificate once for being ‘Perfection In Fur’ – but that was because he didn’t really take to the training for which completion certificates were issued.  And it’s true, neither is particularly discerning, and were it not for the barking, a robber would be made to feel welcome.  Ah well…they’re my guys..

And here’s a weird one for you..the first dog we got when we moved here was Bubba The Wonder Dog.  And he was a wonder dog – probably could have been a brain surgeon but for his webbed paws and absence of impeccable hygiene.  A big guy, Bubba would sit on my lap during our regular drives up to NY and NJ – 70 lbs of lap dog.  When I was diagnosed with this funky autoimmune issue, Bubba would just stay with me on the bed, he’d lick my face when I cried and made it very clear that he was going to be my side 24/7.  After each surgery,  Andy would hold Bubba and lift him onto the bed so that he could arrange himself for the duration without bumping up against some unpleasant incision somewhere.  Bubba was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease too and when living became too much for his body, I couldn’t handle my sorrow.  How could we both get hit with the same ball??

This isn’t about sadness though – it’s about connections that we make that are not necessarily human-to-human.  Connections that reflect unconditional love, no pretense or guile, devotion and trust.  The lessons we absorb about ourselves, friendship, nurturing…the laughs we are given by goofy looks,  a relentless paw, wet licks and unexpected havoc when a certain you-know-who has to get his wiggles out.  Puppy breath and Buddha bellies that just beg for a rub…growing into four-legged friends with a capacity for love and devotion that in many ways is unparalleled.  We learn how to love from many teachers and in many ways.  If you have a bad day and feel just bummed with the way the world behaved towards you – just look at your dog’s face when you walk in the door.  He’ll remind you that you’re better than all the rest…


friendship, humor, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness

Post This

I did!  I have post-it’ed messages in lots of fun places today…This one was put on the napkin holder at Uno’s…



The Post-It notes had one of three messages – “You’re Terrific”, “Smile” or “Have A Wonderful Day”… I started at the gym, surreptitiously placing notes on the handle of an exercise bike, on the mirror in the locker room and on the windshields of two cars in the parking lot.  Honestly?  I felt both tremendously silly (and I do silly very well) and sneaky (I don’t do that as well) .  Onto a quick meeting, where I left one Post-It on the panel of the receptionist’s desk and again on a windshield.  At Starbucks I put one on the cash register (there was no one behind me in line – the place was empty for a change), left one on the sugar/cream counter and in the ladies’ room…Boldly I strode into the supermarket, where some unsuspecting soul will find a message on a package of chicken breasts, a yogurt container and the cover of a “Newsweek”.  And yes, another parking lot, another car…

Talk about stepping outside one’s comfort zone!  I haven’t passed hidden notes since junior high.  The best part of course is not knowing who the recipients are and recognizing that some will crumple them up and throw them away.  But maybe, someone will see it and smile, or laugh or shake his/her head while looking around to see if anyone remotely culpable is standing around.  Maybe it will make someone feel good on a really bad day, or maybe it will make no difference at all.  The best kindness is that which is extended with no expectation of anything in return, and given my stealthiness I am confident that I will remain unconnected to this crime of good fun.  My thanks to Christine for the inspiration behind this atypical day.  How fun it was to step outside myself  for a little while.  How intrepid and bold of me!!  And if it provided a small giggle for someone today, then all the better.

Perhaps as the karma truck keeps rolling along on its path, it will stop to pay the kindness forward.  Not to me, but to those I love – my sons and their wives, my son and his girlfriend.  Maybe the truck will make a pit stop in their respective driveways, and give them the blessings and peace and joy that they so richly deserve.  Perhaps it will stop near the homeless person who plays his sax on a corner in DC, or swing by someone who is bowed under the strain of getting through the day.  And that my friends, would be more than I could ask for – just because I ‘love-bombed’ a few unsuspecting souls today.


friendship, humor, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness

Tuesday Morning Musings

Interesting exercise – how did you read it?  Please don’t run too far with your result – I read it as “life is nowhere” and immediately got upset with my self for not first seeing the more optimistic phrasing.  The beauty of course is that we can look at it again and opt for the interpretation which most closely aligns with what we believe.

Yesterday’s post prompted a response from Christine – her blog  TheBookOfAlice.com delivers a daily dose of delight (my how alliterative!).  She wrote that she was going to consider arbitrary  ‘love-bombings’ – placing Post-It notes with a positive thought in unlikely places.  I’m sure she wasn’t suggesting that one paper a wall with such messages (after all, she read “You Are Special” on the wall in a ladies’ room).  Ok, Christine, you’re on.   I’m going to do this today – the Post-Its and felt tip marker are already in my bag.  I realize it’s not the greenest approach, but what if one person takes the note to heart?  Puts it in his/her pocket?  Shares it with someone else?  Ok, I admit it’s a little hokey, even a contrivance.  It also sounds like fun and if I don’t get caught, a challenge to myself to do something a little out of the ordinary.  Yes, I admit – I’m feeling a little exhilarated.

Perhaps too, I need to put some more positive energy out there – and maybe it will return to those for whom I wish the most wonderful things.  Who knows?  Maybe it’s just about adding some new accessories to my daily outfit (metaphorically speaking).  Shel Silverstein, who delighted my children and me for years with his tender poems and stories penned a lovely little rhyme which seems apropos this morning…

May the hugs be with you.




discretion, friendship, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness

When All Else Fails


“The universe is one of God’s thoughts” – Friedrich Schiller


What we do with our universe is obviously up to us.  It’s only Monday, and yet the horrors on the news – from the unimaginable nightmare in Aurora, Colorado to the violence in Syria; the relentless crisis in Darfur to the inhuman treatment of young girls as part of a social ethos in some  areas in the Middle East (and elsewhere).  The abuse of children and animals, the disregard for the after care of mentally ill adults who have fallen victim to the mass de-institutionalization efforts in our own country.  This list is not exhaustive and arguably doesn’t approach all that one can look upon with despair and impotence.

And I sit here in defiance, for I believe that free will is the distinction of our species.  We can choose to shake our heads in sorrow and disbelief and go on about our day, or we can shake our heads emphatically and opt for the better part of our humanity.  My commitment this week is to focus my posts on the magic of this world of ours,  the moments when laughter and love are the universal chorus.  This week I am going to celebrate our similarities and learn more about our areas of difference.

I received a note from a friend of mine today, referring to our budding friendship as a ‘gift from the angels’.  It was a moment in an otherwise aggravating day involving a slashed tire, unresponsive roadside assistance dispatchers and a perilous drive to the dealership on a doughnut that looked like it could barely hold its own for two miles let alone twenty.  Waiting on the side of a hot highway, trucks and cars passing too closely and quickly – a good Samaritan who came by after an hour and half and graciously helped me out (note to self – learn to change a tire).  His kindness erased my irritation (but not my sweat which was a bit unpleasant for us both I think).  I asked him what made him stop and he just shrugged and said that ‘this is why we’re here’.  Messages from angels if we pay attention.  I’m learning to listen to their words, and believe that they’re hanging out waiting for a little thank you and acknowledgement.

For friendship and love, laughter and forgiveness, faith in ourselves and in each other is a hallmark of who we are.  And perhaps it is during these darker days which promulgate so much disbelief and anger, that we are most responsible for staring it down with its most wondrous corollary.  Loving with a spirit that is unbowed, and humbled by the simple goodness that we can bring forward everyday.

friendship, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness, music

Play It Again…Adam

Since this has been posted so many times before, I think it is now incumbent upon you to just sing along…Sunday morning karaoke.  You’ve got everything you need – a cup of coffee, some rain to muffle any questionable notes, a spoon for your microphone.  You’ll get to the paper in a few minutes.  Right now, clear the cobwebs out of your throat, close your eyes and just start the day with a song.