friendship, humor, love, training

Guest Blogger – Sir Bogart

Hi all,

Thank you all for giving me such a warm welcome – you are all way nicer than my brothers  (well, they’re nice some of the time, but they seem a little moody to me)!!!  Anyway, I’ve been here four full days now and I have learned an awful lot about life in the kingdom.

I know where my food is

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I’ve been accident-free for two days – which seems to be a major cause of celebration for my mom, she keeps kissing me and telling me what a good boy I am every time I take care of business outside.  It seems a little excessive, but I humor her.

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My brother takes offense if I get too close to areas I find interesting to sniff…

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But he will now allow me to hang with him if I respect his space and keep my nose to myself.  The guy doesn’t know how to have any fun.

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Size seems to matter – Sir Archie takes my toys, but if I try to take one of his – whoa…I am plotting my revenge.

Mom doesn’t like having her toes bitten – what’s up with that?

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And the King thinks I’m perfect.  In truth I think he’s got enormous potential and I’m sucking up to him for all it’s worth.  I would say I’m making a ton of progress, wouldn’t you?

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Story : What it matters is glass or lake, where you mix the salt?

What I particularly like about this story is the idea of expanding one’s perspective when feeling sorrow. Typically, when I’m sad or feeling bummed, I contract, making my world smaller and my sorrow much larger. I love the visual of ‘being the lake’…

PROPEL STEPS

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Once an unhappy young man came to an old master and told he had a very sad life and asked for a solution.

The old Master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.

“How does it taste?” – the Master asked.

“Terrible.” – spat the apprentice.

The Master chuckled and then asked the young man to take another handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and when the apprentice swirled his handful of salt into the lake.

The old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the Master asked, “How does it taste?”

“Good!” – remarked the apprentice.

“Do you taste the salt?” – asked the Master.

“No.” – said the young man.

The Master sat…

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

Sometimes I Get The Message

There was a comment waiting for me this morning that was posted on my “About Me” page.  It was from a manager with whom I used to work at the firm.  She moved on to greater professional opportunities years ago, and we keep in tacit touch on LinkedIn.  And though I remember her in detail, from her reluctant smile, that once shared lit up her entire face to her ardent wish to ‘do the right thing’ for her department – I never really expected to receive such a gift.

“Mimi, I saw this recently and thought of you.  So many times as a leader I reflect on your teachings and I am so very thankful to have them in my toolbox.  Thanks for the Lollipop and for the ones I’ve received because of you.”

And she forwarded along this Ted video.  And I cried (no surprise there).

www.ted.com/talks/drew_dudley_everyday_leadership.html

And the bottom line to all of this?  Be transparent, bring joy, offer people the best you have and if you can’t give them your best, certainly don’t bring them your worst.  Sometimes the farther one travels up the professional food chain, the more likely it is to see people getting by with the most off-hand and dismissive of efforts – after all, there is so much one has to do (yes, this is sarcastic).  I am humbled and honored that Vivia took the time to send me this.  I am appreciative of the reminder that this is really what it’s all about – period.  And my lollipop of choice?  Tootsie pops, hands down.

friendship, humor, love, parenting

Update From Under The Round Table

Well the past thirty-six hours have been a bit tiring, but the Sirs are slowly beginning to accept the interloper who is desperately seeking membership.  Personally I think he’s trying a little too hard, but I’m sure that his canine brothers would disagree.   We are succeeding at the whole ‘going potty’ thing (with a couple of exceptions), the crate experience and following the King around like a dutiful royal subject.  Our days look like this…

We play…

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Everyone gets a little territorial – as in, ‘he will NOT share my seat that the table’

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We get sleepy

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We pass out

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And so it goes…And as soon as this little guy gives me a few moments, I will write about something else entirely..

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Write it on your heart…

I used to keep this in a frame on my desk in my office before I retired. I need to find the box it is packed in – wonderful words to live by.

Radiating Blossom ~ Flowers & Words

Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.
Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in;
forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit
to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.
~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~~

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humor, life lessons, love, mindfulness, parenting

Welcome Sir Bogart

Well, we had a very calm ride home and so far, so good…The Sirs are a bit ambivalent – and Archie did try to share Bogey’s lunch…It’s been a challenge to get him out of Andy’s lap as you can see…

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And now it’s nap time, and the newest Sir is making it very clear that he values his privacy.

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Something tells me these next couple of weeks are going to make blogging a challenge – time snatched between trips to go potty.  But he is awfully cute..

anxiety, discretion, humor, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

You’d Think I’d Know By Now

I recently received a comment about one of my posts, which I have let drive me crazy.  The person (whose blog I read regularly and enjoy – particularly for the  fabulous photography) wrote candidly that he didn’t read my posts frequently because he found them “too sweet”.  Now before you say anything – this isn’t a referendum on whether he’s right.  He’s right – I’m not the type to disabuse anyone of their feelings and after obsessing about this for days now, I see his point.

I assure you I’m not all that sweet.  Well, I’m sweet, but I have as many snarky moments as the next person.  And I can be sarcastic.  And if you’re a friend or relative of mine, I can be an absolute lioness – with both chuffing and growling sounds perfected.  You get my drift, though believe me I could go on and tell you all the reasons why I can compete with the best provocateurs, devil’s advocates and cynics.  Just ask Andy.  But I digress (again).

What gets me is how much I let this thought consume me.   I have held onto this like Archie covets a new bone.  The circuitous breeze in my head blows relentlessly and none too gently.  “Have I become saccharine?”  “What do I want this blog to reflect?”  “Is it honest” “Am I still thinking like Pollyanna?” (answer to this question is  – yes).  “Do I have anything new to say or have I become Mimi One-Note?”  “How much do I want to put out there”  Of course, the answers change direction depending on the time of day, the state of my hair, and whether I have eaten recently.  As of this writing, I’ve decided that I’ve got to let it go.  Must be time for lunch.

I began this blog with a thousand different ideas about what I wanted it to be like and then zeroed in on a year’s worth of entries that I could print out and give to my sons – a somewhat morbid, but well-intended gesture for them.  I’m now well into my second year and I can’t see giving them a flippin’ tome, so what am I doing now?  Honestly, I have no idea.  Given that I’m a big believer that certain answers come with time, I’m giving it time and just moving forward.  What I do know is that I’m as transparent as I feel I can be.

On Monday we were out to dinner with friends of ours who have had a really challenging year.   Her son was diagnosed with a serious illness, she was just laid off for the second time in less than a year.  The company he works for is on the brink of going under.  And yet, there we sat genuinely aware that we were all beyond lucky.  First and foremost, her son is much, much better – and that offers a perspective like nothing else.  We live in far better circumstances than most people in the world.  We laugh – a lot.  We know love.  We’re more aware that the concept of happiness is not something that is a given, rather more like snatches of sunlight between the cracks in a day.  The key is in noticing those spaces.  I’m trying to look for them, choosing to find them.  I don’t want to miss my chances, for the weather changes with little warning.

Lately, I’ve been acutely aware of time speeding past.  When the hell did I become 59 when I still hold on to such immaturity?   I’m not ready to age-out of life just yet and would prefer to be in the game with some well-preserved naiveté and faith in a whole bunch of things that are bigger than me (note to David Kanigan – no height comments here, pal).  I’d rather be acknowledging the spaces in-between and delight when I find them.  Pollyanna?  You betcha – though I don’t do braids.

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anxiety, discretion, friendship, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

With Props To Ashton Kutcher

It’s kind of hard for me to give props to someone I don’t know much about nor have followed for his artistry or contributions to humanity.  To me he’s a cute guy who is starring in “Jobs” – and that just opened here yesterday, so how familiar should I be?  Oh yeah, he was married to Demi Moore – someone else I haven’t befriended (well, in fairness she hasn’t befriended me either, so…).

Anyway, this video is traveling the circuit that arguably could have been the Borscht Belt circuit before technology.   Although he was reaching out to a screaming bunch of teenagers (and skip the first 1 min 44 seconds unless you like to listen to hysteria), the message is ageless.  As we weave our own stories, jumping in and out of costume changes as we try on new iterations of ourselves…wondering how to make our next chapters meaningful while we re-define its definition…This is for us too.  Happy Saturday all.

discretion, friendship, life lessons, love

For Andy

Although our anniversary isn’t until the 15th, we’re heading back to the mountains tomorrow to look at some real estate and see if there’s a weekend getaway home in our future.  As you know, the connectivity up there isn’t perfect, so I’m posting this early.

We met because of children, had children of our own and have held onto our own immaturity for more than twenty years.  Tess and Amanda –  two of the most edible four-year olds in the universe became friends, their moms (our sisters) started talking about their siblings and a blind date (did I tell you I swore I would never go on a blind date, marry again, or risk more than required by serial monogamy?).  We met at the harbor in Georgetown (I was waiting inside so I could see him before he could see me – moi?  self protective?).  I walked up to him and say “Hi, it’s me”.  Andy insists he knew right away.  I just knew he was very cute and interviewed me more thoroughly than any candidate I had ever spoken with in my HR career.  Before we were done with drinks, he had gone through his checklist; I was just getting giddy.  I was being interviewed!  And I laughed – a lot.  I still am.

Andy made plans – not just namby-pamby plans – concerts, trips to B&Bs, romantic restaurants.  I was blown away.  His generosity was unequivocal; he took notes the first time I was upset because he wanted to make sure he heard all I was saying.  Honestly?  That did it for me.  No one had ever tried to listen that hard.  Ironically, it’s not his strong point – but a lot is forgiven when you realize that this is the only person in the world who is going to make sense for you.

In twenty-one years you don’t have a tale that just offers giggles.  We’ve had our share of challenges, distances and silences, days of doubt and frustration.  Loss and anger, fear and uncertainty.  My health issues have certainly thrown us for a loop on occasion.  Me with my sneakers;  Andy with his games.  I read and escape in books;  Andy plays pinball and darts.  I was a parent driven by the word ‘yes’;  Andy needed reasons to answer in the affirmative.  I’m always early; he’s always late.  We can make each other crazy and we will always have each other’s back.  I have said before that he is the anchor to my kite – my tendency to fly away is far less precarious knowing that he is holding the string while he waits for me to come back to earth – so I will never get stuck somewhere from which I can’t return.

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So after twenty-one years – which have flown in more ways than they have crept, I am beyond grateful and acutely aware of blessings, as corny as that may sound.  I looked at him this morning and thought “my guy” – a thought I have had on more mornings than not.  I’m still having  a pajama party with my best friend – even if we are on different sleep schedules.  We played impromptu charades in the driveway yesterday and ended up in hysterics.  Whatever he maintains he knew  when we first met, I was slower to embrace.  But there is no doubt that we were brought together by familial love and have grown together with a bond that is cherished – both for its fragility and unbreakability.  It’s a wonderful life, and a wonderful love.  I love you Andy…

 

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

Holding August

Many associate August with the fading days of summer,  final trips to the beach, last gasp efforts to take it all in so that some of that warmth can stay in our bones as we turn towards the fall.

Not me.  For me, it is a far more complicated month than that.  I was born in August, I got married in August and my dad passed away in August (these three moments in time did not happen in the same year if you were wondering).

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When you’re a child, summer birthdays are like always drawing the short straw.  Your school friends are away, so there’s no big birthday party.  I was always at camp, so I got to raise the flag, people sang to you at lunch and I was able to receive a call from my parents.  The good news was that the call usually came during swimming, so I managed to avoid the changing room.  But the whole allure of theme parties, giggles, gifts and giddiness are just not part of the summer birthday equation.  Over time, it all evens out – and one comes to appreciate that the celebration is not in the number of people surrounding you in the moment, but the number of people surrounding you always.  The reminder that to many you are special and loved, and to some you are just an afterthought.  I don’t say that with ill will – it is what it is.  I’m beyond rich in the love department – and I don’t need a day to remind me of that.

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Andy and I got married in August.  We get a little giddier this time of year – although it’s been more than twenty years since I broke out in hives under the chuppah and Andy and the rabbi walked me gently through my vows as my little one twisted his fingers in my dress asking for cake.  There were toasts – my dad insisted on reading his despite his failing voice and already-compromised health.  I don’t remember it all, but it began “Once upon a time there was a princess who met her prince..”.  His voice was hard to hear – even with the microphone – but the magic was clear.  The kids got their cake, my nieces jumped up and down with preschool exuberance, taking credit for this union (and were it not for their friendship their respective aunt and uncle would never have met).   We began our life with the knowledge that we weren’t lucky – we were blessed.  When we’re smart enough to remember this, we still are.

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And then at month’s end, I continue to say kaddish for my dad.  It is difficult to write about this without being maudlin, so I’ll aim for brevity.  He loved me in a way that worked for me.  I in turn drove him crazy.  When he left, he took all my secrets – every single one.  I censored little, though I’m sure he would have preferred if I had censored more; but I gave him all I had and I don’t think he ever doubted that.  And I ache when I think of him, I miss him with a longing that I can’t define.  Years ago I downloaded a voicemail he left me on my birthday – singing Happy Birthday and ending with “I love you sweetheart”.  I have to turn that cassette into a cd, just to hear him one more time.

Time – August plays a game with  my head when it comes to time.  I move from moment to moment without volition, allowing events and memories to wash over me as water from a cascading stream.  It has to flow in this way, and I have to follow its lead.  It isn’t easy, I slip, lose my footing, but ultimately remain standing.  Sometimes life compresses, other times it expands.  August is.

“No matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away.” — Haruki Murakami