Friday, January 29, 2010

Old Boyfriends

So lately I've been thinking about old boyfriends. As I am a frequent user of Facebook, the idea of getting a look into the lives of those who might have been is just too tempting for this gal! Thus I have become friends with a few (OK, more than a few) old boyfriends.
My definition of boyfriends is pretty loose, pretty much defined as any one I have kissed (and I really just mean kissed) in a non-platonic way more than once in my 31 years. Considering I've only been kissing my Beloved since October 31, 1998, let's just say a few of these former flames have sent me friend requests, and I'll admit, I've searched and friended a few. My curiosity overwhelms me and I just have to know! What do they look like? What kind of jobs do they have? Do they still love the Beastie Boys? Are they bald? Fat? Into NASCAR? Did they marry ugly women? Did their kids inherit their short, stubby fingers and small, squinty eyes?
After having my curiosity quenched I inevitably feel thankful. You read that correctly, thankful. Different qualities from all these previous heartaches (whether mine or theirs) have been thread into the quilt that is who I am. More impressed upon my memories is the likes and dislikes I learned about myself through these relationships. Knowing and unknowing these old boyfriends brought me to the day I met my husband and all the days ever since.
Because of these old boyfriends, I can watch my child play soccer with some expertise, after 2 semesters dating a soccer player, a girl learns a thing or two about the game. I know and love theatre to this day because of some ill-fated forays into dating theatre majors. I would have never learned to Rollerblade or that I really don't like rollerblading had I not fibbed about my rollerblading prowess with a handsome allergy prone fella in high school. The smell of hockey still brings me back to the hot, hairy Italian from my freshman year in college. Sports expertise, theatre knowledge, even some brief kisses from some Ivy Leaguers, don't compare to the first and subsequent kisses from my Beloved.
So yes, I'm thankful for the tears shed, anger felt, cassette tapes recorded in memory of, all the different personality traits I was able to try on throughout the years because the one that fit me best was a hunky football star with a penchant for the country music and I couldn't be happier. Most days.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Drastic Measures

I am about to do something drastic. I'm not sure what, but I have begun making grand statements to my Beloved and contemplating even more impossible things in my own mind. Fortunately for both he and I, I do not have the funding available at this time, nor do I have a very focused idea what drastic measures I am going to take.

Some of my thoughts have been, in no particular order:

- I'm going to take the GRE
- I am going to dye my hair
- I think I should go on a week long retreat at someplace that has a vow of silence
- I might look cute if I got my nose pierced
- I should run for a city office
- It might be fun to be on a game show
- I am going to go to law school, in which case I should take the LSAT, not the GRE
- I am going to take the LSAT
- I've always wanted to learn to knit
- I've always thought being a dental hygienist would be neat, and I bet I could get my teeth all capped at a serious discount

When I have shared some of these with my Beloved he does something so irritating I genuinely want to punch him in the nose. He is supportive, sweet, and understanding. He begins telling me things like, "You should go to grad school honey! The GRE is a great idea." or "You have some definite leadership skills, what kind of city office?" Sometimes he proceeds to talk about costs and ways we could pay for tuition, or really practical things, like "If you went on a retreat I'm sure we could figure out something with the kids, if you want to do it, we'll figure it out!" Who is this guy?

For some reason his support and love regarding my crazy fantasies really takes the wind out of my sails and I get ticked off. At some point, usually after his offer to make a spreadsheet or do a cost/benefit analysis of going back to school I walk away and decide to do nothing.

I choose to stay home, with some serious gray hair sticking out, I don't go on a retreat and take a vow of silence, I don't audition for a game show, I don't get my nose pierced, I don't even make an effort to learn to knit and the worst part is that it's my own lack of inertia that keeps me fantasizing about these things, not doing them. It's certainly not for lack of support.

So I'm not going to do something drastic I guess, at least not today.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

That's It!

When I was in high school the school began requiring notes from the doctor or dentist when a student was going to be out of school for an appointment. I would never describe my mom as someone who is a rule breaker, but the idea that the school didn't trust a note from her, and required documentation from a doctor really ticked her off. I recall a note she wrote to the school saying I would be leaving school midday for a dental appointment and the note went something like this:

"Sheridan will be leaving school at 11am today for a dental appointment and THAT'S IT!"

At the time I thought little of it, but somehow the "THAT'S IT!" part of the note really strikes a chord with me today. It's a simple way to say, I don't want your opinion on the topic, I have made the final ruling, there will be no further discussion.

Dinner tonight is chicken pot pie, and THAT'S IT!
If your laundry isn't in the laundry basket it won't get washed, THAT'S IT!
Bedtime is 7:30, THAT'S IT!
No, I don't feel like cuddling tonight and THAT'S IT!
Yes, you need to pick up (insert child name) from (insert activity) and THAT'S IT!

Today I used these magical word when calling our health insurance company regarding hearing aid coverage for children, which no one seems to know about. When the nice lady offered to look into it and "get back to me real soon," I responded sweetly "That would be great, I expect to hear from you today though, and THAT'S IT!" It worked, she called me back 30 minutes later with loads of information. I firmly believe my "THAT'S IT!" made all the difference.

I recommend you practice different tones when you say these power packed words, play a little with volume and force and even tone, and be careful not to abuse them thus diminishing their effectiveness.

If you have some "magic" words that work for you, post comments and tell me what they are.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Neglectful blogger

It was a long December and there is reason to believe this year will be better than the last. (Can you name the song?) I have made only one serious New Year's resolution. Here it is:

If I have an instinct to bury my head or hide in my bedroom, or just stay locked in my house, I will turn my back on that feeling and walk forward, head up, shoulder's back into whatever I am socially avoiding.

I also wanted to share something my college roommate, Lisa, gave me my sophomore year in college. The year I fell into my first deep depression. It is not something of great monetary value and I don't know what her motivation was in cutting out an Ann Landers column from the newspaper. I did NOT see the wisdom or guidance in it then, but now I refer back to this yellowed, corner worn scrap of newspaper cut in Lisa's precise teacher's hand. It has moved many times since she gave it to me, from Winona, to St. Paul, our 1st home in Waseca, our 2nd home in Waseca, Maine, back to Waseca, Stillwater, and now to Roseville. I look at it almost everyday, I thought you might want to read it too.

The following letter was written in Ann Landers column, I don't know the original publication date.

DEAR READERS:If some lines in today's column sound vaguely familiar, you have a good memory. They appeared in this space last year. Not much about New Year's Day has changed, so thank you for allowing me to loaf a little.

Let this coming year be better than all the others. Vow to do some of the things you've always wanted to do but couldn't find the time.

Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. Share a funny story with someone whose spirits are dragging. A good laugh can be very good medicine.

Vow not to make a promise you don't think you can keep. Pay a debt. Give a soft answer. Free yourself of envy and malice. Encourage some youth to do his or her best. Share your experiences and offer support. Young people need role models.

Make a genuine effort to stay in closer touch with family and good friends. Resolve to stop magnifying small problems and shooting from the lip. Words you have to eat can be hard to digest.

Find time to be kind and thoughtful. All of us have the same allotment: 24 hours a day. Give a compliment. It might give someone a badly needed lift.

Think things through. Forgive an injustice. Listen more. Be kind.

Apologize when you realize you are wrong. An apology never diminishes a person. It elevates him. Don't blow your own horn. If you've done something praiseworthy, someone will notice eventually.

Try to understand a point of view that is different from your own. Few things are 100 percent one way or another. Examine the demands you make on others.

Lighten up. When you feel like blowing your top, ask yourself, "Will it matter a week from today?" Laugh the loudest when the joke is on you.

The sure way to have a friend is to be one. We are all connected by our humanity, and we need each other. Avoid malcontents and pessimists. They drag you down and contribute nothing.

Don't discourage a beginner from trying something risky. Nothing ventured means nothing gained. Be optimistic. The can-do spirit is the fuel that makes things go.

Go to war against animosity and complacency. Express your gratitude. Give credit when it's due -- and even when it isn't. It will make you look good.

Read something uplifting. Deep-six the trash. You wouldn't eat garbage. Why put it in your head? Don't abandon your old-fashioned principles. They never go out of style. When courage is needed, ask yourself, "If not me, who? If not now, when?"

Take better care of yourself. Pass up that second helping. You really don't need it. Vow to eat more sensibly. You'll feel better and look better, too. And you'll weigh less, and wouldn't that be nice?

Don't put up with secondhand smoke. Nobody has the right to pollute your air or give you cancer. If someone says, "This is a free country," remind him or her that the country may be free, but no person is free if he has a habit he can't control.

Return those books you borrowed. Reschedule that missed dental appointment. Clean out your closet. Take those photos out of the drawer, and put them in an album. If you see litter on the sidewalk, pick it up instead of walking over it.

Give yourself a reality check. Phoniness is transparent and tiresome. Take pleasure in the beauty and the wonders of nature. A flower is God's miracle.

Hope you see the beauty and wisdom in it like I do, everyday. Thank you dear roomie.