Friday, January 27, 2012

Ruthie

It's my belief, that for some people their strengths are also their weaknesses. She is one of those people.

Strong as a rock, Ruthie has a tendency to not let people in too quickly. Why would she want too? She's been burned so many time, and badly too, it's surprising that things effect her to begin with; however, she is just a mere moral.

To her advantage, this wall she's built-up isn't obvious. She's warm, engaging and friendly when you first meet her. That is, when it comes to details about you. When it's her turn she can be vague, standoffish and not very forthcoming. Don't get me wrong, she's not a bitch about providing you with personal information, she just does so cautiously. As far as she's concerned, personal information about her is earned, like any valuable commodity.

Ruthie's interest cast a wide net. One moment she is walking around an art museum discussing with her friends color usage and the mood a particular painting give off. The next moment, flying through the sky (literally) learning to sky dive or zip-lining (she hasn't done this yet, but she REALLY wants too!). Even though this is the case, people still seem to be shocked by some of the things she comes up with to try. She is without a doubt a "Dare Devil."

Despite the insistence of many, she doesn't feel the need to pigeonhole herself in any area of her life. This is becoming a bit of problem for her often because no matter what career path she seems to want to take, those around her insist she focus on one area of that field. She can't seem to wrap her mind around why this has to be and continues to put up a fight against making this reality... it must be her tenacious nature at work.

At the end of the day, her friends and family are matter most to her. She'd move mountains for them if it meant ensuring their happiness. In return, they provide her with laughter, amongst other things, which she has come to discover is a key element in her life. They also remind her that people are kind regardless of the many "special" people she might encounter on any given day.

Her adventures are vast, and her strong, electric personality just makes them that much more unique and enjoyable. That is also one of the reasons readers look forward to reading about them.


................................................................................................................

For the Thursday blog project, I proposed the following topic: You've been asked to create a character based upon you for a fiction book. Please tell about your character.

Now that I've talked about my character, Ruthie, please take a moment to read about what my fellow bloggers said about their characters:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Mom of Many (Susanna)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

I saw this on a sidewalk while I was in the area of downtown Chicago known as "the Loop" . . .


I know this is suppose to be a "wordless" post, but I feel the need to say that this is some of the best advice I've ever received, and could ever give someone. Doing this makes all the difference!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Something a Little Different

My post tonight wasn't written for this blog.

It was published earlier today on a ChickLit blog. It's my first blog post to be published on a blog other than my own. (SO EXCITING!!!) What makes this even more special is that the post was about a new book called, "MWF Seeking BFF" by Rachel Bertsche and a "Meet the Author" event featuring Rachel discussing her year long search for a new best friend.

Prior to the event, I was asked to write about the event for Chick Lit Central: The Blog! This a fantastic site where lovers of "Chick Lit" can go discuss chick lit books, read reviews and meet authors and win new books. I was thrilled for the opportunity since I am a fan of the site and greatly interested in the many facets surrounding the topic of friendship.

See, I'm a friend person. I've had times in my life when I haven't had friends where I was living and it was awful! So, as you might imagine I appreciate the fact that I have such AWESOME friends in my life.

One of those AWESOME friends I speak of is my BFF who I've known almost 25 years. For awhile now, I've been wanting to write a tribute to my BFF on my blog -- she is an amazing person! I thought I would save this until our actual "anniversary" which is in June, but when I sat down to write this post it became obvious who I had in mind.

As one might imagine, our friendship has been a journey filled with ups and downs. We've weathered a lot... I mean A LOT! Yet we somehow always seem to come out of whatever life throws at us stronger than we were before. For a long time I thought a friendship like this was normal. I thought everyone had at least one person like my best friend, however I've learned over the past few years that I was wrong. I learned that what I have in my BFF is a rare relationship that you don't take for granted. I often fear that I take her for granted, and I've told her on many occasions.

I hope you enjoy my Chick Lit Central: The Blog! post: My New BFF --An evening with Rachel Bertsche as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

It's a Marathon, not a Sprint

I was born early.

How early depends on whose due date you go by. If you go by the doctor's due date I was over a month early. If you go by the time frame my mom believed I would arrive, I was about two weeks early. Nonetheless, I was early.

I mention this only because I believe it explains a lot of who I was up until recently. When I look back, I seem to have always wanted things to happen when I wanted them to happen -- patience was not my strong suit.

However, life has always had a different plan for me. I walked late. I talked late (though I have been making up for this ever since I started). And, there is a whole long list of other things I've done later than my peers. Life has always known...

It's a marathon, not a sprint.

When I began to consider law school (this time around) I kept doing the math of how old I would be based upon a given start date, i.e. "If I start law school in (fill in the year) then I would potentially be sworn in to practice law when I was (fill in age)." I cringed! I didn't like the number I saw. It got me kicking myself for waiting so long. Especially "wasting" the past couple of years. I started thinking about a lot of things I should of done different.

***DANGER,DANGER WILL ROBINSON!***
(Let me just say here, I do not promote this type of thinking ... it is dangerous.)

A month ago I was talking to a former coworker of mine about this. I was visiting the office and we were catching up on what was going in our lives. I explained that I was just weeks away from taking the LSAT, again, and all the jazz that has gone into the exploration of law school this past year. That's when I found out about her stint in law school. (Now I've known this person for sometime, but I never knew they went to law school.)

They explained to me that when they were taking the LSAT and considering law school they did the same thing I did - calculate how old they were going to be when they could FINALLY practice law; and, like me, they freaked out when they saw the number. That's when her sister said, "Well, you're gonna be that age one day anyhow, with or without the JD, so what difference does it make?"

I had previously heard various forms of those words (S I have not forget the many times you've reminded me of this), but for some reason on that day, at that moment, they finally sunk in. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I've become ok with the idea that law school may in fact not be in my future, or maybe I'm just tired from operating at full-force like I did last year. Whatever the reason may be, from that moment on I have not done any math calculations of that sort and I have retreated to a place where no matter what happens next it will in fact be ok.

It's a marathon, not a sprint.

There are plenty of other examples I can pull from my life that make the same point.

When I look back on some of the mistakes I've made in the past, I see a common wrong turn I have made many times over. I let my eagerness to get what I want get in the way of taking a time I need to get to where I'm going (or want to go).

Don't get me wrong, there were some things that it's ok to acquire quickly, patience is good, but one can't wait for EVERYTHING. However, with that in mind, I ask myself often, "Who the hell was I to think after a mere two and a half years I had earned a manager's position when I still had SO much more to learn?"

(Hindsight is a beautiful thing -- isn't it?!)

Yes, I'm talking about a career situation that keeps blaring out at me, but it seems to represent a lot of other situations from the past that were similar. It's good to be confident in your abilities, but it's smart to know when you have really have earned the right to make certain demands. I blame this particular situation mainly on youth and some outside influences; then I chalk it up as a learning experience.

Now a days, I brag when warranted, but I stay modest as well. I know what I rock at and am happy to share that with others when necessary, but at the same time I manage not to get a large head and think that I can do more than I am really capable of. I also make plans of action when I want to go after something I know I'd be great at, but just don't have the tools to be the rock star that I am quite yet.

I practice... and practice... and practice some more. I never forget, nor stop believing, that my hard work will one day pay off. (At least that is what I try to remind myself after a crappy run, or if I don't see improvement in my runs.)

I like to think of this "practice" as creating opportunities. There are a lot of interesting things I will be doing in this year. Some of them are things I've decided to do, while others are opportunities that have been presented to me. I like to believe I've earned this opportunities. I didn't always feel this way, but the past year has had a great influence on this shift of perspective.

I hope that others can learn from my mistakes; I surely have. I now look at each and ever thing I want out of life and ask myself is now really the time, or is this something that needs to develop a little bit more. As I get older, I like to think I'm more and more a-tuned to when things are right for me to move forward on and when they are not. I can say for sure, I know recognize more that ...

Life is a marathon, not a sprint.


Postscript:

I wrote this post on January 2nd.

Since I wrote this entry, I've become friends with someone who shares a lot of my life experiences. A Jew who went to a university based upon Christian principles for undergrad. An individual who is not only the youngest of all their sibling, but also has siblings old enough to be their parent. And, someone who discovered what they truly want to do career wise later in their life. (Ok, so I'm still somewhat in the process of doing this, but I'm sure you get the point!)

During some of our exchanges, Doc has talked about how sometimes though not greatly desired, we sometimes have to take a longer path to where we are going and it's important to enjoy the ride along the way. "Oh, the places you'll go!" (Thank you Dr. Suess.)

These words are nothing new to me, but I believe when you are in the thick of things it's difficult to take that much needed step back from everything and truly embrace this way of thinking. Even now as I live a life with this understanding, I still have times when I get annoyed and tried of the journey.

When I wrote this, I did not do so with the intent to post it specially today; however, as I was revisiting this post recently it felt right to do so.

My journey has been a long one -- or, at least it feels that way. I never expected it to take as long as it did to arrive at this destination. On the few occassions I get upset that it took so long, I wonder if I would have appreciated the payoff at the end of it as much as I now do. I'm guessing not.

Unlike before, I'm thankful for my journey. It isn't the way I wished to have gotten here, but I've learned a lot along the way. I've learned the things I needed to in order to move on to my next marathon. When I realize this, I am thankful because I know I am a better person for taking the time needed rather than trying to get ahead of myself and racing to the finish line.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I gave it up for Lent

In March, it will be one year since I gave up chocolate. I often joke I gave it up for Lent because I made the decision to not eat chocolate for 30 days on Ash Wednesday, however Lent was not my underlying motivation for the decision. Back in April I wrote about my experience giving up this delightful treat. The post title said it all: It Was Easier To Give Up Smoking. (Who would have thought, ah?!)

I bring this up because this week Susanna, our Mom of Many, asked us to: Write about one of our biggest pet peeves.

I've heard on many occasions it takes 21 days to form a habit. If this is the case than I should find it such a shock that after 30 days of not eating chocolate I had no desire start again. I had formed a new habit. Now I'm sure you're wondering what the heck any of this has to do with pet peeves. It has been 317 days since I've had chocolate and even though that is the case there are those that still can't believe I haven't had any chocolate for that long. Mostly, it's people who don't know me, however there are those in my circle of friends who still question me on this. Like the text I got awhile back from a friend. It came up during a text conversation and I received the questions, "Are you still doing that? Is this for the rest of your life?" I didn't know how to answer.

Now, this isn't my biggest pet peeve, but it is a pet peeve. I'm not sure why people react to me as if giving up chocolate means I'm not really human or that what I really told them was I gave up a necessary function to sustain life - like breathing.

To be honest, I'm glad I gave it up. As a result it's helped me curtail my intake of sweets all together. See, at first I replaced chocolate with other sugary treats. At first it was jelly beans, then sour patch kids, etc. Then overtime I got sick of those. I learned how to moderate my intake of sugary treats and to be quite frank, it caused me to start even more fruit for a snack than I was already doing.

After I explain my reasons for cutting chocolate out of my diet and the effect it has had on my eating habits altogether then most get it. However, some don't and continue to give me a hard time about my decision. Some have even gone as far to make inappropriate jokes about my decision. In the end, I just smile and move on from the situation. I just wish it was a non-issue to begin with.

Now that I've talked about one of my pet peeves, please take a moment to read what my fellow bloggers have to say about their pet peeves:



Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Mom of Many (Susanna)

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Letter

I've received many letters in my lifetime, but most of them I can't remember everything about the exact moment I read them -- except for one.

I was in my kitchen. I was standing in front of my little, flimsy cart that held various kitchen utensils. I stared at the envelop for at least a couple of minutes. And I can still remember who was with me waiting for me to share the content.

Of all the letters I've read in my life, what this letter had to say was probably the hardest for me to read. I had stopped talking to someone close to me without so much as a reason why and they weren't about to let me go without speaking their peace.

I don't recall EVERYTHING the letter said, and it's one of the few letters I didn't keep amongst my otherwise treasured collection of letters. I only remember one part of what it said. "If we are meant to be in each others lives, we will be brought back together again someday."

Ok, that is a paraphrase. I like I said, I don't have the letter in my possession anymore. I have to admit I rolled my eyes when I read that. At the time I couldn't even imagine that I'd feel differently about having this person in my life again. However, as the months passed, I continued to care about this person and asked our common friends how they were. I still took an interest in their well-being. As I would find out later, they did the same.

Four years after that, something big happened in my life. As I made my way through the beginning stages of this part of my life, I was surprised to find the person I had cut out of my life was there to help me. We had started to talk again (more like acquaintance talk, but nonetheless the lines of communication had been opened) and I wanted them to know what was going on. As the days, weeks and months passed, me and this individual began to rebuild the bond that had been broken all those years before.

I am once again very close with this person. I am thankful for this. From time-to-time I think of that letter and my foolish reaction to dismiss it. My foolish belief that there was nothing that could bring us back together -- not even a higher power.

I bring this up because of something a friend of mine is going through. Their best friend told them this weekend they could not be friends with them anymore. I know the reason why, but I won't disclose it on this blog (just like I am not disclosing the particulars surrounding my own story). I will say that when I was speaking with my friend earlier this evening I did share with them my experience. I wanted them to know that they weren't alone. I wanted them to know that things like this happen all the time. More importantly, I wanted them to know, that their best friend could possibly come back to them one day and that not all hope was lost.

I wish I could do things differently than I did. I wish I could shake some sense into the younger me who dismissed that letter.... but I cannot. I do, however, take comfort knowing that in this particular situation my friend recognizes what this best friend is going through and only wishes that they find their way to the happiness they seek -- whether it is with or without them. I also take comfort in knowing that my experience can be a lesson to my friend now in their need.

Tonight I say a prayer for my friend and their best friend. It's my hope that they do in fact find their way back to one another, but if they don't it is my hope that they are able to grieve as they need to and can move on with their separate lives in peace.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Just a few of my favorite things . . . .

The first time I ever heard of the cosmetics company Philosophy was about five/six years ago. A friend of the family loved their scent "Falling In Love" and we were sent on an errand to pick up a bottle of it for her birthday. Then, about four years ago my mom mentioned how much she loved their products -- mostly their fragrances, but I think she also used a few of their other products. That's when I acquired my bottle of "Falling In Love." Since then, I've also fallen in love with some of their other scents, body washes AND lip glosses. I haven't actually purchased their lip gloss -- my mom gives the one they include in the gift with purchase. However, they are awesome and I would totally purchase it for myself should mom ever stop supplying me with it. (Shhh! Don't tell her that!!!)


This week for the Thursday blog topic, Mel -- who resides in Merryland -- gave us the following topic: Oprah used to give away her "favorite things" on her show. If you were to do a show where you could give people your "favorite things," what would you include and how would you present it?

So, the first thing I'd give my audience is a whole lot of Philosophy products.

• The next thing on my list is Apple products. This shouldn't come as a surprise since I've been a member of the Mac cult for as long as I can remember. So, it's iPhones, iPads and laptops for everyone! Oh, also each product would have Apple Care to cover any problems that might occur with said electronics, a $500 iTunes gift card and a suite of accessories so each item is sure to be pimped-out.

• Blinged-out Magic 8 Balls are the next thing on my "favorite things" list, but only as a joke. I do love to ask the Magic 8 Ball lot of questions!

• A trip to Jamaica is next. Since all my audience resides in Chicago, it's just what the doctor ordered this time of year! Oh, and don't forget an American Express gift cheque for everyone -- I'm thinking a few thousand dollars would be enough to make the trip fantastic!

• Yarn. LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of soft, colorful yarn. My audience would receive a mix of high-end yarns. The fibers would include silk, cashmere and alpaca.

• Chai Lattes for all! This is the season I drink Chai Lattes like they are going out of style. So it's off to Starbucks we go -- because that is were you can get the best Chai Lattes!!!

• UGGS. Ok, ok... I fought my mom on getting these for years, however I finally gave in. I am SO glad I did. These boots ROCK! Everyone should have the experience.

I'm sure there is more I would add to my "favorite things" list, however I can't think of them at this moment. So, I'll end with just these few things. Now that you've read about my favorite things, please take a moment to read about what my fellow bloggers put on their favorite things list:


Mom of Many (Susanna)

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Not Allowed to Smile (I am)

It started sometime around the Spring 2010.

I was with my mom, apparently in a good mood, and smiling. That's when she asked the question, "Who is he?" I shook my head, gave her one of my unique "what the hell are you talking about" looks, and returned the question with a question of my own . . .

"Why do you think there is someone?"I said.

"Because the only time you smile is when there is a guy," she said.


"That's not true!" I exclaimed with conviction and began to go a tangent that I don't need a guy to make me happy, or be the cause of there being a smile on my face. Of course this was all an effort to cause her to forget the original question (or make her regret asking and in turn decide to drop the subject).

Success! After I finished she dropped the subject and I walked away from her as quickly as I could.

Though I was reveling in my victory, my heart was beating fast, and hard. I was scared by the fact how transparent it was that there was in fact someone in my life. I wasn't ready to share that with her, or a lot of the people in my life quite yet, so I did my best to keep it under wraps despite wanting to tell the world. Maybe this made me a bad person, but I was treading with caution this time because I REALLY LIKED this person and didn't want to tempt fate.

Last April she asked me again, "Who is he?" By this time, mom knew about my previous relationship... she also knew that we were no longer together.

"There is no one. I swear, there is no one," I said.

"Are you sure?" she said

"I promised you, there is no one," I said.

Again, I went into a conversation about why it had to be someone making me happy rather than just being happy with life. The truth of the matter is that there was in fact no one and that I was just feeling good about life. (Hard to believe, I know!) I went on to explain about the personal statement I had written and how good it had made me feel -- amongst other things. Though she accepted my explanation, mom still was suspect. I guess she had a right to be... I mean I did lead her astray a bit the last time she said something so who was to really say I wasn't doing it again and I had just gotten more persuasive?

The whole conversation had left me with one lesson -- do not smile anymore. If I didn't smile a majority of the time then no one, including mom, would question me and I could go about my life with less hassle. This was hard to do. During this time I had a perspective shift and it had an effect on my overall contentment with life despite how imperfect it may have been at the time.

That's when I learned that one could smile on the inside and at the same time not on the outside. At one time I had questioned how this worked, and now I knew. I learned you don't have to be "happy" all the time, but you could still be happy overall. This was a crazy concept to me. Don't get me wrong, I've been happy before -- just not like this. I can't put it into words, but I keep coming back a scene in the first "Sex and the City" movie where Charlotte says that she is happy everyday, just not all day. Regardless of all that, I was still dead-set on allowing myself to smile. I felt like if I did I would just have to justify myself I didn't want to have to keep doing that.

It wasn't until recently that I let my smile, and optimism, run amuck. It's freaking a few of my close friends out. Bostonian recently told me he feels like I need to go see a doctor when I display this part of me and that the Froggie everyone knows and loves is only cynical. At first D just looked at me funny, but he no longer does that. He sees the person he knew when we first met. BFF... since we don't live in the same area she's only really experienced it via e-mail. She doesn't call me out on it (I'm sure she's happy to have "me" back), but sometimes I think she wonders if it's really me on the other end of our messages. Others, I sometimes think, are just waiting for this to end and for the "real me" to come back. This bothers me. I feel as though I'm constantly having to prove that this is who I am, and not some circumstantial version of me.

As for my mom . . . She no longer questions me. Instead, she just enjoys it. It's made the time we spend together more enjoyable and special.

As for me . . . I've learned many lessons from all this ... It's ok to smile. It's ok to smile on the inside even when things on the outside suck and may not produce a smile on my face. It's also made me more aware how various factors contribute to the way I view and react to things that happen on any given day. Not that I didn't know these things before, but now I can pinpoint point them much better.

Hopefully, one day I will smile because of a guy. (It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, would it?) Until then, I will continue to smile for the things I do have.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I Would Like To . . .

For this week's Thursday blog, Sara asked us to give are thoughts on the following: Given that next Thursday will be into the new year, I'd like to hear about everyone's new year's resolutions for 2012, as well as highlights they'd like to bring up from 2011.

First and foremost, I'm not going to recap 2011. It was a very good year for me and there was a lot to recap; however, I've done several recaps of the year. This post being the most recent.

As for resolutions... I don't believe in resolutions. I don't like the label "resolution." Maybe part of it has to do with the fact that I always have a list of things I'd like to do -- running races is an example. Last New Year's I didn't resolve to run a race by the end of the year. It was actually something I decided I wanted to finally do sometime around April/May. In August of last year I decided to stop drinking coffee. Or, there was the ever famous decision to stop eating chocolate last March. I guess what I'm getting at is any "resolve" I may have usually comes about arbitrarily and not because it's the beginning of the year. That said, I understand why people make resolutions. It's only natural as a new year is beginning.

There are a few things I've committed to doing this coming year, such as a writing a tribute post for a Chick Lit blog. I got asked to do this over a year ago and I kept putting it off last year. Since it's been a goal of mine for sometime to expand where my writings are featured, I committed to writing the post in 2012. (It also doesn't hurt that the author is releasing another book this year so the tribute will coincide with the book launch.) I'd like to post more to my blog. I enjoyed the post a day challenge I took back in November, but since I seem to have fallen back into my old pattern of blogging at least once, but no more than twice a week.

On a related note, I'd like to read more. I didn't read for pleasure this year until the last two weeks of last month when I finally put life on pause for awhile.

I'd like to see if I can complete a combination of 12 races or events like Warrior Dash this year. There are countless races planned which include a 31 flight stair climb. I really would love to participate in Warrior Dash, but the calendar doesn't seem to be cooperating with schedules. I'd also like to decrease my time. I feel it's a safe assumption that this will happen if I continue to run races. It seems to go hand-in-hand.

I'd like to do this coming year is knit more. I at least finished three items this year, but I can't say more than 10 (and that is being optimistic). I joined a sock club again this year. Unlike my last attempt at a sock club, I'd like to knit at least half of the kits this year.

The last thing I'd like to do this coming year is give myself more relaxation time. I fully expect that I will be going with all engines working this year, but it's a top priority of mine to find a sufficient amount of "me" time. I didn't do this enough this past year.

Now that I've shared what I would like to do in 2012, please take a moment to read what my fellow bloggers resolve to do in 2012:

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Mom of Many (Susanna)

Momarock (Sara)