Friday, February 21, 2014

A Blessing in Disguise

"January - will always be the day a drunk driver ended a life that ripped my heart out and shattered my plans for the future. However, had it not been for this day on the calendar, most of the people and experiences I value most would not be in my life. Other people and other places would have been in my life, but I can't imagine they would have been better. The peace that comes from accepting that has been a long time coming."

The above is from the timeline of someone I went to school with many, many years ago.  It is in reference to a drunk driving accident that ended the life of their fiance over a decade ago.

Denise's topic: Is there such a thing as a happy ending?

I can see why someone would say, "No" when answering the question at hand; however, I'm going to propose that the answer to the question is, "Yes." 

When I saw the above post I paused.  It accurately reflects how I feel about one of the hardest "I've ever experienced in my life.  Though I would never wish what happened to me on anyone, I just know that I wouldn't be the person I am today if what happened didn't happen - and I like the person I am, a lot.  Furthermore, I wouldn't know the people I know or had some of the experiences I had, such as skydiving, if I hadn't been propelled in this direction.  As the post above says, "Other people and other places would have been in my life, but I can't imagine they would have been better."  And quite frankly, I've met some really awesome people over the years following this period of my life.  

What happened had to happen so my being would break down in order for it to be rebuilt into a better, stronger and more confident person.  And it gives me so much pleasure to be able to say all this and mean in with all the sincerity in world.

So, what the heck does this have to with "happy endings" you may ask?  Everything!

The ending of my old life wasn't on the surface, or in experience, "happy" as one would define the word.  (Actually, it sucked the big one! Many times over!!!)  However, it brought about a "happy beginning"  and was a blessing in disguise.

And for that I am beyond grateful!

Now that I'm told you my take on "happy endings," please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers have to say on this topic:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Darwin Shrugged (Denise)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Take Away from (Unintentional) Stair Surfing

When I picked "Ebb and Flow" for this week's Thursday Blog Project topic I really didn't think that I would be doing a tribute post... and even more so a tribute post because tomorrow is Valentine's Day.  However, life is funny in that sometimes you end up doing things you never thought you would...

In my life, my relationship with my BFF has ebbed and flowed.  There is no doubt that we have truly had our ups and downs.  Thankfully, our worst ebb happened almost 10 years ago, but that doesn't mean everything has just flowed along at high levels either. (Honesty, I'd be afraid if that was the case.)

Recently, something happened to both of us (individually) that made me truly realize how much we mean to one another.  It's not like I never realized it, but I think when a bigger than normal ebb happens to someone you truly love it really emphasizes how fragile life really is.  It also scares you a little bit and makes you realize that maybe one day you'll have to know a life without that person in the world. (G-d forbid.)

Now, don't get me wrong, what happened to both of us individually wasn't a catastrophic ebb in proportion to what ebbs could be, but it could have been way worse than the two events turned out to be.  What I find most interesting about these events is that I feel they have set forth an even great flow of caring this week than we normally have for one another.  If you read the text message exchange we've had about everything you'd find that we're not so focused on our own well-being, but on the well-being of the other. (I've been told this is a sign of true friendship.)

So you may be wondering where all my rambling is going . . . Well, I'm getting there! (Promise!)

At this time I want to wish my BFF a wonderful Valentine's Day and let her know (again) that I consider one of the blessings in my life.  I've said this many, many, many times... and I will say it many, many, many more... I am so incredibly thankful that I had crooked teeth and had to get braces.  I'm thankful I got my braces when I did and that my parents sent me to the summer camp they did the summer before I got my braces so I could meet the nice, blonde curly hair girl in my group who already had braces on.  I'm thankful my BFF had braces on that summer because had she not I wouldn't have asked her what it was like to wear braces and who knows when or if we would have ever really talked.  (I'd like to think we would have, but you never know.)  I am thankful for all the circumstances that brought us together, and continue to keep us together.

I am grateful for her unconditional love, support and genuinely warm (motherly) nature.  Our friendship is the perfect example of the saying, "If you love someone set them free.  If they come back to you they are yours."  Only a few people know why I say this, but trust me when I say, it's so true!

To everyone else, may the flows in your life outweigh the ebbs... and the ebbs you do experience not be as bad as they could be.

Now that I've talked about "Ebb and Flow," please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers have to say on the topic:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Darwin Shrugged (Denise)

Monday, February 10, 2014


For last week's Thursday Blog Project, Melissa gave us a bit of an assignment:  Recently Melissa read and loved Your Perfect Life by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. It's like Freaky Friday for chick lit. It made her wonder what it would be like to be one of my friends for a day and have them be me. So she paired up herself with Moma Rock (Sarah) to get a glimpse of a day in her life and me with Darwin Shrugged (Denise).

May 2013 was hectic for me.  I was not only preparing for my June 2nd move, but also trying to write (at least) 50 pages of my book for a writing retreat I had signed up for prior to deciding to move.  During that time, it came to my attention that one of the individuals who would also be at the retreat lived in the Chicagoland area.  After being introduced, virtually, we decided to meet up for lunch as we both work near one another.  So, after I finished the "big move" we set a date to meet in person.

That person was Denise, and we hit it off immediately!  I was so happy!  Not only would I go into this retreat knowing someone, but it was also someone I got along with well.  What a relief!  Not that I was worried about going to the retreat not knowing anyone, but it's always nice to know as many friendly faces as possible.  Many great memories were made on that trip and I took away a lot of things from my time there, but I wondered if we'd remain in touch after the trip... thankfully, we did!

In the following months, I've mainly gotten to know Denise through many, many, many text and facebook chat messages and her participation in this blog project.  Back in October we were able to find a time to meet up for lunch which was nice since we hadn't seen each other since June.  In the months leading up to that meeting I had learned lots of different things about her and the more I learned the more I began to believe she was really Superwoman posing as an attorney and mom (amongst other things).  However, it was our conversation on the day that we had lunch that confirmed my suspicions... I was indeed in the presence of Superwoman.  As I listened to her speak of the challenges she faces with her daughter's school and things going on in her life in general I began to wonder how I would even manage to handle one day of her life let alone every day of it.  On top of all that she has going on with her family, she also dedicates a portion of her time to visiting hospice patients.  Yes, I know I'm not a stranger to volunteering, but not in the way she does.  Not only is she giving of her time and energy, she is giving of her emotional strength.

In a way, I think that last part sums up Denise overall.  From the very first time I met her, Denise has been a very support and caring friend.  I see this same support and caring in the things she does for everyone in her life.  She accepts, and loves, those in her life who they are.

I don't feel I can do Denise justice, and clearly I can't do justice to her "Superwoman" life.  However, what I can say is that I feel fortunate to know her and look forward to getting to know her better in the days, weeks, months and years to come.

Please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers have written on this topic:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Darwin Shrugged (Denise)

Monday, February 3, 2014

"Keep Calm And Turn Off Your Cellphone"

In the summer of 2011 Metra Rail, the commuter train in the Chicagoland area that runs from the city out to the sburbs, instituted a "Quiet Car" policy for rush hour trains.  During the defined rush hour period, each train would have two quiet cars in which no cellphone conversations, talking between passenger or loud music was permitted.  The two cars would be the second to last cars on each side of the train.

To say I was THRILLED is an understatement!  At the time I was living in the suburbs and working in the downtown loop area.  There were many days I tried to sleep on my commute in, but couldn't because of people's conversations (on their cellphones or between passengers) and/or music that was blaring out of other commuters earbuds/headphones.  During those days, I had always wished there was a "safe haven" for those who wanted to sleep a bit more on their commute to work, or wanted to unwind in a quiet environment.  Honestly, on the handful of evenings I've taken the train home after rush hour I cringed because the train was loud from conversations going on.  (Personally, if I had it my way I'd have at lease one quite car on Metra trains.) 

Cellphone conversations on public transportation is a a big pet peeve.  Though I get that people want to pass the time chatting with family and friends or need to take a business call as someone sharing that common space it isn't always pleasant to hear the details of ones personal life... and let's face it, though you could try to tune out a conversation it's not so easy to do.  Conversations such as the time several years back the ex and I were on our way home from work.  Some woman sitting behind us was going, in much detail, about her mortgage situation.  Now as interested as I am about the finances of other people (not) it was difficult to tune out this person.  I think of this story each and every time I go to make a phone call when I'm in public.

If there is a silver lining to someone having a cellphone conversation on a Metra train is that you're not necessarily "stuck" listening to people go on and on and on for an extended period of time.  There is at least the chance that they will get off before you.  Or, if it's annoying you enough you can always move to another car where the noise is less disruptive.  Unfortunately, this is not the case with airplanes.  On a airplane you're kind of stuck where you are for the duration of the flight.  If it's just an hour or two I guess it would be tolerable (maybe); however, add more time than and OY!  It's for this reason I am not thrilled with the FAA's decision to okay cellphones on planes.  Though they may not pose a risk from a traffic control perspective I think it cause travel issues for passengers on the flight.  Would you really want to listen to someone go on and on and on about their life's problems or talk business for a few hours? 

I know that companies have been wanting this for several years now so they keep employees who travel working while they are in the process of working.  From a business prespective I'm not sure why they would want to do this.  Okay, let me back up for a moment... I get the bottom line, $$$, reasons, however do you really want your company's business matters the public knowledge of everyone sitting on any given plane?  Personally, I wouldn't!

For those that feel they can't live without their phone for one minute, I'm will to bet that you can live without it for a few hours.  It's easier than it looks! Trust me on this one....

The reason I bring this up has to do with Sara's topic for last week's Thursday Blog Group post:  Some airlines allow it. Others don't. What's your take on airlines allowing cell phone usage while in-flight? Are you for it, or against it?

Now that I've given you some of my thoughts on this topic, please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers have to say:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Darwin Shrugged (Denise)