Sunday, February 28, 2010

introspection, clarity and choices

It has been a bit of a weekend of introspection for me. Perhaps since so much of this weekend has been about driving the girls to various activities, I have had time to think. A zen moment or two if you will. For some reason, this weekend was also cloaked in bit of sadness. I have been thinking about my Dad alot this weekend-it actually started last weekend. He passed away almost 5 years ago - the same time as when my divorce was final. This may sound crazy to some people, but I feel his presence with me these days. Almost as though he is trying to tell me something. Told you it was a strange weekend!

Four months of reinvention have passed - it is almost March. I am trying to assess what has really changed in my life. Certainly I am more self aware, thinking more clearly about some of the choices that I make. The 1/2 mararthon is in 3 weeks, I don't feel as prepared as I would like to be, but will do fine. Dating has been fun - dating like a man if you recall- but I find myself in a place of being tired of the "game." I am ready for one man in my life - a healthy, deep relationship.

I feel like I am on the verge of something significant occuring in my life....just not sure exactly what is is yet. I have a few things going on that may require a choice or two from me in the next few months. Looking for a clarity right now that I don't quite have. As always, I have faith that the answers will be revealed if I listen with an open heart.

As I am discovering, I am not so much reinventing my life- as I am reinventing myself.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Favorite Things...

One of my dear colleagues, Lissa Lee, issued a request to list your favorite things as a way to beat the February doldrums. It does make you smile to stop and make such a list! So here goes, a random compilation of things that bring me joy - in no particular order.

* The sound of my daughters' laughter- especially if they are playing with one another.

* Hearing "I love you Mommy (Mom in the case of Lily)"

* Fresh flowers- the scent, the look- simply glorious

* My faith and knowing that all will be OK and work out as it should.

* A great book...a good book for that matter- the written word in general.

* Cooking and baking

* The smell of baking cookies or bread

* Music - any variety...

* A smooth commute

* Travel

* Dark chocolate

* Art- paintings, sculpture..- especially Lynne Fischer's work!

* How I feel after exercise

* A great night's sleep - is there anything sweeter than waking up and looking at the clock to realize it is not yet time to get up and you can snooze some more.

* Being in the arms of a good man

* A new cookbook

* The ocean -the beach brings me sanity

* The holidays - any work but the Christmas season is my favorite

* A gorgeous Spring day with warm sunshine on my face

* A gorgeous Fall day - colorful foliage

* Snow on Christmas morning - in moderation

* Barnes and Noble

* The Food Network - it soothes me..kind of like ESPN does for men

* My amazing friends and family

* Fresh herbs

* A glass (of two) of good wine

* Prayer

* A cup of tea - especially peppermint- it is like drinking a candy cane.

* A pedicure - complete with a wonderful foot massage!

* Going to the movies

* Laughter

* Having someone in my life to take care of.

* Having someone in my life to love.

* The ability to feel cry..and to laugh

* Colleagues, volunteers and a staff team who are amazing and dedicated and have my back.

* Watching a staff person whom I have hired blossom and grow beyond what they thought they could do.

Now - go make your list!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Balance- and the many ways has it been described:

* delicate act or a state of equilibrium

* proportion: harmonious arrangement or relation of parts or elements within a whole (as in a design); "in all perfectly beautiful objects there is found the opposition of one part to another and a reciprocal balance"- John Ruskin

* equality of distribution

* remainder: something left after other parts have been taken away;

* support on a narrow base, so as to keep from falling; as, to balance a plate on the end of a cane; to balance one's self on a tight rope, on a scale (bleh to anything related to a scale!)

I find myself thinking about balance today. Usually that falls under the category of trying to balance my time in order to get it all done and accomplish what is on my plate. Haven't usually thought of it as a harmonious arrangement and it sure doesn't feel equitable on many days. It does often feel like a delicate balance and for the most part I do keep myself from falling!

Being the best mom that I can, keeping on top of things at work and supporting my family, taking care of my home, writing, exercise, developing and strengthening relationships, dating, opening up to love, spiritual growth, hobbies, learning - can be a lot to fit into a day - oh and let us not forget sleep! Should I finish that work project, do the dishes or play with my girls? Some days it does feel like one part of the equation is not reciprocal but in fact receives what is is left after the rest is taken away.

When I read the purpose of my reinvention journey, it sure seems like I have all of these bases covered. My work itself requires an ability to multi-task through mutiple projects and revenue streams. We did a time study to determine on which efforts we spend our time. One of my colleagues reviewed my report and said - "you need ADD to do your job." Humorous! Yes, I have a variety of duties and responsibilities and some days it may seem overwhelming..but I wouldn't have it any other way. I would be bored if my job did not have variety and continual challenges.

My children- those amazing creatures who keep me busy, sometimes distracted, laughing like crazy, but always loved beyond measure. Life as a single mom can be a balancing act..but I wouldn't miss the chance to be a mother for anything in the world. No sense of harmony or proportion would be worth not having heart fills with the thought of my daughters.

Writing - what can I say except to me it is as important as breathing...must express myself through words so that has to go in the keep column of the balance scale.

Relationships, dating, passion, finding love- I need that in my life as well. I have been dating in this crazy post divorce world for a while and have a strong sense of what I want in a man. That clarity helps me keep dating in balance. It certainly helps to date a man who has kids. A dad understands the priority that children have in life. Not to mention that being a good dad/involved father make a man incredibly sexy.

So what about the rest of it - there is so much to do and balance. Will every project at work be great - no, will I miss something with my kids- yes, are my abs firm - no...but somehow it will all work out the way it is supposed to and I wouldn't have it any other way.

So tomorrow will be a balancing act- kids to the bus at 7 am, then time on the treadmill, 8 am work conference call, to Avery's classroom by 9:30 to talk about Chinese New Year, then commute to work...get in a full day, schedule a vet appt for the dog, home by 6, pick up the kids, dinner, reading practice, homework, relaxation...and on. Did I mention that I also hope to have a phone call with J - a very handsome, smart, single Dad that I have been spending time with lately..

Might be rather harmonious after all...

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Today marks the dawn of a new year on the Chinese calendar - year 4708- the Tiger. Tigers are known for passion, optimism, courage, strength, bravery, and beauty. In Chinese astrology, tiger years can be full of change, new beginnings and sometimes upheaval and challenge- of course those with tiger attributes can thrive.

The image that keeps coming to mind is similarity between this vision and the house full of tigers I had here on Saturday night. We celebrated Lily's 11th birthday with bumper cars, arcade games, laser tag and then a slumber party. These seven tigers were 5th grade girls - 11 and 10 year olds on the verge of massive change in their lives. Changes are beginning in this 5th grade group but nothing dramatic enough yet to edge out their fabulous characteristics.

Girls this age are strong, unafraid to be who they are, ready for new adventures, fun, hopeful, smart, creative and still willing to express an honest opinion. They are more defined by their own thoughts, wants, intellect and challenges than others opinions of them. It is cool to be smart or atheletic. It is not cool to be less than yourself. Hormones, peer pressure, self image woes and competition have yet to mask these fabulous traits and glorious individuality.

I am fully aware that change is coming, they however, do not grasp the full depth with which their lives will be transformed in the coming years. I hope and pray that these amazing girls are able to keep their tiger spirit through the changes.
Once that spirit fades so you can fit in, not make waves, be a "team player" and meet others expectations and needs- it can take years to get it back. For some of us, that tiger spirit does not return until age 40 or so when we really stop caring, once again, what others think of us and how we live our lives.

For now, I will enjoy being around these spirited young girls and remember that fearless moment in time. Maybe some of it will rub off on me!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Glass slippers are on sale at Macy's!

It is that time of year again - Valentine's Day, when those in romantic relationships, both budding and established, celebrate their affection for one another. Single people everywhere smile at their happiness, but often with clenched teeth..thinking... where the heck are my flowers? Where is my Mr. Right or Ms. Right or if you believe in fairy tales from The Mouse- Prince Charming? I am a true romantic at heart. I believe in love and romance and very much want to add someone special to my life. I am actually a bit sad that I am not in love and that someone is not in love with me on this February 14th.

I saw Princess and the Frog recently with Avery and it was quite enjoyable as it was set in New Orleans and the music was amazing. Of course, there were princesses(hence the title)and a Prince and all of the usual stuff. In an interesting twist though, the main female character is the hard working, driven one in this tale and the Prince is a bit of a slacker playboy. Spoiler alert here - the end of course was classic Disney, happily ever after and all of that. Got me thinking about the glass slipper theory and the reality of dating and finding love.

Lets take glass slippers for a moment..really? Glass?? Taking it literally - ouch! Glass slippers would be hard, uncomfortable and breakable. No offense guys, but it had to be designed by a man. You sure could not run in them (look what happened to poor Cindy when she ran for the pumpkin coach.) You couldn't kick up your heels - if one of those suckers flew off, it could hurt someone or worse yet shatter into a million pieces. Ever step on a sliver of broken glass- it hurts..imagine a whole shoe. Lets not forget the Prince is going from house to house meeting tons of women while you sit at home waiting for him to show up and pick you.

Not quite reality..And really lets look at it from the guy's perspective for a minute. What a huge level of pressure- not only do you ask a woman out, usually pay, hopefully successfully woo her - but you have to be a Prince also; rescue her and solve all of her problems. Whew.. Lets hope we women don't still harbour that fantasy and realize that we need to rescue ourselves so we have something to give back to the man in our life.

Men seem to have figured out a few things about dating that perhaps we women should copy. I don't expect a Disney movie about dating like a man anytime soon but I have been embracing these ideas lately and having fun! If you read "He's Just Not That Into You"-some of this may sound familiar.

1. Date to find love, don't wait to find love... Get out and date, have FUN, meet people, date outside of your usual "type" and get outside the comfort zone. The Prince is not showing up at the door with a glass slipper. Unless the UPS man is really hot, single and asks you is time to get out of the house.

2. Every single man you meet is not necessarily "the one." If he is, time will tell and you will realize it by how you click and how he treats you. How often do we get fixated after one date, immediately give our heart away...thinking...this is it..waiting for the phone to ring. Go out with someone else, get out with your girlfriends instead of waiting by the phone. And we HATE this one- if he doesn't call or ask you out again quickly..he is just not that into you. And yes, he may very well be interested in someone else. No analysis or moping needed. If he is not making an effort then it is OK to move on so you are open to meeting the next guy who might just be terrific.

3. Keep your girls night out, keep your friends close. How often do we get wrapped up in a new love interest and lose that closeness with our girlfriends. Keep those ties strong..they help us stay true to ourselves.

4. Embrace who you are..uniqueness gorgeousness as well as flaws and make no excuses for it. I don't know many men who skip a night out because of how their jeans fit. In return, accept men for who and what they are when you meet them. We are not going change, reform or modify who they are to meet our Prince Charming model.

Last but not least- rescue yourself! If you really want a pair of glass slippers- buy yourself a pair...they are probably on sale at Macys!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Inspiration - that mysterious, wonderful, and sometimes elusive sense of direction, mission or purpose. Don't you love it when you feel completely inspired about a project, dream, or a hobby. It is amazing to get into the "zone" and lose track of time as you are wrapped up in, lost in he art of inspired effort, creating something new and magical.

My question is how do you find that inspiration? Sometimes it comes to me in a flash, or without even intentionally reaching for it. That good idea, light bulb moment, crazy dream with a nugget of truth comes to me without effort. At other times, it feels as though I am literally searching for inspiration. Of course, life goes on and so must the responsibilities and expectations of work and daily life. So sometimes extra hard work replaces the ease of inspiration and things do get done but seem to do so with a little less luster.

What does inspire? For me... the words and ideas of those whom I admire, my daughters, a well written story, song or piece of art. A cause or injustice of some sort brings out the passion in me, especially when it impacts children. Can inspiration be practical as well? The need to pay the bills piled on the countertop, to make up for late or missing child support, to meet the expectations at work..- shouldn't that inspire me to work harder, write more, work to get published to bring in extra dollars? It doesn't seem to work that way. Looking for inspiration in the midst of feeling overwhelmed and yes, even a little angry- is not effective. Perhaps because that search is based more in fear and need than possiblities. Perhaps inspiration is the gift you get for sincerely looking to accomplish what you are meant to do. Fear, worry and concern probably block that process.

So before I tackle that pile of bills and put them in the proper perspective..I researched some quotes that inspire me.. Hope you enjoy them (if anyone is really out there reading this- LOL.)

*"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them."
Henry David Thoreau

* "The power of imagination makes us infinite."
John Muir

* "First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do."

* “If you only do what you know you can do- you never do very much.”
Tom Krause

* "The end of wisdom is to dream high enough not to lose the dream in the seeking of it." William Faulkner

* "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." Langston Hughes

* "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
Eleanor Roosevelt

*“I shut my eyes in order to see.”
Paul Gauguin

* “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” - Steve Jobs

What inspires you?