About Those New Year’s Resolutions

j0402319Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year?  Did you set any goals that you’d like to work on for yourself?  If you did, how are they coming along?  Have you kept at it or have you, like so many others, found your enthusiasm waning as the year progresses and the gloomy, dark days of winter (sans the celebrations and plus the bills of the previous celebrations) drag on? If you’ve let up on pursuing your New Year’s Resolutions, it’s not to late to get back on track. 

Numbers, Measurements & A New Scale

The other day a friend of mine and I were chatting on Facebook and he asked me about my New Year’s Resolutions.  This person is one of those friends who lives quite a distance away and checks in about every couple of weeks or so.  This was the check in, I suppose.  During that conversation he mentioned that he still reads my blog and wondered if I was keeping up on my New Year’s Resolutions.  I was pleased to be able to report that not only have I kept up on them, I’ve lost 5.5 inches.  That was Wednesday.

Today is Saturday and Saturday for me is weigh in day.  I’m pleased to announce those numbers have again changed. 

But before I reveal the numbers, I have decided that I must get a different scale.  I have a cheap one and I am absolutely certain the number it registers is not accurate.  The reason I know this is because I cannot get the needle to stay on zero with no weight on it.  I also can’t read the thing when I am standing on it and any shift of my feet sends the needle spiraling around the dial.  Squatting on the thing to get a better read doesn’t seem to work either. I often fall off before getting an accurate read.  Not a good look.  So, today, at some point I will go out and get a more accurate (aka. more expensive, I think) scale. Till then I’m not reporting my weight loss because I don’t know what it is.  I think it’s a pound or two, but like I said, I can’t be sure and I just don’t want to fudge those numbers.  If I get the new scale and I’ve been off, it could be psychologically depressing.

The good news is my measurements continue to drop.  As of today, I’ve lost a total of 7.75 inches! That’s a combined total of all the measurements, of course.  Separately, in inches, that’s 1.5 off the hips, 2.5 off the chest (good-bye back flab), 1 from the waist and 2.5 off my thighs (I only measure the right one), and my bicep showed a one-inch gain this week (muscle definition, gotta love it) for an overall loss of  three quarters of an inch on the bicep.

j0441048 Looking Better Naked, Feeling Better Clothed

What’s even better is when I look in the mirror, I’m beginning to see the me I used to know.  I’m not there yet, but I’m looking better naked.  I’m definitely feeling a lot better clothed.  I have more energy and the very, very best part of it all is that I no longer feel as though I’m one step away from the assisted living facility or grave.  I’m beginning to think that paintball with my daughter and her boyfriend might be a possibility this summer as well as actually running again.  Yes, you heard me.  Running.  I hate running.  I look like a hippo running.  I’m graceful in the water, but like the penguin, walrus or many other amphibious creatures I’m somewhat awkward on land especially at high speeds.  But, I’ve already made plans to go running this spring with one of the women I work with.  Yeah, she’s ten years younger than I and will kick my butt, but I’m competitive enough that I’ll work to try to keep up.  That can’t be bad.  I’m pretty certain I’ll never see my 7 minute miles from my triathlon training days again, but I don’t care, just to be moving at something more than a walk and not falling will be a good thing.  What is it I really want to do with all this?  Whatever I feel like.  It is going to be so good to be strong and more agile again.  These thoughts keep me plugging away.

Smooth Sailing, Not Exactly

I have to say, it hasn’t been easy or perfectly smooth this month by any means.  As expected, the schedule is crazy tough to keep routine so I can fit my workout in at the same time every day.  This isn’t going to improve either as I have seven consulting events lined up between now and April which take place in the evenings, in addition to my day job.  Further, my social life is pretty full and I like it that way.  (It also explains a bit why you haven’t seen me here as much.)  I’ve also had my moments of discouragement, stuffing my face with the Bugles and chips the kids brought from their other house and simply, as I mentioned in my last post, throwing the rope on all of it .  In spite of it all, I’m pretty pleased that I haven’t given up on myself and I keep on plugging away.   I’m really successful on some fronts (watching portion size, eating healthier, no drinking during the week, lots of water, consistent exercise) and I’ve failed in some areas momentarily (the binge snacking one week and missing exercise for four days in a row the same week…not good!).  It’s a mixed bag.  The really positive thing about this is that I’m continuing to force myself after every slip, to get back up and get on track. j0442363I’m staying with it this time.  Because of that, I will be successful.

Refuse To Give Up

On a larger level, I think this is what so much of life is really like. Life itself is one big mixed bag.  The good is mixed in with the bad. The successes are intertwined with the defeats. We hit bumps in the road, we derail, we get back up, we keep moving on.  We do it because we must.  We do it because the alternative is less pleasant that the current pain or discouragement.  We keep trying.  We keep working.  We keep hoping.  We keep living. We derail.  We cry.  We hurt.  We heal.  We move on.  It is life.  If we are very lucky, we find others along the way who, though the specifics of their journey differ from ours, the lessons are similar or, if not similar, interesting.  We find friendship.  We connect.  We experience kindness and caring.  We find love in all its many forms in smiles of friends, the hugs of children, the laughter of companions, the conversations with those we care about and enjoy being with. 

The journey to fitness for me, has been far deeper than obtaining physical results, though, let’s be clear, I’m not going to mind looking and feeling better pushing 50 than I did when I was ten years younger.  It’s also been a very internal journey as well.  As my Facebook Friend said so well, “It’s a process of clearing out the junk, both externally and internally.”  I’d have to agree.  That’s exactly what it has been for me.

If you made resolutions this year and you find your enthusiasm and determination faltering, it isn’t too late to try again. Join me.  We can do it together you and I.  Whatever your goal, your dream, your hope.  It can happen, as long as you simply refuse to give up on yourself.  I’m not going to.  Don’t you either.

The Wild Mind

The Friendship Files Are Born

The Friendship Files began with my story about Sleepovers and Regifting.  The humorous anecdote told to me by a friend, made its way onto my blog with full prior approval by those I was writing about.  The friends I  wrote about loved the retelling and asked for more.  The friends who read the story were entertained, amused, and inspired. Then came the Friends Who Pull Off A Great Bash,  Christmas Party Friend and Mr. Knows, and Mexico Friend and Husband.  I currently have Mr. Christmas Eve Party, Colorado, Single Girl, Gamblin’ Betty, Aspiring Writer Friend Back East (AWFBE), Semi-Professional Photographer Friend (SPPF) and others waiting for me to tell the story that reveals the way they’ve impacted me, inspired me and encouraged me by simply being my friends. Sometimes they’ve simply done nothing more than make me laugh at times when I thought I might sink into the quagmire of despair.  They rescued me, each and every one of them by just being them and by loving me in their own peculiar ways. I am beginning to have people line up to tell me their story and have me write it.  I love this!  Each story tells me something more about the way life is, we are, family can be.  Stay tuned.  There are so many ways my friends enrich my life and make me a far better person than I would be otherwise. 

There are also those friends who stopped in at a point in my  life when I needed whatever they had to offer, or maybe they needed what I had to give, but they didn’t stay long.  They all taught me something because I was willing to pay attention. This is what my friends and aquaintances do for me.  They move me toward being the best possible me I can be.  If you are blessed, your friends do this for you as well.  I only hope I am the kind of friend that returns the favor in this regard. Maybe in these vignettes that I’ve written and will be writing you’ve found something of life, of love, of hope, of the human condition we all partake in that resonates with you.  If so, I hope you’ll comment.  If not, I hope you’ll comment.  No matter what, I do hope that The Friendship Files bring you hope, encouragement, inspiration, laughter, and when needed that clear realization and assessment that only you can make for yourself when you realize you’ve bumped into an area of your life that you need to take control of and master so that it doesn’t master you anymore. 

May “Further Tales From The Friendship Files” encourage you and help you find the strength and determination that you need when you need it most, the humor to help you laugh at yourself and the desire to seek to be the very best you possible…after all…that’s what you were born for.   

P.S.  Mr. Christmas Eve Party don’t despair. Even though I haven’t written your story yet …your graciousness in inviting me in to your family’s inner circle at a time when I was most lonely meant so very much to me.  May your kind multiply and fill this earth rapidly.

How To Start Things Off Right With A Woman

I bumped into Christmas Party Friend (from my last post) and I asked her if she’d heard anything from Mr. Knows How To Ask A Woman Out.  She had quite the encouraging story to share.


Now, before you begin thinking my Christmas Party Friend is just a woman who casually let’s her lips flap about the latest relationship in her life to just anyone, understand, that this is a woman I’ve known for quite some time.  Our friendship spans nearly a decade and I was with her through her dark night of the soul and during  many of her post-divorce dating nightmares and she patiently walked with me through mine.  This isn’t just any casual friendship. We keep in touch fairly often and sometimes cross paths at work, then sometimes don’t see each other for months. When we get together again it is like we were never apart.  She happened in at my place of work today on some official business or other and I happened to be on lunch when we ran into each other.  Oh, and, before you start thinking that I write everything about the people I interact with here on my blog, understand that I change so much of the details and specifics as to make my “anecdotes” completely fiction worthy.  No one reading this would recognize themselves in this story, yet everyone might, at some point.  So, consider that my disclaimer.  While my ideas may be (not always are) taken from real life experiences, they are just that “taken”.  The life experience may simply give breath to a larger idea I am trying to express. Savvy?  Okay, then.  If the stories do represent real people, these people are disguised and I have their express permission prior to writing and posting. In other words, unless the story is specifically about me, no animals were harmed in the writing of these anecdotes.  In the case of Christmas Party Friend, well, she’s given me her permission, but even she wouldn’t recognize herself here.  However, Mr. Knows How To Ask A Woman Out would certainly see himself in these posts, if he does, indeed, exist.

Now, back to the story.

So, Christmas Party Friend ashamedly admitted that she forgot Mr. Knows How To Ask A Woman Out’s  name. She admitted this kicks her out of the running for Socialite of the Year Award.  She spoke with the woman she worked with who hosted the party today and got, not only his name, but some other interesting tidbits as well. Like the tidbit about the fact that he asked said Party Host about Christmas Party Friend on several occasions during the evening.  Hmmm?  Was he interested or what?  Methinks he was.  Shethinks he was too, in spite of the fact that he didn’t call her the very next day.  ( I think there’s a rule about that.  Isn’t there a rule about that?) Christmas Party Friend was intuititive enough to figure out that no man worth his salt goes to that much effort and doesn’t follow through…unless there is something very wrong with him and then better to know that early on, she thinks.  I tend to agree.

Apparently, as Christmas Party Friend was leaving her office the Monday after the Saturday evening party, she received a call from Mr. Knows How To Ask A Woman Out.  It was pretty casual, very fun and the conversation flowed.  It wasn’t a long conversation from what I gather, but it was incredibly effective and to the point without coming off as interviewer-esque or drill sergeantish.  As best I can remember from her this is basically how it went.

Call rings in. She answers, “Hello”.

He re-introduces himself.  She indicates that she remembers.

He asks about her day.  She answers, then asks about his.  (Great exchange of lifestyle information there.  Don’t knock the things you can learn about a person in the small talk.) During their conversation, she is in the process of leaving work, he is still at work and looking at putting in a few more hours. 

He says, “I’d really like to see if we can figure out a time to get together, where we can talk and see if we’d really like to pursue this any further.” 

Well, no beating around the bush there, is there?  I’d say it was pretty clear that he was interested but also realistic about the fact that they might just not hit it off. He sure wanted to take the time to figure it out with her though.  How very direct, yet low pressure.  He didn’t play games.  He put his cards out there in a non-threatening way.  No guesswork for her to sleuth through or wonder about.  She had a decision.  Did she want to meet with him to explore the possibilities or not?  He made it a simple yes or no answer for her.  Of course, my friend, said she’d like to get together with him. 

After a bit of “well this is what my schedule is like, what is yours like?” they narrowed the time down to which meal and what days.  In fact, his exact words were, “It’s looking like something like lunch early next week might be best for both of us.” She agreed.  He followed up with, “Let’s get through this week and I will call you toward the end of the week and we can set specifics up then.  How does that sound?”, (they are both in similar career fields and this time of the year is high pressure for them).  My friend was fairly impressed with how easy he was making this for her.  Prior to this, she’d spent so many of her interactions with men who gave her their numbers, never called, expected her to do all the work of trying to get the relationship off the ground.  My friend is not opposed to putting in a great deal of relational effort, but when she begins to feel like she’s the only one in the relationship she’s just got to stop and wonder how interested the guy really is.  Her guess is, not very.  She’s usually right.  She’s pretty smart that way.    This guy, on the other hand, was not taking the easy way out.  He was taking the initiative, setting the pace, being assertive and every step of the way he was Mr. Respectful and Considerate, because he stopped and listened and heard from her before moving forward or clinching the deal.  He put himself out there, made himself vulnerable but he was in no way wimpy or needy or passive. There was simply not going to be any “here’s my number, call me when you are free” with this guy.

He wants to move this thing forward with her, but he doesn’t appear to be in any big, huge, needy, insecure rush.  He’s well aware that busy professionals have demanding lives and that it might take a bit of discussion and patience to carve out some time together initially. He seems to be understanding of this reality.  In fact, as I listen to my friend tell about this brief exchange, I realize she seems to be dealing with a fairly confident, well adjusted, mature individual. That’s a rare thing these days according to her. 

My friend is a pretty put together, attractive, self-sufficient, independent woman who really enjoys her single life.  She someday hopes to be in a long term exclusive relationship, but she’s not desperate to be in one. She, like so many of us would actually rather be alone forever than be in a bad relationship again. She gets the sense that Mr. Knows How To Ask A Woman Out is coming from the same place.  Of course, it is all still too early to tell but that’s her first impression. She finds this refreshing.  She’s hopeful that they’ll be able to take the time to get to know each other without having to sacrifice themselves to do it.  There’s already been far too much communication about what works and what doesn’t for each of them in a very respectful manner for that.

As I reflected on my conversation with my Christmas Party Friend today, it  dawned on me that these two, in just the three or so short interactions they’ve had, accomplished something many married couples never achieve.  They negotiated the differences to gain a positive mutually satisfying outcome.  They’ve taken two worlds, two very different worlds, negotiated all the existing hurdles and roadblocks to find time to spend together. He had to give up some information, she had to do the same. A great time to meet wasn’t readily apparent to them.  They both would probably prefer to get together earlier but they both have prior commitments they can’t change and they shouldn’t have to. They both are mature enough to realize that life doesn’t quit just because “you met someone”.  

In thinking about the example of good relational interactions that my Christmas Party Friend and Mr. Knows demonstrate, I realize one more thing:  He is not just Mr. Knows How To Ask A Woman Out but he is also Mr. Knows How To Start Things Off Right. Precedents and expectations are dynamic indicators in the health or illness of a relationship. Mr. Knows set the precedent for considerate, thoughtful interaction in scheduling and planning time together. Christmas Party Friend matched him stride for stride.  It is now the expectation that they will both have as they continue to interact together. I mean, didn’t someone somewhere say, “As the thing begins so it will go”?  I suppose much can begin badly and turn out alright, after all in Shakespeare’s words, “All’s well that ends well”.  I’m certainly hoping on many levels that this can be said about me at the end of my life.  Even so, in relationship, it seems much more difficult to fix a bad start than to start it off right to begin with. 

Mr. Knows seems to get this. 

He sure seems to understand how to start things off right with a woman in three conversations or less.


Overgrown Playground Bullies

I was talking to a friend tonight.  The conversation was rambling along quite uneventfully and without warning the conversation took a very wrong turn.  In one simple, surprising, uncalled for, random statement, my friend made a comment that was both sexist and racist.  In one breath he insulted both men and women. My friend was arrogant and insensitive in the extreme. 

I found myself becoming angry.  I was irate.  Had we been in person instead communicating digitally I might have really been tempted to let fly some of my postal perspective upon his puny personage.  As it was, I was fairly direct when I told him what he just said was “arrogant and insensitive”.  Of course, then he thinks I’m taking his comment personally.  He then went further to say that he felt he spoke accurately and that it was his “football and he’s taking it in”.  My thought:  You’ll be taking it in alone for a very long time because who wants to be on that team? 

I quickly ended the conversation but I was still very agitated.  I’m not one to just lose it generally, but certain things, statements, attitudes can entice me to get up on the ole soapbox and tonight, I was baited and I climbed right up on that ole soapbox.  Well, not to him because I ended the conversation with him….but in my wild untamed mind….I was up there hammering away. 

Then I mentally stopped myself and asked, “Why am I giving this so much energy?” 

“Great question,” I responded to myself, and I pondered a bit further.  The fire in the fire pit in my backyard and the soothing waters of my spa definitely helped me take it down a notch. 

I pondered.  Was it that I did take it personally?  No, nothing he said, applied specifically to me nor did it touch on any of my own insecurities.  So what sent me right around the twist with this one?  It eluded me for a wee bit and then it hit me.  It was simply unkind.  It was mean and hurtful.  It was a broad brush statement made that classified all fat women as unattractive and all Mexican men as desperate.  It equated fat with ugly and it implied that fat and ugly women and Mexican men had no other alternatives in the romance department except to be linked to each other.  “After all,” he implied, “They can’t do any better.”  I believe his actual words may have been “that’s the best they’ll ever be able to do”.   Now, I am female, but I’m not fat,  I hope I’m not ugly, and I’m definitely not Mexican, so I know he wasn’t in any way directing this comment at me personally.  Even so, this one riled me. 

It angered me, because it is unkind and it is unfair.  It, as do all disrespectful statements like it, lumps people unfairly in the category of loser, inadequate, desperate, not human.  Not human.  That’s the worst part.  It dehumanized all the folks he was pointing the finger at. And, when we dehumanize others we can insult them, strip them of their right to life, happiness, freedom, choice, whatever, and treat them mercilessly and cruelly.  If we dehumanize them, we can even, if left to our own intolerant and insensitive devices, kill them and make it look like we were justified to do so.  “After all, they’ll never be able to have a better life” or “After all, they deserve it.”  It is the kind of statement that reflects an attitude or perspective that, quite frankly, leads to things like wars and holocausts.  Everything in my being reacts with horror to this kind of attitude. 

I ended my own little pondering feeling a bit better that I had worked through all that quite on my own, all the online therapists being otherwise occupied with other pre-postal candidates.  I realized, once again, that I hate bullies.   When given the option I will side with the underdog every time, just as I did tonight.  I also realized that, at best, my friend is insensitive and unkind.  At worst, he’s a big playground bully in an adult body. That becomes a dangerous thing when a bully like that obtains a position of power and influence.  People then become afraid to say no to the bully and instead they go along with the bully so that they don’t get targeted personally themselves.  So it is in world politics (or it can be) so it is on the playground.  So it is with this person I was talking to tonight.  I can no longer call him a friend. This is just not the kind of character, attitude and energy I want to be around.  I cannot consider anyone who thinks or behaves like this friendly.  There is just nothing friendly or fun about being around an overgrown playground bully.

Deplorable Behavior of “Theists”

Paul Sunstone over at his blog titled, “Cafe Philos”, has tacked a “Scarlett A” on his sight and declared that he is “pissed at the way atheists are treated in America”.  (See his full article titled, “Standing Up For Nontheists Like Nicole” here.) I agree with him in that the behavior he describes is deplorable.

I am what Paul would prbably describe as a theist.  Worse, yet, I could probably fall quite squarely in the middle of what most people refer to as “the religious right”, though I am neither religious nor right in my behavior or political perspectives.  I have done more than my full day pondering the metaphysics that Paul refers to in his article, and having grown up in an atheist/agnostic home, I have decided for myself that a theist approach is one I prefer. It was not mere rebellion to my parents way of doing things.  It was carefully researched and considered over a number of years and I do revisit the question regularly.  I have also done my share of really skanky things and poor choices.  However,  I am ashamed at the behavior of those “theists” Paul describes.   For those folks, who are out there, who profess a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” and who are behaving toward anyone, not just theists, but anyone who doesn’t “profess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ”, hateful behavior like this is deplorable and antithetical to the very purposes of Christ. 

I am once again ashamed and saddened by the reality that those who, at least theoretically, ought to have a clear grasp on the good qualities of love, forgiveness, tolerance, kindness, patience, peace, self-control and a whole host of other fine attributes espoused by most theists regardless of their religious leanings, simply do not.  We, and I claim guilt by association not by agreement, ought never to behave this way! 

If Jesus walked the earth today, He would never, ever have treated Nicole or anyone else with such vile hatred or contempt.  Of that, I am absolutely certain.