Monthly Archives: July 2013

True Confessions – Not Quite Ten Things

I watched a really great TEDx video yesterday that has me thinking about living my life in pure honesty. If you’d like to think about honesty you can watch it here. I recommend you do that because honesty is good.

Now I know many of you will say, “Yes, Michelle, it’s important to be honest, but only to a point. You don’t really want to know when you look fat in that dress, do you?” The answer is, to most of you, “No, I do not. I’m wearing the dress, we’re out on the town, there’s nothing I can do about it at this point. Your job is to build up my self esteem in the hopes that I will have better posture and maybe take a few pounds off the look that way.” (Mr Dreamboat, if asked, is obligated to tell me the truth, though he may suffer for it. That’s just part of the deal.)

But what we’re talking about here is being authentically who we are, not trying to hide it from ourselves, not pretending we’re something we’re not to those around us. This is intriguing to me as I don’t really think I have any big, bad secrets. But maybe I do and I’ve been lying to myself for so long I don’t know it.

I’m searching my soul, I’m going deep and in that spirit, I give you 10 True Confessions:

1. I’m not very good at church. I get bored too easily, and sometimes I think people are full of it. The spirit. They’re full of the spirit. Jeez.
pope asleep

2. I’ve never been entirely altruistic, I do nice things so I can feel good too.

3. The only reason I eat healthy is because it makes me feel good. I would rather eat junk food ignore junk foodand feel good. That would taste better.

4. I’m judgmental. I don’t mean to be, but when I’m disappointed with someone… Yeah, this is the bad one. I’m judgmental. That’s the one that makes me feel bad inside. That’s where the work needs to be done. But wait, there’s more…

5. Sometimes I don’t take responsibility. I say I’m all empowered but I don’t want to look at the bank account and deal with it or problems or conflict. It appears there’s much work to be done.

6. I’m a closet eater. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but sometimes I hide when I’m eating closet eaterjunk food. Let’s think of this one as charming, even quirky.

That’s it. I couldn’t come up with ten things. I think this is good news.

They say a family is only as sick as its worst secret, I suppose that applies to all of us as well. I want to be well. I want to live fully and feel completely and love my life. We can only do this when we’re exercising the demons. I believe that.

Let us air our secrets. Let us be our authentic selves and by so doing, make the world a lovelier place to live.

Shine On, Friends. Shine On.

I spent a long weekend on Lake Las Vegas at CEO Space. I wouldn’t necessarily say I participated in the grand forum, but I saw a lot of friends, met some amazing new ones and ordered room service. Not to mention a dreamy walk along the lake with ice cream, Mr Dreamboat and a spectacular lightning show off in the distance. All in all, not a bad way to spend four days.

As usual there were conversations that lit my toes afire. Peoplethe thinker there are thinking big thoughts and planning great plans and while not all of them will necessarily pan out, some of them will. Who amongst us can say which is which?

My favorite conversations where with my women friends. My insightful, intuitive friend was practically glowing. The last time I saw her she was weighed down by concerns and life and just all the stuff that keeps us muddied. Since that time she’s done some self care, sought help and she had a glow about her that was positively contagious.

My sweet Southern Belle friend too has been working on herself and with plans to tie the knot in the imminent future, I would say she had a light about her as well. Not only did her light shine, but her plans include mentoring and nurturing others. This is the pathway to truth.

Berny quoteA new friend emerged from all that is networking and meeting and sharing, all that is CEO Space. This woman, despite her limited years on planet earth, has lived three lifetimes already. She has founded non-profits and traveled extensively. She has studied “applied positive psychology” in the U.S. and is getting her Masters in the U.K. She will travel to Siberia on a location scout for her upcoming IMAX documentary there and as we hugged goodbye it was all I could do to stop myself from shouting “Take me with you!”

While I’m highlighting the women, I spent my time with, it would be a shame to leave out the men. They are dreamers and doers and servers and livers. And even though every tribe has its issues, this tribe is one from which greatness emerges. It is a tribe to which I am pleased to belong.

My weekend was fantastic. And from it I come away with reminders of all sorts of things I already knew, but receiving the messages again is important.

1. Take care of yourself and ask for help.
2. Make plans that make you smile and share all that is good in you with others.
3. Go out and do it big.

Shine on, my friends, shine on.
images-4

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

Fridays are a busy day for you. Fridays are a busy day for me. I am heading out to Portland

Granny always makes me smile.
Granny always makes me smile.
International Airport (the greatest airport in the U.S.) for a quick trip to Las Vegas. But before I go, here are ten things that make me smile:

1.A Billy Joel song that reminds you of your youth.

2. Stretching out tired, sore muscles.

3. When, in the middle of a conversation there is a mutual understanding. You “get” each other.

tibetan singing bowls4. Tibetan singing bowls. They will be mine. Oh yes, someday they will be mine.

5. Relief. Relief from pain or stress or just that ahhhhhh feeling you get when you’ve had a long day and you’re finally laying in your own, sweet bed. Admit it, you just smiled.

6. Completing a task that has been bothering you, but you’ve put it on the shelf, maybe to haunt you, but finally, FINALLY you complete it (Yes, I finally sent a 2 month tardy thank you note. I was intimidated. Don’t judge me.)

7. Watching your children take responsibility.

8. Steps in the right direction. They can even be baby steps, but when they’re in the right direction, that’s the best.

9. Chapstick. It’s the little things, ya know?

10. Hot buttered popcorn and a cold soda at the movie theater.popcorn

Pretzels, Kale & Sexism

One of the grandest illusions we believe growing up is that everyone else knows what they’re doing. I mean, at least that’s what I always thought. I remember sitting in class as a very young child thinking, “Did I miss something? Was I gone the day they taught that?”

To this day it is not uncommon for me to look around and wonder if I was sick the day they taught “that” in school. I’m pretty sure I was out the day they taught us how to write a “5”. I don’t do the little top hat at the end, I just make the whole thing in one fell swoop. I’m over it.

As I prepare to head out of town to rendezvous with Mr Dreamboat, I wonder if I’ve made the right decision. Do I really know what I’m doing, what’s the best answer? I’ve pondered it, I’ve pretzelscontemplated, confabulated and, trusting my gut, I think it’s a perfectly fine decision. But what if it’s not?

Herein lies the problem. Every day we make decisions. Some are made on scientific studies (kale, I eat a lot of kale), some are made from experience (I feel better when I start my day with a workout of some sort), and some are made on the wisdom of the ages. And yet…

kaleScientists change their tune fairly often (my heart is broken over the bags of fat free pretzels I consumed in the ’90s for weight loss purposes). What if kale isn’t really the answer to the question I’ve been asking? And how about all the nonsense that is sometimes passed down through generations? Sexism was never the right answer.

Admittedly I have gotten myself all up in a dither (and this happens to me from time to time), when in reality I know what to do. Or at least I believe I know what to do.

Every day I get up, I check the inner compass, I make decisions I think are more or less sound and I get on with the project of life. I’ve been keeping my children alive and fairly balanced for 23+ years. I’m in excellent health and no one criticizes how I make my fives. At least not to my face.

When push comes to shove the best way to make decisions is simply to use the information available to the best of our abilities, check our gut instincts and move on. The mistakes simply serve as guides for the future.

Just one more thing. Could we all stop pretending we know the answers? I think we’re giving the kids a complex.puzzled

Time, There Are No Do-Overs

Summer is a season of schedule-lessness for me. I’m not a staunch schedule keeper, but I do like a little order to my life normally. When school is finally out and we stop focusing on the clock it is a distinct relief. And while I’m in no hurry to start back up with the early mornings and making lunches, I do feel a bit out of control.

We’ve been traveling quite a bit. Mr Dreamboat always does and this time of year I go with him more often. I had a running event that took me out of town a couple weekends ago and we’ve been to the beach several times.

Last week was a whirlwind trip to Utah and Sunday my plan was to go to Lake Las Vegas for 8 days. At the last minute I decided, for parenting reasons, this wasn’t the best use of my time and ended up going to the beach with my youngest instead.

I still may end up in Nevada, or I might just meet up with Mr D in San Diego. It’s all still so unclear, except I’ll be back at the coast next week. Just at a different beach.

This morning, even though I awoke in my own bed in my own house, I was a little confused as to where I was. When the door opened and my oldest son stood there with my grandson, it all came back to me; Amboy, Washington. Got it.

Even though he tried to back out quietly, at that point I was awake and took the opportunity to hold little Pierson while his dad fell back to sleep.

I think the reason I’m not a natural with babies is that I always feel like there’s something I should be doing. I don’t know if it’s in my inherited epigenetics and I am the progeny of ditch diggers and farmersfarmer, but it just feels like I’m not doing what I’m supposed to do if I’m not up and puttering about or involved in heavy labor. I’m clearly not the descendant of a nanny. Or if I am she wasn’t a very good one.

While I was, at first, a little fidgety, it finally occurred to me I have no schedule right now. There’s no set agenda, no meeting this morning, there’s nothing I HAVE to do.

bob marleyAnd so I sat on my couch and I changed his diaper. I gave him a bottle and I sang Bob Marley’s Redemption Song. Because I could. Because I had no schedule. And Bob Marley was a visionary.

And as my little buddy slept peacefully in my arms, it crystalized in my mind that time is the only thing we can’t replace. The cars, the homes, the clothes and jewels may very well be rare, but they can be replaced. The time, you get a certain amount and then it’s gone. No do-overs.

I hope to use my time wisely. No matter whether I’m traveling or staying put, I hope I’m not frittering my hours away with useless diversions that in the end don’t fill my life with the joy we each desire.

As for this morning and sitting idly on the couch holding my grandson while he slept? Nailed it!

y and p

Parenting ~ A List Of Ten Things

The greatest project I ever began, started over 24 years ago. This project has the breadth andhearts depth of an epic tale of pain and glory. Great triumphs have been achieved and bottomless caverns of despair are all a part of my project, my magnum opus.

By now you know, for sure, I speak of raising children. What else raises us so high we can see all the way to eternity? What more could bring us so low we can literally feel the pieces of our hearts breaking into tiny bits?

I am well into this project, though I’ve heard that once you begin, it never really ends. But the lion’s share of my work is behind me. I’m still in the game, but soon I’ll be nothing more than a fondly received coach standing on the sidelines of the big game. I look forward to this position.

For today, as I look at the work that’s required and the desired outcome, I have these ten things to say:

1. Don’t take any of it personally. Do your best, say your prayers, knock on wood and maybe burn some incense. Then sleep soundly at night. No one is doing it perfectly. No, not even you.

2. You are not in control. You’re going to have to face this fact sooner or later. I recommend sooner. The longer you rely on this illusion to shore you up, the harder it’s going to be to ween yourself from it. I. AM NOT. In. Control. Say it again.

3. Just as your baby has to learn to walk one wobbly step at a time, so too will he/she learn the rest of it. Just because your child isn’t behaving the way you want (at 18 months or 18 years), doesn’t mean they’re not going to learn it. They’re not done cooking yet. None of us are when you think about it.

4. Your child is not an extension of you. If your self esteem is based on their behavior you’re in serious trouble. Go out and get a hobby for yourself. Your child will thank you for the time alone.
messy face
5. If you’re at the very beginning of your project you should know this is going to get dirty. If you’re in the middle, know that it’s going to get dirtier. If you have a house full of teens, I’m praying for you.

6. You know the part where you’re not in control? I wanted to let you percolate on that before I gave you back some of your control. Love. It’s not technically “control” per se. But it’s the greatest influence you wield. Use it. Liberally.

7. You are seriously going to be so much happier if you avoid judging other parents. Trust me on this one, you’re going to get your butt kicked yourself and if you’ve been looking down your judging parentsnose at lesser project managers, your comeuppance is going to be that much more painful. Give other parents the break that you’re eventually going to need.

8. Along that same line, what works for other people’s children won’t necessarily be the answer for yours. Don’t worry about it. Much of this game is winging it. We’re all just making it up as we go.

9. Call your parents and thank them. We were as ungrateful and ridiculous as our kids and once we see what this entails it seems like a good idea to call your mom, text your dad, whatever works best. Just tell them they’re the bomb for whatever good they did.

10. It’s worth two slots on our list: Love. Love them when they’re little. Love them when they are naughty. Love them when they disappoint you and love them best when they aren’t behaving lovably. Love. Love. Love. Use it. Apply it to all the other rules. Forget all the other rules and just remember this one. Love. It really is your best tool, rule and defense.

Salty & Sweet ~ A Marriage

I met Aaron Scott Young, my Mr Dreamboat, when I was 18 years old. I was a wide eyed co-ed at a

14 February 1987
14 February 1987
religious university, barely hanging on to my enrollment by the skin of my teeth. What with their rules and all…

If I’m being entirely honest, in my humble opinion, I was a reasonably sized fish in the small town pond of my youth. Moving on to university, a large university, was an exercise in feelings of unworthiness and anonymity.

I floundered. I broke rules as well as a few laws. I stopped going to class and read Sydney Sheldon books instead. And nearly got myself kicked out of that good establishment. My good-girl roommates had no idea what to do with me. They were not alone. I had no idea what to do with myself.

Continuing to stumble along, in the summer of 1986 I met Mr Dreamboat. He was cocky and young and I had nice legs and an attitude that intrigued him. Making our short courtship even shorter, we married just over six months after meeting.

Statistically speaking, our relationship should have been a disaster. I, from my broken home, with my fairly liberal view of the world, he, with his tea-totaling, toe the line ways and a unique set of baggage to boot. We married as children and have had our fair share of challenging mountains to summit.

I am delighted to admit this odd couple union has been a joy ride. While I wouldn’t have chosen some of the scenery, when it is all said and done, my chosen companion is the best part of the ride.

It’s our differences that make the relationship so pleasing. Salty & sweet. I think we know who is who.

Surprisingly, I see the world as black and white, good and bad. I don’t know why, but I see the world in absolutes. Mr Dreamboat sees each moment as unique, and every situation as having possibility. He sees grays and shades. He teaches me not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

I want to be more like him. I want to see the world and accept that there is good even when I see a boat load of the bad.

If I’m taking a good, hard look at things, that is likely how this whole romance began.
costa rica