"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

Losing Sight of Shore

Losing Sight of Shore is an amazing documentary currently on Netflix. It is the story of the Coxless Crew – 4 women who ROWED across the Pacific from San Francisco to Cairns, Australia. They started with the quote “You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Of course that quote was Christopher Columbus, but I had never heard it before this documentary. Grab a bottle of wine and watch it – it’s amazing. These are among the bravest women I have ever seen.

final_ocean_quote_pictureIn any case, that quote has been rattling around my brain this week. It’s been a week of highs and lows. Let’s start with the lows and get them out of the way:
• I have been rejected for new business (OK, shit happens),
• Today marks the last day with a lovely client (I will miss them and the $$)
• A frenemy is riding that high of launching his own company and he’s on that early wave of beginner’s luck that I had. (My green-eyed monster reared its head.)
• I asked a long-ago boss for some business and he soundly rejected me, but I have to say the conversation was really constructive and he was kind enough to walk me through why he was saying no and he was right. (Life lesson, sigh).
• I can’t seem to get myself up on a consistent schedule/routine. I’m really frustrated about this.

Now let’s talk about the high’s for the week:
• I’m winning a new piece of business that isn’t easy, but it could be very cool with a nice payday.
• I have a new project that launched this week – also not easy but cool.
• The Hunter gave an amazing presentation to a small group of his ideal type of client and hit it out of the park.
• My son is hanging with us and it’s been lovely to see him
• I just had a lovely chat with a great friend and we made plans to see each other next week. She’s always a great inspiration and mentor to me.

I didn’t have a lot of wins, but these were good. It wasn’t a particularly busy week (another problem). I spent time on some things that I shouldn’t (correcting that course!). I didn’t spend time on things that do matter (like my cold calling course and other business development).

I am now headed out to sea without the shoreline in sight. I have very little to nothing in my pipeline. Yes, my bank account is now safely in the black with about 6 months of reserve, but I feel anxious and the pressure of an empty pipeline. I have to remind myself that Robin needs to pull her weight with the business development and she can’t be included on every $$ that I bring in unless she has actually worked on it. I’ve been down that road before and I ended up broke & resentful.

I talked to my BFF because I feel the stress. I wake up (unless I exercise and take a melatonin) in the middle of the night thinking about work. I’m having a few anxiety dreams (a man stalking me down a street with the intent of killing me – that was a lovely one). She sadly told me that this is all perfectly normal and probably won’t go away anytime soon. WTF? My other great friend just told me that I just need to give it another 6 months and then I’ll be more stabilized. She should know – she has been an independent business owner for many years.

The Hunter took me to the beach this week with the Kracken. I had an active, not even resting, bitch face on which scares him. LOL. The walk was fabulous. He dealt with the dog and I strolled up and down the beautiful, windswept beach watching the waves, the light dim – it nourished my soul. I have started listening to my daily affirmations and it calms my negative self-talk.  Today we are knocking off early to celebrate his great day and I hope we do a replay. This man truly gets me.

 

She’s Dead

The Hunter’s mom died a few days after his birthday.  My wish was granted for her not to die on his birthday.  I just spent an intensive 24 hours with his family and gained a lot of interesting insight into his familial dynamics.  I talked to the Hunter about some of it last night as we drove home, and he is now digesting my thoughts.

Families are interesting communities and the Hunter’s is no different from most.  The Hunter was the youngest — the youngest cousin, the youngest in his family (his sister is 7 years older).  He was, like I said previously, that active, annoying little brother who was always into everything, tagging along and getting into trouble.  That’s his role in the family and even now, at age 50, that’s how the family treats him.  He reacts that way too sometimes because he’s playing his role.  More about that later in this post…

I told the Hunter that his sister’s eulogy was lovely — it was, but it represented parts of his mother that he didn’t always see.  He agreed.  I told him that I am sure he is full of conflict because he saw a side of his mother others didn’t.   I asked him if perhaps his mom beat him so much because he is the spitting image of his dad?  That gave him pause and he’s thinking about it.

The reason I said that was during the waiting, night after night, for his mom to pass, his sister told him quite a revelation.  Apparently his dad was quite the player (apple didn’t fall far from the tree) and had several women friends that would pay for his company.  One of his dad’s many jobs was as a maitre d’ at a nice restaurant and a couple of women apparently enjoyed his companionship outside of the dining experience.  These relationships endured for many years and his mother was aware of them.  His sister remembered their most epic fight was over a bundle of cash his dad had stashed away and his mother spotted it.  So his dad was a gambler, womanizing, handsome guy while his mom was the June Cleaver of the neighborhood — cooking great memorable meals, planning all the family get-togethers, sewing amazing outfits (that she later sold).  I could see where there could be some tension….

I ended up being the odd woman out on this family occasion which wasn’t a big deal.  I knew several of them and was able to have some great chats, but oftentimes I simply sat and observed with a pleasant expression on my face.  The younger generation (Nino and his cousins) found me to be hip and cool.  The older set found me polite and warm.  I stuffed my face with great food.

When his cousin sat beside me to tell me that the Hunter’s mom, who passed due to complications of advanced Alzheimer’s, was waiting for the Hunter to say good-bye, I swallowed my cynical thoughts and mildly said, “really?  Why do you say that?”  She told me that she knew due to her 5-years of home health experience and that she was clearly right because his mom passed away 12 hours later.  I, of course, am a bit too realistic to think that her brain was still connected to her soul at that point.  Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease and I think his mom had been gone a long, long time.

I also saw, but didn’t speak to, Nino’s mom — the Hunter’s baby momma aka common law wife.  She was not what I was expecting.  The Hunter and Nino took care of her and I later told the Hunter it was nice that she showed up to pay her respects and support her son without becoming a problem.  She stayed 20 minutes, said her hellos, made one mildly snarky comment and left.  Perfect.

I scored major brownie points with the Hunter’s sister.  She didn’t include him in the service and at the last minute came to me asking if the Hunter wanted to speak.  She had asked him and he had said he would put something together with me, but he never told me.  I suggested that perhaps he could thank everyone for their support and love.  She loved it, I arranged it with the Hunter and he said a beautiful thank you — especially to his sister for all her love and care for their mom.  It was perfect.

I also saw a family that is full of love.  Two children (8 and 4) dropped by and everyone doted on them.  There were stories of gatherings, parties, dinners that were wonderful.  After all the viewings, service and burial, the closest family (including us) went out to a nice dinner that was full of laughter and memories.  I went home with a very full belly and pleasant thoughts.

I don’t know if his family can change their approach to the Hunter and if he can change his reactions to them.  I can see where old habit die hard, but perhaps it might be worth another attempt.  She’s gone and his dad will soon follow because he’s 86 with dementia. It sucks getting old….

Do I Suck at Relationships?

In my business it is always about relationships and I have come to realize that I’m not particularly good with relationships (both personal and business to be candid). I don’t follow up so much or keep in front of people. I have no idea how to wine and dine clients effectively and made them my bosom buddies. I don’t text my kids every day (we talk about once a week); I talk to my dad about once every 2-3 weeks when he initiates. For work, I’m the type that comes in friendly and approachable, gets the job done and leaves. Wham, bam, thank you! I don’t take them out for drinks, plays, business events – I’m shitty at that stuff and it’s getting worse as I get older because my tolerance for large events is fading.

I think it goes back to my childhood. My parents divorced when I was 6 years old and my compulsive mother went back to school, did an internship and flitted around with a new job every couple of years. This led to me living in 5 different cities in 10 years and 9 schools in the same time period. Friends became disposable because I was constantly moving. What’s nice today is that I connected with my dearest high school friends on Facebook, but I don’t go see them or travel with them – it’s mainly an online thing. My mom didn’t set a good example because she didn’t have many friends – who could with all that moving around. Once she retired, she struggled with making friends because she had no clue what goes into a friendship. A typical example is when she told me about a nice lady who she invited to a movie and they had a great time, but the woman never called her to invite her to something. My mom said, “I’m not going to call her, it’s her turn.” I said, “Why? Maybe she doesn’t have any ideas of things to do or maybe something is going on in her life or she’s shy. Why deprive yourself of a friend because of some arbitrary rule you created?” That stopped her in her tracks.

Right now, my days and free time are generally spent 80% of the time or more with the Hunter. Over the next couple of weekends, he will be in the woods every weekend which is freeing up some time for me. This gives me some space to explore my thoughts on relationships and see how I can solidify some of the great ones I have and perhaps develop some others.

As I was reading back through this post and some others that I wrote (I tend to binge write), I realized that I can solve both my relationship crisis (for a dramatic turn of phrase) and friendship issue by joining more things. My best adult friendships have come from joining things that I enjoy – damn, I met the Hunter in a hiking club for crying out loud. I met my BFF at a women’s networking event and other good friends through Toastmasters (nothing like a personal speech to get to know someone). OK, I need to join perhaps a book club or another Toastmasters club closer to home. I just have to remind myself NOT TO VOLUNTEER for any leadership roles –- I don’t have time for that.

Meeting Madeline

This week I had my first face-to-face meeting with a blogger, Madeline formerly of The Woman Invisible. How exciting is that? M and I had texted intermittently through Google Hang-Out, so when she headed down on vacation, she reached out to me.

We spent a 3-hour afternoon hanging out and talking like close girlfriends do. We immediately launched into a great conversation that never lagged and told some stories that can’t go up on the blog due to anonymity reasons. I did tell her one that she is insisting I write about because it’s pretty funny — the actual logistics of getting the Hunter to pass a drug screening.

So what are my impressions of the real M? The flesh and blood one sitting across the table drinking prosecco? She is very true to herself. I think her blog is truly as honest, raw and deep as anyone can possibly be. She really does expose it all — good and bad. Her real life is big and bold, so how she has time to write amazes me. She has challenges approaching her in the near future that will be stressful, but she clearly sees them and is already laying the groundwork on how to deal with it all. M is very smart, very successful, brave and fierce (in a wonderful way).

It was a fabulous afternoon. I have felt like I lack a posse of close girlfriends. I have a handful but I’m not great about staying in touch regularly. Now I have the fabulous M to add to my posse. I will be headed to her hometown more regularly in the future, so she has made me promise to stay an extra night for her. That sounds like just the kind of fun/trouble I need.

Thanks, M. The next round is on me!

Where Have I Been?

I have to thank Dawn for stirring me to write. Life has been galloping along and there is so much to do much less think about and process. First, the wedding. It was a nightmare the week leading up to it, but the actual day was a dream come true. 

Taz runs at warp speed and the week leading up to the Big Day was packed with hair appointments, nail appointments, dress fittings, shopping for a variety of things, more shopping …and she had 30 pages of essays to write. I had 40 goody bags to make and deliver for hotel guests, people to pick up from the airport, Taz and her errands, menu cards to design and print — it was absolute insanity. Fortunately, my son arrived early and was my able, happy-to-help assistant. I had moments of eye-twitching, trying to breathe and control the stress. I had a meltdown or two. It was tough. I won’t kid you. 

Then the wedding day came and as I later described it, the rollercoaster began rolling down the peak without any ability to control it. I released my worries and stress and enjoyed the day. It was beautiful. The venue was amazing. It looked like a fairy tale. So romantic and dreamy.  The night went off without any drama. We have beautiful memories to fill a lifetime, stories to become family lore. 

The Hunter was by my side through it all.  He was awesome. My friends got to know him better.  Even though big parties are not his scene at all, he was with me for the rehearsal, the rehearsal dinner and the wedding. I have come to realize he has a bit of social aniexty, so I appreciate him stretching beyond his comfort zone. The day after the wedding was a brunch, but he skipped it due to a class he is taking. That was fine. 

That night he generously made dinner for my parents because he couldn’t afford to go out to a restaurant. It was a lovely evening.  He later thanked me for giving him that out instead of being embarrassed at a restaurant. I was touched. 

What made me chuckle is that all the Ex’s family and the Marriage friends were just as chummy and nice like the good old days. Not that the past was so great for me all the time, but they treated me like they use to. I discovered that I could care less and while it was nice to see everyone, they can still go fuck themselves. 

The happy couple took off on a two-week honeymoon. It took me about three days to recover from the wedding. I was exhausted — both mentally and physically. But I pulled it off. Now, how the hell am I going to pay for it?  LOL. 

The Wedding Approaches

It has been an interesting week. Taz was here for three days for wedding planning. Man, this young woman can be tough for me to handle. She is so much like her father and it brings up some strong emotions in me at times. Before I rant, know that 70% of the time was fine. She had a couple of times when she snapped at me and I was dumbfounded because it was completely out of line. I swallowed my hurt and anger but became a bit cool. She calmed down and realized she overstepped, but the damage was done. Just like her dad. 

One interesting thing is that perhaps I have been able to be a strong positive influence on her. I like to think so. On one ride home, we talked about her high school counselor, a man that I am forever thankful for being in my daughter’s life. She has stayed in touch with him and by some weird 6 degrees of separation, he is somehow related to a dear friend of the groom. We are talking a thousand mile connection – bizarre, but I digress. 

Anyway, during Taz’s senior year of high school, she was a handful. Too smart for her own good, strong alpha personality, the rigors of all AP classes, the pressure of college application process and a host of other things in her life made her a force to be reckoned with. My Ex and Taz were clashing regularly and both expected me to resolve it. I was stuck in the middle with my Ex bitterly complaining about her, directing me to correct her and then furious when I apparently “failed”.  Taz was simply growing to hate her dad for all his controlling actions. In steps the high school counselor who wisely told Taz that her dad was never going to change — most adults don’t, so she needed to decide if she could accept her dad for who he is. He told her much more, and she listened to him. Heaven has a special place for people like that counselor. I begged him not to retire until my son graduated and fortunately my son was also able to benefit from his wisedom when I moved out of the house before my son’s senior year. 

But returning to the present, Taz really churned up some emotions in me. They weren’t all happy thoughts either. She said some really sweet and loving things but then she zapped me a couple of times. The Hunter has gently asked if I am over-reacting.  Perhaps, but I know without a doubt that she will not be my caretaker when I get old and senile. She’s too tough. She is headed for a glittering, successful career at the top of her profession. She will be a rock star and I am so proud of her. I just hope that the success doesn’t come at the sacrifice of her loved ones. 

Then after the highs and lows of Taz’s visit, I ran into a colleague at a cocktail party. She told me she ran into my Ex at the bar of her neighborhood restaurant. She told me that he’s excited for the wedding, worried about walking Taz down the stairs in her dress and then she told me that he looked so woebegone. That it is glaringly apparent that he pines for me. WTF. I told her that perhaps if he wasn’t such an asshole we would still be married. 

After I left I called a girlfriend to discuss the conversation. Why the hell did my colleague feel the need to share the conversation with me?  She could have simply told me that they ran into each other and left it at that. As I told my girlfriend, part of me wanted to tell my colleague not to have pity on my Ex because he hates her and always called her a dyke when we were married. But there was no upside for me to do that. I simply had to listen and then retreat. My Ex also talked shit about all my business colleagues. He had nothing nice to say about any of them. It always pissed me off because if he was insulting/belittling those in my trade, wasn’t he also doing the same to me?  I asked him once and he kinda of laughed and admitted that I was right — he didn’t have any respect for my work. 

In any case, it feels good to write this and get it off my chest and out of my brain.  Today I feel fabulous. I figured out some complex financial stuff, cleaned my office and flirted with the Hunter.  I broke my alcohol-free January a bit early and feel great about it. My positive affirmations are working and I see a very bright and happy future before me. I found my dress for the wedding and Taz said that it was the most beautiful dress she has ever seen me wear. Let’s leave it there – happy. 

Thanksgiving Revised

Thanskgiving was lovely and we shared it with a small group of family and friends. I am accustomed to hosting a Thanksgiving of between 18-24 people during my married life, so yesterday’s total of 8 was a walk in the park for me. But I did learn a few things about myself.  

First, I have high expectations of myself and how I want to present my home when entertaining. I shampooed the carpets myself (I own a carpet cleaner – great investment when you have pets and kids), I scrubbed the house from top to bottom and it is a lot of work.  In the past my housekeeper would arrive on Wednesday and handle that aspect. This year I am handling it myself, but the Hunter helped and we got it done. To me, the preparation of Thanksgiving is time to scrub the house down for the holiday season. 

Then I started cooking and made 90% of the food. A full menu including five desserts (2 gluten-free for my girlfriend).  It was all a lot of work. By Wednesday night, I was pooped and still had to take my son out to Costco for his quarterly food run. He is headed back to college today, so our time was limited. It was actually a fun outing, but I was cranky and had to hit the sack early. The Hunter was being so sweet.  He was thrilled with his first paycheck from his new job and bought me a bottle of my favorite champagne. He didn’t know it was my favorite and I was touched by his generosity. 

The Hunter has now experienced me in a different mode. Not Maggie, the hard-working, but laid back woman. Instead he got Maggie, the hostess, who wants everything perfect. Yes, I have discovered I have a perfectionist streak. Over the weekend, we decided what he would be responsible for and on Sunday, as he sat down to watch some football, he looked at me quizzically.  “What?”, I asked. He said, “Aren’t you going to say something about the chores?”

“No”, I replied. “I am not going to nag you. You are a 48-year-old man.  You know what needs to be done and when.  It’s up to you to decide how to get it all done. “. He sighed and said, “God, I love you” and relaxed and enjoyed his game. Guess what? He was stellar and got it all done — and then some. 

This Thanksgiving was for me.  It is the first that I have hosted since becoming single. The past two were spent alone and then going out to a fancy dinner with my girlfriend. I enjoyed the novelty of those and the relief of no longer hosting the big bashes, but I was also bitter. I hosted friends and family for about 20 years. When I separated, my counselor warned me to be prepared for ostracism, but I couldn’t fathom that all of those loved ones would turn their back on me. They did and I was hurt. I sent cards with notes to who I though were my closest friends a week before Thanksgiving telling them that I was thankful for their friendship and their kindness and love towards my children. Not even an acknowledgement. I did it more to shame them and put them on the spot. To test them to see if they truly loved me. I guess not. Not enough to check on me, particularly that first holiday. 

So yesterday was my comeback. It was on my terms. It was lovely and I enjoyed having everyone over. I no longer want to host the huge gatherings and yesterday was the perfect size. I finished the day happy and content. Plus a little ganja while enjoying the beautiful evening sky relaxed me. The Hunter just left for the woods with Teacher, so I have the weekend to myself. I am thrilled. I plan on indulging myself with some movie-binging, some exercise and mischief with my toys. Last night, the Hunter and I enjoyed a delicious romp fueld by the ganja. We were quiet because the Teacher was in the guest room, but intense.  I have forgotten how much I love sex when I’m high. I have more to say about me, pot and the Hunter, but for now I am thankful that I am successfully working on re-defining the holidays on my own terms. 

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