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

Archive for the ‘Life in General’ 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….

Resilience

I had a long, lovely chat with Taz today — she had time, I had time so we had a gab fest.  She wanted to ask me questions about my upbringing — something I rarely talk about with my kids because I have little good to say about it.  I will openly answer any question, but I will rarely volunteer information.  During our conversation, Taz had two interesting comments:

The first is that she believes my mom was a borderline histronic personality.  I just read the Wikipedia link on borderline personalities and wow, that is my mom.  Geez.  I never realized it. Then as I began reading about it and the effects it has on children, it dawned on me — my Ex has many of those same symptoms.  Wow.  I’m going to have to think about all this.  I always thought my Ex was somewhat like my mom….

The other, and more cheerful, comment Taz had was that I am the most resilient person she knows.  When she thinks about resiliency, my face pops up.  That was sweet.  She couldn’t believe I didn’t recognize that in myself.  I guess I am, but I don’t think too much about it because it digs up the bad stuff that made me so damn resilient in the first place.

I was also reading back over this blog from about 2 years ago — the beginning of my relationship with the Hunter.  It’s interesting stuff now in context with my current situation.  I have been talking to a former colleague and remembering the dark cloud that was my work life.  This colleague told me that within a week of me leaving my old firm he realized why I left.  Now 6 months later, he can’t believe I stuck around as long as I did.  I felt validated.

Life is such an amazing journey.  The twists and turns, the beautiful sights and sounds, and the lows — it all makes for an incredible journey.  Now it’s Friday and I deserve a glass of wine.

P.S.  The other good news:  Taz, the data-sucker, will be off my cell plan by July 1st.  She laughed when I asked her today and said that her Hubby was still on his parent’s plan (he, his brother, sister-in-law — 3 adults).  Taz & Hubby decided it was time to grow up.  Woo hoo — in the span of three months she has saved me over $6,000/year.  That’s going straight to my 401k.

The Hunter Turns 50

Happy Bday HunterToday is a big day for the Hunter.  It’s his birthday, but I have made it a point to have celebrated throughout the month of May.  We took a fabulous road trip, which was too short, but so much fun.  We had a great dinner with his son, Nino, and Nino’s girlfriend over the weekend.  We hung out with my dear friends and spent a beautiful day on their boat.  It has been wonderful.  He is not big on presents, because he gets shy and thinks I have done too much for him already.  The trip was a present and he’ll be getting some much-wanted work clothes, but he isn’t getting that “Oh My” present.  It’s simply not one of our Love Languages.

In the midst of all this great stuff, he has a very dark cloud looming.  His mom has very advanced Alzheimer’s and over the weekend hospice has moved in for the final days.  That woman better not have the audacity to die on his birthday.  That is my most fervent hope.

The Hunter has a Love/Hate relationship with his mom (and his extended family) that really sheds a bright light on the man he is today.  His parents are immigrants.  Neither finished high school and they worked hard their entire lives.  His sister is about 8 years older than him and she went on to become quite successful financially.  But this is a family of very negative attitudes.  They constantly belittle and snipe at one another.

Apparently the Hunter was the runt of the litter — the youngest.  With an older sister and much older cousins, he was that super-active, sometimes annoying kid in the background.  He was a behavior problem at school at times.  His mother, according to the Hunter, beat him every day.  Yes, beat him.

Apparently the worse beating that really left him scarred was when she forgot to pick him up from baseball practice.  After waiting and waiting, the coach gave him a ride home.  She beat him until his sister finally interceded because “you made me look bad”.  Yes, this is the type of household he grew up in. She finally stopped when he turned 14 and grabbed the belt out of her hand…..

It’s interesting, from an armchair psychologist view, to see the child/mother dynamics of an abused child.  The Hunter tells many stories about his mother’s great cooking, meals she would make, her amazing domestic skills — she could sew pretty much anything.  He has many good memories of her, but then he has ugly ones too.

However, his parents always sided with his son’s mother, the Hunter’s Baby Momma, when Nino was young.  They never defended him, only blamed him.  Now obviously I am hearing only one side of the story, but….  hopefully you are getting a picture here.

In any case, the Hunter had to spend a very long afternoon with the family as they all paid their last respects to his mom.  The mom who beat him.  The mom who years later denied ever touching him.  The mom who never defended him and only berated him.  He is paying his respects with a family that he refuses to spend holidays with.  One that continues to belittle him and not support him.  It’s difficult and complicated. Actually, as I was wrapping up this post, he walked in with an old photo album he brought back from her house and we spent about 45 minutes looking at his childhood photos.  It was lovely and he enjoyed the memories.

But, the Hunter is worried that his mom’s death will send him spiraling into a depression — it happened before, after another death which ended up destroying his marriage.  I can’t do much for him except listen and love him.  I feel his pain and conflicted feelings.

He wants to have a family for the holidays, so I have told him that we have our children and, in the future, their children plus friends that we love.  I told him that we will create our own family.

That bitch better not die today.  It’s the Hunter’s special day, not hers.

We are Off to the Races

Lots of good things are happening in my work world and thankfully it is translating into cold, hard cash. I just sent out three invoices last week and have several more teed up in the next two weeks. Cash flow has finally started and none-too-soon. OK, it isn’t a river of dollars, but it’s a steady stream that will keep us going as things continue to build.

My bestest, favorite client is in town next week and asked me to lunch. It’s been 6 months since I left the old firm, so I am wondering what they have on their mind. I had started pinging them gently about once a month or so with info on this and that. I invited them to an industry event and since they weren’t in town that resulted in the lunch invitation. I keep telling myself not to get my hopes up, but since I am ever the optimist, I can’t help but hope. They have some future staffing changes and my former firm hasn’t made any headway, so perhaps they are ready to jump ship. This would be a great account for Robin and she is willing to give it a shot.

My client who followed me to Maggie & Co is about to wrap things up, so by June I’ll be done with them. It’s bittersweet, but it has also lead to the possibility of something bigger with a related frenemy of theirs. Right now the frenemy handles things in-house, so we will have to see if they are willing to out-source. The timing is right and they have asked Maggie & Co to pitch along with only one other competitor. I have a chance, so I look at the elephants on my Vision Board and tell myself I can win this business.

I did something very bold and completely outside my comfort zone this week for work. It didn’t pan out, but I was proud of myself for really putting myself out there. It’s a long game, so I just have to go back to basics and keep on trying.

Right now I have four elephants in my sights. They are all different sizes, but that’s fine. I just need one of them to give me the cushion of more time. I feel good. I am taking a course over the summer to address my greatest business development fear – cold calling. I find myself so busy that I hardly have time in front of the computer or in the office. That’s both good and bad. I need to make sure I’m getting the basics covered.

The Hunter and I are headed off on a road trip next week. We are headed to a remote place we have never visited. Rest, relaxation and exploration – I can’t wait. It should be lovely.

Crazy Week

crazy meme

The past week was crazy.  Crazy people, crazy events, crazy busy — just crazy.  I kept asking the Hunter if it was a full moon because it sure felt like one.  The great news is that many of the things I was bitching about two weeks ago are being resolved.

The car situation has been successfully resolved.  I got the leased car inspected and it will be turned in momentarily.  A new car has been purchased and I really like it.  I am still working on quashing my snobby “is-it-good-enough” inner voice, but it drives great and I have always wanted a compact SUV, so I am just telling that voice to shut up.  It has all the bells and whistles I like (rear camera, blind spot, bluetooth, etc.) so who cares who the manufacturer is?  I paid exactly within my budget and my payments are exactly what I wanted.  I got my preferred color and it feels great to drive.  As I rack up the miles on it, I won’t worry so much about the cost of the car. Whew!  Problem resolved.

I had a couple of projects right at the finish line (a.k.a ready for a paycheck) and they took a quick unexpected detour.  Sigh.  We have gotten them back on track, but that set us back a week or so.  Robin and I just sigh and talk about drinking….

The Kracken has been neutered (thank you, sweet Jesus) and we are already seeing a calmer dog.  Now that he is neutered, he can go to doggie day care which is fabulous.  He had is his first visit and came home happy and (more importantly) exhausted.  The Hunter was ready to get rid of him, but I asked that he be given more time.  I know, I know — I blew that golden opportunity, but I knew that the Hunter was acting in haste. The Kracken has good potential — we just need to be patient (never a strong trait of mine).

My son is home for the summer.  He came home in the midst of drama (Wildflower passing, car buying, etc.)  My Ex persuaded him to give up a low-paying job up at school to come back home to work for him and me (wish he had talked to me about that). I think my son also returned home because his girlfriend was going to be home for the summer also.  My son hated working for my Ex, so Taz and I think he just didn’t have the guts to stand up to my Ex.

My son is staying with me right now and just got the possibility of an unpaid internship with a nearby non-profit that fits in perfectly with his major.  I told him that if he wasn’t going to be paid by any of these jobs, then take the one with the non-profit.  He has an interview next week and the Ex set him up with another non-profit so hopefully he gets one of those.  He needs something on his resume that doesn’t have one of  his parents as his supervisor….

I successfully tackled and won the lease renewal on our home.  My landlord is a bitch, so I told the Hunter that we won’t win next year, so we better be ready to move.  She came by to “inspect the house”, but had no idea what she really wanted to see.  When we got into a mildly heated discussion, I asked her what outcome she wanted from it all because she was dropping into a “you said, I said” argument.  The outcome she wanted:  “I don’t know”.  Geez, you like arguing just so you can be right?  Stupid.  I finally said, “OK, it sounds like you want better communication from us.  Would you agree?”  She did, so now I send her follow up emails on work that is being done on the house.

My favorite client that kicked me to the curb when I founded Maggie & Co is back sniffing around.  I have kept the lines of communication open, sent them some information and now they want to have lunch on their next visit to town.  That’s great.  I have a new project idea to put in front of them, so I have to focus on getting an introduction to someone who won’t take my phone call, I can’t find her email and she hasn’t responded to numerous messages, voice mails and letters.  I have 10 days to reach this hussy.  She works two hours from me.  I have blocked out a day and plan to drive to her office to stage a sit-in until she or her boss sees me.  #Old School Sales.  My BFF is egging me on to do this to see if it will work.  I’ve done it in the past once and it worked.  Will I be 2-for-2?

I feel good things happening and good things in my future.  If that fave client thing would take off, it would be like winning the lottery.  I feel lucky, so wish me luck!

R.I.P Wildflower

horse on beach

This looks like Wildflower during his retirement years

As you, Dear Readers, know, I have been grappling with the debate of what to do about Wildflower, my daughter’s elderly horse.  He spent 9 years in retirement at a total cost of over $46,000 during that time.  If you want to read about my earlier turmoil over this, click here and here.

Now Wildflower took care of things for me.

He’s an old gray horse and gray horses are prone to a weird thing called equine melanoma  .  It’s usually benign and he had this throughout the time we owned him.  This week he was lying down in the pasture one morning, got up for breakfast, went back down and couldn’t get up.  The vet showed up and said, “it’s time”.  Within two hours of me being notified, Wildfire went to a better pasture.

I texted Taz that he was down, then within the hour asked her to call me.  She knew what was happening, but she was OK and very understanding of the decision.  Wildflower had been part of our family for 21 years.  She got him when she was 6 years old.

I was moved because his passing came the day after my mom’s birthday.  My mom, Taz and I bonded over this horse.  The horse shows, days at the barn, all the horsey stuff was what glued the three of us so tightly together.  Wildflower was loved by all three of us with a passion.

When I talked to Taz later that night, we shared a couple of funny memories about him.  I told her that I didn’t cry when she and my son went off to college, but I bawled like a baby when Wildflower left for retirement.  She laughed hysterically and said, “you always loved him best.  He was the third kid.”  She’s right.  That’s why I could never put him down just because of the money.

My Ex posted a nice note on my Facebook post of Wildflower’s passing.  I have been thinking about the good times that Wildflower gave all of us.  The time he tossed my Ex into the water during a beach ride (wonderfully delightful), the many ribbons he won for Taz, the many long summer days she spent at the barn rather than the mall or some other non-productive venue.

I also thought about how it tied into my mom’s birthday.  She loved that horse fiercely.  Taz was remembering how my mom had shirts with his photo, hats with his name, canvas photo bags, a chair just for horse shows with his show name — she was his biggest fan.  And the photos.  My mom was never without her camera trying to capture every single minute.

I know that my mom was waiting for Wildflower.  She is standing in a beautiful field with him, brushing him and talking to him.  He, of course, is being silly but at the same time he is at peace and loving her right back.

I am glad that I did the right thing.  It wasn’t easy, but sometimes doing the right thing isn’t that easy.  But I also have to say that I had a smile of relief because now I don’t have to write another check for May.  RIP Wildflower.  You were a truly one-of-a-kind.

gray horse young

This is what Wildflower looked like when we first got him.  He got whiter as he aged, but he was a pretty boy always.  

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