50 Things I Know at 50



When I was about to turn 30, I freaked out a little. Ridiculous, but true. Thirty seemed so no-excuses grown-up. Not that I was one to screw up and look for excuses—I was born sensible, responsible, and kind of old. I was mentally 30 in preschool, so why it bugged me when my body finally caught up, I don’t know. I just know that it did. A lot.

Forty was fine. No uneasiness, no worries. I was working at a job that I adored, was healthy, and the hubs and I were stealing away for little just-the-two-of-us weekends on a regular basis. All sorts of good.

Today, I’m officially 50. I have to say that I lovity-love-love being this age. I’m healthy, happy, and have a gaggle of the most beautiful and brilliant grandchildren who entertain me and keep me young. I enjoy every day and look to the future with joyful anticipation. Honestly, I feel extraordinarily blessed. Life is good.

I thought that today, I’d share 50 things that I know to be true. Tidbits of old-lady wisdom, if you will. So here goes:


  1. Loving someone who loves you back is life’s sweetest blessing. This applies to more than romantic relationships.

  2. Very few things are worth stressing over. Lighten the hell up.

  3. Investing in people is a sure way to reap rich rewards.

  4. Investing in yourself isn’t selfish.

  5. Time is a gift that shouldn’t be squandered or unappreciated.

  6. Don’t take anything personally. Other people feel what they feel, say what they say, and do what they do because of them, not you.

  7. Do what you know is right, even when it’s not easy—especially when it’s not easy.

  8. Own it. All of it.

  9. Never pretend to be anyone but who you are. The real you is just dandy.

  10. If you’re still breathing, it’s still possible.

  11. You can choose to be happy or you can choose to walk around pissed at the world. Your call.

  12. Where you are is almost undoubtedly a result of the choices you’ve made thus far. If you want to be somewhere better, start making better choices.

  13. There are lots of right ways to do pretty much anything.

  14. Forgiving is wise, but forgetting is often a very foolish move.

  15. Don’t expect other people to read your mind. Ask for what you want and need.

  16. Sing, whether or not you do it well. Same goes for dancing.

  17. Good bras are worth the money and pretty undies are, too.

  18. Let it go.

  19. Crying is not a sign of weakness.

  20. Tell the truth, no exceptions.

  21. Never take the credit or the blame for other people’s lives.

  22. True confidence doesn’t require making someone else seem like less. In fact, the opposite is true. Feeling genuinely good about yourself allows you to encourage, promote, and celebrate the gifts of other people.

  23. Always, always, always listen to and honor the voice within.

  24. There’s a big difference between illegal and immoral.

  25. If someone wants to walk away from you, you should let them.

  26. Don’t remind anyone about the things you do for them. If you don’t want to do something, don’t, but don’t be a martyr.

  27. When you screw up, own up, apologize, learn from it, and get on with it.

  28. Buy clothes that fit well. It really doesn’t matter what size the tag says—you are whatever size you are and too small or too large clothing is never flattering.

  29. Learn to love the hair you have.

  30. If you are going to live your entire life with someone, there will be moments when you wonder what the hell you ever saw in them. Before you allow yourself to dwell too long in those moments, remember that they have definitely had cause to wonder the same about you.

  31. Very few things are worth going into debt. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.

  32. Take the advice that you’d give a dear friend in your situation.

  33. Express love freely, and gratefully accept the love of others when it is offered.

  34. Be kind. There’s never a reason to be purposefully mean.

  35. Your voice is as important as anyone else's. The converse is also true.

  36. One piece of really wonderful chocolate is far more satisfying than a whole bunch of the crappy stuff.

  37. Stay away from people who tell you that you can’t or who belittle your dreams.

  38. Go all in.

  39. Get over the idea of being perfect. It doesn’t exist and even if it did, it would be both boring and annoying.

  40. Family isn’t about DNA, it’s about love.

  41. Aging is a privilege that some are not afforded. Be grateful for gray hair and wrinkles.

  42. Believe what you believe and respect that others have a right to do the same.

  43. Tell your story, even the icky parts. Someone else may benefit from hearing it, and you may benefit from telling it.

  44. Everyone is an expert on something, so listen to people and be willing to learn.

  45. Sometimes the best thing is to be quiet, but sometimes you need to speak up. Learn the difference and then be willing to act accordingly.

  46. Be silly. It doesn’t make you look foolish, it makes you gorgeous.

  47. Try. You might fail, but try anyway.

  48. If you have someone who will pick you up and dust you off when you fall, count your blessings. If not, count them anyway.

  49. Stand by your beliefs and live by your own moral code.

  50. Remember, life is good.



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GBE 15 Minute Free Write



The following is the result of my 15 minute free write, the prompt this week for the GBE. I've pasted it in here exactly as I wrote it, so please excuse any typos, grammatical errors, punctuation mistakes, and/or incidents of misspelling.

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Okay, 15 minutes. Go time. I’m going with the assumption that I’m not sharing this, that my words will be for me only. Freeing. Let the crazy flag fly. The holiday is still on my mind, here in this room with thhe tree, empty now of presents. All lit up and yet done. The day was a good one. Christmas Eve with those dearest right here with us. The missing ones never entered the picture, which is the first time that is true since they left. I’ve wanted to be brave and strong about the loss before, but I wasn’t. Not really. Fake it ‘til you make it? Not aleways a bad thing, I guess. But these past months have proven to me that I’m okay. With all of it. With what really is and all that I still have. And I have so, so much. I wasn’t okay in the beginning. Not even close. Now though, the pain doesn’t creep back and feel real anymore. Maybe that says something about6 me that isn’t good, but it feels good. It feels whole and right and like what had happened was simply what needed to happen. It is wrong to heal and be okay with things? No. Nope, healing is always good, even if it starts with aa scarring over. Even the scars have faded now. I’ve exhaled, after holding a quick breath for so long.

Enough. Enough, enough, enough. There comes a point when you realize that life goes on, a different life, but a really good one. If you want it. And I do. I think it’s almost sinful to wallow and I’ve never been a wallower. I’m looking forward so easily now, and I like what I see. I’m excited about what’s in front of me, the stuff I think I know and the stuff that is a complete mystery to be revealed. I guess that takes a certain kind of bravery, but it doesn’t feel brave or extreme or even particluarly large. Just good. Happy and hopeful and knowing that no matter what, it’ll be good. Wow. I feel so certain about the uncertain turning out amazingly well. That alone makes me smile.

I’m tempted to look at the clock, but the timer will tell me when to stop. Should I share this? I’ll read it back and see. If I do, I’ll share it exactly. Typos and craziness and all. Ah, I’m sharing it. I just decided. I am me, and those I’ll share it with already know me, the heart of me. That makes me happy. They know me, unvarnished. I don’t like varnish. Not the real stuff and not the theoretical kind. Give me real and I’m happy. I’m usually happy, happy is good. Timer?

There it is.



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Written for this week’s GBE topic, “15 Minute Free Write.” If you’d like to blog with us, just week’s clickety-click. All are welcome!

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Jane's Seven-Thingy has Morphed into Mine



A while back, Jane posted her version of this and I loved it. I immediately vowed to do mine and though my intentions were good, my follow through was sorely lacking. Instead, I worked and cooked and shopped and visited and napped.

Today, there’s no work (I could get used to this), there’s enough food in my house to feed half the neighborhood (in fact, I wish they’d come by to eat it all), I don’t feel like shopping (except to see if a sweater I had my eye on is cheaper now, because when they mark it down, that puppy will be mine), I’m all full up on visiting family, and I’ll get that nap in today, but not just yet. That leaves me ample time to finally get blogging. Yipppeee!


So, here’s my version of Jane’s Seven-Thingy.


7 things I wouldn't want to live without (excluding people):
  1. Music
  2. A rocking chair
  3. Cute, comfy shoes
  4. Sunglasses (my eyes are squirrely and without shades, the sun and I are not friends)
  5. Computer with speedy internet connection
  6. Cell phone
  7. A snuggly blankie and books and notebooks and pens (yes, I know, cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eater)


7 literary characters I wish I could know in real life:
  1. Leopold (and Molly, too) Bloom (Ulysses, James Joyce)
  2. Janie Crawford (Their Eyes were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston)
  3. August Boatright (The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd)
  4. Josephine March (Little Women, Louisa May Alcott)
  5. Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery)
  6. Dominick Birdsey (I know This Much is True, Wally Lamb)
  7. Winnie the Pooh (Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne) What, you got a problem with Pooh? ;O)


7 celebrities I would invite to my Celebrity Supper Party:
  1. Susan Sarandon
  2. Sharon Osborne
  3. Don Williams
  4. Matt Damon
  5. Ellen DeGeneres
  6. Andy Rooney (yeah, I know, but since none of them are actually coming to my house for dinner, there’s just as much of a chance of Andy Rooney showing up as the rest of them)
  7. Johnny Depp (he's welcome to stay for a breakfast party, too)


7 movies I know all the dialogue to:
  1. My Cousin Vinny
  2. Annie (the super-fabulous Carol Burnett version)
  3. Father of the Bride (the Steve Martin version)
  4. Sabrina (the Harrison Ford remake)
  5. Juno
  6. On Golden Pond
  7. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (it’s been a really long time, but I’m betting that it’d all come back to me)


7 skills I wish I had acquired:
  1. Playing the piano, guitar, and violin
  2. Knitting
  3. Sewing (more than buttons and hemming)
  4. Fearless ice skating/roller skating
  5. Ballroom dancing
  6. Carpentry
  7. Investing/serious money-making


7 occupations I would have excelled at:
  1. Psychiatrist/Psychologist
  2. Teacher
  3. Advice columnist
  4. Arbitrator
  5. Judge
  6. Editor
  7. Heiress


7 songs I can hear again and again without tiring of:
  1. All Summer Long (Kid Rock)


  2. It’s My Life (Bon Jovi)


  3. We’ve Got a Good Fire Goin’ (Don Williams)


  4. Be My Honeypie (The Weepies)


  5. Barbed Wire and Roses (Pinmonkey) (weird video, but right song)


  6. Poems, Prayers, and Promises (John Denver)


  7. Ariel (Dean Friedman) (still digging this since 1970-something)


Okie-dokie, dominokie, your turn!


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Photo courtesy of Morgue File, which offers lots of wonderful, free images for public usage.

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GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #32: “15 Minute Free Write”



GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #32: “15 Minute Free Write”















This week, we’re doing something a little different. Instead of a word or picture prompt, we’ll be free writing. For those of you unfamiliar with the process, it is exactly what it sounds like. You sit down and write whatever comes into your mind for 15 straight minutes. The goal is not to write a story, article, or even anything coherent.

It’s a word purge. A stream of consciousness babble-fest, and it’s a wonderful way to unleash your creativity. Will what you write be crap? Almost certainly. Will the resulting paragraphs (if there are even paragraphs) be dull, repetitive, gripe-o-ramas, list-o-worries, and inventories of what’s been gnawing at you lately? Yep. When you are done, will you look at what you’ve written and decide that it’s simply too revealing to publish? Very likely.

In fact, that’s the hope.

I don’t expect to see many URLs on the topic thread this week. Maybe—quite possibly—none. Instead, I think that the free-writing session will help us to clear the cobwebs, identify and release our road blocks, and ready us to soar.

Free writing is usually done with pen and paper, rather than at the keyboard, but do it however you want. Oh, and don’t watch the clock. Set a timer before you start, if possible, so you won’t be tempted to divert your attention from your word purge. Just go. Write. And don’t worry about what you write being good, grammatically correct, or so personal that you feel the need to tear the page into a million shreds and then burn the shreds when you’re done.

That’s the whole idea.




As always, the guidelines are simple. Blog on this week’s prompt in any way you see fit. Once you’ve posted to wherever you normally blog, drop the URL to your post into the comment section below.

REMINDER: use the URL to your entry for this week’s specific topic post, NOT to your blog’s home page!

If you haven’t already done so, you are welcome to join GBE 2 at its main headquarters over on Facebook (We’re at 200 active members and we’re still growing!). Just visit GBE 2’s Facebook page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! :O)

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, and we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

That’s it! Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy!

You have until Saturday (12-31-11) to post your blog and leave your link…

Again, this week, our prompt is: 15 Minute Free Write

Ready. Set. Blog!

Happy blogging!
Beth


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Meet the Bloggers: Anna Warner



If attitude is contagious, you definitely want to hang out with Anna Warner. She’s a fighter, an optimist, a philosopher, and an old soul who has faced the fiercest opponent and told it to kiss her ass (my words, not hers…she’s far more ladylike than I am).

If you read a few of her blogs, you’ll learn that Anna has battled cancer more than once. After her first surgery for thyroid cancer, her doctor didn’t offer much hope. Fortunately, Anna seems to have a naturally recurring supply of the stuff and even without an encouraging prognosis, she summoned the strength to look to the future. Maybe that’s because she’s a mom or maybe she’s just no slouch, but for whatever reason, she moved through fear and pain to a place of healing.

Anna is an active member of the GBE, and week after week, she takes the suggested topic and not only makes it her own, but gives it a decidedly positive spin. This is a woman who could wallow and gripe, and no one would blame her. She’s dealt with more scary stuff than anyone should have to, yet her outlook and attitude remain delightfully untainted.

Life is short for all of us—too short, no doubt. Yet somehow, after having faced down the demon repeatedly, Anna seems somehow purer for the experience. She’s tough…and gentle. Kindness and wisdom flow freely from her, and her words convey messages of hope and understanding. If you need a push in the right direction or simply want to spend some time with someone who recognizes what matters, go visit Anna. You’ll be glad you did.

Oh, and like many of my favorite people, Anna is a little, well, quirky. Her particular obsession is lipstick—the woman has a serious thing for lipstick. :O)


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Today’s image is the cover of Anna’s book, My Lipstick Journey through Cancer: A Journey of Faith and Finding the Right Shade, available on Amazon.

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GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #31: “WONDER”



GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #31: “WONDER”















As always, the guidelines are simple. Blog on this week’s prompt in any way you see fit. Once you’ve posted to wherever you normally blog, drop the URL to your post into the comment section below.

REMINDER: use the URL to your entry for this week’s specific topic post, NOT to your blog’s home page!

If you haven’t already done so, you are welcome to join GBE 2 at its main headquarters over on Facebook (We’re at 200 active members and we’re still growing!). Just visit GBE 2’s Facebook page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! :O)

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, and we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

That’s it! Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy!

You have until Saturday (12-24-11) to post your blog and leave your link…

Again, this week, our prompt is: WONDER

Ready. Set. Blog!

Happy blogging!
Beth




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Petty Theft



Three, two, one, empty. The bag is empty, so now what the hell am I gonna do? I hadn’t intended to eat all of the chocolates. The plan was to have one or two and then return the bag to its place in her desk drawer.

I snag a few every week, but only a few. Regina isn’t the sharing type, unlike the others who’ve occupied this office before her, and she keeps her stash locked in her bottom drawer, along with a make-up bag and a bottle of Listerine. I know where she hangs the key, though, so when I bring in her dry-cleaning or grab the airline ticket that she forgets every time she has a flight and calls me all panicked to demand that I run it down to the terminal at O’Hare, I treat myself. Lord knows she’d never offer.

Twenty-seven years I’ve been here and she’s the first one to hide the candy. Marjorie always kept a bowl of Kisses on her desk and made it clear they were for everyone. With Janice, it was peppermints, and that one with the puffy hair—I can’t remember her name—she favored M&Ms.; They all shared.

Regina buys Dove miniatures and though they’re nicer than the Kisses and M&Ms; and mints, it’s not like they’re Godiva. What are they, maybe four bucks a bag?

She’s coming down the hallway. The sharp clip of her heels is unmistakable. I’m screwed. She’ll fire me for sure—she canned Henry when she caught him looking at the label of the coat she hangs over her chair, even after he explained that he only peeked because he wanted to buy one like it for his wife’s birthday. No matter, he was done. And in about 45 seconds, I will be, too.



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A little piece of fiction written for this week’s Red Writing Hood prompt: “…write a post – fiction or creative non-fiction – which begins with a countdown. “Three, two, one.”” The word limit was set to 300, and I trimmed mine to exactly that.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons author, “Windows55.” Thank you!

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Meet the Bloggers: Phil, Hank and Conrad



Before I had kids, I was certain that the differences between boys and girls, besides the physical ones, were largely manifestations of the influences that surrounded them from birth on. I thought that boys (in general) liked to get dirty, zoom trucks around, spit, and swear and that girls (again, in general) liked pink, glitter, tiaras, and rocking baby dolls because we inadvertently taught them to be that way.

I was wrong.

I was also living in a pre-parental haze about childhood nutrition, believing that unlike some of the slacker parents I’d seen, my children would be fed only nutrient dense foods that would perfectly nourish their growing bodies and help them to develop stellar eating habits that they would then carry throughout their lives. What a load of crap that turned out to be. I fed them decently and made most of the stuff they ate from scratch, but there were plenty of mornings when my brood sat before heaping bowls of cereal with colorful marshmallows to fuel their growing bodies.

What. Eh. Ver.

Anyway, the point of this blog isn’t to highlight all of the misconceptions I’ve had. I’m here to introduce you to a blogger. A boy blogger. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Phil, Hank and Conrad is a greatly entertaining read. It’s funny and real and dare I say, sometimes even sweet. Actually, it’s sweet pretty frequently, and full of wisdom and warmth and humanness. I love it.

While a few of the posts are fully independent (one that especially spoke to me was for the GBE topic, 'Longing,' and the entry was just one sentence long. Another terrific super-short but fabulous entry was for the topic, 'Truth.'), a good portion of the blog is a continuing story. A terrific one that will draw you in so quickly that you’ll wait hungrily for each new episode.

You have to click through a warning that the blog contains adult content, but go ahead. Clickety-click. No naked Kardashians await you, but you will encounter some colorful language here and there. The blog isn’t for your kids, but I’ll bet you’re gonna dig it.


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Oh, and once again, I swiped my chosen blogger’s profile pic. Yada, yada, yada.

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Curiouser and Curiouser



Even for those lucky enough to live into the triple digits, life is short. One minute, you’re skipping off to kindergarten in a sailor dress and the next, you’re listening to your grandchildren tell you all about the fun they had in school that day. Whoosh! Boom-shaka-laka. O.L.D.

Believe me, I know this.

But that’s okay. The fact that life flies by and picks up speed along the way says that we’re enjoying the ride. We’re so busy playing and laughing and living that we forget to watch the clock, and that’s a good thing. You know those days at work when business is slow and it seems to take forever to get to five o’clock? Yep, me too. Blech. I much prefer the ones when the calls and emails and clients keep me hopping—when I’m pushed to learn something new or forced to figure out how to squeeze the juice out of every single minute.

Those days rock.

I might love the busy/challenging days, but what I’m really looking forward to is the day when I can toss the alarm clock into the trash for good. Job? What job?

Be still, my dreaming heart.

Will I keep busy once that magical day arrives? Yep. I might have known everything when I was 15, but almost 35 years later (man, that sounds like a freaking long time), I’m fully aware of all that I don’t know. Loads of stuff. A good chunk of it I’d be fine with never knowing, but there’s plenty that does interest me—enough to keep me entertained and learning for at least another five decades.

I like to be still, sometimes. I like quiet and introspection and the simple act of breathing. But as lovely as those things are, they’re not enough. I also need to learn and laugh and make a big ass of myself. There are questions to be asked and answers sought.

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but at least he didn’t die of boredom.


This is my kindergarten picture. My husband has carried a copy of it around in his wallet for three decades now, though I swear to you, I sometimes feel like it was taken just ten very fast minutes ago. Curiosity is a call to action and time is tick-tick-ticking away. Jump on opportunity when it presents itself and when it doesn't, don't be shy. Go chase it down.



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Written for this week’s GBE topic: “Curiosity.”

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GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #30: “CURIOSITY”



GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #30: “CURIOSITY”















As always, the guidelines are simple. Blog on this week’s prompt in any way you see fit. Once you’ve posted to wherever you normally blog, drop the URL to your post into the comment section below.

REMINDER: use the URL to your entry for this week’s specific topic post, NOT to your blog’s home page!

If you haven’t already done so, you are welcome to join GBE 2 at its main headquarters over on Facebook (We’re at 200 active members and we’re still growing!). Just visit GBE 2’s Facebook page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! :O)

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, and we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

That’s it! Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy!

You have until Saturday (12-17-11) to post your blog and leave your link…

Again, this week, our prompt is: CURIOSITY

Ready. Set. Blog!

Happy blogging!
Beth




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Silent Night



















The doorbell rang before Sam could get to it. She’d rearranged the furniture in her office so that her desk faced the picture window, giving her, she’d hoped, advance warning of visitors, but every now and then, she missed one. Dammit, she thought and hurried toward the door before they rang again. So far, Daniel hadn’t woken and after spending most of the night pacing with him, the last thing she needed was the bell to rouse her sleeping son.

“Yes?” she asked, looking down at the trio of girls on her doorstep.

The tallest one nodded to the others and before she could stop them, they began to sing. Sam waved her hands to hush them, but it was too late. Bars of light flickered across the baby monitor and Daniel’s raspy cry filled the room. Sam couldn’t hide her annoyance. “That’s just great. Thanks a lot,” she said as she shook her head and closed the door.

Sam’s legs ached as she climbed the steps to the nursery. Everything ached. The exhaustion of new motherhood had stolen every drop of her holiday spirit and she wondered how her own mother had handled raising four children. In less than two months, her one was wearing her out.

As she opened the door and stepped inside the soft blue room, Sam looked at her son, his arms and legs thrust stiffly and his face red from crying. She reached for him, drew him to her chest, and ran her finger gently down the side of his cheek. Daniel looked up and blinked, then closed his eyes. Quiet. She kissed his forehead and smiled, suddenly knowing how her mother had managed. She lowered herself into the rocking chair and looked out the window just as the snow began to fall.


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Written for this week’s Red Writing Hood prompt: a story in fewer than 300 words that begins, “The doorbell rang,” and ends with “snow began to fall.”

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Meet the Bloggers: My Distant Husband












Do you remember these song lyrics?

Make New Friends

Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.

A circle is round,
it has no end.
That's how long,
I will be your friend.

A fire burns bright,
it warms the heart.
We've been friends,
from the very start.

You have one hand,
I have the other.
Put them together,
We have each other.

Silver is precious,
Gold is too.
I am precious,
and so are you.

You help me,
and I'll help you
and together
we will see it through.

The sky is blue
The Earth is green
I can help
to keep it clean

Across the land
Across the sea
Friends forever
We will always be

Corny? Absofreakinglutely. Still, it kind of speaks to me, probably because my extreme and apparently incurable case of dorkitis. I am, after all, the leader of the Nerd nation.

Anyway, that silver and gold, make new friends and keep the old thing is exactly why I love spotlighting a favorite blog/blogger every week on my Meet the Bloggers posts, especially when you combine those lyrics with these:

The More We Get Together

The more we get together,
Together, together,
The more we get together,
The happier we'll be.

‘Cause my friends are your friends,
And your friends are my friends.
The more we get together,
The happier we'll be.

I know what you’re thinking. Can she get any cooler? And the answer is no, it’s impossible to be any cooler than this. I have reached the apex of uber-coolness. ;O)

I’m lucky. I have lots of blessings, but the most precious (and amazing!) is that I seem to attract the most wonderful people into my life. I have no idea why or how; I’m just glad that I do. And because I think you guys are spectacular, I want all of you to have the opportunity to get to know one another.

Anyway, enough of all that. It’s time to introduce this week’s featured blog/blogger, danneromero, who pens My Distant Husband. This is what her profile says about her:

“My husband moved to Arkansas. I live in California. We are completely committed to making our relationship thrive, to ensure we will be holding hands all along this journey. Our 3 children hang on to our coat-tails, knowing they can depend on us.”

That information alone has to earn her some serious kudos, but if you read a little bit of her blog, I promise you’ll be even more impressed. This woman can blog with the best of ‘em. Her posts are snippets of her life, presented as little scenarios complete with dialogue. They are neat and concise, filled with wisdom and heart. Her goodness shines brightly, though she never specifically spotlights it. Instead, she tells little stories. Stories of everyday happenings. And we all know that our lives, characters, and strengths are built (and revealed!) one moment, one decision at a time.

Hers are good moments.


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Photo stolen (Shamelessly! I'm starting to make a habit out of doing this...) from the profile page of today's featured blogger.

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Almost Wordless Wednesday






Okay, there are a few words. Mine will have to be "Almost-Wordless Wednesday."

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Me, Me, Me

Who doesn’t like talking about themselves? Nobody! That’s who! So when Suzy bestowed upon me the Tell Me about Yourself Award, I said “Yippeee!” though I said it nice and quiet so as not to draw too much attention to myself ‘cause that’s me, a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. No, wait. That was Russia. I’m just your everyday attention whore unassuming blogger who appreciates the chance to share. Yeah, that’s it.

Anyway, to accept this award, I must tell you 7 things about myself and then pass the award on to 15 bloggers. First, the me, me, me stuff:

  1. When I was in high school, my nerdarific self was listed in a book that spotlighted the top 2% of all HS students in the country. Now, and for about the last three decades, when I say/do something that’s borderline idiotic, my husband raises one eyebrow, grins, and says, “Top two percent.”

  2. While I would have been thrilled no matter the gender of our newest grandchild, I have to say that I am ridiculously delighted that she’s a she. Do you know how much more fun it is to buy clothes for a girl than for a boy?

  3. I think it’s more fun to buy girls’ toys, too. When our kids were growing up and I’d shop for them, I’d go down the aisles of girls’ toys and have trouble deciding what to buy because the whole thing looked like a fest-o-rama of bliss and I had a limited number of dollars to spend. I’d round the corner into the aisles of stuff marketed for boys and have trouble deciding what to buy because it all looked pretty lame. I’m still that way.

    Seriously, how many pretend dump trucks and sports cars and fire trucks and helicopters and police cruisers and cement mixers does one kid need? If I were choosing by what looks like fun, I’d say zero.

  4. I lost five pounds somewhere between the treadmill and the elliptical machine. Don’t worry, though. I’ll probably find them hiding in the Christmas cookies.

  5. I didn't realize that I had somehow failed to write anything in this part until I previewed the post and it showed: 5. then nada. Oops. Okay, quickie random something about me. Um. I'm thinking of Christmas cookies now. I might want to get baking because while Oreos are fabdillyicious, I'm not sure pouring a package of them onto a platter would really delight my holiday guests.

  6. I went into Walmart the other day. If you know me at all, you know how I feel about Walmart. One of my hubby’s coworkers told him how much he pays for blood sugar test strips at Walmart, though, and as much as I hate everything about the place, we parked the car down there rather than at the other end of the strip mall where the much more pleasant Target is and saved a bundle.

  7. On the way through the store to the aisle with the test strips, I walked past a rack of bicycles and spotted one that really, really spoke to me. It’s a retro Schwinn cruiser and I can’t tell you how quickly I fell in love. Mad love.

    I jotted down the model name and Googled it when we got home because as much as I’d lovity-love-love to tool around on that puppy in the spring, I didn’t want to buy it from Walmart. Turns out that model is a Walmart exclusive.

    Dammit.

    I still want it, but I really hate the idea of giving my moolah (life-saving diagnostic cheapies aside) to that company. I’m half-hoping that one of the daycare parents gives me a Walmart gift card for Christmas so that I can get the bike and not feel dirty. Yes, I know, but please don’t judge.

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And now for my awardee picks. I’m choosing people who not only blog well, but who are uber-fascinating human beings, so their 7 facts might just be really juicy tidbits. Fingers crossed.

  1. Jane
  2. Frances
  3. Kelly
  4. Malcolm
  5. Michael
  6. Chelsea
  7. Sylvie
  8. Lee
  9. Christina
  10. Theresa
  11. S. Stauss
  12. The M Half
  13. Angelia
  14. Masked Mom
  15. Julie

Shine on, you crazy bloggers.



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The Christmas Letter

The letter arrived in today’s mail. She sends one every year, and unlike the handful of others we find tucked into Christmas cards, this one is always a genuine treat.

I looked at the photo first. The kids look so big. They’re teenagers now, and though we haven’t seen them in ages, I feel like I know them still. That’s due, in great part, to their mother’s annual Christmas letter.

Let me go on the record as saying that usually, I hate those things. Smack dab in the middle of the (cue the choir of angels, please) most blessed time of the year when goodness and light supposedly prevail, lots and lots of people sit down in front of their computers, type up a huge pack of lies about the fabulous year they had, print out eleventy-hundred copies, tuck them into their holiday cards, and then mail them off to everyone they’ve ever met.

Blech.

We got one last year from a friend who wrote the following in her Christmas letter (I’m paraphrasing, but the facts haven’t been even a teeny bit altered): “David and I went to Paris in June and had such a wonderful time. Getting away for a few weeks and spending that time together in such a beautiful place was rejuvenating for both body and soul. We’ve already booked our stay at the same place for next year!”

I know this woman in more than the once-a-year-catch-up-Christmas-letter kind of way, so I can tell you that what she said is true. She and her husband spent two weeks in Paris the previous June.

Paris-freaking-Illinois.

I think that if someone is going to, um, fancy-up the facts with layers and layers of tulle and sequins, they might want to send letters only to folks who don’t meet them for coffee on a regular basis because after reading one of those fib-fests, it’s impossible not to second-guess everything they say. Maybe just mail them off to the folks in the old neighborhood who swore they’d never amount to anything—certainly not someone who gets to spend a few weeks in Paris every June—and call it a day.

Oh, wait! I have an idea. How about just telling the truth?

Today’s letter was an honest one. Hers always is. She includes the good stuff, the great stuff, and enough about the struggles and challenges to make reading feel a bit like a visit. Like a hug.

Over the years, her letter has covered her husband’s career, complete with the typical hitches, her effort to balance work and family, and whatever craziness that the kids have gotten into. Her children are doing well, and she certainly highlights their achievements, but their Christmas letter never comes across as a giant brag-o-rama. Instead, her warmth, humor, and honesty beckon you in to sit, share, and know that you are loved.

This year, she shared a few things that I’ve never seen mentioned before in these types of letters—even in theirs. Talk of serious struggles and a plea for prayers. Raw, naked honesty. She signed it as she always does, with love and well-wishes and a hope that all are blessed with peace and prosperity. And because she was truthful and revealed their current vulnerability, I’m guessing that this afternoon, hundreds of people did just what I did when they read. They quieted, prayed, and enveloped her and her family with love.

Love is real and powerful, but it does require one thing. Love requires truth.


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Written for this week’s GBE topic: Truth.

Photo courtesy of Morgue File, which offers lots of wonderful, free images for public usage.

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GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #29: “TRUTH”





GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #29: “TRUTH”













As always, the guidelines are simple. Blog on this week’s prompt in any way you see fit. Once you’ve posted to wherever you normally blog, drop the URL to your post into the comment section below.

REMINDER: use the URL to your entry for this week’s specific topic post, NOT to your blog’s home page!

If you haven’t already done so, you are welcome to join GBE 2 at its main headquarters over on Facebook (We’re at 200 active members and we’re still growing!). Just visit GBE 2’s Facebook page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! :O)

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, and we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

That’s it! Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy!

You have until Saturday (12-10-11) to post your blog and leave your link…

Again, this week, our prompt is: TRUTH

Ready. Set. Blog!

Happy blogging!
Beth


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Looking Forward



Jane, who really is infinitely wise, is participating in an interesting challenge that I’m too lazy and overcommitted to join in on, but her post intrigued me, so I’ve decided to swipe the idea blog on this one part. Here’s what I saw that got my attention:

One Word. Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you?

Cool, right? I thought so, too.

So, 2011. For me, 2011’s word would be acceptance. Over this past year, I grew to accept a loss that is over two years old. It’s permanent. I get that and I’m okay with it. Finally.

I’ve also accepted that although I can prod and pray, I cannot make anyone else look out for their health, even if the consequences can be serious. Even if they prove to be deadly. That one’s not easy, but it’s true, and I’m a realist.

Finally, 2011 taught me to accept that I can do lots of things, but I can’t do everything. So I reshuffled the cards, tossed some into the pile, and am playing my best hand. It feels good.

Farewell, 2011. You’ve been good to me and helped me grow. I’ll remember you fondly.


Now for 2012. My word for this new year is achievement. This is going to be my year because I am going to make it my year. Just that simple.

I am going to get fit. Strong. Physically powerful. The goal isn’t to wear a certain size or weigh in at some magical number, it is to challenge my body and give it the gift of care. For most of my life, barring these past few years when hormones and stress piled on more pounds that I’m comfortable with, my size and weight have been perfectly fine, but I have never been truly fit. This year, that will change.

In 2012, my address will likely change, too. We’ve set a goal to leave the city and move somewhere slower, cleaner, and less expensive. A place where the trees outnumber the cars and you probably can’t get a decent pizza. By this time next year, I hope to be settled in this new place, but if not, we’ll at least have defined the goal and have the bulk of our stuff packed and ready to go.

Finally, 2012 will bring me a book contract. Let me rephrase that. It won’t bring it to me…I’m going to go get it. I’ve got a handful of short stories slated for publication in a few multi-authored books, and while I’m truly excited about them, I want more. I want one that’s just mine. And I’ll chase it down in 2012.

How about you? If you were to assign just one word each to your 2011 and 2012, what would you choose?


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Makin' a List, Checkin' it Twice

It started with an email. The same friend who organizes a twice-yearly wish list exchange for the sole purpose of helping her husband to choose gifts that she’ll like for Christmas and her birthday, sent it out about the time we were both turning 40. The idea was to make a list of all the things—from ordinary to life-changing—that we wanted to do before we went to live in the clouds with harp-playing angels.

She suggested a long list—100 entries—so that there’d be lots to choose from and not all of it would be the stuff that requires a chunk of time, money, or both. She also thought it should be a ‘living’ document, always evolving to reflect every new desire.

A small group of us got to work on our bucket lists (this was a fistful of years before the movie came out and made the activity trendy, so we didn’t have a cool name for them) and agreed to share so that we’d be more likely to both fill them out and start working on getting the stuff done. Within a few months of the exchange, everyone had checked a few things off their lists. My friend painted a room in her house purple, something she’d begged to do as a kid, but had been denied. Afterward, she said she loved her grapey home office and that even paying bills wasn’t all that unpleasant in a room so perfectly her.

My sister booked a trip to Alaska to visit a lifelong friend who’d moved there a few years before. They’d missed each other terribly and because of the bucket lists, they spent 10 days hanging out, laughing, and staying up half the night gabbing.

I checked a few items off my list, too. I ordered Chinese take-out and ate it straight from of the carton, like they do in the movies. I have to say that just as I’d suspected, it really does taste better that way. I also stole enough scraps of time to write my first novel. It was shit, but it was done.

There were things on my list that didn’t get done. Some lost their appeal and were erased, and a few others remain though almost exactly ten years have passed between that day and this. I’ve long wanted to full-out slap someone across the face, and doing so was on my list. Yes, I know, I’m a card-carrying pacifist, but seriously, when you see someone do that in a movie, doesn’t it stir a little something inside of you? No? Oh, um, well never mind then. Anyway, my husband, son, and son-in-law have all volunteered to let me give them a good crack, but I can’t seem to take them up on it. I’m just not a slap-someone kind of girl, though the fact that the idea appeals to me probably means that somewhere deep inside this nonviolent person lives a crazy, angry bitch who goes around taking her frustrations out on other people.

I might have over-thought that one a little. How unusual for me.

I’ve never rolled down the car window and sung “Bad boys, bad boys, what’cha gonna do? What’cha gonna do when they come for you?” at someone who’s been pulled over by a cop, either, though that was on my original list. What? You never think stuff like this?

Anyway, although my friend had hoped that we’d all maintain and tend our lists so that we’d live our lives in a never-ending bliss-fest, I haven’t. My list got tucked away and then tossed out. The idea is a sound one, though, and since it’s been a decade since I poured my wishes onto paper, I think it’s time to once again number a page from one to a hundred. After all, there are people to slap and speeders to taunt.


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Written for this week’s GBE topic, “Bucket List.” If you’d like to blog with us, just clickety-click. All are welcome!

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Meet the Bloggers: Simply Stephtee & Tacos and Toast



I don’t like to play favorites (that’s a filthy lie!), but this week, I’m spotlighting someone who, if I were the type to choose the folks I lovity-love-love most, would definitely head up the list. But like I said, I don’t like to play favorites, so my selection this week is completely random (oh, the lies, the terrible, terrible lies).

*the rest is the truth, I swear to blog*

Stephanie is a sweetheart. She’s whip-smart, funny as hell, kind to her core, and pretty cute, too. She’s got a way with words, to be sure, but what I admire more is that she’s got a way with people. Her decency shines through in everything she does, and because she’s real, she makes it easy for everyone to be themselves around her. The surface stuff doesn’t weird her out. I think her kids are very, very lucky people.

You know those people who are super cool and don’t seem to know it, which just makes them cooler? That’s Stephanie.

You’ll find her blogging at Simply Stephtee and Tacos and Toast.

What are you waiting for? Go. Clickety-click.


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Photo shamelessly stolen from Stephanie's fb page. Theft is okay if you state it right up front, right? It must be, or all those people who write stuff on their blogs like "Photo courtesy of Google Images" could be in big, big trouble if the actual photographers and graphic artists who own the work ever got wind of their flagrant abuse of both copyright law and the law of decency.

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