Monday, June 19, 2017

A Little Empathy Goes A Long Way

Yesterday was Fathers Day here in the US. My father has been gone a good many years now. My kids father is no longer a prevalent part of my life and the Boy Scout is not a dad. So Fathers Day was just another day. 

We took a ride and ended up in two small towns; Arroyo Grande and San Luis Obispo. San Luis Obispo is home to a top ranking state university, California Polytechnic State University - San Luis and what is commonly referred to as Cal Poly.  San Luis is an adorable little college town with fun and funky shops and lots of good food. It was a nice day with some lovely sunshine and good company.

While on our excursion I got a couple of texts and found out that my girls were spending the day with their dad. Very sweet. They all went to church together and then spent some time down at the beach. It is, and has always been, one of his favorite places. So glad they got to spend some special time together.

For a few moments, after getting the texts, I got a little butt hurt. My Mothers Day had been a bummer....more because I was feeling down than anything else.....missing my Mom a ton, but it was bad just the same. And then, low and behold, I got this: 

and I was reminded that I have a choice about how I feel today and any day.

And then a kinda bright star when I realized, after getting this text, that I was proud, really proud, of myself. I rarely say this so I am loving the feeling. When my marriage blew up, and BLEW UP it did, I could have fostered bitterness and fear. I could have whispered horrific things in my kids ears about their father, but I did not. Once I got over the initial shock of all that had taken place the five of us worked together to come to a place of attempting to understand, of learning about Bi-Polar disorder and the behaviors that can go along with it. Together we learned how to place good boundaries, how to forgive and, above all, increase our level of empathy, allowing each of us to, in our own way, build a new relationship with a very broken man. The four of them may have gotten to where they are all on their own but I am glad that I didn't try to stand in the way. I didn't do it all perfectly but I did it well enough to be proud of myself.

Good enough!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Horse, Of Course.

Great news!

Remember our adoptive horses? The ones that lived along hole #5 on our golf course.  Well we found out that our horses are safe and sound. Moved to another area of the ranch. What a relief as we were fairly convinced they had been destroyed. 

These guys belong to Thacher School. It's a $60k a year high school that supplies a horse to every student. Perhaps our guys were taking a year off. 

I got in touch with the head of the schools "horse program", a cowboy named Cam, and he assured me that Whitey, Big Knee, Stumpy and Brownie 1-5 are doing well. 

Happy day indeed.  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

What Are You Wearing?

Laura.....she is like no one else I've ever met. An enigma, a bundle of energy, a bright star. This lady, who wears a perpetual smile, has had an amazing life with challenges and heartbreaks, but still she is the most grateful person I have ever met.

I met her through a golfing buddy. Laura had only golfed a few times but being an incredible athlete who, in college played soccer and softball, out golfed us all. Getting to know her was hard but only because she was so busy connecting to everyone around her that it was difficult to pin her cupping water in ones hands. She is a highly intelligent engineer and was once a CEO of a corporation. Approaching complete strangers, she hugs them, thanks them for whatever it is they might be doing, finds out their names (and remembers it), and wishes them an awesome day. If encountered again, they have become an old friend. My second encounter with her was a Catholic Charity event where I watched her give the aged priest his birthday spanks (she seriously spanked a priest).

How this captivating woman was created is beyond me. She has had some tough stuff. She was a rape victim, beaten within an inch of her life, only to watch the perpetrator receive a slap on the wrist. One of her 4 children has passed (but that is a story I know little about). She was hit by a drunk driver and remained in a coma for 6 weeks. Upon waking, she had to learn to walk and speak again. Her husband at the time used her condition to cheat her and their children out of a large amount of money. She has permanent brain damage, suffers small strokes, has seizures and is in constant pain.

She now spends the bulk of her time with athletes from the Special Olympics, promoting various charities, being a Mom with great boundaries, golfing and watching sports.  This year, after purchasing a home near her aging parents in Colorado, Laura is teaching the visually impaired to ski and acts as a guide.

I love this woman....but she exhausts me. One golf game (which can last 4 hours) and, WOW, I seriously need a nap. Of all her qualities, her ability to live in the moment and be grateful is the one I most aspire to.

It seems to me that so many other things fall into place when the cloak of grateful is spread across your shoulders. Are you wearing yours today?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Actions Not Words For Me

Have you ever read the book The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman?

It’s an interesting little book that, although fairly sugary and simplistic, has a great idea. Basically, it proposes the concept that you and your partner feel loved in one or a combination of 5 different ways and that figuring that out is the key to strong relationships.

Chapman has reduced love languages to:

  • Words of Affirmation: Expressing affection through spoken affection, praise, or appreciation.
  • Acts of Service: Actions, rather than words, are used to show and receive love.
  • Receiving Gifts: Gifting is symbolic of love and affection.
  • Quality Time: Expressing affection with undivided, undistracted attention.
  • Physical Touch: It can be sex or holding hands. With this love language, the speaker feels affection through physical touch.
Chapman suggests that you each do the hard work to figure which one makes you feel loved, express it to each other, and then work on “filling your partners love tank”. 

I’ve know for a very long time that my love language is acts of service. I feel loved when someone cares for me by taking care of my car, cooking me meals, surprising me with a clean house etc. I can remember holiday after holiday feeling disappointed and not knowing why. Flowers and jewelry mean very little to me, while a lovely note that actually expresses why I am loved, a surprise car wash or tune up or a house keeper for a month would have been a thrill. 

Often times we show others that we love them by doing what makes us feel loved. Instinctively it makes sense but ineffective unless your partners love language mimics your own. Interestingly, my Boy Scout loves gifts and physical touch. That’s not my go to but I want him to feel loved and so that is how I try to show it. It’s not hard….I do love the Boy Scout.

He too is figuring out what makes me feel loved and doing a pretty good job of it. Just days before, this pic would have shown knee high weeds end to end.

It's a gorgeous day here in Southern California. I'm feeling loved and am ready for an afternoon round of golf with some good friends. 

Hope your Tuesday is a good one.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Keep Your Enemies Close

I found the enemy and the enemy is me. Anyone else find the power-down button? An off switch? 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Pussy Grabbers Beware

It finally happened. I made the mistake of putting something slightly political on Facebook and a small explosion occurred. I've made it a personal policy to keep my FB free of politics except for hitting an occasional LIKE but I made the mistake of putting "Our President just shoved the Prime Minister of Montenegro" and BAM. Beware of those people who you have NOT unfriended because you did not want to insult them but blocked their posts so you did not have to interact. They are still seeing your stuff and, unfortunately, they can still respond. 

Sorry...I couldn't resist
Honestly, Trump behaved inappropriately and it was an embarrassment. This friend of a friend went off......I won't repeat all the nonsense she barfed up in addition to #fakenews and "anemic, pathetic former president" but I will say I exercised restraint and remained pretty happy. I deleted the post to stay true to my original commitment, made a statement letting others know why and I blocked that gal who is, perhaps, a little off. Done and done. I got a hold of my dearest friend Jill because I knew she would be the one to bare the brunt of this interaction. I was right...she had been inundated with calls and texts. All good there. 

Meanwhile, this is my fucking blog so sod off if you don't like what I have to say! Just kidding, I want to hear a well reasoned argument, I have to try to remain calm when it comes to PUSSY GRABBERS, woman haters, shallow minded ignoramuses but I will make an honest attempt (The Boy Scout is smiling right now as he knows that my attempts do not always produce good results).

On another note, I found this fairly amusing:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Angels In America - Part 2

Yesterday I got one of those phone calls that stops your heart for a few seconds. Child #4, whose nickname is Gigi, called and said, "Mama" and I knew....

Any of you that are parents know that with just a word or know something is very wrong. I wait patiently and listen while she tells me of her car accident ... everyone is one hurt badly. ~Breathe~

My thoughts race as I work my program and allow her her space to talk. I want to say “Come home, let me see you, I need to feel OK and right now I am scared", or better yet, "Where are you? I'll be right there." But I don't, I wait to be asked for advice, I don't question who is at fault. I praise my Higher Power that they were driving her boyfriend’s car and not the piece of junk that she drives around. I am assuming her car has airbags in front but I doubt it would have protected her like her boyfriend’s car did. They come home for a few minutes, deposit Dave, the dog, in our care, and go to the emergency room just to be safe. I don't insist on going and I was not I stayed home. My guess is they are both pretty sore today but I am GRATEFUL, grateful beyond words for today's technologies that keep us safe than ever.
Oh and the angel?  A little old guy in a Ford Focus walked up to my visibly upset girl and said, "Why don't I put your dog in my car while you wait?” She gave him wild Dave and when he came back she said, "I noticed you're limping too. Are you OK?" and he replies back with a smile, "I'm OK, it's been like that for a long time."

Ps. Hopefully the Mama in the Toyota Sequoia in front has been frightened enough to make sure that all the children in her car are secured properly next time. None of them were hurt but she got a tremendous scolding from one of the officers (not to mention, very likely, a HEFTY ticket).