Friday, April 29, 2011

Where have all the girlfriends gone???

I remember not so long ago when my mother told me how hard it was to stay in touch with her girlfriends.

"Oh not me," I quipped. "They are a priority...and help me keep it real."

Then something happened...I started losing touch. Weekly lunch dates were downsized to maybe birthdays and Christmas. Wine tasting...can't remember the last time. And phone calls...I'm lucky to get the occasional text and then if I reply I usually misspell things.

Book club was hopeful. Once a month with a circle of intelligent women who may or may not have read the book but always had a good time. Then they started meeting on Thursdays and I was doomed to admire them virtually from afar as that is the crazy night spent shuttling to piano-dance-karate (that's even with my husband doing part of the driving).

My husband tells me to give myself a break, but the break would be a regular night out with my girlfriends. That said, my job is demanding including weeknight meetings. The kids, while older, seem to take more time with all their growing lists of school commitments and dates with their friends (16 and driving seems so far away for my elder child...but not soon enough). Then my husband and I need some downtime if not an occasional date (rare). Reading this, even I'm exhausted.

There is a book of late called "I don't know how she does it" about a working mom who tries to balance it all and it just doesn't work. Surprised?! Not really. But how to find that beloved balance? I know I am always envious of those moms who look totaly pulled together and fit, well rested, have pretty nails, are in the PTA and organizing auctions. I was not that gal.

But then it happened. I found out I was not alone in my longing for girlfriend time. My friend, we'll call her Barbie*, was telling me about her devoted life as a fastpitch Mom. Weekend tournments, practices, physical therapy sessions, and so forth round the clock for all three of her girls. Suddenly the lightbulb went off -- I was not alone!  How selfish I had been thinking it was "just me."

We all lead busy lives...maybe those of us with kids more so maybe not...but we have to remind ourselves that girlfriend time is precious and we should take what we can carve out when we can. It may not be as often as we'd like but when we do manage to fit each other in, the investment is priceless. So let's quit beating ourselves up for what we don't do with our girlfriends and celebrate the times we can text, chat, send a card, grab a lunch or more.

It may just have to last us a little longer...until next time.





Tuesday, April 26, 2011

GLEEK OUT!

My old friend Kelly used to watch American Idol before it was fashionable. I was baffled by her devotion to a TV show until I discovered GLEE!If you are unfamiliar with this Emmy-winning phenomenon, this weekly high school musical comedy with a message is not for the judgemental or close-minded. The main characters are a group of misfit, while sometimes stereotypical, teens who are in their school Glee Club at McKinley High somewhere in Ohio. http://www.fox.com/glee/about/. There is so much to love about the show even if the second season just quite doesn't have the authenticity of the first. After all, they are famous now...on I-tunes, on You Tube, on magazines everywhere and of course, the Emmys. What I truly love best about the show though is that both adults and kids can relate to it. Granted some of the themes are mature, but it has given me a golden opportunity to talk about things with my kids in a non-threatening environment (Oh NO! Here goes Mom again trying to talk about sex...). Boys kissing boys, Girls in love with girls. Boys and girls falling in and out of love. And the songs...I will never forget "Trouty Mouth!" Watch the show or google http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tizlKcSH1A.

Then again, sometimes nothing needs to be said. We just cry and laugh and sing and in the end we all got the same message...that everyone deserves respect, not a cherry slushy in the face. Oh, and that high school is really, really hard but we all survive and move on. Whether a pregnant prom queen wannabe, a dashing rapper in a wheelchair or a tone-deaf dancer, "we're all in this together," to quote a more innocent Disney high school musical theme song.

And Kurt and Burt...you are the father/son duo of the year even if you are....fictional. Thank you Tuesday nights and Hulu for keeping it real.






Sunday, April 24, 2011

I'm sorry Oprah

Getting a smart phone was not very smart...or so I'm learning. Choosing the Droid over an I-phone was stressful enough but more so is the constant nagging I have to check my email (work and personal), or my Facebook, or my texts many, MANY times a day.

My family makes fun of my texts as they are often in another language. Example: "On my way home" could come out like "I am a gnome." Or something.

My husband feels I'm becoming way to intimate with Mr. Blue. I think he's more annoyed with the song I put on for his calls: the sticky sweet addictive country hit, "Stuck on You" by Sugarland.

So this week I am vowing to put the phone aside more even though it is sort of my lifeline to my kids, my peeps and co-workers. The reason it has finally hit home is that I have caught myself texting while operating a motor vehicle which in my state is now illegal and well, just plain stupid. Oprah even says so and has a contract for folks to sign called "No Phone Zone."

I briefly tried to defend myself to my husband with, "Well I'm at a stoplight...does that really count." Yes, it does. It also counts that I have two young kids who will all too soon be drivers themselves and I don't want to set an example for them that could be fatal.

So good bye Mr. Blue. I'm  buddying up with Mr. Blue tooth in case of emergencies otherwise it will just have to wait until the car has come to a complete stop and ignition is off.

Life is just too short to be tied to a phone.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Still the one

"Which one do you like?" asked my husband of nearly 20 years as we surveyed the options before us.
I glanced over at him then paused, admiringly, flashing back to when we met during a summer internship in Ohio. His blonde hair was longer back then in his pre-engineering days. He was the carefree Californian guy who took me on my first camping trip and introduced me to Rush (and tolerated my Richard Marx and Madonna).

Back then, we were still young, carefree -- and poor. When he proposed on the lakefront at Northwestern the following summer, he didn't even have a ring (and I didn't care). Later, he sold one of his many beloved guitars to buy my small but shiny diamond engagement ring which up until now I have refused to trade up because it reminds me of where we came from when we first fell in love in the foothills of Kentucky. And I like taking trips abroad more than big rings.

Back to the question at hand, "Which one did I like?" I tried to focus. There were so many choices and price variations I was not sure it was going to be an easy decision, but something we would have to live with for at least another 10-15 years.

"They kind of all look the same," I answered, staring not at anniversary rings, but at dozens of white, beige and uber white toilet seats in the bathroom section of Lowe's. The only one that really stood out was a needlepoint design, pink and yellow butterfly pattern that any grandma would be proud to display to her guests before they lifted the lid. "That one is pretty," I teased half-jokingly.

We finally agreed that the plain, white, $9.95 models would do just fine so we splurged and bought two.

From there we checked out sinks, dishwashers, lamps and finally...mailboxes. A snowplow had knocked down our mailbox a few snowstorms back and the little red flag no longer stayed up when we had mail to go out. It also had a large dent in the side. Small stuff I know, but it bugged me. I wondered if the postal carrier was annoyed too. I wanted a new mailbox.

"Gray or white?" my beloved asked. "We could also paint it."

"White...just plain white," I replied, standing on tip toe to reach the box.

"Are you sure you don't want the deluxe model?" he asked, reaching to get it down. "It's bigger..."

"This one is just fine," I said.

And it was.