The Blog

What fills you with hope?
December 17, 2018

little KatieYou live long enough, you’ll probably having at least a fleeting moment where you question the wisdom of bringing children into this crazy, messed-up world. I can’t remember what inspired that fleeting moment in me, but I’ll never forget a friend’s response: “Yeah, but your kid might be the one with the answer.”

Isn’t that a beauty?

A child is like tomorrow. Another chance to get it right.

I heard from a reader the other day. Or maybe it was a listener. It was difficult to tell from the message.

He wasn’t, shall we say, a fan. It isn’t a woman’s place, he said, to do the kind of work I’m doing -- and the proof was in the Bible. Then he called me a bad name.

I laughed. I deleted it. And that would’ve been it, had my site not copied me on the automated reply the man got. It was short, sweet, breezy. “Thank you for writing!” or whatever.

Not a bad way to deal with haters, eh?

It reminded me what a controversial but popular radio personality once said. It went something like, “The people who love me listen to me for two hours a day. The people who hate me listen for four hours.”

Is it on the calendar?
December 15, 2018

From flossing to dusting to getting the oil changed, there’s a designated time of the day or day of the week or month of the year I’ve decided it’s going to happen.

If not, it’s a struggle. When do I eat those frogs?

You might find it as helpful as I have, to give whatever you dread its own special place on the calendar. Otherwise the nagging feeling -- that you haven’t dealt with something enough to even decide when to deal with it -- might sour any fun you’d have otherwise.

Life’s a slog sometimes. You can make it worse by pretending it isn’t!

“You could tell him (X),” Darrell said. With “X” being one reason I wasn’t interested in what my colleague was offering.

It was one reason, but it wasn’t the main reason -- and pretending it had much to do with the real reason was just delaying the inevitable.

In the time it took to turn away from Darrell and face my screen, the words flew through my fingertips and into my eMail reply. I was sweet, I was gentle, and I was unwavering.

Which my friend respected. We’d saved so much time by getting right to the point, and we’re better pals than ever.

Honesty isn’t always the best policy. Seeking out complete strangers to tell them the grocery store is no place for pajamas or curlers or even white socks with sandals? No. But admitting you aren’t interested in a project because the money isn’t right? That’s your right, and your colleague’s right to know.

Everybody wins.

Why bother to share?
December 13, 2018

When I was a kid I babysat seven brothers and sisters for a nickel an hour. A hundred hours of babysitting later, I had five dollars to spend however I wanted  -- and I was impressed by how much candy and gum it fetched me.

My parents, not so much. Make that, not at all. Make that, thinking of how not impressed they were still makes me wince. Which is why I never forgot the lesson, to save my hard-earned money for something that will last a bit longer than a summer afternoon.

new dollar signMany years later I wondered if this was also part of the reason I don’t talk money with people. It doesn’t matter how okay I am with my choices. There will always be the contingent who disapproves. Which is fine. Insisting we talk about it? I’m not sure what the point is. To keep score? That might be fun. If we’re playing Scrabble!

Otherwise? Even the IRS doesn’t care how much you spend on Milk Duds. I’m happy to afford you the same courtesy.

If you spend a lot of time in airports you might notice the same thing I have, that the happiest people have the least amount of luggage.

Don’t have to look far for the life lesson in that one!

How much time do you spend contemplating the meaning of life?

I can save you some!

Baby seals. That’s what Darrell told me it sounded like when baby Katie and I “talked.” He was enchanted.

baby Katie for the blogShe’d make those little noises babies do. I’d respond with roughly the same noises, a little softer or louder, depending -- and delivered with such gusto it was as if I not only understood what she was saying but found it the most fascinating thing I’d heard in my life.

Can you guess what happened next? Correct! She’d start in again, but with more confidence. I’d butt in, back off, whatever you’d do if you were actually speaking the same language.

We were engaged. We’d get louder and louder until we collapsed in so many giggles the heavens are still smiling at the thought.

Many years later I read how important this kind of thing is to the development of a baby’s brain.

Important, and instinctive. Right? Baby or no, meet a person where he is -- and proceed with exuberance.

Magic.