Friday, October 12, 2012

Can you choose your family?

My Uncle Mike is sick.  He's had a tough week and, hopefully, will leave the hospital today and go home.  How is he related to you De? you might ask.  Well...he is related to me because we choose to be related.  There are no connections through blood or marriage - it is our choice.

I have a great family - people I am bound to by blood and by marriage.  I am also connected to people by blood I hope never to see again in this life.  I choose who gets a space in my circle and who doesn't.  It took me a long time to have the courage to evict some people and to open the space wider to bring others closer but that is part of growing up and it's worked out pretty well.  I share sister-like bonds with some of my cousins - ranging from 1st cousins to a third cousin and I love it.  I am very blessed to have them in my life.

I also have a tremendous circle of "family" with no biological or legal connection - we wish to be family and so we are.  For some, I don't recall a time when I didn't know them.  Sometimes, I share a close relationship with one or two siblings but not so much with others and that is fine. It is a choice - not a requirement.  In other cases, we've reconnected after many years apart.  Say what you will about social media, but it has brought me closer to some people than I might otherwise have been.

Having a circle of people I can love and who love me back is a wonderful thing.  Like all families I sometimes roll my eyes, scold, ignore (shun?) but then it passes and we're all back on track.  Last year I had two terrible losses in my family and was surrounded by so much love and support it didn't matter what roles anyone had - we came together to grieve and heal and they shared my losses with me.  I remember speaking at my aunt's memorial and when I looked around the room all I saw was family.

For anyone who believes the old adage that you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family - I say to you - look again.  Because you absolutely can choose your family.

Hurry home UncleMichaelHatch♥


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Memorable First Dates (good ones)

My cousin Maria writes a fun blog.  She's a fun person and I adore her.  Another time I'll share how she picked me up at at not one but two funerals.  In her blog she often references another blogger who helps with topics for writing.  I finally visited her today and found a topic.  MamaKat offers up inspirations to help you go - she publishes them on Tuesday and on Thursday you can add a link to what you've written and share on her blog (I think I have that right).  Today I saw an inspiration concerning a memorable first date.  I'm actually going to write about two.

I dated for so very long.  In the words of Charlotte from 'Sex in the City' ... "I've been dating since I was 15 - I'm exhausted".  That certainly summed it up for me.  I came late to the marriage game - marrying for the first time at age 47.  My husband was certainly well worth the (extremely long) wait.  I had given up more than once and had my share of meeting insane people, but the insane stuff can wait.  I'd like to share two really great dates.

The first would be the one where I met my husband.  January 19, 2009 - a snowy MLK day.  It was one of those meetings where I knew pretty much right away that I'd be marrying him (if he wanted to go out with me again).  I just knew it.  For years my friend Jane had wagged her finger at me saying "when you least expect it, it will happen".  Personally, I thought she was full of whatever but turns out she was completely right on.

So we met, bought a house in October 2009 and were married on April 9, 2011.  Overall we had to face some stupid obstacles but we were always on the same side of every problem, which has made our life together wonderful.  We laugh quite a bit and we enjoy spending whatever time together we can.  He has helped me to relax more and to try and worry embrace spin as a primary means of exercise and to make it a way of life rather than a chore.  I hope I have encouraged him to appreciate the value of laundry separated into proper groupings...expiration  I understand now what people mean when they say that someone else shares half of their soul - my husband has mine.

Weird as it may be and considering how many dates I went on when I was single, I can honestly say I only met one other person who left me with a positive and sweet memory.  Sure, there were people I met I thought were worth the effort, but they were not.  Not one of them.  One person, however, was.

It might have been 2002 - I wish I could remember exactly.  A friend of mine from work wanted me to meet her brother.  He did not live in New England but was visiting their family and she really wanted us to meet.  So we met.  And I liked him.  He was funny and smart and easy to be with.  We had fun.  My friend and her then-boyfriend, now-husband joined us and we all had a great night as I recall.  But he didn't live here.  And he didn't live close enough to make visiting easy.  And I wasn't as together as I could have been or brave enough or plugged into how few great chances we get to realize I should have tried it out.  I didn't.  We stayed in touch a bit but I couldn't bring myself to visit him.  I was afraid to leave my life here.  When I saw him at my friend's wedding I felt so sad we never connected.  But he was involved with someone and he was happy, so I was happy for him.  I hope he's still happy.

Relationships aren't easy but they don't need to be anywhere near as difficult as we make them.  Unless two rocket scientists are in a relationship, there's no rocket science involved.  In the timeless words of Bill & Ted - be excellent to each other.  It's nearly that simple.  

To anyone who wonders if a risk is worth it - I say - take it.  You'll never know otherwise.  Things may work out for the best, but they were going to work out for the best anyway.  Why not have fun along the way.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Calling Emily Post! Emily-Please report to me.

I have always secretly wished I could work with the Post family and spread the magic of good manners throughout the world.  Sadly, they have not yet needed me but I am hopeful that one day they will.

In the meanwhile, I wanted to share a fairly significant issue I have with bad manners.  I, along with many others, face this issue on a regular basis.  It concerns how woman, who on the outside seem nice, can turn into wild animals in the gym locker room. Because my experience is limited to the women's locker room, I can only speak of the women.

Today is Tuesday and I have been the gym twice this week.  Both times I was disgusted with how some women were behaving.

The locker room at my gym is separated into 3 locker areas, a hair drying/prep area, showers/steam room & bathroom.  The locker areas are my main concern.  The other areas are subject to the messy and completely rude behavior that all bathrooms & showers are subject to.  

A visual to help --> the lockers are upside down U-shaped - maybe 6 x 5 x 6.  Top & bottom  rows of lockers with a bench beneath on all 3 sides.

I have no expectation of privacy of course, but I would like to try to get out of my soaking wet jog bra and cycling shorts with at least a little dignity.  And I can't do that when:

*someone is sitting down right next to me checking messages, tying shoes, fiddling with crap that needs to go into her bag - all the while facing me - 1 foot away from me.  Get.  Out.  Of.  My.  Space.

*someone is standing next to me on the phone just shooting the breeze.  Is anyone bleeding or on fire?  No?  Then hang the BLEEP up.  Call them back in 4 minutes when you get into your car.

*someone is taking up six times the space allotted them.  The lockers are nicely sized, so you can open them and move in and out of them fairly comfortably.  But there's always someone who can't.  She must spread her crap out all along the bench making it impossible for anyone else to function unless they ask her to move her stuff.

*someone is naked and seems not to be able to get dressed until she's done a million things.  How about you just put on your foundation garments then start with the lotions and potions and whatnot, hmmmm?

I've learned to work around the person drying her hair wearing her pants and a towel - around her neck - and nothing else.  Whatever.  I walk around in bike shorts, you can dry your hair naked from the waist up.  I've learned to find a locker away from the 5 wet & icky towels someone left just sitting on the bench (in front of 3 lockers).  I've learned to ignore the debris left inside of some lockers and just move to another. 

What I can't ignore is how gross these people are.  And they're mean.  What they don't realize is that: other people are subject to their nasty behavior, and, that someone has to clean up after them.

If you're tired of rude behavior I say to you - throw the book at them (Emily Post's Etiquette).