Author Archives: Vent-Elated

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Being Blown Off? Take The Time To Find Out Why

I've missed you so much

I just reconnected with a friend that I haven’t seen in 10 years. It’s shocking to me that it has been that long. We were close friends in college but as life, kids and marriages took over, getting together got harder and harder.

The rest of my roomies and I would try to get her to come to girls’ weekends over the years but she could never make it and what seemed to be a dismissal of the worthwhileness of the weekend left me bummed out and frustrated.  How could she not want to get together?  Why doesn’t she want to hang out with us?  Unfortunately, a funeral brought us back together but seeing her again brought back so many fun memories and I realized how much I have missed her.

Here are my recommendations for handling a friend that you feel has been blowing you off for a long time:

1.  Stop being pissed and flat out ask her why she never shows up. Don’t assume she just doesn’t want to be a part of the group.  It turns out my friend was traveling for work so much that she felt guilty not staying home with her kids when she wasn’t working- but I never once took the time to say, “What’s really up with you? Why aren’t you coming with us?” Pick up the phone and really connect.

2.  Welcome her back with open arms like you haven’t missed a beat. Don’t dwell on the absence. If she finally shows up be excited to see her and remember how close you once were. Hug her with open arms. I’ll admit, I made a snide remark “who’s fault is it that we haven’t seen each other?” and she took the blame, but that wasn’t the place where I should have said something.  She was happy to see me and I was happy to see her.

3.  Take the time to catch up on her life. This will give you more insight into why she hasn’t gone on your girls’ trips or attended events that are important to you.  I found out so much about my friend.  She has had some major health issues, struggled with one of her kids, has so much going on work wise –  all this information added a whole new perspective to what I thought was going on.

If you truly feel that your friendship wasn’t that great to begin with or your friend is just blowing you off because she wants nothing to do with you, then let her go.  But usually there is more to the story and you shouldn’t wait 10 years to hear it.

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Purple Rain

Purple ribbons

Today I had to attend a funeral for a child – one of my closest friends’ daughters. The wake and funeral lived up to the expectations that you would have of such an event – tragic, heartbreaking, devastating, sad, overwhelming and horrifying.  We were all overcome by bouts of intense emotion and sadness and I worry that my dear friend will never be the same again.

One ray of light that shone over the services was not only the amazing support from friends and family but also the incredible support from the community.

On a girls’ trip a few months ago my friend said, “We have lived in our town for two years and I feel like I have to make more of an effort to connect with the parents. We still tend to hang out with our friends from our old neighborhood.” (Note: my friend is one of the sunniest and friendliest people on the planet.  Her idea of not connecting and mine are probably totally different, but this is how she was feeling about her assimilation into her new neighborhood.)

Well, if she honestly was not connecting with the community then I don’t know what happened because the whole town turned purple. Purple! Her daughter’s favorite color. Purple ribbons surrounded trees and lampposts. So much love and support for her daughter and the family. In addition, the neighborhood lit luminaries along the streets that my friend used to drive home from the wake. She was so touched and humbled by the love and support that she received not only from her community but also from so many people from different places in their lives.

Unfortunately, it takes an event like death to illuminate how truly special we are and that every interaction that we have with people every day leaves an impression. We all have more of an impact on others than we think and more shoulders to lean on in difficult times then we can imagine.

 

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I Could Never Live in a Tiny House

No way could I live in a Tiny House

My kids are fascinated with the show Tiny House Nation.  On the show people get a custom tiny house built for them by a builder and a designer.  The houses end up looking very cool with storage ingeniously built into every nook and cranny. The space is maximized to the nines. But my GOD, it is just not enough room to live harmoniously with other people.

Idealistic newlyweds on the show all want a tiny house.  Some are going to travel the country and don’t need the “stuff” that the rest of us do.  I can’t think of anything that would kill a marriage faster than living in a tiny house.  Oh your husband’s annoying you?  Too bad, there’s only one room so there’s no where to escape to. Just deal.  I’ve been married 20 years and the secret is that I can escape when I need to. Where the hell can you get your own space in a tiny house?? Maybe the bathroom, but since most only have one, that probably isn’t the case.

I’m all for less is more, and downsizing (I’ll admit, we have way too much stuff) but it would be impossible for my family of 5 to move into a tiny house.  On one episode, a family with 5 boys were all moving into a tiny house.  Granted, 2 of the boys were in college, but all 5 were put into one big loft bedroom – wonder how that’s going over right now?  The parents did build themselves their own bathroom – probably the smartest thing they did.

I do admire the people that can make tiny house living work.  They obviously are very patient, unmaterialistic, not claustrophobic and maybe just a tiny bit wacky.

The only way I’m living in a tiny house is if I build one in the backyard and the rest of my family stays in our regular house.  That may not be a bad idea.

What do you think?  Could you move into a tiny house with your partner or family?

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Really – There’s an Age Limit for Wearing Jeans?

There was an article on Yahoo the other day about a survey that was taken in England about what age people felt it was time to stop wearing jeans.

As an avid jeans wearer and lover of jeans I was very curious to find out what that age was and I was shocked by the answer. The median age from the survey was – wait for it . . .

53!

Now to a 20 or 30-year-old, 53 is probably the equivalent in their mind to age 100, but to someone in their late 40’s, 53 is not that far away and does NOT seem that old.

If you are wearing the same style of jeans that you wore when you were 18 and haven’t updated your look or the awful “mom” jean– then I agree, it is time to let those babies go.  But if you are staying current with the latest jeans styles and keep yourself together, I don’t see any reason why you can’t wear jeans until your 70’s.

The same holds true for the bikini.  Someone asked me whether or not I thought a woman who is 50 should wear a bikini.  I say if she feels good in it or has a great body – why not?  I see plenty of young girls wearing bikinis who should definitely NOT be.  There are two fitness instructors in my gym who recently turned 50 and they look fantastic.  I have seen one of them in a bikini and she ROCKS it!

People have preconceived notions about what people of a certain age look like and with exercise, healthy living, fillers, etc. women look better than ever and are shattering those stereotypes.  A “how to get a job over 40 webinar” that I watched recently said “talk about exercise with the employer so that they know you have enough energy to do the job.”  WHAT? My God, I have more energy than ever.  That cracked me up.  The stereotypical portrait of a 50-year-old really needs to be revised.

I for one, will not be retiring my jeans at 53.

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I heard this said on The View recently and it has become my new mantra:

Comparison is the thief of joy

Too many times we are perfectly happy with something until we compare it to what someone else has and our moment of happiness is gone. Robbed. Stolen. 

And for what?

Especially in the upcoming over-commercialized, pressure filled holiday season, we have to stop comparing and just be grateful for what we have. Living within your means is actually something to be really be envious of. 

 

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What The Hell Is Causing Holes In My Shirts?

Holes in t-shirts

For the past 5+ years or so I have been getting tiny holes in the bottom of my shirts. It looks a tiny animal took some bites out of my t-shirts. The holes are larger than pin holes and are kind of jagged around the edges. Old shirts, new shirts, no shirt is safe and the location is always on the bottom middle of the shirt. It is so frustrating because some of my t-shirts are really cute and more expensive than others and they are all getting ruined! I can’t afford to keep buying new shirts.

At first I thought it was my washing machine, and since it was old so I got a new one. Then I thought it was bugs in my closet but I washed everything, put down cedar blocks and still got the holes (how could bugs be chewing in the exact same spot on my shirt anyway?). I have been on numerous web forums and there is surprisingly a large population of people with the same problem. Some people were able to fix the issue and the cause of their holes have run the gamut from:

  • A snag on the granite countertop
  • Their seat belt was catching on shirts
  • Some claimed they did have bugs in their closets
  • The tab on their jeans was tearing a hole after rubbing against the counter top at  the sink

The other day I ordered a shirt online and it was brand new out of the bag. At the end of the day I had two holes in the bottom the shirt. What the hell? This confirms that the holes are not from bugs or the washing machine. The shirt came right out of a bag. I went and traced my steps throughout the day and looked at my seat belt again. No dice. There isn’t anything on the underside of the seat belt that would cause the holes by itself. Is my husband playing a sick joke on me? It’s truly maddening.

The only think I can think of is that the combination of wearing-jeans-with-a-t-shirt-while driving-while-wearing-a-seat-belt-is-rubbing-against-the-zipper-on-my-open-coat is somehow ripping the shirt. THIS IS INSANE! But honestly, I have no real clue. I mean, I do I really have to devote time out of my day to track all of my movements to figure this out? Does anyone have a new theory? I am DESPERATE for answers!  I am running around looking like a pauper with little stitches in the bottoms of my shirts.

Give me your suggestions!

Update 11/21/16:  THERE ARE STILL HOLES AT THE BOTTOM OF ALL OF MY SHIRTS.  That’s all I can really say about it.  Grrrrr.

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A Strong, Inspiring Battered Angel

Jane

At this age, it seems as if someone new is diagnosed with cancer everyday.  Relatives, friends, and neighbors are all in the fight of their lives, so worried about their children and what will happen to them if they can’t beat this disease. My father had prostate cancer in 2000, but luckily he was able to beat it and survive.  He removed the prostate and had radiation.  After 13 years he is still ok and I am so thankful.

My very close friend is in the fight of her life battling lung cancer (no, she is not a smoker) and never have I been so inspired by a person.  There have been so many ups, downs, steps forwards and backwards over the past year and yet she maintains this amazing strength.  I can’t say that I would be as strong in her position or that I would be able to be as positive.  She sent an update to a group of us recently and what follows is an excerpt from her email (with her permission).  I thought it was a great testament to her power and strength and I do believe it is what has kept her cancer from winning the battle this past year:

. . . as much as it scared me to death to take blood, getting blood was the difference between me wanting to stay in bed with no energy and being sick all day or get out into life and play with my kids, visit friends and visit my horse or walk my dog.  Prior to me getting cancer, I always thought about giving blood but was too busy or maybe a little too scared to deal with the needle.  But realizing just how much of an impact giving blood gives to someone’s life that you don’t even know gives strength and hope.  A gift of some unknown individual’s blood was the best gift I could have received at that time. I am so thankful for that one anonymous person with 0-blood decided to take time to give a few months back… they will never know but it changed my family’s life and I think of them every day.  Thanks to all who give when they can.

One little tidbit on the Taxol…it made me lose my hair.  So the hair came out and yes, it was a traumatic experience.  For anyone who has pulled the crappy Cancer Card and found a fistful of your hair in your hands in the shower, it is more than the hair.  It’s the constant reaffirmation in the mirror that you have cancer and you feel ugly and embarrassed but oddly enough, I have started to actually feel empowered with no hair.  I have saved $1200.00 in highlighting sessions at the salon and some more in hair products. Showers are a breeze and no hairdryer! And trust me, nobody wants to mess with a bald woman when standing in line at check out.  There ARE perks!

So back to the present…. last week I didn’t receive very welcoming news.  I had a brain MRI done this past weekend and I was told that there are 10 and possibly more new cancer spots in my brain.  When I heard the news I would have traded places with Sandra Bullock hovering in space disconnected from her space station and alone (Gravity). My mind going to a bad place thinking, “at least she has a chance.” The good news? I was told they are small and I have no symptoms or swelling, they feel the lesions moved to my brain during that time I had a change in my tumor growth in the lung back in November when I was on only maintenance drugs where a few “seeds” went up to my brain but now the tumor is reduced. They feel there aren’t any others at the present time because the chemo is working in the body.  The very good news?  There is something that can be done about it and it doesn’t sound pretty but let me repeat… SOMETHING CAN BE DONE AND THERE ARE OPTIONS.

. . . Is this all scary?  Absolutely!  But what are my choices?  I can choose to dwell on the fact that there is a new issue to deal with and cancer in my brain and what will become of my future OR I can choose to get up in the morning, put my feet firmly on the ground, rub my hands together and say to myself “today is going to be a great day.”  I am here today, how can I know what tomorrow brings?  I need to leave that to the universe.  Just like those mall signs always tell you “YOU ARE HERE”…. it is so true.  This is where we all are…here, at this point in time and it is the only time that we can control and make the most of what we have living in the moment.

If I look into the past, I am proud of the accomplishments and getting over so many hurdles… I know what I have outlined in front of me, but I cannot control completely and again leave to the universe. So for now, I work on now… this point in time and how I react to it.  So I admit there have been a lot of bumps in the road… potholes really to be honest.  The question is really, what can I do with this information that I receive about cancer spreading to my brain and dealing with chemotherapy every week?

A little story quickly, sorry… I unfortunately had to get my driver’s license renewed this year and as everyone woman knows, it’s not a fun experience.  Seeing yourself older in each photo every four years or so.  After an hour of waiting for my number to be called, I went to the desk and got my picture taken.  The woman then said to me in a very monotone voice when taking the picture,  “you can either choose to smile or not to smile.”  I found that an interesting comment and probably would have never thought much about that a few years ago, but being through cancer I know that I now have a choice, we all have a choice every day as to how we will tackle our day. It’s like Groundhog day – we are blessed with THE CHOICE to give an opportunity to have a good day or a bad day… “the best day ever” or not.  I quickly fished through my expired licenses and sure enough, I didn’t smile in some and no idea why.  So this time I smiled.  We are all human and of course it’s not possible all the time, but remember, we are given that chance every single day of our lives.  Maybe it is our test here on earth to see how we deal with these ups and downs….. I really don’t know but I feel like it’s something pretty significant that we should all be paying attention to.

So being honest here, I feel pretty beat up.  I have some bruises and lab track marks and steroid effects, a bald head to boot.  Plus MAJOR cafeteria arms from no use this winter – aaaah! My eyelashes are gone and the blood clots have  left me with some permanent visible veins in my chest and arms and the port isn’t so pretty.  But these are my battle wounds and I am still battling this war and not giving up. I just need war paint on my face to complete the outfit.

My friend Jill came up to visit me not too long and gave me a very small gift. The gift is Beautiful Battered Angel Statuean angel figurine that her grandmother bought in Europe and kept on a shelf.  Whenever Jill came over she admired this angel from all the others her grandmother had.  This one was special and “chosen” by Jill.  I was told that this angel originally had brightly colored gold wings and beautiful blonde hair, long eyelashes and colored lips.  The gown was in perfect form – all gold.  Her grandmother gave it to Jill years later to keep.  With a big move to Brigantine Jill packed the angel away in a box and placed it down below in their new beach home with some other things that would make their way into the house once situated.

Hurricane Sandy hit the town of Brigantine and floods took away memories for so many.  After the floods subsided, Jill found a bucket down below that didn’t float away.  In the bucket was salt water and gasoline that had been sitting there for over a month.. and inside the mess was the angel figure.  Her hair was not blonde anymore, a wing was broken leaving a big crack, the dress was no longer gold, her lips were not red and her eyelashes were washed away…but she survived the storm.

Jill found her to be more beautiful AFTER what the storm did to her and found her to be stronger and more meaningful than ever.  Jill gave her to me to remind me that through all this I can still feel beautiful knowing that I am here and surviving like this angel has done.  I believe I HAVE become a stronger human being and now she sits proudly with me in my home as a reminder when I feel less than strong.  Her head in humbleness for all who love her, one hand placed on her heart to show she survived the storm and one hand in what seems like prayer moving in forward direction. This is how I try and live my life and trust me the day may not go as planned but at least I start off every day putting two feet on the floor and saying “this is going to be a great day.”

Now if Jane can get up and say it’s going to be a great day, why can’t we all?  Seeing what she goes through every day, rounds and rounds of doctors appointments, shots, various treatments –has changed my life forever.  For everyone out there fighting to beat this terrible disease or any terrible disease, stay strong and believe in the positive power of the human spirit.  It can do amazing things.

Update:  11/21/16 – Jane lost her battle with lung cancer on March 3, 2015 about 2 years after she was diagnosed.  We were all devastated and she left a huge hole in all of our lives. 

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24 Hours Is All You Need To Reconnect

4 High School Friends

Just had a fabulous time with some friends from high school in NYC.  It has been five years since we all got together, and we wondered why it took us so long to organize another trip.  Are we really that busy that we can’t grab a quick 24 hours away from our families?  It’s sad that we forget to make time with girlfriends a priority in our lives.

My girls’ weekend was a much needed respite from the daily grind, a temporary escape from the things weighing on my mind lately.  I was reminded that everyone has problems.  Everyone has kids that have “issues,” injuries, drive you nuts, etc.  It was so refreshing to get a chance to vent, to tell stories, go out to lunch, shop and catch up on what is going on in my friends’ lives.  I have felt so alone with some of my struggles over the years and I didn’t have to be. I just needed to stop being afraid to reach out and be honest with people.

On our trip, we reminisced about high school, laughed about the stupid stuff that we did, teachers that we had, guys we dated.  We saw a show and had amazing seats (7th row) for Kinky Boots (a rare treat).  FABULOUS show!!  If over-the-top drag queens can’t put you in a good mood then nothing ever will 🙂

It was great to be around women that know me so well and still think that I am ok after knowing the good, the bad and really ugly.  The weekend lifted my spirits and gave me the strength to leave NYC and face my world again.

I highly recommend texting your friends and scheduling your next get together. Do it right now. It’s worth it.

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“Parents teach in the toughest school in the world — The School for Making People. You are the board of education, the principal, the classroom teacher, and the janitor….You are expected to be experts on all subjects pertaining to life and living….There are few schools to train you for your job, and there is no general agreement on the curriculum. You have to make it up yourself.

Your school has no holidays, no vacations, no unions, no automatic promotions or pay raises. You are on duty or at least on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for at least 18 years for each child you have. Besides that, you have to contend with an administration that has two leaders or bosses, whichever the case may be — and you know the traps two bosses can get into with each other. Within this context you carry on your people-making. I regard this as the hardest, most complicated, anxiety-ridden, sweat and blood producing job in the world.”  

– Virginia Satir, a leader in the family therapy field

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