Saturday, July 22, 2017

To Market, To Market

#1 - If you can't fall asleep I'd like to offer a suggestion.  This suggestion requires 20 minutes.  I often don't follow this suggestion because I think, "I don't want to be up for another 20 minutes," but after an hour and a half last night, I turned on the light and did a mandala.  Here is what you do - make a big circle, doodle for 20 minutes, then give it a title.

Then turn off the light and see if you can sleep, as I said it took me an hour and a half last night to implement this policy, and I've only tried it for this purpose a few times, but it has never failed.

#2 - Another beautiful day at the farmer's market.  It seems our vendor numbers are a bit down this year, which isn't good, but the benefit is that it hasn't been stressful trying to fit everyone in.  So far, we've always easily had space, which is something that at times can be hard.

#3 - Today I had an interesting conversation with a co-worker whom I've never really clicked with.  It began with me asking how she ended up at the church she goes to.  It was refreshing to connect with her.

#4 - Some guy gave me a $5 token for the market a couple weeks back.  I wasn't sure if he was hitting on me or what and I was a little uncomfortable taking it.   I tried not to, but I still had it so today I used it to buy a strawberry popsicle.

#5 -  I forgot to grab a hair restraint this morning.  I almost always have a hair restraint on hand, and when it started to get hot and humid...I realized I could still put my baseball cap on and stick my hair through the hole on the back.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Water Fight

#1 - The completely unexpected and vibrant burst of laughter that erupted from my father based on the look my niece gave when she pulled the Old Maid from my cards.  I was not in a good space, but my father laughs so rarely that the sheer joy of it pulled me back into myself.

#2 - My niece and I had a water fight in the backyard.  It was super fun and my new practical swim top and shorts  were perfect for the activity.  She had the hose and I scooped buckets out of a little pool.  That open abandon was such a gift - I haven't had a water fight in years/decades.

#3 - Then I got to have some alone time talking with my sister in law about Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy - a book I was reading on recommendation from my couples counselor.  I was telling her about the Four Horseman which John Gottman found he could use to predict which marriages would succeed or fail.  The four Horsemen are:  Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness and Stonewalling.

#4 - Seeing how I was withdrawing (stonewalling) last night and how this led to a downward spiral and coming up with an idea to try in the future.  I don't think I can or should talk when I'm in that space.  But it may help if conversation ceases and I was simply touched.

#5 - I received a phone call from a guy tonight who was open and receptive to that previous idea.  And the love that was missing from his voice when we parted last night, had returned.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Staying Vulnerable

#1 -  "I was looking for this "Middle-Aged" quote on Pintrest and came across another one that just hit me hard:

"Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection."  Brene Brown

The word "staying" really hit me. My thought went to your comment on Tuesday, when you mentioned making a decision on Aug 30 to stay or go. The thought I got tangled in was "Why? Why would I sit here and do this work that I need and want to do with you just to walk away in a couple months?" Then I thought of all the other times that I guarded my vulnerability because I had such doubt and a floating imaginary date in front of me to Opt Out of our relationship. There is much more here for me to "see," I know. I just wanted to share this with you. 

Tammy - My intention is to stay vulnerable with and for you especially while we work through this. 

I love you.  I'll see you tonight."

#2 - We didn't have to meet tonight.  We are currently doing weekly counseling - with a professional counselor every other week and on our own (for monetary reasons) the other weeks.  This week we had already "done" our own counseling session, so we could/should have had the night off.  But I'd had a lot of time to think and write when I was on vacation earlier this month and had written a  couple angry letters.  The first of which I sent, and the second of which I still had.  I said we could take tonight off, but he wanted to meet to read that letter.

#3 - I had just finished swimming 20 laps in the "plant" (non-chlorinated) pool, and he met me there and set up a hammock in the tree and listened to what I'd written and we ended the night not wanting to go our separate ways.

#4 - I've been listening to Esther Perel's new podcast, "Where Should We Begin?"  In case you don't know Esther, Wikipedia describes her as, "a Belgian psychotherapist notable for exploring the tension between the need for security and the need for freedom in human relationships."  Her podcasts are actual counseling sessions, and even the ones that don't seem to relate to me at all, I'm finding have a lot to offer.  She echoes Brene Brown in her understanding of the difference between guilt and shame, how guilt is helpful but shame is not.  As she told one man in today's episode,

 "It's very hard to stay in the position of responsibility and guilt versus shame...But this is your practice, your relationship practice, is to be able to feel more guilt, because guilt is the responsibility toward another person."


#5 - And on a topic change, while talking to my 22 year old cousin on the phone today she said, "I love that you think what I have to say is important."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Old Friends



#1 - Someone asked Eckhart Tolle a question on YouTube to which I was really curious to hear his response. Right when he began to respond the video cut off. I switched back to the screen and instead of feeling frustration, I relaxed into the spinning icon. Then I looked out the window and saw the green leaves, the blue sky, the puffy white clouds. I didn't really need the answer. In a way I already had it. Then I reloaded the page, and the answer came.


#2 - I've known my friend Katie since we were 5. She grew up in my neighborhood, was in my class kindergarten to 4th grade, and was one of my best friends. In middle and high school we were not as close, but still friends. Since high school we've rarely seen each other. We are very different people, living in different parts of the country.  I've thought some about how that is a loss, meaning if I met her today I don't know if we would be friends and that would be a loss to me.  It seems the older I get the more my friends are "like" me and in some way that is a gift, but in other ways I miss out because differences are gifts too.

Anyway, she is in town this week visiting her parents. She asked to get together and wanted to go to our childhood pool. I said I'd be happy to if she wanted, but there is also this non-chlorinated pool that is free that we could try. "I want to go to the plant pool," she responded. So we met there today. I hadn't seen her or spoken with her in a couple years, and I haven't seen her children in 6. So it's been a while. She was her usual boisterous self, so different from me so I appreciate so much more. We briefly talked about my last year in between kids requests to, "Watch this," or "Listen to this." When she heard about my break-up in December she asked who was there for me. I told her and later she said,

"I'm so sad I wasn't there for you when all that stress was going on." I was really surprised by this because we haven't been close for years, but it was a touching gift.

"I'm sure there will be future stress," I responded.

"Ok. Let me know."

#3 - I'm super grateful to have the work flexibility to fit that in today. I originally suggested 4pm but that didn't work for her, so then I said 2pm, "I'll just work some more when I get back," and I did.

#4 - I invited her to come to my soccer game Sunday. She is actually the reason (or one of the reasons I think) I started playing soccer in 5th grade. We played together. It was a huge gift of a seed in my life that would bare fruit for years to come. Plus a woman who grew up in the house behind Katie is now also on my soccer team and a good friend of hers so it would be really fun if she could come.

#5 - "We had such a great time today. Thanks again. I always feel like we pick up exactly where we left off. Don't be a stranger now. Love ya, Katie"

I emailed my friend quick to see if it was ok to copy that email for my blog and she replied,

"Whatever you wanna do Tammy! I just love ya so much and always will."  Which made me tear up and reminded me of a quote from Mary Schmich who wrote an essay that became a spoken word piece in the late 90's by Baz Luhrmann, "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)", also known as "The Sunscreen Song"


Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle

because the older you get
the more you need the people you knew when you were young

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Rooting Back In



#1 - I am super grateful to have had the opportunity to visit friends last week and to see the ocean briefly after nearly a decade. However, I am ALSO super grateful that my life rarely involves air travel. I find myself feeling extremely ungrounded/unrooted after a day at the airport and in planes. Last week I spent lots of time walking in woods to help with that, today I brought my computer outside so I could have my feet on the soil as I type.

#2 - My sister-in-law, niece and nephew picked me up from the airport and we went to the non-chlorinated (and free) swimming pool for their first time. My 2 year old nephew did not venture in far, but was still captivated by all the goings on around him. He especially liked watching some older kids jumping in and kept blocking the ladder for them to climb back out.

#3 & 4 - I planned to make a quick grocery stop on the way home, that didn't happen, but my sister-in-law had some leftovers from a party this weekend so she sent me home with at least a couple meals. We also stopped to check on a friend's affectionate cat while he is gone. My niece had a great time petting him and carrying him around. My nephew yelled in fear whenever the cat came too near, but still enjoyed keeping an eye on him.

#5 - There was a storm while I was gone and it is interesting to see the damage, or lack of damage to plants. The rhubarb looks shot up, the raspberries look fine. Of the three tomato plants (which is my most important garden item) - one looks untouched, one looks ok but sad, the third doesn't look good, but I won't give up on it yet.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Owning Our Story

*Something I could not see (because it was beneath a blanket) came into my room and delivered the artwork pictured below.




*"One of the greatest casualties of invulnerability is this - empathy." - Brene Brown




*"Blame is simply the discharging of discomfort and pain. It has an inverse relationship with accountability. Meaning, that people who blame a lot, seldom have the tenacity and grit to actually hold people accountable, because we expend all of our energy raging for 15 seconds and figuring out whose fault something is. Accountability, by definition, is a vulnerable process. It means me calling you and saying, 'Hey, my feelings were really hurt about this...nananana'..and talking. It's not blaming.

Blaming is simply a way that we discharge anger. Which is really hard. And blaming is very corrosive in relationships and it is one of the reasons we miss our opportunities for empathy. Because when something happens and we're hearing a story, we are not really listening." - Brene Brown









*"We can't orphan our stories. Because the only way we can change our story and have control over the ending, is to own it, you know. And so to me this is about shame resilience. One of the elements of shame resilience is asking for what you need...I ask for what I need, and that is inherently vulnerable. But I think if you love someone and you've got a struggle that you're not getting a response back to, then it is incumbent upon you to reach out and say, 'I love you, here's what I need from you, and here's what it looks like." - Brene Brown



This last one reminds me of a walk I took a couple months ago with a friend. I had just discovered some devastating news and I wasn't even going to bring it up. It was too fresh and we were just taking a quick walk during her lunch break. But pretty quickly into the walk I said, "I wasn't going to even mention this because I am barely processing it myself. It feels very vulnerable, so I really need zero judgement about this."

"Ok, no judgment, I got it," she said and then she followed through. She gave me exactly what I asked for and what I needed in a way that I've rarely felt. Was it because she was so perceptive in that moment or was it because I so specifically told her what would help? Either way I felt immensely grateful. She and I have another walk planned after I bring my niece home tonight.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fort Ridgely



#1 - My niece spent the weekend camping with me. The temperature hovered somewhere around 45 degrees (7 Celcius) and I don't think I heard her complain all weekend!

Actually her first complaint came when I told her one of the first things we were going to do when we got back was to take a bath and make sure we didn't pick up any ticks. She wanted to wait until she got to her house to take a bath.

#2 - I would not have gone camping this weekend. If it was a solo trip I would have just adjusted my schedule because of the cold rainy weather. If I was bringing kids I would have been even less likely. I was pretty sure my friend (and her friend) would call during the week and ask if we should cancel and I didn't want to, but I also didn't want to convince them it would work/we'd have fun, because I was pretty skeptical.

I am so grateful that neither did they cancel, nor did they hint at canceling. Everyone had a great time. I was only cold briefly, and we were super fortunate that there was zero rain when we set up (most important part) and just the lightest of drizzles when we took down (second most important part).








#3 - We had enough warm/dry clothes. I never even used my down jacket that I brought and everyone (thanks to some sleeping bags we borrowed) stayed warm at night. My friend even said she preferred sleeping in these temps as opposed to the hot summer nights.


#4 - Throwing "Pooh sticks" after "Winnie the Pooh" over the side of a bridge into the creek and then running to the other side to see whose stick goes the fastest/farthest.

(I didn't mention it's called "Pooh sticks" because of certain children who are slightly obsessed with poop.)






#5 - My friend's 7 year old reading The Diary of a Wimpy Kid to my 5 year old niece in the back seat of a dry car, while she ate lunch, and I packed up our wet tent.