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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ownership #2

GBE2 #23

Thinking about the prompt for GBE2 brought two entirely different thoughts to my wandering mind.  I wrote the first one yesterday about responsibility and taking ownership for your words and actions.  It's important if being a kind and compassionate human is something you seek, but this blog is more about owning something entirely different.

I own a lot of things, I guess.  Things that I enjoy, but don't really need and some things that I need, but don't really enjoy.  I suppose there are things that I need and enjoy using or owning.  Those are tangible things.  My life is easier because I have them or I am happier because I have them, maybe.  The important and vital things I own are not tangible, but my most precious possessions.

I own the heart of many people.  They own mine, as well.  It's a huge responsibility to own someone's love.  I have the power to cause them irrevocable pain, heartbreak that might even scar them for the remainder of their life.  They have the power to do the same to me and my life.  

Owning the affection of another human is warm, soothing, endearing and incredible.  Just hearing the voice of someone you love can automatically bring a smile.  Often it soothes your worst pain, somewhat.  Knowing that there are people out there who would take a bullet for me is incredulous and it is also awe inspiring.  I would step in front of a semi for any of my family.  I would give up everything tangible I own to know that anyone I love would be safe just by the act of my doing that.  

Guarding the person you love from hurt is not possible.  Life hurts sometimes.  No one has a completely pain free existence unless they just don't care about anyone or anything.  Then you can indeed live without emotional distress because without love there is no one who can hurt your heart.  They can make you angry and they can make you frustrated, but they can't hurt a heart they don't own.  And you cannot stop the pain to those you love because that is exactly why we have to suffer through pain.  In order to truly love and be loved we have to be open to the disappointments of other humans.  None of us is perfect.  We all have flaws and we all inadvertently or intentionally cause pain to people who have given us their heart.  It isn't our proudest moment, but it is living life.  Our goal is to limit those times by filtering our words through our brains before they fall out of our mouths.  It's a process for most of us.  For me, for sure.  My filter is very weak.  Thoughts form and almost immediately just spill out my lips.  Once out there, really hard to suck them back inside.  Okay, impossible.  I work on that a lot.

I know this one thing beyond doubt, I own many pieces of many hearts and my heart is owned by many others and this is the best and most difficult to manage thing that I own or allow others to own.  I am blessed and I thank God every day for all of these love bites.  

Life is good for me, right now.  It's had it's ups and downs over the years, but right now, it's pretty darned good.  Right now I feel like the heart pieces and love bites are all in a nice little peaceable and safe place.  I am not stressing or praying particularly hard for anyone or wondering what's next so considering the number of pieces I am holding, it's a good time.  I am praying for peace of mind and good health for all my heart pieces.

Ownership has it's privileges and also it's responsibilities.    So enjoy and protect.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011


GBE2 has prompted us with "Ownership" so here is my take on this one.  Please let me know if you stopped by ... a quick comment?

In a perfect world people would take ownership of their own actions and words.  That would make me a happy woman.  I can respect a person who makes a huge mistake, if they just own it.  Own it and either explain it or apologize for it, if there is no explaining.

I can hardly bare how much buck passing is done in this world.  No one wants to take responsibility for anything they have said or done and it's okay with so many people! I am just appalled at all the shoulder shrugging when someone causes harm to another and then blames everyone or everything except themselves.  Here it is, Bucko, plain and simply:  If you did it or said it, YOU did it or said it.  YOU need to own it.  Your parents didn't cause you to do it.  Your not having a job didn't cause you to do it.  Your emotional weakness may have caused it, but YOU own THAT, as well.

Please parents, can't we raise this next generation to say, "I said that because I wanted you to hear that."  Or "I did that and it was really wrong, I'm sorry."  "I don't have any idea why I did that, but I know it was a mistake."

Why is that out of the question?  It isn't just teenagers or elementary kids who do this, it's middle aged people who have lived long enough to learn all the places they can lay the blame.  It's all about every one and every thing in their past.  It's never just because they screwed up or had a stupid moment.  Sometimes it IS just because you had a stupid moment and, get this now, this is important:

   Sometimes you just do stupid things and sometimes you hurt someone by speaking    without the benefit of thinking first!

It is okay to admit it and move on.  I don't know anyone who hasn't ever done anything wrong or hurtful.  But I know a lot of people who never meant to.  I also know a lot of people who have never said they were sorry for anything.  I think that's a shame.  I think it's ridiculous.  "I'm sorry" will start the healing~ every time.  I have even been known to say, "I'm sorry that I'm so stupid sometimes."  Because you know what?  Sometimes I'm just stupid.  STOOPID.

A lot of serious problems within your own life would go away if you could just make yourself OWN everything you do.  Own everything you say and suddenly, you will find people hold you in a little higher esteem.  

Own your attributes and own your mistakes.  It's all human and it's all good.

You can't own people, but you can own their respect.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Safe Haven

Safe Haven
#22 GBE2

As people wander through their lives seeking success or happiness or fulfillment, they often also seek safe havens.  A place where one can just be comfortable and free from any fear or any pain.  Someplace sunny and bright on the gloomiest day.  

For some it's an actual place.  Maybe someplace in their own home or even the entire house.  Just a safe haven because it is their own piece of the rock, so to speak.  It is the one place in the world where every THING that they own is located.  No one outside of the family can claim that spot because it isn't really theirs.  Friends may come there for their own safe haven, if you're lucky.  You may be the kind of friend who's home offers the kind of comfort and peace that makes others want to be there in their time of need.  That might be the very reason it is your own safe haven, as well.  

For others it might be a place in their mind.  When life spins out of control and a safe haven is required or desired, perhaps just closing their eyes and mentally visiting a seaside or a woods or a particularly peaceful spot anywhere in the world can bring the safe haven to them.  A place where outsiders are not invited or welcomed.  I believe therapists often refer to this as "taking oneself to a happy place"  where whatever is happening in your real world can't touch you.

For many it's going home.  Home where they grew up or home as in, where their parents live.  Something about being with the people or person who gave you life makes one feel safer sometimes.  If the relationship is a good one, this can be the safest place on earth.  Who ever loves you more or better than the parent who has known you and loved you since before you arrived?  If you have that kind of parent in your life, you have a gift, one you should thank God for daily.  It isn't really all that common in this day and age.  Maybe it never was.

Safe Havens can be bars, restaurants or other gathering places where friends can be met or one can just sit and know they are among people who care about them.   Maybe your salon or your book store.  Any place that might be occupied by people who share your interests.

Whatever your safe haven is, I hope it works for you because I think we all need one.  I think we all need to hide away every now and again and just regroup ourselves.  Get our poop in a group, so to speak.  Or just forget about life in general and hang out.  I prefer solitude to handle these times, but I understand how others might prefer support of some sort for their sessions.  Regardless, at some point in everyone's life there must be a safe haven from pain, despair, disappointment, devastation and anything else that just overwhelms your spirit.  If it's never happened to you, I would guess you have never really loved or been loved. I would guess you have a lot of living left to experience and I hope into your life a small amount of rain falls so that when the rainbow appears, you take time to enjoy and appreciate it's beauty and rarity.

For me, a book to get lost in and a warm blanket to curl up in while wearing my p.j.'s and drinking my coffee will do just fine.  That's my safe haven.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Momma's Birthday

BFF 132

It is nearing this beautiful woman's 89th birthday.  Please allow me to introduce you to Dorothy Lee Reed Settle. She married Donald Settle in July of 1943 while he was serving in the U.S. Army based in Missouri.  She rode a train with a lot of soldiers from Steubenville, Ohio alone to meet her fiance and would do the same for the return trip as his wife.  Their wedding was the two of them, the official performing the service who was a Chaplin.  Don's friend would serve as best man and his wife would be the maid of honor.  Nothing fancy, no big wedding gown or party just the four of them out celebrating a bit following the ceremony.  It was just fine because she would be going home Mrs. Settle and he would be going overseas with a wife waiting for his return.  She would be waiting at his parents home.  That is where she would live until he was discharged.
They managed to raise 3 children together through some very difficult and trying times, somehow all 3 of them are reasonably well adjusted and fairly normal adults today. All 3 of them love their parents and were raised with a firm yet loving hand.  She was no push over and still isn't.  

The marriage lasted 35 years.  Dad passed away after a 7 week stay in the hospital.  For the first time in her life, she was alone.  She lived nearly an hour from her daughters; nearly 5 hours from her son and nearly 7 hours from her in-laws.  She had never written a check.  She had no idea how much or how little money she had. She knew what bills came in the mail, but had never paid one. Somehow, she found incredible strength and determination and while grieving and struggling with everything new, she learned and she did things she had never even tried. She became very capable and independent.  

She maintained a large 3 bedroom tri-level home on her limited income for the next 30+ years.  She did very well.  Her anchor for all of those years was a man I call our other brother Don.  He was a driver for the company where both Mom and Dad worked.  Dad was the manager and Mom was his assistant.  After Dad died,  Mom continued as the assistant for the next 3 managers the company brought in and Don continued to drive and befriend Mom.  Eventually Mom became the manager and he worked for her, too.  She retired from that job at 62 and he then became her social network.  He helped with things around the house or took her places she needed to go that were beyond her driving comfort area.  I did a good deal of this myself, but from almost an hour away, sometimes it was easier for him.  He lived just a few miles from her.  He was and remains a part of our family and there is no way to ever thank him for all he has been to her.

Two years ago she moved here.  Just two miles from me.  She has a beautiful apartment that she can clean on her own and she is very proud and happy here.  I am more than  happy to have her here.

Exactly one week after moving here she was driving home from having her hair done in my salon which was directly across the street from her apartment, when another car hit her broadside.  She didn't see it coming at all.  I really thought I had seen my mom die.  It looked horrid from my window.  I was watching to make sure she went in the right driveway.  I ran out and met her moments after she had been helped out of her car by a witness.  Bless her heart.  She was fine.  A bruise on her hand from something, but otherwise just totally shook to her quick.  The other driver was fine.  The car was totaled. Thank you God...she was okay.  Amazing.  The gal who helped her from the car worked at the complex where she lives and offered to take home, which was just the driveway length from where the accident happened and Mom assured me she was fine and I went back to work.  I took care of the details of the car and the insurance and whatever and then went back to her place to make sure she was okay.  She just needed to sit, she said.  Within the hour, she had decided she would not be driving anymore.  She told me she knew that was her warning to stop.  So I became her wheels.  She still has no desire to drive.

I know that she loves it here.  I see the stress of home ownership gone and all she sees now is someone else has to worry if her water isn't hot or her stove doesn't work.  She takes great pride in her home and it is beautiful. We bought all new furniture when she moved.  

This week-end is her birthday week-end and I startled her today when I mentioned that she would be 89 Sunday.  She was absolutely certain she was going to be 88.  She was a little mad at me for being right, but by the time I took her home, she was joking about it.  

I love this woman.  I mean I really am so blessed to have such a woman in my life. She sacrificed for all of us, but I am the baby and I think maybe she sacrificed more for me.  Maybe it was important that I have things that I thought I needed.  I don't know why, but I think it's true.  I like being the baby.  I like being her baby.

So wishing her the happiest birthday ever and continued good health.  I love you, Momma.


Momma...summer of 2011

The children...Jo, Mike & Pat

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tension Fills the House

Writer's Post #18


  Seeking peace in the midst of turmoil is a monumental task.  Mary Sue has been waiting for her life to just make sense for weeks now.  She has a new job opportunity and it means a lot more money and a lot more hours away from her sons and her devoted husband.  The job she has had for 3 years doesn't pay very well, but it affords her a consistent 30 hour schedule with paid holidays and no other benefits.  It has worked for them so far, but money is tight for them and the new job pays nearly double and has a full benefit package.  She has to make this decision very soon.  Her husband is of no help here.  He says it is her job and her decision, however, he will step up and do more to help if she wants to take the new job.

The new job will be challenging, the current job is not.  The new job will require a lot of work from home, the current job ends when she leaves the office.  The new job will mean occasional week-ends on the road for trade shows and she's never done that before.  It will also allow her to grow and learn a lot of new things.  Mary Sue needs to expand her horizons and this job is oh, so tempting.  She would be a great representative for the company and they would be good employers.  She knows another member of their sales force and he loves working with these people.  It sounds exactly right for her.

The problem is that her boys, aged 13 and 6 are Momma's boys.  They have spent so much time with her their entire lives that having her gone every evening until nearly their bedtime and not home for some of their important events, just feels like abandonment to her.  She keeps seeing all the times she won't be around for them and weighing that against having the money to assure they get to go to college.  What to do, what to do?

The tension in the house is so heavy that even the sun is having trouble getting in.  Mary Sue thinks she has blocked the sunlight with her indecisiveness.

David, the husband, has been trying to stay out of the equation, but he feels strongly that his wife needs to take this leap.  He feels the boys need to be less attached to her.  He feels he could fill a lot of the time she has been doing on her own with them and give them more of a male influence, but he also feels she has to want this job and be committed to making it work or it won't.  He knows her better than most anyone else, her mom being the exception, and he knows she is bored with her present job and basically just collecting a paycheck and performing mundane tasks to earn it.  Not what he wants for this intelligent and enthusiastic woman.  But he also wants her to make her own decision and just know that he is on her side, always.

The household has not been relaxed since the offer came to her.  Everyone seems on edge waiting to see what is or what is not going to change.  It will affect everyone who lives here.  It will change everyone's life in a rather large way if she takes this job.  It will affect her life, if she does or doesn't.

As she sets dinner on the table for the millionth time and calls her boys to eat, she suddenly realizes that the choice is not really a choice at all.  She sees it all like a sudden burst of sunshine in the midst of a horrid and raging storm.

"Boys, I have made a decision."  This stated as they each take their usual seat at the family dining table.  They all stop in their tracks and look in her direction.

"And...?"  It sounds like a rehearsed chorus.  All three of them speak absolutely harmoniously.

"I am taking the job.  I am going to start in two weeks and I am going to spread my wings! It is going to be very different for all of us, but I believe I have the best support system ever and I can do this.  You guys can do this."

That being said, she sat down and waited for their responses.

"I am completely on board.  I know this is exactly what you should do and the boys and I will pick up the slack around here, I promise."  David couldn't have been more pleased and more confident of his ability and the boys desire to please their mom.

"I guess it's cool.  I don't really see the big deal anyway."  Chad is 13 and not about to admit he's gonna miss seeing his mom in the kitchen everyday when he strolls in.  He's also aware he will have to be responsible for Matt.  Not a big deal; his brother is a pretty cool little kid.

"Okay with me Momma.  But we still get dinner, right?"  Matt always thinks of his belly first!

There is laughter in the air!

Amazingly the entire house seems to have just sighed.  The tension is gone.  The apprehension has dissolved. The sun can now get in through the previously shadowed windows.  It's a good feeling to breathe again.


Monday, October 10, 2011

BFF #131....I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

I do get by with a little help from my friends. My whole life has been about being a friend or needing a friend or wanting a friend or counting my friends.  You know, we are not so good alone.  There is so much to living in this world and functioning here while trying to maintain some degree of mental health and even just surviving day to day life, that a friend can be a necessity.  Some friends are related and some are people we have met somewhere by accident or incident along the way from birth to today.  I have very few close friends, but I have a lot of friends.  The kind I count on for "outside my life" contact are everywhere!  The local store owners and employees who help me obtain whatever material things or services that I need to be comfortable or safe or well fed.  The people who come when I call for service on something around our home.  They could come and take advantage of us or they might actually become friends.  Many have become friends over the years.  

Friends come in all sizes shapes and descriptions.  What a blessing that is.  I don't have to be the woman who has 2 friends and they all 3 look and act exactly alike.  I like when people think like me, because that's comfortable and  we seldom disagree.  That's very nice.  I also like friends who seldom agree, that's how I learn new ideas.  It makes me think my own perceptions through and maybe tweak them and maybe not. They challenge me and that's a good thing.  

When I am deep into my Sun Deprivation Depression it is my friends who help me out of it, temporarily.  I will slide back as soon as I go home to go to bed or they go home to go to their bed.  I can't stay out of the dark when it hits me and envelopes me, but I will jump out momentarily when my sister calls me to chat about stuff.  I will see the light for the time I am spending with Momma.  I'll be happy for a little bit while I have a nice dinner with my best bud.  While I am being hugged by my roomy I won't be thinking how miserable I am.  It's my friends who keep me out of the black for little windows of sunless sunshine daily.  I do get through my SDD with a little help from my friends.  I get a big hand up when roomy and I go seek the sun in March!  If we can't go, it's a little harder on him and well, everyone around me.  (sorry, guys)

And my online friends are always there.  Where else can you pour your heart out to someone you may never have seen or heard and get (((hugs))) and <3 and maybe even some wisdom to help you through a difficult time.  Oh, for certain, my online friends add a huge and important dimension to my life.  Again, I hope in some small way, I add something to theirs.

Oh yeah, I need my friends!  I hope they need ME, too.


Clarity...GBE2 Prompt for week #21


 Muddled minds live muddled lives.  I don't like disorder in my surroundings anymore than I like disorder in my mind.  Life seems to feed us just enough stuff to muddy our thinking sometimes.  We know just enough to toss things around inside our heads until we have a kind of tossed salad of ideas.  Trying to see all sides of a situation before making a decision is usually a good idea.  Planning before acting is usually a good idea.  We call this kind of thing thinking it through and making informed decisions then being prepared to overcome possible problems before they actually occur.  This is mature thinking and reasoning and for the most part, it's a good idea for all of us.

Do be aware, however, on the way to this mature way of handling everyday things in our lives, one can become a full blown hot mess.  It is easy to over think things and completely dirty up your brain.  Once you have entered all the information you think you need to make a decision or prepare for some action, you have all the positives and negatives in one place, namely your head.  It's full of info and plans and if you aren't diligent, it will end in a total meltdown.

Clarity comes when you enter all the information and then sit back and STOP THINKING.

Let the information mull around unattended.  It will amaze you how just letting go will sometimes put everything in perspective.  Oh, I don't believe we actually do this alone.  I believe God lends a hand.  I picture it as him waiting patiently for us to gather our info, load it into our brain and then when we press "save to folder", he reaches in and sorts it all out for us into completely formed ideas and plans and decisions.

It might not work for everyone, but for always works.

I do the prep work and I do the follow up work, but I leave the worrying part to Him.  I maintain mental clarity 99% of the time because that 1% is the mud I have to create to gather my sources into that one area where God can take over and lead me down the right road.

Let Go and Let God.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Writercize challenge for Sunday October 9, 2011
writercize:  A man stands on a ledge in the middle of a bridge, balanced just so that he doesn't fall.  There are witnesses positioned nearby.  He has closed his eyes for a moment and raised his head slightly to the sky.

What is his story?  Who is he and why is he there?
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It's colder than he thought it would be standing here  between life an death. Jumping is the only way. Hope is gone and pain is in the future either way.  Pain from the icy cold river below since November in Michigan does not permit warmth in it's running waters, or pain from the cancer that was just diagnosed, stage three and likely to take his life in a few months or less. 

Looking down and thinking back he remembers the years of partying and laughing and never thinking far enough ahead to imagine his life coming to this choice. He remembers the one and only true love of his life. Her hair smelled like flowers when his nose brushed into it. Her eyes sparkled every time she said his name.

She was gone now. She had left him years ago when he began to think drinking with the boys was far more fun than raising a family.  A family he hardly knew. Three children had been born to them and he never took the time to know them. When she left with them, he didn't even bother to track them down.

He was alone in this world and he was not willing to linger in a hospital alone for weeks or months under pain medication just to say he was alive.  He had made many bad decisions in his lifetime and this was not one of them.

He hung his head momentarily and then raised his eyes to God and whispered, "Forgive me, for I have sinned through my whole life. I have to believe now that this final sin will be forgiven, for God, it really is my only choice. Amen"

He let go of the handrail and leaned forward.

He didn't fall.  He barely moved. His belt had caught on the loosened screw of the handrail behind him.  Just as he tried to free himself to continue his fall, another pair of hands grabbed his shoulders and pulled him safely back onto the bridge.

He cried out loud and through his tears and sobs asked, "What are you doing? I don't want to live!"

He looked up then to see an illuminated face, the face of God. He then heard, "And I am not ready for you. Live. Maintain your balance for all the days of your life."

The face, the voice both gone now.  Complete and total silence. 

He began to walk and his mind began to clear. God was not ready for him and He had saved his sinner's soul. He would face whatever was ahead for him and cancer be damned, he would praise God for each breath he had left.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Writercize Challenge by Beth...My Entry

Okay Beth, I'm game!  Gonna give it a go...My entry in the Writercize challenge Beth issued today.

The marriage is over. They both were aware of it.
Walking away from 15 years is very hard indeed.
The house, car, all the stuff to divide.
No kids. Thank goodness. Just memories, lots.
She wiped her eyes, hugging him.
He hugged back. No tears.
Over and done, finally.
What comes next
For each~


One Day At A Time

One Day At A Time~

I was inspired to write about the one professional regret I have and this topic prompt is just right for that.

(*winks at Kathy*)

In the mid nineties I left the salon to work for a product company.  It was my favorite product line and the job to educate other hairdressers throughout Michigan on this great line just kind of jumped in my face.  I went after it.
I interviewed for the position and discovered that I had always hoped to end my hairdressing career doing exactly this job!  As I listened to the owner of the distribution center for all of Michigan and parts of Canada tell me all about what this position consisted of doing, I was totally aware that I was meant to have this job.  I would be as good for this company as they would be good for me.

I was offered the job on the spot at the conclusion of the interview with a compensation package I would never be able to earn as a hairdresser.  I was to take a couple of days to think it over and a couple of days to talk with my employer then give the owner a call and let him know IF and WHEN I wanted to start my training.

There was no IF in my mind.  I wanted this job.  I knew I would be very good at it with the proper training and I knew the man who would be doing the training was exactly the person I wanted to learn from.  He had been with this company since before it's inception.  He and the founder had been colleagues and friends for many years and he knew these products from a chemical point of view as well as from the marketing point of view.  I knew the inside outs of salon life and which products were beneficial and which were essential.  It was a match made in heaven or California.

Overview of the job~I traveled four days a week throughout the state teaching and motivating.  I did a little sales work here and there and I did paper work, follow ups, emails and scheduling from the office one day a week.  Weekends were free unless there was a show someplace.  I attended and worked every show where our product was offered or showcased.  I got to attend a seminar in Palm Springs when their new color line was being introduced and I got to officially join the National Educators Team.  It was a slice of heaven for this wannabe teacher and dyed in the wool hairdresser.  I loved this job!  My bosses were there for the final presentation, at which I had 2 models to show and I got extremely high praise for my professional and entertaining approach.  They were (Mr. & Mrs. Owner) very impressed with my knowledge and my work on the models.  They raved about how comfortable I was on stage and told me everyone was asking who I was and could they 'borrow' me for their introductions in their areas.  I was so pleased and so satisfied.

Jumping forward one year~I was hosting a workshop at corporate headquarters and Mr. Boss informed me that the sales managers would be sitting in, if I didn't mind. I really didn't mind and I had no real choice anyway.  He da Boss.

I assumed they were there because I had many of their clients in this workshop and they wanted to hear what the customers were hearing.

Not exactly the case.  They were 'ordered' there to 'critique' my workshop.  

Let me stop right here a minute.  Every workshop had questionnaires filled out by all attendees and I had seen every one of them.  I had a few negative comments about not giving away enough free product, not giving them enough discounts for attending and also one who said she thought I was very aggressive.  The other hundreds were about learning a lot, loving the hands on, liking the way I made learning fun and exciting and how they left not being able to wait for their next order to come in so they could get busy doing what we had learned at that workshop.  Seriously, excellent comments and many hundreds of them!

So...following the workshop and the departure of all the participants, the managers, Mrs. Boss and I all went to dinner.  Apparently Mr. Boss was busy or just didn't want to be part of the dinner or should I say roasting.  

We had a lovely dinner and Mrs. Boss ordered everyone an after-dinner drink.  While we were all enjoying that and discussing the workshop, she said something like, "Let's get down to business now.  First Manager, please tell Jo what your take on her presentation would be."

And the party turned ugly.  The three of them began tearing me limb from limb.  There was not one positive statement made.  They didn't like my light-hearted attitude during the product knowledge section.  They didn't like that I wore a suit and heels, it seemed too upity to them.  They didn't like my hairstyle, recently done at OUR show by OUR designers on platform.  They didn't like my interaction with the clients, I was to teach not them.  They didn't like my handouts.  Not enough of them and I didn't really follow them as I taught.  They didn't think I taught as much as I talked.  It went on and on.  Mrs. Boss had asked me to just listen and then I would, of course, be given the floor.

When they had finished, I  had basically nothing to say.  I looked at each of them while I gathered myself and my self-respect and finally I said, "Wow, I am shocked.  I am deflated.  I am  angry.  What I am not feeling is critiqued.  I am feeling steamrolled and beaten.  I am going to leave now and collect my thoughts.  I will think through everything that was said here and I'll possibly have more to say later, but for now, I need to separate myself from the three of you and try to figure out exactly what would make anyone think this was a good thing.  This, my co-workers and Mrs. Boss, was NOT a good thing.  Good evening and thank you for the wonderful dinner Mrs. Boss."

I left.

One day at a time.  I listened.  I reran my year with this company in my head all the way home.  An hours drive is long enough to clear muck and mire and make some sense of what my evening had turned into.  It really made no sense unless Mr. & Mrs. Boss had enlisted the managers to help get me to decide to resign, based on my obvious poor performance.  They had pretty much convinced me that I sucked at a job where I thought I was a rock star!  Two weeks before this happened, I was given glowing accolades for my presentation to a chain salon.  Mr. Boss had been present and he was over the top impressed with my growth and comfort in my position.  That was another day.  This one was different.

Reviewing my year, seeing the ups and the downs and the future compared to my past, one day at a time, it was so clear to me that I had to leave this job.  I had to stop doing what I knew was the best thing I had ever done because the people who were signing my check no longer held my respect.

I left.

I regret having done that because I believe now that I could have become stronger and better and I could have moved way beyond this distributorship if I hadn't let the ridiculousness of the attack take me down.  If I had stood my ground and gone to Mr. Boss the following work day and said, "No, I didn't enjoy being attacked and I will, for the record, never sit through another one, I did learn something.  Co-workers are not friends and professionalism does not exists here.  I am very good at what I do and both you and I know that.  I have no idea what that was all about and frankly, I don't care.  I am staying on here until or unless there is a real reason to move on.  If you choose to fire me, that's okay.  But I am not quitting and I am not changing my entire program.  You and I built that program together and it is solid and good."

But, I left.

I learned a big lesson that evening and it has led me down a good road.  I learned to treat every employee and co-worker with great respect and remember how I felt during the attack anytime I had to address a situation.  It served me well the rest of my career.  When I did have to fire someone, they often thanked me for the opportunity to work with me.  I allowed them to leave my business with their self-respect in tact.

Now I see that I got through that whole end of a dream time by opening my own salon and moving on one day at a time.  My life has always been one day at a time because that's all we have.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Walking Away

Walking Away
Writer's Post #17

My career was who I was for many years.  When I introduced myself to someone I would usually say, "Hi, I'm Jo Heroux.  I'm a hairdresser."  So my name is most important, but the very next thing was what I do.  Odd, because it wasn't really the most important thing to me.  I just thought it was the most important thing to the people I was meeting.  It wasn't.  I know that now.

I walked away from my career and I have no regrets.  It was the right time and the right thing for me and everyone else involved.  

So, since I walked away from who I was, who am I now?

I am a daughter.  Been that my entire life.  I was raised with a lot of love and understanding.  My parents were loving and fun.  They had time for me, well, Mom did.  Dad worked a lot and wasn't home as much as she was, but he made time for us when he could.  I was the baby of three and I liked being the youngest.  I know that being the first born is special and I know that that sometimes is considered the favorite position in the birth order books.  I can see why that might be true.  I can see why first borns often think they carry more responsibility and maybe they do.  In our family the second born is the first (and only) boy child.  Those who study birth order say this is the same special spot as the first born in many ways.  The first boy is often treated with some royalty regardless of his actual order.  My sister and I dubbed our brother The Prince and I guess he will always be just that.  He is the only one who carries our family name.  The baby, me, is always the baby.  In our family it has taken me 6 decades to establish myself as a real adult.  Both my siblings are smart and successful people.  They have both raised wonderful girls into womanhood.  I have respect for each of them for their individual accomplishments and I love them both as people besides being my brother and sister.  My sister lives relatively nearby and she would be my friend even if we weren't related, I am sure of that.  My brother has lived hours away for many years and we aren't in contact nearly as often as we should be.  Moving away leads to living in different worlds, sometimes.  I still enjoy visiting with him when he is here and I still look forward to seeing him. We love each other, we just aren't on the same page very often.  Not walking away from my siblings.

I am an adult now.  I have succeeded in raising my son and my daughter into adulthood.  I am the grandmother to their perfectly perfect children.  I inherited 2 boys when I married Mike and they have given me 3 more grand daughters, another something is due in November.  I am happy in this place.  I have the life I have worked toward for most of my adult years.  I'm not rich and I'm not famous, but I'm not dead so either of those could still happen!  :)  Not walking away from these jobs nor these possibilities.

I am a friend.  My best friend and I have been together for 34 years and I cannot imagine not having her with me for the good and the bad.  She is the shoulder and she is also the sunshine.  Love my Shirley.  Not walking away from her.

I am a wife. Twenty-nine years and counting, we have shared our days, nights, children and parents, siblings and friends.  We have shared our lives for better or worse, more betters than worses.  We have sorrow and joy and again more joy than sorrow.  We have nearly called it quits more than once and found a way to stay together.  We have found a way to still be in love and still be best friends. At this age and at this point, not walking away from him.

Apparently, I am not very good at the walking away thing.  I am much more into sticking it out and making changes to make things better or if that can't be done, learning to accept what is.  

What I will walk  away from-every time-is anyone who just causes drama and stress in my life.  People who plug into me and proceed to just drain all my energy until I am just useless.  People who cannot make good decisions and then cannot figure out why everything goes badly for them.  People who constantly look for change in their lives by doing exactly the same thing over and over and over!  Stupid people aren't going to stay in my life very long because I am required to remind them of their stupidity.  I can't help myself.  I don't really want to either.  From these, I will walk away and not look back.

I did walk away from what I did...I won't walk away from who I have become.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Road Not Taken

The road not taken can bring to mind so many things.  May I just start by saying that looking back and wondering is probably not the healthiest thing for me to do, but certainly is a human thing to do.  We all like to wonder sometimes if we had made a different decision at some point, who or where would we be now?

I am no different, but I don't do it often and I seldom come up with a better life in my wandering mind than the one I am actually living.  

I am sure I could have stayed with my children's father and raised them in an intact home instead of divorcing him and struggling for 5 years to pay my bills and take care of their needs.  I could have not married husband  #2 because I didn't really love him like one loves someone you are about to marry.  I loved him as a person and a friend and he needed someone to help him raise his son who was in a precarious situation.  I loved his son and wanted to help him have a family, real loving family.  I did that.  I'm glad I did that.  I divorced #2 and I ultimately lost that son to his mother.  She had gotten her life together by then and I couldn't keep him. 

Then I married #3 and current hubby and I think this is the one.  I mean it's only been 29 years 7 months, but I think it's gonna work out.  

So, the roads not taken in this respect might have lead to the kids having their dad in their life and I would have had to become a different kind of woman to live with the situation he created for me, but we could have stayed together.  I see us now 44 years later and I see two people who don't really like each other anymore, but have managed to build a life together anyway.  Neither of them particularly happy and they spend very little time together.  They have nothing in common and they don't care.  They just live in the same house.  Glad I'm not on that road.  He is most likely glad, too.

Had I stayed with #2, I would have maybe gotten to keep my step-son another couple of years, but eventually he would have gone back to his mom because she did clean herself up and the courts would have allowed her to have her son again regardless.  #2 was a truck driver, over the road, and gone all the time.  Home like 3 days a month.  He was very much a visitor in my home.  We were never really a couple, though we really did love each other, not in the married for life kind of way.  Long term with him would have resulted in me being alone a good deal of the time as the kids got older and I would have spent a lot of time with my friends.  I don't think that would have felt like marriage to me.  For many people it works fine, but I need more partnership in my life.  Glad I didn't take that road.

I was once offered a job in Illinois and I seriously considered taking it.  It would have been a big raise and a wonderful opportunity.  I declined because I was single and had 2 kids that I thought needed to have family around.  I felt after a divorce, the more I could keep routine, the better.  The timing was all wrong.  My kids needed their grandparents, aunts, uncles and their dad.  It was the right decision.  Had I gone to Illinois, I would never have met #3 and that's a road I am very glad I took.  

Maybe looking back is a good exercise for me after all.  It might have made me appreciate where I am, who I am and with whom I am sharing my life.


Finding Balance

This is a topic for someone like me.  Balance is everything to me.  In my life, I need busy days, quiet days, happy days, melancholy days.  I need people of all types around me.  I like chatty people, subdued people, smart people, good listeners, helpful people and just about any other type of person you can label.  What I don't need and don't want, because it upsets my balance, is stupid people and heartbreak.  That is not to say that I don't have them, it is to say that I don't really want them.  I suppose because they exist I am probably better able to appreciate all the other people and things with which I am blessed.  You know, into each life a little rain must fall.  I never promised you a rose garden.  You can't have a rainbow without a little rain. That sort of thing.

I need to eat a fairly balanced diet.  My idea of fairly balanced means that twice a day (usually, sometimes only one meal is enough) I will eat some protein and I will eat vegetables and a couple of times a week I will eat some fruit.  I have milk nearly everyday and cheese, oh yes, cheese every single day.  I must have my 'goodie' every other day, at the very least.  Okay, so balanced. when associated with diet, for me means I will control my portion sizes, I will never control my actual food choices.  I will eat what I am hungry for and not over eat hardly ever.  

My marriage is also a balancing act.  I cannot keep my mouth shut all the time, so I settle for not saying something EVERY time I really want to correct him or nag suggest he actually strike something off his 'to do' list.  I really can't change who he is, though I have seriously tried for nearly 30 years, but I can try to help him grow into a more productive and neater partner.  Yeah, that's what I am good at, the helping him grow part.  He agrees, I am quite sure. Regardless, we have found balance in that we talk about important things and come to an agreement, usually whatever I want and if it's a financial decision, when I determine that we can afford it.  That part works and he is free with his input and honestly seldom disagrees.  Therefore, when he does disagree, I usually go with his desires.  We are usually on the same page. I think we are pretty well balanced in all aspects of our married life.  He isn't like me at all.  We could probably not be more different.  I am a talker and a writer and a reader and a computer nerd.  He watches TV and works and mows lawn and putters outside and listens.  He is an early riser and talks as he's drinking his first cup of coffee, if someone is around with whom he can talk, one of the dogs will do.  I am a night owl and late riser who enjoys quiet during my first cup of coffee.  He loves all sports from his recliner on his big screen and he loves my cooking.  I love to cook and eat. We both love summer and anything that involves the deck and/or the pool.  We both love having parties in the summer. 

It works.

The one place I do not have balance is in my love of writing.  If I start a book, I will obsess until it is completed. I sometimes stay up all night and take a nap and then go right back to the story. I basically do nothing else until it is done.  I will write and rewrite until it is in the roughest form finished.  I will work it over until I am happy with it, set it aside and like most, go back to it in a couple of weeks and rework it again.  Then I like to give it to my sister for editing.  Then rework again.  I cannot leave a book unfinished.  I want to sometimes.  I want to start something else, sometimes; but I cannot.

All things considered, I think my life is pretty much centered.  The good and the not so good are in balance.  The people around me are so varied that I am never bored with their company.  My kids are all grown and living their own lives which all include me to some degree.  (Some more than others)  My grandbabies are all healthy and happy and I LOVE spending time with each of them.  
I think I am just plain happy.  

Yep, I am.