Posted by: maureen in stories, laugh, conversation on
Dec 10, 2012
“It’s just soap, for crying out loud.” That was Darrell, teasing Katie about how much time she was taking deciding on a body wash. Which inspired quite the lecture from her about which products were best for what parts of your body--and why. Which (you guessed it) slowed down our grocery run even more.
I was watching someone else next to us, noticing her face go from interested to amused to finally, “This is a conversation I want in on.” Soon all four of us were almost doubled over, laughing, at the reminder for Dad it isn’t so much the destination--in this case, the checkout line--as it is the reason you made the trip.
When you look back on your life, what stands out? The graduation? The promotion? The big purchase of the big house that’ll be yours in--what?--twenty years?
My money’s on the stories.
When my life flashes before my eyes, I hope the much-debated body wash makes the cut. I bet it will. Same with the conversation about cow sex as we crossed the Nevada desert. You can take everything fun we’ve ever done as a family. Just give me the look on Darrell’s face as we howled with laughter watching him ponder this question: “Do the cows enjoy it?”
Just the other day I asked Darrell how he wriggled his hands up under the light-up Christmas presents under the lit-up Christmas tree decorating the lawn in front of our house. There are approximately zero inches of clearance--and I was fascinated by how he could’ve maneuvered under those closed boxes to get his hands inside them, let alone anchor them down. It didn’t occur to me you could open the boxes from the top, the same way it wouldn’t occur to anyone I have an engineering degree.
What struck Darrell wasn’t so much the question--“How’d you do that?”--as it was the sound effect that accompanied it. “That’s a technical term, right?” he asked as he imitated me. And we were off.
Continuing the conversation on still another ordinary--and yet, so not--day in the life.
Posted by: maureen in running, music, love on
Dec 9, 2012
When I started running consistently more than twenty years ago, I didn’t run to music. I was afraid it would spoil music for me. I’d associate music with…not fun.
I’d like to say the opposite happened, but it didn’t. Running to music--which I soon tried in an attempt to distract myself--didn’t make me love running. It just made me hate it a little less.
Which was huge.
When I went to my first What Color Is Your Parachute?
workshop I was struck by how often Dick Bolles
played classical music over the speakers as we worked on an exercise or took a break between sessions. It was at that workshop I learned that music helps me write. I’m listening to Ani DiFranco’s “32 Flavors” as I compose this post.
I grew up with Glen Campbell and Ed Ames and Andy Williams serenading my mom and me as we folded the mountains of laundry you can just imagine with ten people in the household.
So why was it only recently I suggested Darrell play some of our favorite songs as we go about another evening of work, work, and homework?
Whatever the reason, I’m glad I didn’t wait another minute.
The right music reminds you that your life is sacred.
Posted by: maureen in judgment on
Dec 5, 2012
Have you ever been tempted to let someone have it? Someone you think you know, but not really?
I wonder what good has ever come from giving in to that temptation.
You don’t have to like the person. You don’t have to pretend you understand anything about him. But what would be the harm in postponing your judgment? Warren Buffett said it better
, I think: “You can always tell a man to go to hell…tomorrow.”
Posted by: maureen in training, launch, business on
Dec 4, 2012
“Just for the record, I don’t see how you do it.”
That’s my boss--er, hubby--congratulating me on keeping it together (eventually) after a quick request to bless a few paragraphs turned into a four-hour strategy session.
I don’t know if I have four hours of slop in a month, let alone a day. Do you?
I’ve been adding part-time jobs at an untenable rate. We’re preparing for a growth spurt on one side of the business, shoring up some related and long-neglected infrastructure where that’s concerned--and trying to launch another venture at the same time.
I’m not complaining. This was my idea.
But it’s…well, it’s…exhausting sometimes. And the only thing that really bothers me is having Darrell stalled out on some of his work because I haven’t kept current on mine.
I tell him that, and still he maintains I’m contributing more than my share.
“I don’t see how you do it.”
Shouldn’t that line be in the training manual for husbands who are also business partners?
Who said anything about being exhausted? I’m rarin’ to go!
Seriously. I bet you know people who aren’t shy about expressing their disappointment with you. But I hope you also have someone like I do, who knows you really well--and who couldn’t be prouder of what you’re pulling off moment by moment.
And right back at you.
Posted by: maureen in meaning, impact, choice on
Dec 3, 2012
It’s that time of year. The time of year people wax longingly for two or three dozen of the two hundred dozen cut-out sugar cookies Darrell and I used to make from scratch.
Between rolling out and cutting and baking and cooling and frosting and drying and wrapping individually and nestling in bubble wrap and packing in sturdy boxes and addressing and mailing those cookies to family and friends and people we did business with, I spent twenty hours a week on them between Halloween and Christmas.
Which made a lot of sense if I aspired to be a baker.
I did not.
But no one accused me of not being in the spirit of the season. All that work into handmade gifts? Wow.
I think one of the most difficult parts about being a grownup is deciding the kind of impact you want to make in the world, and doing that. Because you’ll automatically alienate some of the people closest to you, who either don’t approve of the choices you’re making or--as Darrell wonders--don’t appreciate the reminder they could be making different choices themselves.
People miss the cookies, for sure. But I don’t miss the person I used to be, who thought I had to justify the time spent on work I love with work that--while lovely--didn’t hold a lot of meaning for me.
An afternoon baking with Katie, for fun? Yes, please. Two months of baking in an attempt to impress? No, thanks!
Posted by: maureen in question on
Dec 2, 2012
Why don't the squirrels eat the corn that’s on the ground before they jump up on the cob hanging from the bungee? Are they swinging from the bungee just for the fun of it? Don’t they realize they could save themselves a lot of trouble by eating what’s on the ground first?
If I could’ve Googled the answer to this, Darrell didn’t let on. He brought me a few kernels from the ground under the bungee, to show me the squirrels had already extracted what they wanted. They eat the spongier corn inside the kernels, and the birds are happy to clean up what’s left.
Doctors say two things tell them patients are on the mend. More care with their appearances, and more questions.
Have I mentioned good questions are the secret to life?
One of the best, I think, is this: “What’s your point?”
You’re alive. You’re here. What’s the reason? What is your reason for…being?
Figure that out and the rest is just…logistics.
Posted by: maureen in thought on
Nov 28, 2012
After almost four years, the guy I’d been dating suggested we break up “for a while.” Why? “To see if we miss each other enough to get married.”
When I told my little sister that, she looked at me. And then she said, “Shouldn’t he just…want to?”
She was only thirteen, but she’d watched seven other people grow up just ahead of her--and had apparently learned a few things. Lucky for me, she wasn’t above pointing out the obvious. Funny that “obviously” was one of her favorite words, even as a preschooler.
Shouldn’t he just…want to?
I’ve thought about that question many times over the years, and it’s inspired another one. If you have to twist someone’s arm--to get the job, for example, or close the sale--won’t you have to keep it twisted for the duration?
Posted by: maureen in space, nothing, challenge on
Nov 27, 2012
Once upon a time I let a colleague talk me into carpooling with him. Now keep in mind, the guy drove me nuts. I didn’t like anything about him, and working with him was enough of a challenge. Yet here I was, sharing a vehicle with him during the only part of my workday I really enjoyed--the commute.
Suddenly I hated how every day began, and ended.
I was young, and it took me several weeks to ask myself this question: “What would happen if I changed my mind?” And, you know, nothing.
Don’t be afraid to give yourself some space. Maybe you need more than other people do. So what?
I think good questions are the secret to life, by the way.
Next up, a question that changed everything for me--and might, for you.
Posted by: maureen in love on
Nov 26, 2012
I’ve never had dinner with Warren Buffett, but I’ve had dinner at the same restaurant he was dining at during a fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration for my parents. It created a bit of excitement among my nieces and nephews, who spent part of the meal scheming about how to get his attention without being obnoxious about it.
What would you ask Warren if you had the chance?
I’d put the same question to him that so many people have put to me. Which would go something like, “How do you find your place in the world?”
I don’t know if hailing from Warren’s hometown of Omaha will be enough to get him on the show sometime. Meanwhile you don’t have to wait for his answer to that question. You can have a little appetizer
Posted by: maureen in contact on
Nov 25, 2012
Have you ever sent me a message using the contact form on this site? Maybe in the past year or two? If you did, I didn’t see it.
I found that out by accident, only recently.
The problem’s been fixed, but the dismay will linger. I don’t even have a way of retrieving the unread messages to reply to people and make the proper amends.