Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Web of Women

Someone commented on the web of women in my life. I thought that was such a great phrase and I thought I would use this space to count my blessings:

Mum- my mother is my my biggest fan and supporter. I love her so much it hurts. I still run to her when I have a problem or need help. I have yet to reach the bottom of her well of knowledge and compassion.

Polly- Other Mother, my mother's best friend. I can't remember when Polly wasn't in my mother's, and our, lives. I love when she calls me "honey" and how she steps right into the role of mother at the drop of a hat. She loves me and I love her right back.

Louise- my best friend since I was a sophomore in high school. We have traveled a lot of ground together. She is clear eyed and unafraid to let me know when I have faulty thinking. She is also the friend that I can call anytime of the night and say "I need you now." And I do it for her too. She also tickles my funny bone to its very core.

Reta- my younger sister, who is so smart. When I need a reality check on people relations, business or larger philosophy Reta is the one I turn to. She is clear headed, non-judgemental and even tempered. She gives the best advice. If she says so, it must be right. Surprisingly she likes to giggle and be silly. I appreciate that aspect of her too.

Abby- my youngest sister. Abby is fiery and loud mouthed and very in touch with how she feels. When I need fashion tips or to blow my stack she is the one I go to. She knows that feelings need to be expressed to be understood. She allows me to be angry, upset, distraught and get to the other side exhausted, crying, sated and ready to figure it out. I indulge my potty mouth with her.

Michelle- started as a dog walking buddy and is now just a plain old friend. Michelle is my feminine friend. We enjoy doing girly stuff- shopping, antiquing, shoes, watching romantic movies that make us cry. She is totally right brained and intuitive- the complete opposite of me. She has a magical way of correcting me when I get overbearing or controlling. And she gets me to laugh at myself as she does it! We have had some damned fine adventures.

Annie- another dog walking buddy who turned into a friend. She is fiercely protective of me. She makes me feel very loved. It is a funny feeling to be protected by someone who is so physically tiny in comparison- but I'll take it! She is also supremely rational and a great help as I try to figure things out.

Jen- a force unto herself. I don't see her very often but when I do we fall right back into the yakking. She makes me feel okay about being both a strong, competent woman and a total screw up. She also makes me laugh until I wet my pants. (I mention laughing a lot because I hold it in high regard. If you want to be my friend, make me laugh.) Jen sees the power in me.

Susan & Lynn- I have known these two since grade school. That kind of continuity is irreplaceable. I mention them together because we always get together as a team. We know each other so well that we all know how hard to push the other and when to back off. This relationship is pure affection.

Maria- a dog walking friend. She owns a vacation home a mile from my house and comes up every other weekend or so. She asked to join me one morning as I walked past her house and we haven't stopped yet! I don't often meet someone who has my taste for covering miles when I walk. And it is a total bonus that she likes to talk about good stuff! She is like an older sister and serves as a sounding board on relationships and business. We are both good at pointing out to the other our faulty thinking, ruts, and other pitfalls of life. I appreciate her constancy and good humor.

When I feel unsettled these are the women I turn to. I feel lucky to count them as friends and confidantes.

1-Abby, Reta, Sarah, Susan at the camp around 1989
2-Louise, Sarah, Reta getting ready for the sauna around 1984
3-Sarah, Annie and my lovely Lady
around 2001

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Body Image

My friend, Maria, was up for the week at her vacation home up the street from me. She is a dog walking buddy but the best part is that she is a talker too. We always have something to hash over or work out.

This time she rolled out the door and then rolled her eyes “Thank goodness they wanted to cancel the brunch plans this morning. I feel like we have been eating non-stop for days.” Christmas seems to be a time of excess for everyone. She then recounted her husband and son’s unspoken contest to eat the other under the table. Maria is a diabetic so she is very careful of her intake. She is also very slim.

“Ugh, I just feel so fat after all that eating. I can feel it in my cheeks. I really need this walk. I have to be careful. Food is poison. ”

“But you are so slim.”

“I wasn’t always. When I went away to college I got into the afternoon cookies and got up to 160 pounds. I was a pudge.”

She rolled her eyes again and laughed- “Body image!”

“Yeah who doesn’t have a negative body image?” And I shared my bout with anorexia as a young teen. “I don’t think I was controlling things so much as punishing myself for all my flaws- body included.”

She laughed again and said “what flaws?”

“Come on- look at me. What’s to like?”

“You are kidding, aren’t you?”

"Yeah, right. I'm kidding."

Yeah- right. It’s still a struggle.

That would be me in 3rd grade before I cared so much about my body.... but I did love the paisley dress my mother sewed for me. I am still partial to paisley.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Audience of One

I let out a sigh as I allow Henry to climb between the front seats of the car to be next to me. He will stick his nose under my arm and flip it up in an effort to get me to pat him. He puts his two front paws on my seat so he can get a better view out the window. He continues to flip my arm and let out an occasional whine despite the attention I am paying to him. In short, he is a pain in the ass.

I got my little mutt 3 years ago knowing that he had some issues. His separation anxiety was the biggie. After owning him a little while I recognized that he would take off on me if he smelled anything good- despite a disorder which makes him stick to my side. How do you reconcile the fact that a dog has separation anxiety AND will run away given the opportunity?

I finally reached the conclusion that Henry is my karmic come-uppance. My dog is me. I like the security of knowing there is someone there to catch me if I fall.... and fill my water bowl. If I catch the scent of something delicious I want to follow my nose. I want to hang my head out the car window because it feels good, but I want to glance over to see that someone is still there. And when I am feeling insecure I want to be able to curl up on a lap and be petted till everything is right again.

I keep this in mind as Henry demands my attention while I am trying to drive my car. For whatever reason he needs its- and I give it to him because I love him. And I treasure the feeling of his warm, fuzzy belly as I remember those times he would gladly run away.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What Kind Of Dog Are You?

I am currently reading a book called Let's Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell. It is the tale of two women who bond over dogs and become best friends.

Like many friends they develop shorthand phrases and little inside jokes. One of their shared jokes is to try to figure out what dog breed people would be. This is an exercise they perform on both friends and strangers.

I am sure this gets easier with time to pair a human with their canine counterpart. I found my mind turning to figure out what breed I might be. I immediately thought of an Afghan Hound. I am lanky and athletic. I suspect I am a bit high strung but also aloof. I am definitely lacking the long tresses, but if I had a tail it would be held curled and at attention.

No doubt there are many people who think I am some sort of terrier.....

Monday, December 6, 2010

So You Think You Want To Be My Friend?

I called up a friend I haven't seen in a while to ask her opinion. We always start our phone calls off with "We need to make a date and get together. I have SO much to tell you."

I then proceeded to ask her opinion "but, oh wait you have to check out this website before you tell me what you think about my most current thought."

Her response...... "Great, now not only do we need to set an agenda to get through a conversation but I have to do homework?"

Yeah, pretty much.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Probably No One Is Reading At This Point....

....which is fine by me. I can get back to my original goal which was to work on my writing/communicating/story telling skills. It is far easier when you aren't writing to an audience.

I found myself worrying about what someone else was thinking recently. It rolled around my brain like a washer set to an extra rinse cycle.... over and over and over. What if I was misreading the communication cues? What if I was getting ahead of a conversation by second guessing a response? What if I was layering my hopes, dreams and previous experience onto a current conversation?

Ahh... after rolling that thought around for a while I realized it didn't matter what the other person thought and I acted on the experience I was having.

I feel better now.

Doesn't Henry look ridiculous in a tutu? I love Henry and my nieces who dress him that way.