Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Boston Connection

My husband works for a company that is headquartered in Boston, MA. 

On the day of the bombings I was very relieved to hear that since Patriots Day is a local holiday, the main office in Boston had been closed.  That office is 2 blocks from the spot where the Boston Marathon ends.

My husband and I have only been to Boston once, where we spent our time as tourists buying some Boston Terrier merchandise and hanging out at the 'Cheers' Bar. 

However, we see people from the Boston office on a regular basis at events that happen here in Seattle- especially all the happy times when people are receiving their actuarial designations.  We get a kick out of their wicked accents and gregarious ways.

Yesterday, when I found out that some people from the home office had actually been slightly injured from the bombs near the finish line my heart just dropped.  While I knew they were OK and there were no serious injuries, I just could not imagine what it must have been like to have lived through that horrible act of terrorism.

My husband's company has donated 1 million dollars to The One Fund, which has been set up to help those most affected by the Boston terrorist bombings.  If you are so inclined, follow the link above to donate. 

Thanks and take care of you and yours.

"US Flag In Heart Shape" by supakitmod found at

Monday, April 22, 2013

For Once

A month ago I let y'all in on the fact that I had finally cut back on my work hours; something I had been meaning to do for- oh about forever...

At the time I had so much guilt and doubt and felt like such a selfish brat.   Who was I thinking that I had the right to just decide that I deserved a break?  ...that I might actually function better if I wasn't working quite so many hours outside of the home?

Holy Moly, was I wrong- about stupidly feeling guilty and wondering if I was doing the right thing, I mean!!!

It has only been a month. 

And this has been a month that included my sister being sentenced to serious jail time, my little dog having a horrible reaction to a basic neutering surgery (he's fine, just a bout of chihuahua anxiety as it turned out), dealing with taxes and then of course the horrible terrorist activity that we have all felt hit us in the gut- one week ago.

So I am simply amazed that I am facing a Monday morning tomorrow and I can honestly say that for once I am not overwhelmed.  I am not feeling like I am behind already.  I do not feel as if I don't know how I will get through the coming week.

Even more surprising is the fact that I feel as if I have not had to pull out the 'facade', make nice and make sure everyone else is good while I am busy feeling like I have been run over by something large and am busily picking myself off the pavement before anyone notices.  After all, I would never want anyone to think I might not get the job done...

Seriously, I feel like I can finally breathe.  And I never really realized just how long I had been holding my breath.

Photo Credit: "Guardians Of The Light" by sattva found at:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Clever Judge

Today was the day.  The sentence came down for my sister.

'Wooden Judge Gavel' by Kittisak, found at

You may recall that she was originally offered a plea deal of 3 years (-with only 1 of those years being hard time).  Of course that would have entailed an admission of guilt.  So yeah, let's just say it wasn't happening...

Today she received a sentence of 5 years hard time- no possibility of early release and time must run consecutive to any other sentence she receives from other counties where she will also be tried for her crimes.

While this may sound harsh, it is actually well within the realm of what was to be expected and not overly unfair in any way.

The judge then added on an interesting twist.

He allowed for the first 18 months of the sentence to be converted into an in-house drug rehabilitation with daily sobriety checks and then offered that if my sister could get and stay clean for this 18 month period, then the rest of the sentence would be suspended and served as probation.

However, if she tests positive for any drug substance during this time, then her hard time starts from that date- even if she is caught with drugs in her system on the last day of this 18 month period. 

The judge explained to her that there is now no in between.  She is to get and remain sober and commit no more crimes against society or she is to be in prison.  No exceptions.  He also explained to her that he would not be offering any perimeters for the other 2 counties to follow.  If they did not offer her anything other than hard time, then so be it.  If she chooses not to take plea deals in those cases she may not be so fortunate as to find herself with any second chances, of this kind or any other.

I must say that I am personally amazed that the judge offered her any way out of this at all.    And while I am grateful that there is some hope that she may take this opportunity and use it for what it is, I will not be holding my breath waiting for my sister to get her act together.

I am going to take this time to get even stronger. I need to keep my head about me, no matter what my sister chooses for her life.  No amount of suffering or cajoling is going to change her.  She is going to do what she chooses to do.  And my life cannot be exchanged for hers.  Me being stressed out or sad will never make her life anything other than what she chooses it to be, no matter what.

Peaceful Journey by Federico Stevanin, found at

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Heart Hurts

"Heart Sinking Into Sea" by Stuart Miles, found at

One week from today my sister will be sentenced for her crimes.
I'm not sure if I'm more sad that my sister still somehow believes that she is going to outsmart the system- she has now sent out letters to family and friends declaring that she will soon be out of jail- or if I am more heart heavy over the fact that I hope there is absolutely no chance that she is right.

I spoke with a client yesterday that just knew that I was kind of in a funk, even though most things in my life have been better than ever as of lately.  I appreciated that she let me just talk about how I feel.  It felt good to be listened to and acknowledged.
It helps to know that it really is OK to wish for understanding even from people you will never get it from.

It's OK to wish and then to let it go.  Which is a whole lot better than what I want to do sometimes.

Although I hate to admit it, sometimes I just want to be angry and scream at my sister and ask her what she thinks it feels like for me to have my only sibling be living the life that she does...

At the same time, it absolutely feels selfish to taint my own good life direction with these rotten feelings and yet- I am human.  I can't help but care about what happens to my sister, even though she doesn't seem to have a very good plan for herself.  It's OK to know that her path in life is not going to be what I want for her.  It's OK to keep a little bit of hope and still face the reality that what I hope for is not a very likely outcome.

Over the past 8 months, waiting for my sister's case to be concluded, the song below has been a source of strength for me.  Yes it's actually a break up song, but some of the lyrics are so hauntingly appropriate for my situation.

What gives you strength when things get ugly?  What's the best outcome that you've ever seen from the worst situation?  How do you personally learn to accept things that seem completely unacceptable?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Some Of The Best Advice I Ever Got

Back in college I worked 3 different part time jobs to get enough hours for full time work and still get my school hours in.  One of these jobs was probably the seed that started me into the work I do now.  That job involved helping out a couple of older ladies who needed some simple chores done around the house.

These two ladies were mother and daughter.  The mother was 93.  Not sure of the age of the daughter.

Looking back, I have come to realized that these women were also pretty important in the development of correcting some of my overall self esteem issues and also noticing that there was certainly more to life than what I had previously been exposed to.

I would come once a week to each ladies' household and set into cleaning, organizing or running errands as needed.  These households were much nicer than anything I had ever seen before-  not just because they were beautiful homes, but simply in the efficiency and calm manner that these households were run.  The ladies' homes were wonderful to be in and there was such a sense of pride and goodwill that emanated from them.
House Of Love By Sweet Crisis/ Found At:

Sometimes the daughter would be listening to a list of her stock results or getting ready to entertain.

Sometimes the mother would have visitors over or be ironing her household linens.

Whatever was going on I would always feel as if things were moving in a positive direction and I believe that just absorbing the happy and contented vibes of two women who were not afraid of hard work and were reaping the benefits of said work was an immeasurably positive experience for me.

Many times one of the two ladies would sit me down and share a 'break time' with me.  They would sometimes tell me what a hard worker I was and how my willingness to do anything without complaining would get me far.  I would smile and think to myself how wonderful it was to be spending time in one of these lovely homes.

One day, the 93 year old lady shared an insight with me that I have never forgotten.  She told me that she had always vowed to have her house ready for guests at any time.  In so doing this, she said she was never resentful of having people over and she got to enjoy a beautiful home at all times.  I took this as the helpful piece of advice that it was and have been so grateful for it over the years.
Colorful Gerbera Flowers By Posterize/ Found at:

These two lovely ladies I write of are now long gone from my life, but obviously never forgotten.  They both made a huge difference for me with just sharing some simple things from their everyday life.  I like to think that I promote their legacy by sharing their words with others.  I also share this advice of my own:  When you bring something new home, take the time to edit out something old from your household.  Keep a bag in the garage or somewhere else out of the way and make a donation to charity when it gets full.

What is some of the best advice you were ever given or gave?  What's the simplest thing that anyone ever told you that made a big difference in your own life?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

We Came Back Home To The Northwest And It Was Still Sunny!!!

I think all this sun has gone to my head! 

I mean how am I supposed to act when I come back from Palm Springs and the sun is still shining all the way up north around here?  And even for Easter Sunday???  Now, that's a rare treat in these parts...

So I think I kind of lost it for a while and checked out. 

In an effort to make a decent blog post I thought I'd try one of those nifty question lists.  I honestly did not look past the first couple of questions before committing to going right ahead with this post.  Sooooo.... here we go!

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?  Probably about 23.  I'm 39 irl.
  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?  Definitely never trying.  Not trying is just as bad as having someone do everything for you.  You never get the chance to fail- and that's important.
  3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?  Good question.  I think a lot of people feel like they have to do things they don't like.  As you get older you do less of that.  It took me until I was 30.
  4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?  Uh, yeah... cuz' I talk A LOT.  But I Do an awful lot too.  Just ask my husband.  He can't keep up with me.  Still, it is just easier to talk more.  You can even do it while you're doing other things.  Just ask my elementary school teachers....
  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?  Right now- almost everything.  I feel like the whole world is upside down and backwards.
  6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?  Chatting it up with friends!
  7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?  Definitely what I believe in.  Don't have it in me to do it any other way.
  8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?  I wouldn't know any different so I'd probably be doing things the same.
  9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?  At first, not much.  But after 30 it's been all look out world- here I come!
  10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?  I used to have to have everything as perfect as it could be.  Then I realized I was a stressed out basket case that wasn't fooling anyone.  So yeah- the second part of that question.
  11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do?  Stick up for my friend and talk up all her positives, OF COURSE!
  12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?  Hmmm...  Maybe to stay true to themselves so matter how much they like what other people are doing or feeling.
  13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?  Yup.
  14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?  Yes.  Actually my own mother illustrates this beautifully.  She is probably always going to be pretty insane and that has always made me sad.  However, her creativity is so fabulous that I can often smile through the tears.
  15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?  I pretty much accept that I am an odd duck.  I don't do much that would be seen as conventional.  My husband loves this about me.
  16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?  I figure my strange perspective on so many things is most likely the reason.  Otherwise I just don't get it, because everyone should love what I love.  Don't you think?! 
  17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What's holding you back?  Learning to fly a plane.  I'm just waiting for my husband to get his FCAS designation.  That will mean we have the money and time for me take on this wonderful new endeavor. Don't worry.  I WILL DO IT!
  18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?  Yeah, probably the hope that my sister or my mother is ever going to change.  I know they won't in my rational mind.  However, I hate giving up hope.
  19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?  Oh come on!  This is actually on the list?!  OK, so let's all say it together- TEXAS!  Now as for another country that would be Mexico if it wasn't so dangerous now.
  20. Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?  Not anymore.  I did for a long time.  Then after being married to my husband I realized that there really is no need to do this.  Some of his quiet, secure ways have rubbed off on me over the years.  And vice versa- I have done quite a bit to bring him out of his shell.
  21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?  I have been way too much of a worried genius this time around.  In my next life I am so going for the joyful simpleton.  I think I'm working on a head start on that these days.
  22. Why are you, you?  Because God wanted me that way.  And I have been fortunate enough to experience a lot of different things in life- both good and bad.
  23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?  I honestly try.  But no, not always.  Sometimes it's worse to just go along to get along.
  24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?  Definitely losing touch with someone right near you.  Sometimes you just don't know why.  And some long distance friendships can pick right up where they left off every time you see your friend.  I love that!
  25. What are you most grateful for?  My husband.
  26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?  Never being able to make new ones.  The latter part of my life has been so much more worth having memories of.
  27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?  Absolutely yes!  A person's truth is often already inside them.  People who have to question every side of everything drive me nuts!
  28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?  Unfortunately, yes.
  29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?  It still shapes my life, but I'm grateful for it now.
  30. What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?  When I got to do things like walk down to the store with a friend or cousin.  I felt free and able to make choices of my own.
  31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?  When I finally told the truth to people that I had never been honest with before.
  32. If not now, then when?  Whenever things work out...  I'm learning to trust that timing is what it is and you can't rush things.
  33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?  Not much anymore.  And that feels wonderful!
  34. Have you ever spent time with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?  Not really.  But I love this idea.
  35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?  I don't think religions cause war.  I just think wars happen in spite of how much we all wish that the world was all love all the time.
  36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?  For the most part- yes.  However there are those things and people that are deceptive and manipulative so you have to be careful.
  37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?  As much as I enjoy it, hell yeah!  I'd enjoy doing different things and not worry about having to get paid to do them.
  38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?  Less work.  There's so many other things to try.  Maybe then I should find some way to get paid to try stuff!
  39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?  No!  Never!  That's the best part of being me.  No two days are ever the same!
  40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?  Last November- when we purchased our vacation home.
  41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?  My husband.
  42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?  No, but I have to admit I had to think about the extremely attractive thing for just a second there....
  43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?  Anybody can be alive.  Only a small percentage of people truly live.  I am working to be on the truly living side of things and I feel as if I am certainly getting there.
  44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?  As often and as much as humanly possible!
  45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?  For me I don't want to hurt anyone.  I think we all get caught up in that quite a bit.  Other than that I'm not really afraid.
  46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?  I might try politics!
  47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?  I honestly do not remember.  As long as I'm not having a bout with asthma, I don't think about it much.
  48. What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?  I love hot sunny days, the times when I just know my husband is proud of himself even though he'll never say it, spending time with friends that goes so fast that it's 2am before we know it, watching my nephew learn important life skills that he doesn't even realize he's getting and wiggly goofy dogs that make me belly laugh!  At least that's my list for today.  I have done so much to incorporate the things I love into my life lately.  And it is so worth it!
  49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that?  Probably not.  I might remember Easter day this year as it was so very beautiful and fun.
  50. Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?  No question- I make them for myself now.  Sometimes I consult with my husband. ;)
If you got through all that, thanks for hanging in there with me.  This was fun and I hope you find it interesting!
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