Friday, October 30, 2009


It's not dead.

I fully admit that in my life time I have made a few poor choices with regard to the princes who have come and gone from my kingdom. I believe that in any such relationship the signs are there if you look hard enough... but often we want so much for things to have a fairy tale ending that we overlook the obvious or, perhaps, the subtle. For some, the issue isn't so much that they don't see the signs but that they simply become too enmeshed in their patterns that they are willing to accept mediocrity. On the flip side, sometimes we don't give enough credit where credit is due and we fail to recognize how truly amazing the people in our lives are which puts us at risk of missed opportunities to kiss frogs or sleeping princesses.

I've been hanging out with a particular prince for awhile now. Tonight I had some errands to run and he happily offered to come along to keep me company which, I believe, was code for keep me safe.

As we stood in line at the grocery store an elderly lady in front of us dropped a $20.00 bill on the ground. It came as no surprise that the prince picked it up and handed it to her. As the cashier gave her the total, this sweet lady realized she hadn't enough cash with her and stated she needed to put some items back. Without knowing the amount owed, the prince informed the cashier that he would be covering the balance. The thing is that it didn't surprise me in the least and it was almost a race to see who could get the words out the fastest as my mind works in exactly the same way and I certainly would have offered had he not.

So yes, chivalry is not dead... I just think, sometimes, our sensitivity to the acts of kindness around us might be.

Things That Make Me Happy

1. My little one's belly laughs... the kind that is only ever elicited by his awesome big brother, the kind that makes people stop and listen and laugh themselves. The kind that you wish you could bottle and listen to whenever you have a bad day now or years from now.

2. Skinny margaritas... rocks, sugar.

3. Waterfalls... nothing like hiking a remote trail, finding a big rock and just hanging out there for the day. Best to go with someone who plays the guitar (bonus points if that someone is responsible for hiking in with it).

4. White water... doesn't matter where, what category... just gimme some.

5. My bikes... my stupid, cheapass, silly, girly pink mountain bike. It makes me feel strong and reminds me not to lose my sense of humor. My pretty roadie that has taken me down paths I never knew existed, both literally and figuaratively.

6. Knowing that there is no item #6... and getting the joke.

7. Teaching group X classes to newbies who are hooked immediately, to athletes who can handle the challenge and keep coming back for more, and to everyone in between.

8. Music... I have such a connection to music... I can tell you what was playing on the radio 22 years ago when I was driving a friend's Toyota Carolla, sitting at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and River Road in DC. It was not a special moment in time, nothing interesting happened. It's just how I am. It's like there's a musical score always going on in my head. Music is important to me every second of every day. Really.

9. Special K... after spending our college years together it has been a treat for us to live near each other once again and for me to know the incredible woman she has become.

10. My other BFF... not a day goes by that we don't laugh together, sometimes even through the tears. Just moments ago during a very serious and difficult conversation I couldn't resist the urge to say something over the top sassy. It broke a moment that needed breaking and we both understood it, we found solace in the ensuing giggles, and that was good therapy.

Not long ago she sent me a note that said "there is so much to thank you for but what I really want you to know right now is that you've been the most amazing friend a person could ever have." I feel exactly the same about her... and that, in and of itself, makes me happy.

11. Making other people feel good, helping those in need, being the best friend/mother/insert any number of titles here... that I can be makes me happy. I hope that I've made a difference in the lives of others whose hearts and heads I've touched. I hope I've made people be more self-reflective and inspired big thoughts. It is my sincerest hope that someday someone will say that a day without the Cranky Princess is like a day without sunshine.

12. My job. I feel so blessed to do what I love and therefore love what I do.

13. Watching my daughter dance. It's amazing to me to see such passion and drive in one so young.

14. My Prince Charming... the one I'm lucky enough to love... who loves me to the moon and back and then some. I think he's kinda lucky, too.

15. My guidelines for how to live my life. They keep me grounded. I'm proud that I have them &, for the most part, that I stick to them.

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Philosophy...

The best we can hope for in life is that we have laughed often and loved much, and that at the end of our days we can honestly say we have lived a life of integrity, have few, if any, regrets, and that we have told the people who matter how very much they made our hearts sing.

As I reflect upon a life well lived, I think to myself, "what advice would I give others?". It seems so obvious to me but I've come to realize that perhaps it's only so because I find myself in a position to be reflective, to take stock and to judge how successful I've been in the areas that really count. So here goes:

Have a sense of humor. Face life with a smile on your face. And, for the love of God, never, ever take yourself too seriously.

When it's important, tell people how you feel no matter how difficult it is to express, how uncomfortable it may feel in the moment, or how much of yourself you have to expose. You alone are accountable to and for yourself and you must be your own advocate.

Make sure your actions exemplify your words. For they speak far louder than tiny utterances ever will.

Deal with anger, frustration or general crankiness in constructive ways... don't take things out on people who have no control of your world or did not contribute to the problem at hand.

Support others' efforts to live their best lives, whatever that means to them, even if it's not the path you would choose for yourself or have them choose for themselves. Express concerns if you have them and be honest, but ultimately, it's their choice... and often choice, not chance, determines destiny.

Appreciate even the smallest acts of kindness. Practice your own random and specific, planned acts of kindness on a daily basis.

Know who you are when no one is looking.

Apologize when you need to... and even when you're not sure you need to. No one will ever fault you for apologizing... but a lack thereof is ultimately egotistical.

Pick your battles, and never, ever pick petty things, for they are seldom worth the fight.

Give people choices. No one wants to be backed into a corner and you can't control other people's words or actions anyway.

Carefully consider your options so that the choices you make do not lead to regret.

Be spontaneous but never reckless in words or actions.

Remember that life is short and experience as much as you can, journey as often as possible... and take the road less traveled when you do.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another Resident Writer

As I sat on the sofa trying not to bleed on pretty pink satin, wondering how on earth I managed to birth a child whose passion requires that I singe ribbons and sew things with sharp needles and dental floss, said child looked at me with those baby blues and said, "You know, mom, writing is kinda my thing."

It wasn't really news to me, she used to shut herself in her room for hours and write and illustrate stories, but I asked her if she had something new she wanted to share. She'd been working on a poem for a county contest, the theme of which this year is Beauty and had just finished it.

Beauty is Dance
- by Exhibit A

Dancing is meaning
Beauty in both
Dancing is feeling
Love with no words

Dancing is flawless
Worshipping perfection
Dancing is art
Picasso with no brush

Dancing is passion
Knowing what you want
Dancing is grace
Walking with talent

Dancing is learning
No wisdom too much
Dancing is breath taking
Stunningly elegant
Dancing is Beauty

And so it seems that at her young age she's already figured out that when you write from your heart, when you write about that which you are passionate, you create unparalleled beauty in your words.