About Me, Friends

The trouble with fashionable friends

I have two dear friends who are total fashionistas.

I won’t say their names, but one starts with a C even though it sounds like it should start with a K; and, the other one starts with a J and ends with the word ann.

Shopping is their hobby, their passion, and their expertise.

I also have a daughter that might be morphing into one of those too.

They exude style and good taste.

I love them. I really do.

But sometimes they just aggravate me to death with their wear-anything bodies and perfect head-to-toe ensembles.

It’s annoying.

They have that mix of good taste and love of shopping, but it’s not so much what they buy, it’s what they do with what they buy that is impressive.

Then, top all that off with the obnoxious fact that everything looks good on them.

And, they make it look so effortless like they just threw on a little something and left the house.

Yeah right.

This is my sense of style -- practical, right?
This is my sense of style — practical, right?

Sometimes I get tired of their stinking fabulousness.

I went to Georgetown with one of these friends this week. She wore white skinny jeans, a striped t-shirt, perfectly coordinated necklace, earrings and bracelets, ankle strapped sandals and oh, just a little pink Prada bag she found for a real bargain.

She’s tall, willowy, and, I’ve never seen her wear the same thing twice except when she was pregnant and shockingly, she may have repeated an outfit once or twice.

I’ve known her for about 30 years.

That’s a lot of perfect outfits.

Like I said, annoying.

A N N O Y I N G.

What I love most is when J-ann says, “You should get some of these because they are sooo comfortable.”

Ah huh. I should pour my round little 5’2” self into something a 5’8” Heidi Klum look- alike wears.

My favorite thing from C was when she kept sending me links to beautiful dresses to wear to Annie’s wedding.

Like. I. Could. Fit. In. Them.

Me
Me

She asked me what shoes I planned to wear to the reception and I said I hadn’t found any that were comfortable.

“Who cares whether they’re comfortable? Do they look good? That’s all you want!”

Actually, no…

But, shoe love is true love, right?

She’s the one who talked me into getting both pink and orange shoes.

Because those are practical, right?

That’s where the problem lies.

I think, “What could I wear with this? What else would go with it? How often will I wear it?”

They think, “This will be perfect for this… dinner, party or ballgame or whatever.

They buy outfits for every event.

And every day is an event.

I buy comfortable, seasonal basics.

IMG_3263

That works fine for me except when I go places with them.

Can you say frumpy, lumpy and boring?

If I didn’t love them so much, I’d de-friend them both just to keep my self-esteem in tact.

I’ve learned not to compare myself to them in the fashion department because that sucks the joy out of being with them.

Instead, I embrace a little healthy envy, marvel at their style quotient and appreciate the fact that they are helping the economy and teaching me the power of class and elegance.

They live the truth of the Pinterest quote that says, “Life is too short to wear boring clothes.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Me, Memoir, Personal, Uncategorized, Writing

Exploding Head Syndrome

I’ve ignored this poor blog a lot lately.

I could say I’ve been too busy, but that seems shallow.

Not too busy to buy Lucky Charms and comb my troll doll's hair to help us win at Beach Bingo
Not too busy to buy Lucky Charms and comb my troll doll’s hair to help us win at Beach Bingo

Writing is something I love. It’s therapeutic for me.

So, when I’m not writing, something’s up and I know I need to stop and figure out what is going on with me.

Happily, I’ve figured it out.

I’ve been suffering from Exploding Head Syndrome (EHS).

This happens when I take on too much and my brain gets so full that it feels like it’s going to pop.

Really — burst like fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Except, not pretty fireworks.

I can’t write if my head is too full.

It’s like trying to knit but not being able to find the beginning of the yarn ball.

I can’t access one thought and follow it from beginning to end because my ideas are tripping all over each other.

I wish I could say this doesn’t happen very often, but that would be a lie.

I give myself massive headaches from this Exploding Head Syndrome.

One of my greatest strengths is that I am a creative idea person.

That also is one of my greatest weaknesses.

(Please tell me I’m not the only one whose strengths can also be their weaknesses.)

I fall in love with good ideas, and I hate to let them go.

Idea: plant more of these beauties
Idea: plant more of these beauties

I get attached to my ideas.

They are like embryos with amazing potential and they beg to be nurtured.

But, how many ideas in embryo can one human being nurture at a time?

I mean, really? One, two, ten, a hundred? Forty-two million?

At some point, it has to stop because I have more ideas than time and energy.

It’s humbling and embarrassing, because you see, I want to do too much.

I hate limits, time constraints, and boundaries.

To quote my Mom, “It gripes me to death.”

(That means it makes her really annoyed.)

Yes, it gripes me to death that I can’t keep up with myself.

To that, my mom would say, “You wear me to a frazzle. When are you going to learn to slow down?”

Never, apparently.

I wear myself to a frazzle, and that too, gripes me to death.

I told Doug the other day that it’s hard being me. (I probably said it in a whiny, tired voice too.)

He didn’t sympathize. He said we all have things that make it hard to be us.

That was a weird sentence, wasn’t it?

But, I like the concept… we all have personality quirks and core characteristics that make us crazy.

It’s not just me, right? Please tell me it’s not just me.

You have your own ways that make you crazy, right?

Is anybody out there? Come on, fess up. Make me feel better.

Is it as hard being you as it is hard being me sometimes?

I was cursed with a “go-go-do-do” personality according to my mother.

That can be good and bad, but right now, for the purpose of this blog, it’s bad.

Very bad.

It leads to neglected blogs, headaches, indecision, and having to have a serious sit-down with my overactive mind.

EBS symptom: after searching everywhere, you find the salt and pepper in the fridge
EBS symptom: after searching everywhere, you find the salt and pepper in the fridge

Imagine the comedy in my conversation with my brain.

Me: Enough already. You are driving me mad. Stop with the ideas.

Brain: I can’t. The ideas are so good. I won’t let them go. You can act on all of them. Trust me. We can do this.

Me: No. Trusting you leads to migraines and endless to-do lists that I could wrap around the globe in long, messy, unkempt strands.

Brain: We’ve got this. Just get up earlier, go to bed later, quit exercising. Forget about healthy eating. Why do you need to file all those papers, pull weeds, do your laundry, talk in coherent sentences anyway? We don’t have time for all that nonsense. We have IDEAS that demand our time and attention.

This could go on forever, this back-and-forth debate with my overactive brain.

Bottom line is a neglected blog means a cluttered mind and a stressed out woman.

Stressed out women need new pink shoes.
Stressed out women need new pink shoes.

A stressed out woman leads to decreased productivity, and probably decreased popularity because people don’t like being around or working with a nonsensical, I-have-another-idea but I-can’t-keep-up-with-myself-woman.

And before I have yet another thought for this blog, I’m going to stop writing.

I am going to think of my ideas like city buses.

They come and they go.

I don’t need to hop on every bus in town and ride it to every random place it’s going.

So if you see me standing at a bus stop waving, you’ll know I’m practicing my new let-it-go approach to life.

And, now you can start singing that Frozen song —Let it Go –because that is what I’m going to do because…

That is one good idea!

 

 

 

 

 

Family, Parenting

Happy Birthday Sara

Twenty-four years ago I left the hospital with a new beautiful baby girl.

IMG_3858

Our doctor refused to tell us whether we were having a boy or a girl because he wanted it to be a surprise.

But, I knew before I entered the hospital that I would have a girl and that her name would be Sara without an h.

She’d visited me in a dream about four years before she was born.

I knew she would be a wise, strong-willed, bright-eyed girl with striking blonde hair and I knew we would turn out to be great friends. I also knew that she would be smart and not afraid to speak her mind.

All of that turned out to be true.

I had no idea then though how she would change my life.

After three months of trying to figure out how to care for a new baby and how to survive colic,  I went back to work on Capitol Hill because that’s what liberated women of the 1990s did after they had babies.

Or so I thought.

Is it terrible to confess I looked forward to going back to work because I knew how to handle a job better than how to handle a newborn?

Then, as I wrote in a blog a few years ago, everything changed one night in January of 1991 when we saw the Gulf War erupt on national television.

Calls from news reporters quickly jammed my phone line.

“What is the senator’s reaction?  Are you going to have a press conference? When can we get an interview? Do you have a statement?”

I immediately called the senator and we started planning our response.

Right then, my husband came into the room carrying our six-month-old Sara, who had been with our nanny all day.

Sara giggled with delight when she saw me and threw her soft little arms around my neck.

I covered the phone, and pushed her away and said, “Not now Doug! This is important!”

I looked at Sara’s disappointed face, and my heart sank.

“What am I doing?” I thought. “Not even a war is more important to me than my child.”

Still, I had to go back to work. I left home, drove back to Capitol Hill.

I spent the night answering phone calls, sending out news releases, and organizing a press conference.

I arrived home to a dark house, climbed the stairs to Sara’s nursery and looked at her sleeping soundly in her crib holding on to her Raggedy Ann doll.

I kissed her soft cheek, brushed back her bright blonde hair, and silently apologized for pushing her away.

Standing there looking at her in the late hours of the night, I knew I had to quit.

My job was not compatible with my family priorities.

I loved my job.  I loved how it made me feel – competent, in control, and fulfilled.

I wanted to be like my friends who I thought “had it all.”

They had successful careers and happy families.

But, I knew that wasn’t going to work for me, at least not with the type of job I had then.

So, I eventually quit.

I didn’t adjust easily to my new role as a stay-at-home mother. My ego definitely suffered.

It took time to find a new rhythm and to essentially repurpose my life and myself.

Now, here I am alone at this computer in my empty house over 20 years later, looking back on the day Sara came into my life.

Did I do the right thing by quitting?

Did I lose an unrecoverable part of myself in all those years?

In the end, those seemingly ponderous questions are really just perfunctory because I know the answers without even thinking about them.

c96bd84a041d0309f81a18aecf26bb6aI did the right thing.

I used to think I did it for Sara, that I quit working because it would be best for her (and eventually for Annie) if I stayed home.

Now I know the truth.

 

They would have been fine with a nanny or in after school day care.

In fact, Annie begged me to go back to work so that she could go to after-school care with her friends.

In the end, the choice wasn’t really about what was best for them.

I knew I’d be a better mother and wife if I didn’t have a demanding career competing for my time and attention.

If I had to go back and start over, I’d do the same thing all over again.

If I’d known then what I know now, I’d have settled into it with more grace and less envy of friends who had fulfilling, highly successful careers and managed to be amazing, engaged mothers.

I’d tell myself every day that it would be worth it.

I’d remind myself that in 24 years, when Sara is off working and cutting her own remarkable path in life, I’d have no regrets.

sara

I thought I was letting go of so much all those years ago when I become a mother, quit my job, and started a new kind of life, but when I look back I realize the opposite is true.

I didn’t lose anything.

I gained everything.

Happy Birthday Sara.