Monday, October 24, 2011

Do Overs

Up until the time I reached my teen years, much of my social life was based around street games. With 20 houses lining our half of Krause Street, there was never a shortage of kids to form two teams for any number of games. The most popular were kick ball, whiffle ball, stick ball and good old-fashioned baseball. The concept was the same for all of them – the batter hits the ball as hard and as fast as possible and then attempts to run the bases before being tagged out.

I know there is a statistic about the average household having 2.5 children, though I doubt that was true back in the late 50s and early 60s. Seemed like the households on our street had a minimum of three kids each, the average closer to five. The Hamilton’s had a dozen, but they lived on the other section of the street and did not join in our activities.
The other statistic of which I am unaware is the ratio of boys to girls in families back then.  I know our street had more boys than girls, and being a girl was a disadvantage – at least until we hit puberty. When teams were picked, the girls inevitably got picked last. We were considered the weaker sex when it came to athletics.  There was no Title IX yet, so girls and sports just didn’t appear to be an appropriate combination. The boys knew they had to let us play, otherwise the moms would be called in to have a talk with them. It was easier to just include the girls, placing them strategically in the least effective positions. I typically batted last in the order and played a shallow right field.

I preferred whiffle ball. I wasn’t afraid of being hit by the lightweight ball that sailed slowly toward me, usually in an underhand throw. I could typically make contact with a whiffle ball. Stick ball was my least favorite. I simply didn’t possess the coordination to hit that little pink Spaldeen with the thin broom handle we borrowed from someone’s garage.
If I put on a good showing on my first two pitches, showing some actual possibility toward full contact, the boys would encourage me to hit that last pitch with all I had in me. And as I would swing through the air, so hard I practically cork-screwed into the asphalt,  one of the boys would yell “do over”, thereby awarding me one more chance to get a respectable hit. Do overs were bittersweet – it was thrilling to get another shot at making it to first base, but you knew it was a sympathy call. Sometimes, if really downtrodden, you would decline the do over and let the next batter take your place.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could have do overs in real life? I often say, “I would love to go back in time, but only knowing what I know now”.  Hmm, what would I do differently?  Well for one, I would start saving money from birth. I would never pick up that first cigarette at age 16 just cause it looked cool. I would make exercise a focal point of my life. I would never miss one of my daughter’s school functions because it conflicted with work. I would choose doing something fun over cleaning the house. I would start living life as a turkey sandwich way sooner.

What I would not do over is anything that would impact my relationships with family or friends. Those were chosen correctly the first time around. Oh, but I would have bulked up and practiced more so I could play a kick ass game of stick ball.
Hey – super special thanks to all of you who placed your Amazon orders via the link on this page. I made $16.49 this month! Don’t forget, Christmas shopping is around the corner. Bookmark the page.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Is Texas for Exes?

We baby boomers redefined marriage – and divorce. I believe the statistic is that 50% of boomer first marriages end in divorce. That translates to a lot of exes, perhaps even too many for a state as large as Texas.

This week, two very dear girlfriends each received the news that their ex was getting remarried. Though I don’t think either of them were pining for the ex, or waiting on any type of reconciliation, it was still a jolt to the system. Emotions that we work diligently to keep tucked away and hidden suddenly rise to the surface, and we have to face them head on. Though we heard the music in the background for a long time, now the fat lady is actually singing.
I have two exes. I am a lucky lady. Both of my exes are wonderful men and I remain friends with each of them today. I am also friends with their wives; vibrant women who have always been kind to me and most of all, extremely kind and loving to my daughters. We are all able to gather together for monumental family events like graduations, weddings and the birth of our first grandchild. When you share years of marriage with someone, you can’t simply discard all the feelings and memories because the relationship comes to an end. Well, at least not without a lot of therapy.
I certainly have many friends who would gladly ship their exes to Texas if they could. Not everyone is able to remain friends after a divorce, and it is usually for good reasons. Things like physical or emotional abuse are unacceptable and cannot be forgiven. In those cases, it is best to cut all ties and be done with it. But for those of us who were lucky to have shared a marriage with someone wonderful, it is a blessing to be able to maintain a friendship and retain the happy memories.

So what do you do when you get the news that the wedding bells are getting ready to chime for your ex? Here are some handy tips from someone with lots of experience:

Deal with those initial feelings and get them out of your system. If you need a good cry, rent a DVD like Hope Floats or anything based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks. Grab a half-gallon container of your favorite ice cream, along with a box of tissues, and have at it.
Plan a dinner party inviting all your divorced friends. The theme for the evening is “Reasons We Got Divorced in the First Place”. Rehash all the things about your ex that drove you to drink.  Start off with their annoying habits. This is sure to lead to uproarious laughter which will set the tone for a fun, though productive, night.

Reflect on all you have achieved in your personal life since the divorce, especially the rebound fling with the hottie who was ten years younger than you.

Start the diet and exercise program   again.
Call your ex, congratulate him, wish him the best and then ask when your invitation will arrive.

Send the happy couple a card or even a small gift – even though you weren’t invited.

Take those old records off the shelf, sit and listen to them by yourself. Mandatory listening includes Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”, Helen Ready’s “I am Woman” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.
Decide if you want to test the waters and find a soulmate with whom you can grow old. If the answer is “yes”, book a flight to Texas. I hear there are plenty of available singles living there.

Note: Special thanks to those who made a recent Amazon purchase via the link. I know at least one of you has a motorcycle. Remember, if you plan to buy something from Amazon, simply enter the site from the link at the top of the page. Doesn’t cost you anything, helps me keep the blog going. Love you all!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Depression is Depressing

Those of you who had been following my blog have been asking where I have been. Well, I’m back and with a bullet. I was on a trip to life’s amusement park, but there was nothing amusing about it. I spent the entire trip riding the roller coaster, and there were definitely more dips than ascensions. The person who designed this ride must have been on drugs. All I know is that I don’t want to ride it again.
The trick in taking an adventure to hell and back is to learn something from it. I learned a lot on this last one and I am happy to share the bullet points with you.

·         Don’t take things for granted. Every facet of your life, especially relationships, must continually be nurtured, fed and exercised.

·         The rug can be pulled out from under you at any time.  I have decided to stand on solid wood floors only from now on.

·         You discover your true friends when you are down.  Friends who you haven’t seen in years appear out of nowhere just when you need them (including California). They warm your heart and they thump you on the head when you need it.

·         Family is family. They will stand by you no matter what happens. Remember to always be there for them as well.

·         A broken heart will not kill you. It will come close, but it is a survivable illness.

·         Never underestimate the healing powers of sunshine. 

·         That whole theory about exercise and the release of endorphins is not a bunch of hogwash. It works.

·         Those disclaimers at the end of commercials for antidepressants contain very valuable information. Heed the warnings. Better yet, stay the heck away from them.

I will be updating the blog on a regular basis in between my paid writing gigs and spending my days with that very special man in my life, my grandson.

On a side note, as you know Google decided my blog was getting too popular and they apparently didn’t have the money to pay me that $300 I had accrued over six months time, so my Adsense account was inactivated. You can find a link to Amazon here on the blog. It’s pretty simple - if you are going to order something from Amazon, please enter their site from my page. It costs you nothing and it takes you directly to their site. If you buy something, I make a few pennies to pay for the blog.

Thanks again to all of you who held my hand as I walked through the valley of yuckiness. You guys are the best and I couldn’t have done it without you.