Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thanks, my friend! (June 27)

This message is a little overdue, although it has been spoken in other words a long time ago.  Four years last month, as a matter of fact. Yesterday I got a reminder about needing to voice my thanks to a great person, Rhonda, who helped us when buying our house in 2009.

She posted a funny FB story yesterday that touched my generally cynical but just then "soft side."  It was about her being complimented by an older man, which she totally deserved, but who was obviously making a geriatric move.  She politely declined his offer, being the sweet person that makes her Rhonda.  Rhonda was very gracious to him, and while I wish I'd have done the same, I probably just would've bitched about always getting hit on by the oldest and/or stinkiest dude around.  That's the truth, btw.  He was always either ancient or putrid -- even in Ireland.

A friend of hers suggested -- much like I do with thanks, my friend to "tell people nice things like that" as we never know when life will end and shouldn't "miss the opportunity to brighten someone's day."  I totally get that!  There's no sense in looking back and wishing we would've told someone something when the chance is gone.  

So my thanks go to Rhonda for guiding us to a home that has made life comfortable in a sometimes foreign place and for her personal touch in doing so.  I'm glad we've stayed in touch online, because she's a genuinely delightful person and a strong, independent woman.  That looks lovely on a lady!

Life is short, and we meet relatively few great people while we're living it.  Don't wish you coulda/woulda/shoulda said something nice to someone when you think of it instead of remembering with regret later!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thanks, my friend! (June 20)

If you're very lucky, you find people in your life who bring positiveness to those around them. It doesn't matter what life throws Kim, she's like that. One of those give-me-lemons-and-I'll-make-lemonade types. She looks at the good and keeps a smile on her face.
Honesty is one of the strong traits of this beautiful woman. Kim is candid and self-effacing. She doesn't let pride get in the way. I find it very admirable that what you see is what you get with her. Her sense of self is strong enough that she fearlessly puts herself "out there." Her boys must have gleaned some of that strength from her, and she is one proud Mama!
Coming from a small town provides some perks, one of which is being able to easily stay in touch with your old friends through mutual friends. Kim and I have known each other since we were in high school and have only been able to get together a few times since then, but it's pleasure when I get to see her. We always laugh and have fun. I wish she and I were closer, but the distance makes me cherish the chances we have to talk all the better.
It only takes a moment to tell a friend how special she is to you and recognize something great about her. Take the opportunity you have to do it right now! You will be glad you did.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Getting stuck

Should I be reading, or should I be writing? The conflict is constant. Observing, and hoping to absorb talent and style by osmosis, is a worthwhile endeavor. My conscience, however, keeps telling me to get at it. Put the Kindle (or book) down, and start typing. Even if it's blogging. That pesky conscience says, "There's a story to develop. Details, more description! You need to add dimensions to those characters already existing in your head. Bring them to life." It's quite a naggy frontal cortex.

The tirade continues with, "Quit looking on Amazon. Open up Word instead!"

My inner-dialogue is relentless, and I use it to make myself feel overly guilty. My conscious mind knows there are revisions to be made to last year's -- yet unfinished -- NaNoWriMo project. Obviously, I need to complete the story. The finale stands at outline status, and that doesn't suffice if it's ever to be finished.

Self-criticism gets me, much like troll-ish reviews on Amazon , nowhere! Worry is like that. Feeling anxious about something is not helpful and only sucks away the energy needed to complete the project. Whereas my writing can always improve, my expertise at worry is unsurpassed. I'm a pro! I'm the best -- just ask me!

The key to feeling un-stuck is simply not staying stuck. Just today, I joined a conversation about whether to be enlightened or discouraged by criticism. I've often said my skin needs to thicken to criticism. An online friend once suggested to read the review only one time and take from it what can help you learn. She urged to never go back to it after that initial reading. Let it serve its purpose if it is to do you any good.

Naysayers can suck, but their words can make you stronger. Everyone has their own taste, but the goal is to write something that you know came from your best effort. And using the feedback constructively can drive a writer to do even better the next time.

Prove them wrong! Know you are going to continue to grow as a writer and a person by never letting yourself stay in a rut. Right - write - on!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thanks, my friend! (June 6)

If I were to make a list of memories, a litany of notable events of fun times shared together, with my friend Kim I'd be at it for quite a while. There'd be an empty tissue box beside me when I finished, too, from all the tears shed in laughter and reminiscence. Most all of them involved some craziness worthy of the motto Kimberley created, "Be there or be talked about."
Being there meant fun, especially the look-back-at-crack-up-about-it-later kind of fun. Not all in retrospect either, because we laughed our asses off at the time, too. First, though, I must give credit where it's due. Kim provided me many saving graces during my five years of living in Kansas City, and I don't know what I'd have done without her. She made me so many meals (not only, but very notably, special ones on St. Pat's and New Year's Day), and threw me a party for college graduation. Finishing undergrad was the main reason for moving there, but Kim's house was my home away from home while I was alone and single in the city. She even helped me shoot my first video. Whether or not I left on the lens cap is irrelevant.
Kim and her husband, Gary, opened their doors to me when I had no other family near. I can't count the number of cocktail hours she and I spent on her screened porch and patio or tabulate the neighbors bothered by our nonsensical singing and dancing. Dickie howled in unison as we celebrated life, and little Molly joined us in the later years. Thank the universe we made it home unscathed after many a night out, too, including the most memorable one when a car came through the wall at Mike's Tavern and almost shoved Kim and the table into my lap. She was unflappable, ordering another beer before we were (all) asked to leave when the dust literally settled.
I like to call those my "formative years," my coming of age, that helped me become the person I am today.  They weren't all easy, but my adventures with Kim were a highlight. She helped me assimilate to keeping myself safe in a sometimes unsafe environment where I could no longer take everyone at face value as I had up to that point in my life. Along the way, we watched out for each other and managed to stay out of real trouble. She helped me become a strong and independent woman.
Going to music festivals is one of my very favorite memories -- not just of life in KC but life in general. That's not to mention the time spent at Kim's previous apartment in Sedalia or all the insanity at Karen's lake place. If those cottage walls could talk.
I know several women named Kim, so I fondly refer to Kimberley as Wine-in-a-box Kim. We kept it classy with Franzia. All jokes aside, I treasure the good times we had and hope our lives catch up to make more memories in the future. Thinking back and looking forward -- thanks, my friend!