Monday, December 31, 2007


On the eve of 2007, I convinced myself that hopefulness was the route I would take into the new year. Reason upon reason seemed to stack up in support of my new outlook. 2007 was going to be MY YEAR! How exciting!

Years and years of good seeds that I'd sown into the lives of others and into this world would blossom into blessings. And a little light would shine on my life as goodness enveloped me.

The year didn't turn out quite that way. What a bumpy journey it was! There was some good which showed up in the form of people. Some of them were already in my life and they demonstrated their support and love and concern for me, reinforcing our relationships. Others were new arrivals but immediately showed themselves to be forever friends. If I had to live through 2007 once more, I would, but only to find my true friends again.

The rest of 2007? Thank God it's over. Time's up! Now get out of here! I need to clear my head and figure out how I am going to live from here on out. I'm thinking no more plans. I never stick to them anyway. And they are too hard to carry out when the rest of the world isn't on board. And no bold statements this year.

However, the beauty of 2008 is that for the first time in my life, I am starting fresh. I've got no man and no job and no place to live. But I am also debt free and I've got nothing tying me down. There's nothing holding me back, keeping me from really living anymore.

Tomorrow is just another day. I will wake up late, watch SportsCenter and eat something that's not good for me. And then I'll start writing my list. Not my list of resolutions. A great big "TO DO" list. I've got time. I'm gonna have some fun.

Happy New Year, y'all!

Friday, December 28, 2007

More on Chocolate... and falling in love

Note: I realize that I reference scientific studies an awful lot for someone who claims to not understand or care about science... but this is fascinating stuff.

Research shows two connections between eating chocolate and falling in love.

First, studies have found that falling in love may be less about EMOTION and more about motivation and drive. All the women out there are probably excited to hear this. We aren't merely big bunches of emotion when it comes to romantic pursuit. We are motivated and driven to be equally and perfectly matched.

Eating chocolate, often the result of a craving, is all about a motivation to satisfy and a drive to fulfill a need. It makes perfect sense to me since the object of both actions is all about obtaining pleasure and pursuing happiness. Which leads us to the second finding...

In many studies the act of eating chocolate and the act of falling in love showed similarities to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). No further explanation needed.

Laughter, Wine, and Chocolate

There's nothing like a night of laughter, wine and chocolate with the girls to elevate your mood and sooth your emotions.

It seems that every other day lately is a good day and the days in between... I could live without them. On Wednesday, I reached a low that I had never hit before and four women came to my rescue, bearing wine and offering comfort in the form of laughter.

At first the laughter came with tears... But by the time we reached the chocolate cake portion of our evening, the tears had faded. And I felt genuinely happy. And so thankful.

Laughter, wine and chocolate... when you don't know what to say to someone, you can always start with those three things. Eventually, the conversation will flow and the tears will stop. And a little happiness might creep into the room.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Astrology Debunked

Today was supposed to be an excellent day for love and friendship. According to the stars, I am a thoughtful and considerate person, always ready to listen to other's problems, and those qualities make me even more attractive and appealing today. At work, people people are supposed to be amazed by my optimism,my dynamic approach, and my discipline. (What else could they ask for?)

I spent the day alone. And as of three days ago, I don't have a job.

Before the new year, I promise to take inventory of my life and figure out what I am thankful for, other than being alive. But I don't have much to believe in at the moment. I can't even pretend with my damn horoscope.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stupid Girl

For the last month, I have defined the term "stupid girl." I have become everything I hate. Hard to believe, I know. This woman who exudes confidence and preaches independence is not capable of falling into the traps of obsession and jealousy. Is she?

In an effort to understand this jealousy thing a little more, I've done a little research. Jealousy, much like guilt, is not something I have previously experienced. I read a lot of articles by well-educated people. I searched advice columns. Explanations varied depending on the situation but there were two causes of jealousy that resonated with me.

First, a fear of losing something often results in jealousy. Seeing someone to whom you feel attached with another person can stir a fear within you. It's a fear that your role in that someone's life could be filled by someone else. That fear is particularly intensified if there is a sexual connection or attachment. Experiencing a moment (or several moments) of bliss with someone solidifies the attachment you feel. You nearly lose yourself in that person. And we can all lie and say that it is easy to walk away from really good sex or that we can handle a one-night stand. But the truth is bliss doesn't come along every day.

Second, jealousy is the result of low self-esteem. If you believe that you are the right girl for a guy, you have no reason to be jealous or to worry that you will be replaced. And if he does leave, it's not always a reflection of you. He's just an idiot.

I've had enough of this stupid girl syndrome. It makes me uncomfortable in my own skin. I have exhibited a whole new level of crazy. And not the good kind of crazy. Until I recover my sanity, I am swearing off drunken nights, blissful sex and idiots.

And the storm came early...

Usually, the winter holidays reign supreme in my world. I relish the giving aspect of it all. It is the one time of year when I am allowed to go all out and give and give and give until my heart's content. Beyond a doubt, it is the happiest time of year for me.

It is also the calm before the storm every year.

Once the chaos winds down, all of the gifts have been opened, the cookies have been eaten and the parties end, I settle into everyday reality. I coast through January, a month in which I typically do some volunteer work and a lot of singing. And then comes February. The most difficult month of the year for me.

This year, however, the storm came early. Stranded on the island of nothing's-going-right, I watched as many of the people in my life faded into the busy-ness of the season as is customary at the holidays. And I struggled to thrust myself into that same busy-ness. Distracted by the disaster that is my life at the moment, I lack motivation for the giving this year. I don't even really care. I have procrastinated terribly and lack creativity completely.

Usually, the February storm lasts about three weeks. Last year, was the worst year ever. I wonder if it's early arrival means an early departure. Or will I have to ride it out until March?

God help the people around me if that's the case.

Undefined Decisions

There is comfort in the past. Holding on to it is easy because it's what you know. You lived it. Or survived it. Either way, going through it got you to today. This moment is a result of all that... past.

While the past brought you here and contributed to who you are today, it does not define you. That's where the holding on hinders you. Clinging to past experiences and allowing them to influence the decisions for your future can hinder the fullness and the goodness of your life. That is especially so for those who have a painful or traumatic past and what really sucks is that those who endured pain and trauma are the ones who hold on the tightest.

The same goes for those moving on from past loves or other relationships. Wallowing in the memory of a former lover or even a former friend restricts our capacity to open ourselves to others who come along. Hoping for reconciliation is reasonable sometimes but that hope can serve as a blindfold for your future too. Decisions based on feelings once assigned to others in your life limit the fullness of future relationships.

People with joyful pasts take a stroll down memory lane every once in a while and talk about how great life was back when... But they rarely balk in decision making because they fear that life might end up being good... again.

Holding on to what was distracts our focus on the present and inhibits our ability to see the possibilities of our future. And that can result in missed opportunities for something different and something good.

The past does not determine the future. It is merely a factor in our decisions. It should not define them.

Two years ago, I made a decision to stop holding on to pieces of my past and to stop running from the rest of it. The struggles in my life didn't stop immediately. Decisions do not automate change. Decisions require work. But the differences appear and the goodness comes over time. Eventually, making undefined decisions becomes easier. The differences and the goodness become the struggle because there's no point of reference for them. It's all new. And sometimes it's frustrating.

But there's a freedom in deciding which way to go without the ghosts of your past weighing in on that decision. The people you let into your life, your new experiences and simply being open to the idea of anything brings pleasure and on good days, a great deal of happiness.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


The average four-year-old asks 437 questions per day. 437. There are no statistics to show how many of those questions go unanswered every day but I am going to guess it's a fair number of them.

I have been asking the same question for years and I don't seem to get an answer. Ever. My question is WHY? I probably ask it roughly 30 times a day about different things. And I never get an answer. I get a story or an analogy or a line that sidetracks me from my original question. But I never get an answer.

Sometimes, I ask why about the same thing over and over and over. Still... no answer. I have asked many people the same question. Neither race nor creed nor shoe size affects the exchange. I ask why. There's no clear cut answer. It's a conversation. Or at the very least 3 or 4 sentences that don't tell me anything.

I've asked God why. People tell me that if you are quiet long enough and find that peaceful space, you might hear His answer. I can't hear Him. I have been trying for years to find a moment of peace that lasts long enough for me to hear God tell me why. I can't find it and I can't hear Him. But I am going to try not to pray for that peaceful place because with my luck, I'll end up dead. I prayed for patience once and I am STILL waiting.

Maybe there is no answer to the question, "why?" There are definitely answers to who, where, what and how. But maybe "why" is too subjective.

I know for sure that the answer is not "because" or "it just is." people have attempted to placate me with answers like that and I only end up asking "why" again... only louder.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Take Out the Trash

Leaving doesn't clean up your mess. It just leaves your mess for someone else to clean up.

Walking out on your problems merely puts you in a different location. It's like moving to a new house to get away from all of your trash. Even though you move, the house is still filled with bags of trash. Whether you are there or not. You might not have to deal with it but somebody will have to come behind you and clean it up. So you might as well handle it. Just take out the damn trash.

You will save yourself the trouble of packing and hauling your stuff up and down stairs and finding a new place and making new friends and all that stuff. It's not easy to get motivated to do the dirty work. But in the long run, it is really an easier job.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Idle Chatter

Social psychologists are now suggesting that gossip is more than just idle chatter. They claim that it is a way for us to "navigate our complex social world." It seems some folks just talk about other people behind their backs to feel out social situations, to gage the reaction of others in an attempt to validate certain feelings or to just add a little spice to the mix.

It is nice of the social psychologists to give us an excuse for our bad behavior and to ignore the consequences of that behavior.

We now have permission from the "they" of the world to badmouth each other. Sew discord! Cause division! Tear others down! That's what we've got to do to survive in this complex social world!

And then run for cover! Because I am sure social psychologists have excuses for the reactions of the people we've been talking about too.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Stuff that makes a sane woman crazy...

Never in life have I been as obsessive and insane as I have felt this week.

All females are obsessed with something at various times in life whether it's boys or collecting things or buying shoes or the size of their thighs. Women focus intensely on things. That's what women do.

For me, there has to be a trigger of some kind to remind me of whatever it is. Otherwise, I am not even aware that I am supposed to be paranoid and over-sensitive. Usually, I am just cruising along, happy as a clam, minding my own business when I am suddenly smacked in the head by whatever it is.

Now, I don't mean to say that I am naive but sometimes I just don't want to know what's REALLY going on. I am happy with life as it is. Don't need no drama to mess it all up.

Sunday morning, I woke up at 7AM and I was sane. (As far as I can tell anyway and I believe others would testify on my behalf...)

By 7PM, I was completely crazy. Life barged into the middle of my mom's surprise 70th birthday party and grabbed me by the shoulders and said, "HEY! LOOK OVER THERE!" Apparently, hiding somewhere under all my happy clams was a pile of not-quite-the-truth. And it had been there for weeks! I just didn't see it.

In that moment, I lost grasp of my sanity and I haven't seen it since.

Most of my days this week have been spent pretending that I'm OK and holding back tears. I tried to cry tonight and I couldn't. I am afraid the tears might decide to show up again in an inappropriate moment since they won't fall on demand. My stomach is all twisted in knots and I can't sleep. I am a mess.

The funny thing is I haven't really been sleeping for a couple of weeks and had the sense that something wasn't quite right but... I just kept on cruising and ignoring "the signs." (There are always signs.) Now, all that stuff races through my mind over and over and over... I can't stop thinking about it. And when I try I just end up thinking about how I can't stop thinking about it. I wonder constantly. I worry endlessly. And I feel completely helpless.

This is the stuff that makes a sane woman crazy.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Advice is not advice until someone takes it. Until then, it's just your opinion. Did I make that up or did someone else say that? Either way, it's true. And I suppose you don't really know if your advice is good or bad until you've witnessed the result of acting upon it.

I've never really been one for taking the advice or heeding the warnings of others. Headstrong and independent, I tend to charge forward and learn life's lessons on my own. The end result of my bull-headed attitude (my mom's description) has been one part struggle, one part pain and a little surprise, a dash of awe and some satisfaction.

Testing the advice of others is not something I do to be difficult or to prove anyone wrong or right. In most of life's experiences, I just need to know for myself. Sure, part of it is my own trust issue and part of it is my fight to maintain control. But the bigger part is that I need to feel it and experience it and say it and taste it and whatever else. I need it to be real to me.

I wasn't always this way. As a child, I was very obedient. Consequences scared the hell out of me. The unknown scared the hell out of me. Most of the time, my parents didn't even have to tell me not to do something. I just didn't out of fear. As it does for most people, a switch flipped in my teen years and I suddenly felt invincible. My sense of adventure blossomed, my fear diminished and I outgrew my guilt gene. That continued through my twenties and then one day I woke up and I was 30 and I was suffering the consequences of years of ignoring the advice of others.

I realize not all advice is good. And not all advice is relevant. But I should have listened to some of it.

Now, I've reached an age at which I see people around me making the same bad decisions I made way back when... And, now I am the one giving the advice and getting ignored.

never give up

For many people, life unfolds in a way less than they imagined. The outcome is unanticipated, unexpected and, for many, mediocre in comparison to the big dreams they held as children.

I don't know many people who are living their perfect life. That doesn't make you less than anyone else. You are not a failure. But you also don't have to merely survive your remaining days. You don't have to muttle through and make do.

Every day that we wake up, we have opportunities before us. There are choices to make that go beyond which bagel to eat for breakfast or which route to take to work. And making different choices can create a new outcome for your life.

Changing your habits or the patterns of your life does not often come without struggle or pain. But the decision to press on and achieve a life that greets you every morning with joy and excitement is worth it. You focus on the good that will come. And on particularly hard days, you lean on your friends and your family or maybe just your dog.

But you don't give up. You never give up.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Confidence Crisis

Over the last week, I have experienced a crisis in confidence that I haven't felt since I was about 14 years old. Back then I lacked confidence so severely that I couldn't even order a pizza over the phone. People who know me today find it hard to believe that I was ever shy. But I was. And it wasn't until I found my voice (my singing voice) that my confidence started to bloom.

Even though I began singing at the age of 9, I wasn't always sure of myself. Adults often complimented my ability but other kids taunted and teased me. It wasn't cool to sing at church. So, it took years for me to get comfortable standing in front of a crowd and it took years for me to truly tap into my talent. Once I reached my singing potential, I drew my confidence from that experience. And it was built up by the applause of the audiences, the approval of strangers. Validation sunk in a lot quicker when it came from people I didn't know, people who didn't have to tell me I'd done a good job.

That pattern continued into my adult life. The stage upon which I have performed has grown. This past summer I sang in front of a crowd of nearly 60,000 people and a television audience of over 1 million. It was the highest point, so far, of my music career. And in my "small" town of St. Louis, people recognize me and kids ask for my autograph.

A few weeks ago, I lost my biggest singing job. It was a regular gig with the St. Louis Blues. Last season, I sang at 22 games. Locally, much of my singing identity came from that job. But this year, the Blues ownership decided to go with one singer for the entire season and they chose another singer over me. The news crushed me, honestly.

This new development combined with a new job and a couple of relationship issues sent me reeling into a confidence crisis.

I haven't heard the applause in a while. And I don't know what to do without it. I don't know how to be me without it. I miss the spotlight, yes. I miss the people more. And I miss singing and feeling the energy of the crowd around me and the release at the end that comes in the applause.

Who am I if I don't sing? And who am I if the people don't clap at the end?

I am that 14 year old girl. Unsure of herself and wary of compliments. Insecure. Paranoid. So sure that, at any moment, everything else will disappear just like the applause did.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Don't say that... unless you mean it

Say what you mean and mean what you say... Also known in some circles as honesty. I believe in honesty. I appreciate honesty. I think most people do. But honesty is not always easy to come by and it isn't always easy to acheive.

As much as I believe in honesty, I also believe that if you can't muster the courage to say exactly what you mean, you should say nothing at all. Save the conversation for a later date when you are more sure of yourself and less worried about the other person's reaction.

The pitfall in many relationships, freindships or otherwise, is that sometimes we talk just to fill space. And sometimes, in order to keep up momentum, we say things we don't really mean. Above all else, we often say what the other person wants to hear to get what we want, to avoid an argument or to find our way out of a conversation. Everybody does it.

There are some things we should never say... unless we mean it.

For example, "I LOVE YOU." Over the years, I have become much more liberal with my use of those three words. I tell friends and family often that I love them. The tricky thing about those words is that the interpretation on the receiving end varies based on that person's feelings for you. If you have never had a conversation with your friend and confirmed that you are just friends, you probably shouldn't say it. Other phrases that fall into the same category as "I love you" might be "you mean a lot to me" or "you matter more to me than..." and most of all "I need you."

There are many other examples including "you look great," "I enjoy spending time with your mother," "I would take a bullet for you," etc.

Think before you speak. If you honestly mean it, then say it. Put it out there. At all costs. But if you are unsure, wait. Or choose your words wisely.

Don't say it unless you mean it.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Mind reader

I have a friend that I swear has mind-reading abilities. He insists it isn't true and that he is merely a student of human behavior. But his timing is unbelievable at times.

There have been days when I've thought it might be nice to have a mind reader in my life. Then I could stop verbalizing how I feel and what I want.

Remember that Mel Gibson movie, "What Women Want?" He got electrocuted in the bathroom and suddenly he could read the mind of every female he encountered. At first, he planned to use his ability for evil but in the end, good prevailed! And Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt lived happily ever after. And it was fabulous! And I thought, I need a man who just KNOWS what I want so I never have to tell him and worry about being rejected or looking silly ever again.

Shortly after seeing that movie, I started thinking about what I was thinking about all the time. I'd sit in a meeting or in a restaurant or at a ballgame and hope that there were no mind readers nearby. And I realized that I have no control of my thoughts and maybe having a mind reader in my life isn't such a good idea.

I think what this woman wants is someone who is on the same page. Someone who can't read minds but who somehow knows.

Touch me

"I don't know what you want from me."

Sometimes he says it out loud. Sometimes he says it, but uses other words. Sometimes he just says it with his eyes. And sometimes, he just sighs loudly.

I just want you to touch me.

Stand near me. Let your shoulder rest on mine. Lean on me. Place your hand on my lower back when we're standing in a crowded room. I've always liked that.

Sit close to me. Hold my hand. Hold me. Longer. I like the way it feels when it feels like you never want to let me go. Just rest your hand on me. It reminds me that you're there for me and not just there.

I just want you to touch me.

It's that simple... really.

I have two roommates...

I have two roommates... and sometimes I call them "mom" and "dad."

They're older and, I suppose, wiser. They go to bed early and sleep late. They eat dinner at 4:30 every evening. Sometimes, they go for walks and, when they do, they hold hands. They love to go on bus trips. Bus trips to anywhere... In fact, they've been travelers as long as I've known them.

We don't have much in common except for our love of baseball and music.

They watch a lot of television. And they eat German food. They love to shop at Costco and, every week, they make a special trip to the same store to buy lottery tickets. (Ah, something else we have in common.)

They are uncomfortable with modern technology. If they want to use my computer, they call me and I give them step by step instructions... just to turn it on. They read the newspaper every day. They eat donuts and banana nut muffins and they leave the coffee in the coffee pot for days at a time.

They used to be the neatest, tidiest people I ever met. They kept the house spotless. But I guess with all that age and wisdom came the realization that there are only so many hours in a lifetime and you shouldn't spend them all cleaning.

I moved back in with my parents a year ago, for various reasons. And I am seeing them differently then I ever did before. Obviously, I have grown up and my perspective is different but I don't remember when they got old. It must have happened when I wasn't looking. They are so different than I remember as a child. And I am glad I have had the opportunity to get to know them again.

I have learned a lot from my roommates. Above all else, they have shown me in the last year how important companionship is. Just having people near you, with you, beside you... to share in your every day... to eat muffins and watch baseball and occasionally take a walk... Life really isn't about stuff. It's about you and your people.

I never thought I would enjoy having roommates. And while I think I am ready to get back out on my own, this last year hasn't been all that bad.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Stop this Train"

One day, I woke up and I wasn't 22 years old any more. twenty-two, in fact, was quite a while ago. Some days, I think I'd like to go back. Other days, I wonder if it would be any different anyway. Maybe... It all flies by so fast. And one day, you wake up and so much of it is gone. And the future is staring you dead in the eye. And it's scary!

Anyway, sometimes my own words don't sum up quite how I am feeling in a particular moment. Others say it better. When I think about all of this, I hear John Mayer singing "Stop this Train." And so it goes...

Stop This Train
No I'm not color blind
I know the world is black and white
Try to keep an opened mind
I just can't sleep on this tonight

Stop this train
I want to get out and go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can
But honestly will someone stop this train

Don't know how else to say it, don't want to see my parents go
One generation's length away
From fighting life out on my own

Come on stop this train
I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can but honestly won't someone stop this train

So afraid of getting older
I'm only good at being young
So I play the numbers game to find away to say that life has just begun
Had a talk with my old man
Said help me understand
You sit down 68 you'll renegotiate

Don't stop this train
Don't follow it moves the place you're in
I don't think I could ever understand
I tried my hand
John, honestly we'll never stop this train

See once in a while when it's good
It'll feel like it should
When you're all still around
And you're still safe and sound
And you don't miss a thing so you cry when you're driving away in the dark.

Singing stop this train
I want to get out and go home again
I can't take this speed it's moving in
I know I can
Cause now I see
I'll never stop this train
(think I got 'em now)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hug it out

Hugs are healthy.

It has been proven that a hug can be as vital to human life as food and water. Studies have shown that a simple ten second hug can lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease, relieve tension, restore emotional health and just make you feel good. And it's been said (by "THEY"... you know who "THEY" are) that the average person needs four hugs a day just to survive and eight hugs a day to maintain. The person who gets 12 hugs a day will thrive.

In today's world, hugging is not always acceptable but it is the ultimate antidepressant, a sincere form of appreciation for others and a healthy expression of kindness.

I am a huge fan of hugging. I don't know why. My family doesn't hug. Well, not unless one of us is about to board a plane... Then we hug, just in case. But I am all about it. My inclination upon meeting people for the first time, honestly, is to hug them. I know that's weird. I don't want to hug EVERYONE. But most people, upon first impression, are worthy of a hug. Or at least an arm draped around the shoulders and a nice squeeze.

Maybe if we tried to hug it out more often, there'd be less war. Or less crime. Or at least less stress.

I read another blog that included hugging instructions. The writer said, "become fully present with someone you trust (perhaps by taking a deep centering breath or three), ask for a hug, then melt into it with another deep breath. Go ahead and try it right now. Find someone to hug."

(Well, go ahead... I'll wait my turn. But I'm next.)

Playing the Lottery

Well, I didn't win the lottery again. Yes, I just checked my numbers from the Saturday drawing and yes, I realize it's Monday already. Very telling, in a way, isn't it? Maybe I don't really believe I am going to win. That MUST be the problem.

Although, I'm not really giving it my all. I'm not a dedicated player; I don't buy tickets for every drawing or even on a weekly basis. I buy when it comes to mind or when the winnings reach over 200 million. I mean... then it's actually worth it to spend the dollar.

That's right... I only buy one. Why would you buy more? Either you are going to have the numbers or your not. It's not as if you can mix and match the numbers from various tickets until you come up with the six winners. It's funny to me... Every time I buy a ticket, the clerk always asks, "only one?" And I always respond, "You only need one to win, right?" The seller does not find that funny at all. Neither does the guy beside me who just spent a hundred bucks on his tickets. I don't have $100 to spare. That's why I am playing the lottery.

I'm still not a winner though. Not a big winner anyway. I have a $4 winning ticket hanging on the refrigerator. I am keeping it. It's only worth four dollars afterall and I can't spend it over four weeks time. I'd have to spend it all at once. And that would mess up my game plan.

I buy at the same place every time. The Jumpstop gas station by my house gets all my lottery business. As far as I know, they haven't had a winner yet and I am hoping to be their first. I am loyal to the Jumpstop. Unless of course I am on some sort of road trip through the rural Midwest. People in small towns always win the lottery. So I stop along the way, in tiny towns, and buy lottery tickets. Perhaps it's not fair of me to steal the chances of winning from the small town folks. But I'd go back if I won. And buy a t-shirt or I don't know... build a school, like Oprah. The point is, I'd go back and share the spoils.

Maybe that is why I don't win though... I can't stop thinking about giving away all that money. Ridiculous, huh? It would be fun to buy a big house and a new car and hire a pool boy. And maybe I would even get a pool... But it would be so much more fun to pay off the debt of others and buy cars for strangers. That's probably the biggest reason I don't win. God thinks I am financially irresponsible. And He's right. I am. It's probably best to give $200 million to some 80 year old guy in a small town in rural Missouri who's got 2 dogs, 10 cats and no family. Because that makes sense.

Even though the deck seems to be stacked against me, I'm not going to stop playing the lottery. I am going to pick up a ticket every now and then at the Jumpstop and I'll stop in Auxvasse on my way to Kansas City in December and pick up a Powerball and a few scratchoff tickets. I'm going to keep playing because it makes me giddy to think "what if?" And a moment of giddiness every now and then, is worth a dollar. At least.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


As I pulled the covers up over my nephew and turned off the lights, he grabbed my arm. "Are you still there, Aunt Michele?" he whispered. "Yes," I said. "Don't be afraid." He tried to convince me that he wasn't afraid, he just wanted to make sure I was ok. His timing is amazing because the truth is I'm not ok right now. And while I was making sure he was not afraid, it is me who really is.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I have always maintained that I am afraid of nothing. Except for being alone for the rest of my life... But I am starting to realize that is just a story that I have been telling myself and the world around me.

Over the last two years, my whole life has changed. Relationships have ended. The roster of people in my life has been cut back dramatically. I've been abandoned on one hand and on the other, I've given up on people that have been in my life for half of it. I've moved. I've changed jobs. I've been stalked. I've been robbed and I've felt violated.

It hasn't all been bad because I know that I've been loved and cared for by my family and my closest friends. But I let them in a long time ago and there's no going back now. Yet I haven't exactly been honest with them. I've kept my head up and just kept going.

The truth is, I am so afraid right now. More than I ever have been...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Believe Them

"When somebody shows you who they are, believe them."
-Maya Angelou

Daily, people reveal themselves to one another. Sometimes in slight, subtle ways. Sometimes boldly and proudly. Disclosing our qualities and differences, our quirks and similarities, outwardly demonstrating our inner beliefs is the natural process of allowing others to get to know us.

Defying the truths that life has taught me and ignoring the wisdom of my years, I hold fast to my innate desire to see and to believe in the best of those around me. Even when it's they, themselves, who have given me reason to doubt them, I dig deep to find their goodness.

I want to believe in others. And no matter the circumstance or the situation, I believe there is good in everyone. It may be buried beneath sorrow and anger. It may be hindered by ignorance or hatred. But I believe it's there. Unexpectedly discovering the good in someone else can be a humbling but gratifying experience.

Equally as humbling though is the realization that the faith you've put in the goodness of others may have been wasted. The trust you've assigned has been squandered.I believe what Maya Angelou says, in spite of my need to believe that the people with whom I associate are all things good. Needing to believe that the people around you are everything you hope is normal. At least I'd like to think so... And until you're given a reason to think otherwise, why would you? But we must give ourselves permission to recognize the truth when it is presented. Good or bad.

When someone shows you who they are... you really should believe them.

My Normal

Recovery from any sort of adverse emotion is dictated by an individual's ability to process truths within herself, to accept those truths and to make peace with them. Whatever those truths might be...

The adverse emotion could be anger, grief, helplessness, guilt, fear, anything opposite of that which is traditionally seen as good or healthy. The truth could be very personal or it could be about another person or a situation or an experience.

The time it takes to work through adversity should not be determined by outside factors such as work or responsibilities or other people. Healing is a process. It is not something that can be scheduled or managed by the calendar. The process and the time it takes is very personal. It is not for us to look at others and decide when they should be done with it all and "back to normal."

Sometimes the adverse emotion never goes away. Sometimes you settle back into life and it lingers in the background, only coming to the forefront on certain days of the year or when something brings it to mind again. And it becomes part of your normal.

Sometimes in spite of the efforts of others to help you let it go or get past it, you hold onto your adverse emotion. In some sort of twisted way, you find comfort in it. You don't want to forget it or let it go. And it becomes part of your normal.

Sometimes you don't want to go back to whatever you had before you experienced the anger or the grief or the fear or the guilt because who you are now is all you know. So all that adverse emotion becomes part of your normal.

Tonight, for a moment, I came face to face with a piece of my "normal." For eight years, I have carried my grief around. And while they say time heals all wounds, the years do not seem to diminish this grief. I live with it. A day does not pass by that I am not mindful of it. There's a part of me that is actually grateful for it... as odd as that sounds.

I'm ok with keeping it in my back pocket, so to speak. But an unexpected moment like tonight's is slightly overwhelming. Another adverse emotion I guess I'll have to deal with...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Save me!" she cried.

Domineering man. Damsel in distress. The things that movies and romance novels and fairy tales are made of...

In many cases, the role of the damsel is played by doe-eyed, highly feminine, coy but secretly frisky women in pumps. That's my experience anyway. She receives constant affirmation by getting men to do things for her. Opening a jar, for example, or carrying her bags or telling her that she doesn't look fat in her slutty, little, black dress. This version of the damsel is a tragic injustice to the woman who truly is in need of rescuing.

For the true damsel, femininity is not a weapon. It is merely her nature. Her coyness is genuine and her big doe eyes... well, they are big and weepy for a reason, not just for attention. Vulnerability, on her part, is more than just a hypnotic tool. It is sincere.

I do not have a problem with the true damsel in distress. Every woman, whether she admits it or not, experiences a time in life when her efforts alone seem to get her nowhere. She needs a little help. And for most, that help comes in the form of a man. He swoops in, sweeps her up and when the dust settles, all is well. At least for a while...

Somewhere between the settling and the next dust storm, some women realize that they are stronger and smarter and more capable of doing it alone on the next go 'round. Others are content with being the damsel in distress. For the latter, it becomes a way of life and a cycle of being rescued over and over by one man after another.

Most men are rescuers. When you tell a man a problem, he immediately racks his brain for solutions. Guys fix things. So, a woman in need is appealing to a man. It is easy for him to see where he fits into her life. He knows his role.

That leaves a lot of women, like me, out in the cold. "I can take care of myself" and "I don't need a man" are two completely different statements.

I have never been a damsel in distress. I don't know that I could even fake my way through that role. My parents taught me to be self-sufficient, which I believe is every parent's job. I can cook and change a tire, if I have to. I can open my own jars and, if I have to, I can decided where to eat for dinner. I can take care of myself.

"Want" and "need" are two different words as well. I guess the statement "I don't need a man" is true. I don't need a lot of things outside of water, food, shelter and clothing. I want a man. I just don't want him to open stuff or fix stuff or fix me for that matter. I want him to laugh with me and enjoy life with me. It's really that simple with a girl who doesn't need saving.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oh to be a Daddy's Girl again...

There's nothing like the love between a dad and his daughter.

Rocking in a big blue chair in our living room is my earliest memory of me and my dad. I couldn't have been more than 2 or 3 years old. As we rocked night after night, I learned to trust him. My safety and security rested in his hands. I found comfort in his arms. And before long, I looked forward to our time together every evening.

I know a lot of women who don't have relationships with their fathers. And I know a lot of young girls who are growing up without their daddies. I know men who are neglecting their responsibility to their daughters and I know men who are fighting to make a connection with their little girls. There are some who would say that society makes too much of the daddy/daughter relationship. But I disagree completely.

Dads are supposed to teach us to trust. They are supposed to teach us to feel safe and secure with people who care for us and treat us well. It's our fathers who teach us how to relate to men and what to expect from them.

There was a stretch of time in my life when I didn't make any good decisions, especially with regard to men. My family took it very hard. They felt it was a poor reflection on them. During that time, I ruined my relationship with my dad. Our falling out was not the result of a loud argument or angry words. It was a gradual process in which he stopped having conversations with me. When I called on the phone, he'd pass it quickly to my mom so he didn't have to talk. I would ask him to go to a game with me and he would decline. And so it was... I was no longer daddy's girl.

In the years since then, I have taken responsibility for my past and worked very hard to pull myself up and rebuild my life. And I think my dad has seen that. And we're talking again. And it's nice.

I think they key is to never stop trying. Dads should persistently love their little girls, without fail, without end, unconditionally. And daughters should accept nothing less than that from life and in love. And when we fail, we have to do whatever it takes to get back to the place of safety and security and comfort. A place where we can just be daddy's girl again... Until we can get it right on our own.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Trust me

Trust is the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. When you trust someone, you place confidence in his or her character, ability, strength or in who you know that person to be (“the truth of someone”).

Text books say that the inability to trust is not innate. The inability to trust is developed over time. It is fostered by various life experiences including neglect, abuse, pain at the hands of others, unhealthy relationships, etc. But low self-esteem and the belief that one is undeserving of attention, care or concern also feed it.

I find it very easy to command the trust of others. People seem to feel very comfortable sharing their feelings with me and placing confidence in me. I suppose there is an openness that I project along with a non-judgmental disposition. I love people and enjoy getting to know them. The challenge of breaking down the walls that others put up excites me.

But I don’t trust anyone.

I don’t remember when I realized I don’t trust. It had to be in the last ten years because until I turned 30, I didn’t really know very much about myself. I had spent the bulk of my life doing things for other people, keeping busy and partying a lot. So I didn’t have time to get to know me. When I took a moment to get acquainted with myself, I realized that I don’t trust anyone. And, honestly, it makes me a little sad.

There are things I don’t want other people to know. There are feelings I can’t share. There is a fear of rejection that nearly suffocates me on a daily basis. And deep down, there must be a belief that I am less important, not worthy. That makes me a little sad too because it is so contrary to the confidence painted on the surface of me.

The root of my trust issue comes in the last piece of the definition: “the truth of someone.” Intuition often leads me away from those who do not present themselves in a truthful light. But sometimes intuition is silenced by a greater desire to figure someone out, a need to put some energy into someone. Nine times out of ten that’s because I see something of myself in that person and can’t resist the urge to change that person before he or she makes the same mistakes I made. Or I feel spiritually connected to someone in some way so even though my head is telling me to steer clear, I give in to the spirit of that person. And sooner or later, reality bites. The truth of someone becomes clear and it is not the truth that I assigned but the real truth of someone.

Disappointment. Pain. Emotional torture. The realization that you cannot put confidence in the character of someone destroys the heart.

I want to know what it’s like to trust someone. It seems to me that trusting would provide me some relief mentally, emotionally and maybe even physically. But how do you recover from the past (or the present) and start over?

Monday, September 17, 2007


It is in situations of strife and controversy that you find out who is willing to toe the line for you. It is in your darkest moments that you discover who will step outside a busy life and stand watch over you until dawn. It is in times of need- be it encouragement, prayer, a warm hug or hand or heart or something even more tangible- when dependability surfaces and relationships are affirmed. It is in the recognition of these things and the willingness to submit to the aid of others that a friend is defined. And it is in returning the favor out of selflessness and not merely duty that the definition is complete.

Phenomenal Woman

Some time after I turned 30 years old, I stopped considering the opinions of strangers and started loving myself. Yet, I am still bothered when someone calls me "fat." Personally, I have embraced the word. It's not a "dirty" or "mean" word in my vocabulary. It is merely a descriptor. When others say it, however, it is meant to be hurtful. It is an attack. It amazes me that even as we age (and as some of us mature), calling someone "fat ass" or pointing out the obvious is still as satisfying as it was when we were twelve. (Yes, I said pointing out the obvious. It's not like I am unaware that I am fat. I have lived in this body for quite some time now...)

The road to self-love is long and winding and rocky. But there is no final destination. This is a journey filled with daily discoveries. And to this point what I have discovered is that no matter the package, the gift of me is still a phenomenal woman.

And so I share with you a poem by Maya Angelou. Her words say it best...

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size

But when I start to tell them,

They think I'm telling lies.

I say,

It's in the reach of my arms

The span of my hips,

The stride of my step,

The curl of my lips.

I'm a woman


Phenomenal woman,

That's me.

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.

Then they swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees.

I say,

It's the fire in my eyes,

And the flash of my teeth,

The swing in my waist,

And the joy in my feet.

I'm a woman


Phenomenal woman,

That's me.

Men themselves have wondered

What they see in me.

They try so much

But they can't touch

My inner mystery.

When I try to show them

They say they still can't see.

I say,

It's in the arch of my back,

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I'm a woman


Phenomenal woman,

That's me.

Now you understand

Just why my head's not bowed.

I don't shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud.

When you see me passing

It ought to make you proud.

I say,

It's in the click of my heels,

The bend of my hair,

The palm of my hand,

The need of my care,

'Cause I'm a woman


Phenomenal woman,

That's me.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Yes, I Read "Men's Health"

I read “Men’s Health” magazine. I prefer to peruse online rather than to purchase. It’s just as good that way really and more convenient. I don’t get to it often but “Men’s Health” never ceases to amaze me. It’s Cosmo for men. But, dare I say, BETTER?

It’s an all-inclusive guide to men. You might be thinking, “Don’t you mean FOR men, Michele?” Of course, it is a guide FOR men when a man is reading it. But from a chick’s perspective, it is a total guide TO men, about men. More women should read it. There is a lot of insight to be had. And honestly, gentleman, “Men’s Health” knows it’s fair share about women. So study up!

I won’t go on and on (any further), I just had to share a list that they have up right now. It is a list of reasons WHY we have sex. Apparently nobody ever though to do a study on the subject prior to this… I wouldn’t call it fascinating. Just familiar… Take a look!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Perhaps I haven't been clear...

Two years ago, when I started my blog
, I did it for a few reasons. One, since I had forsaken my writing career for corporate America, I needed an outlet for my ramblings. Two, my life is an open book anyway, and there's enough excitement in the everyday happenings that I thought others might get a kick out of hearing about it. Three, it gave me a platform, if necessary to discuss important topics.

I have managed to keep the seriousness of my blog to a minimum. I try to infuse humor in every area of my life, especially the painful parts. Even if I don't find a particular moment very funny, it is sometimes easier for me to deal with it if I can find the lighter side. There isn't a lighter side, however, to some topics and, for that reason, I have steered away from addressing them.

I try to avoid politics, religion, gender equality, sexual preference, racism-- all the big subjects that others build their followings around... That is not to say that I don't have strong convictions or opinions about any of those topics. I have chosen not to write about them because I believe that the people who really know me, my family and friends, know how I feel. I am very vocal about everything. (Those of you who know me even informally, are keenly aware of that.)

I enjoy a good debate about the afore-mentioned subjects every now and then. I can appreciate the opposing position on nearly any topic. That is the beauty of these United States that we call home. Freedom! Freedom to believe and think and say anything! But I cannot appreciate uneducated pontification from closed-minded individuals convinced that their way is the only way and the rest of us are wrong.

Yesterday, I found myself embattled in a war of words with someone I have known for 10 years. My words were poorly chosen. I did not fight the good fight and for that I am profoundly sorry. (My apologies to him and to the many people around who had to witness my tirade.) The battle ensued not during an intelligent conversation on our positions on race but after his attack on various ethnic groups other than his own. He cited his right to free speech and the freedom he is granted by merely being born in this great nation of ours as his defense for the vulgarity that came from within him. I fired back with profanity and at one point, I nearly struck him. That's not me. Not at all. But something rose up within me that I nearly lost control over and today, as I recount it all, it scares me.

Perhaps I have not been clear on where I stand with regard to racist beliefs. So today, let me make it plain. I will not tolerate racism in any form or fashion.

Believe what you want and say what you will about those you think of as lesser than yourself but please keep it in those circles that appreciate that talk. I am not in that circle. If you would like to talk about diversity in America and how we can build a bridge to unifying our nation, then I am your girl. But I will not take part in creating a larger racial divide. I will not contribute to this guerilla warfare.

Is that clear enough?

Those of you who know my story, where I came from and how I grew up understand that the position I take on racism is almost a calling on my life. (Maybe I will share that story again someday...) A part of me wishes I could take yesterday back and start over. And another part of me thinks it may have been the start of the next chapter.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Are you ready for something good?

Today, my horoscope said, "One way or another, something beneficial is coming your way, assuming you are ready to receive it."

I don't put stock in my horoscope. Truth be told, I like to wait to read them a day late just to see if they're even close to accurate. Most of the time, they're not. But one little bit of a line in today's message gripped me tighter than normal. "Assuming you are ready to receive it..."

I have always thought that good things happen to those who believe. Believe in themselves... Believe in God... Believe in their friends/teammates/co-workers... Just believing it is half the battle. No matter how hard you work to acheive a goal if there is something deep inside keeping you from really believing, it won't happen.

When I coached volleyball, my girls were not allowed to say "I can't" or "we can't." No negative talk in my gym. I used to ask them, "If you don't believe you can do this, then why are we here?" Two years ago, one of my teams went undefeated for the season and most of my girls had never played volleyball before they came to me. Some of them couldn't even serve the ball over the net. But we worked hard and we believed in each other. I believed in their ability and they believed in mine.

This whole idea of be ready to receive good things may be the same concept. I have spent a lot of time giving up on this life I am living. That may sound crazy to some because it seems like I have the world and I am generally a happy person. But it's true. It is EASY to believe for others. But it's not so easy to believe for me. Maybe some of the good things I had hoped for never arrived because I wasn't ready for them. Maybe I didn't believe they could happen.

I think "something beneficial" came may way today... It was a little bit of enlightenment. It was a realization that perhaps anything can happen if you are ready for anything.

I think I am ready for something good. How 'bout you?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The History of Hank Aaron

The history of Hank Aaron is not 755 homeruns.

Lately, the shattering of Babe Ruth's homerun record by Aaron in '74 and his 755 career homeruns have been the focus of the baseball world due to the impending new record by Barry Bonds. But the history of Hank Aaron should be his life, the strides he made as a black athlete in a racially charged era and the trail he blazed for the players that followed him.

The 755 home runs that Aaron belted in his career were the vehicle that transported him from merely a successful ballplayer to a legend. And the 755 homeruns, whether Aaron asked for it or not, became a platform for awareness, for change and for opportunity.

We have all heard the stories of the 3000 letters that Aaron received nearly every day, most of which came from racists threatening his life and the life of his family if he broke Ruth's record. Rather than cowering in the corner, Aaron became more outspoken. He rose up and forced the issues of blacks in baseball to the forefront of media focus.

In the meantime, his entire life changed. All for a homerun record? Or to make an impact that would be felt far into the future?

Sectret Service agents stood watch over him and he slept at the ballpark because it was the safest place for him. Yet he maintained his strong work-ethic and self-discipline. Aaron never stopped striving for the next level. To some, that might mean breaking a record or winning another Gold Glove or being elected to another all-star team. And Aaron did all that. But in the face of controversy, Aaron demonstrated the tenacity to push through and to keep working to get to an end that would be better for him and for those that walked in his footsteps.
When Aaron's record was set early in the '74 season and as he crossed homeplate, mobbed by teammates and a couple of fans who breached stadium security, he said, "Thank God it's over."

Battle worn, Aaron breathed a sigh of relief and gave his mom a good, long hug. And then his life went on.

After baseball, Aaron worked in player development, continuing to influence baseball's future. He lobbied for the hiring of more minorities in baseball as well. Aaron dedicated much of his time to charitable work and along with his wife established a foundation to help educate underpriviliged youth. He continued down the path onto which he was launched by those 755 homeruns.

Aaron said himself that records are made to be broken. No matter how they are broken... it's inevitable. But let's not let history lie simply in the numbers. The history should be the story behind them. Aaron also said, in this midst of his own homerun chase, "I don't want them to forget Ruth, I just want them to remember me."

So tomorrow or next week or over the next few months of the 2007 season, as new records are born, let's not forget the past that got us to this place and the men who made it possible for us to be here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's not that I don't care... I just really don't care

Deep down, there's a part of a man that craves a nagging woman.

(Here come the emails...)

Many men judge how much a woman values them by how much she meddles in his life.
Perhaps there is a fine line between nagging and caring. And maybe I have it ALL WRONG. But it's been my experience that because I don't nag, men think I don't care. And the truth is I don't care... about a lot of things.

I don't care if other women fawn all over you. I don't. Really. I think it is fantastic. It may be vanity but I LOVE it when women LOVE my man.
I don't care if you don't take out the trash. I don't. Really. I would rather not haul that crap to the curb and I probably won't. It will sit there until you are good and ready. And it won't bother me.

I don't care if you want to go out with the boys. I don't. Really. PLEASE GO OUT WITH THE BOYS! I want to hang out with my friends too. What's good for the goose really is always good for the gander.

I don't care how often you cut your hair or cut the grass, if you leave your socks on the floor or if you've called your mother lately. Ok, maybe I care if you've called your mom but all of those other things, in the grand scheme of life, are really small and not worth the worry. Really.

There are things I DO care about, things that bother me, things that, if I had to live with them, I would nag you about. But at the first sign of those things, I'm usually out the door. I am all about heading it off at the pass. Thinking you can change a man (or a woman for that matter) is ridiculous. You, plus the stuff that drives you nuts, equals a recipe for disaster.

But, I am not going to pester you about the small things. In fact, I probably won't hassle you about much. You're a grown man. You've been living for a while and have survived doing it your way. It's not that I don't think my way is better... (You had to know THAT was coming.) I just figure your way got you this far! And if you can't figure out when you need to get your tail out of bed to get to work on time or that it's your coffee habit that's keeping you up all night... Well, then, I don't know that I care to be with you anyway.
So just because I don't nag... it doesn't mean that I don't care. I just really don't care to nag.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Scott Baio is 45... and Single

Scott Baio, of “Charles in Charge” and “Happy Days” fame, is launching a new show with VH1 called “Scott Baio is 45… and Single.” On the show, Baio hires a life coach to help him discover why he has been unlucky in love. He even goes back to former girlfriends to find out what’s wrong with him.

I’d have married him. When I was about 12, I had the biggest crush on him. Scott Baio and O.J. Simpson… (Now we know where MY problems lie…) I didn’t realize that men had the same insecurities as women about being single when seemingly everyone else is married. In the VH1 description of the show, they say that Baio is “staring down the barrel of middle age” and he’s in a “mid-life crisis of mythic proportions, wondering why he's still single, alone and still unable to settle down…”

But at this stage of the game, I have to ask, WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? So you’re 45 and single… You are CHACHI for Pete’s sake! You have dated Pamela Anderson and Heather Locklear! But Baio says it’s time for him to decide if he wants to be a lifelong bachelor after all or if he wants to bite the bullet and marry his current girlfriend. I bet his girlfriend feels fabulous about the fact hat it took an eight-week series on VH1 for him to figure this out. I, for one, cannot wait to find out what he discovers.


I want babies.

It’s that simple.

My mom cringes when I throw around the idea of having children without ever having gotten married. I have other relatives who are very supportive and many of my friends openly encourage me to do whatever is going to make me happy.

The fact is that I am approaching 40. I have friends who HATE IT when I say that but it’s true. And there isn’t a line of eligible bachelors outside my door. So while I would really like to find someone who gets me, elope and have some kids, I don’t have a lot of faith that that’s going to happen in the next couple of years.

Sad story? Don’t feel sorry for me. My life to this point has been far from traditional. I don’t do things the same way other people do. I am not wired the same way. That’s probably why finding someone who really gets me is so damn hard. I would be a great wife, a fantastic companion and while I’d be disappointed by never getting to experience a traditional relationship, it’s not going to break me. But I’d be a great mom too. I know because I have had a little part-time experience helping raise my friend’s kids. (She’s a single mom of 7.) I have hugs to give and knowledge to impart. And, there’s a selfish part of me that would like to have another ME around. So, a life without kids? That would break me.

How do I go about this idea of having babies on my own? A male is OBVIOUSLY necessary in this process. There are a lot of options. There’s always the cryogenics bank. For a small fee, you peruse a menu of men, choosing qualities like hair color and eye color and height, picking ethnicities and educational backgrounds and some places even let you see a baby picture of the prospective sperm donor. And there is the option to have some one you know donate. That would be an awkward conversation for me. “Look I can’t get knocked up on my own and I need your help…” I could just… get knocked up! People have done it in the throes of passion, in moments of irresponsibility, unknowingly… Why not do it on purpose? Well, I feel a little strange about that too.

With each possibility comes a laundry list of questions and things to consider too. The number one question no matter which route I take will be what do I tell my kid about his/her father? I guess you cross that bridge when you come to it but I’d like to have an answer before I even jump into this. And if you know the guy, what is his role? Do you even tell him? Or do you go about your business and not give him the opportunity to be a father. I mean, he might want to be. But would I want him to be?

I obviously don’t have all the answers. I am open to suggestions though. The one thing I know for sure is that I want babies.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Ride

This weekend, prodded by my friends who feel that I am far too pessimistic, that I don't know how good I am and that I don't believe anything good will ever happen to me... I decided, against my better judgement, to give someone the benefit of the doubt. I fell into the trap of foolish optimism. That decision led to a two day roller coaster ride that took me to an unbelievable high but plunged me deep into reality a short time later.

I suppose that's what life is all about... Highs and lows... Twists and turns... Life is about the ride.

Jumping on the roller coaster takes guts, courage and at least some sense of optimism. You wouldn't get in the car if you didn't initially hope for the best outcome. A lot of people don't get on the ride. They watch from the bottom. Some of them make it through the lines of people and when they have the opportunity to board, they change their minds. Others get on but they are satisfied to sit in the middle.

I used like to sit in the front car. There was a time in my life when my cup overflowed optimistic. I liked the feeling of charging up the steep hills and the rush of air that hits your face as you sail back down at breath-taking speeds. But I learned, through far too many experiences, that sitting in the front can lead to disappointment. So I moved to the back of the ride. The last car... Perhaps it's age and the wisdom that comes from it. But I have learned to watch the people that go before me and learn from their experiences. I recall my past and what happened before so when I hit the hills, I hold on and just before the down fall, I take a deep breath.

My friends call that pessimistic. I call it realism. I know what CAN happen so I prepare myself.

In spite of all of that wisdom and age and experience... I thought for just a moment that perhaps good things can happen to Michele. Maybe I have served my time in disappointment. Maybe my number is up! I thought it was my turn for the fairy tale, for the happy ending. The stuff that doesn't happen to me, appeared to be happening. My reservations were cast aside by my cohorts. And I jumped on board... in the front car.

For a day, I lived a dream. The ride was exhilarating. It was a little scary at times but I let go. I threw my hands in the air, threw caution to the wind. It felt amazing. I was soaring.

But the ride came to an unexpected halt. Someone slammed on the brakes. And it was over.

I felt a little jerked around and I am a little bruised. And I felt really silly for having thought that this ride would be any different from the others. It's the same route, the same rail. The ride doesn't change.

It will be some time before I get back on the roller coaster. And when I do, I might sit in the middle for a while... Seat belt on, holding on tight... I might even close my eyes.


People are always looking for something better. "Better", more high tech electronic gadgets, "better" cars with "better" gas mileage, a "better" job... But could the endless search for something better leave you with something less than stellar or even worse, nothing at all.

Many are looking for "better" offers or "better" opportunities. Sometimes, you hope that a "better" group of friends will invite you out so you don't have to go out with the same old crowd again this weekend. In fact, even when you have good offers and good opportunities served up by good friends, you keep one ear near the phone just in case a "better" situation presents itself. And you're fully aware that you do it and don't feel bad about it at all. Do you equate people with stuff in your effort to find what you believe is "better?"

What if what is better is what you've already got? Yet your lack of attention or inability to stop looking for a moment for something "better" inhibits your ability to recognize that you have it already. The constant, frantic exploration of what's out there occupies so much of your time that there are few hours left to enjoy what you have and to see its potential. It's possible too that when you take up the "better" offer, you are missing out on something that was really meant for you in the grand scheme of your life. You pass up life-defining moments because you are so busy hoping for something better.

At the end of the day, you could have a lot of stuff and a lot of people in your life. But none of them are the "better" things or people you have been seeking. When you are unable to find fulfillment in all of your stuff and in all of the people around you, you might realize that you've really got nothing at all.

Bettering yourself and your environment is not entirely bad. But I submit that we should focus a little more on what we've got. Better might be standing right in front of you and you don't even realize it.


Hailing a taxi, in many cities across the country, is second nature for people. For many, it is their primary mode of transportation. But in midwestern cities like St. Louis, taxicabs are not always readily available.

As a child, I rode with my mom in a taxi a few times. But she would have to call the cab company and set up an appointment for them to pick her up. And then, on the way home, she would have to do the same. She couldn't just step off the curb and wave her arm.

There has been a lot of controversy in St. Louis over the last couple of months regarding drinking and driving. Some very vocal people have stepped up and said they don't understand what the big deal is. People, they say, should just take a taxi.

Well then, we should make it easy for them to take a taxi. It shouldn't cost me almost $40 to get a ride to my house IN THE CITY from a downtown bar. And I shouldn't have to walk 2 or 3 or 4 blocks to find one.
We also need to assure people that leaving their cars at a bar or a party when they go home is OK. I don't know how we erase the stigma of leaving the car you brought with you and taking a cab when you leave but we have to find a way. People leave the firends that they came with to hook up with strangers all the time so one would think this would be a relatively easy task. But I understand it... a little. Two friends of mine have had cars stolen from the parking lot right across the street from our favorite hangout. And, as my loyal readers will recall, some idiot TRIED to steal my car twice.
In the end, I guess cab companies can gouge you at the meter because getting a safe ride home, no matter the cost, is better than being dead. And your life should be worth more than your car, so leaving it behind should be worth the risk.

That said, it would be nice to find a safe and secure and relatively cost-effective way to save lives.

Last night, I drank too much. It's not the first time and it won't be the last. I left my car behind and took a taxi home. When I woke up this morning, I was thankful to be alive. And, I'm only a LITTLE worried about my car.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


To ride shotgun is to sit in the front passenger seat when riding a car or other vehicle. The first known reference to "riding shotgun" in print occurred on March 27, 1921, when it was used to refer to riding as an armed guard in the front of a stagecoach.

An armed guard in the front of a stage coach… It stands to reason but it also makes me laugh. As I researched calling shotgun, I did so with the intention of writing a piece about calling men the same way that you call shotgun. I am of the belief that you can call the front seat and you might even be able to call a certain spot at a restaurant or you might call dibs on tickets to a game or grandma’s peach pie... But surely, you cannot call dibs or shotgun on a man.

Yet, women do it all the time!

And that simple act might be the single most detrimental act on female friendships. Nearly every woman has made a habit of picking out a guy and calling him “hers” and implying that none of her friends should even think about him. She called shotgun. The seat is hers. No flirting allowed. Certainly no touching. And sometimes talking is even frowned upon!

But the fact of the matter remains that even if you do call shotgun on the next hot guy that walks through the door, it doesn’t mean anything unless he’s got his eye on you too.

The traditional game of shotgun has rules and regulations. Calling shotgun on guys does not. So if we are going to continue this trend, perhaps we need a committee. We should develop some rules. Rule number one should be a time limit. And if he doesn’t reciprocate within that time limit, your friends get a shot at him.
I’d like to clarify that I am not writing about this now because I have my eye on any of the men my friends apparently have “dibs” on at the moment. I have been thinking about this for quite some time actually.

Often, you hear female friends saying that they will never let a man come between them. The truth is that men don’t come between us. We BRING men into the middle every time we call shotgun on them.

An Email from THAT Guy

Got an email yesterday from a guy that just plain does it for me…

If I could have looked the world over and plucked one man from the masses to keep as my own, he would have been that guy. He fits the “mold” I created in my mind of my perfect man. He satisfies the checklist. (Every girl has one. I keep mine in my wallet.)

I realize it is dangerous to publicize that I have met and identified my ideal chap considering I am still in the market for a man. But prospective Michele –Enthusiasts can take heart in knowing that I do not use THAT guy as a measure for others. I evaluate each man on his own merits. There’s no competition. So please keep the offers coming.

That said, I can’t help but wonder from time to time, WHAT IF? What if I hadn’t been such a complete goof ball every time he came around? And what if he hadn’t gotten married? And what if I had complied with his check list?

But I try to live my life with no regrets and no what ifs. I will always see him as the guy who fit the mold and I will admire him from afar. And I will keep his emails. And every once in a while I will look at his name in my IN BOX, just for grins.

It's completely unhealthy, I know. It's like sucking your thumb when what you really want is a chocolate raspberry popsicle.

But I’ll do it. Until I get an email that trumps his…

…or that chocolate raspberry popsicle.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Always a Champion: Josh Hancock

The Hancock family of Tupelo, MS lost a good man this past weekend. So did the world of baseball. Josh Hancock was a champion on and off the field.

The relationship between a professional athlete and his fans can be difficult to completely define. Much like other relationships, the tone and the intensity can vary from day to day. Becoming an avid supporter of a professional athlete usually starts with an appreciation for his style of play or his passion for the game. Your support blossoms when you see inklings of what might be strong character, kindness, humility, all the things from which good people are made. And at its peak, a certain level of admiration develops and you officially become a "fan."

That's what holds true for me anyway. I am a baseball fan and a St. Louis Cardinals season ticket holder. And much to the enjoyment of the fans around me in section 505 at Busch Stadium, I was a fan of Josh Hancock. Really, in section 505, everyone was.

Josh Hancock may have never taken Major League baseball by storm or lit up the record books. In his short pitching career, Hancock appeared in only 102 games. Yet in that time, he garnered the admiration of many. Hancock was a team player, taking the ball whenever it was handed to him, in good or bad situations, and according to the Cardinal staff, never questioning why. He did what was best for the team. From my seat, I witnessed some of the interaction with the fans and watched as he brought joy to many a child leaning over the railing of the bullpen between innings, hoping to get a ball. At charity events or social functions, Hancock represented his team well. He was respectful and courteous and always offered, at the very least, a smile.

Josh Hancock's work ethic on the field made it easy to become a fan. And his attitude and presence off the field made me proud to be a fan. As news of his passing spread across the country, the people closest to Josh Hancock began stepping forward with stories of confirmation that he was, indeed, worthy of admiration.

To me, and to all of his fans, Josh Hancock will always be a champion. We will cry for a while but we will never forget the contribution he made to baseball, to Cardinal nation and to the world around him.