Membership Pledge Week

A couple of weeks ago all of my favorite radio stations held their pledge week. They drive me crazy, and they work. My guilt, my sense of doing my share, and my really wanting that super duper CD or ladies cut T shirt gift with a $120 donation-only $10 a week, you spend that much on coffee, think how well your coffee goes with NPR, pledge now by calling…- drive me to make my pledge. And gladly. They offer a great gift to me and I appreciate it.

And they gave me a great idea. Pledge week at being Boswell.

That’s right. Pledge week.

But don’t send money. (Well you can if you want too.) Send your friends. Introduce them to being Boswell. Suggest if they like it they can subscribe to receive weekly stories. Stories that will make them laugh, as well as bring them to tears. Stories they can relate to, see themselves in, comment on and be part of a conversation. They can even have their Monday morning coffee with bB. And it’s free!

Pick your favorite post, highlight the URL address (that is the long line of letters at the top of the page where the little stone is, for my technically challenged readers, I am not being smart…really) paste it in an email and send it to 10 (or more if you like) friends you think would benefit from reading bB.

If you love bB send a friend now. For the next week the universe will match your friend contribution with one of it’s own. So your donation will be doubled.

I want to increase my readership by the end of the year. Why? Because it is what bloggers do. And if I get really popular, companies will advertise with me and I will be paid for writing. That would be soooo cool. Gaining subscribers also energizes me to keep writing.

So I need your help.

And your gift for pledging friends? An embarsassing picture of me dressed as Mary Tyler Moore/That Girl/Mad Men Woman from last weekends Halloween Party.

It's my hair

It’s my hair

 
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I didn’t enjoy myself…

The evening began easily. We admired their lovely second floor apartment with distressed wood floors, high ceilings, an exposed brick wall and an original stain glass window. We all agreed it was good to finally get together. Being new to the area, we asked how they liked Pittsburgh.

Conversation moved to their upcoming trip to Paris. We shared with them our favorite Parisian museums, parks, and markets. We agreed the best way to experience Paris is to start walking and see where you end up.

As we exhausted this topic quiet moments began to fill the space between us. I knew what was happening in the silence, an unspoken choice was being decided. What was the evening going to be? We could deepen our interest in one another, ask probing questions and offer self revealing answers, or we could talk about, what we think about, what we know about, topics of interest?

I always lobby for the former. Being interested in others is my forte. I am good at it. I know the questions to ask that invite others to share. I am interested in what makes people tick, what we have in common and if this a possible on-going relationship to nurture.

The collective opted for the latter.

So we supped on generalities of economics, politics, and current events. These are not my areas of interest or expertise. I don’t understand economics, although I am a wiz with our family finances. I have strong opinions about politics, but they are not steeped in the facts because I can never figure out what is the truth. Current events are, I suppose, the best of the three, but I still found myself seasoning my contributions with, tell me more about you and I will tell more about me. I asked them if they had siblings? I know it had nothing to do with Russian history, but I was curious.

By the beginning of dessert I began to feel tired. I tried to stay with the conversation du jour, but was struggling. I felt self-conscious, withholding comments for fear I wouldn’t sound smart. I got overly interested in how efficiently the husband sliced the almonds to sprinkle on dessert. After asking him every possible question relatable to precision almond slicing, I fell silent.

I couldn’t get my brain and my mouth to cooperate. My verbal contributions seemed to be swimming in the shadows but refused to be pulled to the surface. I hoped this fugue was menopausal and not early dementia. I began to stare at the seat cushion on the chair next to me.

I wasn’t enjoying myself.

On the ride home I was bothered. What had happened to me?

I realized I had tried to fit-in, versus show-up. I had withheld my vitality, my interests and my emotional intelligence to dine on the conceptual knowledge that was being served.

What if I hadn’t? What if I had offered-up my, albeit different, relational angle into the evening? What if I had seasoned the conversation with relational tidbits?

I became astutely aware that it was me, not them, I wasn’t enjoying.

I suppressed myself and when I do this, I don’t enjoy me. Go figure…

I don’t want to do that anymore.
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I confess…

…after being called out on it…

…that  last weeks re-post of my first 2010 post was a lame attempt to seem engaged when Iimageswasn’t. It was also kindly brought to my attention that I was still celebrating my 100th post at post # 102.

Can’t blame a gal for trying…

So here’s the truth.

I confess…I had nothin’ to say. NOTHIN’.  I had paid attention all week to events that occurred and nothing captured my attention or  my heart. Nothing stirred me. So I wrote about going to dinner with another couple and how I didn’t enjoy myself. The spin I took in the 600 word masterpiece was how it was me I didn’t enjoy. Not them. I was astutely noticing that when I say, I didn’t enjoy myself, I often make it about the other, when it is really me that was being a poop. I spent 2 ½ hours Sunday morning, using my evolved hunt and peck typing skills to write this brilliant piece. At 2 hours and 45minutes I reread it and said, “Who gives a crap?”

I was tired of myself. I felt self absorbed and whiny. I was impersonating someone who had something of importance to say. Like I said earlier, I had nothing.

So I reposted.

Secondly, I confess…about a month ago I had a stalker. He contacted me through Facebook, snail mail, phone, Psychology Today and finally here, my precious blog, where I bare myself to you. Where I use names and places of my dear ones. Did you notice in the post, I just went for a salad and got a life lesson, I didn’t say what grocery store I was in? That was purposeful. I was scared. I didn’t want him knowing where I shop.

Since then he has been caught, reprimanded and has stopped contacting me. But, my hesitancy — about what this means to my blog and how should I proceed — has not been resolved inside of me. Perhaps I was naive to think I could put myself into the cyber world and not have something creepy happen. My sense of good will and safety has been shaken. Now, instead of thinking about each of you as I write, I have to push him out of my head.

My therapist reminded me how much I love to write. He also helped me to remember what this blog means to me. He encouraged me to persevere, to not to give up what I love out of fear. I love him.

Finally, I confess…I wonder if anyone out there is reading this? Some of you tell me how much you enjoy being Boswell — which very honestly keeps me writing, but as you can see there are no comments. I started bB to have conversation. Some of you may remember Conversation Cafe where Jodi and I, for 2 years, made space for women to gather and talk about heart felt issues. That was a very special event for us and for the woman that attended. I hoped bB would invite conversation too.

So the truth is, I want/need something from you. Talk to me. Talk to each other. Make this your place too. I’m feeling lonely out here all by myself…

Also, tell a your friends about bB. Send them links to your favorite posts. I have been working to build readership by figuring out SEO’s (search engine optimization), increasing FB page likes and daily tweeting. This exhausts me and my head feels like it is going to explode. Recently, when I was close to detonation, a left brained man suggested I stop all that and use word of mouth. My energy returned and my head remained on my shoulders. I never wanted to do all the shenanigans and contortions the blog world requires. I just wanted to write for you, and for me.

So would you help me build my readership? Please?

That is my confession. I never quite understood the value of my Catholic friends going to confession, but I think I understand now. I feel better after having leveled with you.

Thanks for listening. Would love to hear from you : )

 

 
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I am going to spare you this weeks writing assignment, it is a rewrite… so instead I have some follow up pictures I have been wanting to show you. First a picture of the nose-less swordfish charm

IMG_0919Every time I look at him I can’t help but feel badly. I guess he met the same fate as his live counterpart. Maimed.

 

Next, when I feel concerned that blog and memoir writing is simply a narcissistic indulgence I subject others to, I remind myself that …

576343_401939066498044_352495419_n…that it is!!!! Thanks for listening…

 

Finally, for some great pictures and very interesting, fun facts. take a look at this website…http://www.wisegeek.com

Be Well,
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You Are My Mirror

Geez a Whiz.

I was just asked, by Better After 50, an online magazine I write for, to describe in more detail, on the authors Facebook page, what my blog is about. What my focus is.

imagesDo you know it took me half an hour to answer that question?

What’s up with that?

Shouldn’t I know by now? Should’t my reply just roll off my tongue…fingers? Every good, successful anyone has their elevator speech practiced and perfected.

My problem was threefold. (It started out twofold until I got thinking.)

First, I heard the invitation as “Who AM I?” and “What IS IT I do?” I truly am a work in progress so my answer felt subject to change. I felt threatened committing myself to just one answer. What if I am not that tomorrow? God, I think too much.

Second…ly, putting it in writing, on Facebook, to a group of women I don’t know, is intimidating. What if they don’t like what I say..translated by my 7 year old self, “What if they don’t like me?” Many of the responses by the other writers have “likes” beneath their answers. What if I don’t get any likes?

After the 20 minutes of editing and reediting, I got irritated with myself. “Just say images-1something and be done with it,” I admonished. “I am sure these other(articulate, better than me) women haven’t agonized over this…Oh, I bet they have,” a wiser, kinder voice whispered. “You aren’t so different.”

Third…ly, I knew this was an opportunity to network, drive readers to my blog and deepen my emersion in this internet, web, social network, blog thing. So I knew what I said was important. It was a form of advertising. It was a one dimensional opportunity to present myself to total strangers that share a common interest; women over 50 who write for the same publication.

I struggled with the absence of the other two dimensions, facial/body expressions and tonality. The truth is Who I am is co-created by who you are. I am influenced by the presence of the other-we all are. Together we create the us. Without the presence of the other, I am making myself up in isolation. I can do that. We all can and do. It was what I needed to do for this Facebook page conversation. But I will be different without you.

Think about this with me. We are each others mirrors.

When I am with someone…like my brother, who I am in that moment is much different from who I am with my sweet sister friend, Heidi. Both reactions are authentically ME, but very different parts of myself, called forward in co-creation with the other.

Now you know why it took so long for me to answer the question. I think too much.

It is who I am…

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P.S. I got a like

finding my FIERCENESS

Last weekend really took it out of me. You know...it…the stuffing, the feathers, the air. It wasn’t seeing mom; feeling her vulnerability and loneliness. It wasn’t feeling my own helplessness and sadness. No, what left my nervous system in a state of code orange was the encounter with my brother.

A lifetime of fear of his physical and verbal aggression lives in my cell tissue. I am undone every time I encounter his hostility toward me. I end up mad at myself for giving him such power. I fantasize my ability to square off with him, face to face, and with no quiver in my voice tell him, “Shut the fuck up.”

Instead, I have jello legs, my heart beats out of my chest, and I can’t breathe. I hate him and then myself for responding like a wimp…again. My body responds to the danger by shutting down when my head wants me to either take him out or run away…quickly. My head and my body are at odds with one another.

After my encounter, Tom and I headed back to our hotel, stopping on Hope Street (how appropriate) to browse in some of the cute shoppes we had driven by for the last two days. Tom went into the men’s shoppe, I found PB&J’s, a woman’s boutique. It seemed a bit high end for me, but touching the soft fabric soothed me, doing something mundane, like shopping, helped me feel normal.

Then I saw it. A coat. Not just any coat. A great coat. Hanging there, against a wall, so beautifully displayed in it’s isolated simplicity. I knew, as I walked toward it, hands outstretched like I was headed toward the Light, I did not need a new coat. Again my body and mind begged to differ. My feet walked toward the coat regardless of my recent decision to reline and revamp my favorite 10 year old alpaca overcoat.

“Oh, what the heIl,” I cajoled myself as I tried it on. In the mirror looking back at me I IMG_0917good enough to eat saffron satin lining sealed the deal. I felt carnivorous. “Don’t mess with me, I will eat you!”

I pulled out my Visa and bought the coat. Thanks to an after Christmas sale it was 25% off. See…it was meant to be. Tom, who had wandered into the store to find me, foolishly asked if I thought the coat would be warm?

“Warm? Really? Who cares?” I responded. I left the store, my totem coat casually draped over my arm, embodying Audrey Hepburn’s understated glamour.

Yesterday, I shared my weekend with my dear women’s group. I cried with them as I told them about my terror. I admitted adrenaline was still running through my veins making me forgetful, easily startled and exhausted. They listened and loved me as only wonderful woman friends can. They soothed my self loathing by assuring me it was smart to trust my bodies reaction of terror when facing my brother’s disowned malevolence. They said when someone is being terrorized they are supposed to feel terrified. Feeling understood opened my airways.

As I prepared to leave, throwing my coat over my shoulders, they shared my excitement in buying such a powerful, sharp clawed cat coat to made me feel safer. Stronger. Fiercer. With cheetah speed to run faster.

RRRRROOOOAAAARRRRR

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Dear Ones

It is Sunday night, Tom and I have just driven in from New Jersey where we visited my mom who is living in an assisted living facility. I surprised her Friday evening as she sat at the family style table waiting for dinner with the other women who don’t know each other’s names, each of them sitting with their heads down and eyes closed.  I tell myself they were meditating, at least I hope they are, otherwise it is just too sad to bear. (Note to self…when I am 88, sitting at a table of close strangers, I will  be meditating.)

Saturday we took her to lunch. Afterward we drove around Newton, the nearby town where she grew up. She wasn’t sure who I was when I surprised her Friday night, but she knew how to find her families homestead pointing out whose window was whose

Mom would kill me if she knew I posted this picture of her without her make up on. Sorry mom, it was the only picture we took this weekend and I wanted to share you with my readers.

Mom would kill me if she knew I posted this picture of her without her make up on. Sorry mom, it was the only picture we took this weekend and I wanted to share you with my readers.

bedroom, where the garage used to be and which hills they went sleigh riding on. She said she felt free as we drove around. That getting out was the shot in the arm she needed. When she said it I felt grateful I could give her that. As I write it now, my eyes begin to sting.

At 3 o’clock Tom and I met with a realtor to prepare to sell the family home I grew up in. Mom is gracefully letting go of her hope to return there, comforting herself (and me) with statements of being treated well by the staff at Bentley followed by the food there is not half bad.

Throw in an nasty encounter with my very aggressive brother and the weekend was complete. And I am exhausted. I thought I would have the stamina to post a witty piece while Tom took his turn at the wheel, but I just mostly sat and stared.

So this is it for this week my dear ones.

I don’t want to get old. I don’t want my daughter to have to help me in the handicap stall of a restaurant  holding me up while pulling down my adult diapers. Mom and I accomplished this gracefully and sweetly however, joking about her sexy under ware and holding each other more closely than was necessary for the job at hand.

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Another New Year’s Resolution

I have been wondering about my New Year’s resolution for 2013. I usually have several in mind by now, something to do with time management, a regular spiritual practice-which will bring me into the present moment and of course the ever constant, increase my gym attendance. Some years my New Year’s pact has included writing a book, learning to debone a duck, a la Julia Child, find the best hamburger in the world, and learn to type. Sadly these were not consummated.

In 2011 I changed it up. I resolved to sign my name neatly, every time, after I swiped my credit card through the payment pad in the drug stores, grocery stores, clothing stores, I frequent. My thinking…it would slow me down in the check out line so I would remember to breathe at least once that day, as well as, act as an experiment, of sorts, determining if I could, by the end of 2011, master the art of legible touch screen signature signing. I did rather well with this, 2011 was one of my more accomplished years, resolution-ally speaking.

In 2012, I know I made some, unfortunately I don’t remember what they were.

I have been wondering what promise to shepherd into 2013. I composed some birthday declarations earlier in December, so I feel a bit resolution redundant.

However, I just read an article http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/good-news/chain-reaction-tim-hortons-goodwill-183517438.html that gave me a possible idea for a new, never before done by me, New Year’s intention.

Once a week I will pay a kindness forward. 

(If this were a movie and you were listening to the soundtrack, a needle was just pulled across the vinyl record. EEECCCCCHHHHHH)

All my failed New Year’s resolutions pass before my eyes. Unfulfilled promises to myself. Disappointments felt as I reread the lofty list, written by me, a well meaning, albeit naive, woman on the last night of the year. High hopes not reached. To further my shame, if I tell all of you I am going to commit to this weekly practice and I wimp out or forget or just don’t want to do it anymore, my ignominious rout will be public.

Perhaps I should simply pledge to put gas in my car each week and have another successful year.

The good news, or the bad-not quite sure sometimes-is I am not one to turn away from a challenge. I have thrown the resolution quantlet at my feet. I accept my challenge.

In 2013, I will pay a kindness forward, I will offer random acts of kindness, I will attempt to make someone’s day more pleasant…at least once a week. And I will keep you all posted on my progress…or lack thereof.

Would any of you like to join me by sharing your resolution for 2013? Putting it in print  certainly ups the ante. (Again the good news and the bad.) And if you do, I won’t feel so “out there” by myself…nothing like a little New Year’s guilt.

Wishing you the year you dream of,
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Bubble Poppers

I met a woman at a party last night. We were introduced because we were both therapists. Well, actually, she is a clinical psychologist. A differentiation that seemed quite important to her as she corrected several people that lumped up together as therapists. We all stood corrected.

We were also introduced because we both have entrepreneurial minds that invent interesting projects and business’s.

So I told her about my blog. I confided my hope to be named one of the top 100 women bloggers. I divulged my book ideas. She listened with seeming interest. She is, after all, a therap….psychologist.

When I was finished spilling my guts she began to point out how ridiculous my ideas were. She did, she really did! I was expecting…sounds like you have really big plans. How does that make you feel? I’m curious about…You know, the useful things therapists say. Instead, in her best patronizing voice she asked if I knew how many bloggers there are in the world trying to do the same thing? How the chances of my making any money through my writing was absurd.

If they hadn’t run out of beer I would excused myself to get a bottle.

My spiritual teacher, Christine Page, talks about Bubble Poppers. People that deflate the dreams of another. There are many explanations of why someone does this.

*A motherly attempt to keep someone safe from a harm they may not foresee-I confess I am guilty of this with my kids.

*A perceived threat to the bubble poppers ego-ugh, I have done this too.

*Meanness-I hope I haven’t done this.

*A belief they (the bubble popper) know what is RIGHT and TRUE. I think my psychologist not-friend falls into this category.

As we left the party I told Tom what had been said. He offered go beat her up.

Instead I said something that surprised me. Has this ever happen to you? You hear yourself say something so profound that you wonder where or who it came from. I said to Tom with a certainty I didn’t feel moments earlier, “I think the universe is testing me. It/She is trying to see how committed I am to my dreams. I have to know if I can hold my self in the face of a wind storm(bag)?”

Who said that?