What do you want people not to miss about you?

Tom is always finding obscure online stories and sending them to me to read. When he asks, “What did you think of the piece I sent you,” sometimes I lie. I tell him it was good, interesting, something my life is better for knowing…I do imagesthis because I feel bad saying, “Didn’t read it.” My mom would call this a white lie. She was good at white lies. I think a lie is a lie. To be honest, sometimes I lie.

Sometimes Tom reads his latest, interesting story to me while I am making my lunch for work or getting dressed. I think he suspects my duplicity and wants to be sure I hear this one. Sometimes it’s a great story and I say, “Wow, that’s a great story, send it to me, it would make a fun blog piece.”

So this post is brought to you by way of Tom and his Wednesday morning internet article reading.

The story was about 75 year-old songwriter, Allen Toussaint, who wrote, “Working in the Coalmine” and “Southern Nights.” The article spoke of his reluctance to let people know he had finished an album because he was afraid of the critique it would face. Van Dyke Parks, a well known composer, instrumentalist and songwriter, came to visit him to support him in releasing the album. He told Allen to “Imagine you’re going to die in two weeks. What do you want people not to miss about you?”

In response to that question he wrote, “Southern Nights,” so that anyone who heard the song would know something essential about the people and the land that shaped him.

On my way to work I asked myself, out loud, I talk to myself…as shared in last weeks post, “What do I want people not to miss about me?”

My immediate answer was, “That I care.”

Sometimes too much. I have written about that.

Sometimes in odd ways. I have written about that too.

By the time I got to work I realized this blog is my album.

This is what I want you to not miss about me. I write about my humanity, the good, the bad, and the ugly, so you can feel and accept yours. I am honest…even about my dishonesty, so that you can love and accept your contradictions. I let you know who I am, by telling on myself, so you don’t feel alone being more of who you are. This is how I show you I care.

Now you know!

What do you want people to not miss about you?
waxseal2

 

 

 

My One Year Anniversary…

A reader recently asked me, “What has happened to your blog? I miss it.”

I appreciated the question, and her caring. And I was uncertain of the answer. What had happened?

Tomorrow, Tuesday the 22nd I will be one year without my period. That may be TMI for some of you, but those of you somewhere on the menopausal spectrum know what that date means. According to western medicine I am in MENOPAUSE, or more accurately, according to Wikipedia, I am postmenopausal.

I have high hopes for myself on Wednesday the 23rd. I have been promised, assured and convinced that menopause is a spiritual club that only women who have survived peri menopause get to join. I think there may even be a special hand shake that I will intuitively know upon waking Wednesday morning. I will greet my fellow PM’ers with a knowing nod. We will smile, confident we have made it to where our erratic, irritable, bleeding sisters wish they were.

By Wednesday afternoon I am counting on my hormones to play nice so I can make it through a day without weeping; that I will no longer be combustable so I can stop stripping off layers in the Apple store in front of a Genius; and that my mind will regain clarity so I can remember the password to my ATM card. (If any of you know differently please don’t burst my bubble. I need this illusion.)

The last 4 weeks, the final menstrual stretch, has left me feeling reclusive. All I want to do is get home, lock the front door, and close the curtains. Some days I can’t get out of the car and up the front steps fast enough. Turning that knob, clockwise, between me and the rest of the world, is a spiritual experience.

Which brings me back the question, “What happened to my blog?” I have had several ideas for interesting posts over the past month. I have written them down, dictated them into my phone and emailed them to myself, recited potential topics in the shower. It’s not  that I haven’t been feeling creative, I simply could not make myself type them out. I could not move them beyond my interior self.

I shared this with a friend, concerned that I might be depressed. She is a PM’er too so I knew she would know. She confidently assured me that I was not depressed. She said I was incubating.

Incubating. That fits. I like that image. I am incubating. images

I have decided to trust this process. Surrender to it and gracefully morph into my next version of me. I may need to stay under the grow light a little bit longer. I will be sure to let you know how I turn out.
waxseal2

 

 

 

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 : )

 

 
waxseal2

 

 

 

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,
waxseal2

 

 

 

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…

waxseal2

 

P.S. I got a like

Birth Announcement

I think I may have mentioned a while ago that I am rebranding Off the Couch. Did I or did I just dream it? Sometimes my dream world and my awake world get mixed up. Like last night I dreamt Tom asked me to leave my nightie on to have coffee on the deck in the morning. So this morning I did, it’s private enough, but I realized as I sat there feeling slightly exposed, Tom hadn’t really asked me, I had dreamt it..but I digress.

 

So, yes, I have renamed and rebranded this blog. As a result, I feel like I am dumping an old friend. I know this about myself, I tend to attach to inanimate objects. I personify my cars by talking to them, thanking them for their steadfast loyalty, for never letting me down, for getting me places safely, for spending so much quality time with me, that I feel disloyal, ungrateful and abandoning when I trade them in for a newer model. I ask their forgiveness. They always grant it.

 

I love Off the Couch Blog. I love the very clever, double entendre name. I love Duke, boldly sitting on the couch like he has every right to be there. I smile every time I look at him. I loved writing for Off the Couch this past year and a half. But, it seems, many blog writing therapists are equally as shrewd and Off the Couch is used in many different combinations making it an excessively used name. (Not so clever after all.)

 

Ergo…rebranding was necessary.

 

So, I am announcing the birth of being Boswell. And what a birth process it has been. Seven months, almost full term, of time, money, and angst to push this baby out. This past month I have been waking at 3:30 each morning, the witching hour, begging who ever is in charge of these matters to get it the f@#k out of me. (I demanded the same from my obstetrician during the birthing of both of my kids. A girl can only take so much.)

 

The due date? Well, as so often happens, the timing is serendipitously perfect, despite all of my kicking and screaming, panting and blowing.

 

Being Boswell will go live this Thursday, December 6th at 12:15 pm. My birth day and time, 55 years ago.

 

I am so excited and relieved. I feel 30 pounds lighter.

 

So keep your computers on and your eyes peeled…a baby is coming!!!!!

Mom’s Who Do To Much

The other day a coworker asked what I was doing for Thanksgiving.

nice gloves

 

“Cooking.”

 

She asked if I usually cook Thanksgiving. It struck me as an odd question. Who else would cook?…I am the mom…after all.

 

“Yes, I have cooked, give or take a year, for the past 27 years.”

 

Her eyes got big, “Wow, I never cook Thanksgiving.” Now I was intrigued. She is a mom too. How did she pulled that off?

 

She explained that the first time she cooked a turkey it wasn’t fully cooked when she served it, so her family didn’t want her to be responsible for the next years, or any year after thats’ holiday meal.

 

Brilliant. Why had’t I thought of that? I had, after all, accidentally burned the first shirt my then husband asked me to iron resulting in his never asking again. I had the paradigm. I saw how it worked. I didn’t take the hint.

 

Later that same day, when rescheduling a client, I offered a session the week of Thanksgiving. She declined explaining she will be too busy preparing for Thanksgiving. She was cooking.

 

I thought of the many Thanksgiving weeks that I worked in Pittsburgh while living in Chalk Hill. An hour and a half commute that I returned home from on Wednesday night around 6 or 7. I had made the stuffing, nut bread, and cranberry bread and shopped the weekend before so all that needed to be done to get dinner on the table in the next 20 hours was par boil, peel and make the white sauce for the creamed onions; peel, boil and mash the potatoes; prepare and boil the green beans to toss into the sautéed garlic and chopped shallots; whip the heavy cream into perfect decadence; put the leaf in the table and set it for 8-10 friends and family; panic because every year I seemed to forget the cornucopia themed paper napkins leaving me with Scott Every Days to design the Martha Stewart wannabe table; oh yeah, stuff and cook the turkey.

Apple and pumpkin pie was deliciously prepared by my then Husband. I never learned how to make pies, so he did. (Hint, hint.) Kathleen brought the sweet potato casserole. Heidi another dessert and/or vegetable.

 

This is what I expected of myself. And soon it became what my family expected also. I  trained them well. It never occurred to me that it was too much to do or that I could do less. Especially when working a full week. Out of town no less.

 

It is Thanksgiving again with Christmas right around the corner. And you know I am no easier on myself at Christmas. I usually begin asking myself, sometime the morning of December 26th, why I do this to myself year after year, concluding with my traditional New Years Resolution promising not do so much in the new year.

 

I do it for other reasons too. I do it for the sake of tradition, so my kids have endearing holiday memories, because my mom cooked Mama B’s cornbread stuffing and creamed onions, although she did not work outside of the home and the tension at the well set table of china and sterling usually made dinner a fast and furious event, because when all the preparations are complete and the people I love most in the world are sitting around the table, I feel sweetly and fully blessed.

 

Yesterday I was offering to teach Jena how to make her great grandmothers Alabama corn bread stuffing. (Perhaps unconsciously passing the torch…PLEASE.) Jena said she was planning on being one of those people that never learned to cook. (She does seem to date guys that love to cook.) I heard myself judgmentally ask,”How do you think that will be for your kids?” My question shamed her into retracting her statement saying she was only kidding.

 

As I retold this exchange to Tom I owned how sexist it was of me to assume holiday traditions will be her responsibility.

 

So how does a mom do it? Create tradition, if that is important to her, and not exhaust herself in the process? Ask for more help? Do less? Care less? It is a labor of love that can end in tired resentment.

 

I would love to hear your ideas. How do you do it?

 

And Happy Happy Thanksgiving!

A No Sun Sunday

The perfect Sunday. The illusion that there is nothing to be done, but of course there is, my winter clothes need to be carried from their basement storage up two flights of stairs to my bedroom closet, reading and writing to be completed, phone calls to be returned. For some unknown reason, maybe Grace, maybe my attempt to stay in the moment, I remain in the illusion and have a lovely Sunday.

 

Even my trip to the gym, followed by a quick stop at the grocery store, is not pressured by the clock or a to do list.

 

Around two o’clock we decide it might be a good time to watch a DVD a friend suggested, Adventureland. She said it was a sweet movie. Seemed like a good day for a sweet movie. Shortly into the movie I realized I had seen it, I seldom remember a movie by it’s title, but I often recognize the story line. (This costs us a few extra dollars a year in repeat rentals. Oh well.)

 

So we both fell asleep on the couch, a fire blazing in the fireplace, Clea, (short for Cleopatra because we knew as soon as we met her she was a queen,) my cat of unknown age who we adopted when she found her way to my son’s lap during a bonfire party twelve years ago, who is in the process of dying from kidney failure, asleep with us on my belly. It was one of those great naps because in this day there is nothing else to do but nap. My whole body let go into the couch, letting the couch have all of me. Clea letting me have all of her.

 

Beans and greens for dinner, the beans have been soaking since last night, the organic kale we grabbed yesterday at the co op is beautiful. I feel healthy just looking at it. I know I will feel better eating it. It is the perfect no sun Sunday in November meal.

 

 

Maybe an extra hour is responsible for this leisurely day. Having more time always seems to slow me down. I relax when I believe there is enough time to do nothing.

Who Am I?

I try to make a practice of answering the questions I ask myself. You know the ones. The rampant, seemly benign questions that run through your head at break neck speed. Often we don’t even hear ourselves asking them. As a therapist, I hear my clients questions of themselves. It is always easier to hear others questions.

 

So last week when I asked, “Who am I?” or, to be exact, “Who the hell am I?” I set out to answer myself, again.

 

Interestingly and serendipitously my answer came as a result of renaming this blog to being Boswell. My friend, Wikipedia, informed me that the surname Boswell was passed into the English Language as a term…Boswellian, Boswellism…meaning a constant companion and observer of life, especially one who records those observations through writing. Who knew?

 

I have been writing stories or journaling since my first, locked, with the tiniest key ever, diary was given to me in grade school. I began my entries with Dear Diary. I quickly abandoned that salutation when I realized I wanted to write to a reader, not to an inanimate object. I longed to tell my version of life to someone. I felt less alone conjuring a reader nodding his or her head in shared recognition of an examined moment, possibly even laughing or crying with me as I spilled my version of life onto the page. I hoped my imaginary audience would feel less alone and more understood as I exposed myself to self scrutiny.

 

So here I am, 40 some years later, with the technological creation of the über diary.  I write you read. I feel blessed.

 

I have been being me all along, I just didn’t know it!

 

Take a look at this…it is a scene from Sherlock Holmes talking to Watson. FInding my name has been very validating…

www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhYbY_JO2S4

So Sorry

Last week was a doosey.

My printer stopped talking to my lap top after I replaced an empty ink cartridge. Two  ink cartridges later, because the first cartridge was defective (1 out of 50 are I now know) and a $89.95 visit from the Staples Geek Squad, they are now talking.

My car was feeling funny. So I did what we are do. I took it in to my mechanic. I needed a new axle. So I got one. It still felt funny. I took it back to the garage. I had gotten a bad axle. They replaced it. It still felt funny. The tires needed to be balanced. Last night I drove home smoothly.

I began to see a theme.

Then my intern was working on my blog to make some upcoming changes- I will tell you about them in my soon to follow post-and  Off the Couch when off line. It took 3 days to resurrect. Hmmmm, I won’t even go there.

So I am back. Thank you for missing me.