Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Putting the brakes on .... screech, slide, stop summer from ending

Having just returned from the West Coast have to say California, especially So Cal, has really nice weather.  You know palm trees, pretty beaches with mountains, surfers ... all nice but I have about a 5 day tolerance for So Cal before all of that turns into - why oh why do they have to drive everywhere (I mean really, it's flat and the weather is nice walk people we do it in much harsher conditions on the East Coast)?? Why is everything a 45 min traffic ordeal when they have 6-7 lane highways in each direction (again walk people)?  Why don't they have public transportation ?  They are too slow, too mellow - but did I mention how pretty it is and how nice their weather is ?? 

You would assume a summer lover like me would love climate like that year round right?? I would like climate like that for more time than I get but I love the changing of the seasons - up to about Jan.  I could fast forward right through February and March right to April.  I do not enjoy the cold that takes forever to leave me or the snow - yeah, yeah it's pretty when it comes down -- NO it is not because what comes down must be shoveled, cleaned off cars and generally a nuisance.  

I do love the seasons changing though - when I lived in California years ago it was disconcerting to feel at times like it was one long day or one long month.  However, I always feel right after my birthday in the middle of July that summer slips away way too fast.  I want a few more weekends at the beach than I will get, a lot more long days into night and most of all I want to have it warm for a bit longer.   As a kid my birthday also signaled the fast approaching end of summer vacation - bad enough to have a summer birthday so no decorated locker at school, no fan fare in the hallways but just trying to scrape up whoever was around but to think that it also signaled the end of those wonderful, lazy months between school years was really a bummer and still is. 

I see the attraction to Cali - kind of like dating the Playmate of the year, very pretty, sexy but for the most part you do not want to commit to her.  It is beautiful and siren call of warm weather when some of us are trying to penguin walk with grace on black ice, doesn't every happen well - you either fall or you look like you are waddling , sand over snow and that promise of not having to hurry to your car (or anywhere for that matter regardless of season) appeals to so many.  It is the land of Hollywood and of those smiley folks (well maybe not in SF as much but even there more so than in many places).  Maybe it is cause I am madly in love with NYC and all it stands for, black snow and stinky sidewalks not so much but part of the deal, the idea of public transportation, love walking with the vast diversity rather than watching them in the lane over stuck in traffic on a highway, filled with possibilities of who you may meet.  Maybe it is because it slightly exciting to have something as good as summer and then yearn for it the rest of the time - you know kind of like that forbidden lover, the one whose kiss is so good you can close your eyes and feel the goosebumps from and when he actually does it wham .. ooh ..ummm - yeah that's how summer is to me.  Maybe it is like that for those who love Cali every day  - for me I like the thrill of the chase but we can stroll and not run to the finish line of summer for now. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

On Friendships .. when all the others will be forgot .. ours will still be hot

I suffer from a common malady - I remember what I should not be forgetting often in times when bad news hits.

This past weekend a friend of mine died rather suddenly.  We were not very close and oddly enough we became friends at work.  I tend to keep a separation as most people do, with good reason, between my personal life and the relationships at work.  This was more important when my personal life was quite a bit wilder than my work persona conveyed - these days my definition of wild revolves around staying up past 10pm on any given night.   I am a very outgoing person who enjoys being social - I would not like to work from home full time it feels like solitary confinement to me.  I understand the boundaries of work, I don't open up all that much except to a few people anyway, and that work relationships are definitely bumpered. 

Yet once in a while you meet someone who you connect with, or maybe someone who you find fascinating at work, and through the magic of social media are able to connect with them whether you still are near one another or not.   It is a bonus to make these connections - people who you meet but not by any design of your own, who may be very different than you or share more than you expected. We spend more time with many of our workmates than we do with our other friends and family.  If you work in a place a long time like I have, which is becoming more rare each day, you know each other from when your after work life started when you left the office late - like say 8 or 9pm - and you may have shared toothpaste the next day or even a change of clothes if you had it in you to go out until almost the time you had to return.  You know each other often through relationships - those that amounted to something and those that morph from pain to comic relief.  There is a sharing of milestones, weddings/divorces/kids/buying the big stuff that requires banks and not a parental "loan". You of course share work venting.  I find my job satisfying but I also find the people are by far the vast reason for that satisfaction. 

I enjoy watching the tapestry that these people weave with their lives in mine - the paths they took after we worked together.  I find I have been surrounded by amazingly intelligent people who taught me so much, who shared interests with me and who expanded my interests in so many ways.  To see one of these friends passing so young also reminded me of the time in my life that we met, before my children were born, when my focus was so different.  He was a wonderful man who made me smile and who was passionate about so many topics.  We shared a love of traveling and beautiful pieces of music.  

I guess it is human nature that while we may think of it we do not often acknowledge the importance of these and all friendships with the frequency we should.  Work friends also remind us that we are at .. work, rather than where we may want to be but they also make those days and many hours better and with the many, many hours we log at work this may be a mental savior.  They may remind of us who we are there but that should not stop us from doing those things that make us content and are totally unrelated to the job.   We do not have forever nor do we know when our last page will be written so in honor of my friend who died, who lived life to it's fullest, I also am reminded that we should do those things that may be impractical, scary and make us complete.  Tell people they are important to you - not only when bad news hits.  

Friendships - one of my best friends is someone I met through work and there are many others who I treasure for good times and even more for the support they have often given me - wherever they may form are really gifts and I never tire of their addition to who I am and to my life. If you think of it this way Mondays suddenly are not so bad - after all you may get to see your friend at work that day.  We go to work to fund our lives and if we make friends then we are truly wealthy and successful. 



Tuesday, July 7, 2015

We do everything that interests them

The other day I was looking at my kids as they got a little whiny and complainey (I know it's not a real word but it so fits) about having to do something that was for us.  My kids like most of their friends are used to parenting that goes a little something like this:

1) Vacations - planned with tours geared toward the kids so they do not get bored if they are in foreign locales.  Full of child friendly down time including sitting and watching them play at a park in said destination.  Maybe they are theme parks that you spend obnoxious amounts on to ride and be surrounded by music that on a loop could be used in Guantanamo Bay but it may be even more repugnant than waterboarding.

2) Weekends - planned around sports schedule which you must attend all of, even in say Little League or Rec Center training of said sports.  Of course if you are a Mom you will find scathing articles about what type of mother at these events you are (distracted, social, psycho...) because after all it's not like you should be anything less than thrilled to be in a gym or a field at 8 am on your day off from whatever it is that you do during the week (no the dads do not have these articles about them).

3) Dinners and general eating out - even if your kids like mine know that they will be going to a fine restaurant, I draw the line at bad food with other loud children locales, it must have pasta with butter or something to accommodate them because should you want to leave them with a sitter you will get the "why can't I come?" speech. Besides in NY the sitter costs more than taking them with us by a lot.

4) Movies - insert snort and chuckle.  Getting a sitter for say the time to have a fast bite and see a movie that does not have animations, superheroes and actual acting will run you about $150 or so, time not spent in a leisurely manner but rather looking at the clock that is running as fast as the debt counter in Times Square. Otherwise get ready to spend time watching animated movies that while potentially enjoyable will be the depth of your experience for at least the first 10 years or so of their lives. Oh and yes you do have to shell out for popcorn and other things.

5) Down time - insert second snort and chuckle.  You do not have this because you have laundry, repetitive commands that will not be respected until you scream, picking up and picking up and picking up, grocery shopping, party planning for them (which is like a full time job when you are in it), gift buying for other children and wrapping and watching TV with the children which trust me will involve at least one if not more of the movie categories listed above.

We do everything with them in mind.  I grew up in a time where my parents , as those around me, let you entertain yourself and activities were things they wanted to do which were a bonus if you enjoyed them -- like say going to the beach.  You did not get to negotiate and give them your unasked for opinion, you ate for the most part what they ate and there was no catering to child for a separate dinner.

So here we are - my children are master negotiators, the current EU crisis would have been resolved because you just had to put it between them and something they wanted to do and presto solution implemented.  Most of their friends are too.  My kids and their friends all have parents who are super involved.  Is this a bad thing?  No for the most part - what I would like for them to do is get bored and figure out how to entertain themselves (do not insert electronic device as only option).  I would like them to learn how to do things because others who they care for want to do them even if it is not their first choice, without regret or eye rolls.  I think it is good that they are growing up with people who are focused on their success and growth as well as wanting to be part of what we all know is a fast and fleeting childhood.  We are more evolved and better parents than ours were, they were better than theirs, and that means our parents and theirs before them did a good job with us. We do everything that interests them because we want to. 

Gotta go - after all that laundry is not going to do itself ??? Oh wait maybe soon it could be by one of them ... mwahahaha