For as much as I am ‘puppies and rainbows’ I am a realist.

Yes, I know, hard to believe since I am optimistic about nearly everything and perspective is my middle name (usually…).

But really, I am.

I think I’ve gone through enough in my life…hell, in the last two years alone, to realize that not everything is as it seems, not everything is perfect, relationships need work, friendships require respect and communication, and that no matter what, it’s worth seeing the happy than expecting the sad.

Why wait for the sad, or expect the sad, when there’s so much to be happy about?

I’m realistic.

…in knowing that if it feels right, it probably is (but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect or that it always will be).

…that friendships can only be sustained if both people are in it, committed, and honest (just like relationships), rather than worrying about saying the right things all the time.

…that love happens. In a day, a week, a month. It doesn’t matter. Sometimes it just happens and the timeframe doesn’t matter so much. It melts away. (but that doesn’t mean you have to – or should – stop living the rest of your life, with friends, family, and almost most importantly, yourself).

…that heartbreak will happen. Even if you try not to let it. It could be a friend, a man, or a family member. But it will happen (and you just get through it, because you are strong).

…that a night by yourself is sometimes just as psyche-healthy as a sweaty workout at the gym.

…and that there’s always going to be some bad in life, but as long as that is healthily weighted by a hell of a lot of good, that’s sometimes the best case scenario. (and the rest will fall into place).

I am realistic that no matter what, I’m happy because I choose to be happy.

It’s as simple as that.

I’ve been following Faith, Fitness, and Fun’s Tina on her “30 Days of Reflection for Self-Love” and I must first say that she has an amazing outlook and many, if not all, of her daily posts have been completely up my alley, and I’ve loved participating!

Her post today was all about finding joy, and while I feel as though right now, I clearly have a lot of joy in the “Doctor Boy” department, finding joy when areas of your life are not going well is sometimes nearly impossible to find. But what Tina says here is so right-on:

I don’t think I need to tell you why finding joy in everyday moments of life can increase overall happiness. We all have that logic. Instead, I want to ask you to find it for yourselves today. Don’t avoid it for fear it will get in the way of to-dos. Don’t convince yourself another moment will come soon enough. Don’t hesitate on whether you deserve that moment of joy. Just take it. And walk away with a smile.

Joy is SO elusive when you have about a zillion things to do and it’s hard to see the little joys (or as I have referred to them as ‘little rocks’ of the day) sometimes. For me, today (taking a cue from my sister!)?

…my sister emailing us to let us know that her doctor feels she may have the baby tomorrow. WOOHOO!!!!

Joy.

…having a kick-ass workout this morning (no pun intended…) a la Group Kick. Always ceases to amaze me how much I sweat! Sweat is happiness…sweat is…

Joy.

…getting invited to go see Rascal Flatts on Sunday by Doctor Boy. Um, yeah, so sweet, right?

Joy.

And finally? Gearing up for dinner with Doctor Boy tonight…more on that tomorrow, friends.

Yours truly in joy, swoonage, and yes, I have both eyes open, don’t worry,

Jolene

😉

of friendship that perhaps wasn’t truly what it seemed.

I kinda got a bit of clarity today that sometimes things aren’t everything they appear, and you just gotta cut your losses.

It’s sad, when a friendship that you thought was more sustainable was perhaps only a ‘season‘ though I can’t say that I regret our friendship, because I learned some things from her, I helped inspire her to take the leap out on her own, and in a way, that was at a point where I realized that hey, being on your own isn’t so bad, and if I can do it, so can you, and to have someone else be inspired by me and my story, well, hey, that is huge, and it means a lot to me, no matter what.

I guess I am mourning the friendship but also the ramifications of what caused the end of it (I won’t go into a ton of detail here because I feel it is private, so I hope you all can respect that, but it wasn’t aimed directly at me, per se, but the ramifications were, which I realize is very vague), the distrust, a bit of betrayal, the lack of judgement on her part, and in a way, my feeling badly that I know she made some bad decisions and I just wish she’d come to me, or a few of us, for advice first.

But what I have learned more and more is that you can’t change people, you can’t change the decisions they make, you can only learn from them, and move forward. So this is me letting go, wishing her the best in her journey, and waving goodbye to some good memories.

~~

I had a whole post half-written in my head this morning, but this was cramming the thoughts in my brain, and I just needed to get it out. I’m sure you all have experienced letting a friendship or relationship go, and sometimes you just need to process it, let go and move on, right?

Onward…

This weekend reminded me just how much I consider my sisters my absolute best friends in the world. They center me. They make me laugh. They support me and love me, and me to them. And I realize more and more that I am so thankful to have fostered such a bond with them, especially in recent years. I love them both so much, and they’re no doubt my best friends. And I wouldn’t have it – or want it – any other way.

Rather than recap the sister weekend that was, I’m just going to share a few moments, and some pictures from the best baby shower on the planet (of course, since Jess and I planned it so well *patting selves on the back*!)

…feeling my niece’s hiccups as Jen sat in the pedicure chair getting her feet some much-needed attention. I’ve never felt anything like it, and feeling her squirm around in there, well, it just made it feel so real. And it’s the very first time in my life where I can’t wait to cuddle with a baby, kiss their toes and hands and love them unconditionally.

…laughing hysterically as Jen opened one of the books we got her for the baby – Bearenstein Bears “Messy Room” – our all-time favorite of the Bearenstein Bears books (and an inside joke as my sister Jess absolutely adored that book most since the end showcased a perfectly spic and span bedroom after!)

…speaking of Spic and Span – that’s the ‘gag’ gift my gramp gave Jen, for “those unexpected cleanups” – complete with a tweety bird gift bag, her absolute favorite character growing up!

…the beautiful quilt given to Jen by her mother-in-law, which was started when her husband Josh was born, and never finished. It was finished now, for their first-born daughter. A really touching moment.

And now, some pictures…enjoy…it was truly a weekend to remember, spent with the gifts to my heart – my sisters, my best friends. Forever.

Sister pic! Jess, Jen and me

Cute shot with my mom, isn't it?!

Some damn good centerpieces, if I say so myself.

Beautiful - and delish - cake by Jen's sister in law, Jackie (so talented!)

Jen and her sis in law Jackie with the diaper cakes Jackie made

As I enjoy my time at the Cathe Road Trip, I wanted to post a poem that actually really hits me from a few sides – it’s all about friendship, and the meaning behind them, why they come into our lives, and sometimes, why they end.

The reason I timed this blog for when I am at the Road Trip is because I have been amazed – almost stunned – by how bonded I feel to a special group of workout friends I have made – IRL from Group Kick, and in the bloggy world (Heather!! and I firmly believe friends truly do come into your life at the most critical and opportune time. This is truly an example of that. I relate to these girls so very much (Steph, you are awesome…while we met during Group Kick “summer camp” our friendship has grown so much more since – goooo half marathon!) and they came in my life for a reason, and I know they’ll be sustained friendships.

The same holds true for a very special group of girls that have remained steadfast by my side through divorce, through the ups and downs of dating, and through life, generally, and those girls, those are some lifetime friends right there. XO my friends, you truly are my family.


Thank you for being a part of my life, whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Enjoy the poem.

~~

People come into your life for a reason,
a season or a lifetime.

When you know which one it is,
you will know what to do for that person..

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty,
to provide you with guidance and support,

To aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.

They may seem like a godsend and they are.

They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at
an inconvenient time, this person will say or do
something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.

Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that our need has been met,
our desire fulfilled, their work is done.

The prayer you sent up has been answered and
now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.

They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.

They may teach you something you have never done.

They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.

Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons,
things you must build upon in order to have a
solid emotional foundation.

Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person
and put what you have learned to use in all other
relationships and areas of your life.

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a part of my life,
whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.

On a summer weekend that was relatively low-key (save for that 9+ mile run that I am STILL feeling today…I feel like my body was run over by a truck, that then proceeded to back up and run over me again), I’ve made some interesting, newfound self-observations, in part as I think about moving in just about two months (sure, it’s just to a different building in my complex, but it’s still moving…and I am just realizing, my move date is one day after my “divorcesary” on September 11, kind of cool timing.).

Here goes:

  • I claim to be *almost* as type A-clean as my sister Jess, but I think I’m harboring my inner “messy girl.” While I love having a clean home, and it is very clean, with minimal clutter, I actually don’t love to clean. There, I said it. I love the end result, but I hate the process. Sometimes I even half-ass my cleaning – gasp, I know, Jess you are shaking your head in shock, aren’t you? 😉 My “messy girl” totally comes through…in my closets. They’re a mess. Yes, even my walk-in clothes closet. Given they all have those neat contraptions called doors, I can *hide* any mess or clutter I want. Imagine that! (moving will hopefully de-clutter me again…I do love a good de-clutter, though, lest not forget).
  • I hate bridal showers. Okay, so hate is a strong word, maybe I don’t hate them, I dislike the tradition, barring-on-hokiness and stuffiness of bridal showers. I went to one today, for one of my really good friends (my college roommate) in Maine, and as I looked around, I realized two things a) how showers seem to be something you “just do” as you march towards the big wedding day, and b) how obligatory they seem to appear or feel, to an extent. I love celebrating love – don’t get me wrong – I just feel as though the “bridal shower” could stand some evolution. And if I ever marry again – a big if, or at least a big unknown – I will NOT have a bridal shower. I didn’t have one the first time around and I certainly won’t do it the second time around. Just not me.
  • I’m almost certain I’ll go un-traditional wedding again, if I ever marry again – again, a big if/unknown at this point – for the very same reasons. For me, a wedding signifying marrying the (hopefully!) love of your life is such a personal thing that a huge wedding, lots of fanfare and fancy dresses just isn’t me. I am almost certain I would hate every second of it (though, oddly, I LOVE attending weddings! I have a few this summer and though it’d be nice to have a date, I know I will still have fun…and hey, they aren’t till the fall, so maybe I will, who knows…). I joke that I’d be the best fiancee ever…any man’s dream, right? No shower? No wedding? Arm pump, right?!
  • I don’t know how to “sleep in” anymore. I used to love sleeping in, at least till 8 or 9, on a Saturday or Sunday to catch up from the week of getting up at 5 or 5:30, but now, I just don’t know how. Sure, it might be the fact that my kitties (okay, Nala!) loves to wake me up for breakfast in the morning with a “loving” face pat with the paw/claw, but I tend to wake naturally earlier now. Might also have to do with not having someone to cuddle up next to that would make me want to sleep in? Maybe. But I’m leaning more towards my inner clock shifting as I age 😉

So there ya go – a mix of humorous and more serious self-observations that have come to the surface recently. Having some downtime has allowed for that, I think, this weekend, which I really needed. I love the summer for busy jam-packed weekends of fun parties, cookouts, Maine, beach etc., but a lower key weekend without a lot of activity is also much-needed sometimes, to regroup. I’m feeling (relatively) ready to face the week ahead, complete with an afternoon nap today and two sleeping kitties next to me.

~~

Oh, and did I mention only 5 working days until Maine for a 5ish days?! AND that one of my bestest friends – Amy (who needs a new name since getting married last month! The one I spent an ‘epic weekend’ with in Florida in April) opted for an impromptu/surprise visit this weekend so she and Eric will be joining us “upta camp” for 4 of those days? Couldn’t be more excited and touched that they want to visit and spend the weekend with us…and mark my words, it will for sure be another epic weekend. 🙂

Re-reading my interview with Andrea Syrtash from yesterday (which, I am still uber-geeking out about, because it was a great interview, and she retweeted my tweet and said my blog was fab – um, how cool is that, seriously?!), there are so many points that I absolutely love that she makes.

But my main – and biggest – takeaway from her comments is about releasing.

Release “the type” in your head.

Release what they may “look” like.

Release (generic) ‘must-haves’ (as in, good job, driven, etc, be more specific).

Release…looking.

That last one always gets me….because I know I need to let go of this feeling of control I think I need (or I think I have, for that matter) to find love. I guess the phrase ‘find love’ is almost an oxymoron of sorts because you don’t really ‘find’ love, do you? It finds you…you just become…in love. When it’s meant to happen. Not on your own timeframe. Not when it’s convenient. Not when you think it’s supposed to happen.

When it’s meant to.

As in, not-in-my-control.

Being Type A, that’s a tough one for me to accept, but on the other, it feels a little like a relief. Just live. Just enjoy. And when it’s meant to, it’ll happen.

Whether it’s ‘organic,’ whether it’s online…it just doesn’t matter, but I feel good knowing that it’ll happen. I take comfort in that, because I believe it.

~~

It’s funny, as I was sitting at dinner tonight with Pete on my patio, I was looking at him and thinking, ‘wow, I was married to him…only a couple of years ago, yet it feels like forever.” I was sort of flashing through our relationship in my head, as we talked about various things, and it made me feel happy that we shared a great thing for so long, and we still do, yet differently. I don’t see him “that” way anymore without a shadow of a doubt, and that’s okay, it’s not sad, it’s not ‘weird,’ it just is. Releasing…in a way…and knowing that whenever I fall in love again, that he’ll be supportive of me (and I of him). And that, to me, is amazing.

~~

And a comment BDFF said to me today was this…and it’s a moment I want to capture and remember and thought you’d all enjoy reading it too:

Life is too short to wake up with regrets.. So love the people who treat you right.. Forget about the ones who don’t. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

Last night I had dinner with Pete (as I noted yesterday) as a belated birthday dinner, and a chance to get together (and score – he paid again – even though it was his birthday recently…how nice, right??).

We went to a local place we used to love going to (not as couple-y as the last place we went, but a place that has delicious food to say the least!) and that I still love going to.

What was significant about this place, you ask?

It was the place we went for dinner the night the shit hit the fan.

The night we “attempted” to act as if everything was okay (this was when we were discussing why he wasn’t happy and the eventual lead to “I don’t want to be married anymore” aka divorce) but about halfway through dinner, I distinctly recall how awkward, forced, and sad it felt. I had a nervous pit in the middle of my stomach, could barely eat, we barely talked, and it was just it…sort of one of the moments I knew where we were headed, and it was making me sick to think about.

It was probably one of the worst nights leading into the eventual end to our marriage, and for awhile, I just didn’t go back to this particular restaurant (though now I do, and have replaced sad memories with friends and family).

But last night? It was fun, we laughed, we caught up, we joked, we recalled that fateful night, and exactly where we sat. We decided to shake that memory off and replace it with better ones, like last night.

Quite the juxtaposition.

We talked about his birthday this past weekend, and how much fun we had two years ago that same weekend for his mom’s 50th surprise party (a party that my entire family came to as well, two states away), and “did you ever imagine that two years later, we’d be divorced?” Of course, the answer was no, but then we talked about how glad we both are to be where we are together, in our evolved relationship into the friendship we have now. Something that many (okay, MOST!) don’t understand, but something that works for us.

We talked about Nala (he came by to give her a hug on the way to dinner and noted she seemed a little plumper. She is, but today, she is lethargic again, so I have a call in to the vet. Of course, I worry and think the worst, but her antibiotic ran out and it’s super humid and hot here, so I am hoping it’s just a combo of that. Stay tuned…), and our jobs, and summer vacations, and dating (both of us are sort of in stalemate situations, not a heck of a lot happening in that department, but it’s all good).

I’m glad we got together again. I’m glad we caught up. I’m glad we erased that horrible night from our memories and replaced it with a warmer, nicer, more enjoyable one.

And I’m glad we’re friends.

~~

On a side note, hop over to I Used to Have Hair/Canadian Bald Guy’s blog today…he’s on a quest to visit his daughter and is hoping for some help. If you have anything to spare, it’s a good cause. I donated (and yes, donated, not loaned, CBG!) because I never quite had a great relationship with my own dad, and to see how much he wants to foster that with his daughter is refreshing and inspiring and I wish them all the best.

So, while I sit here still feeling pretty darn good about OKC boy #3 (aka Southern Boy), I’ve had another blog topic kind of marinating in my mind in recent weeks. As with some of my more stoic posts, I tend to feel the need to put a mini-disclaimer upfront…I hope this doesn’t come across as negative or, well, selfish (hence the title), but it’s something I’ve been feeling lately and just need to blog it out. So, bear with me, or feel free to skip ahead to a future post, instead, mmk?

~~

Is it so selfish…

To look out for me once in awhile?

Does it make me a bad person? A bad sister? A bad friend? A bad coworker?

Or does it make me normal? Or smart? Or focused?

Or a mix?

After all, this is the year of me, and I should be able to enjoy it, live up to what I’ve set out to accomplish, personally this year for me, and only me.

Yet, sometimes I feel like it’s not okay to put myself first, or my priorities first, no matter how much I compromise, or look out for others’ feelings or needs or their priorities. I try to balance it all, I try to be as good – or better – a friend to others as I want to be treated, no matter if it’s actually reciprocated.

…but then I still sometimes feel judged, or two cents-ed (yes that’s a word, for me!), or selfish.

And I’m not selfish.

It’s a balance, and I think I do a damn good job, and well, that’s that. I guess I’m going to continue to keep as much balance as possible, while still looking out for  me (and being a good friend/sister/coworker/etc).

~~

This post from T (seriously, your posts are amazing, adore them!) really kind of sums it up for me…and maybe she says what I don’t quite know how to capture:

I believe that at any moment in time, someone could accuse you of something that you’ve never done. And they will be so convinced that they’re right that nothing you do will change their mind.

I believe that just because you’re being honest with someone, it doesn’t mean that they still don’t have a right to react to your honesty.

I also believe that just because someone reacts to your honesty, it doesn’t mean that you should change your thoughts, shut down and/or never be honest with them again.

I believe that most people put on an act or mask when they’re around others. But just because they do that, it doesn’t mean that they don’t know who they truly are on some level.

I believe that we all need to be reminded who we truly are.

YES. What she said.

As I draft this post, in the airport, waiting to head home, I’m feeling really good.

Positive.

Optimistic.

Happy.

Relaxed.

A little tan.

A little tired.

But most of all?

Very fortunate and grateful to have such a fabulous friend in BDF (well, I guess we can just call her Amy now, since, in a couple of months, she will be married, no longer “divorced”).

The trip couldn’t have come at a better time, as I stand at the cusp of what to do about CBE (stay tuned for a full post on that tomorrow), as a much-needed break from the everyday grind, and at a time where I just plain ole needed to get away from it all to think, enjoy, and just release myself from it all.

And, it was exactly what I had hoped for, and more. Amy and I had a blast! And, her fiancee, Eric, is just so awesome, I can’t put it into words…I am so happy she’s found her perfect fit, because he truly, truly is, and he’s just an all-around great guy. I like him a lot, we get along great, he’s genuinely interested in my life as well, and I just think that’s awesome. (I even joked to Amy – just clone Eric for me, and I’d be a happy camper! ha).

So, what did we do? Here’s a quick recap for ya (see the trip in pics in part I of this post)

On Thursday, when I arrived in Tampa, we grabbed an early bite at Ocean Prime, which was delicious, and much-needed as I’m already ravenous after a flight, for some reason. The conversation of course flowed easily, and the topic of CBE came up pretty quickly, and well, at that point, I think I’d already decided what I wanted to do, but hadn’t explicitly said it, but Amy could just tell by the tone of my voice when chatting about the latest (again, I’ll rehash it all in another post) and it was sort of the validation I needed – her reaction to what I was saying, my body language, and tone.

We headed to their place, in Lakeland, which is about 45 mins away and spent the rest of the evening, well, drinking wine. Lots and lots of wine. It was delish, but well, the three of us polished off two bottles of wine (and Eric really only had two glasses), so you do the math 😉 So yeah, I may have woken up slightly hungover (whoops!) 😉

Friday, Amy and I spent the day together. We had an awesome run around the lake by her place, only a 3 miler, which was perfect because I was suffering from major shin splints for some reason. But, the scenery was beautiful, the palm trees gave me serenity, the air was warm, the sun was shining and I was feeling happy. We spent much of the rest of the day shopping for her wedding dress. Something simple. Something fairly casual. Something a little harder to find than you’d think, right? 😉 Well, I am thrilled to say we found “the” dress, after just a handful of stores, and it was perfect. She looks great in it and she’ll be stunning as she gets married in June at a winery in Oregon (which, by the way, is my idea of a perfect way to get married!). We had a delicious Amy-prepared dinner, including a tasty app of some gourmet cheeses, edamame and yummy sangria (hence the sangria pics!).

And, today (Saturday), we took a long walk around their neighborhood, with the dog, and that too, as simple as it sounds, was great. It was nice to get some activity in, enjoy the outdoors, and a near-perfect day, weather wise (sunny, not too humid, perfect temps). We spent the rest of the day on the deck, in the sun (getting a little much needed-color! woo!), relaxing, chatting, laughing.

So, all in all, it was the perfect getaway for me, mentally, and physically as well, and seeing Amy and her financee interact, fit so well together, and just be so damn happy…well, it’s inspired me. It’s inspired me to know that “that” kind of love is out there for me, it will happen, and it will happen when it’s meant to. I deserve to find that just-right fit, with a man that digs me as much as I dig him, that shares the same views (more or less), that is driven, fun, honest, and genuine. He’s out there. Somewhere.

And finally, I realize how very special true and honest friendship is.

Amy and I have that, and it’s something we’ve developed most heavily since our respective divorces, even though we’ve always been good friends since middle school. She’s devoted, honest, and truly cares for me, as do I for her. I’m lucky to have her as a friend, as with my small circle of friends…the ones that are there for you, getting through the bad times, and enjoying the good times!

And, in closing, a few super funny (and some of which make no sense except to Amy and her financee and me, but I just have to capture them because they are a riot!):

  • Calorically adventurous
  • Fart particles
  • Are you sure?
  • Giving birth to felines (what a toast that was!)
  • I think you’re making it up, if it’s made in Pennsylvania, you can eat it
  • I don’t think there’s lactose in that (cabo wabo)
  • Living like a balla!
  • I was blushing
  • Jonila…isn’t that your last name?!
  • Creepy yellow haired guy
  • That’s like me saying I’m a descendant of Malcolm X
  • Nobody ever talks about Davy Crockett anymore..is he real or fake?!