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Be a Houseguest Rockstar With These 10 Tips

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It wasn’t a new year’s resolution, but 2019 has turned out to be the “Year of the Friend” visits around the country. The only reason it happened is this: I invited myself. Ugh. I can hardly write about these impositions. Mom is, no doubt, rolling her eyes out loud at me, because people with manners just don’t do this. I’m a little sorry, but not a lot sorry, because I got to mix some biz with pleasure and spend time with really great friends.

My destinations included humans – and a few hounds – ages 4 weeks old to 94. The overall theme of these travels was, “If not now, when?” I’ve learned that with major miles and busy lifestyles among us, most people won’t outright invite others. I really don’t either, really. We all just assume, “They should know they’re welcome.”  They haven’t met my mother, “Not until you’re invited, Young Lady!”

When imposing on others, I tried hard to abide by these ten tips. (My hosts may be rolling their own eyes after reading my intentions below…!)

  1. Offer a few dates you could visit. Fortunately, I have honest friends who tell me when it’s inconvenient to visit.
  2. Limit your stay to two days. I thought it was Mom’s rule, but just learned it’s not.   “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”   Benjamin Franklin
  3. Be a good guest. This includes bed made and room(s) tidied daily, particularly the bathroom. ESPECIALLY the bathroom.
  4. Be gracious. Come bearing gift(s) or follow up promptly. If there’s a young child in the home, take a book or tiny toy. (Side bar: just found out that I mailed my thank you note to Christine and Family to Debbie’s house.  Oh, Bobbe…)
  5. Be cooperative. If there is a 6:45 p.m. dinner reservation, do whatever it takes to be ready…FIRST.  Thou shall not wait on you!
  6. Be agreeable. They want to go bowling and eat pizza. You’d hoped for TopGolf and Tacos. Toughen up Taco Head. Go with it.
  7. House rules rule! I noted in 75% of the homes where I stayed. (Okay, 3 of 4) shoes were left by the door. Once inside, it’s best to ask before you tromp through their house.
  8. Assess your pajamas. For some of you that may even mean, “GET SOME PAJAMAS!” Perhaps you sleep in bikini briefs, boxers or bare bottom. This doesn’t mean everyone does. Cover up buttercup. Oh, and while dressing, SHUT. THE. DOOR. You never know who might pop in. Awkward!
  9. Spring for a meal. They’ll say, “No!” You say, “Yes!” Personally, I hate food funding fights, so I’ve gotten quite sly about handing off my credit card to the waiter unnoticed. I figure it’s the least I can do in exchange for lodging. #needtips?
  10. Be self-sufficient, on both arrival and departure.  This may include Lyft, Uber or car rental. Your hosts and hostesses appreciate not having to fetch you, although some will insist. On the other end, I’ve found that my friends are more than happy to return me to the airport. Hmmmm, what’s that fishy smell? Oh, ha-ha, It’s me! Bye, bye!
  11. BONUS TIP: Board Bob the Beagle. Don’t even think of showing up with extra people or pets, unless encouraged. That is just rude. Ruff ruff!

My friend, Christine, said something which made me feel much better about inviting myself, “How can you invite yourself if the door is always open?” I like that philosophy. A lot. Hear that one, Mom? Is this new age hospitality?

Thank you, thank you, from Denver to Dallas to Charlotte. There was a common denomination among you all: loads of laughter. My emotional tank is now full to the brim. Thanks for the fill-ups, Friends! You all were grand hosts, I can only hope I was as grand of a guest. Bw

 

That’s On Me and That’s the Troof

4f7ff044-0642-4eef-b058-b3ac4e119e08We’ve been hearing this phrase a lot lately. It’s a handy one. It can tolerate any pronoun:

That’s on me.

That’s on you.

That’s on us.

That’s on them.

I think this phrase be used a lot or a little. It depends. If we’re taking ownership in something we’ve done that doesn’t turn out particularly well. Well, that’s on me. I need to own it. 

Before slinging this phrase around, perhaps the best idea  is to turn the phrase  into a question “That’s on who?”  (For you grammar gurus, I suppose it’s more correct to say, “That’s on whom?” Whichever, it is and right now, I’m getting confused about the wrong thing, so let’s move on, shall we?)

If someone is trying to throw blame on you for something, they might say, “That’s on you!”  If it’s true, then it’s going to hit right where it hurts. Why? Because truth is hard. Truth can hurt. But the truth is the truth is the truth. And that’s the truth. Or as our Nick would’ve said it as a little kid, without front teeth, “That’s the troof!” And that’s okay. We need to hear a little more troof!

The problem with hearing the troof is that we become so damn defensive. It’s a natural response.  If we don’t go down the defensive road, I know that for myself, I will just crumble into a puddle of woe. Woe goes like this: 

“I’m so stupid. I’m such a loser. I should’ve known better.” Yeah, let’s be self-defeating. That’s so much more fun! This is because someone has just validated what I’ve known all along. And the troof can feel like crap. So, be careful before you sling around “That’s on you.”

However, if we’re to correct our actions and become better humans, then it’s important to know what troof feels like. I think I really like using this version (troof), because it makes me laugh. And maybe we all need to do that a little bit more when it’s on us. Bw

My friend, Michele, is Just the Best!

After 67 years, my parents had been split up, not by divorce, but by different aging conditions. 

While there was no question about the strength of our friendship, it was confirmed many times by Michele’s willingness to accompany me on my visits. 

There are two kinds of humans in this world: those who can deal with the elderly and those who cannot. Now a successful banker, Michele had CNA experience a couple of decades before this. 

CNAs must deal with the messiest of patients and there was nothing that could violate Michele! 

At this time of the year, I’ll never forget when my ninety year old mom was in the hospital one winter, three times in six weeks, for recurring pneumonia. Her diagnosis was, “pneumonia and failure to thrive.” Her prognosis read, “Poor”. She wouldn’t eat or drink and it felt like the beginning of the end. 

One Sunday morning, Michele offered to go with me to the hospital. Very few people assume the invitation is always open. I would never ask anyone if they wanted to go, except a family member. 

Mom had just had a bath and was ready for a breakfast that she wouldn’t eat. Her hair, thin from aging and wet from her bath, was plastered against her small head. It was unsettling. 

There were two basic things to do: get food and liquid in her and set that hair! Michele coaxed her kindly and fed her easily from the front, while I put her hair up in Velcro curlers, from the back. It was a two-pronged approach and quite a vision, I’m sure. 

Perhaps it was because of Michele’s kind, gentle easy nature with Mom, orr maybe it was the ever-present sparkle in her eyes, but it was the loveliest gesture a friend could offer Mom and me.

We see this aging parent scenario unfold hundreds and thousands of times. Let this be a positive lesson to us all that we, too, can dish up kindness and assistance with a spoon or a fork. And a little Dippity-Do! 

Thanks, Michele. LYLAS!

 

BEING BRAVE & BOLD: Dumping Self-Doubt

 

/Bobbe White/6.13.18/

woman girl fitness

Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels.com

Recently, Sam Horn, Intrigue Agency, wrote about being Bolder in Boulder. She was entered into a 10K walk and almost let self-doubt demolish her plans. She asked us readers if we were being bold on our own behalf. I replied and she suggested sharing my reply, as others might relate. The last twenty-four hours have been a cacophony of “Should I or shouldn’t I? Be bold or bashful?” Aha! I was practicing the exact self-doubt demolition to my idea. Would readers think I was a nutcase or normal? Asking for affirmations and compliments? My people will always think I am a bit of a nutcase, only because of my trudging through a number of human struggles. Oh, right, like everyone else. In that spirit, here is my attempt to be bold today. Read it, reap it or recycle it. It’s simply my offering.

 

My body image brain has two heads.  On one hand, I am the wellness program coordinator for our company. It pushes me to participate to the fullest as an example, if I’m leading the program.  I would probably workout with or without the program; always have.  I am proud of the fact that as one of the oldest employees at 62 and 11/12 , I’m in decent shape, energy-wise, fitness-wise. Last Thursday, I wore a pair of slacks to work, or rather, they wore me. I felt fat around the waist all day. I started doing that thing I do in my head.

 

“You don’t work out hard enough.”

 

“You don’t work out often enough.”

 

“You finally let yourself go. Great.”

 

“You’re getting the middle-aged spread.” I have felt that I delayed the onset (like it’s a disease) until 63.”

 

“Grrrrrrrrrr.”

 

And so it went for a few days. I was so angry and disappointed in myself, that no matter how much effort I would throw at my waist, it would never be enough. You see, I’m a recovering enoughaholic. Yes, I suffer from Enoughaholism.  I’m considering writing this idea for a book title, but would enough people want to read it? There I go again.

 

Saturday morning, I signed up for Pound Class with my daughter. I was forced to stand in front of the mirrored wall of truth. However, during the forty-five minute class, some switch flipped. I was actually able to look at myself objectively. This is not an easy thing for PLU (People like us) to do. Somehow the wellness demon decided to ease up. Perhaps she had seen me berate myself enough the last two days. I assessed myself from head to toe. I didn’t hate what I was seeing, as much as expected.  First, were my shoulders. One time a physical therapist described them to his co-worker as, “Well developed.” I liked hearing that. My upper body workouts were actually having a positive effect.  Who knew? Next, were arms. There was a little jiggle underneath them, but overall, the biceps actually had definition. Moving south, the waist and tummy were next. Ehhhhhhh, they’re not HORRIBLE. Passable, I suppose. “However,” I reminded myself, “Remember, Young Lady, you’re wearing LOTS of Lycra.” Oh, for heavens sake, who let in Bobbe, the Body Bubble Burster? The self-sabotager. Finally, I looked at my legs; they aren’t twigs by any means, but they’re strong and they still work. Good grief, listen to me!

 

After class, I glanced once more in the mirror as we walked out. I’m used to being the oldest in most classes. It’s obvious, I’m not as lithe and flowing as younger specimens, but, by golly, I’m there. I’m okay for turning 63 in six days. Yes, I could work out harder. And more often. Push, push, push. Does it ever end?  Or are we working ourselves out to death, literally and figuratively?

 

Choices I make are just that: choices. Live with them or make different choices. Ease up and give a little gratitude to the physical abilities I have and start bursting those bubbles that say, along with my rationale,

 

“Not strong enough,”

There will always be someone stronger.

 

“Not coordinated enough”,

There will always be someone more coordinated.

 

“Not thin enough”,

There will always be genetics that dictate body type.

 

“Not flexible enough”,

There are always ways to improve flexibility.

 

“Not smart enough”,

There will always be someone smarter. Hello genetics.

 

“Not pretty enough,”

There will always be someone prettier. By whose standards?

 

“Not rich enough,”

How much is enough?

“Not popular enough.”

There will always be the high school mentally.

 

”Not successful enough.”

There will always be someone with more drive, better timing, more bravery.

 

 

Sound familiar? Any of it? If yes, then let the mantra be,

 

“Enough OF enough.”

 

“Enough IS enough!“

 

I’d love you to PM me if you struggle with Enoughaholism too. Or am I the only one? Be bold. Be brave. I just was and it wasn’t that bad. The first step is recognizing what we’re doing to ourselves. bw

 

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Monica Rivera

Pedaling My Tush Off

/bobbe white/5.22.18/

 

 

sport bike bicycle cyclist

Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

While in St. Louis, my daughter-in-law, Jenna, treated me to Cycle Bar for spin class. I spin occasionally and do other cardio workouts, so I was certain I could hold up for 45 minutes. Walking Lily used to be cardio, but, seriously, how many 77 year olds do you know who can clip off a four-minute mile? But, I digress.

 

We received emails and texts, welcoming and preparing us for class. I was fitted with shoes and given a welcome water bottle. It was even personalized. I loved this place!

 

Our bikes #25-26, were located on the second tier. It felt like we were sitting in the piccolo section of an orchestra room. Our instructor, Michelle, adjusted my bike. I think LeBron James had ridden this bike in the previous class. The seat reached my armpits. Michelle lowered the seat and locked my shoes into the pedals. However would I escape in the event of fire? I’d be the last man out dragging the damn bike with me, because I wouldn’t be able to unhook my shoes. In previous classes, I’d worn my own shoes. I must admit, I felt smugly professional in the clamp-ons.

 

Two towels hung on each bike. One was for sweat; the other to cover the dashboard. Michelle explained that in classic spin classes, the dashboard was utilized to motivate us to reach “push” levels. The stats revealed velocity, degree of difficulty, caloric burn and minutes remaining until my legs might fall off. Or my tush, whichever came first. I’d forgotten how unforgiving the hard saddle was. Fortunately, the class was taught mostly from a standing stride.

 

Rather than being dashboard directed, Michelle helped us attain limits from desire and inspirational encouragement. She motivated us by getting into our heads. I do adore psychobabble! Did I mention I loved this place? Michelle’s mantra unfurled in a smooth, but convincing voice, fit for a DJ. Her monologue was punctuated by dancing lights and playlist that could rev up Rumpelstiltskin. It went like this. (My internal reply is in parentheses.)

 

“What do you want for yourself today?” (“I don’t know, but let’s get it, Gurl!”)

 

“Come to the edge, farther than before!” (YES! Show me the razor’s edge!”)

 

“Leave behind all that which does not enhance your existence.” (Bobs is leavin’ it in the smoke, Baby. Raaahhrrrrr!)

 

It occurred to me that pacing myself, regardless of my stoked inner power, might be wise. I backed off a teensy bit. Jenna dialed up her resistance and velocity. She meant business. I merely hoped to leave Cycle Bar on something besides a gurney and oxygen. Like my legs.

 

At the end, everyone applauded Michelle. She was an amazing instructor. I felt like I’d attended Tony Robbins’ seminar. Shortly, our compiled stats were emailed to us. This was new. I’d no idea I was being assessed. How cool is that? Jenna read hers first. She’d nearly ruled the class, being ranked for effort and workload, ranking her #2 out of 23 participants. Impressive, but not surprising. She is a fitness machine, that one!

 

“Check yours!” Jenna encouraged. “It’s in your email.”

 

“Oh, I hope I didn’t perform really badly…” I envisioned being #10-11…middle of the pack.I was pumped. I’d pedaled hard. I felt gooooooood! I LOVED THIS STUFF!

 

My recap showed that I’d burned 263 calories, my average speeds and workloads. Then in all its glory, we read my ranking…. #23. That’s out of 23.

WHAT? I WAS THE WORST? I HATE THAT PLACE!

 

Devastation flooded my head, for, like, one 23rd of a nanosecond. Then we started laughing. It got funnier. Take two bikes, side by side. Jenna was nearly the best in class; I must’ve had a flat tire.

 

Yet, here was the method in the madness: numbers don’t always justify results. I felt great and had a great experience. Nobody could take that away from me, #23. The laughter was pretty great too. Pedal on, my friends. bw

STRESS NO EVIL- 2018 experiment

Bobbe White-4/26/18/

fourth monkey

RECAP: the three wise monkeys. Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil and See No Evil. Yes, I know you read about this months ago, but stress is one of those concepts everyone understands differently. We know stress is the devil incarnate to our bodies, our relationships, our work and our brains. So why can’t we get a grip on it? Great question. We all need applicable tools.

What I know is this:

Stress feels different to each of us. If you hadn’t read this previously, I arrived at a cockamamie (I’ve never used that word, but I kind of like it.) acronym, to pull together about ten (okay, twelve) ideas that I have employed this year. To give you a visual, there is now the fourth monkey. “Stress No Evil” is the name. Busting stress is the game. Imagine the three monkeys, doing what they do and then Stress No evil is doing yoga. Make sense?

 

Here’s a rundown, if you’re still battling stress now and then.

 

S ilence. Yesterday I drove to work, lunch errands and home in quiet. Nice.

T oxic people. Surrounding myself with others who bring me up.

R est. Stayed up late last weekend. Next day was awful. Can’t do it anymore.

E xercise. Do what I can. It could always be more. It’s good for what ails me.

S ocial. Hung at a bar with Friday AND Saturday. (I know!) Great friends/music.

S olo. I’ve attended 3 Broadway shows this year. Alone. I’m over feeling weird.

N o. This week I had an opportunity to lie, but I went with honest and said, “No.”

O utdoors. How is it out there? BIG! And springy. And calming. Get some sky!

 

E xplore. Okay, I took this one to the limit, read below*.

V ulnerable. Toughest one: put yourself out there and being open to wounds**.

I nhale. As in, b-r-e-a-t-h-e. Meditate-ommmmmm-whatever, just stand still.

L evity. Well, you know how I feel about fun and funny…

 

**Being vulnerable can be physical or emotional wounding. Physically, it can be an attack. This read leans more to the emotional, (i.e. Being open to criticism and hurt feelings.) Even bad-ass personas have vulnerability. Example: I used to think Jeff didn’t have feelings, so when I’d get frustrated with him, (which was more than once!) I’d spout things that wouldn’t phase him. I found out 41 YEARS later, my words hurt. Even him. Everyone’s vulnerable. Don’t think otherwise. Bad on me. And I’m sorry, kind of late.

 

EXPLORE:

On a brighter note, here’s my 2018 exploration experiment:

 

January: sensory session. Gong, drums and scents, oh my!

 

February: drum circle at a nursing home. Where everyone felt like Ringo!

 

 

March: Chicago cooking class with Jeff. Call me the “Crepe Queen”. Oh yeah.

 

April: Soul drawing session: five hours of meditation and paint. What appeared abstract was amazingly, correctly interpreted about my picture, by ten others. Incredible.

 

May: TBD!

 

Shout out if you’ve tried any of the above tools lately!

Happy weekending! Bw.

 

“Gotcher raincoat?” my mom

/Bobbe White 4/5/18/

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Most of my writing referenced Dad, be it customer service, strength or humor. It was safe to say that Mom lived in his shadow, but was no shrinking violet. I looked up shrinking violet: it means shy or timid. This was not my mother. Call her, “Quiet Steel.” Man, she was/is a strong woman! Most acquaintances did not experience this quality about her. Here are examples.

 

CRYING: I’ve seen Mom cry, oh, maybe three times in my life. If she’s 93, this averages once every 31 years. Not often. It doesn’t mean she was unfeeling and certainly, it wasn’t that she didn’t feel sad at times. She just expressed it without tears. She was a soldier when all else crumbled around her.

 

WARM & FUZZY: Not. My sister, Cathy, and I regret we didn’t get many hugs, kisses or “I love yous,” from her. This was just Mom. It is one thing, however, Cathy and I have vowed to do differently with our own children and grands.

 

DRILL SERGEANT: If swim practice was scheduled, my fanny was in the pool, on time, every time. She slid on ice into a ditch once, on the way to practice; we eventually made it. Piano lessons? We were there. Dance class: in our tutus, on time.

 

DISCIPLINARIAN: Whenever we went out to dinner, if we even hinted at misbehaving, Mom pinched my thigh. YOWSER! I’ll be good. I’ll be good. She didn’t tolerate back talk or eye rolling. Cathy tested this more than me; I remained very afraid. At age four, I shoplifted (one and only time) at Illinois School Supply. I was so excited about my colored pencils I showed everyone in the car. She made my sister march me right back in the store and confess. Geez.

 

HEBREW SCHOOL: Every Thursday. Get over it girls and learn something.

 

ORGANIZATION: Mom planned and executed. She made a list for everything. Even into which dish the broccoli should go. We never – I mean NEVER – went anywhere, when she didn’t say, “Do you have your raincoat?” Even during a ten-year drought, we’d have our vinyl raincoats or ponchos rolled up tight and stashed. Just in case. (See photo of Bobbe in her raincoat, age 2. Yes, even then.)

 

THE SOFTER SIDE OF SHIRLEE: In 1970, some unusual events inspired Mom to write the booklet: “Love Is…” It is profound. She never promoted it, obviously, when I unearthed a shoebox full of them in their house. I also found a treasure she wrote and here it is. It’s rather deep and I had no idea Mom’s brain was so prophetic. It almost makes sense it was written in the 70’s, except I know mom didn’t smoke pot! (I’m sorry, Mom, I realize I could get my thigh pinched for that one!) Interpret it to your own needs…

 

WALK WITH ME

Shirlee Schecter

April 4, 1971

 

Walk with me in the sun or in the dark – the sun melts your tension and the dark holds you close to let you think. To walk alone is to free yourself from the bite and snap of the scene about you- to feel the wind, whether it’s warm or cold, is like a shower in the morning that wakes you and makes you tingle and get alive again to face what will still be there or what is yet to come-

 

The walk alone is needed; but to walk with another is better. To talk is to walk with the mind as well as the body. It can be brisk and pointed, sharp and stimulating; or it can be quiet and meaningful and an easing of doubts and soothing to a tired soul. One can be alone and walk, but then you walk with your God; and in thinking, you talk with your God and you are not alone.

 

To walk with another is to be aware of sharing, but even then, two alone cannot live on an island and survive for long; neither can just two walk together. Each one must reach out to many whose lives touch and whose paths meet, some in love and some not.

 

A family shares and family loves; and where there is strain within that unit, you find an ingredient so vital that it pursues your whole direction. One cannot turn off the emotional self- you are surrounded by it and cannot walk away from it – it can surround you like barbed wire and there is no escape, then you walk in a circle; but in walking, you are doing, and to live and survive you must do something. Then you are making the motions of being alive and find there is always a way out of the circle that seems to close in like a whirlpool in the water, first pulling you down, then releasing you once more to tread the water up and thereby walk again to life –

 

Walk with me and share life with all those who touch my life –together. –Shirlee Schecter, 4/7/71