Saturday, September 28, 2019

Ha! I Don't Get It.

I love a good play on words.  My favorite one currently is this:  Say- Rise up lights. Rise up lights.  This sounds like a person with an Australian accents saying razor blades.  Go ahead. Say it again.  And then again. I will wait.

The other day, a man a restaurant said, "No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationary."

Or the one my teacher told me as a child and I didn't understand until years later- A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

I don't often catch on right away when someone says something funny or uses words as if they alone can quite possibly be punchline.  I am not the brightest bulb on the tree. You can see my gears turning, me slowly catching up, and then arriving at a full understanding of what has been said.  I am horrible at dinner parties.  I will look directly my husband and say, "I don't get it." Or,  "What in the actual what are they talking about?"  He finds humor in this each and every time.  He says the second he sees the corners of my lips turn upwards, he knows that I then get the joke.

I wonder how much I have actually missed over the years? How many jokes I haven't understood and just glossed over or changed the subject? I have a feeling it is a lot.

If you struggle with this also, just know, that you are not alone.  Also always remember, that you can tune a bicycle, but you can not tuna fish.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

It Is All In How You Choose To Look At Things

This day was interesting.  I had delusions of grandeur of how much I would actually be able to accomplish today. I didn't have any clients booked, and my home is a wreck, so I knew I needed to play catch up.  I put five loads of laundry away, and hung up 21 items of discarded clothing that clearly should have been hung up weeks ago.  I replied to 7 emails, and then raced to the bank, to the grocery and to two garage sales for fun.  I also chose to go out for lunch which is something I never do on my own. 

I went to La Hermosa and enjoyed the GF Tacos La Hermosa made with carnitas, onions and peppers.  It was amazing.  I felt bad however, because I went without Josh.  He loved it the last two times we went there and I felt I was cheating on him.  He felt absolutely insulted and questioned my love for him when I volunteered this confession at the dinner table.  (Not really, but he made me promise I wouldn't do it again.)

While there, I got quite a bit of writing done for a short story that is due in October. The waiter questioned me where my family was.  Even he knew that I was cheating on them by even walking into the restaurant without them.  I promised him I would return with my entire family in a few weeks.  

I took a brief rest this afternoon, organized two baskets of clothing for my daughter and gathered two baskets of dirty clothes to start laundry tonight.  I began preparing the vegetables and chicken for dinner, (stir fry)  and panicked when I saw a text from Josh. - Don't forget to pick up Lily from play practice. I won't be done at work until at least 6.

I looked at the clock. It was 4:47.  I needed to be at her school in Cologne by 5:15 and the chicken was in the oven and the water for the rice noodles had just begun to boil.  I put the chicken on the cutting board, shut off the boiling water and hollered for Zach to hurry up and get in the car.  We were both out the door by 4:55.  I even made it to her school with 3 minutes to spare.  

Dinner was completed by 6 pm, and I had the kitchen cleaned up and backpacks packed for tomorrow by 7 and then moved on to start one of two loads of laundry. Lily reviewed all of her vocab definitions for her test tomorrow. The kids are getting into bed now and it is just after 8.

I didn't make a to do list for today.  I rarely do. But when I do make notes, it is usually items of note to make sure I don't forget things we need at the grocery store, or the ideal order of errands. But today, my mental to do list was no where near completed.  

I wanted to get further in the story that I was writing.  I wanted to clear up some of the mess on the main floor and to address the overflowing almost out of season clothing that seems to multiplying in Lily's room.  None of those things were completed.  But there is always tomorrow. 

But I completed errands. I reclaimed my home so that it no longer looks like a bomb went off, only that a small struggle may have taken place.  I enjoyed an amazing meal that I didn't have to make.  I was able to witness two young brothers playing in City Square Park and enjoying the beautiful day.  I found a great puzzle for Zach and a coloring book for Lily at a garage sale. I also discovered 9 items of clothing that I can donate because I will no longer wear them.  I played a few hands of cards with husband after we finished eating dinner together. 

I cuddled with Lily and goofed around a bit when she told me that she loved the note I left of her in her lunch bag.  And I enjoyed spending time with Zach, talking about his day at school, all that he accomplished at work and what he is looking forward to in the weeks to come.  

All of these amazing things were spotlights of joy that I didn't necessarily plan for, but 
yet, I got to experience each one. No, the to do list wasn't completed, and the day wasn't a complete success. But I guess it is all in how I choose to look at things.

I don't work tomorrow. The only thing on my agenda is housework and writing. So tomorrow, I will get a chance to do it all over again.  And that is just fine with me.  Because today was a good day just as it was.

Saturday, September 14, 2019


Josh and I enjoyed a very nice impromptu dinner out at La Hermosa in Chaska this evening.  We decided to stop at Cooper's Grocery Store to grab some yogurt, granola, apples and toilet paper.

We made our selections and paid. Josh took the two bags and I grabbed the toilet paper. It was a 12 pack, not heavy, just bulky.  I held it between my arms against my chest.  Josh approached the front exit and I followed him towards the door. 

A man who clearly worked at the store said loudly, "I have never wanted to be Charmin more in life!"  I was stunned.  My first reaction was- wait, I didn't hear him correctly. My husband stopped dead in his tracks and glared at him.  My husband then turned to me to make sure I was following closely behind. He picked up the pace and exited the store. 

Why? Why is something like that ever appropriate to say to a woman?  Did he think he was being funny?  Did he not see my husband was walking maybe 5 feet in front of me? 

"Why?!  Why do these things always happen to me.  Why do people always have to be so awkward with me?  Do I welcome it? What about me screams- bring it on?!"  Josh turned to me and smiled. He told me to let it go. He also told me that it had nothing to do with me and more to do with guy who thought he was being clever. All I know is that he was an absolute tool.

After my issue yesterday at Eden Prairie Center, I may just be a bit more aware. But tonight, tonight I never want to see that man again. 

Friday, September 13, 2019

Be the Second Man

Pleased that my schedule today allowed for a stop at Eden Prairie Center, I finally would be able to check the two stores I needed to stop at off my list.  I parked in the main floor parking garage outside of Von Maur.  The mall parking lot and parking garage were both very full today, so I found myself having to park quite a ways away from the external storefront entrance.

I enjoyed searching through the Von Maur women's shoe clearance room.  I didn't find anything, but enjoyed a giggle with a woman who was pondering buying 5 inch heels as it would make her exactly the same height as her husband at 6'2''.  I told her to buy the purple shoe, because they were amazing, and of course they were on sale.  I also told her that I am exactly the same height as my husband and wore flats to my wedding.  My tennis shoes make me an even 6 feet, so I usually don't wear a heel that would make me taller than 6'1''.  She was young and realized I was not, and told me that she appreciated the fact that I told her to buy the shoes so she won't regret it.

I finished my shopping at Bath & Body Works and Old Navy for tee shirts for my son and school uniform shirts that were on sale for my daughter. I even found a cute dress for myself.  Because I can never pass up a dress on clearance. I used the escalator on the second floor of Von Maur and returned to the door I entered.

It had begun misting again and I was ill prepared in a tee shirt and capri pants. I placed my long strapped purse over my  shoulder and carried one shopping bag in each hand. As I entered the parking garage I looked around and notice how dark it was now that the clouds had returned.  Without enough light, I couldn't really see how far down I had parked, but I knew I was in the correct row.

I saw my car about six more ahead, and saw a large figure of a man approaching me.  His body was back lit from the light coming from the far side of the parking garage. Because of him being back lit, I was unable to see his face.  As he came closer, I saw he had a broad smile on his face.  He said, "Hi!" I returned his hello, and as he passed me, he said, "Do I know you? Maybe I should know you."

Normally, what he said wouldn't be viewed as creepy, but I turned and observed that he had stopped and was walking back in my direction.  That inner most panic started rising in me. I turned back and picked up my pace.  "Oh, no.  You have a good day."  Just as I finished speaking, an older man walked out from in between my vehicle and the next.

Split second thoughts. That was all it was. I perceived danger. The second man shouted, "Ma'am, are you alright?"  I started to assess the proximity to my vehicle.  My car wouldn't unlock until I put my hand on the handle.  I had my heavy load in the right shopping bag, and I gripped the handle tightly.

"I am fine, thank you."  I had stopped dead in my tracks at that moment.  I couldn't turn towards the first man, but wasn't about to approach the man that stood in between me and my car.  In that split second I thought -they are together. They are here for me.

And then I realized the older man standing next to the rear of my car was staring down the younger man.  He had puffed out his chest and squared his shoulders and was actually standing there to ensure my safety.

My fear was unfounded.  But my fear was real.  I turned when I reached my car and saw the first man had turned and was walking towards the store. "Ma'am. I just wanted to make sure you were okay." His warm gentle smile told me I was safe and his intentions were honest. I told him I was fine and thanked him.

I waited until I saw that he was also going towards the store, and got into my vehicle and locked the door. My hands were shaking.

I was shaken to the core. It took me almost ten minutes to be able to gather myself. I prayed and asked the Lord to help me hold every thought captive. When I calmed a bit, I then realized what had happened. The first man, was trying to make a connection, but he did it in the wrong way.  The second man saw my discomfort and came to my rescue, my defense.

This evening, while talking with my husband and processing it all, I brought up the book that I have mentioned before in my blog called The Gift of Fear. Today, The Gift of Fear was real.  I assessed my surroundings, I found a way to defend myself if need be, and I kept my emotions in check while I still perceived danger. I also let myself fall apart before picking up the pieces. Josh asked a few questions.  He asked if something like this has happened before.  If I fear men in general.  He also asked if I was okay.  He cared, he listened, he encouraged me.

Yes, this has happened before.  Not this exact situation, but one to cause concern.  Quite a few times I must admit.  No, I do not fear men in general. But life, society, has taught me to be on guard and aware of men that are in close proximity. And yes, I am okay. I will be okay. I was thoroughly scared and realized a few things.  Some men do not know how to relate to or talk to women without making them nervous.  While other men are still chivalrous and will defend a woman whether they are asked to or not.  And my husband is the best sounding board and encouraging lover of my heart.

Why am I sharing this? I will not avoid places like the mall or parking garages.  I will still shop by myself.  I will also talk about he importance of being aware of your surrounding, what is in your hands and who is near you.  I also want to encourage men to be the second man. Be the man that listens, observes, and makes women feel safe in your presence. Be the man that intervenes before being asked to. Be the man that makes women know that you are willing to help without even saying a word.  Those men are the men I rely on daily. Those are the men I turn to when I need help. And those are the men that enable women to know that there is good in our society everywhere we look.

To the second man:  I thank you for being that man.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Sky is the Limit

The Sky is the Limit
Short Story Picture Prompt for 
Writers Unite! 

Sifting through the pictures I have collected over the years, a few always stand out to me.  There is a picture of my sister and I with our dog posing in our summer jumpsuits.  Or the one of all of my grandmothers and cousins sitting in my front yard of my childhood home. While sorting the stacks of pictures I have held onto, I found a forgotten few from the year I was 14. The one I enjoy the most is of me in the forefront and my fellow teammates walking across the platform as we graduated from NASA's Space Academy.  At 14, I felt I had my entire life ahead of me, and everything that I wanted was mine for the taking.  Also at 14, I realized that I would never work for NASA.

Space Academy was a wonderful experience and I felt I was able to learn so much from the instructors and other students.  I enjoyed our missions and serving as a Mission Control Specialist and a Weather Analyst. I treasured the friendships I had made with kids from all across the country.  I also learned a few important lessons that summer.

Since the age of 6, whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I quickly answered- an Astronaut. The idea of being in space and exploring planets, areas, and masses that had been untouched beforehand, fascinated me. I wanted to learn everything I possibly could about space exploration and the NASA program.  I read books and magazines and requested more information from the school librarian and the librarian in town.  They were both happy to oblige and loved that they were encouraging me in my journey to be a future Astronaut.

Not once did someone say- Kelli, you may want to choose another path. Not once did someone say- Kelli, so few people actually ever get to go into space.  And not once did someone tell me that I should- consider being a teacher, a nurse, a lawyer or weather reporter.  And I am so thankful that they did not.

For me, it took saving money, working hard, and actually going to Space Academy to realize that I would never be an Astronaut.  While there I was bombarded with knowledge I couldn't begin to wrap my mind around. Students were so incredibly intelligent, I found it difficult to follow along in conversations or to contribute.  I also heard about the activities that some of the students were involved in. Robotics Club, Science Exploration summer camps, Science Discovery,  Rocket Building, NASA Extension Courses, Electronics Creation, and the list goes on and on.  I hadn't participated in anything the other students had. I took voice lessons, traveled with choirs around the 5 state area and enjoyed acting in plays.  I discovered that some of these kids had 5-8 years of science related activities and summer camps already under their belts. I enjoyed Bible Camp each summer and hanging out with my friends and riding my bike.

Discovering that I may not be the most qualified student at Space Academy, didn't discourage me from working hard and participating fully in all of the activities while I was there.  I loved every moment.  I came to accept that there were other things I could do in life, I just wasn't sure what they were as I had been telling people that I was going to be an Astronaut for 8 years.

As my dad and I returned from Huntsville, Alabama to my home in Minnesota, we had many hours ahead of us to talk in the truck.  I told my dad about the instructors, the amazing things that I had learned and activities that I liked. I told him I had a fabulous time and that I really appreciated how hard he had worked to get me there. I also told him that I realized that being an Astronaut wasn't actually a practical job for me when I was an adult. That I was so thankful for the opportunity but that I would have to figure out something else to do for a living.

My dad smiled and glance over as he drove in the dark, "Kelli, I am glad you got to do this, too.  Now you can concentrate on doing something bigger and better. I know you will figure it out. You have time and nothing to worry about.  The sky is the limit. Continue working hard and start researching other fields you might be interested in.  I know you will find something that you love."

I was so confused. What was bigger and better than being an Astronaut?

After returning home, I didn't dwell on the fact that I was no longer considering working for NASA someday. I chose to dwell on what my dad said.  The sky is the limit.  To me, that meant I could be anything I wanted to be.  If I believed for 8 years that I could be Astronaut,  I quite possibly could work towards being something even greater.

I majored in vocal music performance in college.  I went on to travel and sing until my heart was content. I became a Bank Officer, Lender, and Investment Rep.  All three jobs I adored.  I then realized I had accomplished all of my professional goals by the age of 27.  I didn't know what I would continue doing for the rest of my life.  I became a Bank and Insurance Consultant which was very rewarding.  16 years ago after having children I started my own company and became a Professional Organizer. I love my work and discovering new methods of organization that help my clients reclaim their home and their lives. I now also work as Blogger and Writer.

I have loved every single one of these jobs and positions.  I also think that it was possible for me to explore, make changes and try many new things over the past 30 years because of the kindness and encouragement of my parents. Not only did they not tell me what I couldn't be or do,  they told me numerous times that I could do anything that I wanted to and that the sky was the limit.

Words matter.  Encouragement is important.  Parents who guide their children rather than dictate the course can make all the difference. And parents who loved me and trusted me enough to let me figure it all out on my own inspired me to believe I can do the same with my own children.

Looking back at the pictures of my time at Space Academy, I do not dwell on what never became, or on what would be considered by most as an unobtainable goal. I fondly remember the words from father as the jumping off point of discovering what I really wanted to do in life.  And for that, I am forever grateful.

I Was There To Hold His Hand

     Our dad is dying. He is in his final days. My sister Angela is doing an amazing job caring for him in her home. She is overseeing care,...