Day 8 – KABOOM! – Celebrate the Increments

Here I am.

Yes, I am aware a week has passed since I last posted. And, I realize I initiated this documentation of my reinvention. I promised to post here daily with whatever was happening, and I’ve failed. But I have not given up. [And thanks to those who feared for my safety, imagining I drowned in the river as I crossed the border.]

This week was an interesting example of life being as it is. Unexpected. More complicated than one supposes. Other peoples’ motivations, needs, fears, and schedules/obligations bumping up against our own. I will not bore you with the cluster-fucked-upedness of my move, and how bone tired I have been the past few days. Really couldn’t even type, if I’d been so dull as to think you’d really want to read the blow-by-blow. It’s behind me now.

I did consider uploading a week’s worth of posts to catch up, and hesitated at the monumental task of my doing it and then you needing to read/process it. No!

Instead, let’s start with celebration. I made it to Kittery, ME… in one piece, my things (most of them anyway) as well.  I’ve been here part-time since Thursday (slept on my puff, too tired to even make my bed for several nights), but today felt like I finally was here. So, lobster and champagne was tonight’s menu – with a side order of boxes. It will be like that for a while.

This mid-life move surfaced emotions that suggested themes I’d like to explore this next week. My 50 Day KABOOM! will stretch to 60 days. Sorry. That’s the way life is.

But back to celebrating. Here’s the big deal. I wanted something. I imagined myself in it. I felt it. I did things to make it happen. I moved to the area that I felt would give me the juice to make all of my other dreams come true.

I went to college at the University of New Hampshire. Lived my early adult years (big time) in Portsmouth, right in the middle of everything: food, music, artistic expression, ocean. Felt good (most of the time) in my skin.

I think it has something to do with geography (my college major, and that puppy has to be good for something!). Maybe it’s Willa Cather’s quote: “All those early memories. I cannot get another set.” And, intuition. Definitely a sense of place and rightness.

I’m eager to find out what it feels like 23 years later. I thought my big bad life would be played out here, and now I’m back.

Let’s see what I do with the gift I’ve given myself. Will I use it as a catalyst for positive change, or find that I am the same no matter where I lodge? Mmm.

DAY 7 – KABOOM! – Taking Inventory

Nothing is as sobering or interesting as pawing through one’s belongings, while packing up for a physical move. Not enough time to sit on the floor with photographs and letters to feel the qualities of the memories, to consider why and how relatives came to acquire the pieces lovingly passed down, to taste the dishes made with the odd kitchen tool rediscovered in the bottom cabinet on the far left in the back behind the moldy potato, or recollect precisely why that bag or pair of shoes seemed like a good idea.

Instead, it happens in a blur, like a near death experience. Or what you hear about that moment, when snippets of life dash up to snatch balance and equilibrium. Not exactly making sense in the moment but recognizable as the facts of one’s life. The caffeine-propelled life review makes sound sleep impossible. Too many thoughts awakened – forgotten ideas, new “must dos” before it’s too late, the stories that surround every item – to relax or let go.

And, then the whiplash of despair and panic. “Am I really moving this again?” Immediately followed by, “How will I find this on the other side among all my junk?”

Our stuff defines us. I might want to claim minimalism or sophistication, but my belongings tell the truth. I am an eclectic nightmare, a hodgepodge of influences and motivations. But all the acquisitions fascinate me. How did I ever manage to acquire so many BELONGINGS! Though I am glad and grateful for them mostly, I do briefly regret each thing as it demands my superficial attention as handled – dusted, wrapped, packed, lifted and stacked.

I admire people who can clear house when they start a new chapter. I intended a massive purge these past few weeks. Actually, I did sell a few things, gave away others, and put others out on the street. [Astounding that broken resin Adirondack chairs would be appealing. Happy to not take them to the dump.] I could have let a hundred other things leave my existence. Or maybe not just yet.

However, I found jewels among the detritus. Literally, the jade earrings from my mother that need updated posts. My passions documented in my book selections: cooking, autobiographies, geography, travel, photography, coaching, business, intuition, writing. And, suspended in the nightmare of paper piles, my ideas, dreams and plans. I see some of them now in motion, and suddenly resurrected (or rather stuffed in one of ten boxes marked “Important!) is the very next element needed to spice up my current project.

And repeats. I discovered duplicate purchases (or close enough) in areas I wanted to look good, appear smart, or become expert. The money spent underscores a lack of confidence; I can reconsider now as I see the patterns.

So, for good and/or bad, a lot of stuff is drifting over the border with me tomorrow. Maybe I will reconsider much of it, as I unpack (maybe not all) the many boxes. Next week, I’ll explore possibly letting go more thoroughly. Or, do I mean letting more go thoroughly? Test whether the belongings still belong in this new life.

Day 12 – KABOOM! – Serious Business

Not for sissies; hard work

Intellectual property

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Updated tagline

Day 6 – KABOOM! – What Do I Want?

So, I’ve launched this “project” of self-improvement or self-development (AKA “Get the F!^$&^ out of my way”).

I expose myself, as I overcome some obstacles and carry out a few things; maybe important things to my well-being and self-worth. So what? Why?

What’s underneath it all? What the hell do I really want? What is truly motivating or heart-warming for me?

I feel or want the following things in various temperatures. I could run on for days, adding and subtracting things. Of course, some of these have been around a long time. Others I’ve snuck up on and done ’em already. Not sure where I sit with all of them. It’s a never-ending process.

I offer this “purge” to prompt YOUR list.

Here I go…

  • to enjoy windows on all four sides of my dwelling
  • to become the “go to” marketing & branding consultant to restaurants and food retailers
  • to dig my toes in cold fall sand
  • to paint my book cases
  • to nap on “The Island”
  • to listen to my music daily
  • to feel tired with pleasure as I crawl into bed each evening
  • to see Nova Scotia
  • to learn the latest social media technology (my formal “coming out” party)
  • to vacation with Robyn again
  • to eat lobster more often
  • to drink champagne more often
  • to make handmade greeting cards
  • to make paper sculptures
  • to stop worrying about my financial security
  • to sleep better
  • to revel in dark silence of my new bedroom
  • to tighten the dingle dangle under my arms
  • to resume my four-mile walks
  • to sell my “signature” business building system to women who want and need it
  • to become a really good food photographer
  • to publish travel stories in print magazines
  • to partner with my soul mate and relax in our “rightness”
  • to see Alaska before it is no longer the same
  • to see the Galapagos before it is no longer the same
  • to explore as a tourist in my new home town
  • to play hostess with dinner parties again
  • to hear the passionate stories of new friends I meet
  • to sing in public (have always been afraid)
  • to learn jazz standards
  • to open a restaurant called Bistro Cino
  • to travel the western coast from Alaska to the southern tip of South America
  • to watch my cousins’ children raise their children
  • to thank my parents for their gifts
  • to write and publish my business book
  • to write and publish my creative life book
  • to write and publish one novel… just ’cause (Deb I need you!)
  • to perfect six perfect cookie recipes
  • to perfect six special occasion cakes
  • to celebrate and promote my friends
  • to gain physical strength through yoga
  • to keep my heart open
  • to earn enough in royalties and affiliate fees to cover all of my bills
  • to perfect my “virtual office” so I can travel anytime
  • to find my “heaven” space on the Seacoast
  • to learn to sail… and windsurf
  • to become a strong swimmer for the ocean
  • to forgive and be forgiven (for whatever, everything?)
  • to build communities of like-minded compadres online and off
  • to have a man tell me he thinks I’m beautiful and mean it
  • to have someone take care of me
  • to become more self-sufficient
  • to integrate and recycle all the resources I’ve purchased
  • to give away all of my programs and books (to those who can use them)
  • to learn to ski well
  • to secretly gift those in need
  • to live simply in everything
  • to enjoy variety
  • to learn how to dance with a partner (salsa, waltz, jitterbug, rhumba, foxtrot)
  • to read music
  • to paint with watercolor
  • to learn to play golf
  • to take sea kayak lessons; learn to roll (will need a better kayak to hit the ocean)
  • to learn canning to put up yummy jams & chutneys
  • to experience multiple orgasms (in one session)
  • to visit Montana, Oregon and Idaho
  • to drive cross-country
  • to plant a vegetable garden again
  • to perfect my pie crust
  • to nurture my friendships
  • to grow roses
  • to plant peonies (4th time a charm?)
  • to “mommy” more dogs (in a bit, after  rest)
  • to feel peace
  • to …

WHAT DO YOU WANT?

I’m eager to read your answers, because I know it will lengthen my list. I’ll try to resist jealousy realizing I didn’t think of something first.

I’m in an expansive mood. I want to consider all that I might dream about, attempt, own.

Let’s see between/among us what is similar, what is unique, what needs refining. Thank you for reading.

Day 5 – KABOOM! – Honoring Commitments

Sifting through mountains of paper in my office as I pack, it is easy to unearth many dreams not yet realized. I am not exactly a pack rat, but I do like to make lists. Despite our digital platforms, I still slap random thoughts, taglines, outlines and To Dos on slips of paper. I need to see it, touch it and apparently move it about for several days/weeks/years, before I commit it to its rightful place in my grand scheme. And sometimes I lose the thread.

My creative process is not tidy. And it gets me into trouble. Running through the world with my butterfly net as I do, I get caught up in “potential” as often as the stuff that will stick. And I sometimes bump into other people; their plans, ideas and timelines. That would be fine if I did not commit to doing things that do not fit my style, talents and/or preferences.

I have never once intended to let someone down. But it has happened more times than I care to admit. A hurried conversation, a missed deadline, a gesture not followed up. I write this and know it is true that I have let others down, and, at the same time, I know I am one of the most conscientious people I know. So what is the difference?

The sickness is in making dubious commitments at the start. I think we know what we want and do not want, what we will and will not do. Yet, we hold on to the “idea” of ourselves – cultivated by ourselves and other over decades – that set us up to think of ourselves in a certain way. As a “so and so,” I would necessarily do “such and such.” Right? So we say “yes,” even thought it’s likely doomed from the start. You can fill in the blank: menu selection, date for the evening (or life), assignment/ job, pair of slacks (OMG, I have never typed that word), vacation destination, etc.

We each have a seed of something in us that calls, squeaks, and sometimes demand attention. When it is a low hum, it’s easy to get off track and say “yes, yes, yes” to an endless stream of “not quite right.” When the teapot is wailing, we realize we’ve committed to the wrong things. But, because we’re now off-balance by the new pressure (to actually do the right and/or overdue thing) and not ready to act on what we really need and want, we mess it up. Very ungraceful.

The past week, I’ve tried to clean up a few of my messes: a neglected friendship, an abandoned work assignment, an overdue bill, and stack of paper and magazines that feels like the “right thing.” If only I would allow myself the freedom to say “no” to the distractions and bad fits and commit to me and that right thing more often.

Well, I got “outed” on one big dream this weekend. On Facebook, I received a compliment for writing about my big (private) dream. Whoa! What happened here?

Perplexed, then pissed, then stymied, I finally put some metaphorical logs on the fire. I got more accomplished today on one project than I have the past few months. [Thank you “Whistle Blower”] It is one of the “right things” and so it ended up being less complicated and cumbersome than I feared. I did it! I’ve got about 100 other tasks related to that project, but we’ll see where my enthusiasm takes me tomorrow… if I let it.

If we please others, we often disappoint ourselves. It’s the between that is the bloody Hell. To delay or deny the dream, leads to the petit mort (little death); sometimes many of them. If we suffer enough of them, like heart attacks, they can break us one day for good. No more of the good stuff. Only pain and punishment (and pills). Why punish ourselves?

“Fair play to those who dream, and don’t give up.” Spoken by Marketa Irglova (song-writing partner with Glen Hansard) at the Academy Awards (she’s at the clip’s end, hang on), after winning best Original Song Oscar© for the movie “Once.” [One of the sweetest films you can ever view, BTW.]

Give yourself the chance. Honor the commitment to your dream, and say “yes” to it first.

Day 4 – KABOOM! – Grace in Goodbyes

An unusual day.

My (most recent, sigh) ex-husband came by to help me with moving tasks, among them dismantling the “Barge” – a large scroll sofa I purchased back in Lebanon to outfit the more formal of the two “living” spaces. [My dream couch – the “Island” – left behind when I departed this marriage, was an indulgence designed just for me and the only surface I have ever successfully napped on. It will once again be primary in the new space.] But the Barge is as deep as a twin mattress and made of heavy mahogany. Too much to ask the movers to handle, so I wanted it ready to pass through narrow doors in its smaller pieces.

He also helped me reduce the email addresses on my Mac to match my smaller digital footprint; remove my air conditioner and special slats he’d devised to hold it in my office window; sort various electronic cords; and take down an absurdly corporate bulletin board with more hardware involved in its suspension than the new bridge planned to span the river between Kittery ME and Portsmouth NH.

We’ve done these things badly in the past. Argued, misunderstood at every turn, over-reached, over-talked, dismissed and generally made any task of the sort described above a misery. Today was different.

He arrived with a pair of Gibson Pewter “measuring spoon” earrings (very cute!). When we were a couple, he often gave me pewter earrings made by our friend, neighbor, colleague and client, Jon Gibson. I was at the ready with an amusing T-shirt selected for him. His was a “congratulations on your move” token gift. Mine a small expression of thanks for lending muscle and facility with tools and technology. Sweet.

And the tasks unfolded without incident or bristling of any kind. I don’t know whether we were both trying (I don’t think so) or if it was just a tender knowing we won’t be “there” again.

The distance I’m traveling is short but meaningful. It’s necessary for me to jump start the new life. It’s been too easy to have the familiar nearby when lonely or at a loss, even when it was no longer “our” loss. We both need to follow our new paths. I’m eager to compare notes down the road when we are both busy with next excitements.

Leaving is harder than I imagined. I need to flap to Hillsborough one more time this week to mark things for the movers, and he’ll bring Tusk back to me next weekend after the move (and likely help lift, push and rearrange some things). But, on the brink of the official “goodbye,” we both got a head start by avoiding it. And we behaved ourselves. Or rather, I think we finally respect one another again and value the continuing friendship. But the change has landed on us. It’s all different now.

Last week, I was twice accused of having a mind like a steel trap. Once by someone who knew me in college; the other time by my first husband. That’s many years of knowing me, so I suppose I must cop to having a good memory. And I’m glad for it.

Though disappointing and disappointed in marriage thus far, I have tremendously sweet memories from both I wish never to forget. I can see the failures now without getting lost in them. And I appreciate and treasure these men I’ve known, as well as the person I was and tried to be in those relationships. The engagements helped me to get clearer about who I really am. What does not change.

My proudest life accomplishment may end up being my enduring friendships with my ex-husbands. A few people have heard this from me before. Most think it a strange thing. Probably won’t mention it much again. But as I saunter forward, I hold my affection for them (and you), along with optimism for my future, safe in that steel trap.

Day 3 – KABOOM! – Make Believe

This post is a follow-up to yesterday’s notion of being childish.

I distinctly remember at age ten making up a secret code – a design for each letter – with my best friend, Martha. After her move from Massachusetts to Pittsburgh the following year, we used that code to correspond for eight more years. A bit tongue in cheek at the end, but it was our creation!

Do you remember what it felt like to be ten? Do you remember the things you did and thought about?

That same year, my cousin Heather came to visit from Pennsylvania for a week. It coincided with the Olympics. We “competed” against one another in very “advanced” events. The first was the balance beam. My stepfather, Gayton, found a 4″x8″ that he mounted on saw horses cut down so we wouldn’t kill ourselves. We also ran races, and had a contest to see how many “windmills” each of us could do without falling down. I believe I won at 400; not necessarily my greatest accomplishment but you wouldn’t have known it that day. We took all of this very seriously, and my mother was a good sport acting the parts of coach, referee, judge and dispenser of medals.

During that visit, I also recall a long walk discussing our probable futures. I announced with total conviction that I would become a stewardess (flight attendants not yet in vogue). I already knew I had a bug for travel, and this seemed the most logical course at the time.

Maybe this was the last year of innocence. I think by middle school, we began to feel the press of “shoulds” and correct paths. Being evaluated perhaps by people not quite qualified, and shunted into college prep or the alternative. A lot about our futures determined in that casual assignment.

What about earlier? Travel back to seven, six or just before when “make-believe” was “reality.” Just like now, we spent all of our time in our heads, but making things up. Thought experiments. We picked up the materials of our lives (then crayons, markers, sequins, feathers, rocks, shells, fur, etc.) and created our visions of perfection (spray-painted pasta stars, family portraits, our youthful “vision boards” and more).

One summer when I was seven, another close friend, Carol, and I went to the 4-H fair with our parents. One pavilion featured landscape models: fake trees, water, mountains, and roads. We were totally caught up in what we saw, mesmerized by these worlds presented to us. One of us got it in our heads that we could build a swimming pool for our Barbies®. As soon as we got home, we asked to use an old orange crate, grabbed a trash bag from under the kitchen sink, and – after securing the bag to the crate with clothespins – filled it with water from the hose out back. Then we set to work making our Barbies® swim. They enjoyed it, damn it! Well, actually, bugs infiltrated our spa atmosphere and the water ruined our dolls’ hair, but we were very pleased with what we had made.

Make + Believe

Israeli artst Ori Gersht has had an explosive impact in the art world

Image from “Explosive Ori Gersht Exhibit” at Museum of Fine Arts Boston

We can still do this. We can take anything we like (our jobs, our hobbies, our dreams, our relationships) and mess with them (take small, medium or larger action) to build something we have felt in our bodies or seen in our mind’s eye. Take a running start at the big dreams. And we can commit to them fiercely, no matter what parents/family/friends/colleagues (pesky grown-ups), Laws of Gravity, the media, or our bank accounts recommend instead.

We can enjoy the products of our imagination in exactly the same way we did when we were kids, as long as we suspend our disbelief. It is really the only thing to hold us back.

If you remember being seven, then you know it was absolutely possible to become president or a princess, and each was a worthy aspiration.

Next week, I choose food & travel writer & photographer, and coach to women who wish to start or grow their own creative businesses. Some materials are already at hand, and others I’ll need to pick up at the Five & Dime. The magic is in my back pocket.

P.S. I never explained KABOOM! When we make changes in our lives, we can create more than a bit of chaos (especially if changing things up is only intended to alter our present mood). Done in an unhealthy way, we can hurt ourselves and others. Change approached with vision, focus and commitment is a beautiful thing… and it usually works out fine in the end.

P.P.S. My new signature sign off…

“KABOOM! Go make something good happen.”

Day 2 – KABOOM! – Permission to Be Childish

This morning, the sister of my Greek neighbor Dacia (neighbor is on the left, and they do smile but not for the camera!), stopped to say goodbye and wish me well having just learned I’m only here in Concord one more week.

[They are so cute; both in their 70s, they share an electric lawnmower. Once per week, the sister comes and puts it in her trunk and then returns it in the afternoon. Watching and listening to them coordinate the lifting effort and badger each other in Greek is a hoot. And, yes, I do run out to help with heavier items, put out trash, shovel, etc.]

Anyway, I spent some time talking with the sister because she lost her daughter this summer to a second round of cancer, first breast then ovarian, age 43. And I’ve observed their familial grief as it has played out the last six months, first with the diagnosis and ultimately the young woman’s death. It is always difficult to start those tender conversations, but my neighbor Dacia was always grateful I was willing to listen to her disbelief and sit with her sadness. Or to notice when she was sinking and trot out into our shared side yard to admire her vegetable garden or her flowers, or to comment on the weather.

Today the sister and I talked about her grandchildren. She has spent the summer living the next town over with her son-in-law, to watch over the 9- and 11-year-olds. She is exhausted. We agreed the start of the school year would give them all more structure and keep them from being in their sadness ’round the clock. And she’ll get some respite from the constant reminder of her lost daughter growing more evident daily in her granddaughter’s face. Today she shared pictures that confirmed the grandmother, the mother and the daughter are interchangeable across the generations.

I wondered about how this horrible event will possibly truncate their childhoods. Then I considered how we all discount our childish natures and forget how to simply be. So much to do, be accountable for and progress at every turn; we must never stop becoming smarter and better … at everything. We forget how to relax and have fun. I pray for those children. I wish better for all of us old enough to know better but still insisting on being serious and on purpose throughout most of our days. Time to lighten up.

Okay, not to worry. You will *not* be receiving a Daily Dollop of Death. Promise.

And I won’t pass heavy judgment on myself in every post either. Rather, I’m going for gentle observation followed by big pushes out of what isn’t working into something more productive and enjoyable. More of what I want (and more about that tomorrow).

Thinking of those children, though, I am aware of how I’ve been really hard on myself for a long time. Critical, demanding, stingy with credit, upholding standards beyond the ability (my ability anyway) to meet. The wear and tear is clear, or it was until sometime this past spring. People recently noticed a change in me. Thought I looked happy, “up to no good,” maybe on to something. “What’s up?,” they asked. Short version? I’m on the way home to my real self. Still moving in that direction, the point of this project. I know the destination will combine elements of where I started and someplace I’ve never seen. But I haven’t been on a big trip for a while, so I’m looking forward to it.

It is a challenge to remember to inject the days with small and large delights. A primary intention as I change residence, direction (literally facing the other way) and focus is to keep all of it lighter and more fun.

So, today I went for some simple delights.

Lunch was a double scoop of childhood ice cream flavors (Ultra Chocolate and Peppermint Stick) in a cup with Jimmies (Note to self: should have gotten the cone). Being practical about cleaning out the fridge but up to my armpits in vegetables from my Local Harvest pick up, I ordered a takeout pizza to consume over several days garnished with freshly sautéed, organic veggies. Not too much political correctness for me! Fun food.

The best indulgence came this morning. I was filling out my “Change of Address” card for USPS. In the “move” guide was a mini-brochure for Packaways.com, maker of reusable plastic storage boxes. I decided to forgo the depressing trips to the liquor store every day to beg for a gazillion boxes. Instead, I ordered sufficient supply of spiffy, reusable boxes sharing the bright, seaside colors of my Women BOOM! logo. Once landed, I can store supplies and various materials in my bright colorful boxes. Or they collapse and fold flat until I need them for my next move. Horrors!

Can’t tell you how very happy that purchase made me feel. Like a new box of crayons. A colorful investment to support my plans and intentions.

Now, fingers crossed they arrive in time to use them!

 

 

Day 1 – KABOOM! – The Instigator

Yesterday, I learned the daughter of an early mentor, Suzanne Falter-Barns, was removed from life support and died.

To learn Teal died at 20 was sobering enough, but the memories and connections began to unfurl.

In 2000, I read Suzanne’s book, “How Much Joy Can You Stand?” – a treatise, a prayer, a method for embracing creative expression. Struck by her prose, the simplicity provided a formula for healing my life. Oh, how I wish I could report that I bloomed, exploded with success. I did not. I did shake up my life: ended a marriage, took on the challenge of a new job, claimed my power in some specific ways. But I did not express that which needed to see the light. Not by a long shot.

Also in 2000, I registered with Coach University and worked my way through the curriculum. I changed for sure. But I did not fulfill my vision, vibrantly imagined almost instantly, when I began.

Later, I attended writing workshops two years in a row (2001, 2002), co-lead by Suzanne and Jen Louden, in Taos NM. Amazing environment, wonderful women, room to deeply think. I met one of my best friends there. A year later, I became certified as one of Suzanne’s “Joy Facilitator Trainers” yet I led no trainings. Where was my joy?

I’ve not been totally stagnant: I’ve married/divorced again, grown professionally, started businesses, moved, made many new friends, and learned new skills. And I’ve had fun, experienced joy, felt fulfilled… but not nearly to the degree I projected/dreamed/wanted. The fault for that reality is not on anybody but me.

The dream attained? No. Pursued? Not exactly. The same dream now? Pretty much. Only more deeply etched with detail.

There is no question about what I want. It is the doing, the taking action that has gone missing.

So, I invite you to join me as I make real “How Much Joy” I can realize/materialize in 50 days. A clever “marketing” concept perhaps. I’ve worked in that space for almost 25 years one way or another.

My intention is to make good on my unique dream. I believe that I can completely transform my life in under two months. I’ve taken a few small steps, but it is all in play starting NOW! I’m my very own reality show… I don’t watch them, but I’m “trendy” nonetheless. ;^)

Follow along if you want more details. I’ll be as honest as possible. Push me, test me, if anything rings false or you think I’m off base or kidding myself. Or tell me if you want to know more or you feel these things, too.

I’m in a curious space about all I can do. I’m feeling good. Feeling strong. And, I want some company.