I love you, I love you, I love you…

I remember back in the day (about 12 + years ago) when Chris and I were saying our first “I love you’s.” We were both a bit timid to say it after being burned in relationships of the past. I remember the first time he said it to me over dinner in a restaurant in Boston. He said: “I think I love you.” At the time I did not know him well enough as I do today to tease him for that comment (although I tease him about it today). At that moment, I felt those tingly feelings that you feel the first time the word love spews out of someone’s mouth. I did not want to say anything that might make him take it back, because I felt the same way.

The only difference is I was not used to saying those words in my life. They were not often said in my house, and at a certain point my parents were so involved in their own life dramas of illness, poverty, and depression that whether I was told “I love you” or not did not filter into their day as top of the importance list. What I do not remember about that night in Boston is if I said it back, and Chris does not remember either. He was probably in a state of shock that he said those words to me.

Gradually we said it more and more and it became a natural part of our interaction. I think there was probably a time early on where I did not say it too much for fear of scaring him away. Eventually you get over that learning curve and realize how important it is to say what you mean so deeply. We tell each other every day, sometimes many, many times. I chuckled at the end of a work day a few weeks ago. I called Chris to tell him I was ready to be picked up (we carpool) and he said: “On my way. Love you.” I found it funny because I was going to see him only moments later, and yet he said what he was feeling in that moment. That is just the way it should be.

Call me sappy, or addicted or whooped (I am all of those things) for my husband, but I want to make sure that he never forgets how I feel, and I never take for granted that he knows. Saying “I love you” is #3 on a list in this Huffington Post article: “13 Simple Tricks To A Long And Happy Marriage.” I have to say I absolutely agree with the 12 other items on the list and that they contribute to a happy marriage. Especially being best friends, honesty, and cherishing each other.

Remember to say: “I love you” and mean it.

A writer, a scientist, a talker

A good friend shared this quote recently via social media, and it was a reminder to me to keep writing. You know those days when you say: “why am I still doing this?” Lots of things in our life take time, and sometimes that means time away from our family, friends, work. Each activity can be a sacrifice to not be doing something or being with someone else. Sometimes my blog has been that for me. At other times I wonder why I write at all. The quote my friend shared was from Chris Guillebeau:

“That’s the promise: you will live more curiously if you write. You will become a scientist, if not of the natural world than of whatever world you care about. More of that world will pop alive. You will see more when you look at it.

Writing needn’t be a formal enterprise to have this effect. You don’t have to write well. You don’t even have to “write,” exactly—you can just talk onto the page.”

I have read his book “The Art of Non-Conformity” and have a hold on his most recent book “The Happiness of Pursuit” which came out in early September. I loved the idea of being a scientist. I am like that each day when I blog. I start out by reviewing ideas and notes from my day. Sometimes I am sparked by something someone said. A conversation with a colleague, family member, or my better half. Other times it is an article I read, a video I watched, or some idea that was shared via social media.

However I came across the idea, I dig a little deeper to find out if my fingers will start to tap away. If they do, I see where the idea goes. I have almost two hundred draft posts in different stages of completion. Often I start a post and find that there is no ending, so I leave it and try another idea. Sometimes I go back to those older posts and find that I have an ending, and the writing comes alive for me again.

Be a scientist. Curious, raw, and alive.

What to wear today?

Do you ever have those days when you cannot decide what to wear? Of course you do, we all have them. Even men have them. Although I have a hunch that women have them much more often. Most likely it is our hormones. I cannot tell you how often in the past I ended up on the floor of the closest in tears (and trust me I rarely cry) because nothing fit, or nothing felt right on my body that day.

My usual instinct is to always be comfortable. Presentable, but comfortable. What makes things more complicated is when I have to do a presentation, whether in front of a larger group of people, or a group of leaders. It makes me think that much more about being comfortable while also presentable. I occasionally miss the years of my life when I worked from home and my only “clothing” mission of the day was that I take a shower before Chris came home from work. I could at times go days before ever leaving the house. I do not have that luxury anymore. Each day is a new day with all of its newness, oldness, and everything in between.

nothing_to_wearWhen I came across this photo on Pinterest, I thought “oh man that is so me.” On those days when I have to give a presentation and all I want to do is be ever so cozy, and yet I cannot be. Instead, I need to be a bit more put together. I need to be more aware of how what I wear does not distract from the ideas I am sharing or the strategy I may be rolling out. In the end, dress, clothes, and what we wear matters. That does not mean that I believe that you have to dress up, but what you put together and how you present yourself matters.

Does it matter for men in the same way? Yes and no. In many ways I have seen it first hand where a guy can wear a t-shirt and jeans and it not matter if he looks less “put together” and yet if a woman wore it in the same situation she would be considered dressed down. Not fair, but at the moment it is the state of things.

Embrace the days where you sit on the floor of your closet. See if you can find something that can express who you are supposed to be today, who you are, and who you want to be.

Bikes instead of desks

I am a fan of activity. We sit too much. We watch television, surf the Internet, and generally have become less mobile in recent years. I am not one that is comfortable sitting for long periods of time. I need to move. So when I saw that schools are utilizing standing desks, I thought: “What a great idea.” The article is titled: “Standing Desks Are Coming To Schools, To Cure Obesity And Increase Attention Spans” and it is brilliant that the focus is on obesity and attention spans.

I can remember the strange desks we had a school. Either you had one that had a top that pulled up (and sometimes would easily fall back down on your hand or your head). The base was made of metal, and the top part was made of wood. The other variation we had in my school was also wood + metal, but the desktop did not lift up, rather there was almost a cove/drawer that did not move and was open where you kept all your supplies. I think if I had a choice looking back I would take the more lethal variety of the open top desk. It allowed you to find things more easily, even if it sometimes felt like a hatchet.

In any case, neither desk did anything to help with obesity or attention spans which is why I love the idea of having kids stand. Whether for the attention span aspect of being able to focus more readily or to learn how to sit still, even if it means it is happening while standing. I wonder how many elementary school boys can stand long enough to make it through a class each day? However, if they can pass the test, maybe that is amazing progress for other kids.

Or you can take it to an entirely new level. with this Fast Company article titled: “This School Has Bikes Instead Of Desks–And It Turns Out That’s A Better Way To Learn.” Maybe we can have an amalgamation of both standing desks and bikes to add some variety. Well, actually mostly all for variety. I agree with the article, with physical education and recess being cut either entirely or significantly, maybe these are the new options for maintaining activity at schools?

A more focused and active child, what is not to love? What do you think?

Making shit happen

I am a planner. I like to think things through. Yes, I can still be a “fly by the seat of my pants” kinda woman, but it happens after I plan a structure into life. I will give you an example. When I travel, I like to research a list of places we might want to go. Restaurants, green juice bars, cupcake bakeries, boutiques, brunch spots, art galleries, local artists, you name it. I explore the depths of it via the Internet, blogs, and even old school books such as Fodor’s at the library. I still cannot give up how easy it is to research and learn about a city from one book, then the time it can take to explore all those different details online. It just is not the same for me.

There have been times in my life when I have been told I am an over planner, that I think things through too much, or that I need to relax and let life happen. Let me tell you, I can do both, but I find that life happens at times because of a plan. There is often so many things I want to see in one city. If I do not research or explore (and depending on the size of the city) I could wander from far east to far west only to realize later that there is a place I want to see at the far east side. Depending on how long that takes, traffic, cost, etc it might mean that I never go back to that other location. Having a list of potential exploration ideas helps to do bundles of a city at once, by neighborhood. It also helps to be able to know what to look out for in a given area.

So when I came across this Eleanor Roosevelt quote last week, it made me ponder my ways.

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”

Let me tell you, when you are starving in an unknown city, and your “hangry” vibe kicks in and you find yourself in a neighborhood where the food looks less than a wee bit appetizing, and your smart phone for whatever reason is not picking up 3G, you will be grateful for the research you did at home before you left. You also might find that even with the research you find a multitude of new options and places to explore that you never would have found if you had not known to venture to that neighborhood.

I am not a wisher, I make a plan, and I make shit happen.