Fairy Tale Mom

My friends are amazing. I’m lucky that I have a close circle of friends that is loyal and dedicated. I’m grateful to know that I can call upon them for anything at anytime and they will deliver. My brother is not as lucky.

He used to be. He had a friend that he spent all of his free time with. They have been on vacations together. They had permanent weekend plans. They shared similar

English: Broken Heart symbol

English: Broken Heart symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

interests. We even saw him at holidays. Then, they had a falling out. It makes me as sad as it has made my little brother.

I should disclose that my brother is gay. His friend is also gay. They are not boyfriends. Which makes it so hard to understand why the falling out happened over my brother looking for an intimate relationship. It may have taken some time away from his best friend, but it certainly wasn’t the kind of relationship that the friend wanted in the first place. They had considered it. It wasn’t going to work. They moved on appropriately.

So, this falling out came at a bad time for my brother. Many, many things in his life are uncertain and in flux. He needs friends right now more than ever. To see Randy* walk away from my brother was devastating to me. My friends would have stayed. My friends would have made sure that I felt supported and comfortable during the time of transition. They wouldn’t have been jealous or threatened about my time being spent elsewhere.

Maybe the difference is in heterosexual relationships as opposed to homosexual relationships, but I don’t want to believe that. I think that true friends are there when you need them, regardless of the external factors.

*Name changed, just in case he falls back in to good favor. You never know about these things. Also, no body asked for me to put their story on the internet. It wouldn’t be fair to name them publicly.

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gratitude. =)

gratitude. =) (Photo credit: camerakarrie)

Do  you know that feeling of being completely average? I’ve had that feeling most of my life. I’ve never considered myself to be spectacular or special or amazing in any way. I have a few redeeming qualities, I’m not oblivious to my talents. But, mostly I just kind of fly under the radar, don’t make waves and generally blend.

I’ve had two occasions in the past two days that made me feel down right special. How I got so lucky to have these events happen so close together I will never know. But I am more than grateful for people who took the time to say words that meant everything to me.

The first story starts with a sad event. My favorite professional mentor is moving away, like States away. This person  has been available to give advice about growing the business, motivating employees and finding the perfect song to lift the mood in my office. His counsel is always appreciated, his time is precious to me and his guidance is valuable beyond words. To hear that he wouldn’t be in close proximity was nearly devastating. I like knowing who I have in my corner should I need to seek advice, I knew he was in my corner.

When I asked the question, “are you really leaving?”, I was so relieved to hear the response, “I’ll always be available”. Ok, so now I can go on knowing that I still have someone to turn to for answers and advice. Whew. I felt better. Still sad, but better.

The very next day, I was in a meeting where my mentor also happened to be in attendance. I didn’t go fishing for compliments (I don’t do that often). I, again, expressed my gratitude for the help that was provided so freely and wished my mentor well in the new location. The response I got Made. My Day (like stupid grin on my face for the rest of the day kind of made my day). With no hesitation, and complete sincerity, this person looked me in the eyes and said, “I’m proud of you”.

Four tiny words. Really, just an instant in time. No one else heard it. Yet, that is one of the greatest compliments I have ever received. I hope someday you know the elation of having someone you respect pay you a sincere compliment. It’s better than a good wine buzz. It makes you believe that you can do better. It was amazing.

The second story ends with me feeling equally as special. The day after those words of encouragement, I was doing what I do, helping people that walk into the office. Since that is my job and all, I was more than happy to oblige. It was a pretty big day for them. I helped them to complete their task (let’s just say they will be celebrating eliminating their biggest monthly expense by going to ITALY). I took pictures, congratulated them and made it a big deal. When they were leaving after their 45 minutes with me, the gentleman looks me in the eyes and says, “Before we walked in here, we prayed that we would find a kind and genuine person to help us. You exceeded our expectations. You were an answer to our prayers.” An. Answer. To. Their. Prayers.

I teared up in front of them. I don’t know that there has ever been a bigger compliment than that one.

Two great compliments in as many days? I don’t know that I earned them, but I will definitely take it and pour that energy into getting better at what I do.

Sometimes we use to many words to say absolutely nothing. And sometimes, using few words makes the biggest impact and means everything.

What is the best compliment you’ve received? I’d love to hear all about it.

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I was in a meeting today, I commented to someone that the speaker was saying many words, yet very few of them actually had meaning. This got me thinking, how many words do I  speak aloud every day that are absolutely meaningless?

I deal with the public. People come and go from my office all day long. Invariably I spend my time saying things like “Thank you for doing business with us” and “I’m so glad you came in today”. An unfortunately small percentage of the time do those words bear any weight at all. I am trying to be genuine. And, I certainly don’t mean to imply that it isn’t appropriate to be polite or exchange pleasantries. But, I also can’t tell you that I’m entirely full of joy to see each an every person I interact with daily.

Maybe this theory extends further. Even at home I say things that don’t mean anything. When I ask “how was your day?”, the answer rarely makes me stop and listen. I think it has just become a way to greet each other at the end of the work day.

A set of metal types

A set of metal types (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Polite words like “thank you” and “please” are often used as examples for children, not expressed with any real reverence for the mannerisms that the words should convey.

So, I do all of this talking (and I do a LOT of talking), but how often am I actually saying something? Is it enough that by taking the time to gently speak my empty words that I am conveying a message to you at all? Maybe it is. Maybe by showing you that of all of the people in the world that I could be saying nothing at all to, I chose to speak to you.

I hope I’m not the only one who speaks empty words. Tell me how you use words to say nothing.

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The second assignment from Writers Digest is to create a character with the personality traits of someone you love with the physical attributes of someone you don’t care for. This is a little difficult for me as I generally am more concerned with someones personality than I am their appearance, but I’ll give it a try.


She is a willowy wisp of a girl. Her bones all jut out in an angular fashion, nearly extending beyond her very thin frame. You could count her ribs and trace her clavicle easily. She wore clothes that clung to her bones, almost like she was trying to highlight them. When she walked into the room it wasn’t possible to miss her, despite her slight stature. While she looked all sharp and pointy, she was entirely the warmest person in the room. She drew people in to the warmth in her soul. It wasn’t always reflected in her empty brown eyes, but her light permeated every corner of the room. Her biggest secret was her great love of humanity. She loved all people and all creatures. Her patience never wore thin and her own needs were always secondary to the greater good. Oh, she was good. From the first time her words wrapped them selves around a person they found themselves comforted like they were buried within a down comforter on a cold winter morning. She was brave and kind and gentle all in this firm and defined package.

Faithfully posting to this site has not exactly been a strong suit of mine. So, this week when I saw Writer’s Digest tweet out a link to 12 writing prompts, I was intrigued. I decided that I would use those prompts to begin again here.

The first prompt is to write 10 titles for books that I wish to write. Although I don’t know if I ever intend to write a book, it may be fun to make up titles anyway.

1. Things Better Left Unsaid

2. Keeping Up With Myself

3. Quit Wearing That

4. Unreasonably High Heels

5. Why I Didn’t Call

6. Margaritas and Other Fine Things (A recipe collection)

7. Put Down My Drink; It’s not for kids

8. Directions to Fairy Tale Land

9. Spending the Night

10. Equal Parts Awesome and Drunkity


I suppose a title needs a synopsis or a description. But, that wasn’t part of today’s assignment. The content of my imaginary books will just live in your imagination and a little bit in mine.

I wonder what you would title your imaginary book?

Books behind the bed

Books behind the bed (Photo credit: zimpenfish)

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Last night, I had the pleasure of joining some of the Indy Geek Girls for Indy Word Lab. These ladies are funny, smart and so very much fun. I would have gone pretty much anywhere with them, but playing with words is one of my favorite things. The general format for the word lab is to have a speaker for a few minutes and then a prompted writing work shop. After the night’s assignment, you share in a group what you’ve written (if you choose). Tonight the assignment was to choose a memory from your child that was either particularly thrilling or particularly terrifying and write focusing on the extreme nature of childhood emotions and the 5 senses. This is the rough draft I wrote in the time allotted.

This amazingly mundane, Midwestern, vanilla childhood wasn’t scarred by any particularly terrifying events. I won’t be in therapy for years on end to overcome  a great tragedy. In fact, it is all quite the opposite. In all of the humdrum, monochromatic days are scant few glistening moments that could be defined as thrilling. The ones I do recall are made dull by the passing of time and my pragmatic adult memory. But, in equal parts are made brighter and more vivid by sharing them with my not so pragmatic, mostly fabulous brother. He was my constant companion and greatest champion in our youth. And, now in our adulthood he remains my cheerleader and a great friend.

It is my hope that he recalls, in some way, a trip we took with all of our extended family in two grand charter buses to tour the American West. We saw national parks and landmarks that should have been etched into my memory forever. However, the parts that are the most vivid are also some of the most mundane. I remember a table at the back of the bus filled with snacks and drinks. Specifically, I recall the taste of powdered Tang and mixing it into white paper cups filled with water. I remember the seeing “the big kids” riding horses while we hiked a random trail in Colorado.

The most amazing and colorful memory I have was these two giant buses stopping at the peak of some unnamed mountain to see the snow. I felt the cold crunch of the snow in my hands while I wore shorts and summer shoes. I thought it was the funniest most beautiful thing that I had ever seen. My grandmother was there to see my brother and I throw snowballs at each other and giggle as they landed far from their intended targets. My family was filled with visible joy during these moments. Some of my most treasured memories on this trip were not of seeing Mount Rushmore or Devils Tower, but remembering the happiness on our faces through all of the miles we traveled.

I hope he remember this too.

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Here’s the thing, My glass is half empty, but it will be alright. I already bought a second bottle of wine. I also have on hand the kind that you drink and lemonade if you’re a teetotaler. Some people would say that the person who sees the glass has half empty is a pessimist. I see it as a way to plan ahead.

When NBF told me that I was being too negative I really took it hard. I thought I’d been working hard to make sure that everybody had everything they needed. I was nearly killing myself keeping up with the hectic schedules. How dare he be so ungrateful?

Then, I listened to a similar perspective from some great friends, my best friend and a good friend, and I realized I may be a bit more of a realist than some of the people around me. I plan for everything. I get panicky if I walk in to a situation that is unfamiliar. I really don’t like to not be in control. I do like to be the go to person for answers.

So, I may over anlyze what needs to happen. And, I may doubt that everyone

Champagne glass

Champagne glass (Photo credit: Adam Mulligan)

else will come prepared to the picnic. But, I’ve learned to enjoy all of the extra preparation that I put in to everything. You may say my glass is half empty, but I say there’s just room for more wine. And I’ve got it breathing on the counter already.

So, which are you, half empty or half full?

You know what is really amazing? The irony of my career and my actual life being at completely opposite ends of the spectrum. I spend my days playing with other peoples money, while struggling to figure out how to deal with my own budget.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a budget. And, most of the time I stick to it. But, really, I never follow the advice that I give people all day, every day. Instead, I keep wishing that I were more dilligent in my savings and more frugal and more resigned to living beneath my means.

I save when I can, but I rarely put that first on pay day (you should totally pay yourself first and build savings).

I bring my lunch to work to save money (such a good plan, it saves a full car payment every month), but I dine out for dinner often (there went my savings from lunch).

I use coupons (MFH taught me how to do this and not hate it). Then, I buy fancy coffee.

I shop only sales (never pay retail, everything goes on sale), but have been known to buy pretty shoes that aren’t needed.

saving and spending

saving and spending (Photo credit: 401K)

The moral of my story? I know all of the things I am supposed to be doing to get my finances in order, but I often sabotage my own efforts.

I’m sure I’m not alone here, right? Tell me your story of self sabotage.

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I read somewhere, recently, that not writing when you feel compelled is like watching a pressure cooker full of tomatoes explode all over the kitchen.  Well, that’s kind of how I feel lately – Like the tomato splatter is all of the words in my head and they just have to come out somewhere. With that in mind, I’ve been doodling and daydreaming and writing stupid two sentence poems all over my meeting notes.

In the land of playing with money, people don’t often scribble poems in the margin of the meeting notes. Mostly they take more notes in the margins of their notes all in the name of being better at playing with money. But, playing with money isn’t all that creative and doesn’t require constant focus for me to figure out the nuances. So, I don’t know that anyone has actually noticed that I have words, spattered like stewed tomatoes on a cieling, all over the margins of my pages.

I’m starting to notice that my words sometimes don’t actually go together to formulate comprehensive sentences. And, I lean heavily toward the dramatic. But, it feels very good to release the pressure and just write down words that I don’t often get to use in the land of playing with money. When I finally told MFH and OFM about my newly rekindled passion for writing, MFH reminded me that I could, <insert dramatic gasp here> start by blogging.

That brings me to now, I’m writing, albeit about absolutely nothing. But it feels really nice to get thoughts out of my head and see the words come together in a semi-coherent fashion.

I’m brought to the conclusions that 1. playing with money is a temporary profession and not my career, 2. pursuing a passion isn’t selfish, but can be done in the margins, and 3. I really like words.

What passion of yours do you practice in the margins of your ordinary life?


Image by Wm Jas via Flickr

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Mass food production

Image via Wikipedia

Once upon a time I went to training in a far away land in a neighboring state. I learned many new things about my job counting the money. It was good training. It was effective training. I’ll even go so far as to say it was necessary. Despite the 14 hour days (not at all an exaggeration) and the tight schedule, I benefitted greatly from my week away.

Except for the menu.

When you pull 29 of my peers out of our regular work locations and keep us for long hours, it is appropriate to feed us. And, they did. Carbs. LOTS OF CARBS. At one point in the week I went and bought an apple just so I could remember fresh produce. (it was not easy to find either.) I’m not complaining about the food mind you. It was all well made (for mass produced food). And, it served the purpose.

But, wow. A week worth of a mostly carb diet does not do good things to the body. I feel sluggish. I feel like I ate carbs for a week straight. – Oh yea. I did.

Needless to say there is no weight loss this week. And, my jeans are a little tight. I guess that means this week needs to be full of fruits and veggies and I’ll lay off the bread for a while. I healthy walk this evening also felt really nice.

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