challenges

Shattered

My daughter got a cameo on the big stage…a chance to play on the field of an NFL stadium. Only five minutes. A handful of plays. But I knew it would be an experience she wouldn’t forget.

Of course I had to go cheer her on. We traveled to downtown Atlanta, a far cry from our suburban home. Waze dropped us in a part of town I didn’t know that well. I felt pretty good that we found free parking on the street about 8 blocks from the stadium. We pulled in and walked to the game.

There was a clear bag policy and I forgot my clear bag. Ugh. I grabbed my wallet and cash from my purse. Not sure why…I usually wouldn’t take all that in my pockets, but I figured better safe than sorry.

We took in all the sights and sounds of an NFL game. We cheered when she passed to a teammate who ran it in for a TD. She made her mark.

Flash forward to a couple of hours later. A rain storm had hit. I don’t really care about NFL football so we headed back to the car shortly after halftime. We passed a car about 10 spots away from ours that was going through their trunk, etc. as we walked by. I didn’t think anything of it. Then, as we approached my car, I noticed debris all over the sidewalk. The first thing I saw were my daughter’s faces. Their buttons from years of playing sports. I was so confused. Why were they on this wet sidewalk? Then, toiletries. Those were from my gym bag. And then I looked up to see my passenger side window, broken. Shattered. It took a minute to set in. A smash and grab.

I had been robbed.

Too many details to share here about what got taken, what got overlooked. (They skipped all my gift cards, took my airpods…) Things that were valuable to me that had no meaning to the thieves. There were at least 10 cars that had the same thing happen on this block. Some got hit others got missed. I assume it was because I had bags on my seats. I called the police but they did not come. So we drove the long chilly January air conditioned highway home.

As we drove, I said out loud all the things I was thankful for. They didn’t take those gift cards or my triathlon medal. They didn’t take my awesome stadium blanket or some other valuables I had stashed away. I can only figure they were after cash and easy sellables. Probably addicts.

I was thankful I did not walk up on them while they were doing this. I was thankful my car was otherwise unharmed. I was thankful I am not in a position where this setback would be a real mental or financial hardship. I am SO thankful something whispered to me to take my wallet! It could have been so much worse. I really was not shaken or shattered inside. I can only attribute this to my mindset work and knowing to keep losses in perspective. I would not have responded this way a few years ago.

In a few days, with the help of my family, my car was fixed and all of this was in the rear view. Am I glad it happened? Of course not. But I am grateful my life pushes on. Building your mental and physical muscles matters. I remembered this quote from Dutch Bros. Something I aspire to. There are still a handful of people and situations that can get into my mental fortress, but not nearly as many as there used to be.

challenges

The Off Season

I am a teacher. I work from 8:00 am (or earlier) until 4:00 pm 190 days a year. During those hours I am a role model for little kids, a good colleague to my co-workers, and so on. What happens when I head out to stores to do errands after school?

As an elementary school teacher, I honestly still watch myself a lot of the time. I know I could look up at a store or restaurant and see little eyes looking up at me with an incredulous squeal: Mom, it’s Dr. Friese!! This has happened many times. For that reason, I can’t be cursing or loading up on margaritas when I am out and about, especially within a certain radius of my school.

This self-censorship of sorts extends to social media. I rarely post anything except for very “innocent” family or fitness updates. I stay out of photos where drinking or other grown-up activities are involved. I don’t post political content as much as I can avoid it. I have just a handful of select parents who can see what I post. Otherwise, I just refuse most of those requests, but I am still aware than many people could be looking. I sit through legal presentations each year that share examples of teachers losing their jobs because they post themselves doing legal, adult things online that a parent used against them. Better safe than sued or jobless is my mindset, I guess.

Some comments lately had me wondering if this is fair…as a teacher, I feel expected to hold up some sort of rated-G moral standard no matter where I am. The other roughly 14 hours a day and 175 days a year I am not at school, I often mentally steer away from situations where I can be captured doing “inappropriate” things. But is it fair to expect that I’ll just be basically angelic most of the time? Is being a teacher what I do or who I am? Who gets to decide?

Others close to me have been in this situation lately as well. A friend who is a nurse had a family member go through a medical crisis. She wasn’t completely happy with the way all the care was going and let the staff know it. She wasn’t ugly or unreasonable as much as firm and inquisitive. She was told she wasn’t being professional. But her role in this situation was that of a family member advocating for her parents’ health. Does she have to be a professional even in her personal life?

What other jobs seem to carry the expectation of acting a certain way 24/7/365… am I always a mother? A father? How about the captain of an athletic team? Do I have to behave “as a captain” even in the off season? What does that mean? If I am a forklift operator or a chef, I don’t have the weight of those jobs following me around all the time. How about an athletic coach to young people? A politician? A priest? A police officer? Why do some jobs or roles become identities and others allow you to clock out and just be who you are?

I don’t have solutions for this. It just troubles me how some jobs or roles are seen as 24/7 while others can be left behind when work is over. It’s not even the highest paid people who can just shed their professions at will. Some onlookers use these roles as a weapon when they don’t like what you are doing. (Heaven forbid you’re a teacher and post something with spelling errors!)

In the end, we are all just human, with likes and dislikes, flaws and foibles and lives outside of our work. Just a few early morning thoughts.

health

Morning Mind Reader

It’s a yelp. And not a small one. A piercing, booming, where-is-this-coming-from-and-how-can-I-make-it-stop yelp.

Even worse. it’s 5:00 am. My quiet, sanctuary time. I’m happy to see our oldest girl when she rolls down the stairs but when she breaks out into that bark it’s a mad scramble to figure out how to make it stop.

It’s a throwback to parenting a screeching toddler. Do they need a snack? A toy? The blue blanket? The red blanket? The swing? Music? A pacifier? A TV show? A diaper change? Long succession of whatever she might fancy. Anything to get the screech to stop.

Her bark is the same way.

Which means at 5:00 I’m scrambling to figure out what she is asking for. I go from serenity with my candle and reading to here, there, everywhere, filling the water and food bowls, taking walks, scratching her back, swaddling her in a blanket…anything to get the ruckus to stop. This never used to happen.

Life being lifey (including an unexpected new dog) and her old age makes her more likely to be all topsy turvy and persnickety. Old girl wants what she wants. Why can’t pups use telepathy or just speak my language? Where’s a crystal ball when you need one?

Sometimes I get it right, but sometimes I run out of choices and I haven’t solved it. I just keep trying. A couple of times she just wanted her person to wake up. I can’t help that. Sometimes she gives up on trying to make me understand. She must find me so frustrating.

Just another glimpse into the lives of the chicks and our pups.

author moments

Cranky Pants 2.0

Today I did something funny. I spun the dial on my app to revisit my blog posting from 1 year ago. What was my mindset? What was I writing about? Was I even writing?

I was indeed writing about being cranky and the post was titled Cranky Pants hence the title of today’s post. Now here is my update for today. I am not cranky at all. I am feeling purposeful, strategic and I glow.

Today I had a great day. It started out with my sweat sisters doing what we love. Working out in the early hours of the day pushing our body and mind to the limits. I had some play time with my pups which always takes any stress away. I met some great people at an event I hosted and I was able to make and impact today in my work. The work that I classify as my purposeful work. The work that simply provides joy for helping others. In a nut shell, I’m floating in my own little happy cloud celebrating the day.

Now I got a little curious to see what was on my mind in 2019, pre-pandemic. Well I was writing again. This time I was writing about my new-to-me black beach bike. I still love the bike but it has a flat tire so I don’t ride it as I should and I have a newer road bike that seems to get more mileage than the beach bike. I guess this is a reminder to book a beach trip so I can pack up my bike and take for a spin in some beach town. What a fun reminder.

Ah the beauty of blogging over time. I have check in points to see if I have grown in some way or maybe I’ve been stuck in a rut or maybe I was just at a loss for words and not writing. Now that I circled back to 2018 just to see what I was up to. I was writing about dreaming. Creating a vision. Working your plan. I can safely say I live that model day in day out. Just this week I spent time planning. Preparing for big steps of progress. I use a white board to post ideas and revisit them. It’s an ongoing process. What a great reminder it is for me to spin the dial on my blog posts from time to time.

Where am I going?

Where have I been?

What have I learned?

What am I in the process of learning?

Who’s been along for the ride?

Who’s jumped ship when the waves got rocky?

When will I stop writing about stuff?

When will I publish my next big book?

So many questions.

Life is unfolding and the future is a mystery. This blog is a placeholder. A keepsake for people to read over time. For now I’m living in the moment. I’m choosing the virtual writing platform of this blog as we seem to be in the digital world right now thanks to Corona. 

This isn’t really a fancy post it’s merely a look back for me. A reflection I can openly share as I have published pieces over the years that share a sliver of me. Make no mistake when I say a sliver. My life is full of many twists, turns, and tangled webs. Some who know me well don’t even fully grasp what makes me tick or a ticking time bomb of sorts. For that reason alone you have a sliver. A glimpse. A snapshot of what’s hot or what’s not.

Until next time. Enjoy my twisted sliver of today and yesterday. I guess you will just have to visit this blog often to seen when I spin the time dial again. 

healthy hacks

Healthy Hack: Travel Edition

The 2 Chicks have been on the road a lot this summer. So much joy, so much adventure, the occasional stress.

I’ve shared my favorite tips for experiencing local flavors and activities. Here’s another quick tip for life on the go that has saved me stress this summer.

And so, without further ado, here’s my fab tip:

Have a separate set of toiletries. And not just travel sizes.

Extra skin care, hair stuff, deodorant, makeup, brush, toothbrush, sunscreen…All. Of. It.

I actually discovered this hack during last school year. With all the stress and shuffling of schedules, I often went straight from the gym to work. My gym bag grew from just having a very basic set of skin care to the full assembly over time. All summer long, I’ve either taken my gym bag (with toiletries and my gym clothes / shoes packed), or grabbed the toiletries to put in a larger packed bag.

There’s nothing really magical about it, I guess. Still, it has saved me so much time in remembering all the odds and ends I need on every excursion and adventure this summer. If you don’t have any spares to start with, be on the lookout for coupons and deals. (Some might happen shortly when college students head back to school.) I also stockpile stuff from Clinique free gift offers.

Once you’ve got your set, you’re good to go!

Hope this helps at least some of you with that inevitable travel stress (or the pain of forgetting your toothbrush!)