Thank you for dropping by!

I truly appreciate that you've decided to share part of your day in my world. I hope your time has been well spent and I've made you smile, laugh or think.





Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mary

My husband's grandmother passed away last night.

I would say peacefully into the night, but that wasn't her style.  She fought death every step of the way.  Because that's who she was- a tiny, spirited woman who was full of life.

This Saturday she would have been 95.  Instead of cake, we will be celebrating her life at her funeral.

I have always enjoyed older people, so it's no surprise that we had a very nice friendship- not just the required family stuff, but I considered her a friend.

Ever since I was a kid, I enjoyed hearing my grandparents' stories about the good ol' days.  And the bad ones, too.  I learned history through our family stories.  My great uncles who fought in WWII in every branch of service.  My grandfather's jobs in the mines.  My grandmothers' stories of cleaning houses, working at Woolworth's and of course, all the family dirt.  That was the good stuff. I wrote letters to my grandmothers starting after high school, all through college and into my post-college life.  They were openly jealous of all the neat things I got to do that they couldn't do "in their day."  Their letters are the most valuable items I own.  Period. 

Mary and I obviously didn't correspond because we were near each other and she was always there.  I almost wish we had so I'd have those letters to cherish.

Shane first introduced me to her after we had been dating a few months.  He knew we would like each other.  He said she could be blunt, so be prepared.  She was absolutely, positively baffled by the fact that I went to Cornell.  His cousin went there-- he was really smart-- was I that smart, too?  The Cornell in New York?  Yes, the Cornell in New York.  And my sports coupe threw her for a bit of a loop.  To be honest, it was a better fit for her and I was a better fit for her Camry.  Let's just say she liked to drive fast.  Very fast.  And I drive like a grandma.  That's YOUR car?  Yes, it is.

We were from different times.

I think it took her awhile to figure me out.  I always joke that Shane's family was terrified the first Thanksgiving that I was supposed to cook.  He knew I could cook.  His parents knew, too.  The rest of the family didn't know what to make of this outsider- this stockbroker from New York. 

That's when they realized I really was a small town girl from the mid-west. 

The turkey was fine.  Mary was impressed.

She watched my son when he was 6 weeks old.  I had a client meeting for about 90 minutes near her house and she loved babies.  When I came back to pick him up, she met me panicked at the door.  Apparently he had been crying and the only way he would calm down was to put him on his belly.  She knew that "you girls today don't do that" so she had sat on the bed and watched him sleep.  I laughed and told her I had no idea what I was doing, she had had 5 kids so I trusted her.  She laughed and said she had never known what she was doing either.  So we both sat there, on the bed, and watched him sleep, making sure he didn't die.  It was pretty funny.  She had also used Desitin from the 1950s because she couldn't find ours in our overstuffed diaper bag.  She liked to keep things until they were empty.  She was frugal.  I don't know what the shelf life is on Desitin, but my son has survived the past 11 years, so I guess it was okay.

After I had my son, I scaled back my practice.  I usually took Fridays off.  I would shop at the Whole Foods near her house.  I  swung by fairly regularly for some coffee.  Not because she was my husband's grandmother, but because I genuinely enjoyed her company.  We'd talk about everything and anything. 

During one of our chats, she got me a cup of coffee.  The baby cried, so I fed him, changed him and then went to drink my coffee and it was cold.  She laughed and said "Honey, you'll never have a hot cup of coffee again."  Truer words were never spoken.  I laugh when I try to have a cup at home and it inevitably gets cold. 

She would share these great stories of old Las Vegas.  Of the family- all the good and bad.  We also talked a lot about contemporary topics and she was quite opinionated.  We also agreed about 90% of the time.  She was very proud that I worked and still managed to be a good mom (or at least try). 

She called me one day- she had a question on something-- and she noticed I was out of breath.  She asked if I was okay.  I actually started cracking up.  I confessed that what I was actually doing was chasing my 18 month old son around the backyard.  He had taken his diaper off and was covered in poop and I couldn't catch him.  I can still hear her laughing.  She'd had that happen more than once as well. 

She was a devout outdoorswoman.  She loved to camp and fish.  She would tell fish stories and just get giddy.  I made a photo montage for her 90th birthday.  During the fish sequence, she started talking over the video and telling the story of this one really big fish that had been in the sequence.  It was as if she had just caught it.

She loved her flowers and gardening- we shared that interest.  I would bring both my kids over and she would walk her backyard with them and let them smell the flowers.  Or she would find a lizard with them.  Or point out a bug.

And speaking of flowers, my allergies were really bad one spring.  We had stopped by to say hi-- we tried to when we were in the neighborhood.  I told her how awful I felt.  She agreed that it seemed really bad this spring.  She had a huge olive tree in her front yard.  As we were leaving, she started shaking it to show us the pollen.  We got in the now pollen covered car in our pollen covered clothes and I looked at my husband and said "I thought she liked me.  I think she is trying to kill me."  And we just laughed.  And then I took some benadryl.

She always asked me how I made something when I would cook dinner.  She loved my stuffing.  In fact, I started crying in the grocery store when I was buying the pine nuts that she loved.  She would pick through the stuffing and eat the pine nuts like she was a squirrel.

She never tried to tell me how to live my life-- which was unusual because from what I could gather from everyone else, she always had suggestions.  She did give me a diet book once.  To her credit, I've put on a lot of weight.  She didn't mean it to be mean but rather because she cared.  I thought it was quite a nice gesture.

Most of the family feared the Wrath of Mary.  She would openly rip you a new one if she thought you were screwing up.  I very seriously think my husband quit smoking because I threatened to tell his grandma.  You may laugh, but he begged me not to tell.

She adored my kids.  The first time she held my son was at the hospital.  We were alone in the room and she looked into his eyes and cried.  I asked her what was wrong- she looked up and said "He's so beautiful.  He's not all white and pasty like our babies."  My husband's people are mostly tow heads or redheads.  It still cracks me up.

She and my daughter had a special connection.  Mary had a habit of squealing when she saw the kids and squeezing them very tightly.  You could see them cringe- - even as adults-- tightening up as she approached preparing for the hug.  My daughter,  on the other hand, would run right to her and melt into her arms.  Mary was always well coordinated and my daughter loved all her baubles and brooches.  My daughter loved the delighted shrieks of joy from Mary- the more dramatic, the better.  They also shared a love of art-  Mary was a wonderful painter.

She had a group of girlfriends that lunched together into her 90s.  Family and friends were always important to her.  She nurtured relationships.  She always treated me like a good friend.

She never stopped learning.  She was always reading something.  She was up to date on everything. 

Watching her die was one of the hardest things I've ever had to see.  She fought it every single step of the way.  She couldn't remember me at Easter.  She tried.  She knew she knew me and she tried to fake it valiantly. 

The last afternoon we sat around her bedside and told stories.  We were all laughing at the practical jokes and the fun family stories. The hospice nurse pointed out that she was trying to make facial expressions.  I'm sure it was to add her two cents because that was probably NOT exactly what happened and she wanted to clear the air....

My husband commented that losing someone like his grandmother wasn't just losing a person, it was losing a treasure.  She had so much to share- so much history.

I feel very fortunate that we were there to hear so much of it.  It's hard to explain but because of Mary my children feel part of a larger whole.  They are part of Las Vegas history.  This is THEIR hometown- not just some retirement community or a place to live because California is too expensive.  This is our family's home.  On Mother's Day two years ago we ate at the Springs Preserve.  Mary used to swim in the springs.  She stood on the balcony and pointed out where she would play as a kid.  Where the family ranch was.  Where her childhood friends lived.  My children listened to every word.

I surprised myself with how much I've cried in the past 24 hours.  She was my husband's grandmother.  Not mine.  She was nearly 95.  It was time.  Etc.  Etc.

The night she died, before she passed, I was tucking in my children.  I told them to send happy thoughts to heaven so they would be there waiting for Mary when she got there.  We were sure she wouldn't make it through the night.  She died about an hour later.

The next morning I told my son.  He was his stalwart self and teared up a little (he cried more later).  My daughter told me, with big tears in her eyes, that she had wished a house for Mary.  It had a big yard with flowers.  Her paintbrushes.  Lotsa dogs.  And my daughter went on and on including all the things her great grandmother loved.  I lost it.  It was beautiful.  She truly knew her.  And I'm sure Mary was happily surprised by her lovely imagined home when she arrived.

She died surrounded by her family.  They are exhausted.  They were all amazing.  I could only hope to "pass through" as my daughter called it, surrounded by my loved ones.

Mary, I will miss you.  I love you very much.  Thank you for making me part of your family and being such a strong presence in our lives.



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Trying to Create a Dinner Party Renaissance

Dinner party.

The term brings up images of "Mad Men" - sport coats, cocktails and well set tables.

I love dinner parties sans all the above... well, I do enjoy a good cocktail.

About 8 years ago I had tried to get into the habit of "having people over for dinner"-- I would invite an mix of people that I knew and serve something really simple.  It would look far more impressive because most people don't cook apparently.  And the nights would be fun.  More than a few times my "mix" of people inspired great conversations.  And a couple times, well, the descriptor was more uncomfortable.

What I always took away from these parties-- or more get together than party- was that people enjoyed them.  It was more relaxed than going to a restaurant.  No rush, no pressure.  The focus was the conversation-- you could hear each other speak. 

As hosts, it was easy to put together and we had a system to clean up quickly.  Well the system is my husband does it while I serve dessert, but it IS a system.  I always joke that I make dinner every night so it's really not a big deal to throw on a few more servings.  Because, no joke, it's true.

At the end of the night people usually left smiling and saying how we needed to do it again.

After I had my daughter, we stopped having them regularly then it seemed like they stopped entirely.

So last Saturday we had some friends over.  People that we enjoy.  Of different ages, different walks of life-- good stuff!!  The common theme was that they were all amazing activists.  Or as I like to say - people who get shit done while everyone else bitches about it.

The kids helped set up.  They met everyone.  They were excited to see the people-- they had met everyone at some point and were trying to put together the guest list from what they remembered. 

My cooking was a little off- I decided to grill and didn't plan it well, but I think it all turned out okay.  The wine and dessert that everyone brought were fantastic.

We drank a little wine in the kitchen while we finished the final touches, the conversation flowed.  We laughed, we joked.  We discussed serious issues. The young ones-- in their 20s-- I don't think were sure what to expect-- it was cute.  I'm not hip (they are) and I love that these amazing young people would choose to spend an evening with me and the hubby.

We sat down, ate, conversed, laughed and laughed some more.  My kids popped in with their commentaries from time to time.

It wasn't rushed.  It was pressured.  It was just some friends sitting around having a meal.  Because again, I'd be doing it anyhow.  Might as well invite some friends over.

We all have inside jokes now that include the phrases the perfect Hanukkah gifts, El Toro and Salsa de Manzana.  Inside jokes that we will all laugh at at stuffy black tie functions for years to come.

We all learned a little bit more about each other.  Everyone already knew each other, so it was nice to get the one step closer to really knowing each other.

One of my favorite things when we have friends over-- and was definitely the case last Saturday- is when my kids hang out at the top of the stairs listening.  Not because I want them to hear us talking, but because I want them to see that we have friends and interests apart from them.  We are not just Mom and Dad but rather Shane and Lori.  I want them to see that friendships-- old and new-- are important.  I want them to know that you can always learn something, no matter your age. I want them to know that life is meant to be enjoyed not endured-- because we sometimes can get bogged down in the day to day aspects of life that we forget to really relax and have fun.  I want them to see that people still talk and connect.  It's not all texting and Facebooking.

It was nice. 

So the next time your friends say "Hey, let's get together" don't schedule a dinner out that is going to be part of a rushed day- plan a simple dinner (I recommend roasting something-- far easier), have them bring a bottle of wine, a nice dessert and just come hang out. Don't plan it weeks into the future, either because it will never work.  Don't pick "sometime" pick next week.  And don't make it a stressful Martha Stewart Perfect Party.  Make it a Mama Bean Meal- place cards and centerpieces and courses aren't why people come- they come for the connection.

We'll be doing it more often.  Because it was fun.  Because slowing down and talking is important.  Because my friends are incredibly important to me-- I learn so much from them and I have so much respect for them.  Because I like an excuse to cook.  Because I like an excuse to have some wine... okay, any day that ends in "y" works... but you know what I mean. 

Someday when I'm old (which will always be a few days after tomorrow since I've decided to not get old), I will look back and remember my friends and the fun we've had.  I won't remember the computer crashing, the lost library book, the run in my tights.. because they don't matter.  The laughter around the table did.

My old roommate posted the best compliment I've ever received.  He wrote on a comment on one of my wedding pictures "Why is that whenever I think of you, I always remember laughing?"

Call some friends.  Invite them over.  Don't wait.  Don't overthink it. 

A meatloaf shared amongst friends is so much more than a meatloaf.

Eat.  Drink.  Laugh.









Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Return of Crabby Crabmeister

As it always go, I write some blog on a nicer, kinder, healthier Mama Bean and then BAM- less than 24 hours later all these great, insightful commentaries are replaced with reality.

My husband and son were going fishing and hunting on Saturday.  We were actually going to do a weekend camping trip, but that had a very last minute change to "You know, why don't the boy and I just go for the day?" which turned into my daughter and I having a Girls Day. 

Since my husband had to get up at 2 am to leave, I thought I would give him a headstart on sleep on Friday night.  So he went up at 9 and I stayed downstairs watching TV.

I watched "Grimm", caught up on some "Jimmy Kimmel" episodes that I recorded (and if you're not watching Jimmy Kimmel, I feel bad for you.  So very funny.  And his interviews with celebrities are the best I've ever seen- no one ever looks nervous, stressed or annoyed-- anyhow, I highly recommend it) and then for some reason, unbeknownst to me, I thought "Oh- this is the last season for 'How I Met Your Mother'-- I should catch up!"

Catch up.

I watched the first season.  And I didn't particularly care for it all that much, although some parts of it are really hilarious.  The non-sequitur stuff really cracked me up.

But it's in its 9th and final season.  He finally meets the mother and quite honestly, I was a little curious.  Nine years of build up.  Not that I watched any of it in the interim, mind you.

So I watched 4 episodes back to back.

It was now 1:30 am.  My husband came down, kissed me good bye and was curious as to why I was still up watching a show I had never watched.

My son came down.  I said bye and went to bed.

The dogs are not aware that on days that start with S, I will not be awakening early to feed them.  My husband actually feeds them during the week. We usually sucker our son into doing it on weekends.

Our lab Oliver can tell time.  It was 6 am. 

He is like the Very Hungry Caterpillar. If I don't feed him, he will eat things that dogs are not supposed to eat-- socks, underwear, pillows...

He also howls and talks like a combo of Scooby-Doo and Astro.

So I got up.  Fed them.  Peed (never pass up an opportunity to pee, thank you Jack Nicholson).  Went back to bed.

Oh Glorious Sleep.  How Divine Thou Art.

I snuggled in. Empty bladder good to go for at least another 3 hours.... ahhhh...

My daughter is not an early riser.  I was thinking she would sleep until at least 9, stumble out to watch a little TV.

She also is nearly 8 and is completely capable of preparing a bowl of cereal.  We have SEVEN brands to choose from.  She prides herself on this skill during the week.

Therfore, I was a bit taken aback at 7:45 when Miss Thing excitedly jumped on my bed ready to start our Girls Day.

"Honey, Mommy just needs to sleep... I stayed up a little later than usual..." 

"But I'm hungry."

"Go get some cereal... please, sweetie let me sleep."

"But I don't want cereal.  I'm over cereal."

WTF?

"We have 7 types to choose from.  Please let me sleep."

"But I want to have our Girls Day... it's not my fault you stayed up..." whine... whine.. whine..

I do not like whining.

I am actually quite pleasant in the mornings but not after be awakened and then whined to.

"ZOEY!  I AM EXHAUSTED LET ME SLEEP!"

I would like to point out that I was quite nice up until this point.  The whining put me over the top.

"But I'm hungry."

The anger built and I said "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  YOU NEVER GET UP THIS EARLY ON SATURDAY.  DO YOU WANT ME TO BE CRABBY CRABMEISTER ALL DAY LONG?"

"But I'm hungry."

"GET DRESSED FOR GYMNASTICS AND I WILL TAKE YOU OUT TO BREAKFAST THEN."

"I don't want to go to gymnastics."

Oh. Dear.  Really? This is the argument you want to have right now?  I fully disclosed that I was a) tired and b) in the Crab Zone.

So now, still in bed, I start in about how she wanted to do gymnastics.  Yes, gymnastics is a little uncomfortable but she is sooo close to doing stuff and then it will get fun.  And we already paid for it.  So she can get her little butt in her gym clothes, brush her hair and then we'll go to breakfast. 

"I don't want to go to gymnastics.  I'm hungry."

Next, tears were shed.  I will spare you the conversation.  I don't actually remember it, but I'm sure she will recount it to her therapist word for word.

She got dressed.  After 379 requests, she brushed her hair.

There was no time to go out to breakfast.  Because it took her 2 hours to accomplish these 2 simple tasks.

So we get to gymnastics.

My daughter is not a talented gymnast.  She has no experience with it.  I am utterly useless as I cannot do a cartwheel.

But... she wasn't even trying.  Not even a little.  The instructor is great.  All the other girls are improving.  My daughter is putting zilch into it.

So I say sternly "Come here.  You are not even trying."

I look like a Dance Mom.  But honestly, if I was watching the class, I would think she had ADHD.  Which she does not.  She listens quite well at school.  She is a very good student. 

But you would not be able to tell that she was a bright student  if you saw her in her gymnastics class.

And did I mention the instructor is great? It's a small class teaching basics- techniques for forward rolls, handstands, cartwheels-- nothing insane.  It's work, but all the other kids appear to be listening.

And this is not the first time this has happened.  For whatever reason, any class outside of school- dance, music, soccer-  she pays no attention whatsoever.  I don't care if she's a superstar, but she needs to at least try and listen. 

I explained myself to the parents who were watching me and thinking I was pushing her "Um.. she actually wanted to do this class... she does this all the time.. honest... I am not a bad mother..." 

But you would not be able to tell that I am a good mom if you saw me in her gymnastics class.

And then the day continued to spiral downward.  We were going to go to the farmer's market but when we got there, it was also the Harvest Festival and it was packed.  As in walk-2-miles-to-park packed.  And of course she had worn flip flops.  We were not going to be able to make the journey.

So I asked:

"Where do you want to go?"

And it became a game of I Want to Do Anything Except What You Suggest Mind Reader Mom.

And I got even crabbier.  If that were possible.  Imagine your worst PMS.  Now double that.

So I said:

"What about pie?"

I love pie.  She loves pie.  Screw the healthy habits. I  was tired.  I was crabby. 

"Pie?"

"Yes.  Do you want to get pie?  I haven't had a piece of pie in forever."

"I love pie."

"I do, too."

So we went and got pie for lunch.  And it was delicious.  And we giggled as we ate pie.  And everyone thought we looked so happy.  Where were the parents from gymnastics class now?  See, look, I AM a nice, fun mom.  I just needed some pie.

And we decided that the next time the boys went out of town, she and I would get pie.  Just pie.  It will be our thing.  Not the healthiest of things, but hey, a little pie now and again with my girl... sounds okay to me.

And then we went home.  And I said I really, really, needed a nap or else she was stuck with me being Crabby Crabmeister the rest of the day.

So she snuggled in next to me, grabbed my Kindle, put on the headphones and watched a movie while I slept.

And all was well.  Crabby Crabmeister was gone.

The real secret to my happiness is apparently sleep and pie.

Don't judge.



Friday, November 8, 2013

Yoga and Mama Bean

Today I went to yoga.

Now you might be thinking "Mama Bean, you are not lean, petite nor flexible.  How did that work?"

Honestly, quite nicely.

But this was not the first class for me.

I started doing yoga when I was 10.

No joke.

PBS had a yoga show on and I think I was done watching "3-2-1 Contact" or something.  So I started doing yoga.  I loved it.

My mother freaked out.  It was 1980 and yoga was a hippie, commie, cult thing. 

But I continued to do it and loved every minute of it.  Boat pose was my favorite.  I could stay in Plow Pose forever.

I had horrible asthma and with controlled, relaxed breathing, I could stop many asthma attacks before they became serious.  My doctor thought it was great. 


Told you I was a freak.

I stuck with it for awhile and in college, once I had a single room, I often started the day with a salutation to the sun.  One of my friends in college jokingly used to call me Zen Master because I never seemed stressed out.  I never thought anything about it. 

I went about once a week through most of my 20s.  Then I became a little sad because it got super trendy.  And suddenly, as we Americans do with everything, we made it a competitive sport.

Yogarobics?

WTF?

Yoga is about breath.  It's about energy.

And suddenly all these classes became something completely different.  I hurt after class rather than feeling energized.  The teachers were like commanders and not soothing.

So I quit going.  And in the interim I was getting pretty fat so it wasn't as much fun.

I found an awesome yoga instructor about 5 years ago at the Y.  Sunday afternoon. Perfect.  I ended the weekend feeling relaxed and centered.

Then she quit.  And Commando Yogi took over. Blech.

I had a few DVDs.  But I have 2 kids and 2 dogs.  I think I wrote a blog about the one and only time I tried to do a yoga DVD at home.  It ended with my husband interrupting-- after the kids had joined me for the first half and the dogs were underfoot-- yelling, at the top of his lungs "Your dog just shit on the floor."  Namaste. 

If you know me in the real world, my health has been crap this past year and after completing a business coaching program, I'm focusing on a lifestyle change for the next year. Not a diet.  Not an exercise plan.

I have a great life.  I have a great career.  I am married to a great guy.  My kids are amazing.  I have the best friends in the world.  I have a beautiful home.  I don't appreciate or enjoy any of it. 

I'm always running from here or there or doing this or that.  Who has time to appreciate anything?

I think it comes from one too many motivational sessions on having it all and living a full life.

You know what?  I just want to enjoy the life I have.

Because it's quite fantastic.

So I'm trying to sleep more.  That's a whole other blog on the battle that I'm having with my bed.  I forgot how to sleep.  Seriously.  For the past 2 weeks I've been forcing myself to sleep 9 hours. 

And yoga.  I have been meaning to go to yoga 2-3 times a week.

Except my life or traffic or whatever seems to get in the way.

Not today.

Today I went.  I was 5 minutes late.  I was not going to let that stop me.  So yes, I was the douchebag that walked into a yoga class late.

And I set my mat about 5 inches too close to the guy next to me.  Told you- douchebag.

And the instructor was good.  Not super Zen but for the first time in a long time, it was a real yoga class- not a fitness stretch class.  She focused on breath.  I think she was initially concerned when Oompa Loompa me came in, but when she saw me modify poses to fit my less than flexible physique, she smiled.  My idea of touching my toes is more like me leaning over and waving my hands at my feet. 

But after the class, I felt that buzz that comes from a good yoga class.  Where the breeze feels a little cooler on your skin.  When your breath is steady for hours after.  The awareness.

Oh-- and I apologized to the guy whose space I invaded and he was totally fine.


Did I look like a gazelle?

No.  More hippo in heat.  But I went.  I focused on my breath.  I did as many poses as I could.  I stumbled.

Because quite honestly, I'm simply trying to find my balance.

I don't want to look back on the good old days and think "Why didn't I appreciate it then?"  and slowing down is the only way I know how.  I'm putting on my oxygen mask first.  At the pace I've been going, I wouldn't be worth anything to anyone in about 2 years. 

For the next year you're going to hear the word "No" more than usual from me.  I'm focusing on my health and my family.

Because quite honestly, I'm simply trying to find my balance.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Yes, I Really AM that Nice-- Most of the Time

I haven't posted in awhile because I am a believer of Thumper.

If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

With all the nastiness about politics and a few very bizarre interactions that I've had with people in the past few weeks, I decided to not post.  About anything.

I think one of my recent Facebook posts read "I really like pumpkin."  Because I could think of nothing less inflammatory than my love of pumpkin.

I had a friend comment that Americans are consumed with politeness and I shouldn't feel compelled to hold back.

Here's the thing-- I really AM that nice.

I am.

With that said, I will take down a bully in a heartbeat and I don't back down easily.

But I was never mean.  I very rarely say nasty things out loud.

Do I complain about people? Absolutely.

Do I get mad?  Of course.

But I am inherently nice.  It's just who I am.

I am fascinated by people who aren't.  People who feel the need to be loud and argue.  People who are obsessed with proving how smart they are by making others feel stupid.

It's not me.  I'm nice.

I will tell you that you have spinach in your teeth.

I will come pick you up when you've had too much to drink.

I will help you pack when you move.

I will watch your kids.

I will give a hug when you need it.

I will never ask for anything in return.

I enjoy helping people.  It makes me happy.

I've had people make comments about my marriage- I can't possibly be THAT happy.  It's all a show...

Nope.  We have our moments.  We had a rough patch or two.  But yes, I do really adore my husband.

And my kids-- surely I must lose it with them and they aren't that great-- again, just a show.

Nope.  My kids are pretty darn great.  They behave.  They get good grades.  I rarely lose it with them because we have this whole mutual-respect thing going in our family.  I don't know if it will work for your family, but our family is happy. 

I even feel bad that it sometimes makes others feel less than.

My happiness makes me feel guilty.  That's how flipping nice I am.

Now, am I perfect?

Oh dear.  No.

I hate being overweight.  I wish I could balance my personal life a little better with my career.  I wonder if I should have made other choices.  I've made some fantastically huge mistakes in my life.

Not perfect. 

Just nice.

If you're down, I'll offer to help.

And I really, very sincerely don't expect a single thing in return.

I guess I don't expect anything because my friends have always been there for me when I needed them.  And it's probably because I am nice.

I'm not going to stab you in the back-- if I don't like you, I'll just ignore you if I can.  I won't even go to the effort of being mean.  I don't like everyone.  I'm not going to fake it.  Life is short.  You should be with people who do like you.

The world is full of mean people.

I don't ever want to be one of them.

I just had a mean girl experience very recently.  My husband even noticed it.  In fact, it bothered him more than me.  It was weird.  It was awkward.  I have no idea why this group of women felt the need to be so rude. Or exclusive. 

But they were.

And my guess is, it's because they think I'm somehow fake.  And it hurt.

I'm not fake.  I promise. 

I've had the same friends since I was 5.  They can attest that yes, I am that nice.

Perfect, no.  Nice, yes.

It's who I am.

And if it makes you uncomfortable, it's your issue, not mine.