Category Archives: Relationships

2 Year Anniversary

Today marks the 730th day since Erica and I met. It seems like a lot when written that way. It also seems like it hasn’t been that long and at the same time it seems like we have known each other for a very long time. Funny, isn’t it?

She is an amazing person and I’ve had a great time hanging out with her. We love to travel together and get along quite well on our many trips. Since we are both well-traveled it really helps and also adds to the enjoyment of the trip itself. We share many interests and love to explore new things, taste new foods and experience different cultures.

As in any relationship, ups and downs are experienced, but it’s how you deal with them that makes the difference. People are constantly growing and changing which means relationships must adapt or adjust to those changes. There’s no right or wrong.

Bottom line, we are both having fun and I don’t see an end to that.

Erica, here’s to a great 2 years. I can’t wait to see what new things we will discover together in the future.

Michael

Fall Forward

Make the most of every failure. Fall forward. – Author unknown

All the great men and woman throughout the ages have all had one thing in common. They never let failures stop them from achieving their goals.

Failures give us vast amounts of information on what needs to change to have success. But, sadly, many of us look at failures solely as the end result of bad decisions,  lack of ability or not being good enough. This attitude leaves out the key lessons that failures can give.

Failures are packed with ideas on what we can do better than before. If you stop yourself with the attitude that “I’m a failure” then you’ll never move forward. Successful people use failure as a motivation tool. They have the belief and attitude that nothing is going to stop them from reaching whatever they are reaching for.

Falling forward is about learning the lessons of why you failed. It’s about applying those lessons quickly and trying again. It’s about not believing you are a “failure.” It’s about excitement since each failure brings you closer to your goal.

But most importantly, it’s about knowing that we don’t really make mistakes. We make decisions and choices with the best we know at the time. If it ends up not being what we want, then we can change it. As long as we are moving forward, it’s okay.

Not to sound trite, but remember that failures are good. They really are!

Michael

Valentine's Day

Today is the day where romance fills the air and people actively show others how much they are loved. For quite some time, this tradition has been an important part of relationships. Gifts, cards, flowers, candy and other “treats” are given in vast quantities.

So, it was strange for me when I was at a leadership lecture on Thursday and the speaker spent several minutes talking about how much he loathed Valentine’s Day. This is a married man speaking about how terrible Valentine’s Day has been. Obviously I was curious to listen for his explanation.

In this man’s mind, Valentine’s Day is a cheap way to tell someone how you feel or treat them nice once, but do very little the rest of the year. In his view, most or many people don’t do much all year and feel that if they do something on Valentine’s Day then all is well.

I thought this was a fairly negative view of people and the tradition. But, as I thought about it, one point did stand out. It was that we should be telling our loved ones many more times than on this one day how much we love them. We should be treating them in a more positive manner regularly. We should show how much we care throughout the year.

I believe doing all of that would make Valentine’s Day even more special.

Nothing like the present to start a new habit.

Michael

A Good Day

More and more often, I’m finding that a good day includes successes in more than one area of my life. Today there are four areas to feel great about.

1. Job. I had to pull together a group of 7 people on very short notice to take a meeting with some people who had traveled half way across the country to meet with our company. Many of my colleagues pushed back their own priorities to accommodate the visit. I was grateful, and the company that traveled to meet us was grateful. There is nothing like a spirit of cooperation to make a group of people feel great.

2. Writing. Michael and I spent the late afternoon and evening working on a writing project that we have underway. Michael is great at organizing us, and he put together a chapter schedule for us a few weeks ago. Tonight we realized that we are a few weeks ahead of schedule. So far so good. Both of us have a sense of progress, and I have the satisfaction of not being a source of frustration over lateness. Another double win. I like getting the project done, and I like living up to Michael’s expectations.

3. Christmas cards. I may write an entire blog post on Christmas card writing. It’s often a two-month-long ordeal for me to get all of my cards written. In fact, it’s been 3 years since I finished an entire set. Last year I didn’t write any, though I did leave the stack of cards I received sitting on the floor of my study for 11 months, in case I was inspired to answer them. The great news is that I finally realized I could answer them by starting early on this year’s cards. So starting November 30, I’ve been writing two cards per night, before bedtime, and mailing them in the morning. Tonight I’ll write two more. At this rate, I will have made a good bite out of them by Christmas. Not only will I feel good about reaching out; I will also feel good about cleaning the pile off my floor for the first time since January.

4. Finances. Thanks to my wife, we had some good financial news today. She works hard and is very clever with money. She is always taking the pressure off us with her hard work. So often, I find myself thinking, my wife makes my life so easy and so pleasant.

Oh, and there was actually a 5th great thing. Last night, an old, dear friend of my found me on Facebook. I had been trying to think for a couple of years how to track her down and catch up with her. Last night, lo and behold, there she was in the Friend Requests. I was thrilled and have already swapped notes back and forth with her.

The good news snowballs. I love that any time, and especially this time of year when the days are short, and we’re starting to gear up for winter.

One Year Later

Having someone wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night is a very old human need. – Margaret Mead

Don’t smother each other. No one can grow in the shade. – Leo Buscaglia

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. – Oprah Winfrey

Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky. – Rainer Maria Rilke

One year ago today, I met Erica at a small restaurant in Newport, RI. One week prior to that I had thrown out my dating fishing line on Match.com. I received several promising contacts and set up four dates for that coming Saturday and Sunday.

My first date was for lunch on Saturday in North Kingstown. Sunday morning was a breakfast date in Newport. I then had to drive up to Providence for my lunch date and then back down to Newport for my dinner date which turned out to be Erica. I drove about 150 miles that day and had to use all my professional project management skills to make sure I was on time and prepared for each date (i.e. I had to review my notes to make sure I didn’t use the wrong name or misspoke a fact from their profile. :-) ) My niece asked me if having four dates with four different women in two days was legal.

Erica stood out from the other dates by a mile. We had a excellent dinner and then decided to go for coffee. After that we went to a movie. Our first date ended up being several hours long.

My relationship with Erica is different than all the rest. I find it much more relaxed and easy. We have many shared interests. We love to travel together. Our quirks don’t bother each other. We both love trying new things and having adventures. Since we are both independent, there is none of that needy “stuff” that some couples seem to be absorbed in.

One year later, I think back at how much we have shared and done together.

One year later, I can’t think of one regret.

One year later, we’re still enjoying the ride.

Do I know what tomorrow will bring? No. But, I do know what today will bring. That’s the most important point.

Erica, here’s to you! Let’s don’t stop having fun.

Michael

Reunions

Standing by the fountain at DIA – I found myself staring at family members as they greeted each other, and my smile got bigger and bigger as I watched.

One woman was making wild arching movements with her right arm.  A huge grin on her face, she was trying to get the attention of her husband and teenage son.  The son noticed, but in typical teenage style, said nothing.  She approached her husband from behind and startled him.  He blushed,  so happy to see her.  The teenager smiled wide as he hugged his mother.

Another woman was squatted down by the escalator (just a bit unusual for an airport).  A second later I heard “Mommy, Mommy” as a small blonde girl vaulted herself into her mother’s arms, followed by her equally tiny sister and a slightly harrassed father.  Their laughter was infectious.

In the next minute Kay start motioning to me.  Left?  Right?  I point right and we gallop  to meet, not having seen each other in over a year.  I love reunions.  The aniticipation, the emotions, the joy and laughter.

Namaste’

Flo

Frank Warren

People tell Frank Warren their secrets.  All Frank does is ask for them.  Frank has been collecting secrets for the past four years and to date, has collected more than 200,000.

On April 26, I wrote of going to hear Frank, the author of four PostSecret books. Listening to him speak about PostSecret and meeting him afterward showed me how big his heart is.  It showed me how genuinely serious he is about collecting secrets and “protecting” them.  You might think the word “protecting” doesn’t apply, after all he has published four books and posts 20 postcards on his PostSecret.com website weekly ( 20 of approx. 1,000). By protecting, I mean he doesn’t allow himself to be in situations where the secrets or the process can be ridiculed, for instance he choose not to be interviewed on the David Letterman show, for that very reason.

Think about your secrets.  It can be a difficult thing to do, particularly if you consider yourself to be honest, forthright, honest, direct, and again, honest.  We all carry stories with us, memories of humiliation from grade school, embarrassing moments, and then our more serious and even debilitating secrets.  By simply sending him a postcard, Frank gives everyone an opportunity to voice those secrets, create momentum that moves a person in the direction of healing.

The presentation ended with the lights dimmed and Frank giving audience members the opportunity to share their secrets.  I sat there thinking “there is no way anyone would do that” and was I wrong.  Often heartbreaking and sometimes hysterically humorous, the audience members bravely shared their secrets with us.  While getting my books signed, I tried to thank Frank for all he has done.  My guess is, he hears this all the time.  I think I’ll tell him in a postcard.

Namaste’

Basset babies…

The title – it’s the name we called Homer basset and Abbygail basset, the day we brought Homer home.  Tim asked me what we’d call them when they grew up and I’m sure I made some flip or sarcastic response.  The thing is, over 11 years later they are still the “basset babies” or “the babies”.  (It’s a good thing we didn’t ever have children – we’d have never let them grow up.)

Today, Homer is in the hospital.  He is in Denver and is likely to undergo surgery on Thursday.  I don’t handle this very well.  Married to a veterinarian, I am used to being able to be there the whole time, watching and observing, holding and hugging immediately following any procedure.  That is not the case this time.  It is hard for me, really hard.  There is some invisible sense of control that goes along with just being there and none of that is there right now. 

I am aware I am upset about something in the future and not right now, but that’s the case.  Homer isn’t sleeping at home and Wally basset wanders around looking for him. My feelings for Homer are immense, full, gigantic and enormous.  My love for all the creatures we share our lives with is like that.  Nothing much bigger exists.

In my head, I realize that there isn’t alot I can do – I can think positive and optimistic thoughts; I can project that he will be running around the yard in 6-8 weeks. In the meantime, my heart aches.

Flo

Let me be honest…

When friends stop being frank and useful to each other,” wrote literary critic Anatole Broyard, “the whole world loses some of its radiance.” Make sure that doesn’t happen any time soon, Gemini. In fact, regard this horoscope as a warning beacon that motivates you to action. Intensify your intention to keep your best alliances frank and useful. Infuse a dose of raw candor into any relationship that is in danger of becoming lazy or dishonest.                                                             –Rob Brezsny

This isn’t the first time (nor is it likely to be the last) that I’ve written or noted Rob Brezsny’s words in my blog.  However, this week I find his words provoke alot of thought and go along with how I’ve been thinking for some time.  Things like the need to be honest in relationships and the need for others to be honest with me.  For the most part I keep myself out-of-the-line-of-fire, not being “called” on my actions-words-behaviors too often.  That doesn’t remove me from being a person that needs that in her life, that accountability, and I hope those who know me and love me clearly understand that is something I expect from them.  It should be reciprocal, not one sided.  Just the idea of it feels so freeing, yet I wonder how many of us allow for this in our lives?

It’s not an invitation to be broken down or trod upon, it’s the willingness to continue being human.  To be made aware of when I trip up or wander, which may cause hurt or pain for others.  In some ways it feels rather freeing.

Namaste’ 

3:00 A.M.

I was awakened this morning by a soft “Are you awake?” My body was saying no, but my mouth said yes. Erica was awake and couldn’t go back to sleep. It was important to give my support in her moment of insomnia.

She had fallen asleep around 8:30 p.m. and I had fallen asleep at 11:30 p.m. Given that, I would have expected myself to be quite tired and groggy. Surprisingly I was wide awake in moments. I think she was surprised also.

Normally, Erica watches television or reads a little to help her return to unconsciousness. But, tonight we were away from her house and staying at my parents. Her normal methods were not available. Knowing that, I chatted (quite coherently I might add) for over 30 minutes until she was sleepy again.

I enjoy these moments of intimate conversation. They are important for growth in relationships and help to increase the bonds of intimacy. Plus I was able to be the first to tell her Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday Erica! I hope this day was as special as you.

Michael