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We are family!

Back in the late 70's,  (1979 to be exact) the song "We are Family" was released by the American vocal group, Sister Sledge.  This time frame was when I was in my early 20's.  Fast forward XXX amount of years, and this song is still VERY popular today.  It's the best theme song for ALL families.

This was about the time us five kids were coming (or had already arrived) at the legal age that allowed us to go to clubs.  For those of you from Topeka, who remembers "The Old Way Station"? This was our first go-to club for music and adult beverages.  I am certain my brother-in-law remembers this old haunt since Erik, Lori and I took him for a night out when we first met him.  Both Katy and Tony were in the Air Force and Tony braved the first family intro meeting alone. Apparently we should have told him what happens in Topeka, stays in Topeka.  Yes, I got a call from mom the next day that started out "I hope you kids are proud of yourselves...."  Eno…
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I believe it has arrived!

Middlescence.  It historically has been defined asthe middle-age period of life, especially when considered a difficult time of self-doubt and readjustment.  Wow.  What a Debbie Downer description of aging.  

If you would have asked me at 20 what middle age looked like, I am sure I would have said "oh, anytime after 40". I think I increased it by 10 years by the time I hit 30, but as it turns out, I didn't realize it arrives when things basically go to hell.

Happily, we all know that times, they are a changing.  And how we look at getting old(er) is much more optimistic.  Some people now define middlescence as the second adolescence. (WHOOHOO)

As evidenced, at 60, I haven't slowed down at all (well, not much).  In fact, it is safe to say that I am enjoying more adventure with less fear, than at any time in my life.  No difficult time of self-doubt and readjustment going on here.

This past year I have zip-lined (first time), skied (first time in 35 years), jet skied (firs…

Don't ask me that!

I am sure you have all heard that popular saying "there are no stupid questions".  When it comes to meetings, (which I love to hate), I beg to differ.  Despite the very nature of meetings, there are some questions that should NEVER be asked.

Meetings make up a major part of my day.  It is not uncommon for me to have back to back meetings all day.  Once a meeting is on my calendar, that time is reserved for whatever topic that needs to be discussed.  I like the idea and structure of meetings.  Yet I find myself often disappointed.

Here is a typical scenario.  Let's say a meeting with seven people  (as shown on my calendar) is from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.  Based on response, everyone is attending.  What this means to me:  I arrive a few minutes early and get settled, so the meeting may promptly start at 10.

What this means to 2 or 3 others:  Show up whenever it's convenient.

What this means to 1 person - With no notice, don't show up at all (keep them guessing).

Too many words

Recently, I have been on a committee that is reviewing old guidelines, handbooks, etc. and there is one thing that became crystal clear right away.  When comparing what we have (or don't have) to other agency's, we tend to go all or nothing.  Meaning, 50 million words to describe a process, or none at all.  Sigh.
Unfortunately, the same holds true for meetings.  Have you ever noticed how much is said at a meeting that is unnecessary?  Out of context?  Repetitive?  Repetitive?  Repetitive?
Seriously, some meetings sound like this?  Participant:  "I think the sky is blue".  Me:  "I understand what you are saying, but if you look out the window, today it is purple".  Participant:  Okay, I think the sky is blue".  Not. kidding.  There are times when no matter what is said, one (or more) people will have the same answer for every comment.  WHY????
I will tell you why.  Listening is optional.  If you don't listen, you don't have to change your tune.�…

Excuses, Excuses

Have you ever noticed it seems we live in a world of excuses?

Starting as a kid, we quickly learn the necessity (value) of a good excuse.  First, our parents (and other adults who love us) make excuses for us.  The screaming toddler in the grocery store - she missed her nap.  The quick reflex grab of a toy from another child - he doesn't like to share.

It all starts out simple enough.  And then as kids, we learned from the best, the value of just the right excuse.

Sometimes kids don't always get the excuse right.  When I was very young, my mom came in when my brother and I were both crying.  When asked what was wrong (basically who did what) I quickly got the first words in "he hit me...back".  Sigh

And all these excuses have led to the demise of a sincere apology.  I am so sorry but it wasn't my fault.  What does fault have to do with an apology?  Is fault the sole factor?  I think not.  Sometimes our behavior has unintended consequences and we need to own tha…

You can't have the cake!

When us five kids were growing up, there were many times we wished we could have something.  Rather than use the rather crude saying of "Put out both hands and wish with one and poop in the other.  See which one fills up first", we had a little saying.  I don't know where we got this saying, but I have used it on my kids and I still use it today.

You can see the cake, you can want the cake, but you can't have the cake!

No, this is not just about the food category, cake.  Though I am certain there were times when it did involve something as simple as dessert.  We liked to say this line to our siblings, complete with different accents, squeaky voices, hand gestures...whatever drama seemed applicable for the situation. That way, every time we said it, it was like the first time we came up with it.  And you can use this saying for just about any situation.

Next time someone starts with "I wish...." (and you know with absolute certainty that whatever is being w…

All these books, so little time....

Wow!  I am just coming off a 10 day vacation and I had the best time.  What goes perfect with long days at the lake (or pool)?  Late nights and lazy days?  You got it - reading.

I have loved to read for as long as I can remember.  When I was growing up, we had a bookmobile that came once a week during the summer, parked in the local grocery store lot.  I would walk the four blocks every week - with the first week signing up to read 25 books over the summer.  Nothing electronic then.  We signed up (really, on paper with a signature) and were give a list that was numbered one through twenty-five.  The only thing I could fill out immediately was my name and grade.  Then I got to reading.

Through fifth grade, one of my favorite times of the school day was right after lunch.  We would all file in and take our seats, and then our teacher would read aloud to us for 15 minutes or so.  (It depended on how long the chapter was).  I distinctly remember in 5th grade, I was so interested in the bo…