Monthly Archives: May 2011

Please Stop Asking Me

My May Resolution: DON’T THINK TOO MUCH.  Relax.  Enjoy Life.  Give yourself at least another 17 days to unwind before you try to figure it all out.

There’s only one problem.


Please, I beg of you.  Stop asking me.  I can’t take it.  I try to answer, but then I get stressed out that I don’t know the answer.  But when you ask me, YOU MAKE ME THINK.

SO, To facilitate the elimination of this conversation from my life (for at least another 17 days), I am providing answers to those frequently asked below.

Q: What are you going to do now that you have a master’s degree?

A: My job.

Q: But you have all this extra time now?  How will you fill it?

A: My job.  Oh, and hiking a LOT MORE.

Q: Will you get a big raise?


Q: Not anything at all?

A: No, really.  No raise.

Q: But what about that non-profit cooking class for women on food stamps you want to start?

A: Yes, that’s there in the back of my mind.  Ask me about it in June.  or maybe July.

Q: Won’t you be bored?

A: No.

Q: You could go anywhere now, couldn’t you?

A: Yes.  Please, PLEASE, PUH-LEEEEZE shut up.

Let me make it clear that I love you all for caring.  For your support and excitement about this accomplishment.  But my resolution is to relax, remember?  This is NOT HELPING.

To make this easier, here is a recommended set of ALTERNATIVE questions I encourage you to ask me as well as the answers you can expect from me.

Q: Want to go on a hike?
A: Yes, I’ll meet you in 10 minutes.

Q: Can I come for a visit?
A: I’d love that! As long as we don’t talk about what I’m going to do next!

Q: What are you having for dinner?
A: Something awesome, want to join me?

Q: Want to go out for a drink?
A: Yes!

Q: Want to walk your dog?
A: Yes!

Q: Want to help me paint/clean/shop/cook/take care of kids?
A: Sign me up!

Q: Where is the beer?
A:  In the basement.

Thank you for your cooperation.



Filed under Alcohol, Relaxing, Resolutions, The Meaning of Life

No more thinking!

I am happy to report that my wardrobe selections for last week worked perfectly.  I used everything I packed and successfully managed a trip which included work, vacation, five different cities, and three different suitcases, and about nine different dress codes.

Seriously, what IS the difference between ‘semi-casual,’ ‘business-casual,’ ‘outdoor-casual,’ and ‘country-club-casual,” WHAT ?

As of yesterday  I am back at home – not refreshed really – but rejuvenated a bit and excited about finishing my coursework (tonight), a graduation party (this weekend) and graduation itself (next weekend).

They call graduation “commencement” here, of course because it’s a ceremony primarily for undergraduates and because it’s supposed to mark ‘a beginning.’  I can’t quite get my head around the beginning that is in front of me – perhaps because I feel more like I am in the middle of my story.  Either way, this is a logical time for me to think about my life, my career, my goals, and my next steps.

And so I am.  Thinking that is.  DANGEROUS.
It feels like I should be pondering my biggest resolution yet.

Truthfully, I never really figured out what I was supposed to do with my life.

I got married, which made me happy for a long time.  I found a job I liked and made a career out of it, almost by accident.  I focused on working to support my husband’s dreams because I never figured out what mine were.  Now divorced, I find myself happy with my location, my work, and my life in general.  I never planned on this path, but I’m on it and content.

Part of me feels that I should be looking for something more – perhaps just because I’ve never asked myself the big questions.

* What do I want to do with my life?
* What legacy should I leave?
* How can I make the most of the time I have?

Part of me feels I should just be relaxing and enjoying the time ahead.  Summer.  My porch.  Friends.  My Dog.

The juxtaposition of these  forces (what’s next?  vs. just relax!) sums me up right now.  I’m thinking ALL THE TIME about the future, the world, my values, my options.  It’s EXHAUSTING.

And I don’t want to do it any more.

So, 11 days into the month, here is my resolution.  I am going to stop thinking about this stuff.  For the next 20 days.  I am going to give myself a break from big ideas, life goals, and what if’s.  I’m just going to be.

Or at least, I’m going to try.

So, if you’re in the area, come join me on the porch for a drink and a visit.  I’ll be hanging around, NOT thinking about what’s next, but focusing on what’s in front of me right now.

A gin-and-tonic.

(P.S. I’m noticing a theme here.)

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Filed under Alcohol, Life, Resolutions, The Meaning of Life

Hi, Ho the First of May

When my brother and his fiance (now his wife of 17 years) selected May 1st for their wedding day, my parents simultaneously (and cheerfully) recited a rhyme from their college days.

“Hi, ho the first of May
Outdoor …. starts today!”

This the first time I had ever heard my mother utter that vulgar (her emphasis) word and I was shocked.  Totally, and completely shocked.

But in my family there is a song or a rhyme for everything, and this was no different.

I was pleasantly reminded of this memory last night when I gathered with my brother and his family, my parents, and one of my Godmothers (yes, I have two, and they did an excellent job in spite of the fact that I am now an Atheist).  My mother started with the traditional family anniversary song (I wasn’t kidding – song. for. everything.) and then both parents started to quip

“Hi, ho the first of May…”

But as my nieces (15 and 12) were in the room, they stopped there.  Apparently you have to be 23 before my mother will say that word in front of you.

The beautiful day and relaxing evening were enough to convince me that Spring is, indeed, here.  In spite of the very cold weather, the flowering tress are in beautiful, spectacular bloom and May has finally arrived.

So I need a new resolution.

Yes, I’ve finished my thesis.  And I will submit my last ever graduate paper by the middle of next week.   So no new goals related to school (yay!).   I need something else.  I have some top contenders, but I’m a bit stymied by my next eight days.

They look something like this:

South Carolina, South Carolina, South Carolina, Philadelphia, Ocean City (NJ), Vineland (NJ), Philadelphia, Lancaster, DC, Lancaster, HOME.

The packing enterprise for this trip included three separate suitcases and four different types of something-casual (semi-casual, business-casual, outdoor-casual, and club-casual) attire.  (NOTE: I had to call a friend for advice on which of the outfits I have that fit me right now (ahem, thesis weight) actually meet the various criteria of these dress-codes.  Pray for me.)

So, while I could just make my May resolution about being dressed appropriately for the next eight days, since it will certainly be hard enough for me, I would like to come up with something more meaningful or fun than that.

At present, the contenders are:

* Walk my dog every day.
I need to enjoy her while I can and we could both use the fresh air.

* Decide what trees/plants to add to the yard.
I keep talking about adding dogwoods and hydrangeas, but not doing it.

* Research and plan hikes and camping trips for the summer.
If they are planned, they are more likely to happen.

* Do a home inventory, schedule repairs and update my insurance.
This is something I need to do, but it may just be too responsible for the first month after I finished my thesis.

Which one will I choose?  Probably none of these.  It seems that my pattern is that I lean towards three to four top choices until the last-minute when I pick something completely different.  And yes, I realize May has already begun, thank you very much.  This is relaxed Shelby, here.  The one who embraces the moment, goes with the flow, and does NOT get stressed about schedules and things like CALENDARS.

Shortly, assuming I haven’t died of embarrassment because I incorrectly wore close-toed heels to an outdoor casual event, I will let you all know what I’ve chosen.

Until then, have a gin-and-tonic for me.  I’m going to need it.

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Filed under Alcohol, Family, Resolutions