Perhaps a quick recap and explanation


I have been so excited to receive, read and share stories from family and friends that I fear I haven’ t provided adequate set up and explanation.

I have been told that others gain some level of inspiration from my stories.  I can only hope that any challenges/triumphs (the experiences, not the motorcycles) that have fallen my way can at the very least can turn into something for others too.

I know that I am not alone with my stories and wanted to provide a platform for many to share insights and accomplishments.  It started with a brief request to a few (for starters) others who inspire me.  I provided a list of possible questions:

Your name: Where are you from? What’s your occupation? Name two experiences (one positive, one challenging) that made you who you are today. What keeps you putting one foot in front of the other each day? What do You believe is the meaning of life? Favorite quote, or words to live by?
 Many of you have been able to have access to the beauty of stories shared thus far.  I would like to extend an invitation to all of you to consider sharing a part of your life and legacy.  Use the provided questions or listen to your own inner poet and email your story to coachkim017@gmail.comcoachkim017@gmail.com  
I would love to read your words!
Kim
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What started as an idea to engage readers…


has resulted in multitudes of blessings for me.  I am presented with the gift of unwrapping personal, heartfelt, unabashedly brave narratives and chronicles that my unbelievable friends have chosen to provide.  I have concluded that storytelling is one way to guarantee our immortality. I have stories of my parents, grandparents and I am lucky to have stories from great-grandparents that I have and will continue to share with my son and hopefully he with his own children creating oral and written documentation of all of our existences and impacts.  With each story that my friends have shared, a piece of all of our history remains.  Thank you all for trusting me with your personal history and legacies!  Now, introducing Barbara…

Kim asked me to give some thought to commenting on her blog… and I am humbled and quite frankly, astounded that she would think I have something of value to say to her readers.  I will let you judge for yourselves.

I was named Barbara Ann at birth (over 65 years ago, a big name in the 50s) and called Barby by my family – notice the spelling?  Then in 1958 the Barbie doll arrived and I decided to change my spelling, assuming folks would think of me as that lovely doll.  That worked fine until puberty when all pretense of looking like that early icon of womanhood was cast aside by one look in the mirror.  So I returned to Barby and carried on without a backward look.  Well, until the song, “Barbara Ann” which captivated my imagination for a bit; and of course, Barbra Streisand made another impact on my name spelling.  By the time I went to college, I had returned to just Barbara and often Barb (although I have never introduced myself by anything other than Barbara).

You are probably getting a sense of my vivid imagination – which shows up over and over and over almost every day – even now.  I am pretty sure I would have been the poster child for ADHD in the 1950s and 60s, had there been such a thing.  Instead, I was labeled as lively, imaginative, chatty and somewhat of a rascal.  To this day, my 94 year old Dad feels quilty and says, “Oh Barby, we spanked you so often”… which has no merit as far as I am concerned since I always knew there were consequences for any behavior, and accepted the simple swats on my fanny as the price to pay for my miscreant maneuverings.

By the way, I spent the first 15 years of my life in York, Pennsylvania, as the middle daughter of a “Leave It to Beaver” type of family.  My baby brother came along when I was a teenager.  My Mother and Dad were (and still are) loving, kind, family centered and deeply caring people.  Our household was filled with good times, firm expectations, fair rules and the aforementioned consequences, both good and not so good.

We were all expected to be good examples of fairness, honesty, and good character…. And despite our various attempts at stepping over the line, I can truly say my parents did a wonderful job of showing us all how to live that way.  The prevailing ideals in our home were shown to us everyday in every way.  I am very grateful for that as it set a standard for my life that I continue to try to maintain.

Both my parents lived a life of service to others – not in the “get-a-plaque-with-your-name-on-it” kind of way, but in the simple everyday things they do to make a little impact on those around them.  My Dad has never walked through a shopping center without going out of his way to return an abandoned cart to its rightful place. My mother will stoop to pick up a piece of trash anywhere she spots it. Once when my Dad noticed that a young woman with an infant having to take her baby in the car without a proper car seat, he purchased one for her – no strings attached.  I saw these selfless actions as the routine way to live one’s life.  The rewards of these small actions are endless… a personal natural anti-depressant that changes one’s world view.

Early on I decided to become a teacher.  I LOVED school and especially my special seat beside the teacher in almost every grade right through middle school.   I even got to correct the spelling tests with my own red pencil.  It struck me one day as I was teaching in my own elementary classroom, that my “special” seat and attention from all those teachers had a reason – keep the rascal occupied.  Those many teachers corralled my interest and energy in a very loving way.  I was a pretty good student – until hormones and high school had to fight for my scattered attentions.

College was a fun-filled experience with all the opportunities to try to fail or try to succeed.  I was a pretty tame co-ed, especially by the standards of the 1970s.  The Age of Aquarius was mostly just a song for me, but I did have some striped bell bottom pants that would make Cher proud.

I met my husband of 45 years while in college and although I probably chose him for all the wrong reasons (tall, handsome, football player, smooth talker), I must have felt his deeper value unconsciously.  Phew!  I witness the same spirit of giving in him that I hold so dear. Our two daughters are the most precious gift I have ever received – and like every mother, I have no way to express just how deeply they have enriched my life and continue to do so. I am one lucky girl.

So by now you must be rolling your eyes and be ready to quit this blah, blah, blah…  Please don’t give up yet.  I have just described the most positive experience of my life – a loving, caring, family who laid a great foundation for decision making and attitude adjustment, a love of helping and teaching, and striving to do better.

Now to address the challenges of my life, and how those experiences test me.

As you may have figured, my family is the most important thing in my life.  Leaving them behind was and is the most challenging thing that I have ever done.  Through the course of my adult life, with the exception of my husband, I have physically moved many times, always farther and farther away from all of my family.   Parents (both still living), sisters, brother, daughters, grand daughters and life long friends are all scattered by life’s wayside, all held dear in my heart and not nearly often enough in my arms.  The emptiness left inside me is a challenge to fill.

With each change in my location, came the challenge to find a new fit, a new way to connect and fill my life with meaning.  It was and continues to be a struggle for me.

Over the years, I have learned to fill the longing for the connection to my dearest ones with service to others.  Finding ways to be positive, to teach and share with others in my life.  In my career(s) – remember, we moved many times – I always sought positions that allowed me to teach and serve others.  I found personal fulfillment as a classroom teacher, a library assistant, a card shop worker, a preschool teacher, a bank teller, an assembly line worker, a bank loan officer, a technology teacher, a corporate trainer, a hospital volunteer, and more.  In every capacity, I found that the people I worked with and the people I served filled my desire for connections and meaning.

Professionally and personally, I strive to make a positive impact on everyone that I meet.  In my experience, looking for ways to make a positive impact is simple… I talk to everyone, I listen to others, I try to find a way to bring a smile or a helping hand and of course, I look for that abandoned shopping cart and return it to the store!

Do I sound like Mary Poppins?  Hardly.  Inside I am often grumpy and sad, but I do find that helping others to be happier rebounds back to me many-fold.

Admittedly, I have had a very lucky life… at least on the surface.  But that luck is earned, not given freely.  I firmly believe that consciously looking for the good and positive things in everyday life will show you that it is all around you.

I think the idea “You will find what you are looking for” perfectly explains how one can choose a path.  If you are looking for the bad, it is all around you – and conversely, looking for the good reveals an abundance of that, too.  If you search for the little ways to make a difference for someone else you will be happier for it.  Look that cashier in the eye and say hello, ask a question about someone’s life and listen to the answer, pick up some trash, pay for the next person’s donut, tell that stranger that they have some toilet paper on their shoe (or just step on it for them – I did that today and it cracked me up!)…you get the idea.

Choose for yourself, every day, every time, with every action and when you find that your view is becoming clouded with despair, dig deeper and look harder.  Change your attitude and direction.  It is your choice – always.

One of my favorite quotes – which exemplifies this idea is from Maya Angelou

“If you walk up a path and you look ahead and you don’t like where you’re going, and you look back and you don’t want to return, step off the path. Pick yourself a brand new road.”

The challenge for me and what keeps me moving forward each day, is finding the good, the kind, the positive in all that I do.

If I have to choose just one sentence of words to live by… again Maya Angelou sums it up nicely.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

For dear Kim, you (her readers) and myself, I hope our challenges are few and will be overwhelmed by positive thoughts and actions as we look for the good and ways to share it.

 

Introducing next…..


Introducing MaryAnne Moore Scherer, certified nurse midwife, former middle/high school science teacher and a badass friend who kept me fixed with Starbucks when I was hospitalized.  (She saved a lot of lives for sure).  Like many of my friends, she inspires me and makes me grateful to be in the world.

Me:  Positive/defining moment in your life?

MaryAnne:  My positive and challenging life changing event is really captured in one moment. Ray’s birth changed my life. I was horribly mis-managed during my labor and delivery which led me out of the classroom and into midwifery school. I went through postpartum depression, anxiety, and a massive panic attack in the classroom about two years after he was born (undiagnosed postpartum depression/anxiety), left teaching, and decided to pursue this career (that could be an entire other blog in itself). Although his birth and the first few years were extremely challenging- did I mention that my father was hospitalized for major dementia when Ray was 4 months old and died 5 years later–being his mom has made me a better human than I ever would have been without him.

 

Me:  What’s the meaning of life in your opinion?

 

MaryAnne:  The meaning of life—- I think you make the best of out the random chaos in the universe that is thrown your way. Be kind to others (even if they are asshats to you–there is usually a reason why) and choose your family wisely.

 

Me:  What keeps you moving forward?

MaryAnne:  what keeps me breathing in and out? It seems really cliche, but it is that kid of mine. I want him to be a more well-adjusted person than I was/am— and I want to see how that all plays out. Also- I am really stubborn, so I just keep fighting since it is in my nature.

Thank you MaryAnne.  For agreeing to this project, for sharing openly what I know was painful.  Thank you for your friendship and for providing me with Kleenex when I could not stop weeping for joy, for pride and the impending unknown on 8th grade completion night.  Thank you eternally for your gifts of Starbucks!!!

 

Introducing……


I thought it might be interesting to share the perspectives of some of my friends and readers.  I want to inspire and I have decided to lean on some other experience and wisdom.

I would like to introduce guest blogger Millie who inspires me by impacting people with her passion.  I know her courageous honesty will change many lives.  Introducing Millie:

Hi, All. I am a Tennessee girl living in Mississippi. (Hey ya’ll!) I am an accountant. (Lord, help me) It is how I pay my bills. I have two teenagers (Lord, help me) a boy and a girl. One is a boy scout and the other is a cheerleader. I’ll let you decide which is which. As a hobby, I am a newly certified Harley Davidson Rider Coach. It is how I give back and how I find purpose these days.

I fell in love at an early age and married at nineteen. My passionate and selfless nature was used against me and led to a breakdown of personal boundaries. Boundaries that should have protected my soul were overrun, deemed contrary and outright sinful to our union of marriage.

Over-time my husband weakened me, molded me and changed me repeatedly. I never knew where I stood with him. I only knew he stood a head taller than I ever would. I could never measure up. I could not be perfect enough. My voice had no value to him. He was controlling of all aspects of our life, treated me like a child, was manipulative with his affection, and used isolation and religious doctrine to keep me in check. I blamed myself.

A little less than two years ago, I came very close to taking my own life. I thought the world would be a better place without me. I thought my children would be better off without me.

I got help. Thank, God. Many suffering from depression feel that they are meant to suffer alone. Don’t, don’t be afraid to ask for help. With much counseling and self-evaluation, I began to understand that I had been a victim of abuse. The spirited little girl inside of me had been silenced too long. I came out of that breakdown to declare, “No More!”

I separated from my husband of twenty-one years and began the long trek of healing. Six months after the breakdown, I was maintaining my health but I was not healing, yet. It was as if I had died. Which really, I had. Life had broken me and the pieces were not going to be put back the same way. I still grieved for the little girl inside. She was no longer silenced but she was struggling to find her voice. This was when a girlfriend asked me to take the Harley Academy Basic Rider Course with her. I thought, “Yeah, that will be fun,” and agreed to go.

The first night of the class the instructors asked the students, “Why are you here?” When it was my turn to answer, I said, “I’m just here for her,” and motioned to my friend. The instructors could have discounted me then and there. They could have rolled their eyes and thought to each other, “This one will be the first to wash out.” But they didn’t. They treated me with dignity and respect while challenging me to excel. I pulled up my big girl panties and finished the class with a feeling of confidence and positive self-worth that I had not felt in a long time.

Upon completion of the class, my instructors encouraged me to pursue rider coach training. I remember laughing. When they asked why I was laughing, I told them, “My daughter asked me before this class if I was going to buy a motorcycle and I told her, ‘No, baby. I’m just going with Ginger so she will not have to take the class alone.” I paused, still smiling, and said to them, “I guess I need to buy a motorcycle.”

A few months passed until I saved up enough money to purchase my first motorcycle. And Oh, can I tell you, it was pure freedom! The little blond accountant was riding a Harley. The Vance and Hines pipes announced my entrance at work before I even made it in the parking lot.

Eight months later, I completed the MSF basic rider skills coach training. One year from the time of my own basic rider skills course, I completed the Harley Rider Academy Coach training. I also reached a personal milestone by riding my bike to the Harley training in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was a nineteen-hundred-mile round trip. I made the trip alone.

Up to this point, I think what made me put one foot in front of the other each day was anger. Yeah, after twenty-one years of changing who I was to be loved, only to find out there was nothing wrong with me in the first place, made me a little pissed (just saying). Please understand: The anger, which helped me build walls against further hurt might keep out the bad but, unfortunately, it also keeps out the good. Anger was a coping mechanism that worked for me but is unhealthy if carried long term.

I have always been a compassionate person; putting others before myself. Many would consider this a weakness and the source of my abuse. Yes, it was used against me as a measure of control but I have learned that what the world calls weak is truly my strength. Now that I understand personal boundaries are healthy and necessary, I can use my compassionate nature to its fullest.

Coaching for me is not just about helping people learn basic motorcycle riding skills but is more about helping the student build confidence in themselves. I do not take this lightly. Some that come to a class are, as I was, at a life changing point.

My healing is ongoing. I have days when the past will not let me alone and I struggle to even get out of the bed. My early coping mechanism of anger turned to bitterness. (Still trying to nip that one and I am succeeding for the most part.)

I have started a blog, ImJustHereforHer.com, where I share more of my ongoing story. If you are or know of someone who is a victim of this type of abuse, take heart. God has shown me that His promises are real. There is beauty from ashes. There is joy after mourning. There is peace, wonderful peace to all who seek it. He does not allow pain without causing something new to be born. And God’s love for us is true and pure and without blemish.

Friends who know what I have been through have called me courageous. If being courageous means I was pushed off the cliff’s edge but then, I found my wings then, yes, I guess I am.

Don’t have a good Day…


Have a day that makes a difference.  I have been caught in the whirlwind of the experience I refer to as my life.  I’m not good with rollercoasters (as some of you may recall from my un-released would have been chart buster “Rollercoaster”) and yet I find myself, not unlike all of us, caught in the ups and downs of life.  The last month has been jammed with trainings in which I was the one trying to stretch others to realize their impact on the world to trainings in which I am the stretched.  I have not been this exhausted physically and mentally since…well, since my last day of school.  I happen to love it!  Except for the part where I have no time (I mean zero) to do the things which recharge me.  I have not thought more than briefly about my blog, I haven’t sat under the stars, I’ve not been camping for weeks (I promised this would be my summer of only tents) and writing this tonight, being awake after 9:00 is a luxury.

But I needed to write and remind myself, and you who read my intellectual puke, that, WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  Whether you teach, are a healer, drive trucks, or sell insurance.  Embrace your divinity and your force in the world.  We matter.  With all of the legitimized hate that has crept out from under the double-wides, goodness and compassion prevail.

My field trainer had me sobbing on Saturday, in a good way.  She saw past the mask I put on  to portray someone in control.  She appeared not to notice the elaborate armor that I wear to protect myself from possible harm.  This young, competent, confident old soul essentially called me out on my limiting beliefs.  She saw me.  It scared me.  What scared me was not that she called me out.  What scared me was the passion with which she cared enough to be brutally honest.  In an outwardly appearing boring job such as selling insurance, she reminded me this:  Absolutely everything we do is a chance to give love.  I am humbled by those people who have figured that secret out, especially the 20 somethings.  Maybe it’s not too late for us.

“There is magic everywhere all the time and when you’re having a hard time seeing it it’s usually because you’ve already decided that if it really was magic, it’d look like something else.”  Brian Andreas

Good night, give love in what you do.  Don’t have a nice day.  Have a day that makes a difference!  You can do it.  It’s why you are here.  Kim

I have seen this place before….I recognize it all to well


The beginning of a song I wrote a lifetime ago.

I have seen this place before, I recognize it all too well, standing on the edge of life I look into the depths of hell…No one here is gonna save me from my self…

I don’t know why this song has reared its head.  I think I wrote this about 25 years ago as I tried to figure out my course, my path, my true north.  I had just come out to the world (and to myself) and begun to realize the wonders of the world at my fingertips.  It’s still a little personal to share with my diverse group of friends and readers.  Suffice to say, I felt alive but scared shitless.  I knew  then that my life (as I knew it) was destined to be changed forever.  I want to reach back to that younger self and say, don’t sweat the small stuff, and remember, it’s all small…except for the big stuff.  But that will be too obvious to miss.

So the song was about facing fears, (about the small stuff) and embracing imperfections which, as it turns out, are imperfectly perfect.

So I sit here tonight, in early August, without the angst of impending back to school too early doom.   Dreading the end of summer and returning to school only to get older and become a teacher…that irony is not lost on me.  As I walked away from my (short in comparison to many) teaching career last spring/early summer, I have only briefly experienced regret when paying full price for my prescriptions necessary to prevent further possible strokes.  Beyond that I have mostly been living joyfully.

Part of that joy rests fully on the unbelievable opportunity to consult for Harley-Davidson as a trainer.  I am humbly cognizant of the fact that I get to do what I do purely as a result of being at the right place at the right time.  I refuse to diminish my further my skills as a facilitator however.  I may have lucked into the opportunity but my abilities and talents kept me moving forward.  In either case, I am humbly grateful that I get to travel the country, meeting new people, seeing new places, and creating ripples in the lives of others and in the world.  Very grateful.

This past weekend, as I sat in airports waiting for connecting flights and rehashing the last days of training, I realized for the 155th time (give or take a hundred) that I was living a fantasy life where I get to see the world (okay, I’ll count the flatlands of Indian) and stay in great hotels, eat outstanding meals on someone else’s dime.  And there are hundreds lined up to take my place.  Not today suckers!!!

There are other things I realize too.  When I first started training, I would be consumed by sadness when the trainings were over.   I know now that I fell in love with the people I met, over and over and saying goodbye was hard.  I still fall in love with people.  Not romantically (in general) but platonically in love because we’re living the same experience.  I have learned to embrace the sweetness of the leaving though.  I know I will see my tribe again, and if I don’t,  it wasn’t meant to continue.  How can I explain the shared journey?  If you have experienced this personally, I don’t need to explain.  There are fellow travelers that come in and out of our lives.  Some will stay longer than others.  The length of time we travel together is not as important as the experiences shared along the way.

Perhaps I am missing the company of my Kiehl’s family.  Even as I write this they are riding as a family through the mid section of the country, raising money and holy hell no doubt.  The Universe gifted me with the chance to become as one with people I would otherwise not ever have broken bread with.  Of course, me being me, I fell in love with all of this group of marvelous people out to rid the world of bad.  I love them still and have pangs of sorrow and envy as they spend sacred time together on another ride through life.  Yet I am with them as they have been with me despite separation of time and distance.   And I confess unabashedly, I have loved.

Most likely my current melancholy is rooted in feeling as if I have missed out on loving as of late.  That, my reader/friends, is a blatant lie.  I continue to fall in love with the souls I meet, the strangers I cross paths with, and that love encourages me, sustains me and, tonight, as I sit pondering the vastness of it all (philosophical over achiever that I am) I want nothing more than to reach out and love more.

I thank the universe that love rather than dread is what I contemplate on this beautiful late summer night, the cacophony of summer resonating around me.  I am not going back to school!!!  I can embrace the onset of fall and the impending changing of seasons.  I can anticipate, enjoy and slide happily into the next season.

No one here has got to save me from myself.

Caution. Pondering ahead.


I

 I don’t know completely what it is, but being back home around family has made me ponder the totality of my life.  I am starting to feel old.  I swore I’d handle getting older with dignity and calm.  I didn’t think it would happen overnight!

I wonder if I’ve done enough so far.  I try to predict what my regrets will be so that I can reduce their numbers.  The ones I can’t change:  Taking so long to know my authentic self, but I’m glad I got there at all.  Avoiding risk and vulnerability, thinking I could prevent heartbreak, failure and disappointment.  Taking serious things more seriously and the little things less.  Dance more freely, without being so concerned about how I looked.  For that matter, be concerned much less about how others may have or did view me.  Like many folks in the last half of life, I wish I knew when I was younger whatI know now.  Well, not all of it.  

When I write these blogs, I know, and am humbled, that many people read them.  I have family, close friends and complete strangers who read this mental upchuck.  I regret that I didn’t start writing earlier but I suspect my songs and music filled that void up until the stroke.  I know that all that I am is a result of all I have and have not been.  Had I done things differently, I would be a different version of myself.  That’s hard to get my damaged brain around.  When I start to feel sad, I try to breathe it in, knowing it will become me in a more complete way.

If there were a “How to” manual for life, I bet it would be much simpler than we think.

Rule #1:     BE THERE.   In everything.  Look around.  Breath it in.  Thank whatever higher power you believe in for the chance.  The chance to live it and be a part.

Rule#2:      Don’t worry so much about Why.  Spend time on the How and live.   The Why may come.  Or maybe it won’t.  Or maybe, you get to see slight glimpse now and again.  Like seeing something in your peripheral but when you turn to focus

on it, it’s not there.  Or if it’s there (it is), it blends in with everything else, making it impossible to see it alone, no matter how you focus or squint.  Perhaps those are the moments when we are given glimpses of Why but fail to recognize it is made up of many things, and is elusive and provocative so that we must refer back to rule Number 1.

Rule #3:       Make connections, with people, places, ideas (careful with that one) and invest in them.

Rule #4:       Make your OWN rules.  Then break them occasionally to remind yourself that rules keep us from taking risks.

Simple enough.    I know.  Living with reckless abandon is irresponsible.  It bothers the rule followers.  I think it scares them.  Or makes them envious, or guilty, or ashamed.  That’s okay because they have their own story.  You get to write your own. 

Once upon a time……..

And the Universe has spoken!


I refuse to back down.  It’s a strength.  It’s a flaw.  I’m grateful for both.  Challenges inspire me.

Lately I’ve heard from several people that I inspire them.  I am humbled.  But I am not super human or special.  We all have challenges.  We all handle them the best way we can.  I was reminded lately when I was poo pooing (I’m making up that word, yes) someone’s traumatic life.  Oh, you have a cold?  A hangnail? A bad day?  I had a Stroke!  But the reminder which was gently delivered poked me right in the self-righteous eye:  Everyone’s trauma is still trauma.  It’s not a competition.  Trauma without compassion for others is a lesson wasted.  And I hate to waste a good lesson!

But about challenges, and the point of this rambling:  It has not been an easy 3 years.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve had joy, I’ve had fun, but I’ve also lost many things with which I have used to define myself.

This is a hard post but I am counting on the unconditional love of my friends now.  The stroke, and the deep, dark abyss in which I was sucked took a toll.  I can admit this now.  Going through it I was much too proud.  I knew I was depressed.  I knew I felt hopeless most of the time, but not caring about feeling hopeless, twisted as that sounds, was a convenient coping method.  Convenient but not very productive.  Finances became my nemesis.  I couldn’t keep up, couldn’t bring myself to care.  The result was loss of my house and safe place.  As I started to crawl out of the abyss, I realized that losing the house meant losing the place where I could have my two dopey and terribly vicious dogs.  With wrecked credit and dangerous dogs, Finding a place to land is nearly impossible.  Not caring was easy but not productive.

Last summer, I returned temporarily to Pennsylvania to be with family and my dogs who have been graciously offered housing with my parents and my sister.  Louis “this-is-why” has stolen the hearts of my parents, while simultaneously stretching them (literally) with his pathetic (my fault) leash manners.  I realized that summer, despite years of insisting that, although I love my family, I don’t need to be in their backyard, I really do enjoy their company and love the east coast.  (That part I never denied)

Hang in there, we are getting there…..

The stroke showed me that life is precarious:  “Not securely held or in position; dangerously likely to fall or collapse., 1.1 Dependent on chance; uncertain.”  And still I woke up for years after, dreading my days, longing for weekends, summers, Friday nights.  While the longing brings sweetness of rewards of the time living fully, I fear we have it backwards.  We trudge through our days, putting in weeks, days, hours, minutes, waiting for the short periods of time when we will enjoy our freedom from captivity.  When I was not working, Fridays and weekends became like every other day, but now, they bring the ecstasy of reward for enduring the work week.

I’m not convinced.  I desire to live each day fully, not with dread or regret.  Alas, it has not been so for the last few years.  So I am inclined to change that.

After much thought and consideration, listening to my logical grown up self and my adventuring, daring soul, to my family, friends and other minglers…

I have decided to return to the land of my childhood, to the place where my birth family lives and thrives, the place my canine family now calls home, to the safety and security of familiar.

I have given it a good run at being a Midwesterner.  I have endured negative double digit temperatures in the winter, and that one day of summer.  I’ve acknowledged a football team that wears green and yellow (not yellow and black) and I’ve tried to acclimate to bubblers.  I’ve hung in there.  I have not embraced the Midwest as fully or as gracefully as I wished but it has given me more than I expected or perhaps deserve.

I am, for the first time in a long while, excited, encouraged, hopeful.  Shoofly pie and chicken Stolzfus  call me.  An ocean within a short drive.  A real ocean with the smell of salt, not smelt, and the sound of waves crashing, seagulls laughing (at the gulls that think the great lakes are big…)

Mountains and actual hills.  Uber drivers in horse drawn buggies.  The air thick with cow and pig shit nourishing the dark black earth that will grow the farm to table vegetables on every corner country block.

Yes, it is time.  My adventure is pawing at the gate like a thoroughbred on Derby day.

Let the Games begin!!!!  I am coming Life.  Save me a spot.  I refuse to back down!  I am Kim!!!!!

Any additional details can be found at coachkim017@gmail.com.  Did I mention that I love all of you?!!!

Stand up. Fall over. repeat.


As I struggle to get back my voice (figuratively), I have joined Toastmasters international. I have met some wonderful, terribly funny folks. The chapter I’ve joined focuses on humor so it’s a good fit. I am starting to gain confidence again. Enough so that I have decided to participate in a standup routine for our spring membership interest drive. I’ve been trying to decide how to proceed comedically. Typically I am just a spewer of random stuff that is sometimes perceived as funny. To have an actual monologue though is slightly more intimidating. I figure I will joke about a familiar humorous topic in my life, my stroke recovery. I started to jot down some ideas and got tripped up on the idea of stroke “survivor” . I know that it didn’t kill me (Sorry…spoiler alert) but the idea that I’m a survivor makes it sound like I won immunity voted someone else off the stroke island, and visited my dates’ hometowns. (Wrong reality show, whoops). If waking up each morning for the last three years and 1 month being pissed off at my brain failure is surviving, well, “guilty”. But there are more courageous folks out there who have experienced health scares and are the real survivors. I mean, think of all of those flu survivors. Badasses. And the mumps, measles, polio, malaria and all those other diseases easily prevented by vaccine unless science scares you, that have experienced a recent rebirth. You go, childhood illness survivors.
I am , in my head, not a survivor as much as a stubborn maintainer of status quo. Bite me stroke. I have the immunity idol and will continue walking and falling until it’s too much. I survive a bad attitude is all.
I’m not trying to be humble, I just don’t see that I have struggled much compared to many others.
I might still get my own survivor buff and form alliances with the hot women on the island. If you have come back from a really bad paper cut, I will vote your butt off of the island. That’s not surviving, that’s just dealing with life.
The finale will have me flown by helicopter to the studio where I’ll meet up with the other Team Stroke members and reminisce about the unfair challenges designed for the stable, balanced, two sided folks. Survivors or whiners? You be the judge.
This is what happens when I have too much time on my hands. perhaps it would be a funny stand up routine? Who knows. Stay posted for date and time of stroke survivor, coming to a city near you!

–Kim

Online dating observations


So, I decided to try the world of online dating.  I’m just gonna start off saying, “Wow”.  The desperation and low esteems.   It saddens me that we (especially women) are culturalized to believe we must be partnered to be successful or valid.  This, in my opinion, leads to some incredibly courageous (translate “desperate”) attempts to find love.  For some, it’s simply an attempt to find companionship, find some validation from total strangers.  At any rate, online dating for me has gone from testing the waters to a great source of entertainment.  I started making some mental notes and found myself laughing out loud at times.  I want to share some of my observations because., well, I think they are humorous, and because, I am still saddened at the extreme measures we take to conform.  So, for my venting and your reading amusement, I hope, I give you:

Online dating observations

It’s been a while since I have done the dating thing but I’m not stupid.    I can read between the lines of a profile.

What it says                                                                     What it really means

SAYS:  interested in dating but nothing serious  MEANS: just looking for one night stands, but couldn’t find that category.

SAYS:  Seriously looking to get married   MEANS: “I will suck you into the vortex of                                                                                                                                 my  neediness.”

SAYS:  “You have a cute smile, I think you’re my soul mate”  MEANS: “I’m so desperate at this point, I am looking for any connection.”

SAYS:  Drink socially. MEANS: “My sponsor says drinking alone is not good for my sobriety”.

SAYS:  “Some college”    MEANS: “I’ve been to a few keg parties”

SAYS:  “Business Owner “     MEANS:  “I’m unemployed at present but I have yard sales every spring”

SAYS:  Animal lover”   MEANS: crazy cat lady

SAYS:  “ Body type, “a few extra pounds”,                      MEANS:  “friends tell me I look like a celebrity…Jaba the Hut”.

 One word description of your personality….freaking field day of between-the-lines.

SAYS:  “Adventurous”     MEANS:  “can’t keep a job, get bored easily”

SAYS:  “homebody”         MEANS:  ”My ankle monitor limits my travel”.

SAYS:  “Love to travel”        MEANS:  “I’m in the Witness Protection Plan.  You don’t know me!”

SAYS:  Ambitious”             MEANS:  “If after a week, I sense no connection…I’m outa here!”

Then the screen names:

Bitchplease                               You want clarification on that?!

“Marathon”                             you’re in for a long, tiring relationship

HowcanIburs?                        (start by writing in complete sentences with complete    words).

Tigress, Onaroof?”                  you looking to date or terrify me?

“Monkeypaws”?                       I just can’t.  Come on…

 

And if you go by Kattyfish, well, one of us is not too bright.  It’s not me by the way.

If you are an online dater, or if by some very slim chance I mentioned your screen name or your profile info, please forgive me.  Again, the thing that has been most enlightening about this experience is how we are so strongly influenced by the needs that society puts on us.  Sad, really, so naturally I find humor since I am fairly irreverent.

I participated in a wonderful training recently.  One of the activities was to answer a partner’s question.  The question would be the same, over and over.  The question was, “Who are you?”  The first few answers were easy, my name, my profession, my hobbies etc., but as the time drug on and the question stayed the same, it was apparent that I haven’t asked myself that too much.  We use things that generally others use to define and describe us.  But really, who are you?  After the activity was debriefed, I realized how very little we know about who we are and how quickly we fill it with what we think others believe.  This whole online dating thing is an example.  Describe yourself.  Profession, body type, gender, religion, ethnicity, drug and alcohol history.  That doesn’t tell me the important stuff, like, how do you feel looking at a really great sunset?  What’s the best thing about you?  Who are you?  Who were you before you were you?  And I am looking for the one who responds,”Who am I?  I am enough.” but they generally don’y need the dating sites.  I will have some fun with it for a bit and then remember that I am also enough.

So Katfish, who seem too good to be true, we know you ARE.  I am an experienced fisherman.  And shame on you if you prey on the doubts and insecurities of those just hoping there are treasures left to find.  Shame on you and sad for you for your own insecure need for validation.   catfish1