No Regrets – Third Quarter Scores and Highlights

Hey… How you doin’?

i’m really having a hard time getting my butt in a chair lately. If you’ve been playing along at home, at the turn of the year i repeated my ‘three focus’ charter. To maintain accountability, i’m doing quarterly updates on progress.

Steady going through the end of the first quarter, with a bit of a mixed scorecard by end of the second quarter, getting stuck in a few spots. i’ve managed to get myself unstuck as i roll into autumn, so i’m not displeased with the report for the third quarter of 2015!

The categories:

Bridges – repairing relationships that have mattered to me.

Ducks – getting things in shape to assure the least hassle to my children after i die.

Vessel – assuring that my body can carry me through the adventures i desire.

My scorecard for the third quarter:

Bridges: Although there are still a few rocks i haven’t picked up yet – rocks that sit upon regretful closures – i’ve enjoyed reconnecting with a few old friends. Two notable cases popped up within the last week!  Denise, had a day of training nearby, and pinged me to see if i’d be around on a Friday night to get together for dinner and drinks. Timing was perfect, and on short notice we were able to arrange a slumber party – dinner, shopping (egad!) and a long night spent catching up. We’d been besties in 7th grade, and lost touch until Facebook brought us back together in 2009. Since then, we’d become occasional running buddies, but hadn’t had a chance to sit and yak for two years! Some darkness, some light, and a lot of turf covered.

On my way home from my evening fitness class tonight, stopped by the grocery to pick up some odds and ends. As i doubled back, lost, looking for the fucking marshmallows, i almost ran over an older gentleman pushing a cart. “FRANK?!?!? Oh my God! It’s been five years! How the hell are you?”  We had worked together 20 years ago, developing an innovative training program for our organization. Retired a few years back, he spent his time running a fruit farm, and spending winters in Florida. He used to send the occasional e-mail, or Christmas card, but we’d lost contact. After a quick synopsis of ‘what’s up?’ in the coffee aisle, we swapped updated e-mail addresses, and will likely get together soon. An unexpected ‘win’ for this category on the last day of the quarter!

Ducks: Mom’s estate is officially settled. Met with her attorney in July, signed a ton of paperwork, cut some checks, and closed it all out. There are still many non-estate financial dealings i need to work, but the legal bits are done. With a large storage locker still holding a ton of her personal items, and a monthly bill of $250 to pay for said locker, my goal for THIS quarter is to get that thing cleared out and off the books. Work day scheduled with my sister on Saturday.

Regarding my own estate ‘ducks’, a little bit of progress, but not nearly enough. Late this month i finally dug out all beneficiary forms for life insurance, retirement savings, and the like, and managed to change those to my kids, rather than my ex-husband. For this quarter, i must update the “doomsday” file – where i keep important information for whomever has to clean up after me when i’m dead. Likely to do another will before the year is out, too… i’ve learned a lot processing Mom’s estate, and need to put some things into practice for my own.\

ducking around

Just ducking around at a local festival…

Vessel: During the second quarter i spent four weeks in Europe, and indulged in far too much food and booze, Studley and i doubled down, and started another ‘cleanse’ at the beginning of September. i’d regained all of the weight i’d lost in the first half of the year, and refused to continue on that path! So far, i’ve managed to lose 10 pounds by going back to a ‘clean eating’ focus – no sugar, alcohol, refined grains, processed food, dairy or caffeine. Once again, i’ve missed cheese most of all – but am slowly adding back one serving per day… because cheese! Also upped the exercise substantially – which is part of the reason i’m not home in the evenings to write (or read blogs!).

There it is… Time flies… i’m happy, getting healthier, and loving life – even though i’ve had some darkness chewing at me along the way. Working 40 hours per week, member of two non-profit boards, and recently appointed by my local municipality to serve on an advisory commission, i don’t have a lot of discretionary time! Here’s to the home stretch of 2015! Hope you’re all doing well with whatever goals you set for the year…

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Wings (A Wedding, Part 2)

With the Islamic Marriage Ceremony and the Henna Party, two important Turkish wedding traditions had been celebrated. The wedding, as planned by The Girl and Metin, was to be a blend of cultures and traditions.

A traditional Turkish wedding can have as many as 1,000 guests – and is often a simple “Cake and Cola” event held in a salon for an afternoon. They wanted a beach wedding – and wanted to be quick with the formalities, and then on with dinner and dancing!

While she was home in July, we went shopping for a wedding dress. She had been absolutely terrified of getting a dress in Turkey, as the more modern Turkish brides are apparently fond of bejeweled bodices, massive piles of lace and tulle, and all manner of extreme glamour*. “I don’t want to look like a fucking cupcake!”

The dress found her. At a discount bridal shop, the third dress pulled from the rack fit nearly perfectly, and was beyond stunning on her. We had invited her father’s wife, Fahima, to join us for the dress shopping day.  Perhaps the main reason my ex and i have been able to connect well enough to strongly support our kid? This woman has a huge heart, and bubbly personality – and both of my kids adore her! Deciding that the term “Step Mother” has too many harsh implications, she’s been christened their “Bonus Mom”… a bit more appropriate in this case!

The minor alterations were completed just under the wire, and The Girl was able to get everything she needed packed up and headed home. Invariably, the luggage was lost for a few days – “If that dress is lost and I have to go out and buy another one here? AAAAAAAAARGH!” – but arrived intact a few days later.

We also learned that “RSVP” is sort of an alien concept regarding Turkish weddings. They had planned for about 150 people, but the final count was closer to 200. Since it is still somewhat unusual to have a formal sit down dinner at a wedding, i guess it doesn’t seem to be a big deal… i’d have been ripping my hair out, but The Girl and Metin seemed to roll with it…

Metin’s family comes from central Turkey, and over two dozen family members made the trek – at least 20 hours by bus – to get to Izmir for the wedding! He arranged for two tour buses to transport his family, and neighbors, from the city to the beach.

During the reception, Mehmet (Metin’s father) went to find a translator. He returned to our table with The Girl’s friend, Beth, and was enthusiastically asking her to translate something to us. Mehmet let us know that it is Turkish tradition for the parents of the bride and the parents of the groom to personally welcome each guest at the wedding – and he was inviting us to join them in this tradition.  With Beth’s help, my ex-husband EJ and i were schooled in the proper pronunciation of “Hoşgeldiniz!”

greeting

We agreed, despite being absolutely terrified of screwing this up! Trying not to look as mortified as we felt, we joined Mehmet and Haava and began greeting guests – and i can personally attest to the fact that there were at least 190 people in attendance! It seemed to take forever, but Studley assures me it only took about 30 minutes for us to make the circuit.

dancing

And then we danced. We danced and laughed and danced some more! The newlyweds had pulled together a playlist of both Turkish and English dance tunes. Balancing cultures, they had arranged for each guest to have two drinks – either beer or wine – during dinner. i wanted to be respectful to his family, so it wasn’t until those two tour buses headed back to the city around midnight that i felt comfortable enough to grab a drink…  and have a proper toast with the newlyweds!somewhat staged

i thought we’d danced ourselves out BEFORE midnight, but i was wrong! The DJ kept going, and so did we! Much relief for all that the formalities were over, and we threw it down hard! Many of their friends had booked rooms at the beach resort, so we didn’t clear that beach until somewhere around 4am. Vague memories of dancing salsa with a pretty Colombian ex-pat, and lying in the grass making friends with a stray dog are also in the mix…

It was a great party… And a beautiful wedding… Celebrating my kid and her husband! Merging two families and two cultures – across the old and new generations – as we cheer them onward! i am delighted that she has put down roots. She has a bigger family! And so do i…

new family

* Some examples can be found here… She made a good call!