You Are NOT Your “Story!”

I’ve been vowing to write this blog post for over two months and today is the day.

I belong to a great entrepreneurs group founded by the multi-talented Maureen Craig McIntosh (http://monctonrealitytherapy.com/join-eric) and on one of our ERIC calls the subject came up about beliefs that we carry throughout our life that somehow continue to define how we live our lives. I listened to a couple of other people on the call who spoke on the subject and then I blurted out in my usual interruptive way and said, “We are NOT our story!”

After a couple of minutes of silence, I proceeded to back up that statement by sharing the following point of view on the subject.

Frankly, at some point in all our lives, we have to let go of our past hurts, disappointments, and so-called failures. We can only blame our parents and others for the way we turned out for so long. I believe the expiration date on blame placement should end around age 40 because frankly, if we haven’t “grown up” by then chances are we aren’t going to. We’ll be forever finger pointing and beating our chest crying out in anger “If you hadn’t told me I was (insert appropriate limiting belief statement here) then I would have NEVER turned out this way!” Another great often used excuse for not potentially reaching a goal is “Well, if my (mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, cousin – you name it) had encouraged me to study harder and go to (college, university, trade school etc.) than I would be wealthy by now!”

People, pull a “Frozen” and let that story go!

Yes, it’s true that some people never receive the encouragement a young child needs to build healthy levels of self-esteem. And it’s also true that life seems to bestow great and wonderful things on some while heaping crud on others. Yet by the time we approach mid-life, WE are creating our own stories and beliefs. WE are making choices on how we wish to live our lives. I truly believe that if we keep rekindling hurtful memories and fanning the anger fire within ourselves, we will never, ever, achieve a state of happiness or be comfortable in our own skin.

What happened thirty, twenty, ten, or even a single year or day ago is in the past. Why are you still carrying around that incident or grudge? Aren’t you tired of living in sadness or rage? Plus think of the valuable “real estate” in your brain that you’re letting these people and thoughts rent for free! Why? And how are those thoughts serving you today?

Not very well, are they?!

Alexander Pope was spot on when he said, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” Acknowledge that so and so was mistaken when they made a negative judgement call on any aspect of your character way back when… and then forgive them. Besides, you are NOT the person today that you were years ago.

You are NOT your story, or at least not anymore.

 

Maybe it’s time you wiped the slate clean and started writing a new book called “My Life NOW!”

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marlene Oulton, AKA “The Words Lady” and resident wordsmith of www.MarleneOulton.com derives great satisfaction from assisting authors, writers, coaches and SOHO entrepreneurs produce clean, crisp and concisely written articles, newsletters, website copy and other literary works. To find out more on how she can make your words sing and dance… without adding music visit www.MarleneOulton.com today!

 

From Grade School to Greyed Fools

Let me tell you, there’s something soothing about sitting at a table surrounded by old friends that you once knew forty plus years ago.

And there we were. All gathered again because one of our high school friends had decided to she wanted to celebrate turning the big ‘60’ by having a few of her 180+ fellow grads from 1975 show up at a local restaurant/tavern to help her celebrate the momentous occasion. Most of the members of that class will be turning that auspicious number at some point in 2017 so what better time to get together with people we hadn’t seen in over forty years.

Twelve people ending up at the table once you included friends and spouses. Three of us had been friends since meeting in grade five while the other three had joined the rank of ‘Elgineer’s’ when we met at the beginning of grade seven. We each played a part in the molding of each other’s character from grades five on through to high school, although we didn’t know it at the time.

These people had been a part of my life from those carefree grade school days when the worst that happened to me was when someone stole my lunch and I had to bum a half-sandwich from one of them, to those terrible teen-aged, hormonal angst fueled days of high school where everything minute thing was a major occurrence (or seemed so at the time).

I looked at all those familiar yet slightly altered faces and let my mind wander back in time to specific roles that each of them had played in my life. In most cases, the sound of their voice and laughter was exactly as I remembered it from way back when. For a moment time seemed to slip away and I could picture them as they looked at twelve… fifteen… eighteen. I knew that when I’d hugged the friends who meant so much to me on graduation night that I’d probably never see them again, and that’s why this gathering was a touch more special than an ordinary evening out. I made sure that my sweetie went around snapping pictures of me with my trusty camera phone so that I’d have a hard copy remembrance of this evening, although I doubt my memory will need to see the evidence to be reminded of the joy and happiness being with these lovable and memorable people has brought into my life.

This morning as I was looking at the photos from last night’s reunion, a very old country and western song played through my mind. I think Tom T. Hall said it best when he sang “Ain’t but three things in this world that’s worth a solitary dime, But old dogs and children and watermelon wine©” from the song of the same name.

We were mere children when we met, my friends, and the bonds forged back then are still strong, even if it has been forty plus years since we all sat a table in the cafeteria of our high school bemoaning the fact that our grades sucked, Mr. X was a shitty teacher, and who had an extra cigarette that so and so could bum.

Hey, guys and gals, look around. Somehow we’ve made it this far. Isn’t that a hoot?

Let’s do this again before another forty years has passed, okay?

©Watermelon Wine – Tom T. Hall

 

 

So Long Sweetie

Let me be perfectly clear: I love my dogs more than I like some people. While there are some humans who might take offense to that statement, there are other pet loving people just like me who adore their furry or feathered friends just as much, if not more.

The reason why I love dogs so much is because the ones I’ve picked over the years seemed to have had a heightened sense of knowing – brainpower, if you will. While some of them might not have won awards for being best dog in show, they all had two things in common: 1) they loved me unconditionally, no leashes (pardon the pun) attached, and 2) none of them ever took the washer and dryer (or any appliances for that matter) when the relationship between us ended.

Take this little beauty pictured here. After bidding a sad adieu to my previous canine companion, Chuck, a totally too big and fur-shedding Sheltie that resembled a Border Collie, five years prior, I decided it was time to get another dog. My partner, Allan, and I discussed it and batted the idea back and forth for some time and agreed that a dog might be a great addition to our household. Said partner and I had only been together for a year at that point, but we both loved dogs so the idea was set in motion.

One morning after Allan had set out on a road trip for work, I happened to pick up the Times-Transcript and saw a teeny ad that read: “West Highland Terrier puppies for sale. Purebred but no papers, located in the Miramichi. Wormed, first shots, ready to go. Call X.” I couldn’t believe my eyes! I ran to the phone, called Allan on his cell phone and said, “You wouldn’t happen to have some time after your business calls at lunch today to go look at some puppies, would you?”

He called me about three hours later. “They’re awfully tiny,” he said. “And the breeder only has one female left, so if we want her we’re going to have to act fast.”

“Do you have any cash on you?” I asked.

“I think I have $60.00” he said.

“Then drive back to that ladies house and give it to her, okay?”

And so the deal was sealed.

We picked her up on the coldest day of the year, Feb. 15th, 2003. It was a balmy -28C with windchill factored in and this poor little furball had never set foot outside of her birthing cage. And then I wondered why she didn’t want to go pee in the snow on the side of the road half-way on the drive home. Duh!

It took us the better part of four months to housetrain her, and there were times I was certain she’d never catch on to the fact that the hardwood floor was not a good place to do her business.

However, she only chewed the laces off one pair of sneakers and the heel of a friend’s shoe. Not bad for a new pup.

In the blink of an eye, she was five years old. An unknown allergy suddenly caused her to start scratching uncontrollably and she lost most of her beautiful white fur. The next nine years were spent ferrying her back and forth to the vet for monthly Depo shots and almost bi-monthly ones of antibiotics in an effort to try and combat the nasty skin infections. Weekly baths became a normal way of life for her and me with both of us ending up soaking wet. Countless new food trials and different shampoos were tested but nothing else besides the medication worked for her.

Then in January of 2014, diabetes became her next affliction. Both Allan and I had to learn how to give her twice daily shots of insulin which we took in stride, even if needles give us both the heebie jeebies. Next came a profusion of skin growths for which she had two surgeries to remove them, only to see them grow back with a vengeance.

2015 brought about increasing deafness, the development of cataracts, arthritis in her back legs, and cognitive disorder where she would awaken with a start in the middle of the night and cry out because she didn’t know where she was anymore.

To see her constant daily struggle to move from room to room finally became too much for us to bear and we said a tearful goodbye to our beloved Angel this afternoon at 3:30 pm.

Last night, while saying my prayers, I asked my Dad who passed back in 2001, to be on the lookout for her today, and to introduce her to Chuck so she’d have someone nice to play with at her final destination.

I hope you’re running full out, Angel girl, just like you did when you’d escape your leash and revel in your sudden freedom.

Run, sweetie girl, run!

Digging Up Plants With Ms. Daisy

Remember my blog post from a week or so ago titled “Driving With Ms. Daisy?”

Well, here’s another one because if I don’t write down these stories as they happen, I’ll forget them, and they’re just too damned funny not to share.

 

Euphorbia-milii-plant
Ms. V had decided that she wanted to plant some “flerers” (flowers) in the back of her ground floor condo because “That thare gravel jest don’t look right.” During this past winter, the gentleman who owned a condo three or four doors down from her had passed, and his beautiful red and yellow Crown of Thorns bushes were being neglected. She’d checked with the person who was looking after the condo and asked if she could transplant them into her own garden. Ms. V got the go ahead and was waiting for the perfect day to move them over to her place. After all, she’d already told me “Heck, I might as wall (well) take ‘em cause he ain’t gonna be using ‘em anymore!”
Good point… I guess.
Well, Tuesday was that day.

 
I’m not quite sure if it was the fact she woke up earlier than usual (around 5:30 am), or if she thought that doing hard physical labor in 80F degree heat with a Humidex rating of 90% would somehow help her lose 5 pounds from digging those plants out were the cause of her decision to do it that particular morning.

 
When I finally saw her text to me that morning about potentially going shopping, (that’s a whole other story for another day), I responded saying I’d love to go out with her, but I didn’t get an answer. So I took a stroll out by her place only to find her digging up the plants wearing a lovely white blue tank top, white capris… and glittery blue rhinestone encrusted flip flops. Oh, and using ONE work glove she’d found on the sidewalk. (When asked about her Michael Jackson impersonation of wearing one glove, she replied “I kin’t (can’t) but haul on only one piece of plant at a time!”)

 
Keep in mind here that this Crown of Thorns plant has ½” spikes sticking out all over its stem which if touched will cause you to bleed faster than water running out of a busted water pipe.

 
Ms. V is in pretty good shape, but I’d worked up a light sweat just walking the 200’ to where these plants were located, and you could cut the humidity with a knife it was so thick. Me, being slightly crazy and not really awake, decided to go give her a hand.
So back I go to Ms. Ohio’s place, (I just call the people here by the state they’re originally from – easier to remember them that way), ask her if I can borrow one of her old t-shirts and heavy work gloves, and off I go to give Ms. V a hand.

 
By the time I get back to her, she’s got one of the spikes dug out lying on the ground. Wielding that pitchfork l

ike she was stabbing the very Devil to death, she was trying to dislodge the main plant which was about 8” around and I’m sure, buried at least two feet deep. The conversation went something like this:
“Ms. V, don’t you have a shovel?” said I, seeing that the plant wasn’t budging an inch no matter how hard she was leaning on that pitchfork.
“’Yars’ (yes) I do, but I done left it up at my condo. It’s “learning” (leaning) on the perch (porch) wall and I’m too lazy to go git it.”

 

I retrace my steps, get the hoe, and go back to the scene of the grime, I mean crime. (Ms. V was now sporting some mud on those bright, shiny blue flip flops.)
“You move over to the side and I’ll start digging to see if I can’t get some of the soil to move around the base of this plant” I said, proceeding to dig away.

 
Dear lord in heaven, I swear the ground surrounding that plant had been baking in the Florida heat for 30 years! It was harder than cement and the size of the shovel base was about the equivalent to a large garden spade. I wasn’t making much of a difference. (I think Jimmy Hoffa might be in there somewhere!) At this point I felt sweat starting to build up at the back of my neck.

 
“Pass me the pitchfork, Ms. V, and let me try moving it with that.”
“Hare you go,” she said, passing me the tool. She then proceed to literally bend over and haul one of the smaller shoots out by hand, saying “If I a wanna somethin’ done it’s gonna git done, one way or ta other!”

 
Whoosh! Out comes that Crown of Thorns so fast it almost hit me. I’d switched to the shovel thinking I could make better headway and laid down the pitchfork on the ground close to Ms. V. When I saw that huge stem popping out, I turned around fast to avoid the thorns and stepped on the pitchfork handle. You know what? Those cartoons where they show the doofus being hit in the head because they stepped on the handle of a pitchfork are totally correct! Thankfully I dodged the upcoming handle and avoided being knocked out cold.

 
I picked up the @#*! pitchfork, drove it into the cement-like ground with every ounce of strength I had, and started digging.
An hour later, after I had sweat so much I could have wrung out a gallon of water from my bra, we’d relocated “them thare” plants which were now transplanted at the back of Ms. V’s lanai. She wanted me to place some of the shoots over to the side, pointing to the middle of the space saying “Jest dig a hole thare. I think a piece of two of them would look right nice thare, don’t you?” I shoved that pitchfork into the spot she indicated and it fetched up against something solid. That’s when I noticed what was either an electrical box or sprinkler system sticking out of the ground about a foot a way and called a halt to further excavation.

 
I’m now officially toast.

I can not move a muscle, I stink to the high heavens, have dirt all down my legs and arms, yet other than muddy blue rhinestone studded flip flops, Ms. V, always the Southern genteel lady, looks like she’s just gone for a stroll in the park.

 
Moral of this story? Never, ever underestimate the stamina or strength of a Southern belle because she’ll beat you into the ground every time.

 
And after seeing Ms. V drive that pitchfork into that almost solid rockbed, I hope I never, ever piss her off.
PS – I told Ms. V that after going through all that trouble to transplant those “flerers” I expect to get pictures sent to me via email every six months on the progress of our work. Those suckers had better live!

Smile… Pretty Please?

“Smile at strangers and you just might change a life.” – Steve Maraboli

Emily June20004One of the most underrated activities, but most thoroughly appreciated ones, has to be the art of giving and receiving of a smile.

One of the hot topics almost every day in the business world is poor customer service… which I think relates to smiling or the lack thereof. There are tons of posts on Facebook and other social media sites telling tales of how such and such a company ‘shafted’ someone out of money by refusing to issue a refund, or how the cashier at a local grocery store practically bit someone’s head off when they questioned whether the price of the kumquat’s they were purchasing was correct. While some of the beefs are definitely legitimate, I believe I’ve stumbled on one of the biggest flaws in providing excellent customer service. And do you know what it is? (more…)

Why Bounty is THE Strongest (and Best) Paper Towel

Dear Proctor & Gamble;

While I sincerely doubt the story about Bounty paper towel that I’m about to relate to you will ever make it into one of your marketing/advertising campaigns, I’m certain that someone in your company will definitely get a chuckle out of this true story.

I’ve used only Bounty paper towels for years now as I truly find them to be strong, durable and very absorbent. However, I’d never envisioned them to be as ‘tough’ as they proved to be in this recent, shall we say, ‘crappy’ situation.

First, a bit of background.

Max with bowl July 16 12 adjMeet Max – our 2 year old Havenese/Shih Tzu mixed male fur-child. Max is an over-curious, spoiled rotten, ‘baby’ who has a propensity to make the 5 second rule of anything dropping on the floor being edible look supremely stupid. He eats everything… and I do mean EVERYTHING, that comes into his line of vision or near his superior sniffing skilled nose. His steel-trap teeth and muscles around his mouth require that the Jaws of Life need to be utilized to remove anything from his oral cavity if we deem what he’s eating as inappropriate. To say we often fail to successfully remove what’s in his mouth is a gross understatement, as both my husband and I are rather fond of our fingers and fear the loss of same. But I digress.

A couple of weeks ago, my hubby and I had just finished our dinner while watching the evening news. As he often does, hubby had grabbed a section of Bounty paper towel to use as a napkin while eating. We were both so engrossed in the program that we failed to pick up the used Bounty paper towel when we took our dishes to the kitchen. In what must have been no more than 4 minutes, we went back to the livingroom to finish the program, only to discover Max enthusiastically chewing on something while sitting on the couch. Uh oh, this spelled trouble. My hubby grabbed Max and held on to his mid-section while I set about prying apart those Tyrannosaurus Rex teeth of his to see what he was eating. When I finally managed to get his mouth open, I saw the last little piece of the Bounty paper towel disappearing down into his esophagus. Bam! Gone… but not forgotten. You see, Max had to have surgery at our veterinarian (who is on speed dial by the way), a year prior due to an obstruction being found in his intestines. It turned out to be yards and yards of ‘string’ he’d consumed from chew-toys, all compressed into a small ball of indistinguishable content.  So you can imagine my concern over Max swallowing a full half-sheet of Bounty in one gulp.

Then began the ‘wait until he poops’ vigil.

Day one – nothing. Just your regular, average outside call of nature. However, day two brought on the “Bounty is Better” scenario.

Hubby had taken Max out to do his morning ‘constitutional’ while I lay still comfy in our bed, snoozing off and on. From the back door, I heard my hubby holler, “Sweetie, I need your help!” so I knew something was up with one of the dogs. (We also have a 10 year old West Highland Terrier, Angel, who tolerates Max as SHE was here first!) Judging by the tone of his voice I knew one of the dogs most likely had a messy bum but what I saw when I reached the back door was truly astounding. There was my hubby crouched down beside Max who was in a half-sitting, half-standing position… with something off-white protruding from his butt. The words “OMG! Has he already gone for a # 2?” came flying out of my mouth as I stared in disbelief as what looked like the Bounty paper towel, hanging from Max’s bum. “You won’t believe this”, said hubby, “But he’s already gone… and now there’s this thing stuck there!” I grabbed another sheet of Bounty and gingerly started pulling on the protuberance to see if I could dislodge it intact. And upon removal, sure enough – there was the FULL sheet of Bounty that Max had eaten TWO days prior, still in one piece! No pieces were missing, no fibers had disintegrated – nothing!

I relayed this story to my vet who after hysterically laughing herself to the point of tears said that I had to write and tell you about this incident as it was just too amazing (and rather funny to boot!)

I can now say without a doubt that Bounty paper towels are definitely the strongest, most durable product on the market. Unfortunately, I can now also lay claim to the fact that I most likely have the world’s only dog who has umm… crapped AND wiped his butt simultaneously.

PS – Response received from P&G, Tuesday, July 30th, 2013.

Thanks for contacting P&G, Marlene!

We appreciate your interest in our products and the time you’ve taken to share your feedback. While we’re grateful for your efforts, we’re unable to accept unsolicited advertising ideas or suggestions. We rely on our employees or the agencies we hire to create and handle our advertising. We hope you understand.

Thanks again for writing!

Kelly

P&G Team

 

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