The One

Posted on January 23, 2010. Filed under: Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , |

My poor boyfriend.  I’m always writing about all things important to me, here on My Life, Incomplete — yet I rarely talk about him.  Sure, he makes a cameo now and then, but usually as an extra – never as the star.  “Why is that?” you ask.  Well, because Doug is a very private person.

Can you imagine!?  Us?  A couple?  I’m an open book – to the entire World Wide Web! He’s having a sharing moment if he tells you what he had for breakfast.

So while it may seem like I’m self involved and care more about my ex-husband than my boyfriend, nothing could be further from the truth.  The fact that I don’t write much about Doug or our relationship isn’t because our relationship isn’t worth writing about.  And it’s definitely not because there’s nothing to tell.  Our life as a couple is full.  Some days it’s all I can do not to write about what’s going on with us.  But it’s out of respect for the most wonderful man in the world that I keep us to myself.

Tonight, I guess I feel more like sharing him than respecting him (sorry, babe), so I hope you enjoy it, because it’s not likely to happen again soon.

Here it is:  He makes me laugh.  He goes to Dunkin’ Donuts to get me coffee on Saturday mornings.  He always reaches for my hand.  He thinks I’m funny (and for anyone who knows me – this is HUGE).  He’s Braden’s best friend.  He loves country music.  He thinks spending 10 days with our parents is vacation.  He loves when I sing in the car.  Really!  Ask him!  He’s my best friend.  We can sit outside and play songs for each other on our iPhones all day long.  He goes for walks with me.  He always asks me what I’m wearing when we’re not together.  He’s a great sport at the mall.  He has soft skin.  He loves his kids with all his heart.  He looks amazing in black.  He is good to his parents.  He’s always in charge.  He can talk to anyone.  He believes in me.  He’s got a great ass.  He loves sports — sports all day, every day and it doesn’t even bother me one bit.  He’s my biggest fan.  He’d rather spend quality time with me than go to a Cubs game.  Okay, that one was just to see if you were still paying attention.  We can talk for hours.  I miss him before I even get on the “on” ramp.

He is my favorite person. (Calm down, I’m talking about adults here.)

They say you’ll know when you’ve found “The One.”  I knew I hadn’t when I married my ex, but since I didn’t really know what to expect, I accepted what I had.  I thought that was just something “they” say.  I thought we all just figure our one is “The One” a la “love the one you’re with…” But I know better now.  The connection that Doug and I have is like nothing I could have imagined before experiencing it.  File it under the category of “you don’t know what you don’t know.”

When I was married, I questioned my relationship and whether I belonged in it every time I stood in the greeting card aisle — desperately seeking one that said what I felt.  Problem was, there wasn’t a card that said, “I’m pretty disappointed in this whole marriage thing, but I hope you have a happy birthday anyway.”  Now, when I visit the greeting card aisle, I end up with ten cards in my hand and have to pick which one says it best. I can get the others another time…

Cliche but true: no one is perfect, but Doug is absolutely perfect for me.  I’m such a lucky girl!

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Mars vs. Venus: Stereotypes and Assumptions

Posted on January 18, 2010. Filed under: Mars vs. Venus | Tags: , |

This is the fifth of a series of posts in which I’ll provide my female perspective on selected topics, while fellow blogger, Jamey Stegmaier, provides his male perspective. We’ll link and post before reading what each other wrote. Topics we will be discussing will be ones that may be better understood or further examined once considering the perspective of each gender. Note that Mars is a single guy, while Venus is in a long-term committed relationship – not that that would impact our opinions or anything…

Today’s Mars vs. Venus post is Part 1 of a two-part series.  Jamey and came up with a list of questions for which we think the answers will vary based on gender.  We first guessed what the other person will answer, and then exchanged our actual answers (much like “The Newlyweds Game”).  After each question, you’ll see what Jamey thought my answer would be in blue, and my actual answer in pink.

On the Topic of Dating and Commitment:

1.   Rank in order of importance (one being most important) for attraction prior to first date:

___3___ Physical attractiveness ___2___

___2___ Sense of humor ___1___

___4___ Intelligence___3___

___5___ Financial standing ___5___

___1___ Appearance (i.e. fashion, hygiene, maintenance, etc.) ___4___

2.  Would you prefer high-maintenance/looks fantastic OR laid back/less “together”?

Laid back/less “together”

Laid back/less “together”

3.  Do you wait for the other person to say “I love you” first, even if you already feel it? – NO

Yes.

No.

4. What constitutes cheating? a. kissing  b. sex  c. anything in-between d. emotional relationship e. flirting/dancing

a. b. c. d. and e.

a. b. c. and d. – I’m not condoning it, and I don’t really want to know about it if it happens, but I do believe there can be truly harmless dancing and flirting.  As long as there is no underlying desire to take it further than that, I wouldn’t call it cheating.  I wouldn’t be thrilled about it, but I wouldn’t break up over it.

5. Is a little jealousy preferred, in order to know your significant other cares?

Yes, a little jealousy is good

No, jealousy is not good.  It is a turn off.

6.  What is the minimum/maximum a couple should date before getting engaged?

Min – 6 months/Max – 3 years

Min – 1 year/Max – none

7. How long should an engagement be?

About a year – enough time to plan the perfect wedding.

Jamey couldn’t be more wrong on this one!  0-24 months, enough time to save up for a trip to Hawaii.  Weddings are soooooooooo overrated!  (Sorry Mom and Dad, about the $30,000 dollars.)

8.  Once in a committed relationship, should you maintain friendships with the opposite sex?

Maybe, but you have the right to veto any of them.

Yes, definitely.  You are who you were before I met you, and you come with your whole life, friends included.

a.  Should you start new friendships with the opposite sex?

Maybe, but you’re going to be wary of them.

This is a tough-y (which I guess means Jamey is correct).  Yes, with the caveat that the friendship is based on mutual friends or interests and not because this new person has become a confidant, or sounding board for your intimate thoughts and emotions.

9.  How often should your significant other go out for the night with friends?

Once a week at most.

As often as he wants.  He should have the freedom to enjoy his life and his friends, as I expect the same in return.  If he wants to be with me, he’ll show it and I’ll know it.

10.  When living together, but before married, should a couple share expenses or keep them separate?

Share expenses, but the man should pay for more.

Separate.

11.  After a break up, is it better to cut all ties or stay in touch?

Most women, cut all ties.  For Lauren, stay in touch.

Cut ties.  Move on.  Unless, of course, you have children together.

Now click over to Jamey’s blog and read what I thought he would answer versus his actual answers for the same questions!

Select the Mars vs. Venus category in the sidebar drop down to read the other posts in this series – they’re good!

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Thankful This Thursday: My Sister

Posted on January 14, 2010. Filed under: Thankful This Thursday | Tags: , , , , , , |

She’ll probably never even read this post. (!!!!?!????) Half the time I wish she came with a mute button. That’s not very nice to say, I know. But the girl literally speaks every thought that pops into her head. You know how you could be walking down the stairs and think to yourself, “there’s a red string on the stair; I should pick that up…later”? She says it out loud. And the game “20 Questions”? That’s just a warm up for this girl!

But my sister is a part of our family, and by that, I don’t mean she is a part of my family because she is my sibling. I mean that she is a part of Braden and I. Braden expects to see her at our house on Wednesdays. If I haven’t talked to her in a couple days, I wonder what she’s up to. When I’m watching a movie, I want her to be watching it with me. I buy my groceries with her in mind. I want her to read the same books I do so we can talk about them.

We are two incredibly different people who rarely agree on anything, but we would be lost without each other. She drives me nuts, but at least she is in the vehicle with me!

When I found the keepsakes in the garage back in November, I came across a folder full of sweet things my sister wrote to me while we were growing up. To give you an idea of how much my sister has always loved me, here are some titles and some content of the letters, poems, cards and notes I’ve saved from her:

  • “A Birthday Poem from Me to You” (A very sweet poem written when she was 13.)
  • “It’s Your Birthday, Sister – I’m always telling other people how great I think you are. Today I’m telling you. Happy Birthday.” (A Hallmark card.)
  • “You’re the Greatest! Happy Valentine’s Day, Sis!” (A homemade construction paper card.)
  • “Laurie, You Are the Coolest Sister!” (A colorful sign drawn on the computer to hang in my room.)
  • “dEAR LORIE, You are nice, You are nice, You are funny, You are pretty. You are good at nintendo especially california games, I love you. You are good at school. love, your little sister.” (A note she typed and printed on a dot matrix printer.)
  • “My sister is the greatest thing I’ve ever had.” (A poem to make amends, written when she was 14.)
  • And my personal favorite: “18 Golden Things About My Sister!!” (A list of 18 things she loved about me, written for my 18th birthday on December 18th.)

After a particularly rough day of third grade, I came home to my mom video taping my sister playing with the dog in the yard. I guess I snapped at her when she tried to greet me, because the video shows her cute little pig-tailed head coming up to the camera, “Mommy! Laurie called me a idiot!”

An idiot, she is not. My inspiration for this post is her natural ability to relate to Braden in ways that I am lacking. She can get him to talk about events and emotions in more detail than he shares with me. She has this way of turning every encounter into a teaching opportunity. For example, we have a list of house rules on the bulletin board. Braden and I read them out loud together most days, and I refer to the list when I need to enforce a rule.
But what does my sister do? First time she sees the list, she reads the beginning of each rule aloud, so that Braden can finish it. Then it’s all high fives every time he gets one right. Amazing!

I actually go to her for advice on how to deal with behavioral problems and discipline challenges because she simply has a knack for it.

When she does have kids of her own, I imagine they’ll either be very smart and well-behaved, or very smart and absolute tyrants in their rebellion. And I’m certain they’ll ask a lot of questions.

This Thursday, I am thankful for my sister. She is my soul mate.

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Energy

Posted on January 13, 2010. Filed under: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

I’m running out of the physical kind of energy.  Y’know, the kind that your body needs to stay awake and be productive.  But I just have to write this post tonight – the title for which has been sitting in my drafts folder for weeks.  How to pull this all together in a meaningful way will be a test of my writing skills…

As any of you who have been hanging around MLI for a while know, I have a real passion for life in general, but writing, making a meaningful contribution, parenting and connecting with others, more specifically. I’m learning that I thrive in life when any combination of those elements is present.  It is when I shine the most, personally and professionally.  I also feel strongly that positive energy welcomes positive things.  It’s a “when it rains, it pours” philosophy — without the negative connotation.

So here is the series of events that led me to this post: First, I’ve decided that MLI needs a custom design. In discussing that with a friend at work, I was put in touch with a woman he thought could help.  In one short phone conversation, she and I agreed that she isn’t the person to meet the original need, but that we should meet anyway just to see if she can add value in another way. I had no idea what to expect, but thought eh, what the heck?

Fast forward two weeks to this past Saturday.  I’m in the shower, thinking about the blog and decide I need to develop my personal brand.  I start to envision the platform, the design, the content, the brand.  And suddenly it hits me.  A brilliant book idea.  By the time I finish blow drying my hair, I’ve written an entire book in my head. (Now, I’ve never intended for my blogging adventure to lead to writing a book, but who am I to tell my brain no?)

Sunday, the creator of the Ning group I belong to and write for tells me she’s going to start advertising in the newsletter and share any profits with me.

Monday, I meet with the above-mentioned woman.  We hit it off instantly and spend the evening bouncing ideas around.  The meeting turned out to be mutually beneficial, and rather than me hiring her, we agreed to barter services.  Additionally, she’s interested in hiring me to write a weekly blog post on her website and possibly write her web content as well.  We also discussed other possibilities and opportunities.

She leaves, I check my email and find that my application has been reviewed and I have been offered a gig as Chicago Co-Parenting Examiner at Examiner.com.

What is going on here?

Tuesday I have a conference call with a friend of a friend who is just starting as a freelance writer as well.  We share ideas and discuss possibilities and networking opportunities.  My excitement is rising.

This morning, I check the status of my Suite 101 application and find out I have been accepted there as well.

Why am I telling you about all of this?  Because when I wrote my About page on Day One of My Life, Incomplete, I meant what I said: “I have a dream to write professionally. I am starting here, but hope to one day get published in a magazine and ultimately (don’t laugh) run my own…”  But I added in the “don’t laugh” because I thought I sounded ridiculous.  Today, I can see my magazine out there, in the future, waiting for me to come and get it.  I’m on my way!

The energy created just by getting started launched me into motion.  It seems the more I focus on the elements in my life that I am passionate about, the more those elements multiply.  And to tie it all together – a quote (by unknown) that a friend posted on Facebook today: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you will fall into someone else’s.  And guess what they have planned for you?  Not much.”

What’s in your life plan?  What are you waiting for?

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Women Who Do It All… Or Do They?

Posted on January 5, 2010. Filed under: Life Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , |

She is the the epitome of a successful woman.  She is a realistic life partner, a loving mom and a soaring business woman.  She is lover and companion to her husband; nurturer and provider to her children; leader and mentor to her staff.  Her background is expansive in all three areas.  Her life resume reads as follows:

  • Wife to one man.  Ex-wife to another.  Marriage counseling connoisseur.
  • Mother of two biological sons; one from first husband, one from current husband.  Step-mother to two step-children.
  • Professional, business owner, operating partner, lawyer, leader of companies, manager of staff, mentor to beginners.

And I haven’t even gotten into her other roles: daughter, sister, friend, writer, athlete, academic and more…

HOW ON EARTH DOES SHE DO IT!??

A very wise, extraordinary woman once told me that she declined a television interview on the topic of successful women who do it all. She didn’t want to mislead ambitious young women into thinking that they can do it all.  Her philosophy? A woman (such as her) has, essentially, three main roles: wife, mother, professional.  Because a woman must find balance in her life in order to succeed, she can only truly excel at two of her three main roles at one time.   There simply isn’t enough time, energy or enthusiasm to spread evenly across all three and pull them off with uber-success.

So what does this mean for married, working moms?  It means to cut yourself some slack. Be realistic in what you expect of yourself.  You don’t have to give up one of your roles, you just have to prioritize.

If you have babies at home and your income is crucial to family survival, you are likely going to be in a mother-professional phase of your life. I’m not suggesting you completely neglect him, so your husband will still be there when he becomes a front runner again.

If your family is at its peak bonding, development and activity era, you may be in a wife-mother phase. You still go to work and put in your best effort from 9-5, but you’re not climbing the ladder right now – and that’s okay.

If your children are self-sufficient teenagers and you get real personal satisfaction out of your work, you’ll find yourself in a wife-professional phase. Your children don’t really want you bothering them right now anyway!

A real power-house of a woman understands the need for balance.  If you try to do too much, you dissipate.   So figure out where your energy is best focused at this stage in your life, and give it your all!  You can shift your focus to the remaining areas when the time is right.  The result?  A well-rounded, focused woman with a fantastic career, a happy marriage and well-adjusted children.  They’ll think you’re doing it all, too!

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