New “Motto’s” for the New Year

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We know that New Year’s Resolutions are rarely successful, but I can’t resist the temptation of a new year!  So instead of resolutions, I’m creating new “motto’s”.  I love personal mottos.  I create them to help me remember things ideas and principles (or in this case goals) that might otherwise slip out of my consciousness.  For example, my first motto was/is, “Don’t judge yourself by other people’s values.”

I created this motto because I realized that I was judging myself for not having accomplished more financial success in my life.  One day I had an epiphany.  It was never my goal when I was younger to make a lot of money.  I wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom–not a lot of money there.  I also thought about being a teacher–not a lot of money there.  When I look back on my actual goals and values, I realize I have succeed at my goals!  And it made me feel a lot better about myself. Thus: don’t judge your success by other people’s values.

Here are some mottos I would like to make part of me during this new year.

1–You’ve got to move it, move it.

If you have a song playing in your head now, my apologies *snicker, snicker*  Hey, I didn’t say the motto had to be original or profound.  It is simply a way to keep something important in the forefront of my mind.  I need more exercise.  In addition to the traditional ideas about that, I think if find other opportunities to move, it would help.  I mean: make it fun, make it part of me, for example, last night at work I was dancing in the kitchen while waiting for the microwave (don’t laugh, no one saw me!  I figure all extra movement is good.)

2–You are what you eat.

Again not original, but something I need.  Several years ago, I went through a “health craze”.  I radically changed my diet, lost weight and most importantly, felt better emotionally and physically.  So what happened?  Emotional eating sabotaged me!  Sigh.  Now with a couple years of therapy under my belt, and some difficult emotions and memories excised, it’s time to try and tackle the emotional eating again.  I know I feel better when I eat healthier so: You are what you eat.

3–Hablar es querer

It means to speak is to love.  My oldest son is going to Argentina soon on an LDS/Mormon mission.  I’m excited, nervous and grieving all at once.  I’m tickled that he will be learning Spanish, because I learned Spanish when I went to Venezuela (just a few years back, okay more than a few years.  But who’s counting?)  I still use my Spanish, but I want it to be tip-top when my son comes back.  So I’ll work on that, and maybe I will even succeed in helping the rest of the family learn a little Spanish too!

4–Stupid is the New Smart

I got that one from Richie Norton in his book The Power of Starting Something Stupid.  This one is about my goal to self-publish my book, Touching His Robe, this year.  Hopefully, you are thinking, “That’s not stupid, Leslie!”  (You are thinking that aren’t you?)  Anyway, I vacillate between excitement about it and thinking “no one other than a few friends will by it” yada yada.  I go through this with everything I write.

I have high hopes for 2014.  I think it’s going to be a great year.  How about you?  Do you have any new mottos?  Or resolutions, you can share those too.

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Housekeeping moment….google reader, email subscriptions etc

Darn computers!  I was just working on a post…one that needs some editing yet, and suddenly a message popped up that said, “Automatic save is turned off because this post has been published.”

ACK! What?  I didn’t publish that, it needs editing.  But I looked at my blog and sure enough there it was.  Curse, curse, mutter, mutter.  So I did the best thing I could think of…I copied it and deleted!

Whew, problem solved, right?  Wrong…  I “follow” myself on google reader (because something like this happened before!).  I wanted to know if deleting it on my blog would delete it on google reader also…apparently not.  It’s there. 

So I apologize for offending your delicate sensibilities with my grammar and spelling errors…I am going to fix those and repost…sigh!

If you have an email subscription…I don’t know if it emailed before I deleted or not…

NOW that we are on the subject though…if you don’t already follow on google reader, or email or some other kind of reader, you might want to give it a try!  I love google reader.  Instead of manually clicking on each blog I want to follow to see if there are any new posts, I just ‘subscribe’ to them via google reader.  Then with one click, all the current blog post from the many blogs I follow are there at my finger tips! 

Email notification would be handy too.

Anyway, that is just a thought.  As for me, I think in the future, I will do my rough drafts in microsoft office to prevent these “crisises” in the future.

The Monster Under My Bed

“When you were little, you could swear there was a monster under your bed–but no one believed you. On the eve of your 30th birthday, you hear noises coming from under your bed once again. The monster is back and has an important message to deliver to you.” Experiencing a little writer’s block, I googled ‘writing prompts’. Many thanks to WritersDigest Forum for this…

It was actually my 40th birthday when the monster came back.  He whispered in that half growl that monsters use “death to youth, beware, beware”.

Of course, I ignored him wouldn’t you?  After all I was only 40, hardly old or so I thought at the time, and besides grown-ups don’t believe in monsters under the bed.  I should have listened though, because he was right.  Since I turned 40 my health is the like down-hill skiing, unfortunately I don’t know how to ski.

The monsters of our adulthood are different than childhood, but still very real.  In an attempt to be “mature” we give the monsters different names, but they never really go away.  As a child, monsters have names like “loneliness”, “boredom”, “friendlessness”, and “darkness”. The monsters get uglier and scarier as we get older.  The new monsters have names like “bankruptcy”, “cancer”, “divorce” and many others.
 
As children our parents came up with a variety of methods to help us with our monsters, everything from trying to convince us that there were no monsters (but we knew better, as we do now), to my favorite “monster spray”.  As adults, no one will come turn on the light and assure us there are no monsters.  No one will come and spray under the bed and in the closet.  No one can make the monsters go away for us.  So what can we do?

I would like to share something I have done with limited success.  This is no miracle cure (no monster spray).  I’m still working on it, but even in it’s testing period as it is, perhaps it will be helpful to someone.

My grown up way of dealing with monsters is to befriend them.  I know you were hoping for something more Beowolf-ish weren’t you?  A sword and a battle and well, some action…all I can say is if your monsters leave you with any energy for that sort of thing, give it a try and let the rest of us know how it goes.  For me monsters under the bed, by their very nature affect your sleep and energy and hand to hand combat is simply out.  Friendship is much less strenuous.

How to befriend a monster then?  Well, it depends on the monster, but here are a few ideas.  You can pick and chose what might help with your monsters.

The first is acceptance.  I believe I learned this one from my wonderful husband.  He is a problem solver.  When a problem arises, he rolls up his sleeves and gets to work on solving it.  He never wastes time trying to decide whose fault it is that this problem has arisen and he doesn’t waist time mourning over it either.  He just gets to work on solving the problem.  He inspired something I say to my children, “Look for solutions, not excuses.”

How does this work in real life?  Well, take Money Monster for example.  This is a good one, because strangely enough no matter how much money a person makes it never feels like enough, so you all know Money Monster right?  So the first thing is to accept your situation.  As long as you have a roof over your head (even the in-laws roof counts), food on the table (beans and rice count, top ramen not so much), and clothes on your back (yes, thrift store shopping is ok…you are getting the idea)…if all these things are in place, things are not that bad.  When I lived in Venezuela, I knew people that struggled daily to get food on the table.   Even the poorest people in America have food stamps, food banks, etc at their disposal. 

Another way to befriend a monster is creativity.  With the Money Monster, creativity is almost as good as a sword.  Whether it is the daily struggles, or special occasions, creativity can make a potential disaster into a fond memory.  An example of what this looks like is here in Budget Anniversaries.

Another friendship tool…is choice.  Here is where some fighting could come in.  Happiness is a choice.  I remember as a child having a reoccuring nightmare about falling into a large pit.  My mom and siblings were at the top, and I was in the hole.  They couldn’t figure out how to get to me so they left.  Maybe they went to get help, but I felt abandoned.  As a child, the dream ended there.  As an adult, I would not accept that fate.  I would dig out hand and foot holds and inch by inch I would climb out of that hole.  That is what happiness feels like sometimes….like something I have to claw my way to, but worth it.  Happiness is worth the fight it sometimes takes to get there.

The monster I’m trying to befriend now is the Fear Monster.  He is dreadful.  Remember as a child how scary the Abominable Snowman was?  That is the kind of monster I live with now.  He is the shadow of another monster I am dealing with, “Poor Health Monster”.  Acceptance is helping me deal with “Poor Health Monster”.  It serves no purpose to spend too much time lamenting the loss of good health, though I have to admit one would hardly be human if one did not spend some time in Lamenting Town (just make sure it is a vacation and not a permanent residence).  “Everyone has some kind of struggle and this is mine,” I tell myself. So “Poor Health Monster” and I have an unsteady truce.  It is his buddy, “Fear Monster” that plagues me now.  I try to accept that this is what my life is and focus on all the good things in my life, namely my adorable children who give me a reason to smile everyday, and my husband who makes me laugh.  That is where the Fear Monster gets to me though.  “How many tomorrows?” he whisper-growls in my ear.  “How many tomorrows?”  That is the thing that keeps me awake at night. 

Some day I will have to come to an acceptance that none of us knows the answer to THAT question, and simply enjoy today.  But I’m too tired for that acceptance right now.  Maybe tomorrow.

One step forward, one step back

One step forward, one step back.

That is how I feel about my progress on the bike.  It is really two giant steps forward, but it doesn’t feel like it yet.  You see, I have a biking goal that I am really excited about…dare I tell you?  Hmmm, I don’t know if I ready for that level of commitment.  Oh, alright, of course, I am committed to this goal.  Alright, crossing the Rubicon here, I have a goal to ride the RSVP next year.  That is an annual bike ride from Seattle to Vancouver, Canada.  It is roughly 180 miles in two days.  I’ve done my research it is a realistic goal!  If I increase my mileage by 10% a week, I can be ready. 

In order to prepare for it though, I’ve decided to “throw away my crutch” or in another words, I stopped riding the electric bike.  I’m all on my own power now.  This is a huge step for me, but it feels like a step back because on the electric bike I could cover 10 miles in about an hour.  Now on my own power, I can do four miles an hour.  That is a bummer!  The other day I was riding and feeling a little frustrated about this when my inner voice said to me, “Leslie, be realistic.  At your…eh em…weight and fitness level, being on the bike at all is a victory.  It doesn’t matter how far you go, every time you get on the bike is a victory!”  The rest of the ride was bliss.  I need to send that inner voice some flowers. (No chocolate, I’m watching what I eat!)

What about you?  What “little victories” do you have that you are not recognizing in your life?  I’m sure you have them.

One step forward, one step back seems to be a common theme in my life.  I was recently reminded of a time in my life that felt like a falling into a pit, but turned out to be a pole vault forward. 

It was a long time ago, before I was married.  My best friend and roommate, Charice and I had decided to move to Alaska to get a job in corrections.  Alaska and Nevada are the highest paid states.  Somewhere in the back of our minds the knowledge that in Alaska the men outnumber the women 7 to 1, might have influenced us ever so slightly.   It was around that time that the Alaska Men’s Magazine was created, but mostly we went for the job.   You believe me don’t you?

Anchorage was a dream.  Moose that walked right into town!  After awhile I stopped taking pictures of them because it was such a common occurence.  A bear came into town once too, but I didn’t see him, I just heard about it on the news.  Indescribable beauty everywhere you turn, and I have to say, growing up in Arizona that was new to me.  No offense to my fellow Arizonians, but there is no comparison!  I could go on and on about how much I loved Anchorage and all the things I loved there, but just thinking about it is making me homesick.  I don’t think I could tolerate the snow and cold as well now, but back then it didn’t bother me at all.  I loved Anchorage and I planned to live there the rest of my life. 

I got a job working in a half-way house.  It’s main purpose was to be a jumping off point for men getting out of prison which is a much needed place in society.  We also had temporary “boarders” when the jail was over-flowing.  Imagine my surprise when one day I was doing orientation with a new group of “boarders”, I was reading their names outloud from a list when to my utter surprise, I saw a name I recognized.  I looked up and sure enough it was the Arnold Schwarzenegger of Alaska Men’s Magazine.  I mean, he was a gorgeous guy that had a muscular build that I had oggled.  (Did I just say that?)  He was “just” there on a DUI, but it really made me laugh. 

Anyway, we had been in Alaska for a year, when finally I got a call for an interview for a state job.  Remember that was the reason we went to Alaska.  No, really it was, it…ah, never mind.  The interview was by phone, because the job was in Bethel.  I interviewed and was offered the job.  I should have been thrilled.  After all it was a dream job.  A good career move for me at that point in my life…but Bethel?!  I didn’t want to go to Bethel.

Next thing you know, I’m on the plane to Bethel.  I cried half way there.  Although I accepted the job, because it was such a great opportunity for me, I knew I probably would not like Bethel.  How could I be so sure?  Because Charice had been there before and she told me about it.  I’ll explain.

To get to Bethel, one must fly.  It is on the west side of Alaska and there are no roads that go out there (read: single girl leaving civilization as we know it!)   In Bethel, I was able to rent a darling little house that looked like a log cabin.  The catch was that like a cabin, it had no running water.  That is actually quite common in Bethel.  Because of the tundra, they can’t bury the water pipes, and they will freeze above ground.  Some people have running water, though I can’t recall how that was accomplished, only that is was less common for someone to have running water than not.  So imagine bitter cold winters, below zero is not uncommon, so what do you do with the outhouse?  Well, it is generally attached, like a porch, to the house.  Imagine yourself coming to visit me, as you walk up to the front door, to your left there is another door…the outhouse.
Now you are beginning to understand why I cried!

They don’t call it an outhouse though.  It is called a “honey bucket“.  Because of the tundra, they can’t dig a hole like a traditional outhouse, so a bucket is used, thus the name.  You may be wondering how they empty those things.  Once a week the “honey bucket man” comes to your house in his truck.  He has a large truck with a big tank on the back and a hose.  He walks into the Honey bucket room and puts the hose in the bucket.  Ewwww!  Yes, it’s true.  When my children need a little motivation to do their school work, I remind them about the “Honey Bucket man” and threaten them that this kind of job is what happens when you don’t get an education.  Truth be told, those guys probably make a lot of money…who would do it otherwise?

Another man comes to your house with another hose and fills your water buckets.  The water buckets are literally large garbage cans (that have never held garbage) that you keep in or near your kitchen.  Then you use this water all week for cooking and washing.  For bathing, some people went to the laundry mat where you could rent the public shower (like at a truck stop).  There was a sign on the door, “one person at a time, please.” I was able to shower at work.  I found this really awkward…so much for prettying yourself up BEFORE you leave the house.  It was quite common, however.

The houses in Bethel are on stilts, and every now and then the men go out and measure and level things up again, because the tundra does not make for a sure foundation.  Most people in Bethel don’t have cars because any car in Bethel has to be flown in and there is really no where to go as the roads only go around Bethel.  In the winter though, the river freezes solidly and people drive on it like a highway.  When Spring comes and the first car goes through the ice (just the tires, generally) they know it is time to stop driving on the river. 

There is one doctor in town.  There is also a hospital, plenty of doctors there, I’m sure, but you know what I meant.  The hospital is only for the Natives, pregnancy or emergencies though.  I had a friend whose child broke her arm.  She didn’t like the local doctor (I don’t know why, I liked him just fine), so she had to fly to Anchorage to have her daughter’s arm set and casted.

As if all that was not enough to make a girl go crazy, there didn’t seem to be any single men in my age range in Bethel.  I don’t know where my “seven” where, but they weren’t in Bethel.  There was one, though.   One night when I was still new in Bethel and in Culture Shock there was a very powerful wind storm.  Eighty-five mile an hour winds.  I thought I was one of the three little pigs, and living in a house of wood, you can guess what I thought my fate would be.  Somehow I managed to go to sleep, and when I woke up my house was still standing, but it was bitterly cold.  The storm had disconnected my propane tank for the heater.  I called the landlord and he sent…you guessed it…the only single guy, my age, in town.  There I was freezing, homesick, unshowered and I open my door to an Alaskan Brad Pitt.  I wanted to die on the spot!  I swear he could read my mind because I remember him laughing for no apparent reason.  He got the heat back on though for which I was immensely grateful.  Since I didn’t die immediately, I did not want to die of hypothermia.  I saw him again sometime later and he asked me out.   I was thrilled, but unfortunately we had different goals.  I had limited dating experience, and that was with young men who shared my religious values.  If I had known what Alaska Brad had in mind for the night, I could have saved him the money on the lobster dinner!  I got dinner and he got zip.  Score one for naivete!

Whenever I talk talk about Bethel today, I put a strong emphasis on the second syllable.  To be fair though, most of the people I met in Bethel live there because they love it.  They ride snow machines to work in the winter and dog sled on their days off.  In the summer they fish, though how they keep from being carried away by mosquitos I don’t know.   My sanity while I was in Bethel was the local theatre group.  They had an incredible theater group that put on four performances per year!  What fun!

One step forward, one step back…remember I mentioned that moving to Bethel ended up being a pole vault forward?  Well, I met my mother-in-law to be while I was in Bethel, and because of her, I met my then-future husband.  Imagine that, I went almost to the west coast of Alaska, so I could meet and marry someone who grew up in Portland, Oregon.  Life is funny like that sometimes.  Enjoy the dance!

Disclaimer: Teenagers

Ok, time for a disclaimer. In my last post, I talked about seeing my life through my children’s eyes. Perhaps I should have warned you. . .this only works with children. Don’t do this with teenagers!

Yes, I didn’t mention it (poetic license) but my three older kids Ammon 14, Caleb 13, and Vienna 10, were there Letterboxing the other day as well. If I had looked at the day through their eyes, my reflections would have been very different.

Take Ammon, a young teen, but a teenager all the same. Through his eyes, I would get, “Mom, why are you so-o-o slow? Man, I climbed Mt. St. Helen’s with the Scouts faster than you are doing this 4 miles. But, I guess you can’t help it, cause you are so-o-o old.”

When I told him about my biking goals, he laughed and he didn’t even try to hide it the way my husband does!

Caleb has a quick wit and I don’t dare ponder what he might have been thinking.

Vienna is sweet, but brutally honest and she’s not even a teenager yet! Recently we were trying to explain to my husband why he should not be the “pitch man” for his gardening invention that he is ready to launch. Caleb said, “Let Vienna explain.” When she came in from another room, we told her the goal of the conversation. She thought for a moment and then grabbed a pillow from a nearby chair. It was a serviceable, but plain pillow. She said, “Daddy, this is you.” She then grabbed a pillow from another chair, this one very elegant, in a satin type material, and said, “This is what you need for your video.” Ouch!

So, you see what I mean? Don’t try this at home, and if you do. . .don’t say I didn’t warn you!

GNO (Girls Night Out) at…The Range???


I have seen my women friends from church with guns many times…glue guns, that is. Last week though we had a different kind of activity with guns. As you can see, we had Girls Night at the Range.

When the idea was presented to us, it was met with a lot of nervous laughter. When the evening arrived a group a brave souls gathered for a safety lesson. Some of the ladies had used weapons before, but most had not. You have to know, that I have handled guns before…it is a requirment for Correctional Officers. No, I never carried a gun on the yard, that would be too dangerous, but I did have guns when I drove the perimeter. I also knew what I had to do with one of those guns if I ever saw a prisoner trying to escape and he refused to “Halt” when I asked him to. My superior officers filled our heads with images of the havoc an inmate would reek on the community if one was allowed to escape.

I have to say that going to the range with a group of women was much different than going with my fellow Correctional Officers. In my COTA class (Correctional Officer Training Academy), it was mostly men (you kinda guessed that didn’t you?) Men are so competitive! So when I went to the range with them, there was some joking around, but mostly it was serious business. With the ladies, nerves led to much laughter and we had a blast. I don’t mean to imply that we were friviolous; we weren’t by any means. Before we went to the range our mentor taught us the safety rules and said if anyone did anything unsafe he would blow the whistle. I am proud to tell you that he never had to do that with us. (Pssst…a secret, he did blow it when he took the husbands!)

While I have used guns before, it has been a long time (never mind how long!) At the Range, the first gun I tried was a pistol. I remember putting my hand on it and thinking, “This is not right! Ack, this goes against my very nature.” And yet, when I picked it up and pulled the trigger I was hooked! I have no reasonable explanation for this. I do not ever plan to shoot an animal, and I would only shoot a human in self-defense (family-defense). I pray that never happens. So why the fascination with the guns?

I think it was many things. It is overcoming fear. That is exciting in itself. Yes, I was nervous, it’s been a long time. It is competing with yourself to make the next shot a little closer to the bulls eye. And what can I say, it is some thing primal about holding something so powerful and controling it. The AK 47 (semi-automatic) puts out a flash of flame when you fire it…who could resist that?!

In the name of science…(pretend you believe me)…I will tell you which weapon was my favorite. The ladies had very different tastes about which one they prefered. Some chose pistols, others rifles. My favorite hands down is the shotgun. It is probably the least expensive of all the weapons we tried that night, and the ammo is inexpensive too. (Budget is always a considering factor). When you shoot the bird shot at the target, it makes a really big hole. Impressive. The real reason I love the shotgun though is the classic sound it makes when you chamber a round. If that doesn’t scare the bad guys away, nothing will.

All that said, I do not own a gun, so you are still safe to visit my home. Just don’t come unexpectedly in the middle of the night, because I do have a big dog and his bark is not what you need to worry about! Ok, ok I confess…my dog is old and he has hip dysplasia, not very ferocious. But then I know you won’t come in the middle of the night so “no worries” for either of us!

What NOT to do! -or- the night Leslie lost it

Remember I work with teenage boys in a foster care group home. With a few exceptions, they are there because they have behavioral problems that make them unable to live in a regular foster home.

I told you previously about Planned Ignoring, but that is certainly not our only “treatment tool”. We also use things like proximity, redirection, hurdle help, controling the enviroment, etc. Another thing we try to do is recognize when a boy is becoming escalated. Usually when you look back on an incident you can identify a “trigger”. The trick is to recognize the trigger and defuse the boy before he explodes.

As staff, we strive to be aware of what our own triggers as well, so we can stay calm and professional with the boys at all times. Notice I said strive. Sometimes triggers can change. When I first started, power struggles were a big trigger for me. I had little patience with boys who would not do what I asked them to do. Even in prison, if I asked nicely the inmates would usually do what I asked. If they didn’t, I would be firm and tell them it was an order and then they would comply (99% of the time). Of course, they obeyed for reasons of their own. They want to be on the “good side” of female officers. . .use your imagination. It was maddening to me to ask a teenager to do something and have them ignore me. To deal with that, I learned that consequences are not always immediate. I also learned to let go of my pride about not “winning” every confrontation. I don’t get triggered by power struggles anymore.

However, recently I discovered a new trigger. I call it “Relationship boundaries”. One of the tools of treatment is to “use the relationship”. All the people I work with are in this field because we want to help the kids. We may get really annoyed with them at times, but we genuinely care for them and want to help them succeed in life. Helping them can be a slow and difficult process and as one staff member put it, “soul crushing”. So when we do feel like we have made a connection, a relationship, that is satisfying. Rewarding.

I don’t expect that having a relationship with a kid will make them instantly into model residents, but I do think that there is a mutual level of respect on some level. When that is violated…trigger!

The other night at work one of the boys was up late again. Oliver, (I don’t have to explain that that is not his real name and why, do I?) was angry with my partner. He decided to take it out on both of us, so he waltzed into the office.

Residents are never supposed to be in the office. He was walking around looking at things and saw my Diet Pepsi on the shelf and picked it up. He knew it was mine because my partner told him to put my Pepsi back, and he refused.

This was my first trigger. I had thought Oliver and I had a relationship. He crossed a boundary by taking my personal belongings. I could have suppressed my anger if he had just drank it. After all Pepsi is irrestible! But maybe he doesn’t like diet, anyway, he stood in the middle of the office and started to pour small amounts on the floor saying, “This is for Tom, this is for Bob, this is for. . .”

It seemed to be some strange tribute to dead “homies” (friends, for those of you who don’t know Teenspeak). Seeing him there not only wasting my Pepsi, but making a mess for us to clean up, something snapped inside me. I got up from the desk, grabbed my other Pepsi and walked over to him.

“Here take this for your other homies,” I snarled and tossed the Pepsi at him.

He didn’t like that (what did I expect?) and threatened me with, “If you do that again, you will regret it.”

“Go ahead and hit me and we’ll end this.” I shot back at him, meaning that if he hit me, my partner would call the police and he would go to juvenile. End of story.

That caused him to back pedal a little, “Hey, I didn’t say anything about hitting you.” Phew!

I regained control and sat back down at the desk. Later when he was calmer, he left the office and he offered to pay me for the Pepsi. I said, “It’s not about the money, Oliver.” It wasn’t, it was about relationship boundaries.

When I told my husband this story, he just stared at me stunned for a moment. Then teasingly he said, “What were you thinking? What if he had hit you? Oh, I can just see it. . .you would go to church with a black eye and everyone would blame ME!”

What was I thinking? Clearly I wasn’t, that was the problem. Part of me didn’t really believe that he would hit me. I just didn’t like being threatened and wanted to call his bluff. Another part of me thought he might do it, but was too angry to care. After all, I’ve been through childbirth five times, I think I can take a punch!

Tonight I came to work and apologized to Oliver for asking him to hit me. “I’m sorry that was unprofessional.” He said he was fine with it, but missed the cue that it was his turn to apologize. Sigh.

What are your triggers? What things, if you were aware of them, could help you be a better parent, spouse or friend? It is a worthwhile question for all of us.