Baseball and Painting

A post to recap last week and the weekend.

Monday I had the trial run with the stylist. The make-up looked lovely. Very soft and feminine, she shared some helpful tricks with me, I was impressed. The hair I was a little less impressed with. In her defense, I have very high standards for an updo. I nearly always wear my hair up. I have mastered many different updos on myself so if a professional is going to perform an updo on me I expect them to do better I can. What was done I can do myself. That is not to say it wasn’t nice but what am I paying for really then? I would be paying to not to have think about it the day of and although there is value in that, not over 100.00 worth of value, not for me at least. I did leave pleased overall though. There was a bit of a hiccup after speaking with my girlfriends though. I left the professional hair and make-up application optional for my girls. They are all perfectly capable and always look lovely so if any of them do not want to spend the money I am OK with that. What I did not take into consideration, primarily because I was not aware, is there is a minimum amount you have to spend to book the day. We were not going to meet the minimum so after careful consideration and a trial run with assistance from my mother I have chosen to do my own hair and make-up for my wedding. I am convinced that no one will be able to do an updo on me that I wouldn’t be able to do myself and I feel confident enough in my make-up skills to make this work. I know there are brides out there that would gasp at the thought and think I am crazy but I feel good about this decision and am not giving it further thought.

Wednesday was girls day out with my mother, aunt and my cousin’s girlfriend (my aunt’s future daughter in-law). I have a close-knit family, I see most of these women every weekend for cards and drinks at one of our houses. At Easter we were all talking and realized we had never all gone out for a girls day together and how fun it would be. The timing is perfect as my cousin’s girlfriend has just finished grad school and has some down time and my summer classes have not started yet. We decided on lunch and painting, pottery specifically. I looked forward to it all week. My mother, who is where my artistic abilities come from, and I have done many art projects together over the years but never this. Everyone chose a different piece. I made a wedding mug to drink my tea from.

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Tomorrow we will lunch again as a group and go to collect our pieces that have been fired. I get to pick the lunch location tomorrow as we will be on my side of town. I am excited, there are so many locally owned restaurants with unique, delicious menus on our side of town. I haven’t decided which to take them to yet. I am thinking Carmel though. I like their vegetable options and they make amazing cocktails.

Friday Todd was off so we did some house work and then went with Lucy to my parents house in the afternoon. We had tickets, the four of us, to UCF’s baseball game against Rutgers that evening. It was so fun. I will not watch baseball on TV but I love going to games and watching in person. Todd used to play when we first started dating and I LOVED watching him. He is really good, he plays third base. It was so much fun. We always sit behind third base when we go to a baseball game  and this particular game had a lot of lefties which meant a lot of balls raining down on us during the game. That is my least favorite part of going to a game, you have to pay attention at all times or you might get hit. This is hard for me, I take a lot of mental pauses to day dream and I have to actively stop myself from doing so at a baseball game. It was a nice  night for a game, there was a breeze and no bugs.

Saturday we got up early and went to dealership to get Todd’s car washed. While we were there we looked at the SUVs they had on the lot and talked some more about what we want in the next vehicle. After the dealership we drove over to the Winter Park farmers market to pick up some local honey. While we were there we realized that to our surprise local vegetables are actually decently priced and there is a nice selection. We decided to check our last few receipts and are entertaining the idea of getting our produce from the farmers market going forward. I like this idea because it is locally grown and organic, Todd likes it for the price mainly. As long as we can agree that we like it I don’t much care what our separate reasons are. We had lunch out and then went home where we nearly killed ourselves raking the backyard. To put this in context, this is the tree in our backyard,061.

It is a Live Oak and it’s branches span out over 30 feet covering more than four of our neighbor’s backyards. When this thing looses it leaves, watch out! We decided not to rake in the fall and winter, it would have been a fruitless effort. Everyday this tree lost so many leaves we would have been out there every weekend trying in vain to keep up. Instead we decided to wait until it got its new leaves in the spring. Well it was time and it took forever! I actually really enjoy raking, I always have, I find it cathartic and relaxing. So I would rake and Todd would bag my piles. It took us over three hours and 12 large black trash bags to finally have our yard rid of all the leaves. Once finished we took showers and went to my Uncle’s house for cards.

It was a nice week/weekend. Soon I will be back to school and studying so I am relishing in my last free moments. I am trying urgently to finish the book I have been reading in the hope of having time for one more fun read before mandatory reading starts. I am also doing some spring cleaning and clothing purging. I am not sure what to expect yet once classes begin and I want to have things done beforehand to limit my distractions while I work from home.

What may look like hypocrisy is just a different kind of authenticity

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You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

 

I pride myself on being self-aware and deeply empathetic. I had an epiphany today though that made me realize maybe sometimes I get too lost inside myself and I do not try hard enough to understand others.

Case in point:

One of my friends from my old job is an ENFJ. She took the test not long after I did, years ago. I never looked into the details of her personality type, I understand it on a basic level because I understand the test and the results. Also, she and I had a discussion years ago about our two personality types after we both took the test so I gained a little knowledge there as well. An area where she and I relate well, especially in terms of work, is that we are both concerned with keeping the peace. Neither of us like conflict and are both interested in a harmonious work environment. I always appreciated this about her, there was usually very little conflict in the office since we both made this such a high priority.

Recently we got together outside of the office setting to catch up. We were talking about what is going on in both of our personal lives right now as well as her filling me in on what is happening at the office. She told me a story about an issue that came up and how she handled it. I have to say I was a bit surprised with the way she chose to handle the issue. She had to compromise herself and what she stands for to a degree in order to reach a resolution. I was perplexed. How could she do that? Why didn’t she stand her ground? It’s not that I was judging her for the compromise she made, I just had trouble understanding it. I can absolutely be flexible especially in the name of conflict resolution but I wont compromise one of my values for it. If this is my only option my gut reaction would be to push back and stand my ground. The resolution is secondary to my value system.

We finished our time together and said our goodbyes but I found that even days later I was still thinking about her story. I felt bad for her, imagining how I would feel in her same situation but at the same time I had trouble empathizing because every time I tried I would think, “But I would never let this happen!” How are you not a hypocrite to some degree if you stand for something and then fold back on it in times of conflict? I do not mean to call my friend a hypocrite or shame her for her decision, it is just my thought process, it’s me trying to understand.

After some time I decided to look up the details of her personality type. I read something that really helped me better understand my friend and myself for  that matter.

When faced with a conflict between a strongly-held value and serving another person’s need, they are highly likely to value the other person’s need.

Well shit, I get it now. The ENFJ is apparently considered The Giver. This makes total sense now. This is my friend to a T, and I see now where her motivations lie and why she chooses to handle things the way she does. It isn’t that her personal values are not important and worth fighting for but, true to form, she puts others first. This is not to say she is a martyr that does not know her own self worth either, she is a very strong woman. She does things for the greater good though. What may look like hypocrisy on the outside is really just her being completely authentic to her way of being. Here is the thing I have to understand, her way of being is different than mine.

I am a humanist and I measure my success by the positive impact I am able to have on the lives of others BUT there are areas where I will not compromise and I am stubborn to a fault on this matter. My personality type leans this way to begin with, I think my particular disposition further comes from the fact that when I was younger, and not at all self-aware, I did compromise my values and for a while I carried some regret.

It was a like a light was turned on when I read this though. I need to remember that everyone’s motivations come from different places and just because people handle situations differently than I would it does not make them wrong, or hypocritical or in any other way inauthentic. It is just different, that is all. I was a little disappointed in my gut reaction to her story but thankful for my introspection and that I took the time to reflect and try to better understand her.

It gave me even more appreciation for her when I thought about it after. Sher cares enough about the greater good and well being of others that she is willing to make that compromise. That is really something.

I cannot be what I am not

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In life a challenge everyone faces is balance. Keeping balance in your everyday life is an important part of being a grounded, happy human being. When it comes to balance in my daily life the biggest challenge I face is keeping my emotionally driven personality in check. I am constantly trying to put my feelings toward any given thing into perspective, always trying to keep my eye on the bigger picture.

The problem I  face is that for me everything revolves around how I feel. Logic, statistics and analytical thought do not usually play a role in my decision making process. Being so far to one side of the scale in this aspect of my personality poses a real danger for me slipping into extremes. This is something I am afraid of and keep a wary eye on because I do not want to lose touch with reality.

Todd and I had a discussion this morning about something that has been bothering me and how I plan to handle it. I, like many Americans, walk around blissfully unaware of a lot of the yuck going on around me in society. When something is brought to my attention, however, it is difficult for me to ignore it and pretend it is not there. This is especially true when I have some level of control over whatever the thing is.

I do have a level of perspective about this, I know that I cannot single-handedly change all the defects of our society. I have to choose my battles and my causes. I do not have it in me to fight for every cause out there. However, I can choose what is best for me personally and not give my support financially to a company with immoral business practices for example. This is something small but it is what feels right.

What disappoints me so often is our society’s level of greed and what people and companies are willing to do for money. I see things and hear about things happening that are just wrong. Really wrong. But it is allowed to happen, there are no laws stopping it or those in place are loose and not often upheld.

I am not trying to change the world, I do not have the energy for that, but I don’t want to be part of the problem when I am aware of it and can make the decision not to be. It is exhausting to care this much but I would still rather be an exhausted person of principle than a carefree hypocrite as often as possible.

Getting closer to “I Do”

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With our wedding about 7 months away I am relieved that I can finally see a vision of what we are working towards, stylistically speaking. I have been pretty hands off with planning primarily due to a lack of vision. We have been fortunate that with many of the decisions we  have had to make, something good has kind of fallen into our lap. I am very happy with our choices up to this point regarding photographer, videographer, music, venue. All of it feels very “us”.

Now I am to the point where I am having to make decisions about decor and style, with no real style concept this part has been difficult. I did a trial run with a centerpiece, I did not like at all. Not that it wasn’t pretty, it just didn’t feel right. This failed attempt left me feeling very overwhelmed and lost. I decided to step back from the whole decor process and not think about it for a little while.

Allowing myself not to think about for a while was apparently all I needed because suddenly inspiration hit and now, finally, I know where to go. While Todd has been helpful with input in other aspects of the planning process when it comes to this area he has been hands off. He has pretty much no opinion about the decor and design. I ask him before I move forward on decisions but he has been content to let me do what I want in this area. I appreciate this, he was the same way about the house when we moved in. He knows I am creative and just lets me fly when it comes to decor but at the same time it can feel like a lot of pressure. When I was without a clear vision I think input may have helped me a bit. Either way I finally got here and I am so glad.

Now that I have a color scheme and a theme (of sorts), making decisions is easy. For the first time throughout this whole experience I am enjoying myself. this couldn’t have come at a better time either because wedding stuff has been coming up quite a bit lately.

My Mom is throwing my bridal shower and we have started talking about that recently. My girlfriends and I made a decision about what to do for the bachlorette party, a weekend out-of-town. It is going to be so fun, I cannot wait. I just picked up the bridesmaids dresses and the accompanying jewelry for them as well as scheduled our alterations appointments. Todd and I are in the process of scheduling our engagement photos for next month and today I have my trial run for hair and makeup.

There is still quite a bit to do but I am looking forward to all of it now, thank goodness!

Just another night painting

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Late Monday afternoon my one of my best girlfriends asked if I was free Tuesday night for another Paintnite event. My response, Absolutely girl! Never one to pass up an opportunity to paint. Apparently her friend that was going was suddenly no longer available. We had a great time for the second time.

All this practice is making me more confident with my brush skills to the point that I have taken on a project of my own for the wedding. We will have a few signs at the ceremony and reception and I have decided to make an attempt at painting one of them. Fingers crossed I don’t blow it. Here is what I have so far, I have painted the Mint/Tiffany Blue back ground and the banner across the top.

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This sign will have a poem painted on it, the banner is for the poem title. I am happy with where I am now and am afraid to do much more at the moment. Next step is lettering, I am terrified. I will update on my progress later.

Identity: How we are seen, how we see ourselves

“You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are the all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

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Todd and I have been talking lately about our next car. Like the responsible ISTJ he is he managed to pay off his car loan early. I think close to a year early actually. So having not had a car payment for quite sometime and the recent addition of a large dog into our home he has started thinking about the next vehicle and what makes sense. He has decided we need a size upgrade so when he is ready he is going to look at SUVs. I must admit a piece of me is jealous.

It’s not just that he will get to drive an SUV while I am stuck in a car (I have never liked cars since being in a bad accident when I was 14). It’s the fact that I already know when the time comes for me to get another car I will be getting a minivan! It is what makes sense for us though. By the time I am ready for a new car we will either already be one child in or at least ready to start having children. When I was in high school my cousin and I always used to say we would never be “minivan moms” we were going to be the cool moms who drove SUVs. Well uncool or not I have grown up and watched my girlfriends struggle with baby seats in the back of their SUVs and cars plus at times not having enough room for all the extras you tote around not to mention trying to fit additional people in your vehicle. I realized it just doesn’t make sense.

Todd and I were talking about minivans and my silly ideas about them. Believe me, I know they are silly I do not need to be told. What would be more ridiculous though is not getting a minivan when the time comes because somehow I have attached my identity as a person to the car I drive. Or I allowed my ego to get in the way of what makes the most sense for my family. Anyway, Todd says Volvo makes a minivan so at least I have that. Half kidding, I do kind of love Volvos.

This whole idea of feeling less than because of the car I drive got me thinking bigger picture about my identity, about individual identity in general. What do we think of ourselves? Where does our self-worth stem from? How does this compare to how others view us? Are the two ideas in line with each other or are they incredibly skewed?

For example, They say the clothes make the man, what do my clothes say about me and how much do I let what I wear speak for me?

I think my style is feminine, relatively conservative and comfortable but always put together. I will usually pick a colorful flat over a heel to save my feet but I am not a t-shirt and jeans girl.

So I wonder what kind of first impression I give? What I always strive for is approachable. And in thinking about it I do identify with what I wear. I am not proud of it but I can honestly say I don’t feel as much like myself running around in a t-shirt and jeans, I actually don’t really own any t-shirts. I acknowledge that there is a degree of superficiality in allowing my mood to be affected by what I am wearing but I do care about how I represent myself in public. While I accept that this makes me superficial on some level I also feel it is about self-respect though and possibly even being respectful of those around me.

Let me elaborate a little, if I know I have a meeting with someone I will dress accordingly. It shows that I care, showing the person I am meeting with I take them seriously therefore have shown up put together. Not to mention in terms of the work world most companies care about how the people they hire represent them. I realize when I am out in the world I am not just representing myself but others as well. That means something to me.

When it comes to my identity, I do not want to be defined by material things ultimately. My car, clothes, jewelry, phone. I have never been into status symbols etc. I also don’t want to be solely identified by the roles I play in life.

Mother, Social Worker, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend. I have talked many times about wanting to be the same version of myself across the board, striving for authenticity. My hope is that as I go through life I am able to stay true to who I am in all of these different roles and that come across to those I interact with. I realize my children will only ever really thinking of me as their mother but I hope as they get older when they think of me it is more than just “Mom”. I hope my affection, support, empathy and compassion shines through.

I feel this way about all of the roles I will play in life. I don’t want to just be “Jill the Social Worker” or “Jill, Todd’s wife”. When people think of me I hope who I am transcends just the title I hold in their life.

 

Weekend Roadtrip Destination: Dali Museum, St. Petersburg FL

This weekend Todd and I drove down to St. Pete to visit the Dali Museum, specifically to see the Warhol exhibit on display there through the end of April. It was the ideal day for a day trip. The weather was magnificent. During the two-hour drive we discussed our ideas for our honeymoon in the fall and firmed up what our plans will be, just another thing to look forward to this year. We spent a good deal of time on the grounds outside the museum before we ever went in. The building itself is  eye-catching and unusual but in addition it is located near the water. The whole scene was quite striking.

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There is a garden with a hedge maze and a bench that is twisted and mangled complete with melted clock, perfect for a photo-op.

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The contents of the museum did not disappoint. I loved the Warhol exhibit. There was a photo of Andy Warhol, John Lennon and Yoko Ono together and then another of Warhol and Dali together. It blows my mind that all these men lived during the same time period. I was thinking about what an exciting time it must have been to live in if you were in the music/art scene back then.

As much as I enjoyed the Warhol exhibit nothing about it really surprised me. The same cannot be said for the Dali gallery. I like Dali but he has never been a favorite of mine and I am not as familiar with his work outside of the classic pieces that are easily identifiable. I had no idea how influential religion was in so many of his pieces. It was really awe-inspiring to stand in front of this truly massive piece of art and observe all the elaborate detail knowing it was all the creation of one man with a vision. I cannot imagine how long it must have taken him to complete some of these paintings. I was blown away. My favorite in their gallery was, Galacidalacidesoxiribunucleicacid (Homage to Crick and Watson). There was just something about it, I know it is what will stand out the most in my memory later on.

After we toured the museum we walked along the water a few blocks and found a farmer’s market. We walked around for a while and the continued on until we stopped at a deli for lunch. After lunch we walked back and started home. It was a great way to spend a Saturday.