Tag Archives: kitkat

How to tackle a to-do list

I am constantly beating myself up for all of the things I don’t get done. The never ending, always growing to-do list is my daily reminder of all the things I failed to accomplish each day. Around 9:00 p.m. each night, once I am home from work, everyone is fed, back from various activities and a bit of quiet has settled in the house, I look at my to-do list on the counter and inevitably choose to sit on the couch and watch a show instead of tackling something productive.

Sadly, I end up not even enjoying my relaxation time because I am haunted by thoughts of what I should be doing instead and how I failed to make the most of my time. These nagging feelings continue to build nightly. Then, eventually, one evening I am so overwhelmed, crabby and stressed that I lash out. Like when I walk into my daughter’s room, filled with the strangest hoarding collections that could trigger an avalanche. Or I open up my son’s daily grade information online and see homework assignments he didn’t turn in or a low score on a quiz in an easy subject…which just proves his lack of effort. (The negatives to both a parent and child from giving parents access to a kid’s daily school life is a whole other blog in itself.)

I will say both the kids deserve “the talk” they get after these encounters, but maybe not with the level of frustration present when I snap.

After one such instance, I finally decided it was time to whip myself into shape. I decided to organize and figure out what I was actually doing with all my time so I made a list one day. (Yep, another list!)

  • Woke up for Pilates
  • Came back home and got kids ready and on the bus
  • Went to work
  • Grocery shopped over lunch
  • Back to work
  • Got dinner served and eaten before son’s practice
  • Answered a few quick work emails
  • Helped daughter finish cereal box book project
  • Quizzed son for the next day’s science test
  • Tucked in daughter
  • Went back to daughter’s room to explain why I couldn’t go on tomorrow’s  field trip (was less comforting and more annoyed as 20 minutes passed until I yelled,“Just go to sleep!”)
  • Looked at to-do list but didn’t do anything
  • Watched a show
  • Went to bed

The next morning I looked at my “what happened today” list and was somewhat impressed with all I got done. Plus, the cereal project box wasn’t part of the normal routine and did suck up my time that was available to work off my to-do list. Also, usually grocery shopping would be on my to-do list for the week, but running out of milk that morning forced the quick lunch-break shopping trip. I decided to add those two items on my to-do list and then immediately crossed them off. Strangely, that felt great.

In fact it felt so good to cross something off the list, I started adding things like, “do the dishes,” “work out,” and “fold laundry” to my weekly to-do list just so I could actually cross something off. It was a high being able to cross something out each night. This “cheat” helped me let go of all the other things I wasn’t actually getting done. It also helped me feel like I was a fairly productive person. I certainly felt better while on the couch watching Orphan Black.

I am now in the process of changing jobs with an unheard of luxury of one week off before I start my new position. This week, I had big plans of productivity with all the extra hours I was granted. So, what did I do? I made an even bigger list, of course. The first day I actually was able to cross off “organize the linen closet” but that was it. Though, I did think often about how in 20 minutes I would get up and conquer more of my list.

“Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.” Vanilla Sky.

(Yep, I should have added watching old movies with a glass of wine in the middle of the day to my “week off” to-do list.)

Until Thursday morning, I really didn’t stress too much about not doing anything at all. But then I felt that shadow of panic and self-blame approaching. Thank you to Stormy for the reminder that maybe I just needed to relax and do nothing. I am really happy her advice wasn’t just to get up and start doing something. So, I added “relax” to my list and enjoyed the day free of guilt.

Interestingly, on Friday I woke up, made coffee, organized my own closet, got rid of clothes, cleaned the house, bought a living room rug, wrote a blog, signed the kids up for summer camp, did some work to prepare for my new gig, and planned the next week’s meals. Maybe there is something to be said for giving yourself a break once in awhile.

Another Year, Another Goal

A more appropriate title may be, another year and hopefully a goal. I don’t mean my vision board goals, which I never even put together in 2015. The kind of goal I am working toward is achieved on the ice.

Though life hasn’t slowed down and I am behind with all my normal to-dos, I have spent the year with a feeling that I need more. That something was missing. (Perhaps the curse of ditching the vision board.) Not coming up with any good ideas, I decided instead to try out hockey.

The idea first formed this summer but came to fruition while I was working off some of the forced hockey parent volunteer time in the concession stand. (Stay away from the slushies. Anything that can stain your skin can’t be great for your stomach!) During my shift, another hockey mom working with me mentioned she has been playing hockey for the past three years. She had fallen for the game watching her son through the years and decided to give it a try herself. She found it one of the hardest and most thrilling things she has taken on – both physically and mentally challenging. That aroused my interest. She also assured me that there were all levels of play including the most basic beginner teams. The association does a formal assessment to place you anywhere from AAA to C3. C3 being a lower division than the lowest found in the kids league. That is where her team is ranked, and in fact she just got her first goal ever this year.

I started thinking that maybe I would try the summer clinics offered to women who wanted to play and then join a team next season. That night I went to the WHAM (Women’s Hockey Association of Minnesota) website and saw there was an upcoming assessment. Being impulsive and impatient is my nature, and with summer clinics so far out I decided why not just jump in feet first? I was sure I could figure it out. I had watched enough games. So with confidence, I registered myself even though I have never been on hockey skates. (It couldn’t be that different from being on figure skates?) The season was half over so I would be unlikely to get picked up by a team but I knew getting assessed would commit me to the following year and get me focused on a training plan. The next morning, to the dismay of my horrified son, I started trying on his old equipment and I was all set.

I was able to get three practices in at a local rink before the assessment. I used the time to try to learn to stop and skate backwards. I quickly found out that stopping in hockey skates is a totally different world from figure skates. I somewhat figured out stopping on one side, or more like turning myself into a half circle to slow me down. As for going backwards, I moved in that direction a little bit. I brushed it off that I would probably be offense at first anyway. I even started wondering if I possibly could make C2 level if I could score like I do in my son’s shooting room. I was having so much fun daydreaming, feeling proud and laughing at myself that I amused myself out of realizing how bad I was. You would think it would have been apparent to me with the comparison of the six year olds darting around the rink.

Then came assessment day. Recent college players down to … well down to me … gathered at Augsburg Ice Arena to show off our skills. The first half hour was skating, passing and shooting drills. All of which I failed miserably. The puck is much easier to shoot in the basement when both it and I are standing still versus crossing paths on the ice. And for the skating and stopping drills, they did not go well forwards or backwards. I was becoming concerned since the last half an hour was a scrimmage.

That is where I shined. Not in my skills, but in sweat and smiles. It was so fun hockey sayingpretending to play. I didn’t really do anything but chase the puck around during my shifts and watch the good players actually move the puck and play. I also learned it is very difficult seeing out of that cage, which was a good excuse when I completely missed a puck right by me. But even as bad as I was, it was fun to hear the other skaters on my bench cheer me on. I also loved how each two minutes on the ice had me dying for my next two minutes on the bench to catch my breath. It was exhilarating.

That night ranking came out. My name was registered as a C3 player. Seeing my name on the list felt like I won an award. Granted everyone made the list and I was the lowest ranking possible. Still, I told all my family the good news and emailed my hockey mom/player friend that I did it and would take clinics in the summer so I could be on a team the following winter. Next thing I know, I get an email back asking me to join her team. They were short players lately at games since the whole team has overbooked lives like mine. If I was willing to dedicate myself to showing up and practicing as much as I could, they would take me on so I would be ready next season as they try to advance to C2 play. I registered as a USA hockey member and signed on!

Thus far I have had one practice and one game. At the practice I didn’t embarrass myself too badly. Though one of the coaches took me aside and tried to teach me crossovers. Which basically is a more efficient way of skating, but first he has his work cut out for him just teaching me to trust lifting one skate up and trusting the other to glide on its edge. I prefer both skates firmly planted on the ice and even better a stick in my hand for extra balance support.

The first game went well in the fact that we won. Another plus, was that I have watched enough games to understand offsides and icing so I didn’t get the whistle blown on us.

Playing left wing at my first game - and still staying upright!

Playing left wing at my first game – and still staying upright!

My plan though was to get one goal or at least one assist. It would be my thank you to the team for taking a chance on me. I skated as fast as I could and often I would hear the coach yell to me “that is your puck!” meaning it was up to me to do something. I would have my eyes on it and a deep desire to take it and skate up to the opponents’ net. My biggest motivation was seeing the other team’s player also approaching and knowing if I didn’t at least hit it away from her I would have to skate all the way back across the ice again.Well, the closest I got to a break away was falling across the ice on my face trying to reach for the puck. No fairytale ending here. Three days later I am still sore and I have a bruise on my chin. But I can’t wait to get out there again.

I have never played a team sport and am excited to learn about being part of a team. Even the locker room is foreign to me but I like listening to everyone’s chatter and then the silence as the coaches came in for a pregame strategy. (Not that I could follow or carry out the moves they marked up the board with.) I still feel like a kid hoping to fit in and become one of them soon. So far, all the players have been encouraging and forgiving. Plus having the coaches pull me aside on tips and mistakes, even yell at me on the ice, is what makes me feel most included. They actually think I can maybe contribute.

It is a totally new feeling to be so new to something. As my teammate said, “It is not often as adults we have an opportunity to start the learning curve so low.” Physically and mentally there is so much to learn. It is draining and thrilling to push myself in a direction I have never tried. It has also made me realize how good these 12 and 13 year old boys are. It makes me truly appreciate the strength, skill and grace they have. It may tone down my yelling “move your skates” and “get that puck” as they race down the ice.

Wish me luck in the playoffs! If I have nothing else to offer the team, I am competitive and hopefully that drive will help make up for my lack of skill and talent. I am hoping to report back that I finished my first season with one goal.

Thank You Grandma – a “sort of” eulogy

In my last post I had mentioned a few lessons from my grandma. The post actually started as a lessons learned from both of my, let’s say “unique,” grandmas. But writing about both of these interesting ladies, who mean so much to me, was too big of a task to take on.

Well since my last post, my other grandma passed away. During a recent trip, I received a text that grandma fell and broke her hip and died an hour later during x-rays. She was battling dementia, so in many ways it was a blessing it went fast. I think she was ready to say goodbye awhile ago. I also know how lucky I was to have had 46 years with two grandmas (and hopefully many more with the remaining one).

My dad asked me to do a reading at the funeral. After finishing it up and getting ready to head down to the River where she lived to do my reading and say a final goodbye, I decided to post the reading. Not that I feel that others are interested in my random memories, but for a few other reasons:

  • Grandma liked being the center of attention. She would get a kick out of being on the Web.
  • During my writing, it hit me that I also am genetically predisposed to dementia. If that happens, maybe someone can pull up my blog and I can at least read about my past.
  • It lets me “cheat” a bit by reusing content I already wrote and I can now say “It is your turn, Stormy!” Let’s call it being efficient.

Thank You Grandma

I have never given a eulogy. I am not sure if there are “normal” requirements or expectations. I did try Google, the answer to everything. But anything I found sounded formulated, wasn’t personal, and didn’t sound like me nor like her. So, you are stuck with what I came up with on my own, which is simply sharing some memories. It may not be right (if there is a “right”) so bear with me…Grandma would have. She sat through countless shows, including costume changes, put on by my sister Kristin and me through the years. And always pretended to love them, no matter how awful the performance.

So much of my, and Kristin’s, childhood is wrapped in memories of grandma. We spent a lot of time there. With parents who were divorced and moved often, being at the cabin with grandma and grandpa was one of our few constant settings.

With a setting like this, how can you not love being at Grandma’s!

Now, if you know my grandma well, you can probably imagine she wasn’t the typical grandma characterized in storybooks. Though, she did bake the most incredible pies. Even when she got to the point where she didn’t have much else in her house when we came to visit (and we actually preferred she didn’t cook), she still would have a freshly baked fruit or pecan pie waiting for us. And yes dad, the pies for us continued long after she stopped having them waiting for her sons.

Grandma wasn’t always easygoing. Actually, she could be a bit difficult. The best way to describe it is that she acted like a child. Grandma spoke her mind, often without thinking. She liked things to be centered around her own needs. Often she would cut off her nose to spite her face, for example hiding in her bedroom pouting when she knew we would be leaving the next day versus just enjoying the day we actually had left. But on the flipside, that same childlike essence is what made her magical to her granddaughters. No other adult would sit on the floor playing paper dolls or Barbies. And really playing, not just the distracted act of playing that most adults do to keep kids occupied. She immersed herself in our play. In the mornings, we could crawl into her bed and entertain each other by taking turns making up silly stories with us three always as the star characters. She understood little girl fantasy play and made our pretend world better, whether by providing scarfs and fancy skirts (Kristin, remember the pink poodle skirt and black lace Flamenco one?) or by showing us how to use the radio on the wall as an intercom to improve our game of being Charlie’s Angels. At the sandbar, grandma would help us “plant trees” – which meant finding big sticks, poking them in the ground and watering them. I could go on and on, because for me, the majority of my memories as a little girl include grandma. I was happy there, and I knew I was loved. She gave me a stable place to revisit and build memories upon. And, she was fun.

As we got older, busier, and independent our visits became less frequent. But besides being a family gathering place for Dad, Shari and Mark, visiting grandma also continued to be our special girls’ place. My sister Kristin even held her bachelorette party there. Grandma and the girls celebrated at the Pioneer Club on karaoke night. I can still picture Grandma’s big smile and hear her laugh the next day as we teased her about the guy who tried to pick her up. Another time we brought our friend Elizabeth down to visit Grandma with us. We had a fashion show as Grandma pulled out all of her fantastic clothes. (The dress I have on is from that day and Elizabeth still wears a couple of pieces she adopted that day too.) One time, we sat in the basement looking at her old photos and teasing her about the comments she had written on them. How her legs were looking pudgy, or that is a bad angle for her versus anything about the cute baby that sat next to her. What I remember most about those times is all the laughter. We would always get each other laughing till our jaws hurt and tears rolled down our face. Grandma had a great laugh.

When I first faced I was losing Grandma, to age and dementia, I was playing three-handed pinochle with her and Kristin. We grew up with cards at the cabin, and my sister at four would use a tinfoil box to hold her cards. This time, however, in middle of the game, grandma stated that she had never played pinochle before. That was hard. I didn’t want her to forget me.

The times when Kristin and I were able to visit her in the hospital these past couple of years, anytime she would remember something about us girls–when we could get her to crack a smile about our past memories, or see interest pique at “girlie things” like the fake eyelashes we had on–those were the times I had my grandma back again.

During my Googling I did find a quote that stuck with me – “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment till it becomes a memory.”

Thank you, Grandma, for so many moments. I love you.

A Flash of Summer

I knew that I was a bit behind on my blogging, but was astonished to discover that my last post was in April… A whole summer had passed! A quarter of a year since I last logged in, yet I had thought I was only about a month behind on my writing. Actually, this summer has flown by in all aspects. Where did it all go? Next week my kids return to school. Usually, I am ready to push my kids out the door and back into a routine. Instead, this summer it feels like we were short changed by at least a month. The kids haven’t even yet started their ritual of bugging me, and each other, from too many days with no real structure.

I know I did plenty these past few months. And I actually have about four different blog topics started to document some of the activities that passed during this time. Though, I still have to prove it to Stormy who kept hearing me say, “I have something to write about this week.” Yet, nothing ever fully materialized past my initial jotted notes. I’d get distracted with a game of catch in the front yard, a neighbor beckoning me over for a glass of wine on the porch, or time commitments of baseball games replacing the winter hockey schedule. Then suddenly, with an uncompleted list of planned summer activities and several unfinished blog drafts sitting in my to-do pile, summer is wrapping up.

Is this the start of what my grandma warned me about? How time would speed up and pretty soon I’d be looking back wondering where all the years have gone?

Grandma still is the last one to leave a party!

Grandma still is the last one to leave a party!

This observation came from the same grandma who gave me and my friends lessons on how to best hold your drink and appetizer while still socializing at a party. So she has earned my trust in passing on truly valuable nuggets of wisdom.

I am hoping that it is just a strange happenstance versus getting older that caused the summer time warp. As you may remember from a past birthday blog of mine, I am not taking the whole aging process graciously. I am not quite ready for even more “attributes” of getting older, so time speeding up is exactly what I don’t need.

Whatever the reason, this summer cruised by way too fast. Reflecting back on these past months, I can only remember flashes of memories, rather than a good summer story.

  • It had its simple pleasures – cabin trips, moms-and-kids staycation, family visits, and lots of outdoor time with good friends.
Staycation travel: from GoCarts

Staycation travel: from GoCarts

To limos!

To limos!

  • It has had its downers – breast cancer scares, parent’s health issues, and helping a friend through some intense life decisions and changes.
  • It has had its celebrations – my favorite being Stormy’s joint 50th birthday/moving party (which included drunk dancing in her backyard and a text the next day asking if I had any recollection of how she broke her toe after too many drinks!)
  • It had its lessons learned – wiener dogs do bite, waterslides are fun, and if the pool at the club closes unexpectedly just pull out the baby pool, hose and Prosecco in the backyard.

I guess, overall, the summer has just been filled with living in the present. I took a break from wondering what is next. I have a habit of always trying to peek at the chapter ahead versus engrossing myself in the current story. Maybe creating this new way of living through one of my chapters is what also messed with my time perspective. (Again, trying to deny the aging theory.)

If I was summing up this chapter of my life, I would just say it was a relaxing time, enjoying simple things, and growing up a bit (not growing old!). I did purposely try to make some self improvements such as watching how I acted and reacted, taking deep breaths as needed, and making sure I did the things I thought were best for those I love (whether they realized it or not).

I wasn’t always successful at this new calm, “take-it-as-it-comes” self. Just this past Sunday while back-to-school shopping at Target, I had a random moment where my mind was surprisingly confronted again with how fast time really does go. How quickly life changes. I had to remind myself to breathe–there was a reason I was there at that moment–and to just focus. No regrets. No worrying what was missed. Trust that I am making the most of my time, even in those periods of time that seem to disappear in a blink.

My personality won’t lend itself to taking this mellow approach to life long term. I am already plotting my plans and goals with fall approaching. I am considering taking up playing on a mom’s hockey league. I have some lofty career aspirations I want to hit. Also, I have a personal physical goal that I hope will send some parts of me back in time. As time keeps passing and new life chapters unfold, I want to find the right mix of excitement and challenges while regularly adding in some contentment and just enjoying the present.  If my grandma’s warning is true about looking back and wondering where all the time has passed, I want to make sure I have filled the time with a vast collection of stories to look back on. I already have some wonderful ones to keep my old mind happy and as a good place to revisit.

My next chapter: The kids head back to school and I head to New York (a setting for several favorite memories already). Maybe saying goodbye to summer won’t so bad with an interest in finding out what is ahead.

photo-4

You never know exactly what will be next or what tale will unfold. That should be the fun part, the unknown. It makes the passage of time easier. At least that is what my Grandma told me over a recent  phone call. She also reminded me, “Growing old isn’t for sissies.”

Choose a Door

Well, it has been a while since my last entry. As Stormy posted on Facebook, “We’re just taking a ‘spring break’ from our blog.” It could be also described as a dry spell, but I like how she put a marketing spin on it.

There is a lot on my to-do-list that has been on hold lately. I seem to have lost some drive. I could blame it on kids, work or activities, but since hectic is my normal life my best guess is it is due to a lack of inspiration or just a temporary shut down. I even turned down going out on a Friday night to instead hang out in a quiet, childless house in my pajamas doing absolutely nothing. This is very unusual for me. I usually thrive on action and hate to miss out on any fun.

This inaction has my to-do-list rapidly growing, including some things which are now even months behind. To break this pattern, I have decided to force some action and just start ticking things off. Thank goodness for another Stormy Facebook post, “Interesting experiment… Which door would you pick?” that finally helped me get started. First item to complete: My next blog.

I think Dove has done many great campaigns. But #choosebeautiful Dove campaign is my favorite. I played it a few times, fascinated at the visual stories. As a mom, I loved–and understood–the woman pulling her daughter through the beautiful door. I would do the same thing. It made me smile at the friends who direct each other to go through “beautiful.” Again, I could picture each of my girlfriends and how I know they are meant for that door. I would make them go through it even if they were hesitant. It also was fascinating to hear why women picked a door and their feelings after. Interestingly, as watched, I never pushed myself to decide which door I would/should go through.

When I sent the video in a group email to my mom and sisters, my mom immediately wrote back stating she would hope that she, and all of us, would choose the beautiful door. Faced with the direct comment, I honestly couldn’t answer that I would. (By the way, my dear sisters, I did notice you totally avoided choosing in your commentary.)

I wish I could say that I would walk proudly through the beautiful door alone. But the reality is that facing the doors alone, I know for certain I would enter the normal door. Admittedly feeling shitty about it afterward, but still believing I went through the one best meant for me. I can’t point to an exact reason why. Believe me, I would love to announce to the world, and myself, that the beautiful door was mine. I even tried thinking about all the beautiful things about me, and why I deserve to walk through that door. I know logically it is the “right” door to pick. I understand the power of walking through that door. But I just can’t claim that door as mine.

Hard not to feel beautiful wrapped in cousin laughter and love.

Hard not to feel beautiful wrapped in cousin laughter and love.

With that said, I know surrounded by my girlfriends I would walk through it, as I would with my mom and sisters beside me. Not just to push them through it. Not because of peer pressure. Simply, because that is how I feel when I am with them.

Certain people make you a better version of your self. Or maybe it’s a reflection of how they see you. Or just the light they add to you when near.

I would like to think that someday (or just some days), I would automatically choose the beautiful door on my own. Not just because I know it’s the right image to show my daughter. And certainly not because I think anything is wrong with normal. I embrace my imperfections, crazies, and stumbles as an interesting and important part of who I am. But I do believe it is important to feel truly beautiful at least sometimes while standing alone. This is a place where I could use some growth.

Which brings me to another item on my to-do list, my vision board (as mentioned, I am months behind on some things). Maybe this year I will fill it with things that help me achieve personal moments of beautiful both inside and out.

Cheers to Dove for making me think and inspiring me back into action. What door would you choose?

Time for a Time-Out

If you haven’t guessed from my lack of blog writing (thank you Stormy for picking up the slack), I am a bit behind on things lately. Usually I am pretty good at keeping up with my overly scheduled life. In fact, I take pride in being able to manage a crazy work and home life while still finding some time to spend with friends and do things I personally enjoy. But right now I am ready for a time-out from everything.

My son's main identity for four months straight.

My son’s main identity for four months straight.

As a hockey parent, it is somewhat expected to feel this crazed right after the holidays. In addition to the normal five days a week, tournaments start and, whenever possible, surprise ice times are thrown in. (The coach’s email is always worded as if we won the lottery by getting even more time on the ice.)

This year, on top of hockey, a few more twists got thrown in. My job got repositioned to report directly to the CEO. This sounded like a positive transition until I realized that all I admired about her—including a constantly active mind—meant that I’d be waking up to email brain dumps each morning.

Plus, hockey isn’t our only activity anymore. My daughter is older and ready to pursue her own interests, so we have tacked on gymnastics. Then, my son thought it was a great idea to add basketball to his winter sports schedule. I did protest this terrible idea, but I only have so much energy left for battling with a middle school kid on a non-critical issue. My time-out for myself is letting him make his own mistakes. (I often am rereading the  Top 15 Things Your Middle School Kid Wishes You Knew to keep may sanity in this area, and to remember that (most likely) I don’t have an insane alien on my hands that I am letting flounder.

So, my life after work seems to be figuring out who needs to go where and what to feed them (that’s somewhat healthy) in the short time span we have between activities. Life on the weekends is even more chaotic with added chauffeur duties to multiple games and transporting everyone (but me) to meet up with friends.

This weekend, in addition to having almost every moment of the days booked, I also had three hours scheduled for both Friday and Saturday night for volunteer duty in the penalty box during a girls tournament. (Twelve volunteer hours beyond your own team obligations are required if you don’t want to write a big check at the end of the season.)

It was when my sister asked when I had an hour to meet that I realized that I really had no more time. The only opening was between 2:10 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., if we met down the street from gymnastics. I was not looking forward to this weekend at all.

During my drive on Friday night to the arena, I kept reminding myself that it was just one weekend and then I would have all of my volunteer hours in. I couldn’t remember my rationale for signing up to do it all in one weekend. It seemed like a bright idea the month before. In addition to not being thrilled to spend two weekend nights at a rink when I didn’t even have a son playing, I also was a bit nervous. I hadn’t done penalty box duty before. My son had given me a vague warning to not to mess it up, and I had never really paid attention to that job before. In the past, I had always worked at the concession stand. But as a parent of an older player, I now got the benefit of tips from more experienced parents, who told me penalty box duty is a way easier gig than concessions.

Checking in and heading to the ice, I found the penalty box not quite as small as it looked from the stands. It was actually a warm and comfortable space. As the game started, I also realized I had a great view of the game and was able to hear the scoop on what the coaches were yelling to players on the ice and instructing on as they came onto the bench. It was a different perspective. The few times there was a penalty, I had no worries about missing the clock countdown. The players were on it. One girl even reminded me that I needed to be ready in 20 seconds. I am sure they would have jumped over the gate if I was a second too slow.

Penalty box is considered the box of shame. You know you just left your team down a person and the players left have to cover you in addition to their own roles. (Though sometimes the penalty seems worth whatever the action stopped the other team from doing.) A few texts came through while I was “working.” My family was busy trying to figure out what to do, who could come over, and how to arrange rides between different morning games. I texted back, “I am in the box you will have to manage yourself.” I was finding that this penalty box time-out was worth avoiding the chaos of weekend planning that usually consumes Friday nights.

I sat back and enjoyed the game in my VIP seat by myself with the exception of an occasional player joining me for a minute and a half. It is always at the most surprising times when I find  a moment of bliss.

After three hours of doing nothing but opening a door a few times, I came home to a quiet house with everyone asleep or out. I poured myself a drink and started watching a marathon of Grey’s Anatomy Season Five. (I am a bit behind on everything!) Making my evening even better was knowing that I had another “time-out” to look forward to on Saturday night.

Hotel Lovefest to Ring in the Holidays

Now this could sound sexy and hot, but don’t forget I am a crazy over-scheduled working mom. My hotel fantasies consist of visions of a bed to myself, no one to tuck in, and room service dancing in my head. (This would cover  #22-24 on the “28 Gifts Every Mom Wants for the Holidays” that Stormy posted to our Facebook page. Stormy, I am still counting on you to deliver gift #28 in person before Christmas.)

Neither of the possible fantasies mentioned above happened. The reality of my recent hotel night was a lovefest of a completely different kind. There was a hotel involved, but the room was shared with my two sisters and the lovefest was filled with giggles, confidences and tears—the kind that only siblings (or girlfriends) can cram together in a just few hours.

The initial plan was for us all to escape our hectic lives and take a moment to really enjoy the holiday season. We would leisurely shop, have a delicious dinner, and retire to our room to watch “Love Actually” over a bottle of wine.

Then we’d wake up rested for breakfast and spend a full day helping each other cross off our holiday shopping lists. One comment that was continually repeated by each of us was how excited we were to be in a relaxing atmosphere with a time out from normal chores, family and work. We would be able to actually catch up on some much-needed rest.

Well, the first part of our outing went as planned, including heading up to the room at 9:30 p.m. We congratulated ourselves on being back in time to have our peaceful evening and not letting freedom con us into staying out and trying to enjoy the bar scene. It was while waiting for our room service that the evening plans took an unforeseen turn. Why not turn on a little music while we waited for our bottle of Pinot Grigio? A little Taylor Swift seemed harmless. But that was when the night took on a different course:

Yes, I know every word!

Yes, I know every word!

  • We danced and sang together. Current hits. ’80s rock. Country. (I did save them from hearing me belt out a heartfelt rendition of “Let It Go.”)
  • We decided to order a nightcap following our wine, which included a call to the bartender, instructing him on how to make our first drink. And, so we didn’t have to call again, to bring extra orders without ice. Can’t have the waiting drinks diluted!
  • We shared. Everything from giggling about bodily functions, memories that we each had different versions of, family dysfunction, to our secrets and fears.
  • We asked each other hard questions. Things we perceived or guessed by just knowing each other a little too well. Things no one else is brave enough to ask you.
  • An argument. What started as a heartfelt sharing, followed up by smart sisterly advice, turned into tears, hurt feelings and stubborn silence on both sides.
  • Ten minutes later a post-fight make up. Who besides a sister can you sit on and threaten disgusting things that will happen if they don’t give in and smile?
  • At some point a decision to sleep – last clock check was remembered at 2:30 a.m.

We woke up foggy headed but still laughing as we reminded each other of things we did and reminisced about our silly night. There was nothing any of us would change. We agreed even the fight added to the perfection of the night.

21 Reasons It's Awesome to have your Sister as Your Best Friend

21 Reasons It’s Awesome to have your Sister as Your Best Friend

So that sums up my hotel lovefest. How an evening of being completely uncensored and totally yourself can be so freeing. How much you love those people, deep to the core of you, with whom you can share that kind of night.

I left the Westin packed with unforgettable memories and true love.