Thursday, October 8, 2015

Why do I have to be politically correct all the time?

I just read the headline of an article, saying it is dangerous to tell someone they look great after they've lost a lot of weight. The first few lines of the article were something like, "it might be a person who has severe insecurities and feels terrible about themselves".

I'm also reading articles about how you should never ask an introvert this or that question, how you can't tell a gay person x, you can't say y to a Chinese person, you can't say z to a homeschool person. The internet is full of such advice columns!

Don't get me wrong, I am in full agreement, that there needs to be some sense of politeness in a conversation. People should use their manners when talking to others, and sure, you sometimes need to think twice before you something like, "Oh hey, I see this ugly bump on your face, what the heck?" But honestly, out of fear of offending someone, do I really have to keep my mouth shut all the time?
Maybe, I really do want to know, "How and when did you know you were gay?" or "Why on Earth would anyone homeschool their child?" or "What does it feel like to be Chinese in America, when we have such bad things to say about China?"

Learning happens through conversation. I want to understand why people do what they do, why they feel a certain way. I want to tell someone, "Hey, you lost a shit load of weight. You look great!" And if they come back to me and tell me, "You know, it's because I have cancer and I'm undergoing treatment." or "The truth is, I'm throwing up after every meal." (This may not happen... but it may!), then I have the opportunity to be supportive, helpful, caring... and even apologetic. It's what makes me human. It just may be the conversation we need to have that helps me understand, or that helps them talk about something that might otherwise never be discussed.

Yes, sometimes I might be stepping on someone's toe. And I truly am sorry when that happens. But I would argue that a heartfelt apology on my part will usually repair what has been broken... if it has in fact been broken.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


When my 14 year old daughter, formerly known as the Toothless Fairy, was born in early 2001, my husband and I agreed that I would stay home with her. I was new to the United States anyway, and it was easy to simply stay home instead of trying to find work. Plus, we both wanted our kids to grow up with at least one parent around at all times. Just as naturally, we decided to homeschool our kids. Both the Toothless Fairy (whom I shall rename the Teena, because she's so much a teen now) and Blue Eyed Boy grew into the most incredible humans.

I will say with pride, that some of this is because of my influence. Most of it is the luxury we were able to afford them by keeping them home. Regardless of what one thinks of homeschooling, the fact remains that they have been able to invest much of their time exploring who they are and what they want out of life. They have discovered their passions, and I've watched in awe as they turned from little mini-me and mini-Dad into their very own people. 

For some time, I was perfectly content being the stay-at-home mom. With two little kids, I never got bored. Between play dates, meals, a household, and countless other mommy duties, I stayed busy. 

Eventually, though, I wanted more. I started writing, then worked for as the Operations Manager, went to school to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, and I loved every step of the way. All of these work opportunities were work-at-home jobs. I was able to work odd hours, homeschool the kids, and take care of house, laundry, and my husband, too. ;) 

I love this life. I love my house, my husband, my kids, and my friends. Our homeschool community is amazing, and I love hanging out there and of course I'm a volunteer there as well. I could do this for many more years and never get bored. I could continue to build my business, stay home with the kids, and eventually become rich and famous doing what I love.... if only it was that easy. Truth is, I am a terrible business woman. Sure, I love the idea of having my own business, of being an authority in nutrition and health. But I only love the part, where I teach classes, give talks and host workshops. I don't love bookkeeping, marketing, advertising, and all that other businessy stuff that comes with running a successful business. Seriously, I suck at it. 

Now, out of the blue, a job opportunity presented itself to me: A full time position at a doctor's office (where I am also a patient) as their nutritionist. While I'm not a licensed nutritionist but a certified NTP, it appears they're looking for someone with my skills. They've invited me to shadow with the doctor for a half day this week. Let me be clear! I want this job! It's the perfect location, a great office, right up my alley, and I don't have to run my own business. The work hours are decent, and I'd be home early enough to make dinner and hang with my family. For a woman in her early 40s, who spent much of her adult life parenting and volunteering, jobs don't come chasing after you. That's a fact many of us in this situation have to accept and deal with. So, when there is such an opportunity, you know what you're passing up if you don't jump on it. 

Yes, I'm jumping on it. I want them to want me as much as I want them. And yet, this will change everything for me and for my family. We will continue to homeschool, and I have had offers from my community to help out. My eldest will do a lot of the driving for me. I know in my heart, that we will figure this out, and that after some adjustment time, everyone will be happy. I know that my 12 year old boy, who is so attached to me will do a tremendous amount of growing up, and inside me, the mommy heart is bleeding. Because it's not just up to my kids to step up to the plate and help out, to grow up and be independent, it's also up to me to let go. I know this has to happen one way or another. Give it a couple more years, and they will practically not need me for anything anymore (well, almost anyway). It feels like a small goodbye, even though they're still far away from moving out. It's also the confirmation for me that I did the right thing staying home and being there for them at all times. It was the right thing for my family.

I've been thinking about this for the better part of two weeks, as I'm waiting to continue with this interview process and shadow day. What I hadn't considered was that I will also have to let go of the homeschool community, where the kids are taking classes. We have been members for over 9 years. This place has in every sense become our home away from home. The kids found friends there, and so did I. I participate in a dance class and a writing class there. I sit with the moms and discuss motherhood, kids, life, and problems. I spend much of my spare time doing volunteer work there. If I end up getting the job (which won't start until December), all of this will go away. And it hurts. It hurts, because I am afraid of losing my community, of being part of this close knit circle of friends. It hurts because anything that you've loved for so many years is hard to let go. 

And so, in all of this reflection, I find myself lucky and grateful. I can say with certainty that the last nine years were spent at the right place with the right people doing absolutely the right thing! I don't think all people can say this for themselves. And that's why I know that I am extremely lucky. 
I do think that I have a very good chance of getting this job. But even if they decide to go with someone else, this time will serve as a great reminder to love every day I get to spend with these amazing people and with my awesome kids. Because, sooner or later, this chapter of my life will come to an end and will make way for a new one. Fingers crossed... I trust that whatever needs to happen will happen.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

She's back... kind of... we shall see!

Wow, has it been a long time or what? I don't know what makes me stop and start over when it comes to blogging. I think it's just life. Heck, I don't know if anyone will even see this little post of mine, but I will just go ahead and write it anyway.

What has happened? Everything! Life! Happy and sad moments. All the things that make life worth living.

Two years ago, my eldest daughter from Germany moved in with us, and life has not been the same. She has enriched our lives in the best possible ways, without even knowing that she did it. She has become so much a part of our daily lives, that the thought of her leaving again, of moving out and living her own life, is making me sad. I may be a little bit of a control freak. I have to know what she is doing. I want to take care of her. I want to be her mom and friend, the person she comes to for everything. I really have no reason to believe, that she won't. But what can I say: I'm a mom who realizes her babies are growing up. This particular "child" will be 21 in August, and I know it's time for her to move out and be all grown up.

In October of 2013, I had a liver resection, which left me with a 15 inch scar on my belly. I've done all kinds of growing up through this experience, and life is more precious than ever. A 6 hour procedure will do that to ya! Almost 2 years later, I feel great (mostly), and I'm excited to grow very, very old!

I also studied Nutritional Therapy through the Nutritional Therapy Association. What a journey it has been, and now I get to tell people how to eat well, why they should use supplementation, what they should avoid, and help them make their lives better. What is not to love about this? I get paid to tell people about nutrition! Check out my website: Real Food 4 Me!

We also continue to homeschool, although both kids will attend an online school starting September. The 14 year old is old enough for high school, the 12 year old needs a little more structure (that's just my opinion... read away if you unschool and think I'm nuts). The truth is, as I'm turning my attention towards my own business and career, I will be happy to have the support and structure of "school" without having to send the kids into an actual school.

And there you have it... in a nutshell... sort of. I'll be back with much more interesting (I hope) content!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


So, I've never been one of the popular kids in school. In my German high school I was one of the less liked people with only one actual real friend. I remember trying to fit in with the cool kids. And they would have me long enough to extract information from me, that they could later use against me. 
Then I became an exchange student. I went to the US, and I realized that the gap between cool kids and us regular folk is even bigger. The cool kids were the football players and cheerleaders, and my high school had a great drama department, so actors were also wildly popular. Once again, I ended up hanging out with the oddballs of the school. One of my friends was a guy named Jorma. He had hair to his butt and drew comic book creatures in his notebooks. He lived with his uncle and had the weirdest stories to share. The other people I hung out with were mostly other exchange students, those, who like me just couldn't make it into the cliques of cool kids.

Over the years, I tried to make friends. Heck, making friends seems to be the story of my life. They can write it on my tomb stone someday. RIP after a lifetime of "trying" to make friends. To be fair, I did make some really wonderful friends. I have three friends today, whom I consider to be the most beautiful people, and I really hope we will be friends for life. I would do anything for these women. 

But I have also lost a lot of friends. And here's the weird thing... most of them just kind of left. They're not gone. They are just not interested in being my friends. And I find that I'm hurt by this. I'm connected to some of them on Facebook. Recently I saw pictures of such a friend with another friend who also just kind of left. The two just totally hit it off. They have become close friends. And neither has an interest in being my friend. No reason. No fights, arguments, or bad feelings... none that I'm aware of anyway. They just don't want to be with me. Maybe the internet, maybe the transparency of it all make it that much more obvious. Maybe, if it wasn't for Facebook, I wouldn't know and wouldn't care. But as it is, I'm just hurt, because at least one of them I really liked, and I still do actually.

A few years ago, I had a friend. She and I met through a MOMS Club activity. We were the only two people showing up for it. We sat for hours and talked. And soon she became the person I talked to about everything. Our families clicked. We had a really good thing going. Then the end of the school year approached. I had a few busy weeks, and we talked a bit less. One day she told me that she was done with me. She no longer wanted my friendship. And she NEVER offered an explanation why. As much as I tried to understand, and I even went to her house for a conversation to clear the air, I had already lost her. No explanation offered... ever. I'm still sad about that to this day.

As far as the cool people go, they still exist in my world. How silly is that? I'm almost 40! Shouldn't I be done with this? I was told by someone that I was imagining things. It was one of the "cool kids" who said this. I honestly don't think she knows that she is part of the cool kids group. Maybe you just don't know when you're in? Let me tell you, though... you do know when you're out. Once again, you learn about it on Facebook. You hear about gatherings, that you were not invited for. You see pictures, you hear conversations. No, I still have not made it into the cool kids group, and I'm sad that I'm still trying. I could just let it go. To hell with cool kids. I don't need to be a cool kid. If only there wasn't this nagging feeling, that I'm missing out. 

And you know what, it's happening to my children, too. Neither of them belong with the cool kids. One of them has been trying for well over a year. It's not that her "friends" aren't nice to her, but she is not part of that oh so cool clique, and I have seen many bitter tears. Good grief, my kids are homeschooled, partly because I was hoping to avoid just that. How is it, that I now have to watch this with an achy heart? And yes, in her case Facebook and Instagram were also the places where she found out. Big gatherings of kids. All of her friends together... without her. Yes, this hurts. 
My youngest tried just twice. Each time he was tossed aside just like that. Both times the kids acted in the most rude ways you can imagine. He has not tried since. He has his online friends, and he has his best friend... He's satisfied with that. Breaks my heart, that among homeschoolers the same shit is happening as in any old school. I had no expected that. 

Recently, I reached out to a family to get our two families together. I did this mostly for my husband, because he likes the dad. My daughter and one of their daughters have never really clicked, but countless months after their last pissy argument it seemed to me like all was well. My daughter has only spoken kindly of the other girl. The mom took a long time to get back to me about getting the families together and suggested to only get us parents together, so as not to disrespect her daughter's feelings towards mine. I was in shock, I will admit. Wow, she must really hate my child a lot, if she cannot handle a dinner at our house. 
Well, no use to force her. I wouldn't want to be forced to hang out with people I don't like. But then, I am known to repair and repair and repair. I always try to better myself, and I am always (ALWAYS) willing to start over. Okay, so that's not true. There is someone in my life that I am no longer willing to start over with. But, I can still be friendly. A get together in a large group will not be a reason for me not to go for fear of meeting this person. 
I guess, what my real worry is, is that this girl is, you guessed it, part of the cool kids group. And with her strong dislike towards my daughter, what might be the consequences? I don't know. Maybe I'm overthinking this whole thing. 

Yes, this whole friendship thing has left me deeply vulnerable. I worry about people not wanting to be my friends. I think that something is wrong with me, if I am so very unlikable. I sometimes wish I was more like a guy. If he makes a friend, great... if not, oh well. Nothing to it. Clearly the other person's loss. I wish, I could say this, too. But then something happens... like a new person will enter my community. Someone I really like, someone I think they could become my friend. And the weeks and months go by, and my efforts kind of just go unnoticed... meetings for tea or coffee keep getting cancelled. And after a while, I see these new people together with other people... the very same people I had hoped to be friends with years before and never managed to do it. And they tell me that they are great buddies now, and they work out together, and they tell each other stuff... and they have little inside jokes only they understand. Yes, I have an achy heart because of this. Not that anyone will ever know... because I also own a mask with a smile. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

I ain't no J.K. Rowling...

The last crushing two star review on Amazon has confirmed that I'm not much more than a wannabe... the writer who would like to be an author, but who really is just one of many in this crazy writing business. Add to that my self-publishing, and you know it's practically a recipe for disaster. Okay, yes, there are those few and far in-between cases, those who put out one ebook after another and make millions. I admire and envy those people, because I do passionately love to write, and I would like to be them. I still write... and I even make some money doing it. Of course it's all non-fiction, and I'm not selling books, just articles. This is also a reality of the writing business. Non-fiction, if done right, will sell much better than fiction. But us writers, we all want to sell our fiction, that we feel so passionately about.

I have 24 reviews on Amazon. The majority of them are actually pretty good, and no, they're not all from well meaning friends but also from complete strangers. And so, starting tonight, I'm going to offer my book for free again. For 5 days. If you feel so inclined, go check it out RIGHT HERE! And if you love it, then please consider leaving a positive review. If you don't like, leave a negative review... but please remember to be kind about it. Even negative reviews can be put into friendly words. I am all about friendly words.

And finally, because I do love to write, and I also think that I'm not all bad, I'll be posting short stories here on my blog. These are stories I wrote in the past and stories that I'll be writing in the future. This is mainly for my own entertainment, but also for those of you out there who like to read but just don't have the time to sit down and read a whole book.

I'll start with a story, that was supposed to turn into a book. It's only the introduction, so if you don't want to be left hanging, don't read it, because it WILL leave you hanging! :) Enjoy your read... and if you like it, come back for more soon.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you, that all of these stories are my property. Please don't copy and share them as your own. Thank you!

"I noticed him right away. I stood at the light of Broadway and Taylor, surrounded by strangers, their heads lowered to stare at the screens of their handheld devices. One man was reading the newspaper. The summer sun glistened from a bright, blue sky, and I pulled out my sunglasses. As I gazed at the light, there he was... walking toward the light right across the street. He had probably just left the hotel, as he liked to stay at this particular place when he came to town. It was the hotel where we had made love for the very first time, and in the past two years, I'd felt a pang in my stomach and my heart would skip a beat every time I passed the hotel on my way to a meeting.

I watched him walk. Tall and handsome he turned the heads of a couple of middle aged women, who then turned to each other and whispered something. He didn't notice. He stopped and turned my direction. Even from across the street I could make out his nicely defined chest under the blue button down shirt, that was neatly tucked into his pants. He checked his watch, then looked up at the light, waiting for it to switch to WALK. A slight shiver ran down my spine, despite the blazing hot temperatures, as memories flooded my brain. Memories of an affair that was long gone, but that had been so much more than an “extra-marital” affair. It had started so innocently, then turned into a love affair, into true love, and then it ended one day, because we had to make decisions we didn't want to make, but that were right for the young people in our lives... our children. He had changed my life forever, and I had missed him every single day since our last kiss good-bye. And now, there he stood, only a few feet away from me, and it was only a matter of a few seconds until he would notice me.

My heart raced, and I couldn't swallow as I focused on his eyes.
He looked across the street, and when his eyes met mine, he tensed up. Knowing that I made him react so visibly to my presence, hurt me to my very core. I fully expected him to change his mind about crossing the street, to walk away quickly, so as to escape me and the memories I would bring back into his life. But when the light turned, he slowly set one foot, then another onto the road. I did not move. My legs felt heavy, and with each step he took towards me, I was certain I would pass out. He made his way across the street, as if in slow motion. The light started counting down 10 seconds before it would jump back to red. At two seconds he stopped right in front of me, less than two feet away from my face. He removed his sunglasses and revealed his eyes, the very same eyes, that had melted my heart. He stared at my face, as if to make sense of what he was experiencing. I failed terribly at a smile. He looked hurt, and I wanted to cry and take away all of his pain.
“Hi,” he said, his voice weak and insecure.
“Hi, Will.” I was breathless.
He tensed up again. Nobody had ever called him Will. His name was William. I'd bravely renamed him after our second get-together, when I told him, that William was the name of a British prince, not Will from Oregon. He'd smiled at me then. He didn't mind being Will for me. Today, he didn't smile. He stared at me intently. He wanted me to speak. And so I cleared my throat, and said, “It's been two years and... “ “Three days,” he finished my sentence.
“Oh honey,” I croaked, fighting back tears. I flung my arms around him, buried my face in the small of his neck and inhaled. There it was, his scent, Calvin Klein's Obsession, that I had renamed “Will Scent”.

Memories threatened to overwhelm me and I felt dizzy all of a sudden. That's when I felt his arms, tightly wrapped around my waist. Two years of silence were wiped away. Here we were, in downtown Portland, standing in an embrace, two people melting together, turning into one. Not a hair would have fit between our bodies. And though not expected, this reunion made very much sense at this time in our lives. We just didn't know it yet."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I wish you enough...

I found something on Facebook today that moved me deeply. As I find myself at a crossroads in life, I find this little "poem" very fitting.

"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye."

Friday, November 23, 2012

BFE... Best Friend Ever

I used to be jealous of people who had the same best friends since childhood. I figured that there is nothing better than to have a friend for a lifetime... someone who knows you so well, that they just instinctively know what's going on with you. Surely, it would take many years of "practice" to know someone that well. Having moved away from Germany almost 13 years ago, I figured this would just not happen for me. I do have a very dear friend over there (in Germany), whom I still am in touch with. And even after years of not seeing each other, when we do meet, we just go right back to where we left off. But, she lives at the other end of the world. How close can you be when you're that far away?

And then I met her... and she walked into my life quite shyly. And I had no way of knowing then that she would become my very best friend. And yet she did. She's that one person who's always there, who always listens, who always cares, who never blames or judges. I am one lucky woman to have found her. Who cares that we haven't known each other since childhood. I can't imagine my life without her in it.

Thank you, B, for everything. I love you, girl.