A Frend for Davis.

Let me tell you a story about two boys I know. One is 7 and one is 37. They are two of the sweetest, most loyal, most FUN boys the world might ever know...but they have both had a bit of a tough time socializing and making friends here in Minnesota. They both think more profoundly than their years might suggest, and they both love more deeply than typical people expect. 

The older one has talked for at least a year about getting involved in something like a workout group or jiu jitsu or something that would push them physically and also might help them make a friend or two. The younger one wants to do whatever the older one does. 

So about two months ago, both boys joined the Alliance Jiu Jitsu gym about five minutes from our house. And after the first few classes, the younger one began talking about a boy named Griffin, and the older one talked about Griffin's dad, Andrew. As the weeks went by, it became quite clear that perhaps both sets of boys had more in common than a casual encounter might suggest. 

Griffin is six and lives in the Cornelia neighborhood in Edina. But he lotteried into a school called Highlands to get into the Continued Progress program. His parents tried for that program because he struggles with ADHD and they hoped a smaller school and a less traditional program might be just the thing. He has had a hard time making friends at school or finding his groove, so another thing they decided to try was jiu jitsu.

As you know, Davis is seven and lives in the Minnehaha Woods neighborhood in Edina. But he lotteried into a school called Highlands to get into the Continued Progress program. His parents tried for that program because he struggles with ADHD and they hoped a smaller school and a less traditional program might be just the thing. He has had a hard time making friends at school or finding his groove, so another thing they decided to try was jiu jitsu.

Andrew and his wife moved to Minneapolis for Andrew's work just over six years ago. They are from California and they have no family in town. They are just getting used to the long, cold, dark winters, but have a hard time thinking of leaving the area because the schools are so great and the place is tailor made for families. They've struggled over the last few years with their son's diagnosis, finding the right doctors, finding the right meds, and maybe even most exhaustingly, watching their son cry when he isn't invited to a birthday party, or feeling like crying when he is invited because you just don't know how it will go.

As you also know, Davis is 37 and he moved to Minneapolis for his job just about four years ago. He is from Texas and he and his wife have no family in town. They are just getting used to the long, cold, dark winters, but have a hard time thinking of leaving the area because the schools are so great and the place is tailor made for families. They've struggled over the last few years with their son's diagnosis, finding the right doctors, finding the right meds, and maybe even most exhaustingly, watching their son cry when he isn't invited to a birthday party, or feeling like crying when he is invited because you just don't know how it will go.

Perhaps the strangest thing of all of it is that the older boy I know, who is tender hearted and struggling to find his fit here, said to me the other day "Well, I guess God finally got tired of waiting on me to get my act together, and he literally dropped a friend right in my lap. Sam- their last name is Frend."

 

Hot Time in the Cities.

When you live in Minnesota and the temperature rises above 65- your kids want to understand why they can't go swimming. This weekend was so lovely- after much rain- we had two very sunny days above 65 and we enjoyed as much of it outside as we possibly could.

The lighting in this picture is not so good- but we have made some changes to the front of our house. We took down the bronze plaque with our street numbers on it and put up some silver more modern numbers...my mom and I spray painted our mailbox (from bronze to white) and this weekend Bennett replaced the tacky bronze exterior light with the cute white pendant light you see here. I wish I had done a before and after- because it is quite a big difference- but you will just have to trust me.

We've been cleaning up the backyard- and Bennett has finally resumed work on the Gazebo. I'm not sure what prompted his speedy work this weekend- might have been my threat to his life- or the weather...but either way- it's getting done before our Cinco De Mayo party. I fixed the leg of my vintage planter and moved it out to the sunniest spot in our yard so we can grow tomatoes. We tore down one vine thingy (see it lying in the background) and then I worked like a dog trying to wrap what remains of the other vine (Davis cut one side off- yes, seriously) around the top of the other vine thingy. It was like braiding a giant's gnarly tangled hair. 

We are also going to plant a little raised garden. Holden is so excited about it.

Speaking of Holden- poor girl probably got the worst haircut of her life this weekend. It was our last haircut at Great Clips. RIP Great Clips. It went from this- see above...to this- see below:

And this isn't even the worst angle- if you look from the side- you can see how janky and uneven it is all the way around. It's a good thing she is so cute. If I got that haircut as an adult- I would quit my job and hide until it grew out.

Anyway- we had a great weekend and I will post more pictures of the gazebo as it comes along! More later...

Boredom.

They say that boredom is for simple-minded people who cannot entertain themselves with interesting thoughts. And that makes sense to me. But I also find myself bored more than most- I think. And I'm challenging myself to figure out if that is because I am simple-minded or because I need a change. 

For me, boredom isn't really about activity. Although that certainly can help. But boredom is more about mental stimulation- or the lack thereof. I find it very hard to find motivation if something is uninteresting or even just easy and repetitive. 

As I write the word repetition, I realize that is a source of boredom for me too. Just doing the same thing over and over- can just feel like misery. However, at the same time, I do find comfort in routine. Like I could be a freelancer, but I enjoy the rhythm of work hours and the consistency of the team. 

And of course, thinking of team, I'm talking about work, but really a huge driver or stimulation for me is the people I am around. And aside from my immediate team and a few friends I've made here- I find the place to be pretty vanilla and boring. I think part of that is Minnesota and part of that is working on the corporate side vs. the creative ad agency side. The vibe is entirely different. And since I measure my enjoyment by amount of side splitting laughter- the people around me are key. That's why work has been so important to me, and a key part of me thriving here. It's been hard as shit- I've never dealt with MORE work and more office and corporate politics- or been more physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. And it's also been super hysterical working with my immediate team. Jackie makes me laugh SO hard. Sofya is a stitch. And everyone I have been able to hire on my team is super smart. And has an interesting perspective. But that is a microcosm.

So I'm realizing as I write that my work has a huge impact on my state of mental stimulation and sense of boredom. And I can feel that changing as new things have happened at work. My job is fine- but it's just not as challenging or new anymore. In fact- it's just getting easier. So maybe it's time for something new when it comes to work. Or maybe it's the midwest- and I have just happened to find a good spot in a sea of quiet, stoic, minnesota nice-ness- and maybe it's time for a new flavor.

Or maybe I just have to re-frame my situation. I try to challenge myself and say "You have all the control in the world of your days and nights and the things you choose to do and think and maybe you got so focused on work and kids that you forgot to keep trying and doing new things- and you just need to re-frame your situation."

But you know what is a really hard thing about being an optimal adult? Knowing whether it's time to make a change and decision or knowing that you simply need to change your perspective. It's just the toughest. On the one hand- the grass is never greener on the other side- but on the other...moss doesn't grow on a rolling stone.

Anyway- this is just one of the things on my mind lately. But I do have some things I am looking forward to in the next couple weeks...that should help break up some boredom.

1) Shoot in LA- I have two in the next couple months- one in the first part of may- one in the first part of June. It's always nice to get out of the corporate scene and focus on the creation.

2) Cinco De Mayo party- It was a huge success last year so we are "anniversary-ing" it this year- that's what people say in corporate america- it's so silly...and I know it will be fun when it happens but I'm kind of dreading it right now. I do that a lot. It's because I'm an extroverted introvert.

3) Girls weekend- I am going to San Antonio to see Kirsten mid-May, and then a bunch of girls are joining us from Austin for a resort weekend.

OH and next Friday a bunch of us from work are going to a meat raffle on Friday afternoon. It's a thing here. Bars and parties have meat raffles and it's not even a joke. So I could leave with a sausage link or a ham or who even knows!?!?!?!?! Pretty excited about that.

Okay gotta go. Love and like ya.

Hop Hop Hop.

The easter bunny came and the kids were SOOO excited. Sweet little Davis climbed in our bed and said "If Holden doesn't get any eggs- I'll give her some of mine. And I'll give you some and daddy some and all of our family." 

Honey and Beans.

Honey came to visit last week! We had such a great time- I felt like I was in heaven with both Honey and Bennett in town to talk to and help out! We went to gymnastics, we had dinner downtown at Smack Shack, she took Holden to see Beauty and the Beast, we got our nails done, she took the kids to see Boss Baby while Bennett and I went on a date, and then on Sunday, we worked out in the yard thinking it was spring. IT SNOWED TODAY. BARF.

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This picture doesn't really do the dress or her look justice...she kind of looks like she is working a brothel here, but in real life, it's adorable and she couldn't be more pleased with how fancy it is. Especially with the gold sparkles around the bottom- just like in the movie.

Oh and then on Saturday morning, Holden and I went with Kelley and Elsa to this cute little fairy garden workshop at a greenhouse in nearby Shakopee. It was SO much fun. The girls had a blast and so did we. Holden is obsessed with her fairy garden.

And then, as mentioned, Bennett and I got to go on a date Saturday night. We drove out to Wayzata (because we thought it was spring) and had dinner by the lake. Such a lovely view and a great time together.

It was such a nice weekend and exactly what I needed after the weekend before. Thank you HONEY. COME BAAAAAAAACKKKK!

Scottsdale, Part II.

Sorry for the lapse in frequent blogging- I have had a lot on my mind and even more on my plates- so it's waned a bit but I will get back on the regular. 

Suffice it to say that the kids favorite part of our trip was driving these janky little race cars at the putt putt golf place called Cracker Jax. Their smiles were a mile wide.

I think they look so much alike in this picture! Little light brown haired sweeties...

And of course this guy wanted to ride!

The Truth...

I'm telling myself it's because I just spent a week of non-stop interaction with my children, but the truth is, today felt like the longest day ever. Bennett is in Atlanta for a combo work/guys trip they rescheduled from last year...so I've been home alone with them and parts of the day were fine and parts of the day felt like torture. If I'm honest.

And it makes me feel guilty that I feel that way- but the truth is that I do. Or at least I did today. My patience is low. And my kids, together, require a lot of patience. Maybe all kids do. I don't really know. But I sometimes feel like I will just lose my ever loving mind if I have to repeat what I just said, ONE. MORE. TIME.

And maybe I also just have a hard time with free time. With them at least. I feel like I have to entertain, the entire day. And it's partially because I want them to be happy and having fun, and yet the truth is, it's partially because I don't know how to be still here. And then I can't remember if I don't know how to be still anywhere or if I just learned to keep busy here as a way to feel less lonely.

But I do know that the thought of having three more hours at home before bedtime caused me to think of about a million things we needed to go do. Stupid things. Dropping library books off at a closed library even though I told them we would go to the library tomorrow when it's open to rent books. Going to Target to buy coloring books that we don't really need. Getting a car wash. Going the long way to the car wash. Stopping to get my water bottle that I left at the park tomorrow.

I don't remember feeling this way in Austin. But maybe I did. Or maybe I'm constantly trying to busy myself because I am so uncomfortable and even unhappy when I'm not. And maybe that's my location. Maybe that's me and how I've changed. Maybe it's having children - and one in particular that you feel like you always have to be ON with because you know that the second you're not- things go off the rails. 

I'm not trying to complain. I told myself all day to shut up and stop feeling sorry for myself. Because listen, I know...I just got back from vacation, my kids are healthy, and we can pretty much entertain ourselves whenever/however we need to. I just don't know if it's normal to wonder if or when you will ever relax and be still again. And that's just me telling the truth.

Thanks for Everything, Scottsdale.

Sorry I didn't blog last week...I was super busy getting my new boss up to speed while also preparing to be out of office for a spring break trip to Scottsdale with the Bennett 4. We just got back last night- and it was just a heavenly trip. I even wish we had stayed a little longer- which is odd for me- as I am actually a pretty big homebody. 

We had so much fun, hiking, swimming, playing putt putt. The kids had such a blast and we did too. Here are a few pictures!

The resort had six pools. SIX. The kids could not even handle it.

The first morning we were there, we decided to go hiking. I used to hate hiking- but I've realized that I don't hate it so much anymore. At least not hiking with kids- because they always tire out before I get bored. I can enjoy the scenery and being out in nature for a while, but mainly to me it just feels like meandering around pointlessly...and I'm not very good at that. 

Also, I've always been kind of down on the state of Arizona...but I changed my mind this trip. I'm not sure if it was the time of year that made the difference- the air was beautiful and everything was blooming...or the fact that I now live in Minnesota and the heat and sun gave me new life- but either way- I'd like to go there again.

This trip, maybe plus Austin, has made me realize I'm almost ready to live somewhere warm again. The good news is- almost every/anywhere is warmer than here.

Those are her dad's socks, they went all the way up to her knees!

It was about a mile from the car to the trailhead...so by the time we got there, Holden's little legs were already pretty tired. We made it a bit further than I thought we would...

So somebody gave her a ride...lucky little princess.

But nothing feels better than a swim after a hot hike in the Arizona mountains.

Later that night we went for dinner and enjoyed some milkshakes afterwards! More to come.

Adventures in Corporate America.

Well, I didn't mention this because my mind was still spinning, but the Thursday before I left for Austin, my boss was let go, and then on Friday, HIS boss (the CMO) was let go, and well let's just say that they basically re-organized everything at the very top levels. And guess who will be my new boss? My new boss, DRUM ROLL, is one of the key people I referenced before, that has taught me that not everyone is gonna like me. Yup. 4th boss in two years and this one hates my guts coming in. So there you go.

I'm not really upset about it honestly. I was at first, but then I got over it. FIRST, I had a series of things happen that made me feel way worse than my dumb job situation. People can be so very disappointing. And then SECOND, I got over feeling bad about those things, mainly because you can't change how people treat you. You can only change how you deal with the way people treat you. I spent a lot of time actually thinking about something Ahmad had been talking to me about while I was in Austin...he was talking to me about how when you're right with God and you are focused on the real things, you realize that it doesn't matter what happens to you. It doesn't matter how people treat you. Because you're good. It's not about any of that. It's about the journey and how you move through it. And I don't know if any of that makes any sense- but it doesn't matter what happens at work- what happens is what is meant to happen. And I am good either way. 

So I'm just being me. And if that works- great. If it doesn't- then that's fine too.

Anyway. We had a GREAT weekend...we had Davis' school carnival Friday which the kids LOVED, we took Davis to get a big kid haircut on Saturday (don't tell Great Clips), we got a new dishwasher (very exciting, I know) and then the kids had Parents Night out Saturday evening so Bennett and I went and had a great dinner downtown. Then today- we didn't have a single item on our agenda so we just palled around, playing, doing some things that needed to be done, went on a bike ride, and then tonight I went to a workout, which felt great.

So, I'm actually headed into this next week without a bit of weight on my shoulders.
Not my circus, not my monkeys. :-)

 

Guest Blogger.

It recently occurred to me, that my blog would only benefit from some added, global, perspective. So I invited my sister, Nikki, to be a guest blogger so she can showcase her stories and pictures gathered around the globe to my readers (my grandparents). So please this guest post from Nikki...tales from Morocco (part one)!

I am honored to be a guest blogger today on my favorite blog, The Bennetts! While by now you’ve heard all my stories about my trip to Morocco earlier this year, I am excited to share some photos of this incredible place. We spent the first days in Marrakech, wandering through the tight narrow streets and alleys of the Medina (which is the historic part of what is now a large and thriving city).

We visited one of the oldest schools in Marrakech, and I loved all the carving and tile that you could see on every surface.  

We talked with some snake charmers in the main market square:, but I wasn’t real sure about getting too close:

More to come from Nikki and Morocco, next week! Have a great weekend.

 

 

Shit. Damn. Hell.

Well the highlight of my weekend in Austin was seeing Lyle Lovett play at the Continental Club. The highlight of Davis' weekend was picking up some choice new words at school. :-/ I guess this is the down side of having older kids in your classroom...

But I'm not concerned (yet) because he is well aware that they are bad words, and he just wants to understand why. And of course, try them out a few times. So, we made a deal on the way to gymnastics tonight and I let him try out the words- and then we agreed we were done with them. We'll see how this tactic works. 

He is the sweetest kid, though. And he looks like he grew a foot while I was gone. And Holden has picture day tomorrow and is insisting on wearing the dress she wore to the Beauty and the Beast gala to school for pictures. Oy vey.

Anyway...I'm back from Austin and what I should really be saying "Shit. Damn. Hell." about is the fact that on Friday morning, before I left, my boss was let go. And his boss (the CMO of Best Buy) was let go. And many others on top of that. So I'm on my 4th boss in two years...and I'm just sort of exhausted by it all. Blah. So I was like "See you losers later- I'm going to Austin..."

I got to see some people I haven't seen in a long time...first Stacey and Ahmad, who I worked out with for two days a week for three years straight. MAN I've missed them. Ahmad is like my brother from another mother. It was so good to catch up with them. It was like I never left.

I also got to have dinner with Nikki one night...and hear all about her travels over a few margaritas...

But the crowning glory of the weekend was seeing Lyle Lovett perform at the Continental Club. Man he can sing. 

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And he even brought Joe Ely up with him on stage as a surprise guest. 

Not a bad Monday night if you ask me. I'm pretty lucky. I also spent one night hanging out in downtown Austin with my gal pal Ellie, from Minneapolis...she was there for the same "conference" and I got to see my buddy Oscar and Courtney, B and Weston, have drinks and shop a little with my mom, and then I even had lunch with Brooke before I left. I've been dying to try Josephine House. So cute. 

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And as you can probably guess by the sound of it, I didn't stop from the moment I landed on Friday evening until the morning I left on Tuesday. I was beat.

Going home makes you realize all the things you miss. And also all the things you don't. And I'll be damned if that isn't the loneliest feeling of all.

Austin.

For the first time- work travel is bringing me to Austin. Okay- I kind of arranged it that way- but still...it's exciting that I get to go to Austin for a few days this weekend and into early next week. I'm looking forward to the SxSW interactive festival- and I also think I'll be able to sneak dinner with Nikki while in town. 

I've set up a bunch of happy hours with people from work and my previous life that I don't typically get to see while there- so that will be fun too. Plus, I've been invited to some great music shows at night- I'm seeing Lyle Lovett on Monday evening so I'm especially psyched about that. I mentioned that I am seeing Lyle Lovett to a bunch of people here in Minneapolis and they sort of laughed. And I thought (and probably said) "Umm...it's Lyle Lovett. He's amazing." These people just don't get it.

I leave tomorrow and come back Tuesday afternoon and I am looking forward to it!

More next week!

 

Jiu Jitsu

Bennett has been talking forever about getting himself and little Davis into jiu jitsu. They finally went this weekend and lets just say that little Davis was JUST AS EXCITED (if not more) than Bennett was about the idea. He put on the uniform (called a Gi, pronounced: Gee) and looked at Bennett and said "I cannot stop smiling..."

He has major dad love right now. He wants to work out with his dad, snuggle with his dad, make gross jokes like his dad. And every morning when he comes to get in bed with us he says "I love you dad. I'm so glad you're my dad..." It's very sweet.

Also last week while Bennett was in Miami- he asked me to send him this picture, because he missed him. :-)

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Meanwhile- Holden is all about fashion. This weekend she insisted on wearing this outfit to the mall. And would NOT take my advice to put on tennis shoes (even though her high heels were a) mis-matched and b) both left feet). I was kind and I put the tennis shoes in my backpack- and sure enough she asked if she could swap after one store. All the people fawned over her fashions and now I see why she enjoys stepping out in style.

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And because our mall has an amusement park inside- I let her ride the carousel. She was so pleased with the situation.

Later that day she insisted on trying on Davis' Gi. Now she wants to try jiu jitsu. All for the outfit, I'm sure.

Memory Lane.

I was looking through my Blog Archive (it's on the front page- click on Blog Archive, click the drop down and choose a month) and I came across a few pictures from just before, and when we first moved to Minneapolis. How cute are these little nuggets? So small!

Have a good weekend!

 

 

Choices.

Little Davis pocketed a key from our local hardware store on Saturday. Him asking me, hours later, if I thought there were cameras at Jerry's, tipped me off to the mischief. Anyway- he felt very sorry and returned the key, and the kind man at Jerry's gave him his own key, so he came home very pleased. ANYWAY. He did have some consequences for stealing- including not getting to use his iPad for a week...so on the way to school yesterday we were talking about this and I reminded him that he couldn't use his iPad that night because that was a consequence for the choice that he made. He said something like "Well just write CRIMINAL on my forehead" which I thought was a great and dramatic response to the situation...ha. Anyway I said "No Davis, you're not a criminal, we all have choices..."

At that very moment, Holden cut in and said "Yep- you can have it cheap, fast or good...pick two...because you can't have 'em all." And I DIED laughing. She was so serious. Those weren't exactly the choices I was referring to- but clearly she has picked up some one-liners and sales techniques from her dad. Anyway. I want to remember this exchange because it really made me laugh.

On to another topic- we have a couple burgeoning chefs in our house. Holden was invited to Elsa's fifth birthday party Saturday at the Way Cool Cooking school where they decorated a chef hat and apron and also made pizza and cupcakes...

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So, this cooking party really prompted a desire to make some things at home. As I mentioned, in the winter, I very often make soups or something in the crock pot on Sundays- so this Sunday I let both kids help me prep everything for black bean soup. They were very pleased with the situation- even though neither of them wanted to eat the mushy brown soup.

More tomorrow!

 

 

Moving On Up.

Davis moved up again in gymnastics- this means he has moved up each time he has a session. I'm not saying he's the world's next GREAT gymnast- but I am excited that he has found something he enjoys, that he also excels at. I can see that it makes him feel good about himself- and that's what it's all about!

We have gymnastics every Wednesday night and he is always so jazzed to go. We usually go home to let Pico out after work, go get something to eat together, and then I work while I watch him in the gym and Holden plays on the iPad so everyone kind of enjoys it.

Happy Wednesday!

A gala. At five.

Holden and Bennett were invited to a father/daughter dance by Elsa and her dad, Zach. And not just any father/daughter dance...but a Beauty and the Beast gala. A GALA. And it wasn't held just anywhere...it was held downtown at the Minneapolis Club. And the tickets, for this GALA, were $50 a head. Is that not the craziest? I mean who lives like this? Holden Eloise, apparently.

So when you go to a gala at five years old- you must have a dress that fits the occasion. I picked Holden's out and she was super pleased to have a dress with a tulle underskirt so "it poofed" at the bottom. 

While I was exhausted from flying back early Friday morning- I was glad I got home earlier enough to pick Holden up from school and get her ready for this big event. We washed and dried her hair and she even let me put a little clip in it. I was telling her how special this was, and I looked at her and said "Holden. You know I never had a dress like this when I was five years old..." And she looked at me with what I can only describe as indignant surprise and said "Well you should get one...!" 

Holden's little sweater is silver and sparkly- but you can't tell in the pictures. And her shoes are plastic with fake rhinestones and Amazon delivered them in TWO days. So there you go...

They even had corsages- courtesy of Kelley's great planning. 

Comparing the many treasures in their purses...

They had a lovely time- they met Belle from Beauty and the Beast- and they danced the night away. Holden slept till 10:00 am the next day. 

Davis and I went to Chick-Fil-A and then watched a movie together.

It was a pretty great night for me too. :-)

Sunday Funday.

I am writing this while en route to New York...I was telling Bennett last night how one of my favorite things about living in Minneapolis (and I don't really know if it has to do with Minneapolis or simply this time in our life) is how much we get to travel...both for work and for fun. It really makes things exciting when you are always going somewhere soon. Sometimes it can be too much- but for the most part I'm able to spread it out and it feels very exciting.

Anyway- I'm going to New York with a couple gals on my team for some meetings with our agency. I love New York...so tonight we'll pal around the city, have dinner, drinks, shop, and then tomorrow we have meetings all day and then dinner out with our agency friends. I was going to fly home Friday afternoon but my boss asked me to fly back for a meeting Friday a.m. so now I am flying out at 6:30 am, which means I will have to get up at 4:30 am. BARF. Oh well. I guess I could have flown home Thursday night but I would hate to miss the fun.

Anyway- that's not what this post is about. Sunday- we skipped church, went for breakfast and then I dragged the other three Bennetts to the Stone Arch Bridge- a landmark in downtown Minneapolis. And boy did we have fun after I got them there...

The kids discovered Super Mario Brothers on Bennett's phone (I WANNA BE MARIO!!!) and now they are just as obsessed as we were. So one plays while the other watches and then they swap. This was a friendly game over breakfast...

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It was an awesome day. That night I felt this balance of contentment and a tinge of sadness that the weekend was over. That's the sign of a good one. 

Social Calendars.

These kids are booked out for weeks. I feel like it's their world and we're just living in it. Saturday we had the first of many of Elsa and Holden activities- we went to see Fancy Nancy at Stages Theater for Elsa's 5th birthday. And then Davis had his final day of Ski Jammers. There is one more week- but let's just say, he is done. :-)

Then Ellie and I had a date night out- and we had a BLAST. She is the best. Enjoy some pictures!

Beautiful sunset on the way to dinner and a movie with Ellie. We saw 50 SHADES DARKER. SCANDALOUS! And then this is us taking pictures with a picture of Drew Barrymore from our high school days. Didn't we all just want to be her?

More tomorrow!

 

Salad Eaters.

My grandpa has always thought it was so amazing that Nikki and I grew up eating salads. I remember loving nothing more than a killer salad bar when we went out to eat- and very often- I would come in from school and ask if I could have salad for dinner or an afternoon snack. Looks like someone else is a little bit like me:

My grandfather also sent me one of the kindest notes, paying me some of the most amazing compliments I have ever received. Thank you grandpa! Being that he is my grandfather, he was talking about how well I work with people and how people just love me, and it's funny because last week I almost wrote a post called "Not everybody's gonna like you..."

And in this post I was going to share with you how one thing I have learned since moving to Minneapolis is that not everyone is going to like me. And while that sounds SO obvious you're probably wondering what delusional, self-involved, unaware world I was living in before I realized this...the truth is, I guess I have felt like most people like me okay because 1) I like people and therefore I generally try to enjoy them and I hope they in return enjoy me 2) I think I am pretty kind- and pretty fun and 3) no one has really told me otherwise. Decent reasons, right? 

Well- while I have made a million friends and built a really nice and sincere network of people here- I also know that some people don't like me here. Like REALLY just don't like me. And as I realized this- it REALLY bothered me. Like I started to feel so down on myself and I started to second guess myself and I also started to feel mad about it. Like "What have I ever even done to these people?" I think I would known if we had ever gotten into an argument or a throw down or anything of the sort- right? I'm pretty self aware and I am certainly not a crazy person. But the truth is- I've learned a few things since being here...

1) culture is really different here. the minnesota nice thing is both sincere and a buncha bullshit. meaning- some people are truly nice and some people act nice because they would NEVER be honest about how they feel about anything in case they were to make someone feel uncomfortable or GOD FORBID they had a disagreement or confrontation. the scandinavian, never complain, never argue, never simply disagree, never talk about your feelings thing is real. and as you can imagine- Bennett and I are not really wired that way. i bring Bennett into it because he has experienced the same thing here. people just not liking or "getting" him. 

2) maybe i'm more opinionated, more outspoken, more direct than i thought. sure- some of that could be in comparison to the culture here- definitely- but i would be remiss to act as though i haven't been coached for the previous five years in austin by a very smart, headstrong, driven italian woman named Jeanne. she taught me never to apologize for my thoughts, never to shy from something that could be a simple and honest conversation, and honestly not to worry too much about things other than being respectful to people and busting your ass at work.

3) i can be polarizing. when i was thinking about people not really liking me- i came up with a million people who really LOVE me, and i was constantly thinking "well- i can't be that bad because so and so, and so and so, and so and so think i am AWESOME. not just okay, but awesome. so how can that be"- it just didn't add up for me. but i have now come to realize that maybe it absolutely CAN be true. maybe it has to be true. for all the people that just think this outspoken texan with the loudest laugh they have ever heard is the best thing since slice bread- maybe just as many people will be turned off by just those things. 

4) so i guess that's what it means to not be vanilla. to not just be a flavor that everyone feels okay about. i read a quote about a year ago that i thought was just fun at the time- but it has really come to be my rallying cry...and it goes like this "i'd rather be one person's shot of tequila than everyone's cup of tea..." and i guess that's really where i am.

what finally made me feel okay about the fact that not everyone is going to like me was realizing who i am. knowing in my heart- after much second guessing and fact checking- that i am kind to people. i am respectful to people. but i am also unapologetically me. and part of being me is knowing me and being true to me- and i guess not everyone is going to like it.

but you know what? well behaved women rarely ever made history anyway. 

and also my grandpa adores me and thinks I'm the best human in the world so those that disagree can just stick it in their ear. SO SAYETH THE LORD.

self exploration is hard work.