Just Say No…

I cannot stop myself.  I love to volunteer.  I want to help.   I find volunteering my time extremely rewarding.

But there comes a point when a person, me, must say no.  This is a painful experience for me.  I get sweaty, I feel guilty and I lose sleep.  I am often overscheduled to the point of exhaustion. I have owned two mugs and three t-shirts that were purchased for me by loved ones that encourage me to “just say no”.  Yet, I find it a very difficult to turn people down when I am asked for help.

I have a long list of things that I should have turned down.  I once agreed to cut out 75 fish for the swim team, shortly after Carpal Tunnel surgery on my cutting hand.   I have agreed to fry 50 pounds of ground beef and make sloppy joes for the homeless while pregnant.  Keeping in mind, at the time, the smell of fried meat made me sick.  I just cannot stop myself.

I added this to my “50” list because it is something I have always wanted to work on.  I have read a couple of articles on the subject and found that perhaps the reason behind this is not my heart of gold but my need to please people or my need to be included.

I am proud to share that because I have made this a priority, I have turned down two different board positions, helping with a large high school project at my children’s school and turned two families down for dinner.  Yes, I even go to dinner and social occasions with people I do not enjoy.  I have stopped planning showers, birthday surprises and buying all the cards for my team at work, brothers and family members.

I still have a little guilt but I also have some extra time.  The world has not ended and people still like me.  And, I like me.

The List…

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items.

Just call me a bibliophile…

There are few things I love more in the world than books. I am like a kid in a candy store when I visit the library or a bookstore. I have been having a love affair with books and libraries my entire life. As a child, I would ride, walk or take the bus across town to the Council Bluffs Library. I remember the smell of wet newspapers with great fondness. The library basement use to flood from time to time and the newspapers would get damp and the entire library smelled like wet papers all the time. That awful smell is at the root of many of my fondest childhood memories.

The Council Bluffs Library system acquired a book mobile-a large bus with shelves filled with books.  This was a very happy day for me.  The mobile library came within blocks of my house filled with the promise of adventures, new friends and places to explore.

I first moved to Des Moines in 1993.  As I was looking for a place to live, I was sold by Civic Center Court Apartments in part because of the Des Moines Public Library just across the street.  There was much to do in order to settle into a new city but one of the first things I did was to sign up for my library card.  I have used that card thousands of times for books, magazines, digital books, maps, CDS, movies and experiences.

A few years ago, I received a call from the library asking if they could pass on my name to the Des Moines Register.  The Register was hoping to do a story on SUPER READERS.  They went on to explain to me that they had run a list to inquire which users had checked out the most items.  I was third on the list.  For most people, this would not have been a big deal, but for me it was like receiving an Oscar or Pulitzer.

I spent so much time at the library that Mayor Preston Daniels asked me to be a Des Moines Public Library Trustee.  I spent twelve years on the Des Moines Public Library Board of Trustees.

My girls have grown up at the library.  There is not a week that goes by that I don’t utilize the library.  I have long been a believer that the public library system in this country is the greatest gift to all of us.

My 50 at 50 list contains three different items that are tied to my love of my books.  Over Spring Break – we went to Nashville Tennessee.  Part of our trip included visiting Independently-owned book stores.  We visited five different stores- one in Nashville, two in St Louis Missouri, one in Kansas City Missouri and one in Kansas City, Kansas.  Each store possessed its very own focus and personality.  I was most excited to visit Parnassus Books in Nashville because it is owned by one of my favorite authors-Ann Patchett. In Greek mythology Mount Parnassus was the home of literature, learning, and music.  The store boasts many visiting authors and a large selection of Tennessee authors. 

We travel quite a bit and I know that as I am planning visits to cities, countries, states and towns that I am going to continue visiting independent bookstores wherever my path takes me. 

The List…

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items.

 

 

 

THE PROCEDURE…

At my annual physical, Dr. Jones gently reminded me to have my mammogram and this would be the year that I needed the COLONOSCOPY.  I have heard horror stories about the procedure from friends and relatives.  This was put on my list solely to force my hand. There is something about the sanctity of the list with its quiet pressure to complete items and cross them off.

I called  to schedule my procedure and then started my research.  I find that the web offers way too much information on medical diagnosis and procedures.  The search results often begin with the bad stuff first and then get to the general information next.  I looked for a reputable site and began information gathering. 

A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that allows a doctor to inspect the inner lining of the large intestine using an instrument called a colonoscope   The colonoscopy procedure typically lasts about 30 minutes.   Patients sometimes feel cramping during the procedure. 

My doctor sent out a large package of information about the procedure.  The information was helpful and detailed the procedure from start to finish.  

The cleaning out of the colon was far worse than the procedure itself.  The witch’s brew that the doctors concocted for the cleaning out of the colon works just like magic and tastes awful.  The procedure itself was, for me, a medically induced nap.  They covered me in a heated blanket, put a little sleep mixture into my veins and I didn’t feel, hear or remember a thing. 

The first thing I remember is Ben waking me up.  He hates it when I get more sleep than him.  And the good news is that if they find nothing and you do not have a family history-you do not have to have another colonoscopy for ten years.

The List…

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items

 

 

Inked….

Yes, I got a tattoo.

It took several months before I worked up the nerve to do it.  It was the first item on my list that I started researching right away.   I must have read a dozen articles on tattoos.  I asked friends who have body art to make suggestions for an artist. I visited a local artist named Carrie Black.  She was patient and informative with all my questions and you know I had many.  I scheduled my appointment with her a month in advance. 

Yes, it was painful.  But it was not as bad as I thought it would be.  I would equate the discomfort to scratching a sunburn.  It was more irritating than deeply painful. The redness in the photograph went away in about a half hour.

Before I decided on the artwork I would use, I spent some time with my Sharpie collection and drew in different colors and with different artwork to decide on location of the tattoo, which artwork and color of the ink.   I did not go into this lightly.  I knew all along it was going to be something that symbolized my love for my girls.

It was over in a few minutes.  The image I selected depicts my three daughters in my heart. 

The List…

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Makeover

I am not vain but I live with three teenage daughters and I am constantly under scrutiny.  They do not filter remarks for me in a way they would with friends or colleagues.   I often am faced with remarks from the girls about how often I color my hair, my lipstick is too light or dark, why I am wearing something and is that outfit age appropriate.  I have learned to have a thick skin.

These comments convinced me to make a visit to the makeup counter for a quick check on my makeup habits.  After a couple of phone calls, I visited Sephora.  I liked the makeup counter at Sephora because they carry many brands.  I explained to Sam that I was visiting her today to check in on makeup trends for my aging skin and I realized the makeup trends I learned in my 20s and 30s might need an update.  I went on to say that the objective was to look as good as I can not recreate the face that I had decades ago.  Sam is a makeup artist – not a magician after all.

I explained my face care regimen to her and she gave my skin a good look and trotted off and returned with a basket full of products that would rival a semester tuition payment at a state university.   Her next suggestion was not her best. She suggested using a magnifying mirror.  Why would I want to do that?  Denial is not a bad place to be when it comes to wrinkles.  Distance is my friend.

Anyway, she gave me some very good suggestions that I will pass on to you.  First, find a foundation that matches your skin tone. Too light makes your skin appear flat and lifeless and too dark adds a dullness and heaviness that is equal to aging.  She suggested picking your color by putting it on your face at the top of your cheekbone without blending.  Second, you need a good concealer.  The important thing about concealer is to find one that is the same color as your foundation.  Otherwise, you find yourself looking like a raccoon.  Third, wear a lipstick or lipcolor that adds fullness. A dark color does just the opposite by making your lips appear smaller and less plump.  She suggested a mauve tone for me.  As far as skin care, she suggested always wearing SPF.  Sun protection factor comes in many different forms.  She suggested finding a moisturizer or foundation that has a SPF of 15 or higher.  She said something that I had not really thought much about and that was use to moisturizer on my hands.  She said lotion is good but my hands could use the good stuff.

The good news is that I got a few new tips for my makeup bag.  The bad news is that I spent over $200 on a few items.

 

Progress Report on 50 at 50

Time for a progress report on my 50 at 50 list.  I am ten percent complete and working hard at scheduling events, reading books and writing thank you letters to people who have impacted my life and keeping up with my day-to-day stuff.

I have been able to “say no” to several volunteer opportunities in the last few weeks.  I feel a slight bit of guilt but am enjoying the extra time from not being overbooked.   I still struggle to find balance but with each passing day, I feel a little closer.  This is such a struggle for me and I think it stems from my junior high need to be included.  I want to organize, be a part of, help with or be invited to everything.  I worry that if I say no…I will not be invited again. 

I joined AARP last month.  There is a LOT of information on the website and magazine.  I have even used the discount a couple of times.  I still feel a little young for AARP.  A great deal of the information I have started receiving is about retirement and Social Security. 

My passport arrived last week.  My last name was misspelled.  The good news is that Emma’s passport was correct. She is leaving for Peru in twelve weeks and it would have been awful if hers was misspelled.  As I am looking at the silver lining, there was another form to fill out and six additional or more weeks to wait for the change. 

In the next few weeks, I have scheduled the dreaded colonoscopy.  The packet of information that they have sent me was a bit of oversharing.  I would rather that they send me an introduction to the procedure and then a few weeks later, a little more information and then the heavy stuff right before.   I am visiting with a cosmetologist at Sephora for a makeup makeover and some skincare techniques.  Tickets go on sale for Hinterland (music festival) next week.  We are still up in the air as to whether we will camp or stay in a hotel.  And, I have an appointment with the tattoo artist….stay tuned to see if I chicken out or not. 

The List… 

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items.

Tiger Mom No More

I love being a mom more than anything.  I never dreamed this would be the path for me.  Once I held Elena in my arms for the very first time I never looked back.

I did try to return to my adult norms right after becoming a mom.  I went back to work after my maternity leave ended. I pulled out my pumps and dress clothes. I made lunch plans with my friends and date nights with my husband.  I tried to focus on career and compartmentalize my life like Working Mother magazine recommended.  I was going to have it all. I would have a career I loved, a healthy, brilliant child and a marriage that others envied.  I soon learned that the best-laid plans did not always come to fruition. After a few months, I was angry and exhausted.

I tried.  I nursed on my lunch hours and pumped during the work day.  I took naps when Elena napped so we could have awake time together.  I  got up early to have time with her in the morning before I went to work.  I read parenting and child-development books.  I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  I was one of the lucky ones, I was not alone in this new adventure.  I had a committed partner but we had become two tired parents who were exhausted and not happy.

A great deal of planning, discussion and prayer went into our decision to become a one-income family.  At first, I didn’t know what to do with myself.   The house was clean, laundry done, groceries purchased.  Baby girl was settling into her new schedule, all was good in the Hildebrandt world.  It would take some time for me to feel as happy as Ben and Elena did with the new schedule but I got there.

We added Emma to our family a few years later and then Ellie.  There were hundreds of trips to the library, the zoo, the science center.  I consider myself a bit of an expert on children’s books because we read so much.  Heck, I was even a super reader at the library learning I had checked out more books than almost anyone else in the Des Moines library system one year.  I think I was third or fourth on the list.  We were busy and I loved it.

But just as you start to settle into life.  Changes happen.  You feed the kids and they grow and grow.  One day, you are helping them into their tights for kindergarten and the next day you are kissing them goodbye as they head off to Cuba with passport in hand.

As my kids get closer and closer to high school graduation, I can’t help but feel panic rise up in me.  You know the same type of panic that high school juniors and seniors feel when they realize that they need a plan for the next phase of their lives.  Being a stay-at-home mom is a noble and important profession.  We have a good life, and being home with my girls for many years has garnished huge benefits for all of us.

In addition to the panic I feel about being an empty nester, I feel the panic of the disruption of the identity I have for me.  I am MOTHER, MOM, MA.  I am consumed with the loss of the particular type of relationship I have with my children.  What happens when they don’t NEED me anymore?

I have made choices that are now irrevocable: the relationships that have fallen by the wayside because there was no time to maintain, the career that never quite materialized because I chose to be at home for longer than I should have, the marriage that is good but could have been better.

Tiger mother no more.  I am about to hang up my stripes and adapt to a new role in my children’s lives.  New goals and plans are on the horizon. I can have it all.  Just not at the same time.