The End Result

What is your goal? If you allowed yourself to dream wildly, what would be the ultimate end result of your blog? When would the feeling of success creep in? With a certain number of followers? Maybe revenue from advertisment? Or even a small amount of name notarity?

I told my husband that my blog post from yesterday had done particularly well. So well in fact, that it suprassed a super duper top-secret goal I had set for myself. YOU were the reason I achieved it. So, thank you. My husband jokingly said this morning “well, now you just need to become famous and make money from it”. And it’s got me to thinkin’…..

What is my aspiration? My desired outcome?

My answer is almost too embarrassing to admit . And there are many facets to it. My husband has an entrepenureal spirit, he sees opportunity everwhere. I admire that. However, when it comes to something this personal – something that demands such vunerability; constant caution and extreme modesty seem to be the norm. Do you allow yourself to reveal your goals? To honestly state your ambitions? Yikes. Thats a risk. A gamble I dont know if I can stomach.

I worry. I’m a worrier by nature. But when it comes to this blog, as I’ve talked about many times, I worry what people think. That’s why it’s so hard to type what my wildest dream would be. What if people read it and think to themselves “That would never happen. She isn’t good enough.” Granted, I’d never know if that were to be the case. Most people are too kind to say those sorts of things. But, thats where my head goes. More than anything else, that is the biggest obsticle in my path. And I’ve done it to myself.

Goals are a moving target. Sometimes you miss your mark. But if you’re lucky, you achieve it and set another. You just need to get out of her own way to see how it plays out.

A Procrastinator’s​ Guide To Tackling The To-Do List: Blogging Edition

First, A little back story.

I thought of the title for this blog post out of the blue one day.  So I quickly opened my WordPress app and typed it in. I hit save, under the Drafts tab.  Making absolutely sure that I didn’t accidentally hit the publish button.  That is the worst!  Publishing something before it’s ready, aaarrgh. It’s awful!  Anyway, as I was double checking that I didn’t post it instead of saving it.  I got the idea for the super cute graphic.  I immediately clicked on my Word Swag app and created the image you see above. And I LOVE it.  In fact, I love it so much, that I’ve started laying the ground work for this to be a series.  And I am super excited!

As I started typing and formatting this post I found myself back spacing and rearranging sentences a lot.  I just couldn’t get the concept to flow the way I wanted it to.  And then I realized why…. I am a procrastinator.  Procrasntintor’s aren’t usually the ones who write about getting things done.  We also aren’t the type of people to be made an example of when referencing expeditious task completion.  Something weird to note, that this is only in my personal life.  Like getting an oil change, or canceling a subscription. Which reminds me, I never canceled my husbands Dollar Shave Club subscription.  Shit.

Professionally speaking, I couldn’t be more opposite.  I’m known to watch my inbox like a hawk.  Always at the ready for the next task.  For me, there is nothing better than being asked to do something, completing it and sending back a “Done!” email.  My work inbox is pristine.  As I left yesterday for a week’s vacation, I didn’t even have to scroll.  All emails were visible on one page.  That feeling, for me, is pure contentment.

So, how do I get this, and the subsequent series posts I’m planning, to translate from personal procrastinator to every day efficient?   There only seems to be one solution.  I am going to try to fix something, that for the last 33 years of my life, has been one of the most predominant personality traits I have.  I’m going to become “The Blogger Formally Known As A Procrastinator.” You guys, my husband is going to be so effing excited when he reads this.

We’re now at the point where you may be asking yourself “why would I take advice from a woman who admittedly, can barely make a list of “to-do’s” to do the to-do’s.?” And I think that is a very fair question. My answer is this:  This post is meant for the people like me.  The people to enjoy getting things done, but in their own, type B personality, kind of way.  The type of people who may appear disorganized, and lackadaisical to some. But in all actuality do, for the most part,  have their shit together.

The To-Do:  Writing a Blog Post

This blog has been an eye-opening experience.  If you have been with me since the beginning you may recall my post Surviving Succulents.  In it, I wrote about starting projects and not finishing them. And how this project, this blog, was going to be different.  And while I’ve only been at this for about 9 months, it is the longest I’ve ever stuck with something like this.  And I still love it like I did at the beginning.  I think that is one of the most important things for a procrastinator.  And my first blogging To-Do.  Blog about something you love.  Or something that challenges you, whether it be a specific topic or niche.  Maybe even daring to try a different style. Like poetry, short stories or nonfiction.  In my very limited experience, I’ve found that writing about something you love, or something that you have an interest in, comes a lot easier and therefore quicker than something you don’t.

That brings me to my next To-Do, well this is more of a to-don’t.  Don’t force it.  Readers will be able to tell.  One of the followers of my blog recently commented that “It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.” And he is exactly right.  Just because you haven’t published a post in a while doesn’t mean that you’re failing or even that you’re procrastinating. Maybe you haven’t found the spark.  I’ve talked about the spark before.  It’s what I consider to be the moment you get an idea that you’re excited about.  When everything just comes rushing to you and you’re inspired. That spark can come at any time and even multiple times within a single post.  For example, I started this post on May 29th.  Almost 2 months ago.  And here I am just finishing it up.  I don’t know what it was about the last couple of days, but a majority of this post has only just been written in that time.  And that’s ok.  I didn’t want to write it to just to say that I posted something.  I wanted to write it to be good.  To be helpful.  Honestly, I don’t know if it will be either of those things, but fingers crossed.

And the last To-Do is to try to set aside time each day to work on your blog.  It doesn’t have to be hours, or at a set time every day.   Even if all you have is 15 minutes.  Go to your blog, under your drafts, and read what you’ve already written.  Add a sentence or two.  Rewrite a paragraph.  Touch up the graphic.  Do research on a topic you’re working on.  Whatever it may be, just DO something within your blog.  I guarantee the more you do that, the more quality content you’ll produce.

So that’s that.  My very first edition of “Turning To-Do’s into Ta-Da’s.”  Now, I am no expert on matters of blogging or most things really.  And while these tips are more common knowledge tidbits than insider secrets.  I hope they offer insight.  I hope this comes off as more of a pep talk than anything.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Don’t worry about what others with think (this is still my biggest hurdle).  Because, from what I can tell, the bloggers who have the most followers aren’t necessarily the people who produce the most content.  And I think, by just doing these very basic things, you will greatly increase the chances of creating an amazing (Ta-Da!!!)  blog post.

 

 

“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.”  – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

Why Lularoe? Why now? My “Why”.

 

When you sign on to be a Lularoe Consultant, they ask you to create your “Why”.  Your reasoning for signing up with the company.  It’s not just about selling clothes, or their amazing leggings.  It could be, they are that good. It’s about so much more.  They are a company who motivate and inspire people to work hard and achieve their goals.  They built their brand with ethical business practices at the forefront,  a unique plan for customer engagement, and a beautiful product. So, this is my “why”.

The Backstory

A few months ago, I started to get bogged down a little.  I felt like I was starting to drown. One morning I was reading the news and came across a story about recurring dreams.  The most common one is where you feel like you’re falling.  I had recently started having this dream almost nightly.  The article said that usually means that you feel like you’ve lost control. And it was right, I had.  There was so much going on at home, with my brother, professionally, financially.  It was overwhelming.  I didn’t feel like any one person or thing or task was getting  100% of what they deserved or needed.   I was keeping a running tally in my head of who I had disappointed.  J.J. wanted to go to the store one night, but the dog was sick so I couldn’t take him.  I told him we’d go the next night.  The next night, something came up with Kruno, and he needed something.  But I had already disappointed J.J. the day before so I couldn’t do that two days in a row to him, so that night I had to disappoint Kruno.  My work suffered, my relationships, my health.  One of the biggest reasons we moved home was because of my health.  I was stressed to the max in Colorado.  I was having migraines almost every day.  I had lost feeling in my left arm and leg, and I had a 1.3 cm cyst in the middle of my brain.  Stress does very strange things to the body.  And some of the same symptoms had started happening again. I had to regain control, prioritize, and just get my shit together in general.

 What I realized

As things started to fall into place, and the stress was subsiding, I started to wonder about these episodes.  They seem to come on during times when I was in, what I consider to be, a mild state of depression.  I was down and out, unhappy, a real negative nancy.  In going along with my New Year post, that simply wasn’t going to do anymore.  I desperately wanted to change.  My outlook. My situation.  In order to do that, I had to do some serious soul-searching.  This is my theory:

I decided to take on a second job…  I know, it sounds crazy.  I’m sure most people would think that taking on additional projects or business ventures would be counterproductive.  Hear me out. While I enjoy my lovely little life.  I am truly blessed in all aspects of it.  There does seem to be something missing. It’s hard to put into words exactly what it is.  It’s lacking a little creativity, a bit of a social aspect, a desire to be in control (to a certain degree) of my future and success. I don’t feel completely fulfilled.  And I really really want to be, or at least know I’m working towards it.  Think of your life as a set of gears.  Lots of them, but all different sizes. Some big some small, remove one and everything after that one, will stop. And the end result will never be realized the way it was meant to be if all the gears were there. And maybe that missing gear is an aspect that you unknowingly long for, and just didn’t realize until now. For me, I think  that gear is something that brings a sense of accomplishment and confidence.  And it only took me 33 years to realize how important these things are both professionally and personally.

The Plan

Kruno and I want to be business owners.  We both have an entrepreneurial spirit.  We want something of our own.  Where we get out exactly what we put in.  We don’t expect to quit our jobs and start a business, have it be a success and make six figures tomorrow. But we wanted something to work towards.  We’ve tossed around business ideas for months.  There was always something that held us up.  Not enough time, or space, but mostly money.  It takes a lot to start a business.  But, what we’ve come to realize recently, is there will, most likely, never be the “right” time or specific conditions, for anything.  And if, by chance there is, you only realize it was perfect after its passed. I think this is true for most everything.  I probably shouldn’t be giving advice so early in the game, but at this point, I say if there’s something you want, or feel like you’re missing in life, get after it! (responsibly, of course)  You want to go on a trip?  Book it.  Want to start a new career?  Make the leap.  Want to adopt a child?  Do it.  I am a firm believer of the “everything happens for a reason” theory.  I think this opportunity came along at exactly the “right” wrong time for us.  It’s a wonderful company with a product I believe in.  I think this will give me the exact gear that I’ve been missing my whole life.   And Kruno and I couldn’t be more excited.

When a flower doesn’t bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.                                          – Alexander den Heijer

 

 

Going To The Mattresses


 

 

 

I’ve never seen “The Godfather”. But, I have seen “You’ve Got Mail”. Many, many times. In the movie, Meg Ryan’s character, Kathleen, is at odds with a big businessman named Joe Fox, whose company is about to put her’s under.  Unbeknownst to the both of them, they are each other’s secret online love interests.  Joe Fox, played by Tom Hanks replies with the following message to Kathleen when she asked him for business advice:

“Go to the mattresses. You’re at war. It’s not personal, it’s business. It’s not personal its business. Recite that to yourself every time you feel you’re losing your nerve. I know you worry about being brave, this is your chance. Fight. Fight to the death!”

This post was a tricky one to write.  There are so many variations of what it means to fight.  You can fight for an injustice, for someone’s well-being, or for something you believe in. My family has been tackling some of those lately.


My first lesson about “Going to the Mattresses”

For my entire life, I have been terrible at all sports. Awful. I have no business being on any sort of field or court in a competitive setting.  However, in 7th grade, I signed up to play on our middle school soccer team.  Every sport I had played leading up to this, I had been coached by my dad or his friends at the rec department.  That wasn’t the case this time.

During one match, our team was winning 7-0 and we were in the final minutes of the game.  The coach called my name for the first time that day and put me in as fullback.  The whistle blew and an opposing wing came at me with the ball.  I managed to take it away and kick it in the opposite direction.  A few seconds later the whistle blew again and I had been replaced.  As I came off the field I saw my dad get out of the car and start walking towards our sideline.  I thought “he’s probably coming to tell me what a great job I did, kicking that ball away.” I was mistaken.

“Darci! Get your shit, we’re going home!” I stopped in my tracks, shocked.  He didn’t stop there though.  He then turned to the coach.  “Hey!  You’ve got an awful lot to learn about coaching!” he said.  “You’re up 7-0, and you can’t leave her in there for more than 30 seconds?  You’ve been playing your first string the entire game!”

That was the end of my soccer career.  I was so embarrassed.  I remember crying and dreading going to school the next day.  We are from a very small town where everyone knows everyone.  I knew kids and their parents would be talking about it. Later on that night, dad came to have a talk with me about what had happened.  I believe this was after he had had a phone call with my former coach.  While I don’t remember his exact words, the moral of the story was “That wasn’t right.  That’s not how to be a good coach.  And she needed to know how I felt” My dad lacks subtlety, at times.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  But, I’ll never forget that day and the lesson I learned. He fought for what he believed.  It’s a story I tell often.


 

Our family has fought our share battles recently. All of the varying levels of intensity and for different reasons. Some have been fought as a group and some have been taken on singularly, and even internally.

My mom, for example, has fought for my step-dad every day since September 1st.  He was in a car accident and has been in the hospital since then.  Most of the time he hasn’t been fully awake.  She has fought for an adequate level of care. She has fought to keep him alive, more than I believe the doctors have since the first days after the accident.   She has been at the hospital (with the exception of when my brothers’ accident happened) every day she could since the beginning.  My mom with her vigilante style bedside monitoring, and her demand for answers.  She’s fought real hard.   He woke up last week, and I got a phone call from him. He said, “What’s going on, kid?”  That’s always how he started a phone call with me. It was probably the most amazing phone call I’ve ever gotten in my life.  Unfortunately, he did have a bump in his recovery road a couple of days after that phone call.  But, he’s still here.  He’s still fighting.

Today is the 3-month mark since JJ’s accident.  There is no way for anyone to really understand what he must battle with every day.  There’s no way to measure how much he has to fight on a daily basis.  Even in his first days in the hospital, the doctors and nurses all talked about how tenacious he was.  How much strength and determination he had.  And all that was said before he was able to talk.  My family knew he had all that in him.  But I never truly noticed the degree of it until then.  When he would insist on doing things himself when he had 6 very willing family members in his room to help.  When he would surpass every expectation the doctors had set.  Stand with almost full weight on a leg that he doesn’t have full feeling in.  And most recently, when he was told he wouldn’t be on a snowmobile this year.  He showed them all just how much fight he had in him.

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Just from a personal standpoint, my brothers fight aside.  This is what I’ve learned in the last 3 months:  Fighting is hard.  It is exhausting and often tear-inducing.  And because of the recent uptick of occurrences in which going to battle is required, I’ve had to pick them more carefully.

My brother is home from the hospital.  And everyone in the family is ecstatic. We have been looking forward to this for three months.  We knew that the transition would be tough, but I was totally unprepared for how tough it would be at the beginning.  In one week alone, I have cried at 2 different pharmacies trying to pick up my brother’s prescriptions because of issues related to billing.  I’m sure I looked like a lunatic.  And then, inevitably feel immediately embarrassed and start pleading my case as to why I’m not a lunatic and then probably look like even more of a lunatic then I did at the beginning. It’s a vicious cycle.  Anyway, One of the battles we’ve taken on is making the house handicap accessible.  We have been begging for 2 months for someone to come in an access our house.  Get it set up for him so when he got home, he’d be able to be mostly independent.  We were met with every stall tactic and excuse they had.  And I, having never navigated through anything like this before, fell for it.  At this point, there are 5 or 6 different people or companies involved in this.  The caseworker, the caseworkers assistant, the insurance company, the contractor, subcontractor,  and as of today the owner of a very large home modification company.  Everyone is pointing the finger at the other as to why this is taking so long.  I make multiple phone calls a day trying to figure it out but usually end up more confused than I was at the beginning.  Today, I made an extra phone call.  To a lawyer.  As this process goes along, I’m seeing that sometimes you can’t fight your battles alone. And I need help fighting this one.  There won’t be many more niceties.  It’s not personal.  It’s business.

I have yet to find a manual or script anywhere to offer me any guidance on how to fight. The desire alone, to fight, comes from within.  It’s propelled by a person’s heart, gut instinct, and moral compass. And not very often, do those 3 things combined steer you wrong.

 

“If you’re feeling froggy, go ahead and leap” – Butch Hanson

 

 

 

 

Surviving Succulents – Part Two

I had no idea there was going to be a “Part Two” when I wrote the original.  But here we are.

Guys!  What I wrote about in the original post almost happened (If you’ve just started reading my blog, you can find the original here).  I almost gave up.  My blog hit a bump in the road and I wavered.  I have been counting the days since my last post, but couldn’t bring myself to write anything.  And here’s why.

Do you ever have an idea or vision of how you want something to play out.  Or how you want something to look?  We’ve all seen those “10 epic pinterest fails” lists of people who try to create or recreate something amazing that they’ve seen and have come up so very embarrassingly short.

When something doesn’t quite seem to be turning out the way I had envisioned, I immediately start a quiet downward spiral.  Most of the time, when this happens nobody can see this slippery slope of doubt and over-thinking.  It sneaks up on you. Even I find myself being surprised by its onset.  I try to fight through it.  Find a way around it.  Fix it.  But more times than not, it gets the better of me.  I can’t get past my shortcoming.

Let me give you an example:  Kruno’s parents had been looking forward to a traditional American Thanksgiving.  And I had the added pressure (all internal) of transporting the meal to Boston the next day to celebrate with JJ, my dad, and aunt Nanette.  I had imagined a Norman Rockwell-esq presentation at both my house and the hospital.  However realistic or unrealistic it was.  I had a vision.  I prepped two separate turkeys, one for each day.  I timed out everything perfectly and at the second basting session, when I removed the roaster lid, all I saw was bone.  I had cooked both turkeys upside down.  Kruno’s mom was beside me to watch as I prepared the most important meal of year.  She saw the horror on my face and the tears in my eyes.  The Norman Rockwell scene in my mind disintegrated just as the bottom half of the turkey’s had.  Lots of expletives started flowing out of my mouth. Along with sentences like “I ruined it, I ruined Thanksgiving.” and “How did I mess this up so badly?”

The turkey was delicious.  I didn’t ruin Thanksgiving.  It just wasn’t presentation worthy. But, that small detail, the vision of this beautiful whole turkey being presented on my grandmothers antique turkey platter, and not being able to have that image come to fruition, was enough to send me down that spiraling slippery slope.

So, back to my blogging bump in the road.

Two weeks ago I had an idea.  I wanted my blog to have it’s very own page for recipes.  My grandmother was a fantastic cook, my mother and aunt inherited her intuition and I like to think that I did too.  I reached out to my family for their copies of her recipes and was ready to start editing in a couple of days. I logged on.  I fiddled with the settings in WordPress, sought assistance through the handy “chat now” feature and researched everything I could find on relevent topics.  For days and days I tried to figure it out.  I knew how I wanted my site to look, and how I wanted it to read.  But everything I read and all the helpful chat people told me what I wanted wasn’t possible.  I couldn’t get passed it.  I’ve had several posts I’ve wanted to publish, but because of this hiccup, I couldn’t.  I even turned off my Facebook setting, so my friends couldn’t see what I was doing.  I didn’t want them to see if I made a mistake or if something looked weird.

Well, I figured it out today.  I fought my way up that damn slippery slope. I rose to the top and compromised on my vision.  My site is still under construction, but the template it set.  Content will be added soon.  And I’m happy.  Not just with the website, but that I didn’t give up.  I’ve given up on far too many things.  Too many ideas and projects.  But not today.

 

 

Macedonians in Maine: An Interview

I met my husband, Krunoslav on Match.com.  He worked 7 days a week and I worked at a busy Irish Pub.  We both had odd schedules that didn’t afford either of us many opportunities to meet a potential girlfriend/boyfriend.  He sent the first message, I noticed his name was not an American one.  He said he was from Macedonia and that he liked soccer.  I made up a story about needing some info about soccer for something I was working on for the pub. And within only a couple of messages our first date was arranged.  It went well.  So well in fact, we met again the next night.  He watched “Glee” with me and I helped him deliver papers at midnight.  And as they say, the rest is history.

The first time I met his parents was when they made the long trip from Macedonia to Denver for our wedding. Their names spelled phonetically are Nikola and Kruno’s mom is Blageetsa. His mother speaks english “little bit” as she says.  She speaks it better than she thinks.  And his dad can say a few words.  It’s amazing what you can tell about someone without speaking.  Just by observing a single moment.  As I walked towards them coming out of the international arrivals gate, I knew that they were lovely people.

Well, the In-Laws have arrived for another visit.  We have been looking forward to it for months.  For the last few days I have been thinking about what to post.  And this morning it came to me.  An interview with my in-laws.  I wasn’t sure how the request was going to translate.  But, they agreed and thanks so my wonderful husband and his translation services, it went very well.

Q: How did you meet?

B: We met at a party at a restaurant.  We were introduced by friends.

Q: Do you remember your first date?

N: Not the specifics, but it lasted awhile.  It was the next day after the party and we had our first kiss.

Q:What is Skopje, Macedonia like?

N: It’s very historical (dates back to 4000 b.c.) . Similar to the Old Port portion of Portland.  Our house is in the Suburbs of the capital, Skopje. It’s a very tight-knit community.  Learn more about Skopje, Macedonia Here.

Q: What are some customs or traditions of Macedonia during the holidays?

B: On Christmas Eve (usually on or around January 7th as they use the orthodox calendar), we make a loaf a bread and put a coin in it.  When we sit down to dinner we each take a piece, and also have a piece for family afar and Jesus.  Whoever gets the piece with the coin, it will be their lucky year.  For us Christmas isn’t about presents, it’s about family and emphasis is on the meal with family.  On August 2nd, we celebrate our Independence from Turkey. It’s like your 4th of July.

Q: What is the biggest difference between your country and the US?

B & N: How friendly people are here.  Whenever you go into a shop or store.  People greet you.  They say “hello” and “how are you”.  People don’t do that in Skopje.  The other thing, is that people seem so busy here.  We work either the same or more hours per week back home, but aren’t always in a hurry.  We have time to spend with family and friends.  Back home, families only have 1 car.  Here, everyone has a car to get where they need to go quickly.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Macedonia?

N:  Family.  Not just the family as in people but the sense of family and community.  Kruno added – Our country was recently in a way.  It went though a very hard time and what got people through that, was family.  It’s very important there.

What is the hardest part of international travel?

B: Being bored on the long flight.

N: Blageetsa being bored on the flight.  She kept getting up and moving around.

~ They did add, that being in the last row was nice.  It seemed a little less cramped then the other flight.  I asked if they minded the long wait to disembark the plane.  They both agreed that it wasn’t a big deal.  They are far more patient than I.

What has been your favorite thing you’ve eaten while in the US?

B:  Yummy Chicken (A family recipe of mine, find it here)


 

It’s interesting how a short visit with someone can give you so much perspective.  How different families and different cultures go through life.  I always thought that my family was an affectionate group.  We pale in comparison.  The love my in-laws have to give is immeasurable.  When they said during the interview how important family is, it was an understatement.  They love with their whole hearts, their whole being.  I can’t count how many times I’ve been told “I love you” Or “Kristinia (kruno’s sister) says she loves you”. And it’s not just me.  It’s to all members of my family, and friends.  People they have only met one, maybe two times.  Their second day here, they asked to go see my brother in the hospital.  They talk about him everynight.  They’ll ask how he is doing today, if I’ve talked to him. They’ll tell me how much they love him and that they pray for him. They share memories of their first trip here and the people they met.  How our friends are lovely people, and how nice they were, how much love they have for them because they are our friends. The language barrier is tricky to navigate, but when sharing a feeling they are able to communicate with ease.

I knew it the first time I met them and I know it now.  They are some of the most kind, generous and loving people I have ever met.  And I am so very lucky to have the Petrov family as my in-laws.  I couldn’t have asked for better.

 

 

 

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The Petrov’s First Thanksgiving!