The Care & Feeding of the Human Heart


love 3, originally uploaded by funchilde.

I am safe and sound in New Hampshire, that bastion of “Live Free or Die!” attitudes, vests, birkenstocks and oil heat. I can’t believe I’ll be here for 9 months. Of course I have a ton of travel to do for a couple of clients, and possibly some fun stuff on the horizon, but for the most part, I’ll be as settled for the next while as I’ve been in almost two years. Even when I was working on the first phase of this project last year I knew that I was leaving for Semester at Sea even before I began. This time…clear blue skies as far as my mind’s eye can see.

I’ve been welcomed back like a long lost family member, I am overwhelmed at how genuine these people’s love for me seems to be. My affection for them is strong, I missed them deeply. I am happy to be back with my housemates D and J, I love walking the dog in the mornings, cooking every other night, being “the one that washes” while someone else is “the one that dries”, and all of this has got me thinking. More specifically, it has got me thinking about love.

WHAT? YOU, Funchilde? Well, erm yeah. I’m only human.

Can you list/name all the types of love in your life right now? The most intense love I have felt recently has been for my nephew, something about spending so much time together, sharing a room, seeing how my example/guidance/influence impacts his life and choices.

My love for my parents is a constant, like the steady beat of my heart, I couldn’t extract myself from it if I tried, but it is changing. We’re solidly in the “friend” zone, I enjoy their company immensely, would prefer to hang with them over anyone I know, but I also see the tides turning and have one hand on the door that will lead to me taking care of THEM. This is complicated and makes my throat itch to contemplate.

My love for my siblings is changing as well, we are all fully grown adult people. It seems that my baby brother’s wedding has altered him forever in my eyes, I now give him full adult/man credit. But it also highlights that we are on separate paths with little connecting us (we’re now in 3 different states and have been for almost two years) and I can feel the texture of my relationships with them changing, I’m no longer the dominant/eldest child/leader that they must follow, they are free to make their own choices with little to no thought about my opinion. All of this is good, but unsettling like Africa breaking off from Asia to form its own continent.

My love for my friends has matured to the status of Urban Tribe. We are housemates, companions, travel buddies, advisors and pains in the @$$. For my friends that are married (about half) who express (usually minor) envy at my freedom and lifestyle, we validate each other’s choices. I let them know that the grass isn’t greener over here, it just looks that way because they don’t have to mow it. And they do the same for me.

I have also realized how much I am maturing and feel like alot of growth is taking place right now. I am comfortable letting some relationships simmer on low on the backburner, where in the past I would have insisted upon full-on, front burner heat to address the situation. I know that not every person in my circle should receive the same “effort” and consideration, and that I can still love them to pieces and laugh it up when we’re together, without nary a thought about them when we are apart. I know that it isn’t necessary to give all you have, to have all you want.

In terms of romantic love? Today a colleague insisted that she was going to find someone “special” for me (in an effort to keep me here in NH-not because I asked!). I haven’t given up on love, in fact I’m probably second only to my brother in the incurable romantic department, but as I told her..”I don’t want anything until it’s ready and I’m ready…”  I realized that I have a couple of crushes (does anybody else enjoy having crushes? I love it), but these are on the back burner too, because the person I’m most interested in loving right now is me. Not in an arrogant way, but I am beaming inside that I’ve walked away from some potentially crazy situations in the last couple of years, but when you’ve had one bad carnival ride, you start to avoid carnivals, right?

I found out recently that someone I once loved is in a situation that may end, that things aren’t going well and that the dark clouds of a relationship on the decline hover on the horizon. Though I am long over the person/situation, I was so grateful to realize that I was sad that they might be hurting, that the pain of a relationship in distress is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I realized that I don’t care how the situation turns out (that’s not true, I’m such a putz that I actually hope they find a way to work it out), but I didn’t feel any “glee” that they might be in pain. It was one of those times when you can FEEL that you are emotionally healthy (or on the right track). Plus, one of the best things I’ve ever heard is “Resentment is like you drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Thus, I have been blessed with the ability to move on from things/people fairly quickly (note I didn’t say easily..just quickly).

I feel like I’ve made some healthy (and tough) decisions to keep certain situations/relationships platonic. And I mean serious temptation, like…nobody would ever know, different continent, vegas like-“what happens here stays here” stuff. Stuff that would only impact me, and probably not for the better, and I’ve walked away. All I want is the wisdom to keep doing that in every area of my life, but not be closed to the possibility of “crazy about you-can’t live without you-follow you to the ends of the earth-make you waffles every sunday”….love. But mostly I am enjoying BECOMING the right person versus focusing on FINDING the right person.

I would be fine if I were never in another marriage/partnership again. The prospect of “ending up alone” doesn’t scare me like it does some other 30-somethings I know. I guess if you’ve been in a long-term relationship that doesn’t work out, you know that it is better to be single and happy than coupled and miserable, but you also know you can’t say that to anyone who hasn’t been there.

So as for the care and feeding of the human heart? My guess is: first take care of your own heart, then gauge the quality of the relationships in your life (familial, friend, collegial, etc) to determine if you are gaining the skills to help nurture someone else’s. Don’t worry about whether or not the grass is greener, determine the quality of YOUR grass. Then remember that romantic love is 90% being the right person and 10% finding the right person.

But what do I know? Help a sistah out with your thoughts on L-O-V-E.

Motorcycle Diaries


My Mint Condition Classic 1980 Suzuki GS250, originally uploaded by funchilde.

I will admit that I felt like a bit of a bad @$$ today towing my new ride down the interstate (nerve wracking!). I decided to get a small, classic bike to tool around and make my mistakes on before I jumped into a several thousand dollar bike with a paint job that would send me to the bank if it got dropped or scratched.

Riding her around the block this evening was worth taking my last motorcycle class a couple of weeks ago. Wherein out of the 4 of us that showed up, I was the ONLY ONE who finished the class and got to ride. Not because I’m JUST THAT COOL, but because I”M THAT MUCH OF A DORK! It was 100 degrees, we had on boots, jeans, long sleeves and helmets. One lady just left and went and sat on a curb. But ahhhh, the wind on my face and the breeze on my arms, the look of awe in the neighborhood kid’s faces (yeah kids, I’m a rockin’ old biker chick) was so worth it. Although I took Jumpstart last summer and then the Basic Rider Course (BRC) to get my license, I decided to take Jump Start again just to make sure I am ready since I haven’t been on a bike since last year.

I’m towing her up to NH and I have an 80% buyback guarantee on her, so I’ll probably upgrade to a 500/600 cc in the spring or summer of next year (if I’m in the country). I should then have enough hours/miles under my belt to take the Experienced Rider Course, which unlike the Jump Start and the Basic Rider courses, you need to have your own bike for and you have to have some experience in order to get the most out of the class.

One thing I totally didn’t expect is that when you buy a bike and get your license, you become part of this underground “family” of riders. I notice “My other car is a motorcycle” stickers now, I wave at people on everything from Harleys (the most popular brand in the US) to Hayabusas (the fastes production bike you can buy). It is a diverse group united by the love of all things on two wheels. I have had deep discussions w/ crazy looking white guys with american flag bandanas and grizzly adams beards and full out “leather” cycle gear and teeny chicks who can barely put their feet on the ground but ride Ducati Monsters! Everyone is welcome into the fold. And is it bad that I half want to laugh at this and half want to join?I promise to always wear my protective gear and to always put safety over style.

If you’re working on some goal or dream, keep putting one foot in front of the other. I still have a big one that eludes me, but I won’t ever stop trying. And if you see a wobbly, grinning, chick on a classic bike, tearing around the neighborhood, slow down and give her a smile and a wave. It’s probably me making a beer run on my bad @$$ motorcycle. Now if I can just figure out how to get my afro into this helmet…..

Passion Vs. Talent

worknotice, originally uploaded by funchilde.

I can’t say I’ve had very many “deep” thoughts this summer. Recuperating from Semester at Sea and working three clients and studying the prior fall has rendered my desire to exert effort in pondering anything pretty close to nil. But recently I was leading a seminar session about career goals, and one of the attendees asked if you should follow your talent or your passion. This question has stuck with me for the last few weeks. I’m not pondering a career change personally, but it got me to thinking about hobbies, weaknesses, strengths and how we spend our time and money.

What are you passionate about? What are you talented at? What are your hobbies/activies that you spend your time/money on?

I think I am good at what I do, very good in fact, but I don’t possess the ego to believe that someone else out there can’t (and indeed probably is) doing what I do professionally, better. The fact that I have a passion for the intersection of business and education, the belief that I have a talent for interpersonal communication and motivation lead me to believe that it takes little effort for me to be very good at what I do, but someone who lacked those things could probably do them just as well with a lot more dedicated focus or energy.

I’m passionate about cooking for example, but I wouldn’t consider myself talented in that arena AT ALL. And I believe I’m a pretty good cook. I possess a talent for writing (perhaps a minor one, but you get the idea) but I don’t have a passion for writing in the way that someone driven to write a book or who dedicates a career to producing original fiction does. At the same time, I seriously believe that if I wanted to/set the goal to write a book/novel, that I could do it. And again, because I don’t have an ego about this sort of thing, I fully believe that you could too.

I believe what separates the very good/great from the merely good, is simply effort. I don’t put 110% into everything, or even most things now that I’m old enough to calculate (albeit subjective) return on investment of my time/money. But I quite simply belive that: There are thousands smarter than you, hundreds prettier than you, dozens upon dozens with more resources than you, but nobody can outwork you if it is something you really want.

In this way, passion vs. talent isn’t really the question, it is what is the role of effort in achieving greatness? I think most people haven’t figured out what they are passionate about and what they are talented at. And yes I believe you can be both passionate about and talented at the same thing: Tiger Woods (golf); Steve Jobs (technology); Alan Greenspan (Finance); Will Smith (entertainment); and the list goes on when you throw in the countless educators, lawyers, doctors, etc. I also believe that just as you can be passionate and low on talent (me and cooking), you can be talented and low performing, i.e. those with talent still have to practice their craft relentlessly in order to perform at a high level and not lose their ability. Thus, it really is effort that makes the difference between good and great.

Highs & Low(e)s pt. II


Movin’ on up to a Deluxe Apartment in the Sky

I coerced, conned, bribed, sweetly asked my mom and nephew to help me with the rental apartment turnaround. I promised them a comfy hotel room, several good meals and the accomplishment of a job well done cold hard cash. They were both phenomenal, my nephew primed/painted everything from 4’6 and lower, my mom is a task master organizer extraordinaire. We weeded, swept, scrubbed, painted, dusted and boy did we ache. There’s still stuff left to do, but the prospect doesn’t seem quite so hopeless. My bro is in Tampa, my sister in NC, and my Dad and I both travel so much that the only time we’ve spent together this summer is taking/picking one another up from the airport. So…to my Mom and my Nephew….I couldn’t have done it without you and the check is in the mail*

If I Was A Rich Girl

As is of course standard, anytime I am about to leave the state/country major expensive type things go wrong. My car, Wander Woman, they want $1700 to fix everything that is wrong with her, Dude, the car didn’t even cost close to that. An oil change and some wiper blades should be enough, right? right?

The duplex has sprung a leak….AGAIN, after we replaced the drywall (ourselves) in unit B last fall, the leak has returned and rendered our work all for naught. Anyone who thinks rental property is sexy…run, run like the wind unless you are a talented carpenter/plumber/heating & AC type or have goo-gobs of cash. The sad truth is that I can’t afford NOT to have a mortgage, so I will just continue to thank God/the Lawd/FSM that I have resources to do what I do. And the new carpet that is coming on Thursday? Yeah, that costs more than I paid for the car too.

More About My Nephew

I made a shrimp and (low fat) sausage scampi last night for dinner, my nephew ate a HUGE portion, then went back for seconds. When he finally consented to yield his plate to the dishwasher, I caught him LICKING the plate. I guess it was good. Tonite we’re eating off of paper plates.

*and by that I mean there really is no check, but wasn’t that Denny’s breakfast GOOD?!

Currently I

Currently I would like to: find the perfect motorcycle at the perfect price.

Currently I am listening to: Robin Thicke and Mary J. Blige.

Currently I am reading: High Society by Ben Elton.

Currently I am craving: Mexican Food. Scratch that…GOOD Mexican Food.

Currently I’d rather be: Snuggled up in bed with someone special, drinking coffee and reading the paper.

Currently I am worried about: Getting the rental unit finished for the new tenants before I have to leave for New Hampshire.

Currently I am glad: That I stuck with it and can now proclaim that I am a juggler! 3 Balls Baby! Wait, that didn’t come out right…

Currently I am trying to figure out: The perfect balance between what I want to do and what I HAVE to do, and maintaining a sustainable pace of life so I can be healthy, happy and productive. Anyone figured this out yet?

Currently I am reflecting on: What a great weekend I had at someone else’s million dollar brownstone in DC, with an amazing kitchen that I got to test out with my famous Rasta Pasta recipe and grilled asparagus and eggplant and chicken-apple sausage…with the most comfortable bed in the world and icy-cold A/C…that I don’t have to pay the mortgage on.

What are you doing currently?