Margaret Domnick - The Inside Story...

I'm a woman, mother, friend, sister, daughter, wife and partner in crime. I'm spontaneous, anal, loud, loving, funny (or at least I think I am), and generally honest. Sometimes I get these thoughts... so I've created this blog to share them. Feel free to respond, but be kind...did I mention that I'm sensitive?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Flowers and People

Yesterday I set out to buy flowers. I love shopping for flowers. I don’t know much about any variety, but I enjoy the colors of the blooms and the aura of the gardens. I walked up and down every aisle, just looking. I paid attention to the size of the plants and the amount of sun they needed to thrive. I grabbed a cart and headed through again; taking more time to study the particulars for ones I thought I could grow most successfully. I was completely, blissfully overwhelmed. I ended up in the “distressed plants” area, where the flowers had been significantly marked down, in hopes that somebody would buy them. I did. This way, I figured, if they died, I’d not be out a lot of money. I left with a variety of tiny yellow, medium sized pink, and two red (kind of blooming), flowers. I bought green spikes, plants with dark red leaves, and purple somethings, all of which were withering and needed attention. I was relieved and excited to take my new treasures home to create beautiful pots for my back deck.

That’s when I got to thinking…aren’t people like plants? We come in different varieties and sizes and we all have different needs. Some of us are “sunny” and others are not. Some have big, bright, colorful blooms, while others are plush with no color at all. Some of us are healthy, others are withered. Some grab attention without trying, and others exist without notice. Some people need a lot of attention and want everything to be “just right” before blooming, while others bloom with little or no attention at all. Some people are climbers, grabbing whatever is available to help them grow tall and strong, other people are more comfortable staying low, moving and creeping along the ground. Some of us need rich soil to grow, while others can spring up through rocks and sand. Some people take root in our gardens and stay forever, returning year after year without thought; others take root for a season, and then are gone until they are planted again.

I wonder if I appreciate the people in my life the way I appreciate flowers. Have I paid attention to what they need to grow? Am I watering them often enough? Am I allowing them to bloom when they are ready, or rushing them because I am ready? Am I accepting them for who they are? Do I focus only on what they look like? Do I plant them carefully, and nurture them accordingly? Do I notice their growth and marvel at their blooms? When they begin to wither, do I take the time to help them heal? Do I offer them sunshine as well as rain? Do I love them enough? Do I show that I love them? Do they know that I love them?

Humm… Maybe I should expand my garden and plant it in a corner of my yard. I could tend to it daily, prune it as necessary, nurture a variety of plants and enjoy more than a few withered flowers in pots on my back deck.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Ummm, Truth Please

Sometimes I wonder…in any subjective situation, is it realistic to have just one “truth”? I mean, we all know there are two sides to every story, so how come there is only one truth? Ponder that. I can think of stories where the facts don’t add up to the truth. Does that mean someone lied? What if the final truth doesn’t match your version of the story, but you know you are right? Can you convince someone that “your” truth is “the” truth? I think you can if their perception of the situation is similar to yours. Perception is what matters. I believe that perception is reality, and people’s realities are their truths. So, what is true for one person, based on their perception, may not be true for another, and both people are correct.

So, based on my application of perception, it is realistic to have more than one truth. And to appreciate other people’s truths, you must be willing to look at the situation from their perception, to enter their reality.

Wow, that’s enough thinking for today, I’m tired (and that’s the truth!).


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Little House in the City

Sometimes I wonder…If my house was bigger, more updated, or more unique, would I be more content with it? I wonder this because, as many of you know, I’m not really crazy about my house. I knew I didn’t love it when I signed my name on the purchase agreement, so I have no one to blame but myself. I think my house is “nice”, its “cute”, its “adequate”, its “comfortable”, and its “cozy”; but it isn’t “me”. Will it become “me” with time? Will I grow to love it?

There are things about my house that I do love: I love the kitchen, the wall colors, and the spa tub (in the basement). I love the lake, and the big back deck. But, the house I live in is similar to so many other houses, and I’ve never been similar to others...does living in a cookie-cutter house make me a cookie-cutter person? Does that fact that I settled on a house mean that I’ve settled as a person? What other things will I be willing to settle on?

Why did I buy this house, you might be wondering, and why don’t I just move again? Those are questions I won’t delve into right now, but I will say that my reasons are valid. The fact is that I did buy it and now I have to live with that decision.

So, would I be more content with my house if it were bigger, updated, and more unique? Maybe I would, but I wouldn’t have spent so much time thinking about it, and that is what has helped me learn a few things. I now know that, for me, a bigger house simply means watching TV in a bigger room. I think I’d be doing the same things regardless of the size of my house, and I’m doing the things I love. Aside from eating in a formal dining room, my house accommodates everything I love to do in it. I feel blessed to have this priority in place. I have also learned that, no matter how updated my house might have been when I bought it, there would still be many things I’d want to change in it. Upgrades would mean nothing if the final product didn’t reflect my personal tastes. I’m lucky to get to decide for myself what upgrades to make, and when. Finally, I have learned that my house might look similar to other houses on the outside, but if I can make it “my” house, the feeling on the inside will be like no other. It’s the way you feel about something that makes it unique.

I know why I bought this little house, even though I didn’t love it. And now, after many hours of reflections, I have even more reasons to like it. I’m over 40, and it’s taken all this time and a special little house to make me really understand that it’s not what you have that matters, it’s how you feel about what you have that matters.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sports Offended

Sometimes I wonder...Why are people allowed to scream rude comments at referees and umpires during sporting events? And equally perplexing, why don’t those of us sitting near these grumbling, complaining, loud, individuals do something about it? Do we secretly wish we had the guts to yell something out too? Are we impressed that the otherwise calm, quiet, friends and neighbors suddenly morph into crazy, unpredictable beings? Personally, I don’t think so. I think people behave as they are allowed to behave, and whether we like it or not, airing personal opinions and name-calling has become part of the culture of many sports. But, I think it’s a culture that can be changed, if enough people want it to change.

I’m a coach’s wife and the mother of four athletic kids. In support of my family, I have perched the bleachers to watch tee-ball, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, football, cheer, dance, cross country, track, and most recently, tennis. For those of you who frequent sporting events, I’m sure you’ve been privy to the outrageous, if not embarrassing behavior of many spectators. I remember a mother harassing a high school referee at my son’s tee ball game, and another parent giving my 12 year old daughter grief for almost 15 minutes over a questionable call as a line judge in a volleyball match. Come on, these are kids! At a recent basketball tournament, parents were given written conduct guidelines to be followed throughout the games. I was offended, somewhat, and taken back that this “reminder” was necessary. Obviously, it was. The problem is evident, now we have to figure out a solution.

What if a “No Negativity” campaign was initiated in gymnasiums and stadiums? Seriously, it could work. Yelling at games would be acceptable, but only positive and supportive statements would be allowed. Cheering on your favorite players and chanting with the crowd would be fine; yelling “you suck” would not be tolerated. Bouncers would simply escort offenders out of the gym when they yelled a negative comment. The program would need to be well organized and executed consistently, but I think it would be a huge step in the right direction for the world of competitive sports. I imagine large banners with the word NEGATIVITY having a big, red line drawn through it. I can see people wearing tee shirts boasting the fact that negativity isn’t present in their stadium. The atmosphere surrounding sports would lean toward respect, rather than rudeness. It would be a safe, fun place to bring the family. Just as negativity breeds negativity, positive energy is catching too.

I’ll admit, it sounds a little idealistic, but it would be a nice change. I’ve shared my opinion with others, some people love it, and others don’t. “It will never happen”; “people simply can’t control their impulses”; “Yelling is part of sports” are some of the comments I hear. But, I know, for a fact, that people will behave according to the expectations set for them. Take tennis, for example. Tennis is an etiquette sport and people keep their mouths shut. At my son’s match last week, right in front of me and about 6 others watching, a ball clearly bounced “in” and was called “out”. I glanced around to see who would make a comment, but no one said anything. No one stood up, no one grumbled, no one even whispered to themselves. The ball was “out” and that was that; it was a non-issue. The players continued the game, the losers didn’t blame the line judge for their loss, and I fell in love with tennis.

Could basketball, tee-ball, baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, and football become etiquette sports? I think “yes", what do you think?


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Friendship Revisited

Sometimes I wonder…what kind of relationship needs to be established before two people become “friends”? Is a friend someone you’ve met for lunch a few times? Someone you’ve sat with for coffee? Is a friend someone with whom you’ve run errands or seen a movie? What if you meet people easily and feel comfortable around people quickly, are all those new people your friends? I think a friend can be any person that you enjoy, who also enjoys you. But, I don’t think that every friend is the same. I find that friendships fall on a continuum ranging from “Seed” to “Gut”, as follows:

A “Seed” friend is a new person you’ve met that you like. You have something in common with this person and want to get together with them again for a play date or latte’. You are hopeful your Seed friendship will continue to grow.

A “Fun” friend is someone you know pretty well. You see this person around town and at community events. You look for them in a crowd. You occasionally get together for drinks or dinner and will call them if your child needs a ride to baseball or tennis. Your kids spend time at each other’s houses. You open up a little to the Fun friend, about likes and dislikes, opinions, and ideas about shared interests. You feel good about your Fun friendships.

A “Safe” friend is someone you trust. You’re less careful about what you say with this friend. You run errands, see movies, shop, laugh, giggle, cry, and complain together. You hang out on weekends, cook out, and have drinks frequently; sometimes planned, sometimes spontaneously. You begin to share more personal thoughts and stories. You ask more questions and make a real effort to get to know your Safe friends.

A “Deep” friend is the friend who is there for you when you need them. This is the person who magically appears when your grandmother passes away, your child gets hurt, or you get sick. This friend makes you meals, helps you heal, and helps you grow. You do all the fun stuff with this friend, but also share your soul with them. They encourage you to follow your dreams and seek out what you need. They support you and are honest with you. The Deep friend knows how you think and what you like. They know the good side of you…and the bad, and they love you anyway. You have a history with this friend, and it binds you forever. Sometimes you go for months – or even years – without talking to this friend, and when you do touch base with them, it’s the same comfortable relationship it has always been.

A “Gut” friend is the friend of all friends. Some of us will never know this kind of friendship. The Gut friend is able to put aside their own venue in support of yours. They are not only there to love and support you when you need it, when things are hard for you, but they’re also there when everything is perfect in your life. This is the friend who can honestly be happy for you whenever you are happy. When you lose weight, win big at the casino, get a brand new car, achieve a promotion, find a great deal on shoes…etc, they are able to put aside feeling of competition, judgment, and comparison and genuinely celebrate in your successes. Even if your child beats out their child for class president, the Gut friends shares your joy. You don’t worry about anything you say or do with a Gut friend because they love and cherish you for exactly who you are, and accept where you are in your life journey. You can never brag to a Gut friend because no matter what you say, they would never perceive your comments in that way. Gut friends are unique. I think all of us strive to be, as well as to have, a gut friend, and a lucky few of us will achieve it.

I believe that all friendships change over time. Some friends come into our lives and stay forever, while others, equal in value, wither and die. Well, I don’t know if I can really say “die”, because the lessons they teach may remain with us, even as their friendship wanders. And, as our friendships change, they move along the continuum, down and up and down again. I also believe that all of our friends will support us, in some capacity, when things go wrong; but only the Gut friend will be there – really be there – when things go right!