Wednesday, October 6, 2010

it's been how long...?

Break Away (intransitive verb)

        1 : to detach oneself especially from a group : get away
        2 : to depart from former or accustomed ways
        3 : to pull away with a burst of speed

The word break always has intrigued me. It means so many things. For instance, I love breakfast. I would break away from the pack in past track years. Taking a break and going on vacation. Getting a break on the price. I had to break into my car when I locked the keys inside. I broke ground on the new deck addition. I broke my knee skiing. My divorce broke my heart. My daughters loveliness breaks my heart. Breaking the silence. Breaking the news. Breaking 80 golfing. Breaking a sweat. Give me a break.

It goes on and on.
Variations of the word break, in so many forms, meaning so many things, pop up daily.

A few weeks ago I was dismayed to find that several of my fellow bloggers, ones that I adored and read religiously, decided to take a break. To stop blogging. There are several others that have stopped blogging because they are now focused on writing in other forums. Such as working on books.

I dig that. I get it. I understand.
I was also disappointed.

Add to that a slight downtown in my usual positive attitude and I decided to take a break myself. It wasn’t anything that I actually did intentionally. It just kind of happened. I didn’t sit down and say, “Nance…take some time. Don’t write on your blog. Don’t read any blogs. Just. Don’t.”

I didn’t have that conversation in my head. It just happened.

One day turned into two. Two days turned into five. One week turned into two and now here it is, almost four weeks since my last posting and I felt I had something to say.

My down turn happened basically due to a close friend giving me some ‘friendly advice’. I took it. I don’t know why, but I did. He said, “focus your energy and attention on something that matters. Your blog doesn’t matter. You’re not going to make any money on your blog.”

Who said anything about money? Did I start this to make money?

I mean yes, you read about those bloggers that now that it's their work. That they now employ several people to maintain their blog. But c'mon. Me? I don't see me being the next Dooce. (although, wouldn't that be nice! One can only dream...)

I should’ve dismissed his criticism right there. Not listened to another word. I mean, sure, making money is a great thing…it allows us to afford things, or do things that perhaps we wouldn’t have thought of doing before because we didn’t want to spend the money on it. Last year I received a payout from a life insurance policy my mother had. It was bonus money in my eyes. So I did something out of the ordinary with it.

I should’ve replaced the furnace.
Maybe bought a few new green windows, or solar panels.
But instead we went to DisneyWorld…the happiest place on earth.

And we had fun.
Lots of it.

We ate out. We stayed out late. We woke up early. We got room service. We stayed at a luxury Disney hotel. We lived like Kings. Or queens and princesses’ actually, but you get the idea.

My mother was smiling down on our festivities. We smiled right back up.

But my friend has a way of turning everything into a way of making money. Or the thought of HOW it could make money. I have a sewing machine that does embroidery. He feels I should do something with that to make money. Sell my embroidered items on eBay or etsy. I have a knack for display. He feels that I should send resumes to Cedar Point, Disney and all the department stores. I’m a good cook. He thinks I should package my sauces or spices for sale in stores. (I’ve already done the catering thing and that, my friends, is just too much work and stress…for me.) It goes on and on…

I get a little tired sometimes of listening to this banter. I like to do things because I enjoy them, not because it might have the possibility of making me money. Of making me rich.

It may be naïve, but I think that a person is rich because of their experiences. The love, the friendship, the joy of doing things and being with people that make you smile. That make you enjoy life. I think that if you do what you enjoy then you are truly both blessed and rich.

Not everything comes down to money. To dollars. To cents.

It annoys me.

I listened. I thought about it. I did lots of things this past month. I’ve worked hard, and I’ve played hard. I went golfing several times. That was lots of fun. I love this time of year on the golf course. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it. I used to belong to a golf club. I lost that membership with my divorce. Sure there are many public courses around to play at, but I don’t know anyone to play with. When at the club, Tuesday mornings were a given. It was the day the ladies played. 9am tee off. Simple as that.

I played with the A-group. Chris Grace, Ellie Colton and Nita Doyle. They were the old timers, the club regulars. When I joined the Country Club, they for some reason, took me under their wing. Between the three, all of them were always in the running for Club Champion. Ellie took her golf pretty seriously. She was a great golfer. Steady. Sure. She could always score. Chris also was a good golfer. She was just a little wild at times, but could pull off shots that would make Tiger Woods take off his hat in respect. Nita was a par player. Tee shot. Chip shot. Two putt. Tee shot. Chip shot. Two putt. Steady as she goes. No wild card there.

I was the newbie. The rebel. I had a strong tee shot and a good short game. I was either On. Or I was Off. Not much in between. I had, at the time, a higher handicap, but could play. I helped their game. I was the wild card that could make our team win the tourneys. Or not. It all depended. But there was always the steadies to make the score. I was just the gravy. With all the regular play I had (at least twice a week with the ladies and once or twice on the weekends) I mangaed to lower my handicap to a 7.
Not bad.
Not bad at all.

I played a course last weekend that I hadn’t played in twelve years. Elyria Country Club is a gorgeous course. Designed by William S. Flynn who designed other beauties like Shinnecock on Long Island, Homestead Cascades in Virgina and Cherry Hills in Colorado. There are two other courses in Cleveland that he designed and they are both great challenges as well. I remember playing it with the A-team a decade ago on a club swap day. The 12th hole is a par three 165 yard beauty with an elevated tee box down to the green. I mean elevated. Like 50 feet elevated. It’s a gorgeous view and just a tad intimidating. If you miss left, you’re all right. Miss short and your in the water. Miss right, you’re in the sand. Miss long and it’s in the trees, baby.

As I stood on the tee box looking down I wondered which club to pull. I could hear the ghosts of the A-team deciding what to use. Ellie taking out her 4 iron. Chris with her 5 wood. And Nita with her 3 wood. I normally would hit an iron here, but today there was a headwind making the hole play more like 180 or 190. I nodded to my ghosts of the past and played a 3 wood. The wind took it a little right and I was pin high, but in the sand. No worries. I could see my ball.

It was interesting hearing those voices of long ago, from a seemingly different life, spring up in my head. It was a glorious afternoon. I was basking in the beauty of the course, the time spent playing. It took me back to a time when I didn’t think about money or how to make it. I hate to admit this, but I was busy living my privileged life and was thinking about whether or not I should buy that new driver in the club pro shop. Bah to me. Taking that all for granted. Then my divorce.

I no longer had the club membership. So I no longer played.

For some reason it took me two years to take out my golf clubs again. Somewehere in my brain golf was the one thing that I could control since the rest of my life seemed to be in shambles. I was on the course when my marrige came spinning to a close. On the back nine. Hole niumber 16. I just walked off the course. I heard people talking about it in the clubhouse. I heard whispers among the waitstaff. I saw the looks in peoples eyes. I started getting flowers from other club members delivered to my house. Flowers? Really?

I was humiliated. And I never went back.

I left everything in my beautiful wood locker with the brass tag with my name on it. I left my extra shoes that were being cleaned by the locker attendant. I left my trophy winning the tournament out at Springbrook in the trophy case. I only took my clubs, put them in the back of my car and drove away never to see the caddies, the valets, the waitstaff ever again. I no longer could, even if I wanted to, play with the A-team again.

But, it's okay.
That was eleven years ago. A lifetime.

Almost the same as it feels when I hit this publish button. Three weeks gone in the blogosphere? THAT’S a lifetime. Fact is, no one may even read this posting? I may have lost all the contacts that I had out here. The internet has replaced my space with someone else and now I’ve got to fight the curtain back to make room for myself again.

And then again, maybe not.

Maybe I’ll see comments from those that I’ve come to regard almost like family. Like Heather and Carlos and Chrissy and Katherine and Ron and Indigo. There might be a word from Julie and Lora and Lisa and Christine and Becky and Angelina and Kim. There are so many of you that I can’t even name you all, but you know who you are. And I know who you are.

I feel badly about not being around. About not being here.

It was a break.
A break away. Away from my friends.

Geez. And here I thought I didn’t have anything to say. Well, lookie there pal...I guess I did. I’m not making any money on this little blog of mine. But Bah to the naysayer’s. Who really cares!

I don’t.

Oh...Thanks for agreeing with me.


  1. Of course we missed you, but it's nice to know that you were out having fun - spending money, not making it.

    A boss once told me - do what you love and sooner or later, then money will follow...

    Glad to see your back!

  2. Ha, I was just thinking about you. In my world, no news is good news. So if a blogger goes silent, that usually means they're too busy living a real life to be sitting in front of the keyboard. That's a good thing. My work involves being in front of the keyboard all day, so blogging would be the equivalent of a smoke break.

    Any activity that you do besides work should be fun, not work. If you get paid to do it, it's work. And you automatically become less inspired, less creative, when it's work. So. Don't try to make money with the blog. Writing is not about money, it's about creativity. If you happen to make money doing it, fine, but money should never ever become the main reason for doing it. IMHO. This Martian says to your friend, "stop ruining fun by assigning a monetary value to it."

    As far as golf, can't blame you for not going back. But you still have your skills. And there are a million other courses to play, with other people.

  3. Of course we will read it. No one post's their heart better than you. We miss but understand. Seems to be a lot of soul searching and time off going on lately with a lot of folks. We will Be here when you are.

    You have some nice creative gifts. Do what you love. Love what you do.

  4. welcome back Nancy! you were totally missed and I am very glad you are here. Your posts are different, creative, powerful... I enjoy reading you and crying with you and laughing with you. You deserved a break (we all do) and did the right thing (Disney I mean). Money is surely needed, but not necessary. Thanks a lot for blogging!!

  5. I had friends like yours that everything they did for fun, they had to make a buck at it. Even now being retired, they have a store, trying to sell sunglasses, teeshirts and things they tried to sell at swap meets and couldn't while camping in their motorhome.

    They knew where all of the camping swap meets were. They had to travel to downtown Los Angeles to get special deals, which was about 90 miles one way in traffic, went back home and then packed their motorhome and set out for another two hours, at least, in bumper to bumper traffic to get to their swap meet camping spot. This is while they were both still working two good paying jobs 40-60 hours a week.

    This was crazy. They said they could make $500 a weekend around Christmas time. Big deal.

    I asked them if it was worth it. With tired looks on their faces and their bodies tired in stance, they said no, but they had a lot of money and time invested, plus inventory, and they kept doing it.

  6. Take a break as often as you want, we will still be here, or we will be right back.

    No way could everything in my life only be a way to make money, i see no point in having a life then. Whether I'm employed at the time or not, when people has 'what do you do?' my answer is always the same 'i live'

  7. Oh, and about why people stop blogging...I wrote a blog about that one time. I came up with some observations of my own.

    Number One: They found a boyfriend, but when that didn't work out, they were blogging again, usually about three months later.

    Another person, I thought got really caught up in her church.

    My reason I stopped blogging on another photoblogging site was that I was editing and posting photos on two sites. I eventually gave up that site and now only post on Blogger. It serves me better because I can now write as well as post photos, as many as I want in one day. The other site didn't. My friends at the other site wondered what happened to me, since I'd been on that site for several years. My last post there gave them a link to my site on Blogger. Some read it, some told me that yes I did the right thing because I too had a flair at the keyboard words. I was in front of my computer too much, needed some relief. It wasn't fun anymore, so I made, what I think, was a good decision.

    I'm still on the computer more than I should and sometimes want to be, but at least it's still fun.

    I've been bombarded by Blogger's ads to make money advertising on my blog site. Looked into it, but it sounded like work. One ad on my site even advertised to make a book out of my blog. Keeping track of checks, times people visit your blog ads, etc., etc., etc. I'm retired. I did all of that for 40 years. I want to have fun, travel, photograph, hike, paint in all mediums and do what I want to do, when I want to do it, how I want to do it, why I want to do it and with whom I want to do it with. And just in case anyone out there wants to see how I'm doing it, living in this lifestyle you can go to:

    This comment wasn't just to get people to see my website, but you really hit a nerve on this one.


  8. I didn't miss you on a daily basis. I thought about you, about your writing. I popped over to your blog every once in a while to see if you were home. Thought you might be on vacation, busy with life or weren't motivated to write at the moment. I knew you'd be back. It's like old friends, it doesn't matter when you see each other, it's that you are happy to see them and embrace their return whenever you do get together. I smile at your return. Long hug.
    About your friend that thinks you should get paid for everything. Tell him he's free to pay you for the things he believes others should. Is there anything he does because he wants to? Or is it all money motivated? Most of what we do in life isn't about money at all. It's about giving back to the universe. About doing because we love it or because it needs to be done. Money will come and money will go. The soul continues, grows and becomes abundant.
    Your old golf playing field and playmates . . . Everything and everyone is in our lives for a reason and a season. Enjoy all the seasons of your life.
    I know your mom LOVED that you celebrated life at Disney with the inheritance. You celebrated her love and her life and were kind enough to share with others. What a wonderful tribute to her.
    I'll stop by again soon. It's nice to see you back.

  9. Love this post. Never feel bad for living your life. Balance is key. Happy to read you -- anytime.

    Love you girl.


  10. I just loved this post about life and golf, and my head is just swirling with things to say.
    I have a friend who's always trying to get me to make money doing things, and I'm not sure the cost benefit of turning my things into a job pans out. I always ask myself what I would be willing to pay to have my time back, to myself, or for my kids, and there's very few "jobs" that would pay me enough to be worthwhile. Of course, I am blessed and a kept woman, and I appreciate that every single day.
    I still have the husband and the country club and the fall days, but degenerative discs and a ripped sholder took golf away for three years, though I could never dream of a 7 handicap. I enjoyed my Tuesday evenings with the girls and forgot how much I missed the fun of the game until we went on a family scramble this summer and laughed and had a great day. I hope to organize one more family fun event before the weather is hopeless.
    I understand the fascination and fear involved in taking a break. I think that if you wrote just for yourself, your readers would still find you, because your writing is that good and that relevent.
    I love that you took the money and went to Disney. I am the child of a hoarder, who struggles with the emotional baggage of money and things daily, and I believe the only things I would really need to save in a fire are the photos, to help me remember my memories, because they are the best part of my life, the adventures taken and those yet to take.
    I'm so glad you reclaimed golf for yourself. So sorry love and life blindsided you like they did. It's a common story in our circle, and I can only assume that it's a 40 something self centered thing to do. Don't stop - golfing or writing, and hopefully, once in a while, blogging, please and thank you. :)

  11. I'm a very new follower, but I'm glad you're back, too. I think everybody should do something in their life just for their heart and soul. If it ceases to be fun and enjoyable--breaks are needed. Sounds like you had a good one! :)

  12. Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed your break :) I have so many of your blog posts saved in my archives, so don't ever go away again. I relate too much to the things you say.

  13. Ok, I get it now. I probably should keep my head down when I write in order to improve my content. I keep looking up to see if I am hitting the mark.

    I guess that's why I keep being told I am out in the weeds.

  14. How does that song by Chicago go? "Everybody needs a little time away, I heard her say, From each other.... Even lovers need a holiday, Far away, From each other...."

    I have to admit I was very happy to "see" you drop a comment over "at my place" today. Welcome back - and welcome back to the golf course - it sounds like a part of you has turned a corner and accepts ... the good part of your past ... at a place where something evil raised its head and so traumatically destroyed, not you, but something you held special and dear to you.

    Perhaps time does heal all wounds... or perhaps it just helps with forgetting the extreme-most parts of the agony one suffered. isn't everything - it's only a means to experience it.

    P.s., Your writing is superb - as always. :)

  15. Everybody deserves a break now and then! It's really good to stop, get some distance and then reinvent yourself as a blogger, a golfer, or whatever, and to rediscover why you love it in the first place. Even my kids have to do that from time to time with things they do like violin and horseback riding - otherwise you just end up on a treadmill not questioning anything, ever. No way to live!
    Welcome back, Nancy! And as a friend once said to me, "Don't let the turkeys get you down!"

  16. Never feel guilty for stepping away and taking care of you. We all need breaks. I was going to step away to write other things, but I get more satisfaction from writing my blog. I enjoy the friendships...writing (for me anyway) is not about money but about heart! Welcome back!

  17. Yes, there will be a word from Julie! :o) Nancy, I do hope you at least made some serious dough playing that game of golf? No? Oh, my... :o)

    I agree with you completely. And at the same time, I think it's great that you have a friend who sees so many opportunities for making money everywhere. Because for me, the most reassuring thing to know is that when I need (extra) money, I can MAKE it (by giving piano lessons or by translating documents, for instance).

    It's good to have the opporunity, but as you say, money doesn't make you richer... not really. :o) Actually, YOUR BLOG makes me richer. Thank you for the gold.

  18. Oh! And I missed you! Glad you're back! I hope you're going to take a break from taking breaks now. ;o)

  19. Why would you start a blog to make money?! That's just the side dish, I think. :)

    Glad you're back, in any case!

  20. We all need a break sometimes. Most of us understand and just waited patiently, ready to welcome you back with open arms.

    I also have friends who do the "make money" thing. It drives me crazy. I never want to turn a hobby into a job- it loses the enjoyment when it goes through the changing process. I have hobbies for enjoymkent.

  21. I am glad you are back. Sometimes we need a break to regroup, to refresh, to review. I do the things I enjoy because I enjoy doing them. My skills, talents, whatever they are - they're for my enjoyment. Don't talk about turning them into money-making enterprises - that removes the enjoyment for me. That's when I'll turn my back on those pleasures and find something new to do.

  22. Of course we are still here. But I'm NOT going golfing with you. I'm terrible at that stuff:). Shopping, cooking, you bet. Welcome back.

  23. Glad to have you back! Been checking in from time to time. Everyone blogs for different reasons.....I blog for me!!h

  24. Welcome back! I too kept stopping by to check, I often read your posts aloud and she and I will laugh or cry together. You manage to touch people's lives... that's much better than silly green pieces of paper. Well, in my opinion anyway....

  25. Nancy it is good to have you back but time away is good for the soul too. I figured you and your daughter were busy with the end of summer and the start of a new school year .... anyways welcome back!

  26. I'm here and I'm glad you are posting again (but only if you want to and not because you have to.) I believe that if you do what you love, the money will follow. And that doesn't mean it has to be a lot of money. Some days I think I'd gladly trade a big chunk of my salary for greater job satisfaction and a shorter commute. - G

  27. welcome back!

    it is a shame how myopic folks are where they equate what matters to what makes money.

    i'm so happy to learn you were just on a break....and nothing more. everyone who maintains a blog (for whatever reason) needs a break now and then - some times they are intentional, then other times they just happen.

    like life.

    it just happens!

    and hey, you returned to the bloggyhood one day ago and already your post has over 25 comments....obviously, despite, your 'friendly advice' friend you and your blog matter!!

    he matters too even if his advice isn't worth two cents. (but that's just one little mouse's opinion!)

    take care and as long as you find meaning in the bloggyhood that's all that matters!

  28. To EVERYONE! You all have just made my day. Or actually my week! As Im sure this glowing feeling that I have from all the response is going to last me for many more days!

    Thank you for the warm reception.
    Love to all!!!!

  29. I loved your post! I can totally relate as I don't blog regularly but when I feel I might need to say something. Aloud. And hope that people listen.

    I am sure your friend just wants you to be happy but only YOU know what's right for you..and as far as I can tell - you are doing great. Thanks for a great post!

  30. Hey you... welcome back! PPPhhhhfffftttttt to that guy's advice. It's only about the money if one has none. My divorce shook my foundation... I was working on my PhD at the time my Life headed towards the ditches.

    I quit the PhD program... I needed to be a Dad... I needed to work... Yes, the PhD would have meant more money to me after completion, but it was no longer what I wanted. My Life was out of control and I was looking for stability. I wanted... needed... to slow my world down.

    I love your posts like this. They are so deep... so full of soul searching. And, Yes, your Mom IS smiling down upon you. She is elated for you!!!


  31. yay, you're back and all is well with the world again. : )

  32. Hey, everybody needs to take a break now and then. Heaven forbid, we don't want blogging to become a CHORE.

    I,too, have seen some dear blogbuds sign off in Blogville....and I'm infinitely sad.

    But, life goes on.

    Disney World ROCKS! How can anyone be there and not be happy? I'd go in a NY minute! So glad you made some fabulous memory of your mom...


  33. As no.33 on the list, I think that confirms we're all still here!

    Sounds like you've been enjoying some new found 'me' time and why not. Respect to you!

  34. Don't listen to your what makes YOU feel good!

    Everyone needs a break now and then. It just seems that once you take a break, those days go flying by, right? Plus a break gives your mind a fresh slate and hopefully good stuff to blog about!

    Glad to have you back.

  35. I've thrown myself into a few activities that I loved, and then wondered "Could I do this for a living?" But the answer was always no; the pleasure of those activities came from doing them for enjoyment and having no obligations. Some people never get that...too bad for them.

  36. Creative expression isn't about money. Glad to read your words again.

  37. your writing always knits itself into a movie in my head
    thnak you for that and for still being here

  38. Glad your break wasn't a permanent one like some others have decided to do. I totally get how your divorce changed your habits, I up and moved hundreds of miles away and left everything and everyone behind. He got the friends, house, ect..

    Glad you got the golf clubs out and put them to use and had fun.

  39. Hey no worries, everyone needs a break sometimes :)

  40. I sorta inadvertently took a little break myself, for a couple of weeks. Must be the change in the weather, yes? It's good. We take breaks from work, to refresh*revive*relax*renew. Stands to reason it is good to recharge the blogging batteries as well. And as for your friend, ahem! You ARE doing something important. You are touching people's lives. You have certainly touched mine. You get me thinking, or help me experience something in a different way. Money? Bah!

  41. Hey, see-- it only took me a day or two to find this-- I can't read as much as I like on a daily basis, but for blogs like yours, I'll always be checking to see what's up. I'm delighted --and tremendously relieved to see that you haven't given us up completely, and merely took a breather. Welcome back, and thanks for the honest and open talk, as always.

    I can totally relate to the loss of status that you experienced with your divorce, but mine's nearly 19 years ago (eek!) and yet still stings. Lucky I found CoTU about three years later! And luckier still to have my wonderful kids.

    Welcome back!



  42. I'm very guilty about thinking along the same lines as your friend. I like art - why I'll be like my friend who is an awesome artist and try to make some money (that worked out well - not) - so I stopped making art for several years and am now doing some pieces but for fun instead of putting pressure on myself to produce. I was about to stop my blog after realizing I would never make a dime off it but then I realized how much of a valuable outlet it provides. Glad you came to the same conclusion...

  43. I just came back from a week-long mini-break myself. We're both still here. It's a good thing.

  44. I wouldn't miss out on reading something you've written. I've kinda taken a break myself after getting married and waiting for things to settle down a bit. Nice to have you back!

  45. Hey Nancy! I'm experiencing much the same blogging experience as yourself. I'm way behind on blog reading, and have written precious little for the past few months. I'm finding my feet again, tho. Glad you are too =) As for making money? I'm with you. Indigo

  46. It's seems you've hit a nerve. I've been considering a break for a while now - but haven't quite taken that first step. Every time I sit down to do it I push myself further. But breaks can be refreshing - and it looks like your break did you some good. I need to follow your example!

  47. I just noticed that you grayed out the screen a bit and it makes it sooo much easier (for me) to read! keep in mind, I'm the monkey with the 16 size font.

    breaks are great - sounds like you refreshed and rolled in it.

    I try to blog regularly because the last time I took a break I lost several followers. Part of me thinks I should remove the follow tab all together.

    i crave readers more than cheese

    here's to you knowing whats best for you! Shannon


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