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Balancing work and life

It was girls' weekend at Carlos Creek Winery, a chance to get together with very good friends, have fun and stay up way too late chattering about where we are at in our lives. Now that our children have left the nest, it is one of several weekends (and sometimes even weeks) that I spend with 'the girls' during the year. It is time together that we have grown to cherish in the past few years — sharing where our kids (and for some, grandkids) have landed in life, hauling out funny pictures from our past trips, telling the real story behind Facebook posts, talking about all of the stuff we are going to do from Pinterest, complaining about our menopause rollercoasters, wrinkles and so much more.

This weekend wasn't unlike others — we even share some of the same stories over and over, laughing for the tenth time about the funny things we did on our 50th birthday celebrations while white water rafting in Oregon! We are usually on some sort of unique adventure!

We met on Friday and went to "The Dweebs" concert at the Winery (fun music!), headed back to the cabin early (as in 10:30 p.m.) because it was too hard to talk over the music - what were we thinking! We had too much to talk about to be drowned out by a bunch of "dweebs."

So, we shared our updates since we were last together — one of us had lost a parent, another had a new grandchild to announce, there is a forthcoming wedding for a son, another is looking at a new job and one is even talking the retirement word! We are all at different places in our lives, but we have a common friendship bond. We are there for each other, sometimes to offer help, sometimes to offer suggestions, but always to listen and to care.

We stayed up too late talking — 2:30 a.m! Remember, I am the early morning writer, I am the early morning walker...I am not the late night 'stayer-upper!' I could be getting up at that time! Literally!

The next morning came too soon for some — I was wide awake by 6 a.m. and definitely needed my coffee. So, trying to be quiet, I searched the kitchen for the coffee pot and coffee with another cohort who would quietly get up with me! I have never seen a coffee pot with so many attachments — it had at least seven different pieces of apparatus to figure was one of those Cuisinart grind-your-own-beans models! So, coffee pot put together, beans found in the freezer, we are ready to go...again, remember it is about 6 a.m. We are still trying not to wake the other cabin guests! However, I hit the all in one Cuisinart coffee grinder/maker "on" button and in this small cabin of women sleeping, the grinder came on and we screamed because it was so loud! So, now everyone in the cabin is awake for coffee at 6 a.m., and we start talking again!

Despite the down pouring rain this past weekend, we headed back to the Winery in time to stomp grapes at 3 p.m. I did mention that we are usually out for an adventure, didn't I? Yes, one of our crazy friends, talked the rest of us into not just watching, but grape stomping in teams! Needless to say, we didn't win, but we did it — we stomped!

Butts draggin, soaked from head to toe from the down pouring rain, and now sticky from stomping grapes, we head back to the cabin to get ready to go to a wedding reception. We can make it just a few more hours!

Pointed towards Wadena for the wedding reception, we continued to talk about our families — a couple of 'the girls' live in metropolitan areas and talked about the prevalent drug problems, thefts and violence facing kids today. Unfortunately, Wadena and surrounding communities are not immune to these situations either — drugs, thefts and violence occur here as well. We talked about the importance of finding that balance between home and family, school and friends for our kids when they were growing up. And that led to talking more about ourselves today and how we should be finding the balance between work and life. We all agreed that if we had our work and life more in balance, our lives would be healthier and less stressed.

It reminded me of how fragile life can be and how you never know what people are dealing with in their personal lives. I know people that are dealing with emotional abuse, alcoholism, drug addictions, depression and anxiety. We all have issues in our lives that we are dealing with on a day to day basis. I would love to be able to wave my magic wand to help each and every one that suffers from any of these issues in life, but I have learned that no matter how much I want them to change, they have to want to change for themselves, or it won't happen. The one thing that I can do is to let them know that I care and will be there for support, whenever they are ready to make that change. It is not an easy thing to do — sit back and wait for another person to get low enough in their life to want to change. It hurts everyone!

Several years ago a local man died and I proceeded to say to my mother "Oh, he was just a local drunk!" She looked at me and emphatically said, "Someone still loved him!" It is a phrase that I think of often now that I am older. No matter what others are going through in their lives, someone still loves them!

I have never been one to judge others — I never will be. I have not walked in their shoes, I do not know what goes on in others homes. The only firsthand knowledge of what goes on in a life is my own. I am the only person that I can pass judgment upon.

Striving for a healthy balance is something we all need to work at because life is always changing and requiring readjustments. Eat right, exercise regularly and ask for help when you need it...this will help to keep your life going in the right direction.

Update on the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center:

• The Margaret A. Cargill $500,000 award was announced last week!

• FEMA has indicated verbally that the Grandstand dollars can be reallocated to the Wellness Center with the City of Wadena just waiting on a written notice which is in the mail!

• The first round of bids received remain at $300,000 over budget

• The second round of bids received are at $750,000 over budget

• At this time the project is $800,000 short of covering the costs.

The architects have been asked to firm up the numbers and suggest alternatives to the project at a special City Council meeting next Thursday, Sept. 26. At that time, the Wadena City Council will determine how to proceed.

Each and every donation becomes more important as we receive the bids and the City Council decides how to move forward...if you haven't made your donation or would like more information on the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center, please contact Jeff Browne at (218)631-5261 or Mike Craig at (218)631-4096. Donations are still needed to complete the project in its entirety!