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Ask hismel Anything!
hismel has been a member since September 24th,1999.
# Asked: 74 -- # Answered: 1104
Average: 0.95 -- Average: 4.70
Rank: 62 -- Rank: 65

Unable to turn down an engraved invitation, hismel will join the brave KP'ers who've opened up their souls to anyone curious enough to ask...  Asked 6.20.00

Scrooge: How did you come up with your KP name (hismel) and do you REALLY thing your cat can whip mine AND obbop's cats?

Hismel came from a ‘pet name’ my husband calls me: Mel. My given name has many common nicknames that don’t much suit me and he came up with Mel one day. He will say something like, “I love my Mel” thus I sort of became “his Mel.” It’s not a possessive sort of thing, more of a recognition that no one else has ever known me as Mel. What is even more interesting (to us) is that, after him calling me that for almost two years, we received our Merriam Webster Word of the Day (Jan 24, 2000 to be exact) shown below. After we read this, it gave us a chuckle, made extra sense, and is forever cemented for us. (please don't gag...)

mellifluous \meh-LIH-fluh-wuhs\ (adjective)
*1 : having a smooth rich flow
2 : filled with something (as honey) that sweetens

In Latin, "mel" means "honey" and "fluere" means "to flow." Those two linguistic components flow smoothly together in "mellifluus" (from Late Latin) and "mellyfluous" (from Middle English), the ancestors of "mellifluous."

As for my cat, Mao, well, I noticed two kind people (not including myself) voted for her in the poll! I think she’d whip one cat, then she’d be done. She is, after all, a girl cat and not a tom. The fact that I didn't vote for her (I voted "someone else's cat") should tell you something... I was thinking of the cat in "Mousehunt": that big, snarling, psycho, mangy thing! Thanks for asking, Scrooge.

Colldoll: I know this is a hard question, but you are so eloquent and spiritual, I know you can handle it. Please tell me your feelings about soul mates, does everyone have one? and did you always feel this way?

Thanks for the build-up! I hope I can do it justice. Soulmates. I absolutely believe some people find soulmates because mine found me. :) I hope everyone has one. I don’t know if everyone does, but why wouldn't they? There are millions of people in our world and we sample so few before we settle down, don’t we? Not being with one's "soulmate," however, should not diminish the strength or significance of one's love relationship. As I've said before, there are many shades of grey--probably even among soulmates--and if your shade makes you happy and content, then it's a beautiful shade! The fact that some rare couples share thoughts over thousands of miles, or feel "electricity" when in each other's presence, or whatever other extra-sensory stuff might go on with soulmates, doesn't mean that wonderful relationships cannot exist without these things! I've known many very happy couples who don't see sparks! And others who's sparks have dimmed, but they are still in love!

I really wonder if it is a capacity thing—kind of like ESP. I think we all have the ability, but some people don’t want to ‘open up’ to another person the way that soulmates share. It is a very vulnerable place to be while at the same time it is the safest place. So many of us get emotionally ‘burned’ in relationships with the wrong people and some even get burned with the right people. The fear of being totally vulnerable is a very rational fear. Yet, without being honest about who I truly am, with myself and him, we could not truly share at our soulmate level. I guess it’s all about accepting, and even loving, both of our weaknesses.

I always believed some people had very special, deep relationships. When I was about 4 (1970) my mom met her soulmate. I don’t know that they knew it right away but nonetheless I grew up watching two very in-love people and seeing how in-tune with each other they were (this was the 70’s, after all...). They would disagree yet their love didn’t diminish—it strengthened. This example embedded in my mind forever. But I never really hoped to find that kind of love for myself. I think I knew it was special and rare. I also learned how fragile this kind of love still is. My mom and step-dad separated after 8 years because they had not been completely honest about their feelings at times. They are still best friends more than 20 years after their separation, but that failure to communicate cost them their marital and physical relationship. Watching that and grieving it also taught me much about respecting the role of honesty and communication—ESPECIALLY with soulmates.

Fly20: You seem peaceful, fun, and have a great attitude. Forever young. What are the most important things that made you that way, or things you do to stay that way? Also, since you seem angelic in nature, tell us something that proves you're human!

Thanks! I especially like that “forever young” part! Well, I am pretty comfortable with who I am. More importantly, I’ve taken responsibility for my actions (many were pretty dumb) and I’ve tried to make some bad things better. I’ve made some poor choices, faced hardships, and misfortune, but I realized that I could dwell on them or I could try to learn from and find some (even tiny) inkling of good in them and change my perception of the experience from negative to positive. I grew up in a unique household where thoughts and feelings were shared liberally (thus my love for communication) and material things were unimportant. This was powerful in teaching me that I was a good thinker and capable of doing something I put my mind to. This wasn’t so great when I was often hungry and I was laughed at by school kids for my shaggy clothes—high school was hell—but the experience led me to overcompensate by seeking to live in a conservative upper-middle-class lifestyle. That led me to learn that being married to Mr. GQ, living in a big sterile home and wearing designer labels was basically empty for me. I finally figured out that wasn’t me, either. I’m happy somewhere in the middle. So I created a stimulating job, a cozy, lived-in home with lots of colors and textures around me, stacks of books, allow my kids to play and laugh freely, play with them regularly, and Voila! A sort of fun woman with a positive attitude emerges!

I seem angelic in nature!?! Wow. Gotta love the internet! Nope. I have moments of sweetness, but other than--maybe--my husband, few people would describe me that way! I am demanding of appropriate behavior from my kids (consideration, respect, honesty). I expect people to try hard—both my family and co-workers/subordinates. I detest injustice and bigotry. When these expectations aren’t met, I am the first to say so and sometimes loudly! Also, I have become a poor housekeeper. I started working from home a year ago and had to really work at NOT cleaning during the day. It worked. Now I can avoid cleaning anytime! Lastly, I am a sore loser! I will pout if you beat me at Monopoly. How long I pout depends on how badly you beat me!

Heyteach: You're wild about your husband, we know. So, when did you know he was the one? Why is he so great? Now that you've been married several years, what great things have you discovered about him that you did not know when you said you'd marry him?

Yes, I am wild about my husband! We met in 3rd grade and were a lot alike. We both grew up in hippy-type homes, we both had artistic moms, we both were shaggy little kids who were more philosophical than the other kids around us. We were both sort of outcasts, so we hung out. We were in the same class in 3rd, 4th & 5th grades. In 4th grade we passed notes and were closest. I don’t remember being very close in 5th grade or later. Anyway, he moved away to live with his dad sometime in 7th grade. I thought of him once in awhile, when looking at class pictures, or in passing. When “Top Gun” and “The Doors” came out, I thought Val Kilmer might be my friend all grown up! Sort of a similar mouth and Indian facial structure, I thought.

Jan 19, 1998, my mom sent me an email that he had called (out of the blue after 22 years) and left his number. She mentioned he called before New Year’s and she forgot (oops) to let me know so the poor tortured guy called after a few weeks to follow up with her! Since he waited so long already, I called him right away. After he answered, I identified myself and said with amazement, “Oh my gosh, we were just like soulmates.” We were never romantic as kids, just pals. At the risk of sounding like a lunatic, he told me he could never get me out of his mind and that he’d been toying with ideas of how to reach me for years. He lived in CA and I now lived in MO. As I was going through my divorce, I was NOT looking for love! But we started talking and writing letters and we felt this intense connection. As ridiculous as it sounds, I knew within weeks that he was perfect for me. We didn’t see each other until March when I went out to visit my grandparents. He met me at the airport and we knew: it was magic! He asked me to marry him on the 3rd day. Everyone that saw us stopped us and commented on us or asked us our story—many people still do. Leaving CA a few days later was so hard because we had no idea when we’d see each other again. We corresponded until August when he moved to MO. (We paid Ma Bell thousands!!!) We married Jan 1, 1999. (BTW, he doesn’t look much like Val Kilmer, but I think he looks a whole lot better!)

Why is he so great? He’s great for me because, well, we are the same in many ways. We are both earthy people, we love to do many of the same things (except I don’t do paintball!). We talk a lot about everything. He can build anything. He’s a big burly guy who loves to read, he loves all creatures (tiny bugs fascinate him), he loves talking with old people, he cannot drive by a ‘historic’ marker without stopping, he tells me his feelings, he loves my kids. These things all make him even more wonderful!

For the last part of your question, “Now that you've been married several years, what great things have you discovered about him that you did not know when you said you'd marry him?” I’d have to say that I learned more about his vulnerabilities. I consider this a ‘great’ thing because he trusts me with his open heart. I learned he’s a fantastic cook! I also learned that he is a magnet for ‘cool people,’ his temper cools quickly, and that he has a soft spot for french vanilla bean ice cream!

Thanks for asking, Laurie!

Lawboy: If you could only give one piece of advice to your children, one thing they will carry with them forever, what would it be?

Just one thing?? Wow, this is very, very difficult. I guess the thing I would tell them would be,

“Be true to your heart/gut/instincts (whatever you want to call them) because you know yourself more intimately than anyone and ‘within you’ lies the most worthy source of intelligence, ethics and sensibility you will ever need to rely on—IF you listen to it.”

There are so many things left out of this, but I think it covers more ground than any other one thing I could say. Thanks for asking this question, lawboy.

Ingrid: I remember reading your had started your own consulting business. How is that proceeding and what were the biggest obstacles starting out?

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to address your excellent question! Yes, tomorrow (July 1) marks one year for my marketing consulting business. It's very exciting! A year ago today, my relationship with my former employer (a large law firm) ceased. I was looking for another position because I was miserable there (lawyers were fine, it was the Exec. Dir sabotaging my efforts that I was escaping) and someone in the business community leaked news of my job search--the ED let me go immediately (law firms are funny that way).

I was prepared to find another regular job right away and had some good leads and even an offer. But my incredible husband who'd watched me slave for this unappreciative firm convinced me I should "do my thing" on my own. (My former husband would have been an insurmountable obstacle, himself.) Only because of his support and urging was I able to even try it. I had doubts I'd succeed immediately (which was a requirement) and with no savings and 3 kids, it was VERY scary. My husband is a carpenter so, though he works very hard, we are by no means able to get by on one income (huge understatement). I got on the phone with friends and associates and had some small projects right away. I put a computer on my Sears charge on July 2 and hung out my shingle.

You asked about the largest obstacles. I'd say fear of not making money right away was my largest obstacle. But it also drove me. I tried a marketing technique I'd previously despised and looked down upon: cold-calling. I did some market research and created a list of my target clients (CPA firms) in my area. I started calling one at a time (starting with the letter A) and got a few appointments. One of the "A" firms turned out to be a sweet older guy who didn't hire me for money but he incorporated me for cost (saved me $1000), has since referred me two other clients and did my corp tax return for free. In exchange, I helped him create a web strategy and wrote text for his web page.

The second "A" firm hired me in right away (last July) to assess their marketing program and help them determine their strategic direction. I'm now helping them develop a paperless brochure on their Web site. That client is solely responsible for me staying in business. They paid me a retainer before I started and paid my bills as submitted weekly. I would have been resigned to finding a regular job within a week or so if they hadn't hired me. It was just enough to get me by and get me started.

Since then, one of the "B" cold calls resulted in a call-back several months later and they just hired me. Also, one of the "C" calls resulted in an engagement that has netted more than $30,000 in fees so far!

Needless to say, I no longer think cold-calling is a bad strategy if it's done well. And I still have D-Z to call in the future if I ever want/need to.

As far as other obstacles, I am nervous speaking in front of groups of strangers. I haven't overcome this yet and that's bad because in my business, I need to do this a lot. I just agreed to speak at a conference in Chicago next month and I'm slightly, er, well, terrified. (I already feel queasy). But I guess I just have to get over it and set my mind to doing a good job so I don't make a complete idiot out of myself. It doesn't help that I don't know that much about my topic, either!!

And lastly, probably my biggest obstacle is time. Since I sell "time" (i.e. my expertise) I have to respect it more. Not just making time, but being careful not to "give it away," which I seem to do all the time, and being brave enough to assign it the appropriate level of value. This is a hard task indeed. Managing time is tough, too. Working from home takes tons of discipline and social people like me get lonely and distracted sometimes. Thank goodness for KP! And thank you for asking this question.

Lana9: What do you want most for your children to accomplish in their life's and what things do you do together to make lasting memories for them, of you and your husband?

What a cool question! The objective of making lasting memories for my children is very important to me. (how did you know that!!) I’ll answer the last part first because it is easier (more tangible, anyway).

I believe that traditions are the biggest memory builders for kids. Sure, spontaneous things can be recalled, too, but we all forget so many things from our youths that it seems to me we can more strongly remember regular events or whatever and can carry them on with our kids more easily because they are habits. I like to do things that make the kids laugh. For a lot of years we lived in a home with very little laughter. My 2 youngest son’s dad is very strict and, in many ways, all business. When we split up, I was determined to make a home where laughter and fun is encouraged.

Reading—One important thing is reading to your kids. I read them The Hobbit and other books that may be over their heads in some respects, but the love it.

Meals—Another family thing we do is related to meals. My kids and I started “Friday pizza and movie night” when their dad and I divorced. This made us really look forward to Friday’s and it was a nice way to quietly wind down (for me) from a hectic week. Sometimes we’d order out or buy frozen or sometimes we’d make it from scratch (a little more interactive). After about a year and a half, we got sorta sick of pizza (at least I did ?) so we alternate a pizza Friday with a “take turns picking a restaurant” Friday. We all brainstormed what restaurants were allowed on the list (no expensive 5-stars!) and drew straws to determine the order of who picks on the alternating week. It works well and we enjoy it. Also, anytime we cook together is special. Especially holiday baking.

The Tree—Every year we go together to a tree farm and select and cut down our Christmas Tree. Since we have 2 birthdays in early December, we go right after them. It helps separate the b-day events from the Christmas holiday (yeah, tell that to my wallet...). Usually we freeze our tails off, drink hot-cocoa, ride a trailer behind a smoky tractor, and have a blast. We always take a photo of the family around the chosen tree before we cut it.

Camping—We like to go camping several times each year and we have fun exploring together. We like to go near creeks or lakes so the kids can swim.

Silliness—We make up and sing silly songs, anytime, anywhere. My husband is sort of the ring-leader for this. The kids have picked it right up. Since I cannot carry a tune in a bucket, I always get laughs. The younger boys and I play a game where we try to out-do each other with how much we love each other. One of us will start, “I love you more than....all the stars in the sky” and the other will say “I love you more than...all the grains of sand in the entire world.” My youngest, who’s 6, usually wins with “I love you more than anyone but God.” What can I say to top that?

Art—We don’t do this as often as I’d like, but we really do create memories when we do projects together. Our projects are usually to make gifts. It is typical for us to pull out glue, paper, and a bunch of other stuff to make cards for each other rather than go buy one. I like them to know that anything made personally for someone is more meaningful than something purchased. This value is easily trampled by the materialism in their dad’s family who usually impresses the kids with expensive trinkets and toys. I have to work double-time to show them it is thought and effort that count—not how much the gift costs.

This was probably a good segue for the first part of your question: What do you want most for your children to accomplish... I want them to be good, mentally healthy and happy people. If they can accomplish this as trash-truck drivers, it’s okay by me. I want them to feel life, not just pass through it. I want them to achieve a level of comfort with who they are that allows them to live without fear of failing to live up to our expectations. I want them to achieve a level of self-respect and self-trust that feeds them all the “approval” they need. Lastly, I want each of them to live up to their individual potential. I know these aren’t specific, but that is intentional—specifics are for them to decide.

Thanks for asking this challenging and fun question!

JeannieS: You have 3 boys that you obviously love with all your heart. And you have a husband that you adore. How do they all get along together? Do the boys still see their biological father or is there a lot of bitterness there? Do they resent your new husband or treat him like their father? Is it hard to manage a blended family? Also - have you ever thought of having a child with your husband? Do you think that he would treat his own child differently or more specially than your boys? THERE IS A MOUTHFUL, eh? :)

Well, life is not always “happily ever after” with us. Blending a family is very challenging. It is taking patience and understand on the part of all of us. My 15 year-old hasn’t seen his PP (paternal parent) since 1986. It is the PPs loss and as PPs own mother told me recently, “It’s probably better for [the boy] that he hasn’t been around his dad.” My son and I were on our own for about 6 years. Then I met and married the father of my other two sons. He is a good dad and was a seemingly great step-dad to my oldest. Though he was very strict and never developed the same level of intimacy with him that he had naturally with his own, I had no real concerns about it. Being the only dad he knew, my son considered him a father.

We divorced about 2-1/2 yrs ago and everything changed. During the divorce, my ex-husband dropped my then 13 year-old son like a hot-potato. My ex-husband’s family—always considered by my son to be his own family—pretty much abandoned him, too. No further birthday or holiday was acknowledged by anyone but my ex’s mother (God rest her soul). My son was devastated. A wedge was driven between him and his little brothers who continue to be quite spoiled by their father and his family. Frankly, it really sucks!

My ex & I share custody of the youngest two. One week I have them from Wed at noon – Sat at 4pm. The next week I have them from Wed at noon – Sun at 10am. It is really hard to be away from the boys this much and it tears me up. Their dad does adore them and they need him too. At least he looks after them well. It could be a lot worse. The bad part is that they don’t like having two homes. Especially my middle one. It is hardest on him. Another downside is that they aren’t close to their big brother like they used to be. One advantage, though, is that my new husband (1-1/2 years) and I have a unique opportunity to be parents of young-uns together a few days a week and an opportunity to be the more carefree parents of a teen only on the other days. It has given him a chance to be more gradually introduced to parenthood (since he has no children of his own) rather than being thrown into a situation of being a full-time parent of three!

Having a full-time teenager has given my husband his first gray hair (and several subsequent ones!). Our oldest really likes my husband. They are more like “buddies” though. Given his extensive feelings of abandonment by TWO fathers, neither my husband nor I wanted to put any pressure on our son to expect a stereotypical father-son relationship with his new step-dad. The relationship is more like a fun uncle. (To me it seems like having two teen-age sons sometimes, but that’s okay!)

The younger two definitely don’t treat my husband the way they treat their father. There is a HUGE cultural difference between their two homes. (I prefer this one!) Their dad is strict and serious and conservative. Sort of fun, but rather insincere. (No bias, here, eh?) Their dad is also totally addicted to sports--the glued to the set kind of guy. The kids get really bored. Our house is a lot more laid back: lots of joking around, a bit more cluttered, time for games with the kids, and NO baseball, basketball or football on tv! (just hockey and championship RAMS games... :) ). We have rules, too, but fun IS allowed. They aren’t as respectful (like listening the first time and stuff) to my husband as I’d like them to be. And my husband isn’t quite as patient or understanding with young children as I’d like him to be. But they all get along pretty well—they definitely love each other. It’s gotta be hard for all of them with so many changes in such a short time. I don’t think there is any resentment except for my oldest son feeling jealousy at the advantages his little brothers have and all their “extra” presents. He doesn’t seem to hold it against the boys, though. He pretty much feels angry toward their dad & his family. I honestly don’t blame him a bit. I feel the anger too.

My husband would like a child of “our” blood. I’ve considered myself so DONE for years. But when this incredible man says, “I’ve waited all my life to find the right woman to be the mother of my children, and she doesn’t want any more kids”—well, I just feel terribly selfish. I am the only one that can give him this “gift.” He really only wants one and I suppose I wouldn’t mind having a daughter, and I’d love to experience the whole baby thing with this very sensitive man—it will truly change him, I know this—but I know how much work this is and he does not. :) I do think he will be different with his own child. I don’t see how anyone couldn’t be, in all reality. I think I’d be just a little different with a step-child if I had one, but I’d do everything in my power to not let it show. I think my husband will do the same.

Thanks for asking Jeannie. This is by far my longest answer. yikes!!

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