Sunday, September 27, 2009

How do you really feel?

I don't know if I am still (yes, one month later) mentally exhausted from my month of writing or if it is all the other stuff going on, but I have really been neglecting my blog. I suppose that is okay. Maybe I need this time to regroup and think, but it is a little frustrating. Last night I had time to write and I really felt like writing, but nothing started off right. This is all I have. Maybe next month I'll get back into more regular posting. I just want my brian to cooperate.

I don't know how this happened.
Not sure how I'm staring
at this blank page and
have nothing to write.
The words and the
thoughts and the
musings all
caught up somewhere,
Damn you, Writer's Block.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fall, Fall, Go Away

Ah..... Fall. The time of year loved by so many. Sure, it is tempting to love the beautiful Fall colors and the crisp, blue sky. But, if you are a Fall allergy sufferer like I am, you dread when the wonderful heat and humidity of Summertime gives way to the full-blown mold and spore bonanza that is Fall.

I feel terrible. My brain has turned to snot and is slowly leaking down the back of my throat. That is the only explanation I can come up with for what is happening, because I have no other idea of where all this drainage could be coming from. I mean, really. What else is up there in your head other than your brain and a couple of eyeballs? I can still see my eyes where they belong so it can't be those. With a snot-brain, I obviously cannot think clearly. It takes me twice as long to answer a question or do anything that requires mental effort, because snot cannot process thought nearly as well as brain matter.

I've tried taking medication, but everything I've tried so far only partially relieves the symptoms or leaves me incapacitated. Regular sinus meds slow the leaking, but leave me with the sneezing and the itchy face and nose. The allergy meds make it impossible for me to stay awake and provide a strange, blurring, special-effect to all my movements. I'm not sure why it is okay for them to say 'non-drowsy' on the box when whatever is in there are basically NyQuil in pill form. Maybe they just meant they weren't drowsy when they manufactured the product?

In any case, I am longing for the days of summer when I could breathe and function and live un-medicated. I really hate to say it, but I am not even dreading the coming winter with the same intensity I usually do, in hopes that its arrival will be accompanied by relief. I really hate feeling as though I can't even do the things I need to do because I have no brain and my head is going to explode at any minute. I hate that I have not been able to carry on a decent conversation in at least a week and that I am now even more behind on replying to emails and keeping up with friends because of my current condition. I hate that I actually still have work to do tonight, but that I don't know if I will be able to do it because I can't focus on anything for more than 3 minutes at a time.

I suppose I should go make an attempt to finish that work. If this is my final post it is probably because the last of my brain disappeared down the back of my throat and I no longer have the capacity to write. That or I've gone in to hibernation until next Summer.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Stopped at a stop sign
with my blinker flashing left.
Left is quicker,
but Right is better.
Or there is straight.
But I always take that way.
Which way leads to disaster?
Insane how that goes
from a fleeting thought
an irrational fear
in zero-point-two seconds.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hair Color and Stuff

Today we were driving to church and Luke started saying things about each of us that match. Mommy and Luke both have blue eyes. Daddy and Mommy both have dark hair. Etc., etc... Then he said, "Me and Owen both have bright hair (By which he meant light hair. He always says 'bright' in place of 'light' when discussing color) and Mommy has dark hair. If Mommy had bright hair, she would be a boy too." Haha... I love kids' logic. So of course I reminded him that Daddy has dark hair too and he is a boy and that things like the color of your eyes or hair don't make you a boy or a girl. And we started talking about other ways we are alike and different.

Of course, I took the opportunity to talk about ways other people are like us or different from us, but how we are all people and God made everyone and loves us all the same. Some of us have light skin and some have dark. Some of us are tall and some are short. He named off some people we know who have darker skin than ours and I responded "Yep. There are lots of ways we are different, but because we are all people, we have a lot of things alike no matter how different we look. We treat everybody the same, right?" He nodded in agreement and then went on talking about something else.

But I actually teared up thinking about our exchange. Something about knowing that I needed to purpose to remind my kids of this over and over, and the thought that there are people out there who tell their kids the opposite, really bothered me. Maybe it's because we just passed the eighth anniversary of 9/11 or maybe it's just because I'm tired and allergy head which makes me more emotional, but I do worry about the world my kids are growing up in. I worry that I am trying so hard to teach them to be accepting and tolerant of differences and to be good members of society and to help others who need help, but that some of those things might get them bullied or ostracized or worse. I worry about all the people they will encounter who do not value any of those things. I hate that the time is coming when they will experience bigotry or prejudice or hate..... directed at them or not.

I guess all I can do is continue to teach them about the importance of acceptance and tolerance and helping when they can. And hope that there are enough other people out there who also value those things so they won't be alone.
One day our descendants will think it incredible
that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.
-Franklin Thomas

Saturday, September 12, 2009

thank you, e.e. cummings

it takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
-e.e. cummings

There might be some people out there who are not afraid of or intimidated by anything. Nothing from their past haunts them. Nothing from their present sends chills up their spine. They face the future with complete confidence. I am not one of those people.

Sometimes something reminds me of the me I was when growing up and I get this odd, disoriented feeling. Although I know she is still there somewhere, in many ways, I don't even recognize that nerdy girl with the super long hair and enormous glasses. The girl who had the quilt-print comforter and read 'Christian' romance books. The girl who still believed in fairy-tale love and that everything was black and white and that good people got happy endings. That girl who wanted more than anything to fit in with all the conservative families surrounding her, despite that deep down she knew she never would.

I think that being back at my old church has really shown me something. That I like the person I grew up to be. I know I am not at all perfect and I realize that I still have so much to learn about so many things. But I think that the going away and becoming the me I am today was the best thing I could have done. I used to look at other people who have the life I would have had if I'd stayed and wonder how they could truly be happy. And then I realized that they, if they happened to give me any thought at all, would probably wonder the same about me.

Becoming who you really are doesn't always mean some life-altering choice or getting away from your roots or trying to be different from your family. Sometimes it does mean one (or all) of those things, but it's the being true to yourself part that gives you the courage to either continue on a path or to choose a new one.

I think what I like about the quote is that it reminds me that even though it may have been little steps I was taking toward becoming a different person from that one in my head in the past, when I look back I can see that it did take some courage to get from there to here. With all the second-guessing and self-doubts that I sometimes let creep in, it's nice to see that I have done something just a little bit courageous.

(Sorry if this post is a little too much "yay me!" but I think I kind of needed it after the week I've had. Revisions may be forthcoming after I re-read it in a day or two.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Where Does the Time Go?

I am exhausted. I am spent. I realized today that your oldest kid starting preschool is the end of your carefree, making-plans-(mostly)-on-the-fly days. It is a transition for your family just like adding another child or one of the parents starting a new job. I thought I had till next week for this, but very last minute Luke had to be switched to a different class and had to start today. During a week when Ryan already had a lot of things planned, so even though I'm not, I kind of feel as though I'm dealing with it all on my own. I wasn't ready and now I feel all off-kilter. I really could have used those extra six days to prepare.

I'm days behind on email replies and responding to Facebook messages. I'm not even certain I remembered to pay all the bills. I just don't feel like doing anything I should be doing. I feel as though I don't have the mental space to focus on those things or, sadly, even other people. My mind is rebelling against the stress of a situation that should not stress me out at all. It's only preschool and it is only two days a week. But I just want to sit on the couch and snuggle with Luke and keep him little for a few more days.

Earlier tonight, I remembered something I wrote a long time ago. I think Luke was about two-and-a-half. Since my brain is on vacation, I'll post this for now. I absolutely cannot believe this was two years ago, because it really feels like yesterday.

"Look at all the birds, Mom!" I look up from filling the dishwasher to see that Luke has stopped riding his stick horse and is staring out the dining room window. I think of how cute his little voice is and, as is typical, when I don't respond immediately he repeats himself.

"Look at all the birds!" This time, he's pointing up out the window. I dry my hands and walk over next to him. Looking to where he is pointing, I see the birds flying overhead. "Look at all the birds, Mom. Where do you think they are going?" It's cute how he makes such an effort to express his two-year-old thoughts in complete sentences. Before I can answer, he says, "They are going to their nests." In his mind, there is nowhere else for them to go. All people and animals he sees going anywhere must be going home.

This is a seemingly endless flock of birds we are watching. He makes a few more comments about the birds, then says, "Let's count them, Mama. 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 9 - 10." He always leaves out 5-6-7-8. "Count them Mama." Of course, there are far too many and they are flying far too fast for me to count them. I get all sappy in my mushy mom brain, thinking how he is like a little bird, for now in my nest, but all too soon he will have to go out on his own. Away from me. I think of how these days of little moments like this are flying by faster than I can keep track of, just like the flock of birds. I wish I had my camcorder so I could capture this, but I know that, first of all, if I move to get it he will get distracted and just want to play with it. Second, I know that even if I did have it, there is really no way to capture exactly what is transpiring.

So I just stand there next to him while he talks about the birds and tries to count them. I glance down at him, standing by the window in his fire truck pajamas, blue eyes bright with wonder, finger pointing out the window. I want to hug him and kiss him and remind him I love him. I close my eyes and try to etch the scene onto my memory.

The flock has finally passed and he goes back to riding his horse. I stand by the window for just another second, thankful that a least for now my little bird is here with me and that I have a couple more years to get used to the idea of him flying on his own.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Since rambling about my complete distraction when it comes to my life's purpose isn't getting me anywhere, I'll change the subject. I went to a writing workshop yesterday and we wrote with music playing while looking at pictures. Here is one of the things I wrote. I was going to post a description of the photo, but I think I'll wait a few days.

I was trying to get closer
to the brightest spot.
To where everyone else
was looking.
So brilliant.
So beautiful.
Shards of light
fracturing out from
the blinding center.
No one else wants
to look away.
But my eyes are
pulled to the shadows.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Help and the Crazy Person (me)

Sometimes I have this feeling that I know what I'm doing and where I'm headed in life. That feeling is rare and never lasts long. It's as though I glimpse it and then something happens and I lose focus and I can never piece it back together. Like I wrote it down on a crumpled wad of paper and then opened the paper up, smoothed it out, and try to figure out what it said. I don't know why I feel like this. It should be simple enough. I'm a wife and a mom and a full-time employee and a friend and lots of other things. Shouldn't that be enough?

Well, it's not. It's not enough to just be those things. I want to do something else. I want to know that something I did in my life made a difference for at least a few people, as cliche' as that sounds. This is absolutely not about being famous. I have no desire to have people in my business or to be on television or in the newspaper. It's more about me and the way I feel about myself and my own life.

When I hear about someone with a need, I have an impulse to do something, anything, to help out. For example, this week I heard that the cousin of a friend of a friend was in a terrible car accident. She was badly injured and her husband was killed. Their 2-year-old son was unharmed. Because they were traveling to visit family for an extended time they had all their personal belongings with them. The car went up in flames and they lost all their clothes. I went through all my 2T and 3T clothes bins to see what I could spare for the son, and then when I didn't find a lot there (as those are the sizes Owen is wearing now so I kind of need some of them), I went out sale-and-clearance rack shopping. I'm not saying I'm a great person for doing this. I'm just using this as an example of this issue I have. I don't even know these people and there is nothing at all I can do to ease the pain of what happened. But giving some decent clothes to that little boy was some action I could take that could make the circumstance of losing all their clothes a little more manageable.

The problem is that most people have some kind of need and I certainly can't help every person. And sometimes I question the kind of help I provide, because while it is a loving or kind thing to do, it is also driven in part by impulse and in part by guilt over that person being in such a terrible circumstance while I know my circumstances are not as bad. I envy people who focus on helping the homeless or on feeding the poor or on working with at-risk youth. They have found their niche. Their purpose. They have their way of making a difference right there in front of them all the time. I wish I had that.

On a sort of side note, this compulsion is not about 'saving' anyone. I know that I cannot save people from their circumstances or their choices or their back luck. I am (unfortunately) not a billionaire philanthropist, a psychiatrist, or a magician. It really is just about helping. Doing what is within my means and resources to do. I know that sometimes the best way to help is to just let someone work something out on their own or to step back and let better qualified people assist.

That said, I still wish I had one or two areas on which to focus. Something that was clearly what I was meant to do or meant to help with. Maybe I need someone to help me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


It was completely strange to not have to stay up writing last night. I kept having this nagging feeling that I was forgetting to do something important and then I would remember that I was not forgetting to do something. That I was free from having to write. For as long as I wanted.

But yesterday morning as I was driving to work I was thinking of other things and still my mind drifted to something I should write. Not sure if it works the way I hope it does, but here it is: (This really does happen to me almost every morning, but it's not exactly what I'm talking about here.)

I turn the corner and
the sun glares
off the windshield,
I continue driving
though I cannot see the road
or the lines
or the guardrail.
I accelerate toward the
shadow of treeline.
I know it's there.
And I know I can see again
when I get there.