Thursday, September 2, 2010

Three Guys and a Girl

I remember when I was finishing college. I checked out some grad schools, thinking that maybe I would try to get a degree in something like environmental law or environmental policy. I would be that girl, living in the city, barely making rent on my tiny apartment, and working long hours to make a difference. Yeah. I could be that girl.

But there was this guy....

I know what you're thinking, but no. I actually didn't give all that up for this guy. This guy said he would move with me wherever. He likes the city. We would take on the world together.

But the more I thought about it, the less I liked that girl. What kind of life is that? Working all the time, fighting losing battles, barely making ends meet, hardly any time for friends and family. No, I couldn't be that girl.

I wanted to have more free time. To have a job I could leave at work. To be close to family and close to my roots. So that's what I did. I got a job to help pay off the student loans and settled in close to home. I think about this from time to time, trying to figure out if there are any pangs of regret. Wondering if I have any "if onlys." I don't.

Oddly, I still feel like I work all the time, fight losing battles, and have a hard time making ends meet. Because, well.... I do. I work full-time and have two kids. That's reality. There are times I wish I had a different job or that I'd done some things differently. But, live and learn, right?

Besides.... there are these guys.....

Friday, August 27, 2010

Exhale

We survived the first day of school. Pretty much nothing went right logistically, but we survived. The bus forgot to pick him up and then they passed our road on the way back and had to turn around to drop him off after I called.

However, the most important thing is that Luke loves school so far. He loves riding the bus and seems to have made some friends. He really doesn't have much to say about what goes on during class, but every once in a while he lets something slip. He really seems to adore his teacher and is more than happy to share what he's learning with his little brother. I know it's still early in the year, but consider this post a huge sigh of relief.


*Exhale*

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bittersweet

My eldest son is starting Kindergarten tomorrow. I've known since before he was born that this day was coming, and yet I still find myself horribly unprepared. I'm not concerned about how he will do in school, at least not academically. I'm scared for him as he learns to navigate the frightening social environment that is riding the bus and dealing with classmates.

I hate the thought of him sitting on the bus all alone, or worse yet, sitting with the wrong people. Some kid who might be mean to him or make fun of him for being shy and quiet or try to bully him into doing something wrong. I don't want him to feel alone or ostracised. I basically don't want him to have to deal with the hard or negative parts of growing up.

I know that is completely unrealistic. I know that we all become who we are based on learning to deal with the people around us. I know that he must learn how to interact with people to reach adulthood with the ability to cope, to rise above, to navigate friendships, and to make good choices.

But I think the real reason this bothers me is that there is something so final about the first day of Kindergarten. Yes, it's the first day of something exciting for him. Yes, I'm excited for him. I'm excited to see what he loves to learn about, to hear about the friends he makes, and to watch him grow in this whole new way. But his first day of Kindergarten is also the the last of him being home every day with us. It's the last day of me being able to call from work to check and see what he's up to. I know he will always be my son, but after tomorrow, things won't be the same. Which is good, but for me, it's very bittersweet.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Distractions

I know it has been forever since I've written. I blame my third-of-life crisis. I'm mad that I know what I want to be when I grow up, but I can't be that and instead I'm being something else. I can barely tolerate all the office politics and stupidness that consume my job right now. I was talking with my friend Irena today about how much time work sucks up out of our weeks and it was completely depressing. Despite that there were years in the past that I was working two jobs, weekends included, I don't remember feeling this way back then. She feels same way and thinks it's because we had goals then, biding our time till we graduated college, moved away, got married, or whatever was the next step then and we thought our real lives would begin soon.

Now that our real lives are here, we realize that we're kind of trapped. And that makes it almost unbearable. It's nice to have a distraction.

Tonight, my distraction came in the form of a long-time friend's wedding. She looked gorgeous and happy and I am ecstatic for her that she has found someone who treats her the way she deserves. My husband couldn't attend with me because of work, so I met up with my dear friend from forever, her husband, and a friend from back in my working-all-the-time phase. There is something so refreshing and almost soul-cleansing about spending time with people you spent so much time with in your past. People who knew you back when you were an awkward teenager and then college student, trying to figure it all out, and who still embrace you as a grown-up once you've all realized you will never have it all figured out.

I'm not really sure of what else to say about it. I love those moments when you are completely comfortable in the company of people who really know you. This night could not have happened at a better time.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Worth Waiting For

I have this poem rattling around in my head. It has a part about writing on your hand in pen to remember stuff. I hope it sounds better than that when I finally get it out of my head and in to poem form. I hope it is worth waiting for.

Speaking of worth waiting for.... I FINALLY got my tattoo finished today! I wish I could make up some new words to express how much I love it. I think my tattoo artist, Chris Carter at Fate Tattoo, is one of the most amazing artists ever. I can't believe this amazing tattoo is on MY arm!


So... I need to get back in to writing. I need.... to do a lot of things. I really hope I can find some determination and motivation. Before I completely lose my ability to write. At all.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Blank Stare

My oldest son, Luke, is not very social. He is quite witty for a four-year-old and amazingly thoughtful when he wants to be, but he just doesn't seem to feel like he should interact with most people in the general public. In a way, this is quite irritating because I don't want to be that parent with the weird kid who won't talk to people. However, I kind of admire him. There are so many people I wish I could ignore or respond to with a blank stare.

I also can't blame him for not wanting to participate in the lame-o activities at school. They had a Mother's Day Tea at his school Thursday. Of course, the teacher had prepared a little song and dance routine for the kids to do for the moms. Okay, so it was more like songs with motions accompanied by a kid's sing-a-long CD than it was singing and dancing, but you get the idea. As soon as the teachers asked the kids to come up to the front for their songs, Luke looked at me and said, "I don't want to." I encouraged him to go up, but he gave me that look and an "Uh-uh." The teachers were looking at me and I told him again that he should go up, but it was obvious that trying any more than that was going to end badly. So I just shrugged it off and let him skip it. He sat in his chair next to me and watched while his classmates performed 'Skitta-ma-rinky-dinky-dink' and 'A Bushel and a Peck' with motions that included lots of hugging themselves, throwing kisses, and bouncing with their hands on their hips.

How bad is it that I was actually proud of him for not participating? Sure, I understand that participation and collaboration are important life skills, but what is it teaching him if he is forced to do something stupid just because everyone else is doing it? There is really only one outcome I can envision from this whole attitude of kids needing to do things for amusement just because all their friends are doing it. Is that what I want to be teaching my kids? I mean, sure, if they really like singing goofy songs and want to do it, that's fine. But if they hate it, why should they have to?

Now, I'm not saying I intend to teach my kids that it is okay for them to do whatever they want, whenever they want. They need to learn manners and responsibility and how to treat people with respect. But I also want them to learn that there are things they should not do just for approval or just because other people are doing them. They need to learn to evaluate what are those things that are beneficial to their lives and what are the things that add no value. I know I'm still trying to teach myself to say 'no' to things that add no value to my life but that I feel obligated to do anyway. How much easier my life would be if I had learned that lesson starting in preschool!

Luke still gave me the big, floppy, paper hat he made for me. And the card with a picture he drew of the two of us with the dog. And the flower with a snapshot of us glued in the middle. He still served me cake and he still sat on my lap while the teacher read the sad story she chose to try to make all the moms cry. His choosing not to participate in the singing and bouncing did not ruin the Mother's Day party for me. It made me hopeful that his future will not include too much time wasted agonizing over how to say no to something in which he has no interest but that he still feels he pressured to do because all the other kids are doing it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Open Letter to All Tri-State Area Drivers

Dear Fellow Drivers -

As we are often sharing the same expressways and thoroughfares, there are a few things I would like to address. If we could come to an agreement on these infractions, I think our comings and goings would be much more pleasant. At least mine would be and that is what I'm really concerned about today.

If you are not passing any cars on the left, stop driving in the passing lane! It is called a passing lane for a reason and that reason is not so that other cars have to start passing you on the right. I do not care what great conversation you are having on your cell phone or that you are engrossed in your radio program. You are driving and you should glance in the rear view mirror every once in a while to see if there are thirty cars lined up behind you. Get the eff over and out of the way of people who have places to go.

If you need to check your make-up, take off your jacket, search for something in the back seat, text your BFF, or adjust your mirrors, the time for this is when you arrive at your destination and not when you have been stopped at a red light for five minutes already. When you are stopped first-in-line at the world's shortest turn light, you should be facing forward, hands on the wheel, eyes on said light, ready to gun it as soon as the green turn-arrow lights up. This will ensure more people than just you can make it through the intersection before the arrow light turns red.

USE YOUR TURN SIGNAL PEOPLE! This alerts the other drivers around you that you are about to do something stupid. Something stupid like turn left from the lane you're driving in rather than taking advantage of the well-marked turn lane you should be using. It also lets us know if you are about to change lanes into us without doing a shoulder check or so much as glancing in your side mirror. Car manufacturers have placed the control for the turn signal very conveniently next to where your left hand should be on the steering wheel. It is very simple to reach out with a finger or two to signal in which direction you are about to do something asinine.

Do not pull right out in front of me when I am driving along at good clip and then proceed to drive like your car is missing an accelerator. Unless you have been sitting at a stop sign for twenty minutes and the space between me and the car ahead of me is your only shot at getting out on to the main road, this is not acceptable. I will cut you some slack if I can see nothing but headlights behind me and you speed up to a suitable speed. But if you could have waited an additional two seconds and pulled out behind me, there is no excuse for slowing me down and getting on my nerves. Especially when it is completely obvious you are in no hurry to get wherever you are going.

If you do any of these stupid things and someone is tailgating you or honks at you or is yelling at from inside their car, you do not have the right to get pissed off, tailgate back, or make obscene gestures. You should take a moment to reflect on your rudeness and adjust your behavior accordingly. Take these words to heart. This really is for your own good.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Good Things Come?

I may have mentioned before that patience is not my strong suit. I was planning to have my tattoo finished today, but that didn't exactly happen. In a way I can't believe it still isn't finished after three sessions. However, my artist is AMAZING and pays such attention to detail (maybe a masters degree in painting will do that to a guy) and has put in at least ten hours on it so far. I know I am extremely biased here since this is that tattoo design I chose and it is on my arm, but can you believe how beautiful this is?

So even though I really wish it was done, I'm kinda getting the whole thing about good things coming to those who wait. Chris probably could have done this in fewer sessions, but would I really have wanted him to when it is turning out like this? And, truth be told, after five hours today I was getting tired of sitting and my arm was getting really sore. I know this will all be worth it when I see the final product. Soon....

Friday, April 30, 2010

Freefall?

This is my last night of mandatory writing for a while. If I get my tattoo finished Sunday, I plan to post about that, but there will likely be no post tomorrow. This is good, since I will be cleaning and cooking all day tomorrow and will have a house full of people tomorrow night. I am a crazy person.

I really don't know what to write about. I was thinking about a post to explore why I don't fit in at church. Then I was thinking about a post that recaps the month or one about how I am not qualified to be a mother. Or a post about how I used to be a better writer than I am now. Those things will have to wait.

I just read this article about sleep positions. Studies are so interesting to me. I almost failed statistics in college (damn you, stats and what you did to my GPA!), but I think I'm at least a little 'common sense' smart. I often question studies and why the researchers decided to conduct them the way they did. Just this week while watching an episode of 'Mythbusters' where the team was trying to determine if cursing made something less painful, I was reminded of this. They did a test where the subjects had to hold their hand and forearm in a vat of ice water until they could no longer stand the pain. The first time they said random, pre-selected, non-swear words. The second time they let loose with expletives. Of course, they were all able to withstand the freezing pain better the second time, thus supposedly proving that swearing somehow lessens pain.

However, I would argue they haven't actually proven swearing helps you deal with pain unless they had switched between swearing or not-swearing first. Sometimes, when you know the level of pain you are actually going to experience you are better able to brace for it. When I had the original tattoo on my side, I was completely unprepared for how much worse it would hurt than the one on my back. I could barely catch my breath. Yet, when I had it added to, and then later retouched, I was much better able to tolerate the pain because I knew what to expect.

So, when I read the sleep study and found that as a 'Freefall' sleeper, I should be "brash, outgoing, and are very uncomfortable with criticism," I wondered how they came to this conclusion. They have the "very uncomfortable with criticism" part correct. But... seriously? What kind of person likes criticism? The brash and outgoing part is completely not me. I am far too concerned about the consequences of my actions to be brash and far to tied to the glasses-wearing bookworm in my head to be outgoing. I wish I had more information on how they conducted this study!

I really have little else to say about this, other than I dislike being pigeonholed based on how people think I should be or act or react. I'm a person, not a study. A person who needs to be a better person and better mother and better writer, but I'm doing the best I can. Is that ever enough?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Almost There

As I was pulling in the parking lot this morning, I noticed a gaggle of geese blocking off some good spaces. It was really all I could do to keep myself from mowing them down. It would have been in self-defense. Really.

Why am I bringing this up? Oh... right. Because I'm getting ready to write another post about tattoos and I thought maybe if you wanted to read something else you could read this instead: one of my favorite posts.

Starting this past Wednesday night, I began a marathon extended weekend of craziness. Dinner with my sister's family that night, swim lessons tonight, family night at church tomorrow night, Gap Party Saturday, and........ getting my tattoo finished Sunday! I think.

I've thought I was getting this tattoo twice before. I'm trying to be optimistic that this is actually going to happen. I really, really can't wait till it's finished. You know what else I can't wait to be finished? This week. And this month. *sigh*

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Third-of-Life Crisis, Perhaps?

I'm writing this post without any regard for the few people who may end up reading it. It is likely that tomorrow morning I will wake up with and be gripped with writer's remorse. Of course, by then it will be too late. This will be out there and someone may have already read it. And judged me. Ay-yi-yi.

Today I hit a wall. I finally managed to make myself finish some things I really needed to do at work. I accomplished something and felt pretty good about it for about twenty minutes. Then as I was driving home all these things just started stacking up in my mind until they became too precarious and toppled over.

I just sat there, examining all the pieces and didn't even know what to do with them. No, my life is not in shambles. I'm just having a serious self-esteem crisis. There is absolutely no good reason for this. Maybe it is just one of those things that keeps my vanity in check. Maybe it a third-of-life crisis. I really don't know. All I know is that I just wanted to break down and cry.

In attempt to salvage what is left of my pride, I won't go into all the details. Let's just say that all the contributing factors taken individually would not have caused this episode. I usually don't care if people just stop talking to me for no reason or do things (probably completely on accident) that make it seem like they don't care at all about something that means a lot to me. Clearly though, all of these things stacking one on top of the other, put a big chink in my armor. That is unpleasant.

I'm really not sure what there is to do about any of this. I'll be fine after a while. Eventually some of these things will fade away and be replaced in my head with other things that don't make me feel like I can't make anything turn out right. I think now would be a good time for me to go to bed and dream that will happen soon.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Swimming Lessons

A lot of times I feel overwhelmed by all the stuff we have going on. That bad part is, compared to a lot of people, we don't have that much going on. Sure, we have two kids and we each have a job and various other activities throughout the weeks. But our kids don't play sports or do cub scouts or take music lessons. We haven't been having to run the kids around to lots of extra-curricular activities.

That is about to change. We signed the boys up for swimming lessons and they start this week. Way back I wrote this post that explains how I feel about swimming and these are lessons where parents have to be in the pool. So in addition to me not liking swimming, we now have a regular activity to run the boys to every week. Yay.

I think it is fitting that swimming lessons are our first foray into kid activities. I am not naive. I know this is only the tip of the iceberg. Even though we will limit the number of activities they do once they start school, it will still be non-stop running. I'm excited to see what the boys will want to do as they grow up, but I think for Ryan and I it will feel a lot like trying to keep our heads above water.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Trying

This is about the time in the trying to write every day when I get discouraged that I am trying to write so frequently and only a few people ever read what I write. Believe me, I love that several of my friends make an effort to read whatever I manage to type out, but sadly for them most of what I write about and is stuff I've already discussed with them. My posts are just crazy recaps of things I've already said out loud or hashed out over instant message.

I know there are many ways to increase blog traffic, such as participating in certain posts on certain days and linking back to the original blog. There are many other similar ways to do this, but none of them seem very "me." I've never really been much of a joiner. I really just want people to read my blog because it's witty and interesting.

I realize it would help if my blog were actually witty and interesting, but in my mind I get points for trying.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Not Sure

I'm not really sure what I was thinking saying that I would write every day. I think I've taken more "breaks" this month than anything... writing way too many single-paragraph posts because I can't come up with anything decent. Real life just gets too consuming sometimes. There is laundry to fold and dishes to wash and carpet to vacuum. There are conversations to have and friends to see and kids to raise. Oh. And my full-time job.

Many days it is really difficult for me to make myself focus enough to write down all these things I need to write about. And on the days I make myself really write, the result is often disappointing to me when I go back and re-read. I don't really know what to do about this. But at least this post is more than one paragraph.

It's Settled

About a week ago I sort of read this article about a girl who had decided to take on a different adventure every week for one year. I only sort of read it because it was a very long and not particularly interesting article. I read the first paragraph, skimmed the next few, and lost interest. Aren't you glad to be reading this? Me boring you with a blog about a boring article? Stay with me for a minute. (Or don't. I'm going to finish this post either way.)

So, back here I wrote that I was going to find something of importance to do. And all week I've been trying to think of what organization I can work with or where I can volunteer and sometimes take the boys too. Then something reminded me of that article I sorta read and I thought maybe I could do something similar, only with volunteering. And maybe do every month instead of every week since volunteering usually requires some amount of planning and I do have a full time job and two kids who are my sole responsibility on the weekends.

But once a month doesn't quite seem like enough. So I've decided that each week for at least the next six months, I am going to do something to help someone. Although I'd like for at least one of those weeks each month to be volunteering, it doesn't have to be volunteering with a group or organization. It just has to be something that helps someone else and is outside my normal realm of responsibilities. In fact, unless it is some crazy, out-of-the-ordinary circumstance, helping Ryan or either of the boys won't count.

So there it is. At least one time each week I will go out of my way to do something to help someone else. And yes, I mean more than just holding the door for someone or telling someone they have something stuck in their teeth. This has to be something I go out of my way to do. I know at first it will take some planning, but I am hoping that as my goal becomes more present in my thoughts, I will notice opportunities and be able to do fill my requirement without spending too much time on the planning part. I'd rather use the time for the executing part.

I will try to post from time to time some of the things I do. I already have in mind what I am going to do this coming week. I can't really give many details, but I know of someone who probably needs some help but who would probably never ask me. So I'm going to surprise her and help her anyway. I'm guessing that at some point this whole idea is going to be a huge challenge for me, but tonight I'm feeling really good about it. Let's try to go with the whole feeling-good-about-it thing for as long as we can, shall we? I think this may be just what I need to kick the last remnants of my Seasonal Affective Disorder/career issues and get on with my life.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Anti-Christian

There are some times that I struggle with my faith identity. Then there are other times, when I am full-on embarrassed to call myself a "Christian". There are times when I just want to make up a term for what I am because I've heard too many "Christian" stories that make me feel like I want nothing at all to do with anything that is even remotely considered "Christian." I hate to say it, but sometimes I just feel so anti-Christian.


I really, honestly do not get it. Someone told me recently that they heard someone praying for something bad to happen to someone they thought had wronged them. I've read stories about so-called "Christians" handing out tracts that state if a woman is raped it is her own fault for wearing clothes that tempted a man. I've heard personal accounts of people being treated with disdain and disrespect by people in their lives simply for not being "Christian."

Of course, I know that the danger with most organized religion is that it can attract extremists who go completely their own way and disregard the real message. We see this in many beliefs, not just Christianity. I think that most reasonable people could agree that the majority of a group should not be blamed for the extremist views or actions of a small minority who claim to be part of that group.

But I'm not really talking about extremism here. I'm talking about much more common behaviors. Recently a local mother apparently staged her own abduction, setting off panic and causing hundreds of well-meaning people to give up their own time to help find her. The police and FBI also spent time and resources trying to locate her. Turns out, she faked the whole thing to run off to Florida with her lover.

I'm guessing she probably had undiagnosed PPD or some other issue that clouded her judgement. These kinds of issues are real and serious and can cause anything from mild depressive symptoms to unexplained behavior. But upon discovery of what happened, many people were posting things on Facebook saying how great God is and what a miracle it is that she was found safe. Really?? Is it a miracle that a lady goes crazy, abandons her child, causes worry to her family and her community, all to run away? I just fail to see how that is a miracle.

I guess what I'm really wondering about is the common language and actions often associated with "Christians." This habit of saying things are miracles when, if you really examine what happened, they are more of a tragedy than anything. Or this idea of treating people differently based on their beliefs. I personally don't think we can hold other people who do not claim to be "Christian" to the same standards I think "Christians" should hold themselves. But the "Christian" way seems to be to judge people for their actions and hold it against them based on Christian beliefs, regardless of the person's own views. Then there is the matter of expecting other "Christians" to keep up a certain appearance, regardless of what they are actually experiencing in their own life. All of these things make no sense to me and seem to cause more harm than good.

Please understand that I am not trying to judge here. I know it is not my place to dictate how other people express their faith. I also know that my own thoughts and behaviors do not always live up to what I say I believe. But what I am trying to do is express something I struggle with. Something I don't understand.

I read in the Bible about the way we are supposed to treat people, but much of what I read doesn't seem to match up with "Christian" tradition. I guess for myself, I just want to make sure that the way I'm acting and the things I'm saying are not just some "Christian" response or rhetoric. I don't want to misrepresent what my faith actually stands for by using popular lingo or a learned response that has no foundation other than it's how I've seen others respond.

In the case of this "missing" mother, I do have compassion for her. I am sad that whatever was going on in her life led her to make the choices she made. I sincerely hope she gets the help that she needs. I can agree that we should still show her compassion and forgiveness, but I do not think that there is anything miraculous about what happened. And, at least for me, this was a reminder to watch the things I say and think of the impact they have on others.... "Christian" or not.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Taking a Break

I'm taking a break tonight. This week has been weird and strange and I'm going to sit here on the couch and watch a movie. I am not going to try to come up with something interesting or something witty. I'm just going to veg and relax. Tomorrow is Friday. And then time off of work. I'm really looking forward to the weekend. And I am hoping to have a few good posts too.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In Case We Needed More Proof

Just one more thing on the long list of things why I am not a normal mom. There are only a few moms who take their kids to Luke's school who make eye contact with me. There are only two or three moms who will carry on a conversation with me. I am fine with this, as I only have to go there once a week when I drop him off on the way to work on Tuesdays. I'm the mom who shows up there, all dressed for work, while most of the other moms are wearing workout clothes. I really don't care what the other mom's wear. I think people should dress appropriate to their lives and activities.

Yesterday I took the day off work to chaperon Luke's class field trip to the Children's Museum, despite that I only had one week's notice. I was looking forward to spending the time with Luke and watching him with his classmates. I was not, however, looking forward to standing by awkwardly with the other parents, especially since the two moms I have befriended were not attending.

Turns out, my reservations proved true. Okay, so I did find a few people to talk to.... the grandmother of one little girl, the au pair of another, and the dad of another. But there were several parents who I just wanted to slap. When I am not working or going out, I do not dress up. I try to dress appropriate to my life and activities. I was wearing distressed (read: ripped) jeans, a vintage-looking Green Bay Packers t-shirt, and chucks. That is appropriate clothing for attending a children's museum with 21 kids.

I'm pretty sure most of the other moms wouldn't be caught dead in what I was wearing, but who cares? Well... apparently one mom. She walked up next to me in her polo shirt, khaki pants, and loafers and gave me a once-over followed by a dirty look. Whatever. I just tried to avoid being near her the rest of the morning.

But.... Wouldn't you know that I would somehow get stuck sitting next to her at lunch! She acted like I didn't exist, even when her kid pushed all his trash over into where I was eating and then proceeded to throw his wet wipe on me after he wiped his hands and the table and the arms of the girl next to him with it. She grabbed it off my arm without apologizing or telling her kid to apologize and just told him not to throw things. What is wrong with people?


I really do not care if people like me or not. I do not consider life to be a popularity contest. I have plenty of friends so if I don't get along with you or you don't like me, it's really okay. Live and let live, right? But what I really hate is when someone purposely is rude for no good reason or acts like someone else doesn't deserve common courtesy. She was telling her kid to use manners with the girl next to him and her mom, so I know it wasn't that she didn't know about manners.

Sure, I don't really know why that lady gave me the dirty look and treated me that way. Maybe it was how I was dressed, but maybe she hates tattoos. Maybe she hates it that we both have a 4-year-old and I could pass for 20 years old. Maybe she hates the Green Bay Packers. Whatever the reason, it's sad that she is teaching her kid that it is okay to treat some people with manners while treating other people like they don't exist.

I'm glad that Luke is too young to notice that his mom is an outcast amongst moms. And I'm glad that I'm doing my best to teach him that we treat other people with respect and courtesy, regarless of how similar to or different from us they are. Even people who wear khakis and loafers. ;)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Maybe Someday I Will Write a Good Post

Today I took Luke to the Children's Museum on his class field trip. Then I went to Lowe's to but plants, came home, folded laundry, ate dinner, planted the garden, and folded more laundry. I'm so exhausted.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fake Important

Lately I have been feeling so discontent. My job is... not important in the grand scheme of things. Sure, it is important for me to do well at my job, but it is not an important job. I sit at a desk all day trying to resolve problems that are just the tip of the iceberg of the issues that need to be addressed. Everyone acts as though what I do is the most urgent thing ever, but once my reports are produced, the urgency fades and people move on to other things. It's all fake important.

I have got to find something of actual importance to do. I'm not sure what and I'm not sure how, but I just feel like I need to do something that is not my job that is important. Sure, I know that taking care of my kids is important, but I mean something outside my family. Something that shifts my focus. I really meant what I said about living creatively. But time is passing and I'm still treading water.

This weekend I am going to find something to do. I'm going to figure out something that I can to so I'm not just thinking about how I spend much of my time doing something that is fake important.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ew

In case I haven't mentioned it enough times, I'll say it again. I love summertime. And I love summertime weather no matter what the season. What I don't like are bugs. I'm not one of those girls who screams and gets on a chair if I see an ant, but I prefer for bugs to stay outside. One of the bad things about summer is that you are outside more frequently and the doors are opened a lot more frequently and bugs just tend to get inside a lot more.

The worst of the bugs that get inside are ticks. Unlike other bugs that wait outside on the porch and fly in when the door opens a crack, tick come in on your skin. Ticks are also dangerous and can give you a serious illness. And they are so tiny and can crawl on you without you feeling it. Tonight the boys and I went for a walk. Just a walk up the road, not out in the woods. At the time I'm writing this I have now found four ticks. I found one on each of the boys and one on myself before their bedtime. About ten minutes ago, I found another one crawling on my neck.

My skin is crawling. I hate that feeling. It's like when you hear people talk about head lice and your head starts itching. Only this is worse, because I did actually find two of the things crawling on my skin! I guess it's time to go out and stock up on some serious DEET-filled, deep-woods OFF! and spray us all down with it whenever we go outside. And we might all have to shave our heads, just to be on the safe side.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

World's Weirdest Mom

I've decided I must be some freak of nature. I really seriously LOVE my kids, but I have no idea how I've made it through the first years of their lives. I know this means nothing coming from me, but my kids are smart. And they are funny. My kids say things like, "Look on the news, Mom. Everything is damaged" and "Look, Owen. This is the part where he finds himself in Paris." They are three and almost five. I think they are amazing people. However, they still drive me completely insane. Some days bedtime really cannot come soon enough.

Most of the moms I know love babies. Love them. Babies are like crack to them and they either want to have more of their own or they want to be around them all the time. I've had two babies. I managed to survive the sleepless nights, the times when they would scream for what seemed like hours for no determinable reason, and the never knowing what the freak they needed but trying to pretend like I did. I do not love babies. I loved my babies and I love my new nephew. That is pretty much the extent of my affection for babies.

Now that my kids are older, I still have no idea what to do with them. Oh, I've read the books and I get the magazines. I seriously doubt the authors of said books or contributors to said magazines have ever actually met a child. Distract a kid from a tantrum? Are you serious? Sure, maybe one time out of ten the freak-out is not so serious and you just happen to have some super-cool distraction and you can avoid a full-blown scene. That means that the nine other times, no matter what you try, your kid is going to have a melt down. And you will too. On the inside, at least.

I've also tried talking to other parents and asking for strategies. And you know what I've found? Most other parents are also in trial and error mode, just like me. More error, really, but hey... we're all trying. The ones who really seem to have it all figured out probably have so many children that they run their household more like a military boarding school than a family. Whatever works, right?

I really don't have a point here. Just venting over the frustration that I have these two little people in my life, for whom I am mostly responsible, and I have no idea what to do with them. Other than love them and pray they turn out okay.

And pray that those two things end up being enough.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Come on Eileen

It's so funny how songs you don't even like can just stick with you and bring up memories at the oddest times. Tonight I was at happy hour with some friends. The place was really loud so I couldn't hear the music.... until I walked into the ladies room. The speakers in the ladies room were screaming the song "Come on Eileen."

"Come on Eileen, well I swear (what he means) At this moment you mean EV-ER-Y-THING!!....."

Ah, memories. Every single time I hear that song, I'm nineteen again and it's 12 AM and I'm closing at work and trying to finish my tasks while that song is blaring out of the dish washing area. Blaring over and over and over again because whoever is washing dishes gets to choose the music and my friend and co-worker who I closed with a lot at that time always chose that song. I can still see her, soap suds clinging to her forearms, carrying the heavy chili crocks out to put them away while singing under her breath.

The place I worked starting my senior year of high school and on breaks all the way through college was the same place most of my friends worked. Some of my favorite memories from those days were from work. It adds another layer to your friendship to work late, side-by-side, commiserating about lousy tips and annoying customers while mopping and scrubbing crocks. And my friends all having a certain song or band or radio station they always liked to listen to just added another layer to the memories. Whether it was Barenaked Ladies, Aerosmith, "Mickey," or 103.9 The Edge (before Pizza Hut sued them and they became "The X"), I will always associate that music with those friends and that job and those times. And that is not a bad thing, even if I can't stand "Come on Eileen."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Please Don't Leave

Today was my perfect day weather-wise. Eighty-three degrees, sunny, slight breeze, not too humid. Even though it was a work day, I got to stay at home thanks to this nasty cough. I sat outside on the back porch all day. *huge sigh of contentment* If only we could have these days on the weekend. That would be perfect. Of course, by the weekend the highs will only be in the mid-fifties. If only wishing for this perfect weather to stay could make it so.

Perfect, summery weather..... please don't leave!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Help

In case I haven't mentioned it, I'm sick. And miserable. When you feel awful and you can't sleep, it is really difficult to be cheerful. Or happy. But tonight, I was able to spend some time helping my sister and her husband with a little bit of work. They are in the process of a full kitchen remodel. Of course, for most of it, Ryan, the boys and I have been sick and no help to them whatsoever. It was so nice to finally get over there and lend a hand, even if it was only for a little while. I certainly wish we could have done more and I hope there are some more things we can help them with before they are done.

Just to rewind a bit, Ryan and I owe my sister and her husband about a hundred-million hours of help. They were still dating when we were building our house and they were over here almost every single day helping with whatever we were working on. They tiled floors. They painted walls. They painted trim. They tiled our entire shower. When they weren't helping with the actual building process, Tiffiny (or both of them) were watched Luke for us. Did I mention I was pregnant with Owen at the time? They also made sure I didn't over-do it by making sure I rested and didn't try to do stuff pregnant people shouldn't be doing. See what I mean?

Of course, both of them just act like it was something they did and no big deal at all, even though we might still be trying to build this house if not for their help. Whenever I mention something about us 'owing' them, they just brush it off like they didn't give up a couple months of all their free time to help us however they could. That is just how they are.

We have them over for dinner once a week (when we aren't sick) and they've sometimes said things like we are even because we feed them. But we don't have them over for dinner to try to pay them back. We have them over for dinner to spend time with them. We still owe them.

So, even though I still don't feel good from this stupid bronchitis and this nasty cough, I have to say that it made me happy to spend some time this evening sanding some cabinets and making a tiny dent in the amount of help we owe Tiff and Scott. Getting help is wonderful. Being able to help back... makes you feel good. Even if you still have a cough.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Heart Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations

I've really got nothin'. I am now on prescription cough meds that do not seem to be working. But, I did get to watch my very favorite show tonight. Well, at least it is my very favorite show when I watch it. Anthony Bourdain is so funny and sarcastic and he says whatever he is thinking without caring how wrong it sounds. And there is food. Food that looks really good (mostly). And there are lots of really cool places that I want to visit.

You should totally watch his show.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sick of Sickness

I don't think I can do any more of these write every day months. Every time I do, I get sick. And when I am sick, I have no inspiration for writing. I have some topics I would like to write about, but I can't develop them into a good post because that would require me to be able to focus.

All week last week I was home sick with a cold. It began on Easter Sunday. I had the sore throat and the sneezing and the sinus stuff and a little bit of a cough, but not this kind of cough. I started feeling better on Thursday. By Saturday night I started having coughing fits.

Right now, my abs and my sides are hurt so bad from coughing all the time that I just want to cry. My throat is raw. I mean, seriously? I just want to stay in bed all day. Only that will do me no good. All I will do is cough and cough and cough and not be able to sleep.

I would really like to sleep.

No Motivation Today

I know I should have written a post for today after I put the boys to bed. Instead, I folded a mountain of laundry, cleaned the disaster that was my kitchen and living room, and fell asleep on the couch watching Food Network. Sunday night. Monday eve. Bleh. I really need a time machine so I can skip back (or ahead) to Friday night.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Un-Me

Today I did something completely un-'me'. I took an entire day for something I wanted to do.... all by myself. I have this thing where I am always thinking about other people. Believe me, I do not mean that in an I'm-completely-selfless-and-a-great-person kind of way. I screw up all the time. I let people down. Far too often, I fail to follow-up or follow-thru. What I mean by always thinking about other people is that there are few things I do, with the exception of the typical everyday minutiae, that do not involve giving consideration to at least one other person. This is certainly not a bad thing. Such is life when you are a wife/mother/daughter/sister/friend/employee.

What I did today was foreign to me that I actually had to make myself stick to it. I went to get my tattoo worked on without anyone else accompanying me. Every other time I've been tattooed, I've had at least one friend with me. It is so fun to make a whole day of it with a friend or some friends, to share that time and that experience, and to all come away with your own piece of permanent art. So being alone was a little weird at first, but I'm so glad I did it. I had almost three hours of time to just drive, listen to music, think, pray, and observe all the crazy drivers. I am friends with my tattoo artist, but he gets easily absorbed in his work so even my time at the shop left me with a lot of time inside my own head.

My tattoo isn't finished yet and my arm is throbbing, but I feel strangely relaxed. I know this will not be a frequent occurrence in the future, but I need to try to make time to do something like this once or twice a year. To do something all alone, away from my house, to take some time to regroup. I love the times I get to spend going on a date with my husband sans kids and (most of) the times I spend with just my kids and the times I spend with friends. Yet I realized that somehow in all that planning of special times with other people, I was counting those times as my "me" time. Today I remembered that it is okay to take some "me" time for only me.



Friday, April 9, 2010

Too Excited To Blog

Tomorrow is the day! I'm FINALLY getting my tattoo finished! I've been walking around for a month, with just an outline, looking like someone took an ink pen to my arm. After tomorrow (fingers crossed) I will have a beautiful magnolia on my arm and all will be right in the world. Okay, so perhaps that is overstating it a tiny bit, but I will feel like my arm looks the way it should.

And that will be amazing. I hope.

If I can just get rid of this pesky cough...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Few Things I've Learned

I know I sound like a broken record. I know my blog is terrible right now. But I am sick and all hopped up on all these meds so it really is all I can do to stay awake and type for a little while. I am going to type a few things I've learned over the past few days and then I am going to end this post and hope for some better material tomorrow.

1. Working from home when you are sick is way better than going to the office. You still have to do your job and you still have to deal with most of the same issues, but you don't have to get up as early and you can wear jeans instead of dress pants. Bonus, you don't completely irritate your co-workers by coughing and sneezing all over the place and possibly infecting them.

2. The bonus they give you for being a manager is probably not worth it. Sure, if you don't mind having to work a minimum of twelve hours per day and being available to anyone 24/7.... then maybe it is. But I want my time to be my time. If it is not Monday thru Friday, 8AM to 5PM and I have not agreed to assist in some urgent effort, please leave me the heck alone. I'm busy with my life.

3. My husband is a better mother than me. I have always known this at some level, but this week of working at home and working extra while he took care of the kids and the house and made delicious dinners just confirmed it.

4. Do not attempt yoga while you can only breathe through your mouth. It is unpleasant at best. Trying to do yoga while breathing thru your mouth and swallowing sinus drainage will make you feel ill and off-balance. Trust me on this one and don't try it.

5. The more you are looking forward to something, the longer it takes to get here. Yes, that is just a rephrasing of the old 'A watched pot never boils' but it is true. I want my tattoo finished so bad I can taste it. But it seems like Saturday will never get here. *sigh*

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Oh My

I'm filling in for my boss at work this week. This was not exactly voluntary, although I will keep any additional comments about it to myself since this is not an anonymous blog. I will, however, say that I am out. I'm spent. For whatever reason, nothing urgent seems to be needed prior to 4PM. I went the entire day today without a one-off request, and then just before 4PM..... BAM! Here ya go: a 645-line spreadsheet shows up in my inbox, accompanied by a phone call telling me how urgent it is that I update 2 to 4 fields on each line showing something for my department. Yeah, it's already past due. And needed today.

Seriously?

So, even though I was going to try to avoid whiny, complaining blog posts about my life.... I just finished two hours of working on that spreadsheet and have no idea if it is accurate. And it is after 10PM here. And I'm still sick. This is all I have left. Go me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Medicine Cocktails

Every time I get sick, I try to put off taking medicine for as long as possible. I will take aspirin to help me get through the days, but I try to keep it limited to that. I read somewhere that taking all that cough and cold medicine can actually extend the time you experience symptoms as opposed to taking nothing or just regular aspirin. The explanation for this was possibly that your body doesn't fight off the symptoms because you have the medicine suppressing them. That, or it was the companies producing the meds can somehow keep you sick longer so you need to buy and use more of their products. I don't remember. It's really not important. I read that years ago and have since believed it to be true.

For the first few days of a cold or flu, when it's not so unbearable, I take my aspirin and manage. Inevitably, I become so miserable that I raid the medicine cabinet. And, no matter how many boxes and bottles I stocked up on the last time I was sick, I never have anything that says it will treat all the symptoms I have and nothing more. I either have to take something that is intended to treat every symptom a person could possibly have when sick, including bloodshot eyes and recurring hiccups... or I have to cobble together some sort of strange cocktail of several, single-symptom syrups and pills.

I realize this is probably not advisable, but what is a girl supposed to do? I can't breathe through my nose, my eyes are burning, I have that terrible cough where my breath catches in my throat almost every time I exhale and sparks a coughing fit, and my throat hurts so badly that I want to rip it out of my neck (because, you know, that would hurt less). I cannot possibly be the only person who has had a cold or flu with these symptoms, but you wouldn't know that by examining the medicine aisle. All I want is a decongestant with a cough suppressant and pain killer. I do not need an antihistamine. I do not need something for chest congestion.

I am not a pharmacist. I do not know what the long-term effects could be from me mixing cough syrup with aspirin and sudafed. Maybe I shouldn't be doing that. Maybe I shouldn't be taking meds at all, as it will just make me sick longer. Maybe I should take the week off work and stay in bed, but that really is not an option for me. All I can do is hope this feeling like my head is filled with helium goes away when I finally get better and stop downing medicine cocktails.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sea Foam Green Couch

There are some things I remember from growing up almost as though I watched them happen and took pictures in my head. I remember them in a series of snapshots that I can flip through and linger over. Sure, some of these snapshots are not ones I want to review too often, but thankfully most of them are good.

My dad worked a lot when I was growing up. Most nights he would come home late, well after my mom, sisters, and I had eaten dinner. He would sit in a dining room chair, and unlace his Red Wing steel-toe work boots. My sisters and I would clamor to talk to him, to stand in his boots, to tell him what happened during the day. My mom would heat up his dinner and he would eat while we climbed on and around him. I'm sure he would have liked nothing more than to just take a shower and go to bed, but he listened and talked to us and then tucked us in for the night.

Except on nights when there were thunderstorms. My dad loves thunderstorms. On nights when there were thunderstorms, we would all pile on the ancient, boxy, sea foam green couch my parents inherited from somewhere and watch the storm. Our house was tiny, but had the perfect setup for storm watching. One of the rooms was a long, narrow, breezeway/enclosed porch-type room with floor-to-ceiling Jalousie windows all along one wall. The green couch faced the windows, as that was the only way the couch would fit in the narrow room and still allow for foot traffic.

We would crank all the windows open far enough that we could experience the sounds of the storm, yet not so far that rain would blow in. All the lights would be turned off, then we'd jump on the couch and wait. There was some wiggling, squirming, jockeying for seats, but once we all caught a glimpse of the backyard illuminated by the lightning, we'd forget whose leg was touching her foot and just watch. I really don't remember what else was said, but I do remember vividly what everything out those windows looked like in the electric-blue-white flashes of light on those nights. And I remember how it felt to be kind of afraid of the storm, but also so incredibly comforted by the nearness of my family. I have a special file in my head for the snapshots of those nights.

Luke has been talking for days about how my family used to watch storms when I was little. I'm pretty sure I didn't tell him, so I guess my mom or dad has some snapshots of those nights too. Tonight we finally had a big thunderstorm and he went around turning off all the lights and asked if we could sit on the couch together and watch. Let's just say I added some new snapshots to my collection. Luke and Owen all snuggled up next to us, their profiles illuminated in the flashes, making some new storm watching memories. Minus the sea foam green couch.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Floundering

floun·der [ flówndər ] (past and past participle floun·dered, present participle floun·der·ing, 3rd person present singular floun·ders)

intransitive verb

Definition:
1. make uncontrolled movements: to make clumsy uncontrolled movements while trying to regain balance or move forwards

2. hesitate in confusion: to act in a way that shows confusion or a lack of purpose

3. be in serious difficulty: to have serious problems and be close to failing


I've been thinking a lot about my issues. The ones I've posted and the ones I haven't. This morning as I was rolling all this around in my skull, all I could think is "Why are you floundering like this?" I mean, seriously. I have a lot of excuses, but no good ones. I've got to pull it together.

Only I can't. This is what happens when I try to figure everything out on my own. When I try to do things my way. When I try to make things work the way I want them to. When I try to make people respond the way I want. When I want what I want and I want, want, want.

Then I get distracted and I think it's all about me. Only it isn't. There are so many other things I should be doing. There are so many other things that should have my focus. I'm not sure how to get from here to there. There where I am focusing on the right things. There where I'm not floundering. But I think I'm starting to see to where I should refocus.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
-Psalm 18:16

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ambiguity

Dominoes falling.
Heard, yet unseen.
Sunlight concealed
by invisible clouds.
Ambiguity
without cause.

Friday, April 2, 2010

How can I reclaim it?

Foolish, how was I so careless
Pawning off my treasure, the envy of an heiress
Now my dollars are crumbled in my pocket
How can I reclaim it?
What if someone's got it?
- A Fine Frenzy

I'm pretty sure I have forgotten how to write. Lost my ability, pawned it off, had it stolen.... something. I've lost count of the number of time in the past month I sat down in front of a Blogger post box or with a pen in my head, wanting to write, and.... nothing.

I have lots of excuses. Winter. Coldness. Illness. Work. Stress. Only I've gone through more difficult times and haven't experienced writer's block at this level. No idea.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Love/Hate

I was hoping for some surge of inspiration to suddenly hit me today since it is the first day of April and I am supposed to have something to write for every day this month. Well... that didn't happen. So now I'm going to post this cheat post of things I love and things I hate and maybe tomorrow I will have something more worth reading.

I love when I wake up thinking I overslept only to realize it's the weekend and I don't have to get out of bed till the boys wake up.
I hate when the boys wake up super-early on the weekend when I could have slept in.

I love getting all warm and cozy under a blanket on the couch and watching a movie.
I hate when the movie is over and I have to get up and I'm even more cold than I was before.

I love when a public restroom has seat covers so I don't have to 'hover.'
I hate when those stupid self-flush toilets flush down the cover as soon as I put it on because the sensor is set wrong.

I love, love, love when we have the first Summertime day of the year and it is warm enough to open the windows and walk around barefoot at home without being even a little bit cold.
I hate when those days are just teasers and give way to cold, rainy springtime weather.

I love when I have something fascinating to write about and I sit down to write it and it all comes together.
I hate when something like this post is all I can come up with.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Half Tattoo is Better Than Nothing

I realized something about myself this morning. When something is really bothering me, I tend to shy away from some of the things that might help me the most. Even though I know I shouldn't be that way, I guess I just feel that I don't have what it takes to force myself to expend the additional mental and emotional energy needed to do what I should. One of the things that helps me is my writing, but I just haven't been making myself do it. I have more thoughts on this, but I'm not ready to write them out quite yet. I will though. And I'm going to do another write-everyday-month next month. I need to get myself back on track.

Until then, here is a pic of my new tattoo! Kind of! The artist scheduled two of my friends and me for appointments that day, but then he got a pseudo-girlfriend and made plans with her for Saturday night and didn't have time to finish my tattoo. Now I have to drive all the way back up there next month to get the rest of my tattoo. I am completely annoyed by this, but good things come to those who wait, right? RIGHT??

Just imagine it looks like the picture of the flower from my previous post.

That's what I'm doing.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sunshine, Yoga, and Another Tattoo

Wednesday was the first day in months I actually let myself think Spring might not be dead after all. The sun was shining and I got to leave the office for lunch and go on a drive and listen to the live Jack Johnson CD with the sunroof open. I found a dress for my friend's wedding. Even though work is still totally terrible and depressing, I had a few really good moments. That was nice.

Today it is rainy/cloudy and we are expecting rain off and on for the next week. It is also only going to be in the 50s, so I'm not really excited about that. However, I will take 50s and raining over 20s and snowing any day (you know, if 80's and sunny aren't an option).

I still feel all weird and not myself, but I'm taking some steps to try to get myself out of this funk. The first thing I did was to take up yoga. I ordered a Barbara Benaugh DVD and a pretty green mat from Amazon, in search of some serious zen. I figure I must do something to help me stop feeling so frustrated with the weather and the way things are going at work. I'm about a week and a half into my yoga experiment, so I'm trying to tell myself this could just be a yoga crush. But I must say that I'm loving it. I love that when I feel myself getting stressed at work, I think to myself "Make your out-breath deeper. Lower your shoulders." and then I do that and it actually helps.

AND..... tomorrow is tattoo day! I'm finally getting my next tattoo and it's gonna be beautiful! (I hope. That's the plan anyway.) This week has been weird and sad and stressful, but tattoo day is finally almost here and I am finally getting SO EXCITED! I have wanted something on my arm for a long time and I can't wait to see how it turns out! I'm getting really tired of not having something to fill this huge blank spot on my arm.



So... that is my update. Sunshine+yoga+tattoo = chipping away at a serious funk. Now, if I can just make it to summertime...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Derailed

derail (v)
de•rail [ dee ráyl ] (past and past participle de•railed, present participle de•rail•ing, 3rd person present singular de•rails)
transitive and intransitive verb

Definition:
1. come off rails: to make a train or tram come off the rails, or come off the rails
2. send or go off course: to send something off course, or go off course
Synonyms: disrupt, upset, wreck, ruin, spoil, overturn, unsettle, disorganize, interfere, dislocate, disturb, derange, disorder


I can’t believe so much time has passed since I last blogged. This is just insanity. Nothing excessively terrible has happened, but I feel completely derailed by this winter. I had all these things I was working on. All this areas of my life needing improvement and I was going to tackle them. Now I have no motivation at all. I keep joking around that I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. The bad thing is…. I’m not exactly joking. I looked it up, and it pretty much describes how I feel:

"Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression or winter blues, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter….
Symptoms of SAD may consist of: difficulty waking up in the morning, tendency to oversleep as well as to overeat, and especially a craving for carbohydrates, which leads to weight gain. Other symptoms include a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating on completing tasks, and withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities. All of this leads to the depression, pessimism, and lack of pleasure which characterize a person suffering from this disorder."
I really want to write. I just feel like I can’t make myself do anything other than what is absolutely necessary to make it through each day. I get up in the morning after hitting my snooze button way too many times. I try to work out, but I usually can’t get out of bed early enough. I get ready. I got to work. I spend the day trying to focus and get enough done that I’m not too far behind. I drive home. I eat dinner. I try to muster the energy to play with the boys for a little while. I fall asleep on the couch after the boys are tucked in. Ryan wakes me up and makes me go to bed. I'm such an inspiring person!

And I really do blame all of this on winter. I know people have all those annoying clichés about attitude and positive thinking, but none of them help me. And don’t even get me started on being glad that I’m not as bad off as some other people. In my opinion, focusing on the misfortune of other human beings is a terrible and stupid way to try to feel better. Just thinking about someone suggesting that pisses me off.

I really don’t know what to do. I am so freakin sick of looking out the window and seeing gray skies and patches of snow partially melted into the mud from the one day recently it actually got above freezing. I’m sick of going in to the office day-after-day and sitting there with all the other depressed and grumpy people who are also sick of cold and gray and snow and stupid winter. I’m sick of feeling like everything is imploding there and no amount of effort or hard work from me can do anything to stop it. I’m sick of feeling like my life has been derailed by the most horrible of all seasons.

I think I’m just sick.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Just Give Me the Meds

I hate going to the doctor. Not that many people really enjoy it, but I really try to avoid ever going to the doctor (aside from my yearly appointment where I get the prescription that keeps me from having to go through another 40 weeks of torture commonly known as pregnancy).

Sadly, the result of my recent three-week cold was an extremely painful acute sinus infection. I can wait out a cold with the help of some aspirin and decongestant. I cannot wait out an infection that feels like someone pummeled me in the face. Ow. When this lovely sinus infection paid me a visit, I had to break down and go to the doctor.

The first doctor I had growing up was an enormous old German guy who had an office in a converted 1950s house. The waiting room had Formica everything and smelled like pills and rubbing alcohol. The long hallway back to the exam rooms were lined with shelves filled with glass jars of all sorts of pills, salves, tongue depressors, and cotton balls. Now that I think of it I have no idea if it is legal for a doctor to dispense meds directly from his office, but that was possibly before any laws regulating such things.

The two exam rooms were separated by a double doorway that had a curtain instead of doors. You had to walk through the first one to get to the other one. The first room had a large panoramic photograph on the wall of the doctor in younger days, standing with his five sons on the rim of the Grand Canyon. They were all wearing bell-bottom pants and had Dukes of Hazzard hair. I always wondered how the doctor evolved from the man in that picture into the large, frightening, million-year-old bald man in the doctor's coat who gave me shots. He barked rather than talked and I couldn't understand anything he said because his German accent was so thick. I distinctly remember many times sitting on that cold exam table, starting at that photo, and waiting for shots.

The only time I remember being in the other exam room was when I cut my forehead open running through the house and falling against a table leg. Blood was everywhere and my mom took me to the doctor to get butterfly stitches. It must have cost a lot to get them, because the other two times I busted my head open, my mom and my aunt did the butterfly stitches themselves. Yes, I still have scars.

The doctor I went to for my sinus infection is nothing like that doctor. He is young, probably only 8 or 10 years older than I am. He carries a laptop with him everywhere and types into it as you talk to him. Maybe he is typing what you tell him or maybe he is chatting on Facebook. I have no idea. Either way, his office seems very technologically advanced and he is not scary. I still hate going there. Something about putting my well-being at the mercy of another person who sees hundreds of people a week and often, if not directly inflicting pain on someone has to tell people to just deal with pain, gets to me. Being dependent on him to provide treatment that will actually help, makes me feel like a little girl sitting on an exam table in a converted house waiting for something I'm dreading.

Like I said, I still have scars.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Maybe We Can Make Up

I still feel barely human from the illness/sleeplessness, but I thought I'd give a quick technology update. I know I was pretty bitter about the new phone and the new satellite. To anyone who thought I shouldn't complain about such things and should just be glad I have a phone and a television, you're right. But I don't care. Things are the way they are and as my friend Irena pointed out to me, blogs are for complaining.

I am finally starting to adjust to the new satellite provider. There are still things about the options and the menus that seem completely ridiculous, but I'm learning some work-arounds and can at least figure out how to play Dinosaur Train or Team Umi Zoomi for the boys to watch from the DVR. I'm adjusting. Maybe I'm not as bad of a fuddy-duddy as I thought.

As for the phone, I couldn't deal with it. I took it back to the guy at work who handles the mobile contracts and sweet talked him into giving me a different phone. Now I have a totally cool Sony slider phone that makes sense and doesn't seem like it could fall apart at any second. Of course, it has a million-zillion features that I have no idea how to use, but I like it. Oh. Wait. I guess I still am a fuddy-duddy.

At least I'm a fuddy-duddy who can work her TV and has a cool phone.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I Did It!

It feels really weird to not have to post today. This isn't really a real post. More of a I-can't-believe-I-actually-did-it thing I'm posting on my blog. I've tried several times before and January 2010 was the first time I really finished a write-every-day month with a post for each day. And despite how much I hated January and hate winter in general, I just realized tonight that I'm pretty darn proud of myself for actually reaching my goal. Oh, and I can complain about winter again now since it's a different month.

So, next time I do it (a long, long time from now), I will go for quality as well as quantity. It would be nice if I could be proud of every post. But for now, I'm going to try to just be happy that I managed to write a little something each day, for 31 days in a row

So Long, January

One would think I'd have something good to write about for my final January post, but that is not the case. I am ready for a new month to start. I know there have been worse months and I know many people have it far worse, but I am not fond of January 2010. There were some high points, but for most of it I was sick and the boys were sick and we are still not feeling great. Not a great way to spend a month.

And now I'm trying to write a final January post when I've taken sinus headache medicine that makes me want to just pass out. I can barely form a cohesive thought. Or coherent thought. I think it's coherent, but I'm not sure. I'll figure it out when I re-read this tomorrow and be embarrassed. Awesome.

I know I write a lot about love, but it is something I think about a lot. I was reading a book this past week and in it one of the characters mentioned the old "You can't choose who you love" thing in reference to clearly one-sided relationship. I've always hated that line. Of course you can choose who you love. Maybe you can't choose who you are attracted, like a certain 'type' of person always catches your interest. Maybe you can't choose who you are supposed to love, like your family. But you can choose with whom you let yourself fall in love.

I read this in Ephesians a few weeks ago and I've gone back and read it numerous times since:
"Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. " (Ephesians 5:2, The Message)
I know I was raised on Bible stories and religious concepts, but I think this is so difficult for me to grasp. So often this concept is lost somewhere in between all the lists of things a person must do to "be a good Christian." It is so easy to forget that we are loved so deeply by someone who is so amazing that we could never hope to be able to do anything for him or give anything to him that even comes close to reciprocating.

The closest my mind can even come to understanding this is when I think about how I love my kids. They can be SO frustrating and terrible and aggravating and whiny, and yet, I would never push them away or deny them affection or love because of it. They are still my kids and I still love them so much no matter what their behavior. But still....

Okay. My mind is going to sleep so I need to stop typing. I'll have to pick this up later. So long, January. Good riddance.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lines

I took a much needed break from the boys tonight and spent the evening with my very dear friend Denna. It was exactly what I needed, despite that it is absurdly late and I should now be asleep. This is all I have for my next-to-last January post.

Standing.
Staring at the lines.
All the lines I see there
contrasting each other
and yet blurring slightly.
I want to reach out and smear them around
and feel the mixture
on my fingers.
New patterns from all those old lines
could be beautiful.
Or possibly
spin me out of control.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hands

I had this whole idea for writing about hands, but it's not really coming together. I guess I'll just ramble a while since I really have to post SOMETHING in order to put me one post closer to fulfilling my goal. This whole topic came to mind when I was driving home from work yesterday and thinking of driving and noticing my hands on the steering wheel. Then I was thinking about all the things written or said about hands. Then I was thinking about my hands.

I am completely brutal to my hands. They are tiny and useful so one would think that I would try to take care of them, but it seems impossible. I have slammed them in car doors, cut them on packaging, shut them in the door of the dryer, burned them on molten glass, and just tonight I smashed my knuckles into the bed frame looking for something Owen lost in the guest room. I'm surprised my hands even function at all.

Despite how unkind I am to my hands, I really like them. I'm glad for all the things I am able to do throughout the day because of my hands. Let me just say right now that I'm sorry for all the terrible things I've done to them over the years. Oh, and I'm also sorry for how weird and crazy this post is, but I've obviously gone completely insane and now I'm just using my hands to type my craziness out onto the interwebs.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My To-Do List

I have a lot on my mind. Yes, I know everyone does, but I think all the stress at work and the being sick and the having sick kids has overwhelmed my brain. I'm having trouble keeping track of all the stuff I should be doing or even want to do. What better time for a to-do list post? Here are some things on my to-do list, in absolutely no particular order:

1. Have a good weekend. Last week, last weekend, and this week were terrible. This weekend MUST be a good one.

2. Find the motivation to finish that one thing at work I've been putting off because no one cares that it isn't finished.

3. Get another tattoo. I'm surprised that didn't make the #1 spot since I've been obsessing about it so much. But I did say no particular order.

4. Fold the laundry. Almost all of our clothes are clean, but they are piled in the laundry room in baskets. Somehow I have managed to find the time to continue washing and drying the laundry, but not the motivation to fold it.

5. Catch up on the boys photo albums. I don't do scrapbooking. I have neither the time, nor the creativity, to scrapbook. However, I have determined that I will put their photos chronologically in albums instead of stashing them in boxes like my mom did with photos of my sisters and me.

6. Finish reading those three books I've started. Yeah... I suck.

7. Figure out how to transfer my BC prescription from our old insurance prescription service to the new one.

8. Volunteer again at the Freestore Foodbank. Great organization and I think I should support them with my time and not just my money.

9. Get a pet otter. They are so cute! (Okay, so Ryan already told me I can't have one and I know this is completely unrealistic, but I still want one.)

10. Learn to speak Spanish. What list would be complete without learning a second language? Plus, I need to understand the locals a little when we go to Spain to visit my friend Maria.

11. Learn to play golf. My husband and my son are already into it and my youngest is interested. I own clubs. I need to learn to play so it can be a family activity.

12. Get the blue marker stain off the carpet in the living room. Ryan made an attempt at it today, but now it's just a big, blue smudge. I need to take care of it before we can have company again.

Okay. I think that's enough for now. I know the pet otter thing is ridiculous. But I've said I want an otter for years, so I have to put it on every list even though I know in reality that is crazy and I'm not getting one. For the remaining items.... good luck to me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Five More Days

Five more days and I can take a break. Five more days of spending my days trying to think of what to write and then my evenings starting at the blogger text field trying fill it with enough words to make a post. Five more days and I can go back to posting only when I feel like I have something worth writing.

I'd like to think that had I not been sick and tired for half the month I would have been able to come up better posts this month. Probably not, but I can tell myself that. I've gone back and read some of my posts from previous write-every-day months and some of them were fairly decent. This month, not so much. Oh well. Five more days.

Well.... four now.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What's a Little More?

I watch far too much television. I know I should be studying parenting methods or scrapbooking or.... ha... right. Okay. Or I should at least be doing something I would actually do like reading or writing, but after I've sat at my desk all day and then returned home and drained out all my remaining energy playing hide-from-creepy-monsters or chase or tag or trains or hide-and-seek, all I want to do is veg. I want to do something that requires absolutely no mental effort on my part at all.

Admittedly, there are a lot of shows I watch that I could easily stop watching, but there are quite a few that I have to watch every week. Sometimes I feel bad about this, as I am just wasting my life away watching television when I should be doing something productive. But... I really don't know that I have the energy to actually do anything productive.

Well, maybe that is not true. Even as I'm writing now, I am watching the most recent episode of 24. I think the show is absurd, since no one ever thinks to put in Jack's file that they should listen to him no matter how crazy he sounds, yet I keep watching it. And most weekends I am watching something while I write. I guess watching TV just goes along with my entire life of multi-tasking -- trying to be a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an employee, a co-worker and do a decent job of all of them without going insane. I'm not sure why I should feel bad about that. I am a little crazy and I do watch too much TV, but what's a little more?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Please Come Back

I know I promised no more posts complaining about the weather. So this is a post about my longing for Summer. I miss wearing dresses and heels to work. I miss wearing knit dresses and flip-flops at home. I miss the long evenings where we can play outside with the boys after dinner. I miss taking walks. I miss feeling the grass on my bare feet. I miss open windows.

I miss Summer so much that it is almost physically painful. I sit at my desk and wish for the sun reflecting off the side of the building behind me to illuminate my cube. I sit at our dining room table and look at the trees behind the house and wish they were green with leaves.

I have lived in the Midwest all my life. When I was younger, there were fun things to look forward to about each season. The more time that passes, the more I love Summer. I also love the end of Spring and the beginning of Fall, when the weather is Summer-like. There is that old cliche' about absence making the heart grow fonder. In this case, I can assure you I would be much more fond of Summer if it didn't stay away so long.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Need Out

It is confirmed. I am a terrible mother. Okay, not really, but these last five days have been some of the longest of my life. I went to work on Tuesday, but stayed home the rest of the week due to illness. I have established once and for all that I could never, ever be a full-time mom. I am about to go out of my mind. Even though I was working at home Wednesday through Friday, I was still at home. With my kids. And Friday and Saturday it was only the three of us.

This isn't anything against full-time moms. This is completely personal. I have been thinking all day about what to write for today's post, but I have done nothing this week I can write about other than take care of, clean up, talk to, listen to, read to, play with, and comfort my kids. By the time the boys were in bed and actually asleep the last two days, I collapsed on the couch and watched Food Network Nighttime until I fell asleep.

Don't get me wrong, I love my kids. I do want to be there when they are sick or when they learn something new or when they need me. But I need a break from them. On a regular basis. With the exception of my horrific trip to the doctor yesterday, I have not left the house in those five days, and the only break I had from the boys was after they went to bed. I love them, but I need the chance to miss them.

So maybe this makes me a terrible mother. Or maybe it just makes me a realist. I love my boys and they love me. But they are boys and they will graduate from high school and they will go off into their lives and I will only hear from them when they need something or on holidays... if I'm lucky enough for them to remember to call me. They are independent little people who have their own lives, even though at this stage they still need me.

So at least now I know for sure. Any days in the future when I am sitting at my desk at work and the thought crosses my mind that maybe my kids would be better off with me at home, I can think back to this week. And I will remember that, for their sake and mine, it is better for me to work and to have have time away from them so that when I am with them we can really enjoy each other.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Are You Kidding Me?

Have I mentioned that the boys and I have been sick all week? I think I have, but I just wanted to re-establish that before I launched into this tirade. Owen woke up just after 6 this morning, sobbing and saying his ear hurt. I had to get him up and bring him out on the couch because he was crying so hard he was going to wake up Luke. I held him while he cried and said he didn't want ears because they hurt. I gave him ibuprofen, in hopes that would help him feel better. It helped to the point that he stopped crying, but he still just sat there holding his blanket over his ear and saying it hurt.

I called the doctor's office as soon as they opened and they said to come right in. Thankfully I had managed to sneak in a shower after Owen stopped crying, so I scrambled to get us all dressed and out the door. Now, I LOVE our pediatrician. He is like a Norman Rockwell doctor, very calming and pleasant. When you take your kids to see him, he just has this way of making you feel like you are doing fine and everything is going to be okay. This being a Saturday, we did not get to see our pediatrician. We got to see Dr. Terrible.

There are only three doctors in the practice and in the past four-and-a-half years we have had only one other interaction with Dr. Terrible (when our doctor, Dr. Wonderful, was on vacation). I came away thinking he had a terrible bedside manner and didn't seem to like kids at all. I was hoping this time would be different, but it was not. He walked in the exam room and just looked at us. I said hello to him and he finally asked "How are you today?" Really?? I've had one uninterrupted night of sleep in the past week, and that was more of a medically induced coma rather than restful slumber. I was holding a crying 2 year old on my lap who was writhing in pain and my four-year-old had crazy bedhead and snot running down his face because I couldn't hold Owen and wipe Luke's nose constantly and there were no tissues within reach. How do you think we are? Of course, I just replied that we've all been sick for a week and we've had better days.

He looked in Owen's ears and confirmed what I think was pretty obvious. Owen had a raging ear infection. Now, knowing how these things usually work (my kids only seem to need to see a doctor on the weekend), I had requested to have Luke looked at while we were there and paid two co-pays for the visit. Dr. Terrible stood up and said that he would put Owen on antibiotics and acted like he was getting ready to leave the exam room. So I said to Luke, "Luke, would you please let the doctor look in your ears too?" Why I didn't just ask the doctor to look at Luke too, I don't know. I don't think that in my ill and sleep deprived state I can be held entirely accountable for why I may say one thing over another.

Well, Dr. Terrible took this as an opportunity to launch into a lecture on how I shouldn't give my kids options on things because now, what if Luke won't let him look in his ears? Looking at Luke standing there, obviously waiting to be examined, I looked Dr. Terrible and said "He will." To which he continued his lecture about how he preferred to establish with patients what he expects of them and when they are given a choice, they may throw a fit. Oh, believe him, he has teenagers and he knows that kids shouldn't be given so many choices.... blah, blah, blah.... All the while, Luke is standing there, ear toward the man, waiting for him to look. "It's a psychological thing. When you give kids a choice or ask, they can think they can get out of things. It's better to just tell them what you expect them to do. Do you understand what I'm saying?"

And that was the last straw. With Owen crying louder and louder that his ear hurt, I looked straight at the guy and said. "Look, like I said, the three of us have been sick for the past week. I don't feel well and I have barely slept at all. I am very, very tired and it is very frustrating having my parenting criticized right now when I am just trying to help my kids feel better. Do you understand?" And that was the calmest, nicest thing I could come up with to say in that moment. What I really wanted to say was "Seriously? Are you kidding me?? ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME??!?! My youngest is screaming in pain and my oldest is being extremely compliant and doing exactly what I asked. How dare you lecture me when I didn't even do anything wrong and my kids are being as good as anyone could possibly expect right now!!! How the hell are you a pediatrician??" Yeah. I wish I would have said that, but I try to refrain from cursing.... especially in front of my kids.

I just don't know about some people. I can understand if we were new patients of his and he had simply asked me that I allow him to talk directly to the boys the next time so he could establish a rapport with them. I might have even tolerated the lecture had Luke actually thrown a fit or tried to prevent him from doing the exam. But he knew Dr. Wonderful was our doctor because he asked me. And Luke cooperated perfectly. I realize that I look way younger than I am, that I was probably a little disheveled, and that Owen was crying loudly from the pain, but what part of that makes it okay to lecture a tired, sick, stressed-out mom?

I know that I am overly sensitive right now from the illness and the lack of sleep, but am I being completely unreasonable here?

Friday, January 22, 2010

I'm Out

I'm out if ideas. I'm out of things to to write about or think about. This is the point in my write-every-day months that I decide I'm just crazy and a glutton for punishment and wonder what the heck I was thinking. I do like to write. I do need to write. But I also kinda need my sanity, which has completely escaped me right now.

It is Friday. I worked at home all day, as Ryan had to leave for work this afternoon and my work from home day is Friday because of his work schedule. I previously had in-home child care on Fridays in the form of my completely amazing sister, but she just had a baby and is on indefinite maternity leave. The boys were shockingly good today. Owen slept away half the afternoon and Luke was so cooperative and quiet during my conference calls. You would think this would be a good environment in which to solve problems, but I am sick and feel like I didn't get enough done today.

So... wow. What a terrible post this is turning out to be! Why?? Why do I do these months? So I can torture myself and the maybe two people who are nice enough to read my blog? What is wrong with me?

Oh right. I'm me. Sorry about that....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Technology is Not My Friend

It's official. I am a fuddy-duddy. I hate having to get used to new technology. This week (yes, the week I am sick and have two sick kids) we got a new provider for our satellite and I got a new cell phone. But I liked the old provider and I liked my old cell phone. I liked that I knew which buttons did which things and where to find what I needed on the menus. I liked being able to use our television and my phone without really thinking about it.

Now, I get stuck in and endless cycle of menus and options just trying to change the channel. Yes, the thing came with a manual -- a manual that is the size of a college text book. I mustered my resolve and went looking in it for the info I needed to beat the system, but the book is filled with steps for the menus, connected by a menacing looking blue wavy line. I'm guessing the line was supposed to be a friendly guide from step-to-step, but to me it looks like a big, blue mouth mocking my inability to get the menus on the line show up on the screen.

My new phone, aside from being ugly and chintzy, seems to be programmed incorrectly. Some of the text options are on the wrong keys. the font on the screen looks like it's from a 1980's video game, and the keypad has what seems to be the outline of a giant lower-case 'i' in silver right in the middle. It is hideous and distracting. The phone has a million features I can never use because it is a work phone, but ATT no longer offers decent phones that just call and text.

I'm sure that once I figure out where everything is and how to make them do what I want, I will be fine with the new technology I've acquired. But for now, I am sick and sleep deprived and I just want to be able to work my TV or make a call without having to sift through a thousand page manual.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tangled

I finally got a lot of that craziness out of my head, but now I'm sick and still have two sick kids. Goodness... what a week. So for now I will post a poem I've been working on. I'm not exactly happy with it. I know it needs work, but I'm not sure what to change. I guess that makes it a good candidate for a rework post in the future?

I'm here
picking at tangled knots.
My thoughts are a mess
of threads.
The parts I've unraveled
are coiled neatly
on the floor.
What remains
tangles faster
than I can untie.
It seems hopeless.
Maybe I'm better off
just going to sleep.