Friday, March 30, 2012

swirling thoughts

It's been a whirlwind since returning to the real world a couple weeks ago. And the whirlwind in my brain contains so many compelling threads:  apathy, commitment, self-inventory, control, love, disappointment, detachment, frustration, job satisfaction, job dissatisfaction, parenting, advocacy ... the list goes on an on if I'm attentive enough to catch them all.

But what has filtered out as the first and foremost task for me is that self-inventory piece.  I find, on reflection, that despite my efforts, I am still laying blame and trying to effect control in areas of my life where it is not appropriate to do so.  And it is making me crazy.  It is time to quiet my brain for a moment or two, I think, and focus on my control issues - largely my internal and hardwired desire to control certain things, which are frustrated by my insistence that I cannot control them, which leads to a certain amount of inner turmoil. 

And I am looking so very forward to spending a day with my sister tomorrow.  I haven't seen her in ages and I miss her! 

p.s.  and I missed all of you too.  Until I was ready to get back to writing, I refused to let myself keep up on what everyone else was writing, so I have a LOT of catching up to do!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vacation update...

Holy cats this post is way more of a tease for future posts than anything on one particular theme tonight.  You can look forward to future posts on the oddities that are bosom control (or lack thereof) in warm weather vacation locales, the apparent drive for ongoing PDAs when waiting in hot, leg cramp inducing lines, the beauty of an ocean beach, the ridiculousness of time-share sales pitches, and some observations of the Disney machine. 

What I will tell you today is that I played in the surf today, in a swim suit, going under, and in water up to my waist.  This is a first for me.  I am a midwestern flatlander, there is no doubt, and I saw Jaws at a VERY formative age, and the closest I come to having a phobia of any kind is the ocean - between rip tides and sharks and anything else that might lie in wait for me beneath the waves (but mostly sharks), I have had a few opportunities to swim in an ocean before today and always backed out.  Today, I not only went in, but I encouraged, cajoled, and ultimately forced my older daughter to stand there with me and face her fears too.  About two hours later, when the younger daughter wanted to go back in after digging in the sand and collecting shells, as she and I waded out, the elder came along.  And we played and laughed and she made no further mention of being scared.  Yay!  I got the urge to then wade out further and try to swim into the waves (the tide was coming in), just to see what that felt like.  And then I realized the Jaws theme (dah dum dah dum dah dum dah dum...) was playing in my head.  So I called it good and went back to play with the kids.  It was gorgeous at Clearwater Beach - that fine white sand is just a miracle.  Sean and I decided then and there that we need to have a beach vacation sometime soon - with a location on the beach so we can just walk out at all times of the day and night to enjoy it. 

I am recharging, for any who are wondering.  I don't want to go home though, and I certainly don't want to go back to work, but I'm hoping the week-long distraction will give me enough stamina to get through it for a while again.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A typical vacation day

Oh my lord, we got to our hotel near 3 a.m. last night.  My eldest daughter (age 8) stayed awake the entire time, to my shock.  She told me while we were waiting to get off the plane in Orlando that she hadn't wanted to sleep, in case we crashed and she needed to act quickly to escape.  She is a unique child.

But, as usual, I am awake at 7:00a (which would be 6:00a back home - my 'usual').  There are blinds on the windows but nothing to darken the room, so I am amazed that Sean and the girls are still asleep.  Good on them!  I hope they sleep a long time.

This is how our vacations always go - whether we are in a lovely 2 bedroom suite as we are now - or in a one room discount motel where I can't turn on lights and have to muck about in the dark on my own.  I am up, longing for coffee, and everyone else is still snoring.  Except for the coffee part, I am more than pleased with the situation as it stands now - have a kitchen and living room (and patio for that matter) all to myself. 

We planned today to recover from the long travel day yesterday, so I don't have to push.  That will start tomorrow when we start the theme park craziness that will consume our next six days - I can't wait but my feet are tired just thinking about it.  For this moment, I need to investigate and address my coffee situation at this lovely vacation location...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

the MRS degree

You know how when you are growing up, people are always asking what you wanted to be when you grew up?  I had crazy answers over the years, but I know that the summer before my senior year of high school I told people I wanted to be a veterinary technician.  Then in my senior year, I started telling people I wanted to be a nurse.  I never wanted to be a nurse.  I just wanted to go to a particular college and it had a good nursing program, so that's what I said to get what I wanted.  Insert eye rolls here. 

What I did want to do was go to college and meet my husband.  I didn't date in high school and had never even kissed a boy.  My mantra was "just wait 'til college", though in retrospect I wonder what I expected to happen in college.  And in even further retrospect I wonder what in heck I thought was so great, and so immediately necessary, about finding a husband...

So it took my entire college career but I did find a husband.  An inappropriate, ill-fitting husband.  But I got married a year after I graduated.  And you'd think that would have taught me an important lesson about getting married just for marrying's sake.  We divorced after three years and my life took some really fabulous turns for the better.

And while I did a lot of things right, I still maintained this overwhelming idea that if I could just find "THE ONE", my life would suddenly be perfect.  And all that time, I really was still just finding myself.  What occurred to me the other day as I was mulling over a particular post topic, was that I would find a nice guy, who seemed to like me OK, and then I was all about trying to fit myself into whatever character that guy might want - all in hopes that he would love me, because then I could love him.  Did I love him?  In my memory of a few select guys, my brain doesn't say  yes or no, it says "I could have".  Big shocker then that the pressure of dating, which is bad enough, combined with the pressure on the guy to define what he wanted me to be, usually led to a quick end to any potential relationship.  And once the romantic piece was over, we reverted to friends and generally have stayed in friends ever since.  The two guys I'm thinking of as I write this were my romantic interests about 20 and 14 years ago...we're still friends...and this insight is just occurring to me NOW.  Insert another eye roll here.

What occurred to me yesterday was that my search for that title of Mrs., which dates back as far as I can remember, had a lot more to do with my deep desire to belong to someone than it did with actually being married and engaging in the partnership of marriage and the responsibilities of parenthood.  I think I wanted so badly to be wanted for myself alone and to have that primary relationship, that I would bend myself around in crazy ways and stand on my head to fit.  The problem with my first husband was that he didn't want to belong to anyone, nor did he want to share anything with there was no niche for me to fit myself into and thus I had to go.  I am grateful to him for pushing me out, even though I know he wasn't doing it for my own good or any other altruistic reason, it was just a function of his own dysfunction.  But it turned out well for me.

With all that said, I am now a Mrs. and a mom.  And while I am very grateful for these roles, I was single and childless for a long long time in life (married at age 37) and there are days that I wonder what in the heck I was thinking by longing for this obligated and messy life.  Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, isn't it?  Especially on hard days.  But we are now officially on Spring Break and headed to Orlando tomorrow, and I intend to enjoy what I am sure will be an exciting and magical trip for the kids, and for us.  Recharging starts NOW!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Life is short

We all know this.  We all, I hope, remember it often enough to hug the ones we love and tell them they are beautiful and special.  My good friend Ruth lost her husband today.  He had been battling cancer, iwth increasingly difficult breathing and pain.  But they had a couple OK days over the weekend and then was rushed to the hospital yesterday morning and died today.  Peacefully and without any interventions, which is what he wanted.  My heart goes out to Ruth and to all those who have lost their life partners today.  Today I will hug my husband and tell him I love him.  And I pray that I have years and years full of days to do the same.  But if I don't have all those years, then I pray for the ability to see past the petty trials and tribulations of any given day and remember to tell him how much he means to me now, in case today is the last day.  Rest in peace Joe, you've earned it. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

problematic gratitude list

I am a fan of the gratitude list.  I have always tried to see the good before I start to wallow into the bad, and usually I have no trouble filling up a detailed and sincere gratitude list - but it appears I have started to take my underlying gratitude for granted.

Life has been a little off for me lately.  So last night, as I was walking the dog, I decided to consider my gratitude list out loud (a perk of walking my dog in the dark on an empty street!).  To my dismay, every "I am fortunate that..." had the added clause of "but..."  So now my gratitude is conditional?  The fact that I have been blessed with a family in good health and well provided for isn't good enough?  Oh brother!  I venture to opine that this may be the crux of my "off-ness" pity party is overshadowing my gratitude.  I hate it when that happens!

I've been working, bit by bit on my 4th step "fearless and searching moral inventory", which at some point will, I think, create a list of my particular character defects...I tend to think self pity and sense of entitlement will be high on the list of my shortcomings.  And the way to remove said shortcomings?  I get that the 6th step says that I ask my Higher Power to remove them, but in function, the removal I think is changing my focus from whining about the life and circumstances I wish I had, and instead finding joy and peace in the life I have.  DAMMIT - you mean the joy and peace is within my reach all the time and not something that someone else is going to bring my (i.e. the prince on the white steed theme)?  BUT I WANT TO BE RESCUED THROUGH NO EFFORT OF MY OWN!  I am now rolling my eyes at myself.  Can you tell I've been watching Jon Stewart and the Daily Show?  I am mocking myself - which is often a good method for getting myself out of a negative pattern of behavior. Let's hope!

On a happy note, we had a foot of snow the other day, and have gotten a dusting of fluffy stuff on top of it every day since.  It is beautiful outside - and only in the upper 20s or 30s, so really pleasant to be outside.  I have learned that Lucky the dog loves snow - even snow drifts well above his head - and it is actually very fun to walk him and feed off his joy of being out and about and leaping onto and out of the drifts. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fresh from my junk mail box:

Ever had those days where you look at the spam in your email box and revel in the sheer random stupidity of the messages themselves, and anyone who would think they were legitimate?  Today was another of those days for me.  I give you my list of spam that awaited me this morning:

From:                                             Message tag:                                 You Have won the sum of $1,000,000.00 Legally (oh thank you FBI for (a) giving me money and (b) assuring me that it is all LEGAL!)

Billie Dean                                     SAVE HUGE ON MEDICATION          You Have Won ([symbol for pounds] 950,000.00)

Sarah                                            I found you (well thank God because I have been waiting to be found)

Luxury-Replicas                            High Quality Top Brand Watches, Purses, Jewelry, andMuch More (think this is where the Kardashians get their crap?)

Kandra Hannelore                         MenMax Pills - Erection Pill 95% Success Rate, MenMax is Powerful! 6m6i (of course, there are always the spam emails touting pills to make it bigger, stronger, faster...whatever Kandra!)

adminsaleshopsss0ATmail...           NEW PHARMACY ONLINE (FREE PILLS) (yeah, nothing creepy about offering to send free pills...)

In order to justify the continued spam emails, these companies must get some response and make some money, or they wouldn't do it.  So who in this day and age is dumb enough to believe they got a junk email announcing they won a million bucks?  I am quite sure you would be required to disclose private data in order to "register" to receive your prize...seriously, do people still do this??? 

And as for the companies sending out prescription meds over the a prosecutor married to a pharmacist with first hand knowledge of addiction to prescription medication, HOLY CRAP! 

The world is a strange place, with predators potentially around every corner.  What starts out as humorous to me, quickly devolves into a risk and safety assessment. 

Today's thought from Hazelden is:

I really really love this and needed to read it today.  Funny how that works sometimes.  I know I am definitely in the group of people that "forget to talk with the people we love."  So I am going to use the upcoming weekend to touch base with as many of my old and new friends and loved ones as I can...starting with my blog and the friends it has brought me.  Hello everyone!  I miss you and think of you often - just haven't been very bloggy lately.  Sarah

Love doesn't just sit there like a stone: it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.
--Ursula K. Le Guin

Everyone could use a new batch of love every day. Way too often, we forget to make a new batch. Then we end up eating hard, old, crumbly stuff that doesn't even taste good. We forget to talk with the people we love. We tell ourselves that they should "know" we love them, even if we haven't called to connect with them for a long time. So we expect them to live off hard, old, dry crumbs too!

But baking a fresh batch of love is a lot easier than baking bread. All we have to do is make a phone call, write a letter or an email, or stop by our mom's house. We need to deliver the message that the people we love are important. What could be easier or more rewarding?

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, help me remember that love is a verb - something I do, not something that can be given once and stored forever. Help me be active in loving the important people in my life.

Today's Action

I will make it a point to make a fresh batch of love today and deliver it - in person or in a phone call, email, or letter.
You are reading from the book: