Tuesday, May 29, 2012

good news!

Remember that beach vacation I was swooning about a week or two ago?  That one that was 143 days away, south of Tampa, on the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico, WITH NO KIDS OR HUSBANDS?  Well, can I just say that I was never happier to realize I made a huge math error than I was when I realized I had made a huge math error ... that lovely trip begins in just 115 days (I was off by about a month).  I should never do math in my head.  And I should take more vacations. 

I'm "it" - blog-tag anyone?

I have been tagged in a little "getting to know you" blog tag.  Thanks go out to cdnkaro and her happy tagging post which you can read here. So, here goes!

Rules say that if you are tagged you have to write a post doing 3 things:  (1) answering the 11 questions posed to you; (2) come up with 11 questions of your own; and (3) tag 11 blog-friends (no tag-backs) to answer your questions.  All clear? 

Step 1:  My 11 answers

1. If you could have supper with any three people, be they currently living or not, who would you choose?
(1) My grandparents (I'm calling them a single unit, because I want all four) - because I was too young to realize all the things I'd like to know about them before they died; (2) Amelia Earhart - because I really want to know what happened to her; and (3) Jacob Wetterling - because I really want to be able to tell his parents what happened to him and that he's OK. 

2. Why?  See above.

3. Complete this sentence: The world needs more ______________ in order to be a better place. 
Peace.  I'm a hippie in my soul.  Peace and Love, folks.

4. If you won the lottery, what are the first 3 things you would do? 
Pay off all unsecured debt.  Then set up college or "first downpayment" accounts for my kids and my nieces and nephews. And if there is enough money left, I'd plan a big party and pay for the travel expenses of all my friends to come and visit me. 

5. What are three items on your bucket list?
(1) Ride in a hot air balloon; (2) Run a 5k and finish; (3) Be a judge on Iron Chef: America.

6. If you attended Hogwarts, to which house would you belong? 
Ha ha!  After we went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in March, and then started reading the HP series together, my daughter and I have had this conversation multiple times.  I usually tell her I'm Ravenclaw all the way (I'm the smart friend absolutely), though at times I think I'm ballsy enough to make the jump to Gryffindor.

7. If you had to choose only 3 words to describe yourself, what would those 3 words be?
Smart, funny, loyal

8. Complete this this sentence: the world needs less/fewer ______________ in order to be a better place.
Deadlines.  We're all so busy meeting deadlines that we forget to smell the roses around us.  And often, those deadlines are insignificant and arbitrary.  And Kardashians.

9. Does knowing that someone has had body modifications (tattoos, piercings other than in the ears, plastic surgery, etc.) alter your perception/opinion of them?
It makes me more curious about them for sure - I always like to know why people do the things they do.  Particularly when the body modification is of a type I'm unfamiliar with or uninterested in personally.  I have watched every Discovery Channel program on body modifications that I've ever come across.  Fascinating, whether it is something I'm into or not - and surprisingly I'm much less likely to be judgmental about tattoos and piercings than I am by cosmetic plastic surgery!

10. If you had only one day left to live, how would you spend that time? 
Remember that party I wanted to host up in #4 - that's how I'd like to spend it. And I'd like to write a love note to everyone I love before I go.

11. What is the most thrilling experience you have ever had? (NOT pertaining to relationships or giving birth.) 
Feeding and touching a dolphin.  I was giddy about it for hours afterwards.  That had been on my bucket list for years!


Step 3:  My tags (see how I get all oppositional with the rules, going out of order???)
I went through my blog list this morning and picked 11 women who write words I want to read.  They have great things to say in every post and they make me feel things - which you all know from reading my blog over the past months is a work in progress for me (emotions are tricky things!).  So, in no particular order, my tags are bestowed upon:

1.  JT
2.  Lisa
3.  Cassie
4.  Phoebe
5.  Shannon
6.  Rae
7.  Amanda
8.  Judy
9.  MissAmandaJane
10. Michelle
11. Lynda

Lovely ladies all - with a variety of points of view - please take a minute to check them out!

Step 2:  And here are my questions, for those brave enough to accept this challenge!

1.  Do you, or did you before blogging, also write in any other formats?

2.  Why did you start blogging (e.g. as a journal, as a message, as a business ...)

3.  Do you ever have to stop reading another blog because the grammar or spelling makes you crazy? 

4.  Have you ever met the author of a blog you follow (not including folks you knew before you knew their blog)?

5.  What is your all time best ever thing you ate? 

6.  If you had one week and an unlimited Visa card to go anywhere in the world, but you had to spend that week alone, where would you go and what would you do?

7.  Excluding the aforementioned opinion you may or may not have about grammar and spelling, what is your one pet peeve of all time?

8.  Have you ever visited a place and just "felt" that you belonged there?

9.  Do you prefer to have a grocery store employee pack your bags or do you prefer to do it yourself?

10.  How large was your high school graduating class, and have you ever attended a class reunion? 

11.  How do you feel about salon care - hair coloring/hair styling/manicure/pedicure/massage/facials?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

How do I feel?

A couple posts ago, I wrote about not writing.  A friend commented that perhaps I should write about how it makes me feel when the damper is down on my writing.  As I thought about that, my first thought was that I write about my feelings all the time, but it then occurred to me (and I haven't re-read my posts to verify this, but I think it is mostly true) that I write a lot about what I think about things, and what is going through my mind, but I suspect there is very little direct comment on how it makes me feel.  I'm a thinker, not a feeler! 

So here's what comes to mind when I try to identify my feelings over the past week or so:

Frustrated.  I am currently stuck between a few different rocks and a few different hard places, and in the big picture, many of those rocks are things that I can't change, so it seems up to me to readjust myself to move the hard places instead and I am frustrated by my lack of creativity and drive to make those readjustments.

Angry.  I have been angry a lot over the last couple weeks and I have bottled it up and up and up.  And as happens once or twice a year when I find myself in this explosive place, I end up blowing my stack at the kids.  That was last Saturday.  I'd like to not ever do that again.  Add parent guilt to this particular arena.

Sad.  Loss of hopes and dreams is a hard one to process. 

Guilt.  So many things that I should do, that I could do, that I haven't done. 

Disassociation.  When my life gets too hard, I withdraw and I find myself playing the fantasy games I've used since I was a child to escape - telling myself made up stories that feature me in 'parallel universe' type story lines.  It's usually a really good sign that I have some work to do in my real life and that I'm desperately trying to avoid whatever it is that needs to be done.

No wonder I've been in a blog-funk.  I talk when I'm happy, I am quiet when I'm mad or blue.  I'm not seeing a lot of room for happiness or joyfulness up there.  Sure, I laughed and smiled along the way - at work, where I get to leave my real world behind.  I don't blog about work, so that really doesn't help the writing situation!  But despite all that, there is one small little positive feeling to note:

Hope.  I'm seeing a glimmer that the path is there for me.  I have a plan and have taken some baI'y steps along the way.  I just need to find the wherewithall to keep moving forward.  Believe it or not, I don't know where the path leads but I have faith that it is a positive place, so onward I go. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Inspirational or disheartening?

A few weeks ago, I read the following quote, attributed to Winston Churchill:  "Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."  My immediate reaction was negative - I don't like the idea of viewing my life to date as a series of failures.  I do, however, agree that maintaining enthusiasm is a critical piece of moving forward positively in life.  So I put the quote aside with a shrug "whatever, Winston..."

Earlier this week, a friend posted the same quote on Facebook, so I commented about my earlier thoughts about it and we had a little back and forth.  My friend said something (with a smiley face) about perhaps Winston's opinions were colored by his experience of being attacked by the Nazis. 

And this quote and my thoughts about it have stuck with me now for several days.  Quite frankly, I think when a person is facing some big event (i.e. attack by the Nazis?) and something doesn't go the way you hope, it is my experience that while an initially lull occurs with the disappointment, if you have the chance to redeem yourself, or take a shot at those damn Nazis again, it might be easy to rally your enthusiasm. 

On the other hand, rallying enthusiasm to face another day of the same old same old is hard!  I admire people who can come to work every day with a genuine smile on their face, even when you know their job is difficult or boring or unpleasant.  I strive to be that person - to meet every day with renewed enthusiasm to do what needs to be done and keep my eyes open for the blessings that sometime appear where you least expect them. 

As for the "failure to failure" piece of that quote ... either I haven't had very many (or any) "failures" or else I am in complete denial and am somehow recategorizing things as something else.  I have had my share of heartbreak - in relationships, in my career, in my personal life goals - but am I wrong for not calling any of those "failures"?  Sure, I could have done things differently or made different choices, but I would never say that I failed at anything.  I auditioned for the Concert Choir in college one year and was the last person cut from my section.  Did I fail?  I was hugely disappointed (the Concert Choir had a European tour that year) and hurt and sad and mad, but I didn't fail - I stood there and I tried.  I didn't make it but that doesn't mean I failed.  I am no historian but I'm confident in saying that the Nazis bombed the crap out of Great Britain during Churchill's tenure, but does that make him a failure?  Not in my opinion. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Unscientific research...and my blog.

It appears to me that the mood that strikes along with my PMS (which isn't so much one mood as a spectrum of them) takes away my blogging mojo.  One thought I had about it is that I end up so focused on myself (good and bad, depending where I'm at in the spectrum of moods), that I just can't conjure up topics or much of a desire to write.  Perhaps the raging hormones squelch my stream of consciousness.  What I know is that I have a real conflict between wanting to write something (anything!) and this damper that refuses to release its hold on me. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Stuffed animal angst

Like most families with kids in elementary school, our house is full to the brim with toys:  stuffed animals, building toys, crap toys from dollar stores and/or Happy Meals, dolls, Littlest Pet Shop figures, dress-up clothes, etc.  I have thrown away so much stuff - the broken, mismatched, dog-chewed, etc. - but there seems to be a never-ending pile.  And so, about six months ago, Sean and I started telling the kids that no new stuffed animals come into the house unless they give up five.  Never once have the kids even seemed to grasp that idea, but yesterday they did.  And last night they each took a bag and started piecing through looking for five stuffed animals they could live without.  What one kid put in the bag, the other kid (shrieking in horror) and removed from the bag.  It was drama with a capital D!  I was half amused at the whole process - except when the negotiations between them turned into yelling and the 9 year old trying to strong arm the 7 year old into giving away something that the 7 year old insisted was her favorite-est toy ever.  Keep in mind that these stuffed animals have been in totes, unopened and ignored entirely, for at least three months.  But I won't allow strong arming, and the point of this exercise, which I keep repeating, is that they don't have to give away ANY ... keep them all if you like ... but then we won't buy the latest critter that caught your eye at Claire's yesterday. 

After finally giving up with about six critters in the bag last night, it started again this morning.  Three of the original six came out of the bag (you just can't make this stuff up) and they continue to cull through the pile.  The angst seems to have resolved itself and, from the sounds of things in the toy room, they are playing with the animals now, and occasionally putting one in the bag.  We shall see if we get to the magic number before we go to the mall later!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Vacation in 143 days!

I just booked a flight to Tampa in September, where I will spend 4 nights with my amazing girlfriends from law school.  It's been over a year since our last reunion and we are OVERDUE, so it is wonderful to start the countdown.  Me and four of my best friends, no kids no husbands no work, and the Gulf of Mexico spread out before us.  I think that just might get me through the next 143 days.

Summer is right around the corner.  Kids are counting down (9 days of school left), my husband the SAHD is cringing at the thought of all day kid patrol, but for the month of June, the kids will have outside activities every morning.  Brooke will be going to summer school for 3 weeks with her current 1st grade teacher and her special ed teacher, to keep working on her skills, to keep up with some routine of school, and to keep addressing her social skills.  Jordan is signed up for a week of art, a week of theater, and a week of science/chemistry.  And Sean will be counting down to his fishing trip in Canada, which he had to miss last year because he was in Hazelden, so he's raring to go. 

Found out yesterday that my parents sold their house, so whatever weekend free time we can find between now and June 27 will be spent trying to help them pack and organize.  Thankfully they've been paring down their household contents drastically over the last five years or so, but it's always a big job. 

I suspect June will be a whirlwind and the 4th of July will be here before my head stops spinning! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Good times!

My wallowing has served its purpose and I have turned that nasty corner into a more positive place!  Hurray!  I forced myself to re-read my post from yesterday a couple times and while it is the way I was feeling, it was such a good impetus to push me past the negativity and self-centered whining and into the sunshine. 

Yesterday, we ended up taking the kids mini-golfing and then bummed around some tourist shops and then out to a new frozen yogurt bar in our area (Cherry Berry - anyone heard of it?  Yum!)  And as we walked along at one point, I had us all hold hands in a circle and then tugged everyone in for a group hug - because even if there is (as there always is) room for improvement, I am blessed and I know it.  Thank you to Sean, Jordan and Brooke for a mostly-marvelous day!

And, as often happens when I am turning corners, I had a dream last night that helped calm my brain, and then a "hey what a great idea!" moment about how to approach our lack of communication issues too ... and took the first step to bring it to fruition this morning.

As I often hear in Al Anon or other self improvement arenas, when you clear the clutter in your mind, the often simple solutions will present themselves.  And I love it when it happens!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Mother's Day pity party

Disclaimer:  I am a very lucky person and a very lucky mama.  Most days, I can write long long gratitude lists.  Today is apparently not starting off as one of those days however, so I am going to wallow in my pity party for a moment and then, I hope, get the **** over it.

It is Mother's Day weekend and we have nothing on our agenda and the weather is gorgeous.  What I wanted was to have a fun weekend with my husband and kids, maybe squeeze in a lunch with my sister, and sort of be carefree and loose all weekend.  What I have gotten, so far, is squat.  Perhaps even less than squat, since I had to do some housework yesterday and then when I tried to spend the afternoon browsing around some stores, the kids rebelled and were a complete pain in my backside.  So instead I spent the afternoon in my chair, watching TV, and poking around on ancestry.com.  That is not what I wanted to be doing.

Then my husband and my eldest go shopping.  That amused me.  They couldn't take my younger daughter "because she can't keep a secret".  As far as I can tell, they went to Fleet Farm and I was presented with a bag of circus peanuts upon their return.  On our earlier shopping trip, I had the kids pick out a hanging basket of flowers that I called my Mother's Day present.  Truly, I want no present.  But if you are going to buy me one, I am enough of a jerk to say it then better be a good one.  A bag of circus peanuts is not a good one. 

I was up by 5:30a both yesterday and today thanks to the stupid animals.  I told my husband I wanted the teenage cat put in the porch overnight, in hopes that he would then not torment the dog into waking me up.  And since husband is the last one to bed at night...yeah, cat has not been in porch yet.  And when I hollered "***********" at 5:27a this morning when the cat had the dog barking his fool head off in the stairwell, in hopes it woudl wake my husband up and then he'd decide to get up and let me go back to sleep...yeah well, that didn't happen either. 

One of my friends presented the Mother's Day quandry to me on Friday - is it about surrounding ourselves with our loved ones or getting the heck away from them all to spend the day alone?  I definitely know what she's talking about.  But if I were away at a spa this weekend, I'd be missing my family and itching to get the **** massage over with so I could get home.  I know that about myself.  I just need to wallow a little once in a while to remind myself how good I have it. 

Happy Mother's Day to me, and let's hope the pity party is over!

Friday, May 11, 2012

I was bullied...why did I make it through?

Bullying sucks.  Bullying causes suicide.  Bullying is just mean and unnecessary. 

I was bullied.  Junior high (7th-9th grade in my day) was awful.  I was poked at, laughed at, never picked for teams, ignored, taunted, and had gum thrown in my hair on a team bus to a basketball game.  I responded by ignoring the world, engaging in weird, anti-social behavior, and withdrawing into myself. 

I remember thinking about suicide.  Not really seriously but thinking about it.  I remember thinking that no-one was trustworthy and that no-one cared.  I developed friendships with the other misfits and was sort of a leader in that group, and oddly enough we never ever talked about how we were treated by others.  I never ever talked about things like this with my parents.  My mother was friends with one of the school secretaries back then and told me just a few years ago that her friend had voiced concerns that I was always alone and always seemed so sad.  But my mother never really knew what to say to me about it and, if she tried, I'm sure I rebuffed her. 

That was in the late 1970s. 

I went to a training on Reactive Attachment Disorder and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome yesterday.  In describing a day in the life of kids with RAD/FAS, the trainer (who is the most awesome speaker) was using examples folks could relate to - like those kids who were picked on and never picked for teams and isolated often because of things that no-one ever understood back in the day - like child abuse or alcoholism.  These RAD/FAS kids are in a similar bind nowadays, because the world is just starting to understand some of these neurological disorders that mess kids up early in their lives and now they have to live with it.  And while I could go on and on about the subject and my reactions to it, what struck me was the idea that I was that bullied kid too.

There are the bullied kids that can't take the pain another day and end their lives.  There are the kids that bully those weaker than themselves.  There are the bullied kids that carry that tormented kid in their souls every day for the rest of their lives. 

I don't know how I ended up as functional as I am.  I know that many years of living inside my own head has given me a great deal of insight into my own thought patterns, which is a good thing in some ways as I've been able to change my attitudes and recreate myself over and over.  But it's also a bad thing in that it allows me to compartmentalize things and not deal with them.  I carry few grudges and have forgiven myself for that weird, anti-social behavior back in the day.  I actually admire the fact that my 11 year old self, when faced with a determined tormenter on the first day of 7th grade, walked into the office and asked for a new locker and simply got away from her.  Who gave me that nerve?  I never ever cried or showed weakness, despite some real in-your-face taunting.  I would just ignore them and read my book until they went away.  And when the girl a few grades older than me chucked bubble gum in my long permed hair on the bus (on the way to a ballgame), I didn't say a word.  I separated all the hair I could and then got a scissors from the athletic trainers box and cut out the part with the gum in it.  The bus was silent when I did that, by the way.  Kind of proud of that moment too.  I think I have forgiven my tormentors. I left my junior high town and school during 9th grade and rarely visited again.  But over the last few years, I have reconnected with several of my old classmates on Facebook and email and I think - were I to be invited to our 30 year reunion next year - I might just go. 

But I can't shake the thought that it could have been so much different for me.

Springtime with the teenage cat...

This may be unfair of me, but I am placing a lot of blame for my morning attitude on our two year old male cat, Harry.  In the past month or so, he has started with some really annoying behaviors - including howling in the foyer at night, after the girls and I have gone to bed, and teasing the dog into whining and barking by about 5 a.m. every morning.  The dog is on a leash in the house and can only get to the landing on our stairway, so the cat sits at the top of the stairs, flicking his tail at the dog.  This used to begin about 5:30a, then has moved up to 5a, and in the last couple days, more like 4:45a.  Once I'm awake at that hour, I have very little chance of going back to sleep, even if the dog listens to my "leave it!" and stops his racket.  I resent my morning routine being directed by a cat.  But what frustrates me the most is that I haven't yet found a good option to manage the problem.  If I put the cat in a room and shut the door, he will yowl and paw the door continuously for hours, which keeps me awake/wakes me up.  If I put him in the basement, he yowls and paws the door, and I can still hear it.  I may consider putting the dog's cage in the back porch, now that the weather is nice, and locking him in there...perhaps that would be far enough away from me to work...

An ADHD dog and a PITA cat ... pet life is good around here!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Online Quizzes are freaky sometimes!

I was trolling around just now, looking for something online to give me some ideas for alternate career options ... came across some quizzes and just took the Color Quiz. I'm a little freaked out because of the following, based on my ratings of colors presented:

Your Existing Situation

"Creative and emotional, looking for ways to further expand those qualities. Looking for a partner who enjoys the same activities. Seeking adventure and new and unusual activities."

Your Stress Sources

Feeling empty and isolated from others and trying to bridge the gap between herself and others. Wants to live life to the fullest and experience as much as possible. she cannot stand any restrictions or obstacles put in her way and only longs to be free.

Your Desired Objective

Very active imagination and may be prone to fantasies and daydreaming. Always dreaming of interesting and exciting things to happen to her. Is a charmer and wants to be admired for that.

Your Actual Problem

"Feeling held back and restricted from moving forward, looking for a solution that will give her more freedom and less obstacles."

Your Actual Problem #2

"Fears she will be held back from achieving things she really wants, leading her to search endlessly for satisfaction and become involved in activities which are pointless."

Anyone see any similarities to things I have recently blogged about?  Holy moley!  Now I must find the follow up quiz: So Now What Do I Do?

UPDATE:  And then I took a Myers Briggs type free test, which claimed it had a career suggestion portion.  Says I'm an ENTJ - which makes me a freaking "fieldmarshal" and says things about how I can't NOT lead and am constantly trying to eliminate bureaucratic red tape and improve efficiency and root out repeated errors.  Now I'm panicking because it will suck if my endless search for satisfaction means I have to be the boss of the world ... can you imagine what an awful realization that would be? 

Monday, May 7, 2012

A to Z: The aftermath

I thought the A to Z challenge was fun!  I found myself thinking of places I'd like to go, and horrifying myself with how little I knew of most of those places!  And some days, I even doubled up because I couldn't decide between two letter topics.  I even tried out the "schedule" function for the first time, and pre-wrote a couples posts. 

This past week, without my reference letter for the day, I've been trying to figure out a new random subject generator process but haven't found it yet.  I am hoping another challenge is right around the corner!

My favorite post was for letter Q - Q: things I am; things I am not.



I feel the need to share some positive energy with the blog-world today, so let's see what I've got in the hopper!

I am grateful for a weekend that, while busy, was also relaxing.  I spent most of it with my husband and kids, a little with my parents and sister and nieces, and even a little down time with friends.  We celebrated a birthday, a prom, and a piano recital, and also spent about an hour or so (as a family) volunteering our time and a little sweat.

I got to walk the dog twice yesterday in my favorite kind of misty not-really-raining rain.  Loved it.  I learned that my cat, who loves to dart outside the minute he sees the chance, does not like wet grass.  He turned tail and headed right back in. 

I feel incredibly lucky to have a healthy family.  I don't remember the last time we had to take a child in for more than a check up and I am so grateful for that. 

I am so glad that I come to work every day.  I may not always like what I do, but I respect and admire my co-workers, I appreciate the support we all provide for each other, and I know at the end of the day that I am being useful, that I am using the gifts I've been given, and that I have made a difference in the world through my work.  That's some powerful stuff and it was all I hoped for when I went to law school. 

I still have that feeling that something amazing is waiting out there for me, just beyond the horizon.  I find it really amusing that I am so easily sitting back, smiling, and waiting for it.  It's coming ... I have no doubt of that ... but I'm not pushing to get there sooner, or obsessing about what it will bring, or worrying myself over whether I'll recognize it when it gets here, or panicking over whether I'll be ready. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Preview to the drama that is right around the corner!

My niece should be hitting the rack any moment now after her first prom.  I live about two hours away from my sister and her kids, so I've been hearing second-hand about all the prom preparation stuff for months, but haven't actually seen any of it. 

First there was the getting asked part - my niece was asked by a very nice, very tall, handsome young man of good family.  Whew!  The drama?  He Liked her, but she didn't Like him.  Uh oh ... what would she do?  There was much handwringing over the dilemma of how to go and have fun without leading him on ... (the "rest of the story" on this thread is at the very bottom so keep reading!)

Then came the dress.  The drama?  My niece has expensive taste, I learned, when she would show me photos of the things she found on the internet.  I suggested to my sister that she set a dollar figure for the parental financial contribution, and let my niece figure out where to spend it.  My sister and my niece ended up going shopping one Saturday, though, and finding JUST THE THING.  They were so excited. 

Then came the shoes.  Platform spike heels.  Those were some shoes - probably added six inches.  Good thing that nice boy is really tall! 

Then I understand there was drama about accessories - clutch, earrings, etc. - that required much searching and shopping.  As my sister said to me repeatedly over the past month - "we" want it all to be just perfect.  Good thing it was all by telephone, given the number of my eye rolls.

Hair and makeup began yesterday at 7:15 a.m.!  Then there was a photo op planned at noon at the local golf course for the junior class, which was really a good idea since there are lots of friend groups etc. that parents wanted pictures of.  Pouring rain though, which I expected would create a lot of drama, but was surprised to find everyone just sort of handled.  Then the annual car parade around the lake and back to the high school for the grand march at 4p.  I was there with my sister and our parents by 3:30p.  The car parade didn't show up until nearly 4:30p!  It was windy and cold, and toward 5:30p (still nowhere close to over) the big fat raindrops started to fall off and on.  But the kids really showed their midwestern sturdiness and they bounced on through without any visible drama.

I said over and over how glad I was that prom did not involve all this nonsense when I was in high school.  Yuck!  But my niece was beautiful and my sister was only marginally neurotic in her drive for "the perfect night".

Oh and I'm leaving out the interpersonal drama!  Hope you are still reading because this is the really good part!  So my niece was all worried about her date and that he Liked her more than she Liked him. Well, she found out a couple weeks ago that he had his eye on a new girl, perhaps even to girlfriend level, so then there was drama about whether he'd ditch my niece and go with the new girl ... and holy crap what then about the matching tie and dress!  Well, he didn't ditch my niece, and the new girlfriend also has a date, and so the new girlfriend and her date were seated at the same dinner table for prom as my niece and her date.  And my sister went on and on about hoping the prom date was nice and wouldn't ignore my niece, yadda yadda yadda.  But then in the last few weeks my niece has also been going all blinky-blink at her good friend Joe.  And apparently he was blinking back because I just learned that a week or so ago they moved in to the capital L Like arena again.  But Joe wasn't going to prom but he was going to the after prom party.  And Joe is friends with my niece's prom date too.  So I suspect that there was plenty of couple switching going on last night.  And after all that my sister was flipping out about how the prom date better not ignore my niece and all that, when he and my niece came over to talk to us after the grand march last night, what did my sister do?  Promptly insist that Joe and my niece pose for a photo together (he was sitting with us) and totally ignored the very nice prom date, who looked extremely uncomfortably awkward.  And then she introduced him to all of us, telling him who we all were, but then saying to us, and "this is the prom date".  EYE ROLL! 

Anyhow, they were then off to the dinner and dance until 11p, then to the after prom lock in party until 3a, and then to someone's house for breakfast after that.  I will be interested to hear how it all went.  And praying every day, over the next 7-10 years, that my daughters can sail through this in a little more low maintenance fashion, and that I do not try to re-create my own high school experience through my kids.  I love my sister dearly but holy hannah, this has been a roller coaster of drama with her. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Whattaya think...

I have been a regular Al Anon attender since last August.  Most of the time, I am happy to go and happy when I leave.  Then I went to a meeting about six weeks ago and there was a big "group conscience" dispute for the first time - and, to me, the dispute being discussed was (a) stupid; and (b) unfairly discussed.  As soon as one person piped up her disagreement, everyone else just backtracked and tucked their tails and kissed so much ass it was nauseating.  And then it ended with some ridiculous hug-it-out kind of nonsense.  I was so irritated when I left that I was glad we were missing the next 3 weeks of our regular meeting.  Went back last week and it was OK ... but I didn't really want to be there and I definitely didn't feel any of my usual positive feelings when I left.  And then last night I really didn't want to go and I was so annoyed by the whole thing I actually left before it was over. 

So what to do?  Sean suggested perhaps I try a different meeting.  But honestly, what is annoying me the most is the rules of it all (the basic issue of the disagreement last month) and then the idea that I am totally at the mercy of whoever wants to talk up the whole meeting.  That's the point of the meeting I know, and everyone talks about all this safety and freedom at meetings, so what is wrong with ME for sitting there feeling completely hijacked and trapped? 

Not sure what my Al Anon future holds.  Not sure what I want it to hold.  Not sure what I get out of it.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Goal Post #1

With the ultimate goal being improved health and well being for my family, and a kick ass adoption application ready to rock and roll by June 2013, I think a series of posts with the smaller goals along the way is in order...

By the end of May 2012, I will set out a one year plan - following discussion and hopefully investment by my husband and perhaps the kids - to move forward toward healthier living in a variety of areas.  Those areas might include, but are not limited to, finances, our family's diet, our family's physical activity, emotional health, our relationships, parenting, and household management.  I hope that we can set some small goals in these or other areas, write them down, and then each month have a discussion about how we did and where we are going next.

I pray for the ability to lead and to maintain my own enthusiasm because at least the first few months of this challenge are going to be hard work, from a leadership perspective. 

Jumbled thoughts...

I miss the A to Z challenge - when all else failed, I had a LETTER to start a post...since yesterday I've been trying to find a thread of something to write about.  But all I seem to have is floaters - ideas pop in and out and nothing really coalesceses. 

My niece has her first prom tomorrow night.  I am planning to go to see the Grand March.  She is going with a guy who liked her but she didn't like him in that way.  But since they agreed to go together, he has apparently found someone else and that girl and her date will sit with them at dinner ... I'm very curious to hear how that all plays out.  But my niece also has a new guy that she does like in that way, and though he is not going to prom, he will be at the after prom lock in event.  Musical dates anyone?  Luckily, they are all friends, so hopefully it will be fine with no teenage drama attached.  I do not miss high school nor do I look forward to re-living this drama in a few years when my girls get there. 

Speaking of my 9 year old who is quickly moving into the "tween" behaviors.  She tends to growl at me now, rather than speak.  It seems that I get about 30-60 minutes of normal behavior per day and after that she just growls and whines until my head spins around and I consider spewing the verbal equivalent of pea soup.  I am not a fan of being growled at, as it turns out, and am struggling with ignoring it.  The other night I played the "if you're going to be a jerk to me, then I'll be a jerk to you" card, refused to read Harry Potter with her at bedtime, and told her to crabby her own self to sleep.  I think she ended up reading for a while by herself and I know I heard some more whining and carrying on after I shut her door, but she stayed in there and was asleep by 9p.  I am working hard not to yell but it is HARD.

We are going to a hog roast at a friend's ranch tomorrow, in celebration of his wife's birthday.  I have been surprised at my reaction to his facebook post yesterday about getting the pig - the live pig - in preparation.  There was even a photo of the live pig in its pen.  It's not like I don't know where meat comes from, after all.  I might be a town kid, but I am at least aware of what happens on farms.  But I couldn't stop my lip from curling.  This feeling was not helped by logging on to facebook this morning and seeing that he then posted a photo of said pig - now dead - hanging and ready for butchering I guess.  I had a moment of panic that he was going to have a series of photos of the process, but thankfully it was just the one.  Now my lip is curling and my nose is wrinkling up and I keep wondering if the roasted pork will smell good enough tomorrow to wipe that photo out of my mind?  Please know, the issue with all this (for me) is not the butchering piece in any way - it's seeing live pig/dead pig on facebook.  It's much the same as how I feel about all the hunting enthusiasts - go, have a good time, be safe and ethical, but I really don't want to see your dead critters.  I have no idea why it is thrilling or fun or exciting or even satisfying to see an animal moving around in it's daily life and then killing it, though I accept that it is a reality.  It is a piece of people I don't understand and never will, and so I try not to think about it. 

This post definitely gets a "random" label today! 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Plan B

I think I must have reached my limit for wallowing in my sadness - I didn't even spend much time cursing before I was solidly into analyzing where we can go from here.  And actually this is going to be a good thing.  It is a motivator, it is an opportunity, and it is only 13 months... I drove home from work today with ideas to plotting out a plan and feeling really good.

Then I got home and had one last email from one of the agencies before close of business - saying that we needed to wait until June 2013 to apply, but giving me a list of things we could do to move forward and get ready in those 13 months, and then we'd be ready to hit the ground running next summer.  I love it when a plan comes together!

Hardly inspirational!

I have an inspirationals quote-for-the-day calendar at work.  Today's just pisses me off.  Here is it:

NEVER GIVE UP, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.  Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Well, Harriet, I'm sorry but this does not work for me. I should continue to beat my head against a wall that I cannot change, in hopes for a different outcome?  Doesn't that smack of the definition of insanity (continuing the same behavior, expecting a different outcome)?  And then, if I should be so "weak" as to concede that I cannot change that brick wall and give up that particular fight, I do so knowing (according to Harriet) that things would have been different had I not given up.  Guilt.  Nice. 

Perhaps I am viewing dear Harriet in too narrow a view.  Perhaps it is meant as a "big picture" sort of view - allowing for a person to give up on one particular brick wall and seek out another way to one's goal.  Maybe.  But sometimes, there is no other way and sometimes one's own mental health requires concession.  There is nothing wrong with accepting that you cannot continue the fight.

Yes, of course, this reaction is personal to my current situation - two of four screening applications have ruled us out because of Sean's chemical dependency history, flat out rejection without any consideration of what we might offer that could outweigh that concern.  Yes, I am feeling heartbroken and defeated.  What is interesting, when I step back and look at things, is that a big part of me is beating myself up for talking about this big dream I have because now that the thwarting has begun, I am feeling embarrassed at the prospect of retracting that earlier excitement and replacing it with sorrow.  And that, my friends, comes right from my childhood, where the message was 'never admit you really want something because odds are you aren't going to get it and then you'll have to admit to having felt you were worthy of something that you didn't get.'  If you never admit you want to reach for something, you never have to admit that you didn't get it.  Just stick with the Minnesota "fine" - I feel fine, my life is fine, the world is fine - and then you'll never be disappointed.  Excuse me, but I need to go spew some curse words now...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


For the past five years, I've been singing in a regional chorale which just wrapped up its 10th season in existence.  I've always known how amazing it is to sing in a group of 50-60 voices and feel like I'm contributing some very small piece to this musical thing that is far and away bigger than me.  And it's really a stretch for me, since I have no musical education and am, by nature, not a very left-brained person - I have learned so much about music in the last five years, and discovered that I can successfully push myself in this foreign arena.  I am not much of a crier, but have been known to burst into tears while singing because my heart is just getting too big for my chest in the moment. 

To celebrate the 10th season, we performed Mozart's Requiem this spring season.  About 60 singers and a 20-ish piece orchestra.  I know very little about music and had to assume this was a big deal when every time someone heard what we were doing they went "Ohhhhhh!" And in the performing, given that any one of us could really only hear what was going on in the little area around us, I also have to trust the director, and several musically-inclined audience members, that the combined effort was amazing.  That makes me happy. 

By the time we get to concert time, I am usually plenty tired of the music, plenty tired of rehearsals, and I do not look forward to putting on our "bat dresses" with all the attendant concert nonsense ... but performing is usually pretty fun.  And then when it's all over, I am so very glad I did it. 

Congrats to the Legacy Chorale of Greater Minnesota for another successful season, and here's to another ten years!