Thursday, September 23, 2010

Muscles Don't Lie, Kid we've got some work to do.

When I was a child and I would turn funny or move something and it would hurt, I would tell my mother "hey it hurts when I do this." She in turn would say "then don't do that." I think of this as I look back and realize that I have now gone to three sessions of Yoga. Yoga is pain. I've said before that you think it's going to be all relaxing. They play soft music. They talk softly. All you are doing is stretching really how bad can it be? Well let me tell you, it's bad. I apparently have muscles, in fact entire muscle groups that I wasn't aware I had. These muscle groups of mine are tired. They have long relaxed with lack of use. Don't misjudge me here. I don't sit on my duff all day eating bon bons and watching soaps. I am active. I walk in the mornings. I run my kids to all these activities. My television doesn't turn on till evening. In fact, on facebook all my farms, restaurants, and pets have probably died or closed due to lack of use. I don't sit idle for long is my point. I can't, its not in my DNA. Even when watching television I have to be doing other things at the same time. To just sit and stare at the screen isn't what I would call entertaining.

I started Yoga last Tuesday completely unprepared for what I was getting myself into. With my volunteering at MOPS every other week I'm not able to make a Thursday class. This week I was there Tuesday and Thursday. In my mind for some reason I thought I'd be able to catch up with the movements we did that first day I went. Not realizing this is a compounding class, I was startled to realize now there are new movements and I will never catch up. Friends have told me that it's easy to progress with Yoga. As you limber up I suppose it gets easier. I have to tell you, I must be the least limber human on this planet. I go through the motions. The entire time my body is screaming at me NOOOOO stop! I don't of course because who wants to be the loser you drops out of Yoga because turning yourself into a triangle feels like a form of military torture? No one. So I stay. I stay and try to remember to breathe. Sometimes I forget with all the holding my shoulders back, pulling my navel to my spine and all the other activating that is required. When you have so much to think about breathing sort of takes a back seat. At least for me it does. Fortunately my friend, the instructor reminds us frequently to breathe otherwise I may just turn blue and black out.

Today we learned the half moon. Not to be mistaken with a full moon which is fun for teenagers in movies while driving down the road. Oh no the half moon requires so much balance ability that I had to find a wall to prop my tired body up against to avoid tipping over and causing a domino effect in the room. So far my favorite is child's pose. Even that can be a small torture in itself as it pulls my shoulders to the point of breaking. This is what is known as a recovery pose. Recovery poses I tend to excel at. Not the corpse pose a.k.a lay down and play dead pose. This requires total relaxation. The moment I completely relax I'm asleep. That's it, the only time. I'm wound tighter than a new yo yo on Christmas morning. That's not to say that I don't or can't have a good time, I absolutely do. I just carry everything all the time.

This is common in motherhood. As a mother of three, two of them being teenage girls, I am in a constant state of tension. Like a dog chasing it's tail, there is always something that needs done or someone who needs to go somewhere, or someone who needs to vent. My mom's taxi cab runs all week long, my laundry is never caught up, my therapy sessions do double duty every other week, and I'm always running out of milk. It's impossible for me to get it all together. So with all that milling around in my head how on earth am I supposed to just lie on the floor and relax all my muscles including the ones in my face? I have no idea. I know how to let go and let God, but He's got better things to do than my laundry so I can relax and read a book or lie on a floor and play dead. You know what I'm saying?

I do like this class though. When the pain and the begging of my muscles stop, I feel better for having done it. The muscles don't lie and mine are telling me "kid you've got some work to do." It's a good pain though. I don't know if I will ever catch up with the Yoga twins. You know the ones right? They have all the attire, they can do all the moves like it's the most natural thing in the world. I know, I know, I'm not supposed to look around, it's a singular thing. You go at your own pace. But that's OK. I've long since given up trying to catch up to anyone else. I think if I can be the best version of me then I'm good with that. Colored hair and crows feet and all, this is me and this is OK.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

To Be A Tree or To Be Me

I think if I could be anything I would be a tree. Always reaching for the sky, looking towards heaven all day, swaying in the breeze. A tree doesn't mind the weather, doesn't mind if you climb to make your way to the top. A tree provides shade from from the sun and a home for those who need it. Yes, I think being a tree would be nice for even when cut down it knows it will still served a purpose.

As I look out my window today, the trees still have a good supply of green leaves. When walking along the walkway I notice more and more leaves falling from their branches and turning brown and crunchy under my feet. Fall isn't far and soon all the leaves will be red, yellow, orange, and brown. I like fall. In some ways it's a shedding of old skin. Spring is rebirth, summer a time to flourish, but as I think about the impending winter I never look too forward to it. Trees however like people go through changes. Some of them may not be to our liking but necessary nonetheless.

Seasons change, people change, moods change. I once heard someone say that "she changes moods faster than she can change her underwear." Now I'm not sure who they were talking about but I believe it must have been a teenage girl. Or perhaps they were talking about women in general. I know my own moods can change with the weather. When it's sunny, I'm happy. When it rains, I feel down. When it snows, I feel confined. And so it goes every season. The trees lose their leaves, and I think how sad I am about it and how I wish it were spring. With the rebirth I know will come.

I will have to admit I tend to do better when I have a bible study to go to. I love it when I can do that. I do better when I'm told what to do and if i have others to hold me accountable. I'm the kind of person who will do what you ask but I need direction. While I tend to talk to God during the day I spend little time in the word unless I have direction to know what to read. And it helps to have a leader to explain and make sure I'm understanding what I've read. While I can read a book all day long and can retain the information. When reading the bible I have a hard time with the fact that God wants me. I can't imagine why. I've had the messy bits of life. And mostly because I don't believe I deserve it. I'm a sinner. I mess up all the time. But I know of rebirth. I know I've been washed clean.

Trees like people go through a sort of rebirth every year come spring. Now people don't necessarily get reborn every spring, but wouldn't it be nice if they did? In church we learn we are reborn through Christ Jesus our savior. We are saved and we are baptized and reborn through our faith in him. Every time I see someone get baptized I cry. To me it's like watching a birth, only you miss out on the messy part. But it's sometimes the messy parts that lead us to where we ultimately need to go. Life is messy, sometimes it takes a good cleansing to clean it all up.

I think we should reup. Like the trees in the spring. They get a rebirth every year. I think it could make an impact on our lives and on the lives of non believers as well. Everyone gathers together at the river, we fall to our knees and ask for forgiveness and then get baptized again. Get the rebirth once again. Sure you continue in your studies all year. Ask for forgiveness when you need it. Praise him all day every day but once a year come together as a group and reaffirm your commitment as a body of Christ.

Put that on the news. Show the leaders of the world that we as a body of Christ are coming together and this is One Nation Under God. The founding fathers of our country wanted religious freedom. We recieved it then we chucked it out the window by allowing the nonbelievers to say that they didn't want "In God We Trust" or any other religious statements in public areas like courthouses. Well too bad. I'm insulted by the nonbelievers thinking they can take my religious freedom to post it. Isn't that a bit like the pot calling the kettle black? This is where the renewal comes into play. A bit of standing firm. Someone saying no. They are bullies the way I see it. Bullies just need someone to stand up to them and tell them no.

I think as I look around sometimes there are so many who seem to have it all together. I am not one of those people. I have very little together. I also know that most of the time it's all an illusion. People tend to portray what they want you to see. Like the trees in the forest, sometimes you miss the fact that the base has rotted out because all you can see are the pretty green leaves. Such as there are no truly perfectly formed trees, finding truly perfect people is pretty futile. It doesn't exist. There has been and will ever only be ONE perfect person in all the earth and he died so that we can find our way to the father once again.

So why do we keep striving to conform and to be like those who seem to have it figured out? Why do we try to conform to what we aren't chosen to be. I suppose I could spend my whole life wondering what my purpose was. In "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" Eddie says he was just a maintenance man. He never went anywhere. He never did more with his life. He goes and meets five people and begins to understand about his life. My husband is just now reading the book. He was asking me who I thought I'd meet when I get to heaven. I'm not sure who I think would be waiting to enlighten me about everything I went through and what the lessons were. I know who I would like to see but mostly I think when I get to heaven, and I get to look into the face of God, it won't matter so much. I think that when I get to be with my Father, it will be like coming home. Perhaps longing to be like the trees who look towards heaven is what we should be doing instead of looking to see who's beside us while we are looking up. The way I figure it, God wants me to be happy. The people I love make me happy so there is no IF they will be with me again someday. Surely the God who can move mountains, turn water to wine, part the red sea, and bring my mother who never went to a church my entire childhood, can soften her heart and bring her home to be with him, the rest of my family should be a breeze. God places people in our lives for a reason. We are hear to learn. I guess what I've learned so far is to not question. I just believe that HE is the one in charge and I don't worry anymore.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

MINE! A story of growing up and letting go.

Mine. A simple word, four letters that individually seem harmless. Yet when thrown together in that order can hold a world of weight. What does the word mean to you? As children when playing with our favorite toys, we are reluctant to share with anyone. A common word uttered among them is MINE! In my house we have many things that are not to be touched without permission. Pretty much anything in my oldest child's room goes without saying. If she so much as catches you with a pair of her socks she will come unglued. My middle child is much the same way. Her room is her sanctuary from the world. My son however is very different from his older siblings. I'm not at all sure what this says about my parenting. But he is a sharer. Being as I have the oldest children among the majority of my friends it's his toys that are up for grabs. He is happy to do so as long as everyone understands to pick up when they are finished. In his words "I didn't make that mess mom. Someone is going to have to help me clean it up."

If you want any proof towards God's grace and mercy, you needn't look any further than my family. While growing up my family didn't go to church. I was an only child and was very familiar with the word MINE. I was left alone a great deal and not allowed to have friends over so everything I owned was in fact MINE. The only time I was ever forced to share is when for one week a summer one of my cousins came to stay. You can imagine how this went down. Sharing one's room, bed, toys, TV stations. It was torture. Not that I had any qualms when I went to their house for a week. Going there was something I looked forward to every year. Something I look back upon with very fond memories. Mostly because they were a family. They weren't alone. They weren't eating poptarts every morning for breakfast. My aunt made the best pancakes ever! Also as I was an early riser, my younger cousins were up also, so watching cartoons was more fun with someone to watch with.

Now that I'm grown I find that same concept holds true even today. I have a lot of trouble letting go of what is MINE. This pertains to every aspect of my life really. My sins are MINE. How on earth am I to forgive myself for what I've done even though I know that I've asked forgiveness and God has forgiven me. My personal torture seems like a small price to pay. For certainly I must pay. As I'm certain that even though I've never killed anyone and I don't steal, the fact that when angered I tend to recess back to my childhood and the way my family dealt with things and yell and sometimes curse like a truckdriver, I may have done irreparable damage to my kids psyches so that is MINE too. It is in fact a very heavy burden to bare. I'm not so good at letting things go if I think I can fix it.

It's not just that. They are MY children. How on earth do you let those go? I can't do it. Those precious beings that I never imagined having the entirety of my youth. They have become my reason for existing. No house, no car, no amount of accessories or electronics can make me as happy, as fulfilled, as completely insane as they do. My oldest has started high school the next in line is in jr. high. The only shred of sanity I hold on to is that my youngest is only in second grade, so my life will make sense for the next ten years. I was just told today how great the empty nest is. I have no idea how this can be a good thing for me. I don't actually know who I am without the kids. Sure they are all in school full time now, and I do enjoy my days of running around and eating lunch with friends, reading books in my reading room uninterrupted. It's delightful, but there is only so much of it I can take. When the children get home my day begins. It's exhausting running to and fro all the time. I wouldn't change a thing.

This last Friday we went to the High School Football game. My oldest two ran around with friends and socialized. This is a good thing. I know that. The game is less about the game and more a reason to get together with friends. I was a nervous wreck. It was impossible for me to relax. Where are they? Are they ok? Are they safe? Is that policeman over there making sure there aren't any crazy people walking around trying to take my kids away? Even more frightening, are there boys walking around scoping out my daughters? Shouldn't there be laws? I don't know something somewhere written down that says "Boys and girls aren't to be anything more than friends until they are out of high school or the parents are ready. Whichever comes last." Seems like a good rule. I am not ready. I think the only reason a boy would have to touch one of my girls is if they are choking and no one else is around to perform the Heimlich menuever. Otherwise it's hands off buddy. When my kids used to fight in the car if they were hitting each other, I would tell them to sit on their hands. This seems like a good idea for boys and girls. Don't get me wrong. I want them to grow up and fall in love and get married and have children of their own. I want them to experience all the joys this life has to offer. But not now. Why? Because right now they are MINE. I know how it works. I've been there. They start liking each other, they start spending more and more time together. They are on the phone when they aren't together. It's all consuming. Then they run off get married, move out and then it's all over. They have their own house, their own family and you are lucky if they call and see if you can still make it up and down the stairs to bed on your own. I refuse to wrap my mind around it all. They are MINE! I waited my entire life to have a family of my very own I refuse to acknowledge the idea that someday they will want the same things.

The entire thing is moving far too quickly for my liking. Friday they run off and don't sit and watch the game with us. Something even I encouraged but then today during church, they didn't sit with us again. They sat with friends. I am encouraged by the fact that they are both wanting to go to Sunday School, which has been something I could not get them to go to for the last two years. I hope they are going to hear the message and not to look at certain boys.

It's funny how one little word changes an entire perspective. MINE! It's very possessive. These children aren't even MINE. They are on loan if you will. They belong to God. I know this, HE knows this. I think that perhaps it's in HIS plan that the teenage years are so difficult. They are a lot less likable during these years. I think this is by design so you will WANT them to leave. This way it isn't quite so difficult when they do leave the house. Make no mistake my kids some days I think will kill me. The way they fight and argue with each other and me. Yet I still find myself trying to tighten my hold. Trying to stay in control of the very lives I've been trying to form so they can live on their own. So when I'm no longer around they won't have to guess what the right answer will be. As parent's sometimes it's easier to make the decision for them ourselves. Surely it would be easier for God to make our decisions and not give us a choice. But like the children we are raising who would want that? That is what is so ingenious about free will. We have the bible and our churches to give us all the information, but inevitably we are the ones who make the decision. No one makes it for us. By making the decision for ourselves we are more likely to stick to the decision.

In the game of life, in the game of parenting where do you turn when you don't know the answers? When it's all SO overwhelming. When the time has come to loosen the hold and let them grow. When it's hard to breathe and you want to cry because you know soon it will all be over. I find in my experience it's best to look up. To hold on to the ONE you can hold on to. The ONE who will walk you through it when everyone else thinks you are crazy. What will you hold on to?

My daughter keeps telling me I'm going to have to let her go. She is in high school now. I need to let her take the first steps to growing up. I think the mere fact that I let her go to high school without me is a step. She thinks I should let her have a facebook. I tried to explain to her that first it's a facebook, then it's the phone calls and texts, then she'll be asking if she can go to the movies with a boy, then it'll be the prom, then it'll be college, then she'll just be getting married, then it's just a baby. It happens in a snap. In my mind I've even picked out the boys who I think are likely candidates. I have devised an interview process. I have purchased black clothing so I can be just within the recesses of the date and within the recesses of their mind. Did they see me? Are they going crazy? Surely this beautiful girl's mother isn't on this date with us or is she? It's a scare tactic really. One wrong move and I'll be there. Since realistically I'm a klutz and kind of scared of driving at night I won't be able to pull this off. I can implant the thoughts and buy spyware so I can have her jewelry be cameras so I know what's going on.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Who are these people? Where do they come from? And why? Why I ask you do they think that screaming at their kids on the sidelines is in any way encouraging to the child? Just wondering. My seven year old son plays soccer. At this age they are happy not to accidentally score for the opposing team. There are no great talents in the group, no one is going to be getting recruited to the big leagues real soon. They are just a bunch of second and third grader running around blowing off steam so their parents can get them in bed on time without more than one story at night. Or perhaps some parents don't read to their kids at bedtime. I wouldn't know. I can only say what happens in my house and after running to and fro and getting dinner,showers, homework, etc. I'm excited that he's worn himself out enough to go straight to sleep without reading three chapters once or twice a week.

So at a recent soccer game some parents for the opposing team were just ruthless. They kept screaming at their child. "Get that ball" "Pay attention" "What is wrong with you?" "If you don't do better I'm pulling you out!" And so it went, for an hour. Seriously? I would have walked off the field and said "Don't bother! This is no longer fun. I'll pull myself out of the game." The kid in question was running his little heart out. I felt sorry for the kid. I was wishing I had money to help with the counseling he'll need later. But then I figured his parents could take care of it assuming that he came around to their way of thinking, or if not of course they would pull him out. Ha! Let's just take some kids who are trying to learn a sport they may or may not be interested in continuing and if they aren't "bending it like Beckham" we'll just dash all their hopes away by yelling at them the entire time. In addition to embarrassing the kid in front of their friends. So seriously who are these people? Are they trying to live out their childhood fantasies through their kids? Are they higher than a kite? Are they missing a dose on some much needed medication? I'd like to know.

I'm all for encouraging your kid. By all means yell for your team. "Way to go" "Good job guys" "Let's go " Do your favorite cheer. But honestly let's be realistic here. The odds are not in the favor of your kid turning into the next big thing if all you do is steal his spirit and love of the game. Never in my life have I heard a professional athlete thank his parents for screaming at them and making it so unbearable to play their sport they felt they had no choice but to succeed or suffer the consequences. Yeah that's not real common I don't think. If so then perhaps I'm doing it all wrong. I watch my kid. I yell good job. Afterward I rarely even know if they won or lost. I just ask if he had fun. I figure the chances of one of my kids becoming the "next big thing" is pretty slim. Not that they are bad at what they do, but the fact is that we live in a small rural community. The most exciting thing we have going is the fact we don't even have mail delivery so we have to go pick it up. Which is in itself hilarious, as it's so small here, it's not like it would necessarily take long to deliver it all. Frankly whoever did it, could be done by lunch weather pending of course. Also we are not a tall people in our house. I'm maybe 5'4" on a "good day" My husband is maybe 5'7" on a good day. I'm just holding out hope that one of my kids hits 5'9" so they can reach the tall shelves in the kitchen so I don't have to stand on a chair to reach things.

While we are on the subject of sports. Who are these people? You know the ones, they hate your team. Any call against their team is bad. Of course you have paid off the refs, that or there is some other unjust reason why they can't win. It couldn't possibly be that their team just isn't as good, or has had an off night. Oh no. They are the ones yelling at the refs, glaring at your kids, glaring at you for cheering for your team, and rolling their eyes at your cheers. They have obviously forgotten that they are all children on the court or field. They seem to think it's proper etiquette to yell obscenities at your kids and call them cheats. I'll be the first to admit that I went to a football game once and they all had cow bells they were clinging. Seriously cow bells. To me it's just goofy, what on earth do cow bells have to do with football? But in no way would I start insulting those who feel that's the best way to cheer for their team. By all means clang away. I assume you realize the team can't hear them from that distance but if it makes you feel better, do it.

I am not an athlete. I have never been an athlete. I married one. I have kids who are. Personally I'm not competitive enough. Also I run like a girl. It's quite a sight really. Also I'm too big of a klutz to be an athlete. It requires far more coordination than what I was given or have acquired. If you can run around the block without passing out, God bless you. I can't run from my driveway to the stop sign three houses down, without the feeling of needing an oxygen tank. It's just not me. Walking? That I can do. I can even walk briskly. But as a non-athlete I fail in the understanding of how very important it all is. Team spirit I get. Coming together to work toward a common goal I get. Even doing something for exercise and keeping in shape,I get. But losing gracefully to me is an even better success than the winning. Sometimes I think winners are just mean. By all means celebrate your victory. I just don't see doing that at the expense of the others. I don't see rubbing it in. I don't see talking poorly of the other team, when they tried just as hard to win. This is why I'm not an athlete. That and the fact I have no athletic ability whatsoever. But you get my point. The joy should be in the playing. If you get so wrapped up in the winning or losing you lose the spirit of the game. You lose why you started playing in the first place. The saying is "It's not about winning or losing, it's about how you play the game." I think some would do well to remember that. I also think the people on the sidelines should remember that for them it shouldn't be about winning or losing, it should be about who has the best refreshments. But then for me it's always about the food.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

From Warrior 1 to Corpse Pose My Day in Yoga

About eleven years ago after child number two came along, I thought it would be a good idea to try and shed some baby fat. I joined a gym and got somewhat fit by working the machines and taking kickboxing and yoga classes. Well...then life happened. I stopped going to the gym because why go to the gym when you've lost the weight right? The problem lies in the fact that I'm a stress eater. I'm also an I'm bored and that looks too good to pass by eater but that's beside the point. The fact remains that I did gain weight back and since college have struggled with keeping the weight off. So one Christmas my husband got tired of my complaining so he decided the best gift to give me would be a yoga mat and a big exercise ball. You can imagine my delight when opening up my gifts to find the gift that says "hey honey you're getting a little chunky, why not fix that?" Needless to say he never made that mistake again. The items in question have been in the back of a closet for the last 10 years.

My weight spiked up six years ago when I was eating for five. Don't get excited I wasn't pregnant or anything. I was caring for my mother who was dying of cancer, my husband, and my three kids one of them being just a year old. As I said before I am a stress eater. I ate my portion, the portion I made for my mom that she couldn't eat, and whatever was left on anyone else's plate. Then after everything was said and done. I spent a year losing 56 pounds. Swore I would never go back. I was making the lifestyle change.

Enter three years later after the great weight loss. I've gained approximately 20 of it back. I have not changed my pore eating habits, but to make it a less guilty feeling I've started walking in the mornings again and today I was invited to go to a yoga class a friend was teaching. Which is an a round about way to slide you into my day.

Walk with me if you will into the grand new YMCA that I have never been in. This month they are apparently trying to drum up new members so you can take classes for free. I walk in and say that I'd like to take my friend's yoga class. The first question they ask me is if I've signed a waver. The first thought I think is "does one need a waver for yoga? Isn't yoga supposed to be relaxing?" HA! Shows what I know. It's an amazing thing how the mind forgets isn't it? So I sign my waver and walk in late for my yoga class. Here are my thoughts as I get into class and get prepared. "Hmmm looks like we don't wear shoes for yoga my Skechers Shape-ups won't be toning my rear during this class. The class is looking pretty full already but darn they already saw me I have to go in now. Uh oh they are getting me a mat, I'm in this thing for the duration now. There is no watching. This may not be so bad, we have soothing music, we have my friend for an instructor so she is less likely to make fun of me when I mess this up and fall over causing a domino effect knocking all the ladies down in a landslide. Boy I hope that pizza last night doesn't come back to haunt me. Why isn't anyone wearing a concert t-shirt? I was told that was the required attire. I see no buttons to push if I can't get back up, I wonder what their success rate is of bringing people back if my arteries are too clogged to work this out and my heart just stops?" As you can see I was a little timid about this entire ordeal. So the class is started and I jump right in. I'm not sure how often you have stood in a "warrior" position with your arms straight out at your sides, but let me just say it really is harder than it sounds. Also there is a lot to think about. Drawing your navel into your spine, breathing, keeping your shoulders down from your ears, your knees over your ankles. It's completely exhausting! Then at the end you lay down and are expected to be able to relax completely. How is this possible I ask you? How? My mind is a whirlwind at this point. I laid there and was placing bets with myself to figure out how long it would take me to get back up, IF that was even possible.

One year for Christmas I wanted a wii fit. The first time you get on the wii fit it does an analysis on you. The thing told me that I had balance problems and asked me if I fall down a lot when I walk. I am relatively accident prone. In college I worked in a department store and often ran into the racks of clothing. I have fallen down the stairs more times than I care to admit. THIS is the kind of girl I am. So the mere fact that I successfully finished the class with out causing bodily harm to myself and others is quite a fete. But you know this may not be so bad. I could stand to get a little more limber. It could only help with my fitness plan. Besides I do have my own mat. It's purple, perhaps I could get a cute outfit to wear to go with it. Yes this could be good for me. Plus there is the promise of Starbucks afterward as a reward for not hurting anyone. I look forward to trying it again next week. I'll be the one concentrating on not breaking wind or falling over.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Patience is a Virtue but Delivery is Divine

This year has been the year of home improvement in our home. As some of you know, last summer I came up with an ultimatum for my family. We were to either fix up our house so that it looked like a home and not one big frat house, sell the place and build a new one, or sell the place and move to Florida (still kind of with I'd sold them on that one). Well in this economy selling the place would be about as easy and flying to the moon. So we decided to fix the place up. Fresh paint, new flooring, new furniture that no one had peed on. I would be lying if I said that I didn't love my "new" house. I do however the process of the great re-make wasn't an easy one. Nor is it now easy. I am not a home decorator. If I were I'm pretty sure I would have done it right the first time and would merely have needed new flooring instead of the whole shebang. As I don't know what I'm doing I went to an expert. She was wonderful. She came up with some great ideas. What she didn't come up with is a timely manner in getting things in, and an understanding of what the word budget means. After the first two rooms were done, I decided I had the thing down pat and took over with what she taught me to look for and a few ideas of my own as well as my friends.

We started last October. We emptied rooms and filled nail holes and repainted. We got new hard wood floors in two of the rooms. This was a dream of mine. I always wanted hard wood floors. We get the floors installed and the walls are all painted what I didn't count on was waiting till Christmas and after for my furniture to get in. What I also didn't count on was that come July those same hardwood floors that I dreamed of and wanted for my very own would buckle. Now here I sit in September looking at my strip of paper that should be hardwood. Where they have ripped out the faulty section, in hopes of figuring out what went wrong.

If you were to ask my family what my strongest suit is, they would not tell you patience. The wouldn't tell you cooking, or baking, organization either, but by far patience is lacking in my temperament. Perhaps it's an only child personality trait that I just can't ditch. I'm not sure but I think that in this instance I've been more than patient far more fair than most. It's been almost a full month since they pulled up the wood and have yet to come and fix it. A less patient person would have called them long before now and told them to either get out here and fix it now or get out here rip it all out and give them back their money. Have I done either of these things? No. No I've sat and waited. Until last week I had held out hope that any day they would come and fix it and all would be well. Last week I decided to call. I explained I was unhappy. I told them a solution would be appreciated. A return phone call was to be made, it never was. So today I called and again said I was unhappy (Seriously? Do they not know that when mama isn't happy nobody is happy?) I said I would like this taken care of that my patience that they had commended me with in the past is now spreading thin. Today I got a call back and hopefully in the next couple days some manufacturing guru will come and say what the problem is and they will fix it. Hopefully!

This journey we have been on has been quite an adventure really. Living where we do we get a lot of spiders. Some of them live in my stairwell well out of reach. I discovered that they are of little use to me as they were unable and unwilling to help me paint the corners that were hard to reach. How we painted it before is a mystery to me. We have learned that a bookshelf isn't just a bookshelf. Some book selves are Divine and even those are full of my treasured books. Which was the reason behind the birthday present of the nook. This device feeds my desire to have immediate satisfaction as I'm able to buy book from it without ever leaving the house. This is good as we no longer have a bookstore in our town. We have a Walmart and a Meijer that both sell books but it's not the same as a bookstore where you can roam isle after isle of imagination and education. You lose that in the nook but you gain just as much so I feel content.

Did you know that having the right stuff is better than having a lot of the wrong stuff? We learned that too. Over the course of 15 years of marriage and children you accumulate a LOT. Getting rid of a great deal and using just what was needed has calmed me immensely. I no longer feel it's best to be away from home as it's simpler now to get it all cleaned up and this calms me. Before it was just SO much that it overwhelmed me to the point I'd rather move and start over. For this I'm very grateful for the help that was involved in this process.

My office still needs help. I have yet to figure out how to get it manageable. Perhaps it's more conducive to my work to have it messy. It's good material. However, as the rest of the house is so orderly, I think the greatest gift for me would be to have someone come in and show me how to get this figured out also. The vastness of the mess is what gets to me. I often have trouble seeing the trees for the forest. Some people can't see the trees for the forest, I'm backwards. In all actuality I should be able to take one desk at a time and get it right then move on, all I can do is keep looking at what is left so I walk away, to one of the more calming rooms. My reading room is lovely. It's also known as the living room. I call it my reading room because it's you know, where I read. It's also my favorite room, aside from the missing flooring it's lovely. The light is best in that room and the couch is very comfy for settling in with a good book.

So this is what I know. Deliveries only happen when you are painting in another room. It also helps if it is a holiday. It doesn't matter if they have a factory full of furniture you will get yours when they get good and ready to send it. Washable fabrics are your friend. Patience is a virtue but delivery is Divine!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

So How's the Book Coming?

Him: So how is the book coming along? Me: Well... Him: Have to got page one of the manuscript ready? Me: Well... Him: Have you even typed "page 1"? Me: No, but you see it's because I have no printer. I can not work under these conditions. I need my printer to function properly. I have to be able to print otherwise what is the point of typing it? Him: Really? That's what's holding you back? Me: Of course what are you insinuating? Him: Only that you go out for lunch so often that when we go out together to a restaurant it's like walking into Cheers. Everyone knows you. But of course that couldn't be the reason. Me: I need material. How am I supposed to get material if I don't ever leave the house?

This is how our conversations go. What this doesn't indicate is that when I get inspired to write one of three things usually happens. 1. He calls me to do something for him. 2. One of the kids calls me to do something for one of them. or 3. I run out of time as it's time to go to lunch of course. For example, just this week alone as Wednesday was his day off we spent the day running errands and having a nice lunch together. Then as we were home and we were waiting on the children to get home, I decide it's a good time to write. He thinks it's a good time to change the faucet in their bathroom. This is how that played out. I'm sitting at my desk typing away when... Him: Hey can you come here for a minute? Me: Sure, what do you need? Him: Do you have strongs? Me: Seriously? Him: Just come here. So I go upstairs and attempt to loosen the nuts holding the faucet intact. I being the weakling that I am can't budge them so I return to my desk. I sit down and start typing again when... Him: Hey come here and help me a minute. So I go up and help again and return to my desk to type when...Him: Hey I need your brains can you come here a minute. So I grumble up the stairs yet again. This goes on about two more times. So I ask you, when do I get to finish a thought? He wonders why I can't get an entire book together when it's next to impossible to finish a thought long enough to blog. Thus proving my point that I'm only charming and poignant in short spurts. I can't do the long haul because I don't have time to do the long haul.

If it's not the writing it's the scrap booking. Our oldest child is a freshman this year. She has yet to enter the 3rd grade in her scrapbook. This is a source of contention amongst us as it's my job to remedy this situation. This I must do in between the laundry and the cleaning and the running to soccer, and volleyball, and drama. What do I do with my time? What are you most likely to find me doing if I'm not doing any of the aforementioned above? Reading. Slipping into another realm where I have no dishes waiting to be done but a 17 year old girl is fighting for her life in a place called Panem. Or a place where vampires walk among us and account for the oddities in some people. Is this the best use of my time? I don't know. Is sitting in front of a television set with no use of any imagination at all a good use of time? I don't think so. I have always enjoyed television but I have to be doing something else at the same time. I can't just sit and stare. It's mind numbing. But to read is to be mesmerized by something bigger and better. The thoughts and descriptions the imagination can lead you to in a book is so much better. Plus although I do think life is funny. I'm not convinced mine is worth reading about.

I do not know any vampires nor do I know any werewolves. But I do know some great kids and one great man. My children are smart. Something they get from their father. He is quite brilliant really. This is good because I can only help them with their math homework till about the 4th grade. After that they enter what I like to call "that new math". Perhaps you've heard of it, it's what my mom used to tell me I was studying as a kid. Truly the only math I ever really needed to learn is what I like to call "shopping math". This is where I go and figure up the sale prices when I'm shopping to decide if it's a good buy or not. One thing I did learn from my mother is to never pay full price. I also learned that when you can't find a hammer to hang a picture, a meat cleaver works just as well. Tips and hints from mom. She was nothing if not resourceful. She once thought the best way to get me to eat spinach was to mix it with green beans. (Do not try this at home!!) Needless to say it didn't work and had she made me a spinach salad with strawberries and warm bacon dressing her problems would have been solved as my green leafy veggies would have been consumed.

My best friend however, is the backbone to this operation. She doesn't get near enough credit, not that she ever looks for any. She is the voice of reason, when reason jumps from a window. We have often called each other in times of crisis. But our best times are spent over a chocolate tall cake. It seems when all else fails and life is just too hard chocolate and conversation are the cure. She is very handy when it comes to "shopping math" and also as she was a math and an English teacher she is my editor. If I ever get her anything to edit. Which leads us back to where we started. Him: How's that manuscript coming? Me: Just as soon as the new printer shows up, I'll type "page 1".

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sergeant Major Mommy

I have figured a solution to every problem we have. The country has been run by men for far too long. I am under the impression that if women had been running this country all this time the national debt would be no more, war would cease to exist, and everyone everywhere would be better dressed if not better fed. I should preface this with the statement that I do not hate men, I am married to the pick of the litter and no I have no intentions of running for office. I am just a wife and mother living in Nowhere, USA who has a big mouth and a few ideals of her own she would like to share.

Those of you who are married will be able to commiserate with these truths that I hold self evident. Women, mothers especially are the only ones on the planet who can find things. We are the only ones who can switch gears fast enough to discipline a child and take care of a dead pet all while holding a party in the house. We are the only ones who can talk on the phone while moving which is to say that while on the phone we prepare meals, do laundry, and check homework all while holding a conversation. We plan the parties, we supply food, we make the calls, we run the errands, we run the mom's taxi service, we accomplish this and manage to do it all without a man at home to hold our hand and instruct us on what to do. I do not discredit men who go to work and provide for their families. I thank them. God bless them. Without them I would not be able to stay home and raise my children. However, there are plenty of women in the military and plenty of them involved in politics who are willing and able to make a change.

Who in your home is the one who finds things? The mother. Who should go looking for the bad guys? The women. By all means take the men with you let them do the killing and the blowing of stuff up. But if you want something found from a person to a pair of clean socks you don't send a man in to do the job. You send the mom. If I want a jar of jelly opened I don't ask my daughter to open it I ask my husband. But if I want my brown jacket that is hanging on my side of the closet all the way to the right. I don't send my husband, he will never find it. I send my daughter. If she doesn't find it she will bring every other option and check the laundry till she comes down and says "ok the one you want is in the wash which one do you want?" A man would have come down with a green jacket and claimed I didn't own a brown one. Why are we in debt? We make money every day right? Make some more! Honestly if you run out of underwear you don't just stop wearing it you buy some more. Goodness I realize this is the ramblings of someone who doesn't watch the news and doesn't get the paper. (Why would I read about or watch the things I cannot change when there are so many more entertaining books to read.) I have better things to do. I can't change the programming any more than I can get all men everywhere to figure out which day is trash day and get it to the curb on time, every time. Nor can I get them to get the laundry to drop into the basket instead of just outside it. But really? Does everything have to be that difficult? Life really wasn't meant to be so counterproductive. If you don't have money for new weapons then quit ordering more. If a woman doesn't have money for all the groceries she needs, she doesn't go spend what she does have on her hair. She figures out ways to spread it out and make enough food to feed a family and wears a hat.

You don't hire a plumber to do your electrical work. You don't have the UPS guy pick up your trash. You don't have the guy who trims the trees also trim your hair. You get the right person for the job. You get the person who will get the job done quickly and efficiently and lets face it, for most jobs you need a woman to get it done. How many women make honey do lists only to check off the list themselves. Men are busy. Men work hard for a living to provide the very food you prepare for your families. I get it. But a woman works all day from sun up to sun down cleaning the clothes that they wear, preparing the food that they eat, finding the socks, cleaning the house that they live in. You don't send a woman in to do jobs that they are unable to do. I am unable and unqualified to do welding, chop down a tree, fight forest fires, I also can not walk away from perfectly good ice cream either but I digress. I'm just saying ladies I believe it's up to us. Behind every great man is an even greater woman. Everyone knows who wore the pants in the Clinton administration and it obviously wasn't Bill. Perhaps next time when the need arises we shouldn't send men who will drive around for hours lost because they won't ask for directions. Men who won't find them or if they do will not close the deal. Women are the deal closers.

Disagree, dislike, be disgruntled if you choose to be. This is just my opinion. My husband disagrees he believes in fact that men are the ones who have made this country great. Men have fought for our freedoms, men protect us every day. I don't disagree. But even Abraham Lincoln gave his mother credit for making him the man he is. Let's just remember the wives, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, and nieces along with them.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

To Fight or To Flee

It's been a few days now. I am able to share the events of the weekend. My husband's birthday conveniently turns out to be on a holiday weekend. So of course we must party. The weekend gets started like most then on his birthday we get to go to a party and we load up the crew and head on over. This seems like it would be an easy task to accomplish for most who have children who are past the stage of diaper bags and gear that takes up an entire car to bring with. No bags are needed, no jumping seats required, no bottles to prepare here, nope just a "hey kids, ready?" and they should flow from the house in an orderly fashion and get into the vehicle and buckle up for the evening adventure. This part did go off without a hitch. It's the unloading where we find the problems.

We have three children. We have a vehicle that has three rows for the reason that they are unable to sit quietly next to one another in a car that only has a back seat. This is too much to ask so I have to be able to separate them for my own sanity. I should mention that what is about to develop outside our friend's home is not to be linked to any such event that has happened at our home. My husband and I are happily married and the punishment of choice in our house is to take away all electronics until they can get a grip on reality. As Michael Jackson would say "I'm a lover not a fighter." I'm not into confrontations unless it would be to defend someone I love. I should also mention that we are not WWF followers, we are not into mud wrestling, Neither hockey nor boxing are sports we follow. My children are not allowed to watch prime time television and the channels of choice are Disney and Nick. That said, take a seat and get some popcorn because this is about to get sticky.

We arrive at our friends house. The yard is full of people and my middle child's friends and teammates are there and coming to greet her. At some point between my husband and I and my younger two children getting out of the car, the middle one acted as though she were going to shut the door in the oldest one's face. (She had the pleasure of sitting in the very back) So the door shuts in her face and almost hits her in the nose. She gets out of the car and while the friends are watching, grabs her sister, throws her to the ground and proceeds in trying to beat some sense into her. I turn around to see the commotion in time to stop her from kicking her while she is down. Now tell me this, what is your initial reaction? First thing you think you should do? Well you remove her from the scene and take her home to a life without electronics for the rest of her life of course. You also might think about which Military School will take her after school has started. You may even explore options for a career in wrestling and tell her that mud wrestling is out because she would have to wear a bikini and that's just trashy. She's too cute for boxing so that's out. She is pretty orderly I suppose she could be a drill Sargent. In my mind I think, well I suppose I don't have to worry about her defending herself when she starts dating. I'm pretty sure she could take anyone down if she got mad enough. The first boy to try and kiss her is likely to lose a few teeth.

I grew up alone. I didn't have any brothers or sisters. I have told you that I always thought that if I had siblings we would be best of friends and of course, would never think of fighting because we would be so happy to have each other. Obviously that is fantasy and my husband being one of three children, with two older sisters just like in our family assures me that sisters fight. I envisioned what it would be like for them growing up so close together in age. I assumed of course (You know what happens when you assume right?)that they would team up. The girls against the world. Ready to conquer the world side by side. BFF's forever. Never in my mind did I think they would be what's the word the kids use now? Frenamies? Yeah, that I didn't count on. When our first one came along she was so beautiful and sweet and pure I thought to myself "This is great, but what would be better than one little angel? I know! Two little angels. We need another one!" So I stepped into the valley of no return and had one more perfect beautiful baby. Ten fingers, ten toes, perfect round heads. The perfect little angels grew up is what happened. Of course when that wasn't enough I had one more and three made our family complete. With a boy to carry on the family name.

My mother had a look. I was an only child so I knew that the look meant one of two things were about to happen: 1. Either I stop and continue life as I know it, or 2. Her head is about to spin around and I'm gonna be looking for my rear end because the one I have is coming off! Mom made no attempt to hide her authority and no attempt to be my friend. I knew where I stood at all times. She was the boss, you did things her way or the highway. Over the last 14 years I have tried to establish a look. I just don't have it. Perhaps I am too funny looking for it to really take hold, I'm not sure. I'm plenty scary I suppose, I can yell like a banshee. I have follow through. They know I'm the mom and not their friend. Friendship comes after my job of raising them is done and they have become adults. But darn it if they don't stay up nights playing rock, paper, scissors to see who's turn it is to throw me for a loop. Why? Why I ask you? My daughter asked me if it was fun for me to punish them. I said "no why on earth would it be? If you are grounded that means I don't get to have any fun either." She said "oh I just thought it would be fun for you." There is nothing fun about having to discipline your children. The "perfect" child does not exist any more than the "perfect" parent. Both sides are human and both sides are bound to make mistakes. The learning from the mistakes is what makes it probable that both sides will get through it with their sanity intact. Even an animal can learn from it's mistakes, surely we mere humans can do the same.

All I know is this. If my daughters can find it in themselves to continue to love each other even after a WWF style smack down. I can learn to accept that even though their relationship isn't what I had envisioned for them, it is what it is and it's still something special. They spent the next evening playing cards and laughing with each other, without any media assistance whatsoever. I think this week of no media may help their relationship. It's amazing how they can find things to do together when the t.v. and computers aren't available.