Friday gratitude list


Not only am I grateful this Friday that it IS, in fact, Friday, but also for the following:

  • The Chicago Blackhawks convention is only one weekend long. My husband will be in a good mood for weeks afterwards and be extra kind. It is worth the price.
  • It finally rained, and there is an outside chance that not every single flower in my yard will be a crisped husk.
  • The dog may have pooped in the house yes, and even pug poo is gross, but at least he chose a brown rug. Ahem.
  • Some really cool chicks commented on a few of my blog posts and passed them on, making me feel ridiculously warm and fuzzy inside.
  • I have been writing for a whole three weeks now, longer than I manage most diets.
  • My mother-in-law is MY mother-in-law and my kids are MY kids.
  • Today is yet one more chance to greet the dawn and kick some azz! (insert theme to ‘Rocky’ here)
  • What are YOU grateful for today??

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    I absolutely HAD to repost this: this is the type of thing that should go viral, not the latest escapades of the various Kardashians.
    I can truly appreciate this – with especial love for “The clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat”. Never in my life have I looked at my weight with such a perspective – I am apparently a living, breathing dead-sexy testament to a Horn of Plenty. I’ve never gone hungry unless I’ve chosen to – and there are many who are not lucky enough to say the same.
    Thank you so very much for this post today. I needed it, and I love that I get the opportunity to pass it on.

    nevercontrary

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    “Keep Trying, Keep Trying, Don’t Give Up, Never Give Up…”


    Maybe like me, you’ve had that Yo Gabba Gabba song pounded repeatedly into your consciousness – or maybe you are far luckier and have been busier catching up on True Blood and Modern Family. As a working mom, I don’t get too much TV time, and sadly far too much of what I watch are the kiddie shows. But sometimes, even as adults we can learn a lesson or two from watching them.

    Life is Hard. You know that, I know that. Lately, I’ve had some things going on in my life that have been a bit overwhelming. I will save you the drama of the detail, but suffice it to say there have been days (and days and days) where I want to throw the towel in and hide under the bed. I make stupid mistakes at work, my body refuses to downsize, I never feel like I am giving enough time to my kids or myself. I try really, really hard in all those respects, but sometimes? It just doesn’t seem or feel like I am enough, or that I will ever be enough, or that I am even up to the challenge of another day.

    I keep falling down on my face. Hard. And sometimes? I don’t want to get back up. I want to lay there. It feels like too much. It hurts.

    I watch my daughter. She is whip-smart, and a stinker to boot. But she doesn’t like to not be good at things. She doesn’t want to ride her bike if she’s not good at it, if it’s not easy. I tell her all the time that we have to learn how to do things, and that sometimes those things are hard. It is a constant battle. But she gets up and she tries again.

    And if I don’t get up again when I fall, how can I expect to teach her to wipe off her bloody knees and get back up on the damn bike? How can I sing Yo Gabba Gabba songs to her and expect her to buy into them if I refuse?

    Every day we have on this earth we have to make a decision, and sometimes even getting out of bed seems like a hard one. Standing up and looking at our awful messes is hard; facing our failures and trying again is painful. Convincing ourselves that we truly can be more, get better, and improve after so many years of trying is a challenge.
    But I owe it to my kid, and I owe it to myself to persevere: to push what I can really do and who I can become. I will keep trying. I won’t give up.

    Multiple social identity (dis)order


    I like to believe I am pretty honest and straightforward. I do not like the fake, and I am not a fan of the airbrushed. Half of my job depends on my ability to see through the facades people project to find and in some respects, judge, the character and potential beneath.

    And I am damn good at it.

    But here’s the thing: I am coming to believe in the necessity of multiple personalities and identities. Where blood types and hair color used to be enough to identify bodies, we now have to use DNA to really make sure. And these days, the same level of research seems critical to figuring out who the heck you’re dealing with on a daily basis.

    No longer are these judgements based on resumes and simple conversation. You now have to cross-reference LinkedIn profiles versus Twitter feeds versus Facebook. And in some cases you’ll find all 3 vastly different, and that is not by accident.

    Even on a micro-level, we compartmentalize our identities more and more, and with social media that trend expands. I am attempting to write not one, but two blogs: one that speaks to me, myself and my experiences and the other to those as they relate to my kids. Why? Because even though I am the same person and tied to my world in both ways, there are some people who dig reading about kids and my stories there and others who just don’t.

    I would add a third blog to cover my career gal side if I had time. My work life is catalogued on LinkedIn, my personal on Facebook, and other parts of me scattered among blogs and hash tags. Fragments of who I am show up all over the internet.

    I don’t think I am less of a person, less deep, or less kind (usually). I am still me. But adaptation to the social landscape comes at a price: using
    so many different outlets for connection and business and self-expression shapes our identities as well. The very tools we use to craft our outward identities change us and the way we think in the process.

    I am Google-optimized. That can feel scary, and occasionally leaves me feeling fragmented. But I try to believe I am becoming more of a person, not less, and that we grow to fit not shrink the identities we develop – at least I pray that is the case.

    To keep myself sane, I make a conscious effort to step away from the machines, the laptops the iPhone and television and unplug. I play with my kids, pet the dog, and drink a glass of wine on the porch.

    Call a friend you usually text message and see them in person. Remind yourself (and them)  how much more you are than your status update or latest tweet. That’s what I do anyway. And if maybe you are feeling a little fragmented and overwhelmed by all the social media in your life, you can try it too.

    The Schedule


    1:55 am. Respond to screaming baby and try to put him back to sleep. Change diaper. Put permanent dents in chest from leaning over side of crib rubbing infant’s back.

    2:18 am. Return to bed. Rescue pillow from pug, try to block out combined snores of husband and dog. Resent hot pillow.

    3:34 am. Wake to sound of child’s screams. Try to blot out sound ineffectively. Wake up husband and delegate bottle duty. Lay in bed pretending I am not monitoring activity. Fall back to sleep. Nightmare. Damn.

    4:50 am. Wake, remembering that I forgot to send a work email. Panic.

    5:50 am. Husband’s 20-year-old alarm goes off – for me. Horrid sports radio. ::shudder:: Force self into shower, away from annoying sound.

    6:30 am. Trick daughter into clothes for preschool, search house for hair clip and left shoe. Try not to wake baby.

    6:34 am. Woke baby. Cuss under breath. Remind daughter she didn’t hear anything.

    7:45 am. Leave house with random food items for lunch.

    7:50am. Blow through Dunkin Donuts for the coffee I was giving up. Burn mouth, make note to order iced tomorrow.

    8:30am. Arrive at office. Pluck eyebrows in car mirror, apply makeup so as not to scare coworkers.

    8:34am. Work. Try not to mess up. Eat lunch at desk, try to remember what day it is. Make note to play Lotto.

    6:13pm. Leave office. Report location and status to spouse. Pick up dinner for family.

    6:53pm. Walk in house. Drop purse, pick up baby. Hug toddler. Share food. Cuddle and play with kiddos.

    7:45pm. Give baby bottle. Hope baby falls asleep before I do.

    9pm. Fall asleep in clothes on bed while husband continues to try and wrangle toddler.

    ::Repeat. Rinse. Pray. ::

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    On Rage: 5 options when homicide is not an option.


    We learn as little kids not to hit when we get angry – usually after we’ve slugged somebody. Apparently, we find, punching your sister in the face when she hurts your feelings isn’t proper behavior. Throwing things, screaming, pulling hair, tantrums of incendiary proportion: all bad.

    By the time we hit adulthood, we have learned to hide anger. Pacificism and enlightenment are the answers. We learn to repress, to justify, to just suck it up. We learn to drink, to medicate, and to hide. We are successful, it seems, when no one outwardly experiences the other end of what we’re feeling. The closer we come to the embodiment of Spock, the better we are.

    I don’t know how that works personally for you, but for me it sucks. I am a woman of, good or bad, strong opinions and even stronger emotions. I don’t just get angry: if unchecked, that anger ferments into a fine, ugly rage. And with nowhere to go, the emotions eat at my insides like acid. There aren’t enough mashed potatoes I can eat (suddenly craving mashed potatoes) or veiled, snarky comments I can make to reduce the bile that burns me up from the inside out. It uses too much of my energy, and I burn out. I shut down.

    Here are some things I’ve learned can help when homicide just isn’t an option:

    1. Get a tennis racket. Beat your bed with the tennis racket, or just use your fists. The bed won’t care, and you might feel better. If nothing else, your sore fists might distract you temporarily.
    2. Scream until your throat hurts. I have learned that doing this somewhere where you cannot be seen is probably best. Drive to a deserted parking lot or a park; wait until no one is home to hear you, and let loose. Try not to get arrested.
    3. Write. When I say that, I mean it cautiously: don’t write something you may accidentally send on in your fervor. Write out your feelings and your venom. And then? Destroy it. No one needs to go back and read what your wrote, especially you – or anyone who might inadvertently come across what you never wanted another set of eyes to see.
    4. Break something. Maybe you have boxes in your garage that could be broken down, or plates you despise. Give them names if necessary. Destroy them. Show them no mercy, the bastards.
    5. Go for a walk. Now, before you think I am just talking about a normal walk, I’m not. Walk as hard and as fast you can. Throw in some sprints that take away your breath. Jump – on something if you can find it. Yell at a squirrel. If necessary, find another neighborhood to roam so your neighbors don’t think you’re a nut job.

    Nostalgia for Paper


    Throughout her life, my Grandma Ellen wrote letters. She had a whole area of her table dedicated to the art: lovely pens, sharpened pencils, and an index box of addresses. She even had a fancy blue letter opener that sliced her mail with a precise ‘swish’. Gram wrote to her sister, her friends around the world, her colleagues, and when I went away to college, to me.

    Continue reading

    The Magic of actually Opening your Eyes to Nature


    Rushing to the grocery store this morning at 6 a.m. (we were out of food yet again and the baby needed milk) my brain was on a million different things, including my woes. I hadn’t slept, I had work waiting for me at the office, and I was driving like an automaton. Suddenly I looked up from a stoplight and saw – this. Continue reading

    Panic attack at 1am


    Huh? What? I am awake – why am I awake?

    My right arm is tingling and numb – am I having a heart attack or was I just laying on it funny? Which arm is it that you have to worry about? I should download WebMD so I don’t look stupid if I have to call someone. Continue reading

    A letter to the Passive Aggressive


    Dear Passive Aggressive:

    I would like to formally file a complaint. You will note I am stating directly that at present I am unhappy with you. Let me be clear: I think your communication skills are ineffective at best, and are a giant drain on my mental processing capacity to boot. Continue reading