Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 New Year's Resolutions

I have not been into setting new year's resolutions the last couple of years. In general no one ever follows through with them but I have learned that setting a goal is good for me to actually get something done. Maybe I was the only one that didn't follow through? (Not!) With 2010 coming tomorrow, I have three areas of focus, and they are not new but I have a newfound desire and new skills.

It has hit me once again as I'm typing, that balance is a huge component of life. I have found that the more organized I get, life flows better, and yet the more flexible I am within that organization, the easier life is, less stress.

One area of organization that I need to focus on is incoming paper. Between the mail, bills, receipts, school papers, children's art, husband's papers, etc., it piles up on kitchen counters, and everywhere in our office/spare bedroom. My goal is to have no receipts lying around and for the ones that I need to keep to be in the pretty purple file folder. I have almost finished going through all of the old ones and have to stay focused for all of the incoming ones. My future is to have all papers dealt with in a timely manner, but I'm going to start small with receipts.

Another area that I want to focus on is new meals to prepare. I want to find new dishes that my children have not tried and that are easy and tasty. Both of them like to help me bake but perhaps we can push the envelope and find new foods other than plain meat, starch, & vegetables that they will actually eat. This does mean more work for me and with extracurricular activities in the afternoon, I cut corners. Yet I do want to try some new things, even if it is just two new recipes a month. That's my goal!

Lastly, I'm still on a decluttering movement and I hope forever will be. You can't stop with this one or "the stuff" takes over again. I have a friend who did not buy stuff for a year. I want to hear more about that. I know I could not embark on that, I can't let go of buying stuff just yet, but I realize when you bring more stuff in that defeats the purpose. One area of declutter for me is books and magazines. We have three sets of bookcases and room for no more. George ordered a Nook (Barnes & Nobles' E-reader) for Christmas for me. At first, I resisted this idea because I wanted to hold a book in my hand. And then I thought of how much easier it would be without the bulk. Over the last few years I have thought, why do I keep a book? for how long? For reference? My downfall (?!) is that I just LOVE books. I like having them around. But I need to be choosy with the ones that I keep around. My goal is to go through them again with a more critical eye, and have every book fit in a book in the bookcase and none lying on the top!

The last area is in the area of physical fitness. I make a pledge to ignore all of the excessive diet information that will be presented the first few weeks of January...because I have learned all too well that diets don't work! But I want to add an activity and that is stretching. As I can't go to a yoga class every day, I have started incorporating yoga stretches after I get off the treadmill at home. This activity I want to add in more frequently per week. Maybe even stretch if I don't get on the treadmill.

So off we go, a new year, which is a chance to wipe the slate clean. Perhaps that is what is nice about new year's resolutions. It is appealing. But as I have learned, changes can be made at any time during the year. And if you have nothing new in your toolbox of life to attack 2010 with, your behavior will be the same as 2009. I learned a lot about myself in 2009, time to put it in play. Happy New Year! Hope the tools in your toolbox are sharp and ready to go. : )

Monday, December 28, 2009

Losing weight isn't everything

I have been in therapy for over a year with the intention of finding out what my weight problem was about. It feels like it has been forever, but I realize that you get out of what you put into it like many things. I went with the purpose of losing weight and drum roll please.....I GAINED weight. I didn't know this ahead of time but it is part of the process and was to be expected during the "make food legal" period which was what I needed to do.

After two different commercial diet programs, the diabetic diet after my PCOS diagnosis and years of reading about nutrition I had not allowed myself to eat many foods that I had determined as being "bad", or at least not eat them and enjoy them. I would end up eating some of them binge style but had guilt out of the wazoo.

When I was on the diets, I drove George crazy when it was time to go eat at a restaurant, as I had to find the one that offered plain salad with grilled chicken or some other dietish food. That is just no way to eat, especially in South Louisiana. It is still hard in certain instances to enjoy food that use to be labeled, "bad" or a poor choice. But I'm making much progress.
At Halloween, I thought oh no, there is going to be candy in the house, and then I stopped and thought, there already IS candy in the house. I have kept M&M's, peanut butter cups, and Snickers in here by order of the nutritionist. Early in therapy, she asked me what my favorite foods were and I had a hard time answering. Especially when it came to sweets because I didn't allow myself. That was kinda sad. I have really been exploring foods and knowing what I truly like, and what I can leave by the wayside. I have also become high maintenance when ordering in a restaurant, that use to seem rude to me, but now I know what I like and how I like it and...I deserve it.

It is funny now that "bad foods" are in the house ALL the time...drum roll please, they don't call to me like they use to. Hmmmmm.

I did have to buy bigger clothes and that was more than a year ago. Letting the size numbers go was painful. I vividly remember getting in to certain sizes when I lost weight with my LA Weight Loss diet. I despised that place. Loved the results until I gained them back, but hated talking nutrition with "counselors" who knew only one spiel. (I never knew how to spell spiel until now...I have always liked that word!)

At present, I have rolls on my body where I don't like them. Months ago I glanced in the mirror during yoga at the Y, and thought who is that person? I just didn't recognize her. But the answer to that is, I have been finding out slowly month by month. There are parts of me I have known for a while, but there are other parts that I'm learning to love. Accepting myself as I am. Let me stop here for a moment. This is so HUGE! (and sadly one my favorite words to say I think is now Paris Hilton's but I digress.) Going hand in hand with accepting myself is not worrying what other people think. So freeing.

I had an experience of going to the same holiday party at a friends house a year apart and both times I had to go by myself as George was working. I remember the feelings of inadequacy, insecurity last year and I was bigger and had to find dressy clothes to wear. This year, I went, ate what I liked, had a cocktail, visited with whom I wanted to and left. It was wonderful, except wearing the high heels, which I have to let that go too. Having that same experience a year apart to compare was very eye opening for me.

So losing weight isn't everything. What IS EVERYTHING, is the acceptance of myself as I am. I believe the weight will take care of itself eventually and I'd so much rather be where I am now than where I was in years past.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 26th

I cannot believe it is Dec. 26th. I wanted to write about my "keep it simple stupid" Christmas. At the end of November, I started with some rather intense "oh my gosh it's going to be Christmas and I've done nothing" anxiety and decided this is THE year to let it go and keep it simple. I did not want to feel that way the entire month of December, so off I went with serious intent and more coping skills than ever before!

I signed up for an advent study that would use up some of my precious kid free time and I have found that the one hour a week has added, not subtracted from the season. The music, the readings, the fellowship have added more meaning instead of feeling like I was adding more duties.

Spontaneously, I let the kids take pictures with Santa after school one day in school uniform and dirty preschool clothes and it was a fabulous, magical, no waiting in line experience with Santa. Relaxing and letting go has made anxiety prone tasks so much more enjoyable. I marvel at how easy some tasks can be when they were the opposite before. Not having an agenda and rolling with life is so much easier.

Now some things have to get done and I'm the one to do it, but whether my return address Christmas card label has an extra space between the name and the address, doesn't matter. And that the girls have stuck on stamps crooked, not a problem. At one point, I was going to search out just the perfect paper to print out a Christmas letter with lots of photos on it, and I thought this is where I need to let go. I just printed it on regular paper and it was fine, not perfect, but just fine. What are we going to eat Christmas Eve, I really wanted take out but George wanted to get a ham and make side dishes, so I let it go. George ended up having a very sick patient and worked until 7pm Christmas Eve and GaGa and I cooked and cleaned for Christmas Eve and Day, and I let it go. Tornado warning storms moved through the area as we were to leave for church service on Christmas Eve, so we stayed in and read the Christmas story in Riley's new children's bible. GaGa wasn't feeling up to par to travel to Ethel on Christmas day, so we went ahead and she stayed behind and was able to rest and relax which was what she needed. Letting go of preconceived notions...

I love sending out Christmas cards but I need to make the project easier for the sheer number of cards that I send. It took me days and I had created a work space in the playroom in front of the television. I will admit that I watched "Housewives of Orange County" while I did this task (not while the kids were participating). I am accepting the fact that this is my guilty pleasure watching this show that has no redeeming value whatsoever but what not to do. I have some inner judge and critic that is saying don't watch that show and don't let other people know you watch that show. Let it go.

Letting go. There is also letting go of the ghosts of Christmas past. There is a part of me that wishes I could go back in time and react to some situations in the past as the person I am now, but it doesn't matter anymore. That's where I was then and this is where I am now, I have learned a lot and it has given me great peace. Christmas past, Christmas present and Christmas tightly made plans, just being with those I hold in my heart most dearly, and being present and rolling with it. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

In My Daughter's Eyes

I have heard this song before awhile back but I must have been meant to hear it again today. I was driving home with Mallory from seeing "The Princess and the Frog" and we were in George's car and so I was unable to listen to my XM radio or listen to my Christmas CD's so I turned the radio on. I was scanning through the channels and bam, I hit a country station, and this song came on. It just took my breath away, it is so beautiful and so true. And I have two daughters so I'm doubly blessed.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A little Clay...

This is my I have to post something because it's been a week and I haven't finished writing what I want to write, but I do really love this song. And I love Clay's voice and I love the message. (you can stop it at the end of Clay's song - he just introduces Ruben)
I am really enjoying my Christmas music. I play songs in the car and the kids have started trying to guess the song. Do you know how many Christmas songs start off with the name of the song in the first line??? Many. We don't have to listen for long and they guess and we move on to the next song.
Hope your Christmas season is rocking along. Mine is.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A few tears on the yoga mat

I have been practicing yoga in a class setting once a week, this is my goal. One day I would like to do more but for now, this is what I can manage. I keep learning more and more about myself through yoga (you would think I would know enough by now, right?). Lately, towards the end of the yoga session, I feel emotions well up in me and I feel the need to cry. Some might think this is a bad thing, for me it is a wonderful thing. Yoga releases "stuff" bottled up and in the twists, and turns, and positions and breathing, emotions are released, as well as toxins. The first time it happened, I was wondering what was going on and now I embrace it. I tend to forget it may happen and bam, there it is. My therapist says that therapy and yoga go hand in hand. I mentioned it to one of the yoga teachers and she said, oh yes, it happens.

For several years, I did not release my emotions. It goes back to the period of infertility that was followed by birth and then postpartum depression. I cried most nearly every day during the two years it took to get pregnant. Some days, I cried off and on all day when there was a bad result and there were a lot of bad results. For those who don't know, it was an awful period full of angst, uncertainty, turmoil, and all of this was then aided by hormone injections. I endured shot after shot, transvaginal ultrasound after transvaginal ultrasound, blood draws out the wazoo, fighting with insurance companies and doctors, waiting for test results, waiting a month or two until we could try again and lots and lots of crying. On top of that was doctor ordered sex (when sex was still on the table - we worked up to the "cup" in the second year). How romantic!? and not what you pictured in wanting to start a family. But we did finally achieve pregnancy, (after one miscarriage) and my beloved first child was born, who I love with my whole being. (And the second child too, who was a miracle in her own right as well, coming naturally!!) And then....I fall into a deep, dark, isolating hopeless depression that scared the bejesus out of me. I understand now, it actually started during the pregnancy, as I was so anxious and worried about EVERYTHING. Anxiety can be a huge part of postpartum depression.

I cried a lot during her first year of life, and especially those first months BUT I worked really, really, really hard not to show it to her (or others really, it is very, very shaming) I put on a smile and I sang to her but it was really, really, really hard. I see video and I'm smiling and saying her name over and over again but what I remember vividly is the overwhelming despair. After I recovered, I did NOT want to cry anymore, EVER. Perhaps this is when I learned to eat my way though emotional uncomfortableness and I'm still doing it. I have gained a grasp on it and it doesn't occur as much as it had been but it is a slow process. Habits are very hard to change. There are many uncomfortable emotions I need to release and let go of and yoga, therapy and writing this blog are all fantastic for me. Thank you for reading and thank you for the occasional comment. Especially you Jana! I know some of you read and don't comment as well. I appreciate your patronage! I'm wiping away the tears and moving on.

Monday, December 7, 2009

He he he....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Image is Everything

I have been intrigued by the Tiger saga...the joke of the day yesterday was, "he is not going to be called Tiger anymore but cheetah..." The media loves to build people up and then tear them to pieces as they fall. And I watch it happen. And I am learning not to cheer as it occurs. I don't cheer but I have certain feelings that come out that make me not proud of myself. And they seem to revolve around money. He has been paid millions to be a public figure representing the game of golf and products and now he wants privacy. That irks me a little. Why? I will have to examine my own shortcomings as well.

Very truthfully but not pretty is the resentment of the amount of money that he has been paid to hit a ball around with a stick. He evidently has a gift and has worked extremely hard to excel at this sport. I'm sure there are "reasons" why he makes that much money, likely to hit a billion by 2010?? I guess people buy Nike products to be like him. Drink Gatorade. Buy a Pontiac or whatever, so there are reasons these companies pay that much money and now they have to gamble on Tiger's future public perception which is fickle. Why do I care how much money he has, I have enough. Hmmmmm.

Secondly, there is the fact that he is a cheater and not just one time but for years and multiple partners. It disgusts me that sports persons and others, who become so rich, powerful and exclusive feel that they can get away with it. Yet the Tigers and others who are getting away with it, they don't even think of it in that way. And here is the kicker after I have just judged mightily, this is the part that I am working to embrace and that is Tiger is just another child of God, who has his own set of problems, and faults but with private estates around the world. He is just like the rest of us, warts and all.

I have been examining carefully crafted public perceptions of certain famous people. I know PR and media strategists have been around a long time but I of the "people fascinate me" variety, have just come to understand them more fully. Take Andre Agassi, he hated tennis. (And wore a hairpiece???) This surprised me, and made me want to read his biography which I am. Andre's Canon Rebel Ad tag line was "Image is Everything" He just showed up to make money which would afford him to support his family, escape his father, Canon told him what to say, he said it, and bam, that became his public perception. He could not escape it at all.

And Andre's father MADE him play tennis, there seemed to be no out for Andre. Did Earl MAKE Tiger play? What is it like to be a child prodigy and the expectations that come with that? As my favorite saying goes, there is a story there. Everyone has a story and I'm not speaking of the dirty details variety. It doesn't matter how beautiful the wife, how much money there is, people are just people and images are only that. One dimensional. People are multi-dimensional. Everyone wants the love of their father,(their parents) and it is an extremely powerful relationship. Did Tiger feel he had to play golf to please his father? Andre, finally at the age of 27, made a decision to play tennis not because of his father but for himself. And he made a wonderful comeback in the world of tennis (I think, I haven't gotten to that part of the book, but my memory is saying he did)

I am still conflicted and will work to let the money thing go. Money or fame doesn't make anyone happy or satisfied, that only comes from within and I am learning that lesson. Tiger does need privacy, a good therapist, and a marriage counselor. Will he do this? Who knows but he is a child of God. And somewhere inside the most prominent sports figure of this century, there is a hole that makes him choose to act out. I hope he and his family are able to learn their truths and live with them. Image is NOT everything.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Just to let you know...

With the news of Oprah's show going to pasture in one and a half years, my BFF told her husband, "Carolyn is going to be devastated." I laughed and thought, no, I'm relieved! This is one less show that I have in my DVR that I have to manage and keep the machine from deleting because there are too many on there. I have probably at least 25 Oprah shows in my living room DVR that I juggle because I don't watch it everyday unless it is something I really want to see the day of, then I tape it in my bedroom. Yes, I am DVR high maintenance. Did I mention the one in the playroom in front of the treadmill? I have to have something good to watch while walking...

I WILL be able to live without Oprah. Someone else will get the Big interviews. But I don't think anyone will be exactly like her, in helping other to "live their best life." I don't agree with all she does but she was good at showing humanity at it's finest. With her show ending, perhaps It will free up some time to read all of the good books, that I just don't have time for right now!! But most likely I will still have shows from this year by the time it goes off the air, so I can still watch for a good while...

On the Christmas stress front, I did make my master list, and got a little shopping done. I think what was causing more of my stress was the "ghosts" of Christmas past. Just recognizing what it was is helpful.
Happy December 1!!! Maybe now I can listen to Christmas music....not!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas stress creeping in...

I said it here, I'm going to keep it simple this Christmas....well, surprise, surprise, I'm beginning to get anxious. Change is hard. I'm trying to write it out instead of eat it out. So here I am. Letting go of the perfectionism is hard. In two days it will be December and I have not accomplished nearly the equivalent of what I had done this time last year. The doubts, the anxiety are creeping in. I think I have become a much more relaxed person in general, or at least compared to what I had been before, because I didn't mean to get to this point of ill preparation. Yet here I am Nov. 29th and the cupboards are bare. The yoga, the therapy, they are chilling me out...perhaps too much...and now the anxiety is kicking in. Deep Breath in, slow exhale out. Repeat. Make list. I think a list will help. I have 3 weeks until the kids are all mine again. Things must be accomplished over the next three weeks. No indecision, straight decision, no regret. I only wish I knew what to get the kids or George who has absolutely no hobbies. He works and then he spends his time with us. I will ask him to make a list. Three weeks is going to fly by so quickly.

Deep breath in, exhale out, repeat. Make list.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving...

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. It is a good time to remember what one is thankful for. It is the season. I think that I have written about everything that I'm thankful for before in this blog. Maybe not. Everyday I am grateful for my husband, my children, my family, my friends, my home, my church. I'm thankfuI I didn't get married until I was 27. At the time, several of my close friends were already married and I felt left behind yet I'm grateful that it took time. My children came after a very difficult struggle, so I have appreciated them and their health long before they came into being. I am also grateful for good therapy! I have learned much about myself and family dynamics and in turn makes life much easier to live!!

I'm thankful for books, oh so grateful for books and a thirst for knowledge!! In books and the Internet I was able to find most of the answers for my eldest daughter about pilgrims and Christmas tradition history. I am thankful for the pilgrims who came over in 1620. I am descended from these Separatists who came over from England (really Holland by the the time they left) to get away from the King for religious freedom. Well, technically, I was from the group called "Strangers" (how appropriate) and they were included in the voyage to help pay the bills. One died the first winter yet had a son, and one was a troublemaker. Edward Fuller and Edward Doty are those to whom I am descended from on my mother's side. Mr. Doty was the one in Plymouth court...repeatedly...there are records of his misadventures. I am thinking that my great Aunt Maydelle who researched all of this probably thought that was quite amusing. She did all of the geneology research in the family and I am thankful to her for that now in a more profound way.

Yesterday, I sat with my mom and Riley as we pored through information from Aunt Maydelle, the Internet, and children's Thanksgiving books that my mom had given the girls a few years back. Riley had lots of questions about the Mayflower and the Pilgrims. We discovered given names, such as Patience, Remember, Fear, Wrestling, Desire and Love! (I was very infatuated with the family name Membrance some years back... glad we had girls!)

As a family, we sat and watched a History channel show on the origins of Thanksgiving. Riley was transfixed, Mallory needed Legos but she is four. I am so glad to have these moments of togetherness and for Riley's questions which led to our exploration.

I am thankful that the rebel rouser and the one who died the first winter, came over. I can't imagine making that type of journey or living under those types of conditions. There were only five women left to cook the first Thanksgiving meal out of the 200 people who came over. Five!!!! Sixty plus days on a cramped, stinky boat, people dying from the "Great Sickness", the New England winter, fighting with the Native Americans, and oh yeah, there was no food. We are so privileged. We are excitedly planning a trip to Plymouth next Fall.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I want to be present for Christmas

It is the third week in November and Christmas is right around the corner. And I want to make changes this Christmas. Not just talk about it like I have done before but actually do it and because it is the third week in November, I'm going to HAVE to. I am starting to get anxious about what all has to be done before Christmas and this is the year I am going to have to let it go. Christmas is crazy, but I make it crazier. As the head decorator, school and office party attender, buyer of presents for family, friends, teachers, speech therapist, and anyone who comes in contact in a meaningful way with my children, it can be overwhelming. One can go crazy with the holidays and this IS the year that I will scale back.

I am not going to be able to do it ALL at this point. And by all, I mean in a perfectionistic way. Gift cards will have to suffice. I will not spend eons of time thinking of the perfect gift to give. Presents are nice to receive but my focus this year will be looking someone in the eye, or writing a sincere word to someone who means something to my life or my kids' lives and letting them know how I appreciate them.

We have taken family pictures and Christmas cards have been ordered and that is one of my favorite things to do. I will work on a Christmas letter which I enjoy writing. (could you guess??) I want to enjoy decorating the tree and putting up stockings with my children with our favorite Christmas tunes blaring. I want to enjoy putting up our outside decorations as a family. We have added additional lighted
yard decorations every year (not quite the Griswolds yet!) but the girls love them and I in turn love to watch their eyes light up. Having a child in your life at Christmas is so fantastic. We can read the bible story of Jesus' birth and put up our Nativity sets and leave the wise men far away to represent the actual 2 years that it took for them to get to the scene. I heard a radio program talk about this particular subject of cutting back and it mentioned that kids love stories and making activities revolving around stories are ideal to make Christmas meaningful for children. (and adults!) I have a tradition of buying Christmas ornaments from the places we have vacationed or visited and as we put them on the tree, we talk about those special times. It's not about the presents...

In the past, each of these tasks is on a huge mental list and after each one is accomplished there is a check mark and a sigh of relief. One more thing out of the way. And in the past gift giving is frenzied and anxiety provoking. I have very few ideas of what to give the children this year, they have a lot. They still want more but I know what they REALLY want and need is hands on time spent with their family, George and I being present with them and playing. They will only be little for a short time span and Riley is becoming a young lady in front of our eyes.

I have signed up for a six session advent study on Wednesday mornings at our church which sounds ludicrous to the old me of perfectionism and of little time but I am going to embrace this study and it's meaning. I am going to have to let go as time is running out. I know it is not going to be easy. I am going to have anxiety at certain times and I will have to breathe through it. And I'm going to get off the computer now and make a grand list because the list will help me get a grip and keep it simple and then I will be able to be present. It can be done and NOW is the time to start the transition to a simpler Christmas.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Respect the Streak

I like to post one blog per week and I have not accomplished that this last week. I have many ideas but haven't had time to flesh them out. My lap top's video card is dying so we are drinking the kool aid and getting an Apple laptop. Evidently, those who have them, swear by them, up and down. But I haven't been able to use my laptop in my comfortable places to write, so no blog yet. I just can't skip a week of a blog, I've been on a roll. And as Crash Davis would say in Bull Durham, one of my favorite movies of all time, you have to respect a streak. Except I looked it up and the line was don't F*%$ with a streak so I will not include that scene. The movie is R rated...but I so love it. There are so many great lines in the movie. And Kevin Costner was just the bomb. Here is a bit that does mention the streak. I apologize for the bad lighting.

Friday, November 6, 2009

An Empire State of Mind

I heard about this video of Jay Z and Alicia Keys singing at the 2nd game of the World Series, was intrigued, found it, watched it and couldn't get it out of my mind. I am not a rap or hip hop listener but I am loving this song, most especially the part where Alicia comes in. I guess I'm channeling my inna gangsta. My head just starts bobbing.
I know they are talking more about about New York City in the song, but I did reside in the Empire State for four years and that was the first time I did get to go to NYC. I have been twice and am ready to go back.

They are speaking of dreams coming true, and I now realize that you have to have a dream in order for it to come true!!! I have been held back by me, limiting myself. I can't wait to take the girls when they are a little older to NYC, so many things to see and do. George's relatives came through Ellis Island.

"These streets will make you feel brand new"...I'm singing the song and Mallory, of course, tells me to stop singing. So I give her the instructions she needs to get ready for school but I'm singing in the same melody of the song. She still tells me to stop singing "that way." She walks off and I hear her sing, "makes you feel brand new..." Priceless.

I like the video because it's fun to watch the Yankee players bobbing their heads to the beat.
Tell me if you enjoy it at all. It's probably just me. And of course, I saw a little bit of Jay Z's story on Oprah, of him overcoming the streets to become the mogul that he is today. And congrats to the Yankees, although, I was pulling for the Phillies...the underdog.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mike Tyson's wisdom?

Earlier this week, I posted a response to someone on FB who was slamming Oprah via a You Tube video about her "new church." (And what they were talking about was actually old news anyway but I digress...) I would never have posted a response before because I would worry about what they would think, what others would think. I have not been good at expressing a dissenting opinion or speaking up for myself especially when it involves men. Now again, this is just Oprah but the reason that it was important to me was that part of the video criticized a book that I had actually read and it was totally misrepresented in sound bites.

I have learned to think out of the box now when it comes to "religion." I believe God is much bigger than "religion" (and has to be!!) and that we can become aware of his presence in our lives in many different ways. Churches do a huge disservice to God in that they are run by men (and few women in certain denominations) and in the end, it will boil down to power and money and that is how the "rules" of the church are made. And I believe we don't all have to do it just this "certain" way, by a certain doctrine. What Oprah was arguing with a viewer on this video was that there are many paths or ways for us to end up at the same place with God. The video slammed that among other out of context moments. And my point is, I HAVE watched her show and READ the book that was mentioned and I truly believe she is trying to help people live their best life as the tag line goes. AND I don't hate her just because she is a Yet, I digress.

Leading up to my pivotal aha moment, I started doubting myself, that perhaps I shouldn't have posted and why did I choose to do this when it was about Oprah, for Pete's sake?? I don't have to be her defender. I have said before I don't agree with everything she says and does and blogged about some of them previously (1-she's not an impartial journalist (Obama support, etc) 2-certain celebrity interviews-Suzanne Somers, Whitney Houston, Tom Cruise,etc, 3-certain racial overtones that I have heard and seen via the show and XM radio).

This past week, I had a few moments of downtime and I turned on an episode. It was a follow up with Mike Tyson. He was bearing his soul and after the things he has done, going to prison for rape, biting off Evander Holyfield's ear, etc. I among others felt he didn't have a soul, he seemed more like an animal. It hit me as I was watching it, that the reason I like to watch Oprah is that she shows humanity at it's finest, and most REAL. And I LOVE that. Watching these types of shows are MY football season. I live in the midst of LSU football and I could just skip it. But I love learning about people and seeing the humanity in persons I would not expect it from and that is a lesson from Jesus! All people are children of God.

I am reminded again and again to see that all people are the same, no matter color, race or creed. This is MY TRUTH as I see it. Every person born needs love, and if you don't receive it, you try to take care of yourself however you can, in healthy ways and not healthy ways. Our human psychology is all the same, celebrity or not.

Mike Tyson did not receive love or proper parenting and he came from the streets, and his pathway to stay alive was as a fighter. Oprah asked how he is able to stay out of trouble now and his response was my pivotal moment. In essence, he said we are told not to be selfish by society, BUT we have to be otherwise we will be killed. I'm not worried about being killed within a drug life, but the line about being selfish struck me. I am learning to be selfish and to take care of myself. As a stay at home mother, I felt like I was supposed to be doing everything with and for my children. Every moment of playing, every class party, every field trip, every hour, every day, AND do it perfectly. This issue has been my wake up call lately. And by God, if I can watch Oprah and hear it from Mike Tyson of all people, it is worth watching for me.

I don't have to change the mind of the person who posted on FB, but this time I did have to express MY opinion even if it was "just" about Oprah. Watching that episode of television led me to a spiritual moment of truth about myself. It's my truth and I never truly understood, or accepted it until that moment. I do believe the Holy Spirit moves in strange and mysterious ways and I'm trying to pay attention, however it comes across.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This picture speaks volumes...

My car this morning. How many of you have cars that look like this? This car speaks volumes about what is going on in my life at the moment. I have not had a shower yet today because I have been working to put my house back together as today is the first day at home for four hours by myself in about two weeks AND I am a stay at home mom. It has been a busy couple of weeks and the crazy season is here that starts with Halloween and continues until New Year's Day.
I am verbose, I know this and I am learning to accept myself as I am but I am going to try bullets for this blog today. Especially since I need to pick up in an hour and I haven't had lunch yet or that shower.
Car contents as symbolic state of life:
Portable potty - four year old - really nothing more to say. I have been tempted to use it myself stuck in carpool.
Snack basket - Started as manna bags to give to the homeless but we kept eating the manna bags so I realized we need snacks in the car for hungry children and/or mom in a pinch. But it becomes a catch all basket.
Extra Booster Seat on Passenger side- to remind myself to leave it at Mallory's preschool for field trip which I decided to not chaperone. I don't have to attend EVERY school function, and this is a way to take care of myself which is what my therapist says to do. I agree. Of course, they cancelled the field trip and rescheduled for Thursday, now I have to say NO a SECOND time.
Riley's pink & grey backpack - self-explanatory - First Grader and daily homework
Whole Foods Recycled Shopping bag - trying to be green but never really shop at Whole Foods, instead use as cleanup bag to get the "stuff" out of car but should be teaching the children to do it themselves...with the Whole Foods bag
Dainty wooden Cross hanging from side of W.F. bag- Received at church to remind myself to be more like Jesus, a beacon or something like that and I can't remember exactly. Child took it off my bathroom counter where it was to remind me each day as I got ready. But I am going to cut myself some slack for not remembering what is was specifically for, see Booster seat.
Black Organizer hanging off passenger side - Good intentions abounded but nothing fits in it now, perhaps it was sized for toddler things.

Gotta go. This is it. I tell myself I need to blog once a week for my sanity.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I can see clearly now the rain is gone...

It's 1:30 in the morning and I'm never up at this hour. NEVER! But I guess things are on my mind. I came to a pivotal moment in understanding my life's journey last week. I have been seeing a therapist for about a year and working on my food issues. Well, anyone who knows anything about weight issues, it's not about the food... And for some reason, well not for some reason but actually all of the work I have done to come to grips on a myriad of my issues, I can see clearly now. And this song just popped in my head.

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me down
It's gonna be a bright bright bright bright sun shiny day
It's gonna be a bright bright bright bright sun shiny day

Oh yes I can make it now the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is that rainbow I've been praying for
It's gonna be a bright bright bright bright sun shiny day

Look all around there's nothing but blue skies
Look straight ahead there's nothing but blue skies

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Here is that rainbow I've been praying for
It's gonna be a bright bright bright bright sun shiny day
It's gonna be a bright bright bright bright sun shiny day

I LOVE music. You can find the right song for just the right feeling. It feels as though the writer of this song many years ago, knows me intimately at this moment. It fits so perfectly. I know that it will not all be sun shiny days or blue skies, but at this moment, I can SEE now. I am standing in amazement that I do see the obstacles that have been there for a long time and even though I received no new information, I am seeing things in a new way. And it has taken me a year to do so, because therapy is slow and not easy but for me and most people who undertake it, it is so freeing. When you get to the place of accepting, peace is not far off. It's all of the long and painful work that got me to the point of knowing what I need to do to repair. I got to the point of being able to process the information I already knew. I am a "why" person, I keep asking questions until I understood why. This time, I was searching for an answer to a different problem and an answer that I had read years before made complete and utter sense to me NOW.

AND the weather has played right along with me, as it was bright and beautiful this past weekend after a week (really month) of a very rainy October. I have felt lighter in spirit, not as hungry, literally. I feel like I have had a HUGE AHA moment after many small aha moments over the last year and in previous years. I spent time alone with my girls as I always do (George was on call this weekend after being gone all week to a conference) and it wasn't draining as it can be at times, it was lighter, easier, more enjoyable, I had more patience.
The bad feelings have not disappeared, but they are dissipating.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

This is why I don't care anymore...

No one wants to talk about this...I DO want to embrace it. I watched (who else?!) an Oprah show a couple years back and the focus of the show, Menopause and embracing The Change. And that was back in my giddy thirties, when I bought Dr. Northrup's Wisdom of Menopause and read a little bit in preparation, yet smugly thought, "it's not time for me." Well, here I am at 41 and a few nights ago, I had a night sweat, yes, my first night sweat*. Woo Hoo, lets celebrate!

I have also had low grade nausea it seems all week, especially in the morning. And then I had a weird headache in the back of my head and that was the night I woke up covered with sweat. So I google nausea and perimenopause...and did you know there are 35 possible symptoms of menopause!!! Once you read the list, that whole notion of trying to embrace this seems a little more daunting. None of it sounds good.

And you can have symptoms of what could be pregnancy: nausea, breast tenderness, moodiness, and then you get scared to death that somehow the husband's snip snip didn't take. And here is the kicker, it could be the opposite of pregnancy, you are entering the state of no return, the state of... perimenopause. And this state can last 5-10 years. Woo Hoo!! Celebrate good times, come on...

I really am trying to embrace forty. I do LOVE the loss of one huge time waster (and it is also detrimental to one's well being), and that is worrying about what other people think. I now know the reason that as you grow older you stop worrying about what other people think... you don't have the time!! There are so many other thoughts and activities that come with age: I have to remember to look for chin hairs, remember to do lower back stretches first thing when I wake up in the morning, remember not to pick up heavy items or at least do so with my knees bent. Finding grey hairs that just look ripe for plucking if it has been too long between coloring. Shopping for shoes takes longer because style has taken a back burner to comfort. Heels are just painful.

And although I don't need glasses yet for reading, the print on the A/C control is extremely small, so I have to go find some reading glasses. I also pet the cats for longer than 30 seconds, because I realize it's just as good for me as it is for them because there have been studies about this... I have started playing games that involve the mind, to hold on to mental acuity as long as possible. Oh and lastly, taking care of the young kids...that I had later in life.

These are just some of the activities that keep me involved as I am aging and I have had to let worrying about what others think go. So I'm ready for the next hot flash...the girls will have to pile on the blankets because I will turn the A/C down. Now let me go find those reading glasses just in case...

*I do vaguely remember having night sweats while using fertility drugs. So this night sweat was not pharmaceutically induced.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Driving, driving, driving...

It is a sad state of affairs, when you are a tiny bit excited that your child is sick and have to keep her home from school only because it means that you only have to drive to one school instead of two for the day!! I have gotten the taste of what my 2009-2010 driving schedule will be like during the last two weeks as both girls are now finally full time at their respective schools and it is bleak. And at the end of last week, I felt overwhelmed. Are you ready? It's time to whine...

Okay, hold on, I'm completely switching gears now, I started this blog and I posted a completed version of my life in my van, driving endlessly, week after week bringing children to and from their schools and to and from extracurricular activities, but something happened and I had to rethink it. I got in my car to drive!!! and turned on the Oprah XM channel and listened to yesterday's show about a set of parents who have a seven year old girl with schizophrenia. It humbled me immediately. I know I have a life to be grateful for, but I have to be reminded every so often when some of the monotony gets to me. I have been turned off by Oprah lately, especially when she interviews celebrities (too easy on Whitney, too hard on Mackenzie) In general, Oprah shines brightest when she interviews everyday people who overcome overwhelming situations.

It is hard to fathom what these parents go through on a daily basis, dady after day, week after week. I had heard of children with major mental illness but didn't realize a child as young as seven could be diagnosed with schizoprenia. These parents have decided to have two households as they have a 20 month old son and were scared for his safety around the sister when she began acting violently at age five. They rent two apartments and one is for the daughter and one is for the son and they take turns sleeping with each of the kids. The daughter has had up to 200 different friends which are the voices (hallucinations) and some of these tell her to do bad things. She is on heavy duty medications to keep the voices at a minimum and where she is sometimes able to engage in the parent's world versus only being in her world. She has to go to school with a one on one teacher and has no classmates. She is friends with one other child who she met during one of her many inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations and they are able to have playdates.

And I was complaining about driving my van...To cut myself some slack, it is human nature to get caught up in our own lives. That is one of the major reasons as a stay at home mom that I have to get out and mingle with other adults. At the point I am still in, it can still be isolating and I need to hear what others are going through, even sometimes if it is just Oprah. Her show can still serve me as a wake up call to know that I can be thankful for my own situation, even when I feel overwhelmed.

The little girl's name is Jani. You can go to to read or watch more about her.

Friday, October 2, 2009

And the Kicker is...

The new TV show season is here. No more repeats. Every now and then while watching some of the shows that I have taped, I find a jewel of written dialogue that just resonates to my core. (There was a certain episode of 30 Rock with Alec Baldwin's character talking about Dora The Explorer panties clearly made for an obese child, which is an all time favorite.) These jewels are hard to find especially with the current lineup of reality television dominating the schedule. Desperate Housewives was in the queue since Sunday and I thought maybe it's time to let that show go but I turn it on for George and I. (He does allow me control of the DVR and is one of the many reasons I love him so) I don't even remember what happened at the end of last season but thankfully they have a wrap up of that and off we go.
Please watch the video so that you will know what I'm talking about, it's so much easier for me and less typing AND I finally figured out how to upload video

This was a priceless few minutes of video and what gets me is that somewhere out in California I guess, there is a writer or team of writers who totally understands what I have felt about motherhood. And they put it in this incredibly funny dialogue between Lynette and this first time Mom To Be. You may think that the part I like is when Lynette dogs our her husband, because I did feel that way being the only bar in town. Or that women are liars telling how wonderful it is, to perpetuate more babies being born. No, the kicker for me and for Lynette's character was when she said and I quote, "that for the rest of your life, there will be so many moments when you will feel lonely but you will never be alone." OMG. Someone out there gets it!! At times, I have felt so lonely in this journey, but yet I am generally never alone and I savor those moments of quiet. I need my quiet.

I'm so glad I didn't take it out the queue.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Chuck E Cheese Debacle and the Unexpected

On Friday evening, Mallory was invited to Chuck E Cheese for a birthday party. At first, she said she didn't want to go because of "The Mouse." If any of you have had experience with Chuck E Cheese, or have children who are fearful of humans dressed as characters, you know what I'm talking about. The human sized automated rat that helps some children celebrate their birthday and puts the fear of God into others and they run screaming in the other direction. Riley talked Mallory into going to the party because we had leftover tokens from our last visit and she wanted to use them. When other schools started in early August, we visited Chuck E Cheese and were basically alone in the place, and it was fabulous for a mom who hates all of the noise and people and my children who feel the same way but don't understand that about themselves yet.

Zoom forward to Friday night, lots of people, lots of noise, we walk in the door, and get our security stamps. Mallory proceeds to run off from me and I realize she is "freaking out." I try to get us to the party table and did after I picked the four year old and put her on my hip (and my back is hurting now...) After about five minutes of continued strife, I try to take us back out to the token game area. Riley thinks we are leaving for good and proceeds to bite Mallory on the leg, but doesn't sink her teeth into it. Mallory is still wigging out. I explain to Riley that we were not leaving I was trying to head towards the games as Mallory continues to express her discontentment with staying. After realizing that this is not going to work at all, we leave for real. Riley is not happy and proceeds to pitch more fits, and punishments are handed out. Mallory gets really quiet and is just looking out the window. It is a sad scene in the Golightly van.

Zoom forward to Tuesday night at the homework table. Riley has finished her homework and I have asked her to help me encourage Mallory to work on her scissor skills and writing with a pencil.  But this go round, Mallory is so excited and Riley is cheering her own big time. "I wrote an L" she would say and we would all cheer. After a few minutes of this, Mallory turns to Riley and says something about Chuck E Cheese and then says "I'm sorry we left the party."

Zoom to verklempt me, who thinks this is the sweetest thing I have ever heard.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Summer is over...

Well, it is here, I made it through the summer, Mallory is now in preschool full time finally as of yesterday, on September 17th!! Full time means 9 to 1 (and that is making her stay for lunch bunch) and some days extended until 2. I feel guilty for having her stay but extended means she gets to go back out on the playground if the weather is good. But we made it through the summer. I was worried about making it through intact. I am almost intact.

I am worn out though. All of the house business was draining. It was a wonderful process to get the house ready for sale and sell it but I don't think I have processed the letdown that although we made the best choice, we are staying put. I had been gearing up for something else and now, a completely different direction. That is what life if all about though. Riding the roller coaster.

I haven't been practicing regular yoga, or getting regular cardio and I know that has something to do with my malaise. There was at least 3 weeks where I did nothing but working on the house which was physical but not the once a week yoga that I promised myself. I'm ready for the regular exercise to give me some sort of a routine again. I got on the treadmill yesterday and it really felt good. I'm needing a routine, period. Mallory is at a new program at the same location we have been going tp and I'm learning the ropes for that one. Riley is now getting settled in her brand new school building and I've adjusted to BIG carpool at 3 pm.

I wasn't even able to go to my therapy on a regular basis. I hadn't been there in 6 weeks. I'm slowly gaining insight on my issues relating to food, weight and I am still working on that. (I read an article in More magazine about Sela Ward and she spoke of her ongoing therapy habits, I knew there was a reason I liked her, other than the fact that she was a Chi O!) I haven't had much adult time at all, and I know I need it. I am SO needing some adult time. I am beginning to send out my emails of who I can have lunch with starting next week.

I am beginning to get the groove of the stay at home mom, taking care of kids, schedule. The ebb and flow of the year. There is the summer, and not having to worry about getting out of the door by a certain time but keeping the kids occupied, managing the fighting, and everybody having a little fun but not too much. Then the school year kicks in, new grade, teacher, activities. There are opportunities to volunteer here there and yonder. The church "school year" also kicks in and there are opportunities there as well. The holidays will kick in, Halloween, Thanksgiving and then Christmas, which means a LOT of work, activities at school, church, & elsewhere, presents and parties. There is a lull in January and February and then starts the spring demands of Easter parties and vacation, dance recitals, and a plethora of end of school year activities. That is the flow, I was beginning to grasp it last year.

Okay, I am recombobulating now. It's time to get into the school year groove, finally. This will be my last year of going to two different schools. Mallory should be starting Dunham next Fall and the Open House for that is at the end of this month. There always seems to be something and I'm rolling. Yoga is this morning, yeah and Ommmmm! I don't really want to go but I know I NEED to go.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Staging - Before and After

In getting the house ready for market (NOT), I employed a wonderful stager named Cindy Smith. She helped me with vision and thinking out of the box. I have always wanted some assistance in this and although we are not moving, we still have the wonderful after affects of a new less cluttered vision. I apologize in advance because I can't line the pictures up exactly as I would like them but I think you get the idea. The house does not look like this anymore...for one brief week or so, it was spotless. I have to relive that wonderful week of neatness in pictures. I wish I would have videoed it!!! The children want their "little table" and the mini-trampoline back.

In the kitchen, our toy armoire as I call it. I don't know what the actual name for this piece of furniture is but the now darkened windows still holds toys and craft items.

Master Bedroom

Master Bathroom Before and After - but you can't see the precious black & white rug or black and white hand towels and I just can't take or upload any more pictures right now.

There is that of the catalysts for wanting more room. I really do use it. It's normally in the down position.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My baby turned 4

Mallory is now 4. She has been waiting for months for her birthday. Everyday she has been asking, "Is today my birthday?" and this started maybe back in June. This second child and baby of our family is four years old. Wow. Yes, time is flying, and I wrote about that before.

I went back and looked at her baby pictures and looking at pictures of babies or especially seeing a baby in person, takes me back almost immediately to a dark place. It doesn't matter how cute they are. Babies give me an immediate anxiety, and then I work through it in my head and then pretend that I love babies the way you are supposed to. I have the exact opposite reaction of most people. I DO have post traumatic stress from my postpartum depression. I see babies, I think, crying, sleep deprivation, more and more crying and that's not the baby. That was a little joke there, he he he. I'm thinking one day I will get to the point that I can joke about the experience but it so profoundly affected my life and how I parented in the beginning that it's still not funny and I still haven't worked my way through it.

I also have to accept that it was SEVEN years personality was maybe not that off from what it would have been had I not been in that dark, lonely, isolated pit of despair and maybe it didn't affect me as much as I thought it did. Or maybe I just have to let it go and move on. I bet that is what you are hoping for. I want to as well but these feelings are still here. It was traumatic I think especially in conjuction with the long struggle to get pregnant. I realized in looking back and talking to the social worker that I had the anxiety before I actually gave birth, and that is not uncommon either from what I learned.

Carrie Fisher wrote in her latest autobiography about coping with mental illness. She said something to the tune that people that have mental illness need to be patted on the back instead of shamed. Do you know how much harder one has to work to survive on a daily basis with mental illness than a person who does not??? But instead the person can't talk about it at all because it's taboo, and shameful. You can't be proud of it. I asked my therapist why I want to talk about it in public, and get applauded for what I made it through. She thought perhaps it's our western society, which wants to be recognized for everything we do. The superbowl champions, Olympians, the Oscars, the MTV VMA awards, all major recognition for their accomplishments. Kanye can't accept that someone else wins an award. I want a pat on the back for surviving PPD. Kanye and I need to get over it and move on.

But I digress, we had a fabulous time celebrating my beautiful wonderful baby daughter's birthday. Yet, she's not a baby anymore. The flashbacks can cease. She is a thriving, smart, active, funny breath of fresh air. I'm grateful for her and her sister however we got here. Happy 4th Birthday Mallory!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Change of Heart & Pocketbook!

The For Sale sign in the yard is gone. At first it was for the reason that would make sense, the house is under contract which it was, after two days of being on the market. Yes, there were buyers who saw the house on Sunday, after the listing Friday before last and made an offer. Now, the sign has stayed down for another reason, as in, we don't want to sell the house anymore. Yes, I actually said that. We are crazy, but it is one of the sanest things that George and I have ever done (as long as we get the signatures that we were told we would receive.)

George received news on Friday that made him believe his salary will go down this time next year. We sat down and did the math again, and it scared us to death. We can't do this, we really can't. We have two kids to educate at a wonderful but pricey private school, etc. We grew up as kids who did not travel and we have tasted traveling and we want to explore and expose our children to other parts of our country and world if possible.

Friday night, we are sitting at our newly cleaned off dining room table, and we add up the figures of everything in our expense column and what would be the new credit column and it made no sense for us to get a bit bigger house. The house we are in began to look quite fantastic. There is nothing like the idea of being house poor to make the one that you never quite liked the exterior of, to begin looking quite rosy. Now we had to let our realtor know, and in turn the couple whom we had a purchase agreement with. We must beg for mercy that they will let us out of this contract. We felt completely sick about this, and prayed that they will be an understanding couple (after all they understood when an overtired Mallory had a massive, crying, screaming meltdown that left them cowering in my master hallway while they were here for the inspection. They commented that they had raised young girls themselves intimating that it was not new territory for three year olds to throw tantrums)

George and I received the biggest lesson in appreciating what we have. We had bought into the desire to have more, a slightly nicer neighborhood with a pool, another bedroom and an office. There is nothing like having the rug pulled out from under you (aided by our own actions), to make you appreciate the floor. It doesn't matter that it was a buyer markets and the interest rates are so low. In the past, I had felt completely grateful for our house staying intact after Gustav. Nearly everyday I am reminded of the randomness of natural disaster as I drive by a house in an adjoining neighborhood that was destroyed by a tree during Gustav and once again I am feeling completely grateful for THIS house.

Yet we were the manufacturers of our own potential disaster. We were sick, couldn't sleep, couldn't eat and awaited hearing back from our realtor, whom I'm sure was not pleased in losing out on commissions on both houses. After waiting most of the day but what seemed like forever, we received a voice mail message that said the couple would let us out of the contract. I cried, and we were both so relieved. We feel awful that we let the couple down, and led our realtor astray but feel like we dodged a financial bullet.

The lesson that we learned is, it doesn't matter what we see others having, what matters is our bottom line, no comparisons. We would rather live under our means in THIS house. We would rather be able to travel, eat out and things like that than live house poor. The children really don't need a bigger house. All of the anxiety I had about putting them in an upstairs that they said they wanted, yet I knew at least one of them would change her mind, must have been trying to tell me something. I hadn't slept well for weeks, perhaps this was the reason. We will figure out how to share the space we have, think out of the box to make room for what we need. The outside of this house has never looked so good.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sign in the Yard

There is a sign in my yard. Here we go. Ever since we moved into this house four years ago, we knew we would eventually move again for a little more space. I picked this house in haste as I was pregnant and ready for four bedrooms in a hurry. Our realtor says we are right on target. We owned our first house for 5 years, this house for 4 years but when we end up in our next house, I don't want to go anywhere for a long time (like 20 years!)

I have been working non-stop for the last month on getting this house ready for that sign in the yard. Many thoughts in my head. Mallory has watched too much tv, and I will be oh so glad when preschool starts up. I miss yoga, I need the destressing. I haven't been to yoga in at least 3 weeks. I wake up at 4 in the morning thinking about this house stuff. So many details, finances, keeping the house straight, where to hide jewelry, laptop, financial papers. (They are locked up now!) The house is as ready as it's going to be, I was going to try to do touch up paint in the 2 hours before we had a showing yesterday but George said no, thank goodness.

We have staged, we have cleaned, I have decluttered constantly, brought bags of donatables to Connections for Life, put a few plants inside and out, added pine straw outside, stored furniture and pictures, and painted. There is no wonder why I'm exhausted. This house looks better than it ever has AND Riley is learning to make her bed. I LOVE the look, less everywhere, clean lines, no junk anywhere (well, hidden very well.) Poor Mallory likes to make tents and hide under things, there is nothing to hide behind any more. Everything is up.

Now the wait begins, who will come and look, will it be sold in a timely?? manner. Do we know where we want to go? All of this makes me think at times, do I want to do this anyway? And in the end, I do but it is so much change and uncertainty. Living with uncertainty with grace. Selling your house is not a big deal in life compared to other more important things like health but I will be glad when it's done.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Plus Size

I saw a story on the "Today Show" about this photo that was in Glamour magazine. There was a huge response from women who were congratulating the magazine over publishing a picture of a real woman. The model's name is Lizzie Miller and she is a size 12/14 and has a tummy. This is plus size. Don't get me started on that one. The average American woman is a size 14, but that is plus size. Aaarrrrggghhhh.

I also just read a story (I admit in People magazine) over another model who had anorexia, came to terms with it and began eating again and become a plus size model. She decided to stop starving herself and working out 8 hours a day. It described how she ate nothing but lettuce and water during the day and would get up in the night and "steal" a spoonful of peanut butter and then after realizing the fat she was taking in would try to spit it out and then go to bed hungry again!! What models have to do to stay that size is incredibly sad, demeaning and that is what our culture looks up to and puts on it's magazines and on top of that, there is airbrushing.

I just saw a few minutes of "The Devil Wears Prada" the other night. I am always drawn in when I come across it on cable. High fashion does seem so useless to me at first glance. To me, the movie tried to make sense of it, in that they spend bookoodles of money, time and energy on, just the right look for an issue. And then you end up with the cerulean blue sweater that the character Andy has on (I had to look up how to spell cerulean, because I'm not sure I was aware of that color before.) And in the end, I have to say it's all about art, people expressing there artistic talents and that ends up trickling down to what I the consumer can choose to buy. But what is sad is that they have women who are human coat hangers pouting down the runway, and are hungry. The models make a lot of money being that skinny and some fall trap to eating disorders, drugs, etc. to maintain that weight. And the crux of all of it is that THIS is what makes me feel bad about myself and my size. AND THE REAL POINT that I'm learning is that I'm letting it make me feel bad. There I got it!!!

(An ironic side note in that Meryl Streep the consumate actress who played in the movie, is a size 12/14 from what I gather from her remark in response to a reporter mentioning her 14 Oscar nominations and she retorted, "And I'm a size 14!") There was a bit in the movie about two being the new four and zero being the new two and that six was the new fourteen. That hurt, but once again, I let it hurt.

People magazine use to be my guilty pleasure but now I realize it may be doing more harm than good (and I'm getting tired of Kate Gosselin being on the cover, GO AWAY KATE!) It is just fun to look at the pictures and see what the celebs are up to. And a more redemptive reason is that I really do like their book, music, and movie reviews (can you smell rationalization!) Yet, after reading another article about once again another actress losing weight and this case it was Melissa Joan Hart, I had the thought, I need to stop reading this. Her beginning weight is my goal weight. And I need to STOP comparing myself to others, especially those whose living depends on how they look.

The most important aspect of all of this is that I want to model healthy body image, self image and eating habits to my daughters (and by that I mean, eating until I'm full and then stopping). They are going to be exposed to so much more media than I was as a young girl. I have to instill in them acceptance at any weight but the teenage years are hard. So kudos to Glamour for putting a "real woman" in the magazine, and I know it won't happen often but I will celebrate when they do. I also buy Dove products because of their campaigns showing real women. But the work to be done does not have to do with what is out there but on what is going on inside and that is what I have learned.

Friday, August 28, 2009

House, House, House

I have been working on the house everyday for three weeks?, a month, I'm not sure. It's looking good, but we still need more room. I'm going to put up some before and after pictures in the very near future.
I have a post I need to finish about the "plus size" model. I haven't been able to finish it but it's coming. Very impactful on the work I'm doing about weight and self image.
We are taking pictures today to put the house on the market, woo hoo!!! I have to get back to work.

Friday, August 14, 2009


You know, decluttering has become my favorite pastime. And it seems with a young family there is a perpetual need. At least, I have job security. Recently a long awaited for desire came true. I have always wanted a professional organizer to come to my house and help me transform it (he he he). I did have a person come to help me with my house, but she is a "stager." We are putting our house on the market and our realtor recommended Cindy to help us make the house look more buyer friendly. Our goal is curb appeal, minimalism, as well as colors to make the house look more spacious, depersonalization, and things like that. Who knew staging would make me want to stay in my house...(well they did tell me that it happens sometimes.)

I do still want to put my house on the market (although this is a LOT of work) but my house is looking so good that I have entertained once again how we could add on some more space. It just can't happen the way we need though. George wants bigger spaces in spots that are tight, like in our master bathroom and in the kitchen area where the refrigerator is in the wrong spot as well an extra room to put my treadmill (yes, I use it) and Mallory seems to want to sleep in her own room again. So we shall proceed, but I am so enjoying what has taken place so far. I have woken up giddy in the morning, thinking my house is getting in order.

The first day, she went through my kitchen and put everything that was "undesirable" on the granite island. (that is for any potential buyers - all counters are slab granite) It took me a week to clean off the island and find where to put necessary things in a hidden spot. The house feels so much cleaner, lighter. I wake up in a good mood because there is a freeness in the house. We have proceeded to: move and remove furniture, take down a ton of pictures, change curtains, shower curtains and rugs, add curtains, and go through playroom closet. And then my job is to then take care of all of that extra stuff that has been removed. I have gone through so many "spaces" in our house, the big spaces (entire rooms and closets) to the little spots, like under the bathroom counter cabinets, kitchen cabinets, mudroom closets, and drawers. It is very time consuming, but each thing gets me closer to my goals. The first being getting the house ready to show and two, having less stuff to move when the time comes.

I have realized I need goals. I can work hard but it is helpful for me to have a goal in sight. Knowing I am working toward the master plan of selling the house, and thinking a house that we might want is slipping away, I work harder. I learned this about myself with the mini-triathlon and it's good to be reminded about setting goals or having a specific motivating factor. I need it to get me going some times.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Airport Drama

When we took our last vacation that involved flying, my husband thought I wasn't anxious enough when we were packing up and leaving the house to get to the airport in a timely manner. I was irritated at him, because I didn't want to feel or look anxious, I just wanted to use my yoga skills and be zen, calm and clearly think through all of the steps that must be taken and do them. Well...George showed me!!

We drove all the way to New Orleans, got to the off site, long term parking where George had made a reservation and thank goodness. There was one parking spot left and we had to wait while they found that one spot. Clock ticking. Timewise, I thought we were doing okay. All of the massive amounts of luggage we had were transported to the bus we caught to the airport. We arrive at curbside check-in. (Side note: This is when I learn that you now have to pay $15 for each piece of luggage that you check-in and more if you exceed luggage pieces per person, which we did.) In the middle of the outside check-in of our bags, the automatic alarm goes off that signals it's too late to check anymore bags. The attendant has to then go inside and figure out how to finish checking us. This takes at least 15 minutes or more and she has to print our boarding passes as well.

We make it through security SLOWLY, and mind you we have Grandma and a three year old with us, slowing us down. I decide that we need to visit the restroom for the three year old to empty her bladder. George goes on ahead. I'm still think we are doing okay timewise. As I'm taking care of business in the bathroom, my phone goes off, I see it's George and I can't get to it. I'm washing my hands and the phone is ringing again and it's George again. I'm picturing clenched teeth through the cell phone and I hear, "IF YOU WANT TO CATCH THIS PLANE, YOU BETTER START RUNNING!"

Off we go, anxious Riley in the lead running, me with rolling carry on and another bag trying to run, Mallory behind me and Grandma. Mallory begins to cry because I am leaving her, and Grandma who is kicking it at seventy-seven is doing her best to keep up. Riley is looking back at us and beseeching us to hurry up. Mallory is now wailing and decides to sit down on the floor. My yoga training is still kicking in because all I can do is laugh. I go back, grab her hand and walk more slowly, and she is crying the whole way. It takes what seems like FOREVER to get to our terminal. George is seething and fuming and wants to do me bodily harm. The ticket agent is anxious as well. I have never been the last person on board a plane, but we were the last and the gate door shut behind us. Grandma said it took her 45 minutes to let go of the tension. George fumed for about a half hour. I just thought, "Wow, that was a close one!"

On our return flight, we gave ourselves much more time to get to the airport and George got his wish and I was completely anxious, and un-zen like getting ready and throughout the whole return. Everything went smoothly though and we got back to our van at long term parking and our battery was...dead. We lucked out because there was no car parked in front of us (and it was still a full lot) and the driver was able to jump us off. Traveling with the whole family...gotta love a little airport drama and from now on, I must stay anxious the entire time! Screw yoga...

Friday, August 7, 2009

I loved John Hughes movies...

I love to look up movie information. Before I see a movie, I look at the critics reviews and I have learned to navigate by them. Even if it gets panned, I may still see it because of time and opportunity. I then accept that it might not be any good, lower my expectations and then go with it, and just enjoy being out and entertained for 2 hours without children which is a treat. I don't know what they said about John Hughes movies but in hindsight, they not only entertained me but there was just something about them that was special. (And who knew Anthony Michael Hall would grow so tall!!) I watched Sixteen Candles in the last year, and I was still so obsessed with Jake that I wanted to know what ever happened to him. He was so cute and I wanted him to be there waiting for me leaning on a Porsche after my sister's wedding and then sit with me on top of a table and listen to my birthday wish.

Mr. Hughes films just resonated with me. I took them for granted back then but when you watch Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller or others, twenty plus years later, they stand up to the test of time, and that's the sign of a really good movie. I wanted to get up and dance with Ducky in the record store to "Try a Little Tenderness." His movies had GOOD music, and I love music and sometimes I forget to enjoy it. The kids did that to me. (Well you know I did it to myself) Instead of trying to make them listen to my music, I needed to further educate, stimulate them, so I put children's music on and it killed me. Sucked my music loving self into deep recesses that I have begun pulling out again. Now when I put something on that I really like, Mallory & Riley scream for me to turn it down and Mallory says stop singing. That is why the little lady watches DVD's with headphones in the van ALL the time.

The movies that John Hughes wrote that I remember liking were Mr. Mom, the Breakfast Club, the Vacation movies (well the first one for sure), Some Kind of Wonderful, and She's Having A Baby and of course, the previously mentioned ones. I remember liking Mr. Mom back then but after catching it on cable recently and being a stay at home, it hit home in a more meaningful way. The letting oneself go, getting interested in mindless tv (reality shows about Housewives(?) do it for me now not "Young and the Restless") and the monotony of doing the same thing with blessed little loved ones day in and day out but really wanting to do it well. Loved it.

During this past year, I caught Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club on cable, I became engrossed in them and then hit my favorite movie website, IMDB to read more. I eventually got to the point of realizing that John Hughes had been involved in them and read his resume and said, "Wow". I then found the music from the movies that spoke to me on You Tube to experience this nostalgia a little bit longer. (I also discovered that the Jake character was born in Wilkes Barre, PA where George's dad grew up and Jake, aka Michael Schoeffling, allegedly now makes furniture.)

It is sad that Mr. Hughes passed away recently. I will turn on the music from Breakfast Club and let Riley watch one of the Beethoven movies that she enjoys. Thank you John Hughes. You struck a chord with this kid who grew up in the 80's. Thank you for the great writing, and the great music. Teen angst was never so intelligently and comically written.