Monday, January 26, 2009

Staying Hip

I started listening to XM radio Christmas 2007 when I received it as a present. I really enjoy it and mainly have listened to the Oprah channel but now I'm branching out. With my "5" personality I sometimes go on overload in my information seeking and just need to take a break from the talk and enjoy some music. Also, I want to listen to some of the current music so that I can get some new things to listen to while I work out. One can only listen to Bad Mama Jama, Brick House and High School Musical 3 so many times. So, I've been trying to learn the new music listening to the Top 20 on 20, or Pulse or the like. This was my problem: I didn't know which name was the group and which was the song title on the display. (By the way, I love, love, love this feature on XM radio) This cracked me up every time and made me feel old. The first time this occured was a Bowling for Soup song called1985. I didn't know if the song was Bowling for Soup or if 1985 was the song but of course I liked the song because it was about 1985!!! I could easily remember which thing, artist or song title it is by remembering which is always on the top line and which is the bottom line but in my advancing age, I forget. But the names should be easier. The names are so crazy now. Not like the old days: Michael Jackson, Prince, Whitney Houston, The Time, Rick Springfield, Bon Jovi, Michael Bolton, New Kids on the Block, etc. They were just old fashioned names or groups that actually made sense. Five for Fighting? Maroon 5? O.A.R.? Plain White T's? These names make me feel old and long for the good old days. I guess they are running out of names and have to come up with something unusual. I know there is probably meaning behind the names, but when you feel behind the times, strange names make me feel old. There were strange names in the 80's as well but I was familiar with them. I guess this happenin' momma of two will just have to push her limits and work the brain to remember which line is on top. And get with the program to find more music to stay hip but I'm sure that is not what you call it now...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What type are you?

I am concluding the second part of an Enneagram Workshop at my church today. It is a personality inventory that focuses on utilizing gifts and talents based on your type. There are 9 different personality types and they go by number 1 through 9. At first I had a hard time deciphering which one was my core type and was completely confused. I spoke to the leader of the study and with one statement to her and with her years of experience, Sister Lucy nailed me in 30 seconds flat. Then it was so painfully obvious what I was with the emphasis on pain. My personality completely correlates with the fact that I was at the workshop in the first place. I have thus been chuckling at myself continuously as I realize how I am so acting out my number all the time.

When I mention this personality system to those I have come into contact with, most are very intrigued by what number they might be. It has been quite interesting and I realize my best friend, my mother and I are all the same number. Our number is 5. Fives can differ though in that you can be a super duper above average 5 (Albert Einstein), an average 5 or a dysfunctional 5 and it names which mental illness you would digress to. I was at Barnes and Noble finding a book (so totally 5) and while looking it up, I came across several books on Enneagrams. There was one book that had a whole descriptive chapter devoted to each number and I immediately bought it but was only able to look at it briefly but the little that I did read so totally described me, it was eerie. Over time, I am reading it slowly, and I realize that it is like putting months of analytical physchotherapy into a chapter, one painful paragraph at a time, but I'm still reading.

The workshop leader used the act of crossing a river to describe each of the 9 types. My type doesn't ever cross the river but hides behind a tree, observes the others doing so and takes notes. At first, I didn't like this description at all. After all, I had participated in a mini-triathalon and had gotten in the pool and well as biked and jogged. I did get "across the river," but it was only after a good thought process and a testing of the waters to first decide, if I could do it. This is confirmation of what I learned in that if I am comfortable with myself and functioning high as a 5, I can progress to an 8, which is a leader. So in doing the triathlon, I pushed myself past my observer 5. It is so amazing how this book, that I had never heard of, could so completely describe me and others so completely.

But being a 5, I am always interested in learning more. Observing, and adding knowledge to my base. I laugh because one of my favorite things to do is go to Barnes and Noble during my little free time without children and pick up books of differing natures and speed read what I find interesting. So it is, I am a 5. I accept this about myself and when I'm feeling super duper, I will expound and go out and use some of the knowledge that I have gained and cross that river again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Princess and I, the Needy

Our family adopted 2 adult cats late last year. My first and only cat, Pookie had grown old and very ill and I had to put him down. I waited a few months before wanting to add a new addition to the family, not knowing whether I wanted to get another cat. Riley was ready to go look the day that I was taking Pookie to have him put to sleep. I hadn't even started crying to grieve my little furry friend who had been with me before marriage and children.

Anyway, I liked the idea of being able to leave the doors flung open, no more cat box to smell or clean, etc. but the calling came and we ended up adopting 2 cats. They are sister cats, that needed to be adopted together and it was meant to be. As we were getting out of the car at the pet store to look at the cats up for adoption, Mallory said, "I want to name it Princess." Guess what the names of the sister cats already were: Princess and Morgan. We kept the names and had to wait until we came back from a vacation to bring them home.
Pookie was not a lap cat, he would rub up against my leg to show his affection and when we lived in Buffalo, he would come get closer at times for warmth. But that was enough for me, I was fine with a non lap cat and a little dark blip of a warm body in the same proximity with me. And then came Princess and Morgan. The first day we brought them home, they stayed hidden away from the loud and exciteable children but when the girls were put to bed and George and I retreated to our bedroom, out they came. George and I were in the bed, and they swarmed all over us, in our laps wanting affection, licking our faces. It was hysterical to us after our previous introverted feline. What had I gotten myself into? Every time I sit down at the computer, on a chair, in my bed, etc., one of them, especially Princess is right there fighting to get her attention and her spot.

I feel a kinship to Princess (and Morgan). I was one of those needy chicks with father issues that I have heard made fun of in movies and tv shows. I have learned a little more about myself in the last year or so and why I was a "needy chick" and I've come to terms with it and have learned over the years to not be so needy. Now I'M needed ALL the time by my children. Karma has come around, and here comes Princess, when I'm trying to type on my laptop, she's walking across it trying to find her spot. When I'm eating my cheese enchilada, she puts her foot in it. At the bathroom counter while I try to get dressed, she is trying to come between me and my mascara. She is the persistent Princess and I just laugh thinking how similiar I was to them both and most days I stop and give them some stroking and love.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Does your morning sound like this?

It's Friday morning... Kelly, our cleaning lady is coming at 8:30, there is pressure to get everything picked up that I didn't finish last night [lazy] because there is always waaaaaaaaay tooooo much to declutter before she does the hard cleaning. I need to take Riley to school for 8am dropoff, thus need to walk out house by 7:40, and back out of the driveway by 7:45. Mallory has mother's day out at 9am.
This is how the morning goes....
7:10am Master Bathroom, As I'm dressing, Mallory decides she wants to shower, [okay, easier not to fight with her but warn her sternly that she will have to get out when I say so. The age three is the new two, the tantrums are louder, longer and more explosive, and I must pick my battle] Thus I have to make a mental note to remember to give at least 3 warnings that it's time to go. Now that she likes to wear nightgowns at all times of the day and night this will make things easier when its time to go. She also likes to take multiple showers for extended lengths and I let it happen, and I will worry about the planet's lack of water another time.
7:25am Riley is REALLY whining, it seems more intense than the usual everyday whining . There is a normal whining when getting her school uniform on. [Now that I think about it, she has worn shorts and shirts two days that are easier to get on than the shirt and jumper. Mental note, buy more shorts and polo shirts] I decide to think out of the box and do the opposite of what I wanted to do (!) and I give her some love. I hugged and kissed her and in doing so, she whined that I hit her back on the chair. I am going to persevere, I get on my knees to be level with her and hugged again, free of chairs, and gave her some smooches on her neck. In return, I get a lower threshold of whining coupled with a stifled giggle.
7:35 I tell Mallory to get out of the shower after three warnings and she listens and complies. ( Hallelujah!) Riley doesn't like her sweatshirt as it hurts her wrists as it is too long (@#$$%#$) , the collar is bothering her and whines that Mallory gets to take long showers ALL the time. She has also forgotten her socks and forgots to get them again when she went to get another sweatshirt.
7:45 Non painful sweatshirt is acquired, Mallory is dry and in nightgown ready to go. We go towards the garage. Riley says I need show and tell for today. [Okay, are you kidding me, I covered this ground last night and earlier this morning to see if there was anything else we needed for school.] No time to complain, the clock is ticking. Riley wants to bring a stuffed dog, I say "GO GET IT," in a loud but pleasant voice. She can't find it. Mallory starts hocking as if there is a massive amount of phlegm in her throat, and this is one of her new fun noises. But it makes me want to poke my eyeballs out.
7:50 Riley can't find said dog, and luckily since my house is not picked up, there is a bag of sea shells (from the summer??) in the white box on the counter that is meant for keys and lo and behold, this is a taker for Kindergarten show and tell.
7:52am More hocking from Mallory - (Is this a nervous tic in response to anxiety in the house?)
7:53am In car, buckled backing up. Woo Hoo!!!! One daughter to school, and one to go.
8:00am Kelly arrives 30 minutes early to clean and I'm not ready...
8:55 While backing out of the garage, our retired neighbor scared the crap out of me but wanted to show the girls the possum he had caught overnight. I then gave up on the possibility of getting to school on time. It was worth it though when I asked Mallory what she thought of the disgusting looking possum and she said, "It's pretty, I like the pink tail."
9:00am Not at school, but I'm smiling at priceless comment on grungy varmint from a 3 year olds perspective.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I promise I will begin to be less verbose as time goes by, I have so many ideas, topics swirling though my head right now and I've decided this is where I need to let them all out. At this moment I'm thinking about happiness. I use to think of myself as a "happy" person. And what I'm thinking about now is what does happy mean anyway?

I rolled through life and generally had a smile on my face, a sunny disposition and I never even had PMS!!! And then the "big stuff" hit the fan. The big stuff did not come until my thirties. In my twenties, I had relationships end that were devastating at the time, jobs that were not a good fit, bosses that were incredibly difficult and the like. Normal flow of life and easy rebounds. After I married, I moved way up north and experienced some mild depression in that I couldn't find a job in my field and my husband worked literally all the time and I was slow to make friends. Then we moved back to my hometown and tried to start a family. That didn't go well at all. It was the first time in my life when I tried to do something and couldn't achieve it. It was totally out of my hands and out of my control. I wasn't mad at God, but prayed for whatever was his will yet I desperately wanted to be a parent. I believed my whole life that I was going to be a mother one day.

During this 2 year period of trying to attain pregnancy, I cried all the time. Basically there wasn't a day that went by that there weren't tears. I was on a constant roller coaster of emotions related to hormones, blood tests, ultrasounds, failed attempts and the wonder of how will my dreams of becoming a mother come about. I did acheive pregnancy and finally became a first time mother. Then the most difficult phase of my life began. It was a slow descent into a major depressive episode that is also called postpartum depression. I have recovered from the depression but haven't gotten over the experience and my child is six years old. I am still coming to terms with what happened to me. As I said before I had never even had PMS before. I didn't even know what a mood swing was and then I had the motherload of all mood swings. It was the darkest, deepest, most isolated pit that lacked hope of any kind. And now I understand that hope is a very powerful emotion. I never want to go back there again. There are things that I do to this day to try to avoid going back to a depression, such as always going to bed and getting my sleep. I felt so alone, so isolated and there was a time where surviving an hour seemed like an eternity. There are worse places, situations to be in, but for me this was a major event that has left scars.

After having children, I now have PMS some months. This has scared the crap out of me because it feels like the mood swings will take over my personality again. I have to stop and realize that it is just a part of the cycle. It will pass. My social worker told me that I may have post traumatic stress from my Post Partum Depression. My husband rolls his eyes at that one but that's okay. Just realizing this makes it better.

So it seems that for several years, I was not happy. I was the opposite of "happy." Lately, I've been in a book study with my pastor and the book is, A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. It is a very deep difficult read but extremely enlightening if you are open to it and the message that I have gotten out of it is, live each moment to the fullest. Enjoy the present moment. I have kids and this can go both ways, I choose to laugh at the three or six year old that is driving me bonkers and then loving those profound moments of their take on life.

Carnie Wilson was on Oprah's Monday show and spoke about happiness. And I so identified with what she said which was something like as soon as you say you're happy, then sadness was going to come right around the bend. And I add it will slap you up side the face. After I came out of the postpartum depression, and a couple of year later managed to have another baby (on our own) and no postpartum depression, then I had some family of origin issues rear their ugly head which again threw me for a big loop. I feel that there will always be difficult situations right around the bend, but what I'm learning is to embrace the positive within those negative situations. Embrace the small positives that are meaningful to me, the sun coming up, the flowers, my children, my husband, my friends, the sunrise, good food, a roof over my head, etc.,etc. Focusing on the positive and mourning the things that have caused pain and letting them go. Am I happy? I choose to ignore that question and say, I'm embracing the moments of joy and working towards having more of those however I can do that.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Oprah and I on the same

I listen to XM Radio - pretty much exclusively the Oprah channel all the time when I'm in the car and am able to listen (kids) and I most often enjoy it. (The 80's channel has just not been good lately.) Today is the kickoff for Oprah's Best Life Week on her tv show. Today's focus on the show is weight. She fell off the wagon and has gained 40 lbs. She also had a thyroid diagnosis. For some perverse reason, it makes me feel better that this very accomplished, powerful, influential woman also has a weight problem. That is a small side of my personality that I'm ashamed of. But it makes me realize time and time again, that people in the spotlight are just people who make more money and sell magazines, but they have some of the same problems that everyday people do.

I was reading Oprah's column about what she knows for sure in O Magazine and she is no longer focusing on the weight but she is focusing on: optimum health, getting support when she needs it, finding ways to nurture herself, deepening her spiritual connection and having some fun. OH MY, those were also the same things on my list. I really didn't have a list but I am doing nearly all of them. I'm on the same page with Oprah, maybe I will have a network soon!!!
I am no longer weighing myself through my nutrionist's advice and am working on letting that go. I'm getting the support I need. (ie. nutritionist) I do try to nurture myself and starting this blog was a major step for me. It is very cathartic to put it all out there whether anyone is reading it or not.
I am a spiritual person and have done a lot of work to let some of my past beliefs transform to my beliefs and this is a wonderful accomplishment and ongoing. And I'm learning to have fun. A couple of days ago in my living room, I turned on my favorite HSM 3 song by Zac Effron (Troy Bolton) and just danced to my hearts content - making it to the end of the song and out of breath. Riley sat and watched me and after she said, "Mom, you're a really good dancer." Priceless. Freestyle dancing that is, maybe it was all of the viewing of the Solid Gold dancers... I also totally enjoyed beating George's record on the Wii fit - ski jumping thing. Competition can be a great motivator. I just kept doing it until I got it down. And that is the thing about life, just keep doing it until you get it down right and moving with the roadblocks. There are always going to be setbacks. With a little help here and there, brushing one's self off after getting off track and then that new network is waiting. Set a goal, and the possibilities are endless.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Letting go of the Big Girl Panties

You have heard the saying, put your big girl panties on and deal with it. What if you have been wearing the same big girl panties for over 6 years??? Does the age of the heretofore panty cause a problem in dealing with it?
I love my well aged hi cut big girl panties. I can't let them go. I know how long I've had them and if I explain why that will really gross you out. They seem to work no matter the size I get. They seem to also hold things in a little bit or it could just be my imagination. Especially since my weight has varied by 15 pounds. It just feels like they hold in a little and isn't perception everything? Victoria Secret no longer carries them and I even ordered some that appeared to be like them from the catalog a couple of years ago hoping they were the same and alas no. I've tried new ones and they hold me in too much and are just uncomfortable.
This reminds me of my family of origin. Here is the transition and I will do it better in the future when I have some more experience writing. Some members of my family and I had a big "falling out" at Christmas time a couple of years ago and then it repeated itself during the next holiday season. I had to have therapy to work on letting it go. I will admit I have had therapy, there is such stigma out there about it but the ones who seek it are actually the healthy ones or are trying to be. Which is the topic of another blog having to do with Carrie Fisher. Another time.
Anyway,we as a large family of origin with spouses, neices, nephews, and the occasional parent in law had gotten together as a family for every major and minor holiday, birthdays, parent's anniversary and the family grew larger and larger. It was just something I did and then as my own family grew, we did and thought I was supposed to do until it became unbearable. It was very hard to let this larger body of my original family go and I'm still working on it. We were just not on the same page and I'm not sure if we will ever be.
Letting go of the family of origin is a huge undertaking. There are nearly 20 years of adult age beliefs that are wrapped up in it. I can understand things in my mind but then the heart and the emotion are slow to follow. Grieving is a major part of it. Each Christmas and holiday gets easier until there are interactions that resurrect the hurt feelings and aggravation but then it gets easier to let it go. There is less loss of sleep and stomach turning. But just as the well aged big girl panties must go one day, all things in life change. Change is so hard to accept, but the older that I'm getting I realize, accepting change is the best coping mechanism and also one of the tools for the toolbox of life. The new big girl panties may not feel the same but you have to let go of the old ones sometimes and maybe you might find a new pair that even feels better.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A New Year, it's time to Go Lightly

The second day of 2009. It sounds monumental but it's actually the next day after the first day of the new year, which followed the day before that and so on. In that pattern, what has to change other than the calendar is my attitude, my outlook, my verve. I had to look up verve which Merriam-Webster defines as liveliness of imagination. I like that. My imagination needs to be "livened." I have never been a think outside of the box person but in the last couple of years, I'm coming around to it and learning how. It's a skill that has to be acquired. It is a handy tool to have in the toolbox of life.
I'm presently sad that my clothes don't fit, and I'm trying to think out of the box on this one and how to embrace it. I'm embracing the parts of me that I don't like right now. I am working on my clothes fitting better as I'm seeing a nutritionist and she is helping me come to a healthy relationship with food. It's a difficult journey and I sense it will take time and then that weight is just going to fall off...ha ha, not really but in time slowly . I'm going to move more and figure out how to stop eating when I'm full. It's a complicated process for me as it is for a lot of people.
My nutritionist says diets don't work. I knew that after the last two diets I did back to back in 2 years with short term results. I knew something was wrong with the process but what? It was unbearable to deprive myself. So this is my new path out of the box and I know I'm on the right one and it's just going to take time. And I have become accustomed to our culture of immediate gratification. A diet is immediate gratification in the mind but for me in time the weight comes back, so no diet.
Now to think out of the box and embrace my curves, ignore our media obsessed culture of teeny tiny bodies, etc. I am who I am. I could get all Stewart Smalley and say "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me." Which is actually what I've learned that I need to do. Really. I just have to love myself for who I am. I have curves, I will never be a size 2. There are some boutiques, I will never shop in and that is okay. My body does a lot of nice things for me. It gets me through the day and is relatively healthy right now. That's a huge positive. That is something to be grateful for. It even got me through a mini-triathlon in May(I managed to get that in, didn't I!!!) I like to look nice but I don't really want all of the focus of my life to be about superficiality. Right now, my main job is my children and they don't care what I look like. They just want me to love them and spend time with them. I'm learning that what is important is on the inside. Really. So outside of the box I go and I've got other things to do like to figure out how I'm going to move today and what to fix for supper.