Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pondering Christmas Perfection on Christmas Eve Eve

Wow - I should not be writing this at all but it's healthier to take the time to do so. George and I both wanted to have "everything" done by today so we could "relax" on Christmas Eve and enjoy ourselves. Ha ha ha ha ha.

I wish I could clone myself today in order to get "everything" done that needs to be done. The decorating, shopping, cooking, cleaning, wrapping, parenting, entertaining, etc. The following are things that I am coming to grips with this holiday season. I am coming face to face with what perfection is and letting go of what my old ideas of it were. I evidently am unsettled with what Christmas is supposed to look like. This year it looks like an undone house, as the new keeping room was just finished last Friday. We want to have things looking finished, as in decorated and furniture in place, but that is just not humanly possible unless we had a team of workers, like on tv. #1 - Let go the desire to have some semblance of a finished look in the house when your construction finished 5 days ago.

(An aside- Lowes has a fantastic return policy and you don't have to have the receipt, just the credit card you used. When I first found out Target had this capability it freaked me out a little and now I love it. Except if George happened to be the payee. We have now bought several different area rugs and have yet to hit THE one, and this is just at Lowes. Just think what would happen if we opened ourselves up to Home Depot... (Our fifth rug from Home Depot was the winner!))

The Christmas Meal. I don't know if it is living in the South but worrying about the menu has been bothering me and I want to have the "perfect" meal. I have also had this saying going around in my mind about this topic for about a week, "I will be pulling a Chrismas meal out of my ass this week." So crass. But it is how I feel and it feels so good to say it. I think it explains my desire to have a "perfect" meal and the complete lack of time to do the entire meal with. #2 It doesn't matter what you have, as long as the family is together.

Gifts for the Family. This has been an ongoing issue for several years especially with the children. I have wanted to buy less, but then I put more pressure on myself to get just the right thing. Just want they want, what I want to be educational, well rounded. It doesn't help that EVERY day Mallory discusses THE different thing that she only wants for Christmas. Although, she is asking for the most, she is the most thankful and immediately says after receiving whatever it was, that it is just perfect. #3 and it is a biggie It's not about "the stuff." My gift and George's gift to the children is being present not giving presents. This is not easy to accomplish, I am having to learn how to do it slowly over time and it is one of my life's missions. Paying attention to them, clueing in to their needs and maintaining balance - taking care of myself and EVERYONE else. Motherhood is not for sissies. Parenting is one of the hardest jobs there is but is the most rewarding.

My new version of Christmas perfection, or "being there" is not just for the season but for all of the time. As the song goes, "Don't save it all for just one day"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Addition Complete!

It is December 20th. Holy crap. There are still many last minute things to be done before we celebrate Jesus' birth. But one thing that is complete is the Keeping Room!!!! Woo Hoo! After months of work by the contractor's team and my part, the work is done. We moved furniture in Friday night and kept moving on Saturday. We lived in the room this weekend. A completely different story from last weekend, when we had to vacate the house as they were laying tile and grout. What a difference a week makes. The kitchen area is now feels so huge. We moved basically all of the furniture from the living room and it is now an empty shell but we will eventually get some furniture for it. That means we have to go shopping...and pick colors and a design.

And I did it!! I coordinated the whole project from start to finish. George still hasn't met the father of the father/son contracting team. This went so much more smoothly than the window replacement project from hell. I learned a lot in between those experiences. I thoroughly interviewed three contractors, bids and all and then went with my gut. I actually had two groups that I would have felt good with and that was amazing to me. And the process went reasonably well.

Now to work on all of the other major home projects-refinish wood flooring, see if A/C can handle new square footage during the summer, update bathroom counters. Not to mention the continual decluttering process. There is always a project...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas, Bring It.

Well, we turned a corner three weekends ago. It is now all Christmas, all the time. One late afternoon weekday on our way to gymnastics, the girls spotted Christmas lights in our neighborhood, their resulting delight (and mine too!) was to communicate with George when we were going to put up our lights. The upcoming weekend was chosen and then jam packed. Not only did we do Christmas decorations - inside and out, we managed washing all of the clothes and clearing out each room of furniture that had the kitchen tile in it (mud, laundry, Riley's bathroom, etc) We also needed to remove any item we did not want dust on because the old tile was being ripped up. I am now up close and personal with the following equation -Construction process=dust everywhere. We also fed and clothed the girls and managed to throw a visit to GaGa's in.

We really pulled out all the stops, as we purchase a new inflatable lawn decoration - Santa coming out of the top of a Christmas tree and added it to our menagerie. I even put a wreath on the porta potty which has to be displayed on our front lawn. Last weekend, I had my come to Jesus moment when I realized that Christmas was two weeks away. I had not shopped in a major way and after finally picking out tile and paint again, I began the Christmas shopping experience. I am still working on Christmas cards, as they have been sitting in the box since late November. The usual Christmas letter is hard to write.


While trying to catch Christmas cheer, one morning I turned on the XM Holly station briefly and it was okay, I did not throw up in my mouth. I switched it to the 80's station quickly and Foreigner's "Faithfully" did make my stomach turn more than the Christmas song. So off we go. Christmas music too! We even made it to the downtown Christmas celebration, fake snow, fake ice skating and lighting of their Christmas tree.

Earlier this week, I felt overwhelmed. I wasn't sure of my tile choice. Christmas pressure was coming upon me. Here's another equation... Christmas = stress, Remodeling construction = stress, mother in law with metastatic breast cancer = stress. That is a lot of stress and I had to be reminded by a dear friend that any one of those is enough to deal with. All three together is over the top. I then had another aha moment, that something in my personality makes me think that I am supposed to handle anything flawlessly and never feel stressed out. Now if a friend had told me the same scenario, I would have given her empathy and comfort, but for myself just harsh judgement. Hmmmm. Something is wrong with this picture. When I finally accepted that these emotions are acceptable, they dissipated! It is OKAY to feel stressed out when life is unbelievably stressful.

So Christmas here we come.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Gem

This quote has been brought to my attention again recently. "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. " This is Oprah by way of Maya Angelou, I think. But it is SO true. People are who they are, not who I want them to be and vice versa ( that's another similar quote I recently posted). And from the first "showing" to the twelfth showing - they are who they are. And more than likely they are not going to change. It will have to be me. I will have to go to the uncomfortable place of changing habits and yet I then will be free. Discomfort eventually leads to moving on and freedom. This is a new habit of mine and I'm keeping it.

I learned this lesson up close and personal the last few days. And the really neat aspect of the situation is that it was without much drama because the skill is now in my repertoire, it is coming faster. I recognized the truth and pinpointed exactly why I didn't believe when I already knew in the first place. As in why did I keep engaging with this particular person when I knew what our history was? I didn't want to go out of my comfort zone. And then the anger comes in. And the kicker is, I'm not really angry at the other person although it feels that way in the beginning. I'm angry because I knew better and didn't listen to my instincts. And you know what, it is okay not to be perfect either. I am not beating myself up because I needed to learn that lesson. It's just time to move on, and there is some discomfort. And I'm sure I will learn it again about someone else or something else. Maybe the process will go faster, maybe not.

And this is all related to listening to my gut. I am taught the lesson again again to listen to my instincts. It is so crucial. I read or hear interviews when other people say these same ideas and I completely understand the point and it resonates with me. There is a reason it is resonating, it speaks to my soul. And it seems that more and more my journey is about being well with my soul and the above mentioned freedom. And when I am well with my soul, everything else flows better. And the soul is about love. And that is where God comes in, because in my book, he is all about love.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bah Humbug

Can I be the first to say, Bah Humbug. I am just not in the mood for Christmas, AT ALL. In fear of being judged by the Christian Right (he he he), if Christmas were just about Jesus it might be different but it's not and the moms out there know what I'm talking about. Businesses have had decorations up since Halloween, People are putting them up and putting pictures of their Christmas trees up on FB and it makes me want to throw up. Mad because I liked to get mine up and sad, because I just am really not into it right now. But I have young kids so it will happen and it will drag me into the spirit. I have felt so stressed out the last couple of days. The tension has been really high. I am trying to give myself a break because a member of the family is dying and maybe that is why I'm really stressed and wanting to avoid Christmas. I can do such a wonderful job of beating myself up as well. But I have not been through THIS level of stress before. It is physically, mentally and emotionally draining. There is just nothing left. I am short with my kids and my husband. I hold it together for my mother in law. My husband of course, is completely stressed as well.

For Christmas, the good thing is that I HAVE to simplify. There is no way around it. This has been a goal of mine for the last couple of Christmases and this year it IS a reality. I think I said the same exact sentiment last year, and this year, well it is happening. My neighbor has already suggested not exchanging adult gifts and just giving kid gifts and I wanted to kiss her. Mmmmwwaahhh. Now, who else can I suggest this to? I want to have my kids covered and the rest is just going by the wayside.

I'm still in the middle of a house remodel and that is actually fun when you compare it to life and death, even with having to replace the chosen tile at the last moment or having the wrong set of French doors come in. When living in the middle of an addition to your house is the positive in your life right now you know it's not good. I feel like I'm teetering on the edge some moments. And I think what I need to do is give myself a break. Let myself cry. Reach out to someone or some group who knows what this is all about. Ask for help. Try to have small moments of time to myself. Lastly, I have been turning up Garth loudly and getting my twang on -as he was on Oprah recently. I pulled out the Greatest Hits CD which hadn't seen the light of day in years. I saw him in concert in Buffalo and he was great. I have so been enjoying - "Calling Baton Rouge", "The Dance", "Rodeo" "Friends in Low Places" and on and on. This is one of my favorites though...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Subtle Aha moments...

“Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.” Marianne Williamson

Well, that's my post, it says it all. I really shouldn't say more because it covers love, fear, spiritual journey, acceptance, consciousness, things and the meaning of life. Done! Enough said.

Okay, I will ruin it, here goes. Facebook has it's downfalls but I still like it for the most part. I have friends who post some really interesting material and I love that without effort I come across it and it completely resonates with me. This quote from Marianne Williamson says exactly what I have come to learn in my journey. I revel when I find something that describes a particular truth of life that I have learned but in the most succinct and eloquent words. And I also think, someone else understands this!!

I had so much fear and self doubt about myself growing up. I wasn't good enough, I wasn't as good as everybody else. Even though I was popular in high school, and I joined a sorority, I still felt inferior. A sorority is just like wearing this brand of clothes, or driving this car or being a member of this club or having to say you are at this restaurant- it can be all to make you feel good through something "else" if that is what you need. There were times that I knew I was smart, attractive and capable but for the most part, fear plagued me. I worried about everything. I did not accept myself as I am and for whom I am until the last couple of years. Do you know how much energy that is wasted on all of those repetitive thoughts? When you accept yourself for who you are, it is amazing how those fears just fall to the wayside. I do things that I constantly worried about before and now don't think twice about. It is all how your mind is trained and as you unravel those tracks, there is God and his unending, unceasing love, just waiting for you to get to these truths. I imagine him/her chuckling as we finally get it.

I want to try as best as possible for my girls to not feel so much fear or at least to make their journey not as difficult as mine. And the fact that I understand this will make that so. Love is not just love. It is a very complex emotion and state of being. Figuring out this parenting stuff and how to love is not easy. Your parents give you their way and you have to figure out those tracks that were laid and what works for you and what doesn't. I have discovered some major things that needed changing for me and have been blazing a new trail. It is not easy but it is the path that I NEED to be on. And of course, not every one likes this and there is resistance. The resistance makes me realize that I really am on the right pathway from all that I have learned. And the subtle aha moments just keep coming. I know I am on the right track when they keep coming.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The gift of an Ordinary Day

This is a video from a mom named Katrina Kenison and it is right on, she lived it, she knows it. It's seven minutes long but for me - so full of wisdom. She has two grown boys, I have two young girls. I can change some of the boy stuff but I can see exactly how it fits. Last week, Riley did not hold my hand as we walked at the mall while she helped me pick out an outfit for the Ochsner Cancer Center benefit. I noticed it of course (knife to the heart motion), but then I know, she needs to grow independent of me and it starts subtlety. I have to figure out how to let her do this as it was not shown to me growing up. I'm just figuring it all out myself.

The video tugs at my emotional heartstrings as I have experienced some of it and realize the rest is yet to come. Today, Riley had her first piano recital. I was nervous beyond belief when I had piano recitals in my younger days but Riley has had a different upbringing. She was not nervous for her dance recitals so we are just going to play this by ear!! he he he We talked about her butterflies and then before we got out of the car, we said a prayer for calmness and to enjoy. It felt so right.

The journey with GaGa is heavy on my mind as well. The girls both know now that she is not going to get better. We have discussions about heaven and who is there. I have to figure out how to navigate this with them as well. Big life lessons are coming down the pike and they are very teachable moments for George and I to give them what our opinions are (and I know I am still learning some of them right now!!) and then they will figure them out on their own in their time. But for now, I am embracing the ordinary day. Highs, lows and everything in between. It's great stuff and I wouldn't want to miss this at all.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thing I Know Right Now...


*Riley turned eight this week. Happy Birthday to my beloved first child!! I still haven't forgotten what we went through to have her it just fades ever so slightly. Becoming a parent changes EVERYTHING. All of the emotional work I have done in my life to help benefit me, really helps me to be a better parent to her and Mallory and I can see the difference. And I need that to get through the teen years and teaching them to fly on their own.

*Going through a major ongoing medical crisis with a parent or in law enables you to see the best and worst of people. Who can "take" it and who can't even speak about it. I understand not being able to talk about it, you can't fathom the depths of this process until you've been through it. And then there are some who are not capable of it at all or are afraid that they are going to upset you. But the truth is you live in a state of upset, its never far from your mind. When George's dad died, we were many states away and it did not impact us, not like now, direct care of a loved one. George still lost a parent but this IS SO VERY difficult. Watching someone waste away in pain is heartbreaking. Having to reverse roles and take over is a process. And there are people who can give and listen and you hold on to them dearly and you are eternally grateful for them.

*Certain people are disappointing me and it caught me by surprise and a lesson was revisited. I am attributing this quote to Bruce Lee from a Facebook post so it might not be accurate, yet it is so spot on. "I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine." I have learned this so intimately in the last two years and it rears it's head again now and so it is a little easier to let go of the disappointment. And people who had disappointed me in the past have shown up! What are you gonna do? LIFE AND PEOPLE aren't perfect and the sooner I accept that, the less stress I have in my life.

*Finally it hit me, I WOULD be good on a church care team. I didn't think I was good enough before...I had an aha moment and thought, Hell yeah, I'm good enough. If I'm not Care Team material, who is? I just need to have it in me to give. Now is not that time.

*The busy fall season has started - Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. I don't have the same sense of urgency this year, it is giving way to figuring out if Mary will make it to Christmas, or Thanksgiving on some of the bad days. Each week is so very different and things change within those few days. Her condition is worsening week by week, and we are just trying to keep up. There are good days and bad days yet it is also a continual decline.

*I am falling more in love with Adam Lambert...or maybe it's just escaping into music for a little while. I turn it up VERY loud in the car when I'm by myself. Mallory sings the words without music now.

*I am okay with not folding the clean laundry right now. My husband is not. He folds it yet he expects me to have it put up. This is a problem...I'm trying to make do running on fumes. Getting done exactly what needs to be done.

*I'm so tired but I can go on. It's kind of like the postpartum period, you think you don't have it in you but you just keep going. One foot after the other. Except for at night, it's not a baby that wakes you, it is heavy thoughts of life and death.

*I will miss Oprah. When she is "on" in an interview and by that I mean somewhat objective, she is SO GOOD. I have a back log of all kinds of shows on all 3 DVR's. Now I just delete what I will miss the least before the machine deletes them. That makes me feel like I have accomplished something. There were a few recent Oprah interviews that I caught that were fantastic - The Judds, Aging Celebrity beauties, Tyler Perry and Jane Fonda. Fabulous life lessons.

*Concrete has been pored to start the addition of the keeping room. We ordered french doors, have picked out tile, still need to pick out paint. And have looked at furniture. It's all good until they rip up my kitchen floor and it is a MESS. But I'm still so excited to get a new floor, one that is even and doesn't hurt my bare feet when I walk on it. Haven't had time to pick anything out lately and you know, it doesn't matter. It will happen when it happens.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A little comic relief

Six weeks ago when we bought these costumes with a 30% off coupon, did I know we would need some comic relief? Unconsciously I did. We won best costumes in the family category at our church's fall festival! It looks as though we are ready for Renaissance Fair, right?! Did I feel silly putting this on and going...uh,yes...but it ended up being fun for an hour and a half. Yet the girls decided they wanted to go and were thrilled to win a prize. We took a picture because George will be on call on Halloween. Mary liked to hand the candy out at our house and see all of the costumes come by. {heavy sigh}

Monday, October 18, 2010

This is the Tough Stuff

I just saw a beautiful sunrise full of pinks and blues. It seems so poignant. The world just keeps going. Last week was rough, Monday was horrible, and well really, the last number of weeks has been difficult. Mary is not doing well. She is in a lot of pain. She was admitted to the hospital for pain management last week and now she has narcotic pain patches and also taking an oral pain pill and it is not working all the time, especially when she can't get up to take the medicine by herself. She has now started 12 sessions of radiation on the hip which will hopefully decrease the pain. I told George that I just feel an overall sense of doom and he concurred. We are journeying through uncharted territory and the pathway is not of our making. We just have to respond as best we can.

It is just so painstaking, difficult and hard. I am exhausted as is George. I can't imagine what Mary is going through. What I'm going through is trivial compared to her but I can only experience my world with glimpses into hers. This IS the tough stuff. George and I are working to stay on the same page, and not take our stress out on each other, communicate and work together. We hit a major bump of care. Mary is back in her apartment and wants to remain independent but she can't. Each week is something new and her condition and her body are seeming to deteriorate before our eyes. I had to push it until she agreed to have someone come in to her apartment to help her get ready in the morning. The roles are starting to be reversed. She doesn't like it and neither do I but it is necessary. [And on a high note, she was pleased after having the caregiver come this morning to help her in the mornings and thanked George and I for pushing the issue with her.] {And then she changes her mind and doesn't want her to come again...and then I have to push it again...}

I can feel the stress in my body. My shoulders are so tense. My brain is on overload. I haven't exercised or practiced yoga. Just when I need it the most, I can't get there. I'm beginning to come up with alternatives for stress relief. Hot baths, and good music and laughter when I can. I turned up the volume on Adam Lambert in the car on the way home from Little Gym yesterday and just started singing, loudly. The girls joined in. I needed a release. I have seen pain and agony and Monday's moments are seared into my memory. One of the song lines is "I got my boots on" and when we got home, Mallory ran and put her boots on. Precious and priceless. Later at home, I turned Adam on again loud and the girls and I danced. It is a slight relief from the tough stuff. Enough to get me by for a while longer.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

No great title.

There have been so many lessons for me going on right now and I don't have much time to write about them and I miss that. Things have slowed down a bit and I am trying to squeeze some coherent thoughts out. Some of the lessons are more shareable than others. I still want to write about my Glam experience with Adam Lambert, it was so much fun and that blog is coming. I'm waiting for a copy of a sermon from church to tie it all together!! Yes, I will tie my Glam Nation experience with God!! I love putting those connections together and seeing Gods work all over, not just related to the four walls of a church. And in places and people that a narrow minded person would never allow to happen. I use to be narrow or think I was supposed to be narrow, but now I am opening it wide up. I love that about myself now!!

I have been going non-stop for the last few weeks and that is not normal for me and I can't hang. I am so far from being Type A - I'm not sure how far they go into the alphabet, (maybe Type L for lazy) but I do not like going and going. I have SO learned that quiet, reflective time is what keeps me going. I am sitting in my bedroom, typing with the windows open because it is wonderfully cool outside!!!, the cats are on the window sill and I'm listening to birds chirping as well as the noise of suburban Baton Rouge. I am tired, the last couple of days, sleep has been disturbed by heavy thoughts in the middle of the night. But that is okay. That is life. In the past, I would have freaked out and said, I can't go on, and been extremely negative and fought myself the entire time, now I am learning I can go on and I don't spend as much time having the thoughts go round and round. I have learned to stop and examine the thought and then let it go or do something about it.

There have been many tears shed this week for all kinds of reasons. I have fabulous friends who have listened to me cry and vent. I am so grateful for my friends and my therapist!! It takes a village. I'm just learning to expand the village, think out of the box, and stop thinking in ideals. One day at a time.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Driving my husband's new car...


My husband and I recently purchased a new four door sedan for his use. It was a hard decision to start making a car payment again but he was driving my nine year old girly SUV for years after an accident in his car. So we took the plunge and he got a new car with the newer features. Well, he needed to drive my hot rod, ego massaging minivan to take his mom around so I got to drive the fancy new car all day. This is going to be fun....right?! New car...woo hoo!

The day started off badly, when the girls and I couldn't even get IN the car. When you walk up to it and have the keyless device in your purse, it immediately unlocks the door when you put your hand on the door handle, NOT when you push the button on the door. The button on the door, LOCKS it. Yes, it's simple, but I hadn't driven the car very much and it wouldn't have been so bad but Mallory starts crying thinking we are never getting into the car. (I still remember being excited about just being able to push a button to get in my Highlander, that was fancy for me then!) I kept locking George's car accidentally. FINALLY, we get in the car and there is no place for backpacks. And as compared to the vastness of the van, we are in a tin can. I feel slightly clausterphobic and the girls do too. When we were test driving the different sedans, there was only only excitement but know it is ALL gone.

I get back to the house from dropping them off at school and park in the garage and I hear a beeping noise - I have had my experiences with beeping noises if you recall. [Things that go beep - May 2010] It scared the heck out of me at first and then I realized that it was the mechanism that was telling me I was too close to something. Lovely...it also beeps when I go through drive thru windows because I GET TOO CLOSE. And I feel so short, not to mention I don't have my usual place to put my purse. Discombobulation, big time.

And I guess the irony for me is that it is such a nice vehicle yet we are creatures of habit and we have gotten used to our space. The girls are so excited when we got in the van this morning. Nothing like a new car to make you appreciate the ole' minivan. Woo Hoo!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fierce

Well, it has been quite a couple of weeks. I can't tip toe around it. We found out last week that my mother in law has metastatic cancer. I am not going to go into specifics as this is her business but it has become ours. George and I are her only family that live in Baton Rouge so it has rocked her world and thus ours. We knew something was going on as her health has declined over the last few months and we just couldn't find the reason.

I think I am still in shock, digesting it a little more day by day and every day brings new developments.
Life... has.... shifted.
Cancer sucks.
On a lighter note, I am learning to ask for help. I realize I can't do it all. Our church has been wonderful, I have fabulous friends who are there for me, I also had to examine my priorities. I let go of some of my commitments that I picked up - the room mom duties, and the volunteer committee. No excuses, they just needed to be let go of so that I could focus on what needs to be focused on...my family.

Over the years, I have become close to my mother in law and we have a good working relationship. I enjoy spending time with her! At times, she is much easier to talk to than my own family - no years of baggage. And she has given me great insight in some key issues. We certainly don't see eye to eye on everything yet I learned to agree to disagree with her and it was a revelation. I was not accustomed to being able to move on if there was not an agreement. Being able to voice a disagreement is HUGE.
We have a great bond and a mutual fierce love for George and especially Riley and Mallory. Her sun rises and sets around those girls. And they came out of my body....so voila - the bond. She was laying in the hospital bed, too weak to move and yet she wants to tell me what to get Riley for her birthday in the weeks to come. Fierce.

She has made great strides and is now working to gain her strength back to return to her apartment on her own and fight the cancer. We hope to keep it at bay for a while longer so that the fierceness can continue as long as possible.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

School has started and all that free down time I thought I would have is gone like the wind as my extra-curricular activities are blooming big time. I have begun meeting with contractors for adding on a keeping room and all that entails. In some ways it is similar to my post about cleaning ladies and "they are just not into me." The one I want to call doesn't call and the one I don't feel I'm into, is calling... yet it will all work out in the end. And as my neighbor and good friend says, "It's just a stressful process!" And I had to be reminded of that to begin rolling with other people and their time lines and communication styles.

I volunteered to be Room Mom for Mallory's Pre K class. Yes, I got sucked into the vortex...but I have 2 other moms to help me with that so I'm hoping for the best! Those kids have seven parties during the school year. They are partiers those five year olds...I don't think I would have ever done this in the past, but here we are.

I have also been a part of a committee for an Ochsner fundraiser that will commence in November. I'm learning the nuts and bolts of throwing a cocktail fundraiser. This one includes a fashion show, gaming, and band and is called, Hot Hot Hot!

This week has been crazy. As Mallory's birthday is tomorrow, I realized on Monday, I had no presents, and no food to serve at the party at Little Gym. I had meetings, back to school night with room mom duties, hair appointment, dermatology appointment, and meetings with contractors. A full week. On top of that, getting ready for Adam Lambert on Sunday night. and that should be a story...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Little Snot

Months ago when I was trying a kundlini yoga class, I heard this song and it intrigued me. I asked for the name from the yoga teacher and it was unusual. Last week, I was in my mothership, Barnes and Noble and heard the song again and it was time to look it up. The singer is named Snatam Kaur. Yes, all I could think about was snot. But the melody was calling me. So I found the song which was seven minutes long. Seven minutes long!!...Why is it so long???



He, he, he. Well, the reason that it is seven minutes long is because of it's nature as a chant as part of Sikh devotional music. All I kept thinking was it just goes on and on repeating itself. Because...it's a chant. Then I read about the Sikh religion and it was fascinating. In my journey of "going lighter," I am open to reading other materials and finding what I like. Being open minded is a rather new concept to me!! I use to drag myself down with feeling judged, and now it is very freeing. I am worrying less and less about what others think and thus I don't judge others either!! Funny how that happens. So I am open to studying other belief systems. Take on those that intrigue me and the let the others fall by the wayside.

This Sikh religion believes in one creator, "Energy" and they have gurus who teach their beliefs. I have always liked the word guru. They also have a holy trinity: to practice meditation daily, to live honestly and earn by ones physical and mental effort while accepting God's gifts and blessings. And share their wealth within the community.

The next facts are what I found most interesting:
Kill the Five Thieves: The Sikh Gurus tell us that our mind and spirit are constantly being attacked by the Five Evils – Kam (Lust), Krodh (Rage), Lobh (Greed), Moh (Attachment) and Ahankar (Ego). A Sikh needs to constantly attack and overcome these five vices.
Positive Human Qualities: The Sikh Gurus taught the Sikhs to develop and harness positive human qualities which lead the soul closer to God and away from evil. These are: Sat (Truth); Daya (Compassion); Santokh (Contentment); Nimrata (Humility); and Pyare (Love).


In my journey, I have found myself drawn to MY truth, peace, contentment and finding out what true love is, ie. what an intimate relationship really looks like. That is the way I want to "be present" with my children and those loved ones around me. It is new territory for me. And ironically (?!), I continue to see God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in a new way. God has stopped being "out there." When I take the time to be still, get rid of all of the distractions, meditate, God is there, he is always there. And there is peace and contentment even though other "issues" in life go on. It is pretty amazing. I think that is why I was drawn to this music....this seven minute long chant!!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

RHONJ - Reunion...Let's get physical!!!

OMG...and yes, I will have to watch it TONIGHT, poor George. There is nothing redeeming about it but It's a total trainwreck and I can't look away at this point. I have been cramming watching the last season over the last two weeks. I can't believe Teresa pushing poor Andy Cohen like that....Watch what happens.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bittersweet


Riley started school a week ago. And Mallory starts today. I knew both of them were a little apprehensive about the new school year. Riley was really ready to get back. I believe she would go all year if she could, but she was a little uncertain about her new teacher and classroom friends. I am feeling much emotion about Mallory starting "big school." It is a huge transition for her and me! Being a stay at home mom I am beginning to understand the rhythm of the year. There is such a huge transition into summer, and then again, another huge transition when they go back to school. During summer, every moment of my life is occupied. And then bam, once again, I will have some time. Wow!

I know what I want to fill it with for the most part. I have been to yoga maybe 3 times this summer. Yoga makes me feel peaceful, alert, alive, refreshed, at peace. And I wonder why I feel like I have stalled in my healing journey. I haven't gotten on the treadmill or moved my body nearly as much as I would have wanted to. I want to read. I want to have an adult conversation uninterrupted. I want to clean out my house. I look around at the house and I see all of the projects that I need to get after. And then I think, wow, I will be alone to do those projects. And that makes me just a little sad. Yet when the kiddos are home, I can't get anything done.

I need to make appointments - doctor, dental, mammogram. I want to continue to declutter out the wazoo. I think I am getting more and more of a high with cleaning. I'm thinking that perhaps I could slowly replace the eating addiction with another more healthy addiction, like cleaning. Another large task on my agenda, a biggie is that George and I decided to add on a keeping room to extend the kitchen area. I am excited about having some more living space but slightly dread dealing with the whole process. But it means that I get a new kitchen floor which thrills me, but I will be responsible for dealing with it all and we have had a few bad experiences so I am trying to keep it balanced.

It is still hard for me to believe that I'm done with Jefferson Baptist MDO and preschool. For six years, it has been a large part of my life. A very useful, grateful part of my life. Now both of the girls are at the same place! One starting time, one ending time, wow!! It hit me after being in the survival mode of the summer, the reality that I will have from 8 to 3, on my own. Oh my gosh! It is exciting and today both Mallory and I have butterflies.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Piano

Many moons ago, I was trying to get pregnant. And it was taking a long time. It was a terribly difficult struggle. Lots of waiting, waiting, waiting, day in, month out. Shots, blood draws, transvaginal ultrasounds, endlessly frustrating phone calls with insurance companies, doctor's offices. Many, many, many emotions and many, many, many tears. Advice was given to relax, destress... That was when I first tried yoga. I would do anything to become a mother. During this time of trying to destress, George and I decided to buy a piano as I had taken many years when I was younger. In grade school, I enjoyed hours upon hours of playing and singing my heart out. The former joy though never really reoccured during my time of infertility though, I wasn't feeling it.

Yesterday, Riley had her first ever piano lesson. She was the child we finally became pregnant with and carried to term. She is our little miracle. (And Mallory is our natural miracle!) And then as I sat with her to see what she had learned, it hit me that the piano has come full circle. I'm also verklempt that she is starting 2nd grade today and next week, my baby will start Pre-K at the "Big" school. I'm getting pretty sentimental as my 24/7 summer reign ends and I am handing them over to Dunham for several hours a day. I am finally getting some downtime, and some time to go after my own interests.

Riley loved her lesson. She was so excited about practicing. It made me want to play again.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Just one more week

My reign as stay at home mom for the summer is nearing completion. There have been weeks that have flown by and there have been slow weeks. All in all, it has gone by fast. Everyone I talk to is repeating that same sentiment. Yet some days of summer have been really LONG. Yesterday was one of those days.

Riley, Mallory and I spend a lot of time together. The three of us. This week we had no specific camp or activity. I believe Mallory is showing her apprehension to starting big school by needing to know where I am EVERY moment of the day. If I move from the room that I am in, she runs screaming and crying to find me and saying, "Where are you?", "Why did you leave me?" So yesterday we were at home most of the day and if I moved from a room, I had to announce where I was going. Now more than half of the time, she doesn't listen to me because she is involved with something else. She has been attached to me in this way for a few weeks. It came to a head yesterday, when I told her I would be in the kitchen, cleaning. She went to watch a movie in another room and after a few minutes, she came back and checked on me. I had walked into the mudroom which is attached to the kitchen and she pointed to the threshold of the kitchen/mudroom. She was telling me I should have announced that I was going into the mudroom.

OH.... MY.... GOSH!! Could this BE any more annoying??? I guess I need to wear an ankle monitoring bracelet for her. Yet, I can tell how fearful she is. I can tell there is something deeper going on that she has no control over as she is just four and three quarters years old. I hold her and hug her and tell her that I'm not going to leave her. I ask, "Do I ever leave you by yourself?" etc. I try to be reassuring. This doesn't seem to squelch the behavior. I realize it is a phase. A draining phase. I lose my cool every now and then because it goes on ALL DAY LONG from 6-7am to 8pm at night. And then there is the fighting between siblings.

So around 2:30pm, we were coming to a really ugly place and the kids were bored and I was losing my mind and we called GaGa to see if we could resume our original plans of going swimming at her indoor pool. Earlier in the day, it had been black outside and rained something fierce with lightening and thunder, which contributed to Mallory's post Gustav fear of storms and THE clinginess.

Then I went further and had a brilliant idea to see if one of the kids could spend the night with her. It was Riley's turn and we had done this another week when I was at my wit's end and it was BEAUTIFUL. We went and swam, expended some energy and I left Riley. The sisters were ecstatic not to be near each other. I was ecstatic to have some seperation as well. I was getting a break. George got home at a reasonable hour! and I had some downtime. Some beautiful, wonderful, non ankle bracelet wearing time by myself. Namaste.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's my Birthday and I will cry if I want to.

Today is my birthday, I am 42. Birthdays have been difficult as an adult. I believe there is the child in me that wants to feel special on my birthday and I expect that from other people and it doesn't happen. Several years back, I decided to take charge of my own birthday and treat myself. I buy my own present and generally go for spa treatments if I can. Last year WAS a fun birthday because it was Sunday, and our church announces your birthday if it falls on a Sunday. It was special to have my large church family tell me Happy Birthday. I had waited many years for my birthday to fall on a Sunday when they started the practice. And then on Facebook, a plethora of people sent me wishes. I secretly love that facebook tells everyones it is your birthday.

I had a discussion years ago with a friend who felt the same exact way I did about birthdays. Our expectations were never met. I think I understand better about my birthdays now. Other people have hated their birthdays, why didn't I develop that attitude sooner?!? And I have to change my expectations yet they die hard. I don't think anyone else could make me feel special now except myself. Yesterday after lunch, we had cake and I opened presents with George and the girls and GaGa. I really didn't want to do it yesterday because I wanted to save it for today but George would be leaving early and is on call so he may or may not be here this evening. And the kids wanted me to open the presents. It's always about them, you know. Riley and George for the first time used the sewing machine that Riley got for Christmas. They made a little purse and put my cards in it, she was so proud. Mallory wanted to help me open the presents AND would not shut up about the cake. I had to let go of what I wanted to do for my kids. It's a balance. Finding my way for me to take care of myself and to take care of my children, but the child in me was fighting them. They gave me scrabble with this note attached. No hinting around there and I'm not taking it personally.

On another note, I have been in hiding since Saturday afternoon. I went for an early birthday facial as I had a horrible blemish by my mouth. Warning graphic description: it was about 4 whiteheads in one and was huge. The esthetician was so excited about being able to get after it. I'm go glad I could give her that pleasure. I wasn't in hiding about the blemish, it was for the brow and lip wax that took the top layer of skin off around my eyebrows and upper lip. For years, I have been using a retinoid type product that makes my skin sensitive but I had never had this reaction before, and this esthetician did caution me, but now I WILL NEVER WAX AGAIN. She really went after it and used a lot of wax and a lot of pulling. My eyebrows were on fire when I left and I turned pinker by the minute especially in the 100 degree heat. The pinkness is starting to fade but I haven't touched my face in two days except to generously reapply Neosporin. So I have a greasy pink face with a healing blemish. Hello 42!!

Yet I am extremely grateful to turn 42 and for all of my blessings. I LOVE my family, I didn't know I could love anything so much as these two girls who rock my world on a daily basis. I am so thankful to have George as my partner in life. I have friends whom I adore and put up with me and my self-examinations. I am continually making new friends who have the same interests. I have health and am learning to take care of myself. I have a roof over my head, my husband has a job, which allows me to have my unpaid job. I am grateful. Yeah 42!! Bring on the birthday!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Intentionality

Today, I tried something new which I have been avoiding. You know that idea that makes sense and their is a tugging that you should do it but you let it go because you are not ready to go "there" yet. I sat and ate my breakfast without any media device along with it (or people.) No television, no lap top, no Words with Friends. It wasn't an especially remarkable experience because it didn't take me long to eat my breakfast, and Mallory came into chat and I could hear Phineaus and Ferb in the background the whole time. But I started and that was the point. Baby steps. More focus on the food that goes into my mouth. I have come a long way but still have to be intentional, every day. Twenty four seven.

This work towards healing my relationship with food (code for healing my relationship with myself) is so hard. At times it is such a struggle. Right now I feel a little stuck and I know why. I actually know that I have made HUGE strides but the struggle continues and that is what is important. Intentionality. It is SO important to keep going. One of the things that I realized is that the difficulties will keep coming and they do. I had an "interesting" (that's code) powerful phone call from someone important recently and I am still processing it. It was wrapped ugly, but I was able to do something that I had been wanting to do for a LONG time and the "ugly" gave me the opportunity that I could not do on my own and I took it. It wasn't perfect but it finally happened.

The difficult "stuff" keeps coming, it's how I handle it. How I stand up for myself, how I frame it. I have to think out of the box. Let go of the old loyalties and keep the new ones, feel the emotions that I want to run from. I will make mistakes, other people will make mistakes and I will keep going. I just don't want to use food anymore.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I can conquer VBS!!


Some aspects of life are becoming easier with all of the work I'm doing and working Vacation Bible School is a signpost. Over the years, I have volunteered in mainly 2 different capacities: as a guide who is responsible for taking the children around to their activities for 3 hours and then the other with helping the children with their craft for 4-5 twenty minute sessions. I analyzed the two jobs to the Nth degree because I had a horrible week of VBS 2 years ago as a guide. I hated every moment of it. I became paranoid and despised the craft people because their job was soooo much easier. I wanted to know how they got that job, who did they sleep with??!!! Yes, I was having a really bad week, a little PMS was going on amongst other things.

It just happened to be unfortunate circumstances, where basically I was left alone with 12-15 first graders and I really didn't like being around kids at the time or know how to entertain them or keep them from misbehaving. My co group leader's child became sick, my one youth worker fell ill, and I was left alone with: boys who were acting up, a boy who was inquisitive and disappeared from the group and a mean girl who made the other girls cry. I didn't have the skills or know what to do.
Flash forward two years later, I volunteered to be a guide again(!) yet requested a younger group. I now know to keep them active and engaged, be firm yet loving. I know to play games. I know to call the active child out and sit by them and give them some attention and discipline even if it is Vacation Bible School. I know to ask for help and keep asking if it doesn't come. Some of this has come with experience but some of it has come about because I am more comfortable in my own skin now. I have moved from feeling like a victim to having a voice and using it assertively.

The biggest signpost to me that I am thinking differently is that I realized...I don't HAVE to work VBS. I have volunteered for 6+ years and I can take a break. That thought had NEVER entered my mind. This is thinking out of the box, finally! My list of "supposed to's" is really being evaluated.

VBS went so much more smoothly this year. Everyone was well, I've got a good group of cadets including my own daughter. My co guide is fantastic! The youth workers are helpful. I know better what to do and maybe our bright safety orange shirts keep me alert! It is exhausting work but I am not feeling overwhelmed and desperate. During the week, I got a babysitter and enjoyed some quiet down time because I needed it. I know how better to take care of myself in order to take care of my children and be able to volunteer for VBS and retain my sanity. I can conquer VBS... or not!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The real way to relax

We are driving back to Baton Rouge from the Destin, FL area and the way we do it takes hours and hours but the thing that just occurred to me is that THIS is the most peaceful part of the trip. The children are glued to DVD players, George is driving and for hours, I am on my own. This is better than the beach or the pool!! George doesn't mind driving, he probably prefers it as this leg of the trip I'm not making him listen to the Geneen Roth CD (although he WAS getting something out of it). I can read, play Words, play my Rhapsody music, check FB and for the most part, I am left alone. I've got 3G coverage in most places on our drive. At the beach or the pool, or at the Flat, someone needed attention ALL the time. This is an area of parenting we need to work on. It's mainly the eldest that needs the most attention as she received a LOT in the beginning and still expects it. At the pool one afternoon, she was whining and complaining unmercifully and then asked me why we had to have Mallory. Clearly, there isn't any sibling rivalry going on (!). I learned in therapy, that the sibling relationship is one of the most defining of our personalities in our childhoods. Fascinating stuff, right?! Well, it is to me.

Back to the peaceful drive. So, how far can we drive next vacation?!? I'm loving this.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

We are at the BEACH!!!


We are at the beach in Florida. We changed our summer vacation destinations about 3 times. Long before the dreadful oil spill that has destroyed a way of life in the Gulf, we had been excitedly planning our trip to the beach. Last summer, we were unable to go. The girls are getting older and I think I could actually sit and watch them swim and play and possibly make it through a magazine. I have bought two books with high hopes. That is probably reaching.

We live a handful of hours away from beautiful white sandy beaches, or what were beautiful white sandy beaches. I couldn't make up my mind about where to go. Our first plan was to hit Orange Beach until we learned there was definitely oil. I had a hard time spending the money we would spend and not be able to get in the water. So we considered Moody Gardens in Galveston (man made beach), and San Antonio Hill Country (no beach, Lazy River, family friendly) and then we worked our way back to Florida. All along that is what I really wanted to do, and had been looking forward to for more than a year. I had to let go and if there was oil, there would be oil, and we would go to the pool or find other things to do.

So far, so good. I can see there are some things I'm very controlling over, and I'm learning to release. The beach is very relaxing, sort of. The kids still need heavy supervision. It takes a few days for the family to get in a groove with "being on vacation." George and I have to work out how to share parenting, chill time, activities, etc.

This morning, I went to yoga for the first time in a couple of weeks. It was AWESOME! Rosemary Beach where we are, is a 5-7 minute walk to anywhere you want to go - beach, pool, town center with restaurants, shops, etc. I rode my bike to yoga. Then headed to the beach to be with the family. It was a fantastic way to have balance. I felt like a new person. Prior to the last year or so - I would have never A) found my way to yoga or B) separated from the family. And that is exactly what I was needing to do. Recharge to tackle the ever present needs of children and husband.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sitting with the Feeling on Independence Day

The theme of this past week has been about pain. Feeling the pain, accepting the pain and breaking that pattern of eating when not hungry. Today is the Fourth of July. Happy 4th! Independance Day. I'm sitting with feelings that I would like to avoid but they're here. Starting new traditions and letting go of the old is hard. For all the years I can remember, I have celebrated holidays with my family of origin, and that has changed bit my bit. Now, I celebrate with the family that I originated, just the four of us and our menagerie. There is some sadness, some freedom, and some peace. I don't have the big ugly cry waiting to come out but there are sad feelings that want to permeate my consciousness.

So I sit with them. I clean. I pick up. I look after my older daughter who has mild fever. I play Words with Friends. I plan for our vacation next week that I am SO looking forward to. Maybe I will sit in my closet for a few moments of meditation. I await hubby and younger daughter to come home from church. I think I need some endorphins. I have my running shoes on and I'm hitting the treadmill. I'm feeling the feelings but moving. I have a tendency towards inaction and despair. I used food yesterday to cope, today I don't want to do that. I want my visa back. I will be gentle to myself, I will be nurturing, that is what I need most.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Pottery Lesson with Victor Frankl and Steel Magnolias thrown in.

I went out on a limb and extended an olive branch to an important person whom I use to be close to but am not anymore. We have had a cordial relationship with no bumps as of the last two years or so. The olive branch was denied and I wasn't expecting the devastation. It felt like a huge rejection and I have had many ugly cries to accept the situation as I have had to for many years now. I extended the branch on the spur of the moment for a couple of reasons, specifically as we had experienced a positive encounter last year and I thought, let's try it again. Let's make it an annual event! What was different at this time was although it felt so personal, I KNEW this time had to do more with this persons's situation than any past problems we had encountered. Although it felt like this was entirely about me, it is not AND I can see that. It doesn't make the pain any less but my understanding is clearer to help with moving forward and what action or non-action to take.

This past week, my seven year old daughter Riley went for her first pottery lesson with a person who lives down our street. The teacher used pottery lingo which I am not familiar with at all, but she said that Riley did a great job with centering (holding the forming clay as it is spinning). And that was great because it....wait for it.....it takes a lot of pressure to become centered.

What did she just say? Pottery lingo has now been interjected into my oh so personal journey of wellness!! Wow. It does take a lot of pressure to become centered. And when you are in the midst of accepting the pressure and pain, an analogy with pottery just makes so much sense. It was a most unusual experience for me to hear her say these words. It was like time stopped, and as she started describing, I knew what she was going to say was going to make complete and utter sense. The words just leapt out at me and I was rising to meet them, they melded over my body into my consciousness. It was like coming home. My new home.

Along those lines, I was reading an older blog of Geneen Roth's this morning, and she quotes the Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who survived the Nazi concentration camps as he said “what is to give light must endure burning." I understand the fire, the pressure, the pain so much more clearly now. I had fire and pressure and pain before but now I know not to deflect it or avoid as my defense mechanisms kick in, it but to take it, whether I have to get up off the ground and stand back up again and again but to take it and accept it. AND I have experienced glimmers of the light. My mechanisms for coping are so much stronger than before. And this is the kicker, the pain, the fire will keep coming. I use to think oh, I made it through this, I made it through that, nothing else "bad" can happen. It will and it does. That is not pessimism but the reality of life. I see the joy all around me, but it is intermixed with the pain. One of my favorite movie lines is from "Steel Magnolias." (Do you see how I quoted Victor Frankl and now I will put a Dolly Parton movie quote in the SAME paragraph?? ) After an immense cathartic meltdown at the funeral of her daughter and then laughter occurs, Sally Fields character is eventually told by Dolly Parton's character, "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." It struck me back then, and it strikes me now, so bittersweet, and so true for me too.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

One Day at a time...

It's not just a tv show from the 70's.

The author Geneen Roth describes her own journey to a healthy relationship with food and was asked how long it took to get "there?" The mysterious, elusive place of eating when only hungry and stopping when full. She says at first it was like having a visa and visiting at certain times and now it has come to be permanent for her. I get that. I am well into my second year into an intentional journey with wellness with food (which addresses ALL of your issues!) In my journey after much struggle, I was having such a great visit, an active visa and now I feel like my visa has been misplaced for the last couple of days. I did something very disloyal in my mind, I defriended my mother on Facebook. I told her I was going to do it (by messaging of course) and then did it. Bam. It had been coming for weeks.

Yes, you three to five loyal readers who already know this, I did defriend my mother. I had to. I needed to disengage from my whole family of origin. I have been doing so with my parents very slowly. I needed to have boundaries. My sense of self was too enmeshed in them. I have been figuring out who I am away from them and that is such a big deal. Some people become independant in the teenage years, some never, I chose age 41. I feel disloyal talking about them but it is hard for me to "golightly" dancing around the truth. This blog has been a huge tool for me to express myself, have a voice creatively and cathartically. Geneen also talks about loyalty and to whom or what we feel loyal to and why and to just question that. Loyalities that were created years and years ago that still exist without thought, and as Dr. Phil would say, "How's that working for ya?"

I sent my mom a sincere positive message recently and I knew exactly how she would respond which was very sad but also very freeing. It was my permission slip to let go and to know what I have discovered about our dynamics was dead on. I know she and my dad did the best job they could as parents. We all try to do that. I would love to stay in the land of blaming them but that would just make me stay in my muck. I am taking responsibility and I am seeing things so much more clearly having some distance. It is extremely sad, and painful yet SO necessary. I want to be the best parent I can be for my children and I can see the differences in how I'm parenting and the positive outcomes.

Back to the visa. I've been enjoying my visits yet the changes are slow but steady. Small aha moments just keep coming, SLOWLY. The pain and sadness are critical to the journey yet so is the clarity and peace with accepting me for who I authentically am. I am finding my voice. It is difficult changing a worldview and how I look at myself but I am staying intentional. Over the last few weeks, I was actively engaged in noticing my hunger level, eating with enjoyment and stopping when I was full. It was wonderful! I will get back to my Visa. This IS how it works.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Things I know today...



~I like wearing my new pair of reading glasses to play Words with Friends. I secretly have always wanted to wear glasses. I like the way they feel on my nose and ears, even though Mallory said I looked old. Just call me teflon, because that comment just bounced off.
~Even when it is 105 degrees with the heat index outside, I adore when a small hand comes up to hold mine. I ALWAYS think this won't last forever.
~If men had to get bikini waxes, going native would be the norm, because IT IS PAINFUL.
~Cats are intrigued by guinea pigs.
~I have discovered my children like Tuna Helper...one with the tuna, one without.
~Summer is hot and it feels like a sauna outside and let me say repeatedly how truly grateful I am for air conditioning.
~It takes very small quantities of food for me to feel full now that I have more awareness and connection with my body. I have to eat what my body craves and enjoy every small morsel.
~I am sad RHONY is over.
~The summer is flying by.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My obsession with RHONY

This video parody of the Real Housewives of New York is just priceless. It's also extremely tacky containing f bombs and other non necessary expletives but they do nail the housewives. It actually addresses(?) Kelly's use of an Al Sharpton reference, satchels of gold, and the black glasses she wore while using Alex's kids names to take sexy pictures. How can you not love the pinot grigio IV, Kelly's long orange legs, the Countess breaking out in song and Jill with a muzzle! Now, all three(!) of the reunion shows are over...and only the out takes are left for this season. And there is a reason they were not used in the first place. Sigh...



Well until next season, there is the new Bethenny show which I do like. No cat fights, just funny yet I do miss the craziness. Satchels of gold, Al Sharpton, make lemons out of lemonade. This has got to be scripted.

Monday, June 14, 2010

From scratch??!!

Last Friday, I decided that I must cook something with some fresh LA crawfish as I had bought them and they had been in the fridge for a few days, so it was time. I looked through my recipe books and chose crawfish etouffee, which I don't remember ever making before. I had considered fettucine because I figure the girls would eat the noodles if anything as they are particularly picky, and then I rethought it and chose what I wanted because if they don't eat it, at least I will enjoy it.
I had pledged at the beginning of the year to cook new meals and expose the girls to new foods. heh heh heh, not doing so well with that one as reflected upon the next sentence. I asked Riley if she would like to help me cook, and she looks at me blankly and says, "you are going to cook it from scratch?" I laugh really hard on the inside and smile and say yes, I am cooking from scratch. Well, I made it AND Riley ate 2 servings at supper and then leftover for lunch the next day. I was so excited. Usually when I go out of my way to make something new, the girls don't eat it, and I feel like it's a waste to try but I remember reading that it takes 12 exposures of a new food to acclimate it to the palate. I have time to perfect the recipe.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Brownie and Lilly



A red letter day in the Golightly household, we added three new things to the mix. First I am typing on a brand new Ipad and to wax poetic, this is really so freaking cool. It is a very cool toy. It works out splendidly for me to be able to write on something more compact while sitting in my homeland, Barnes and Noble when I have a sitter during the summer. And a multitude of other uses. I'm rationalizing now...

Secondly, there are 2 more girls in the house...Lilly and Brownie. They are guineas pigs and I am thinking that this "will be the beginning of a very beautiful friendship." They are very interesting little rodent creatures which are higher maintenance than our cats (and whom I hope everyone can just get along). They require guinea food, water, veggies and fruits, AND a little human interaction outside of the cage daily. Could they BE anymore like people? (except the Star Wars noises that they make.) I am hoping that their necessity for fruits and vegetables will increase our consumption as well. That is my goal.

As I considered the extra work, money involved in cage cleaning, food acquiring, etc. I also thought of the rewards. How could it be bad to have more little creatures around to love and be friends with? That is my new way to look at it. Our new friend Cara did a good job of selling them when we visited her and her son's 2 guineas. My girls are funny. They wanted them desperately yet are scared to hold them. This will be a good learning experience and responsibility building. AND the cats are looking a lot more mellow in comparison. Riley and Mallory still jump when Princess the more persnickety cat startles them. I even looked at the cats in a more appreciative way, after the overly excited GP's were running around skittishly in their new surroundings. It's going to be an adventure.

Monday, June 7, 2010

2 New Obsessions...


I have 2 new obsessions. Farmville has fallen by the wayside momentarily. My animals could be dying as I haven't checked on them in 3 days. I started playing Words with Friends on my Iphone. I saw posts about it on FB and signed up but didn't know how to play, now I do. And my phone lets me know when it's time for me to make my move so I have started keeping the phone next to me all the time. I am learning obscure words to make with Q, X and Z. I like to think it IS intellectually stimulating and possibly staving off Alzheimers but darnit I don't have to have an excuse. I like to play. That photo is when I scored 102 points in one move, I don't really know how that happened because that is an obscene score. Can you tell how proud I am?!

My second obsession is RHONY. Real Housewives of New York for those of you out of the loop. One of the characters who is a real person, Kelly, had what looked like a mental breakdown on the show. And they showed it because it's good for ratings. And now the show goes on just like in real life. And I'm thinking, "Are you kidding me, we need a diagnosis!!" and she needs to go for treatment. Of course that is not happening as in real life when people NEED therapy but live in the land of Denial. Yet in the meantime, I found a website of an armchair psychologist (Bachelors) who it dissecting the housewives one by one. There IS a website for EVERYTHING out there.

I am gearing up for the RHONY Reunion show on Thursday where all hell cuts loose. I can't wait. I actually watch this live and I NEVER watch anything live since my love affair with the DVR began. Bravo puts all of the women of the show on two opposing couches (and this season there were 2 teams) and for 8 hours ask them pointed questions while showing the video footage for proof of them behaving very badly. They will edit it into 2 hours long episodes.
This is GOOD tv....
The Real Housewives of New York City - Photos - Sun, Sand and Psychosis | Bravo TV Official Site

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I have a Woman Cave

We are utilizing every square inch of our home. After we moved everything around for the girls to have separate bedrooms, the playroom ended up being the office that has a desk and computer, filing cabinets, a treadmill and a flat screen tv on the wall. The decrepit desktop that is in there produces much hot air and the morning sun shines in when I want to work out, so I put up blackout curtains and try to keep the computer off as much as possible. It is now dark, and quiet in there. After exercising and stretching, I really enjoy being in there even when the kids are at school. I think of it as my woman cave. I like having a dark place to go to. Evidently Mallory does too, she likes being in there with the lights off to watch her tv programs. And yesterday, Riley went in there to watch her program and asked me to turn the light off and shut the door when I left.

There is something in me that craves silence and stillness. I had to learned this about myself in a round about way and first, I fought it. When I would drop the last child off at school in the morning, I would feel so alone, especially if I had no particular plans involving human contact and I was just going home. The need to cry sprang up even though I was ecstatic at being without children. Could you get any more opposite feelings at the same exact time??! I wanted to just get rid of the feeling of loneliness, call someone and talk my way through it. Now I know that I need to acknowledge my feelings, whatever they are, however they spring up, not be shamed by them, or stuff them but let them out and respect them.

I now embrace that alone time. I savor every drop of it especially that there is not much of it in the summer. Acknowledging the feeling, immediately lets it go. It is amazing how that works. It doesn't fester and cause chronic stress. Today is Sunday, I sent the family to church without me. I told George the truth, I need to be in my house by myself. And I do have a sore throat but I must be honest, I may not attend church at all this summer! I have relished the quiet. I watched the second halves of two Oprahs that I have had in the cue for weeks. I took a soothing bath. I listened to part of my Geneen Roth online workshop. I am blogging. So many of my pleasurable centering activities! God IS in this activity. It is spiritual yet not religious. I am so seeing the difference these days.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Highs and Lows of Summer

It is summer. Deep breath. No school schedule. No homework. No rushing to get out the door to get to school on time. No mandatory uniform washing on the weekend. It also means mosquito bites (which I have about 20 on my lower legs at the moment) and chlorine and my obsession with trying to keep Mallory's hair from being dry and green. There is humidity out the wazoo as well as afternoon rain showers which are a wonderful break from the heat. And again- no school schedule so that means I am chief entertainer, organizer, educator, referee, & nurse. There were three meltdowns yesterday for various and sundry reasons within a 2 hour span and none of them were mine, yet it just hit me that I SHOULD have had one. Why you ask? I realized all of the stress that I was feeling about the kids being off for summer, was misdirected. I was feeling worked up and angry It had much more to do with a major issue that I have been working through for the last months and I hit THE wall on it, and now am truly having to accept it. I had a short ugly cry and the release was immediate. I feel much more capable now to move on and tackle my children head on! For days, I felt this burden in the back of my mind and I needed to release it, I just had to wait until it boiled over.

Wow - such a lesson. Geneen Roth speaks of the pain that we avoid (by eating), that we feel we can't handle. I am going through that pain and it is not easy at all, but is SO necessary and it takes time. I CAN handle it and I am feeling so much more peace. I just need to let it out in safe ways. I feel so much better able to handle life now at this moment. I'm ready to make plans, and stay on top of the chaos which you have to do, to survive summer with young kids.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sex and the City 2!!!

I am SO excited!!! Exclamatory! Love first grade homework. They had me at the the trailer starting with "Empire State of Mind." The first movie threw me for a loop because it was dark the second half and I had to see it twice to appreciate it more. And then there was the whole transition from 30 minute tv show to 2 plus hours of a movie. SJP was quoted as saying the first was like "pushing on a bruise and really liking the feeling" She continues to say, "This one is an antidote to that. It's a romp." I'm all for a campy romp about friendships. Woo hoo!

You have to go to the You Tube site.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Am I Crazy or what???

Geneen Roth of "Women, Food and God" was on Oprah. It was a good show except Oprah talked more than Geneen did for most of the show. But I imagine Geneen doesn't care, she was on Oprah and now her life has exponentially changed. Her book is on bestsellers lists. Her name is becoming nationally known. (And as an aside, while looking for videos, I discovered that Geneen and her husband lost all their retirement as they were clients of Bernie Madoff) And now Oprah finally feels like she gets it. I feel like I get it too yet it is still an ongoing process. I still have residual pain that I figured out what was going on and it's there and now it pops up, and I have to use new skills and it just takes time. Last week, I was so excited to hear Geneen on Oprah radio and it felt like I was hearing droplets of gold. On the Soul Series, they are much more in depth and it was exactly what I wanted to hear. And I wanted to hear more. Geneen referred to this exact process that I have been experiencing. You get it, and then you have a setback and then it comes back again. And then it keeps coming back again and again until it stays more permanently.

I received notification of an online "Women, Food, and Love" workshop that starts this week. I thought that sounds "neat." I should do that. And... I didn't jump at it. I have never done an online video feed or copied anything to my Ipod. A few days passed and I thought, am I crazy? This is exactly what I want and need to hear. A group process is so much more beneficial than individual therapy, AND this is audio, video gold to me. Why would I hesitate? Well, I know why and I need to push through my fear. So last night, I signed up, paid, have my sign in codes and I'm set up for the next six Tuesdays at 8pm. I'm ready to take it on. And it's no big deal that the first night, I will be at Riley's Moving Up ceremony. I will catch it when I can.

You can hear clips of the XM radio - Soul Series on Oprah's Website including Geneen's.

This is a little overview of Women Food and God on You Tube.

Country Club A La Golightly


It's been busy, I guess it will always be busy with 2 young children at home. Riley has been sick the last four days - fever and sore throat, so summer started early. We were homebound for four days. I think that is when I decided it WOULD be a good idea to get another above ground pool. We had one for three summers but it was small - 12 feet across and then it died. Riley wasn't that into it by the end of the summer because she wanted to use her new lap skills. And two summers ago, Mallory was not into it at all when Riley wanted to go out. And I thought, let's cut back, there is a lot of maintenance, and supply cost and I don't know if they will use it. And THEN we were stuck at home for four days and it's hot again, South Louisiana humid hot, not even the full throttle sticky hot it will be. So on day 3 of being homebound, I told George I had rethought it and bam, he was out the door to go get one.

He loves the challenge of it. It is a large scale science experiment after all. And now, we have gone saltwater so this is a new twist for him. Yesterday, Riley was feeling better so we tried it out while the pool was still filling. My doubts were vanquished. They loved it and...I did too. We went out at 9am and all day except for a quick trip to Target, we played outside. This one feels much larger, and will take some adusting because it is over Mallory's head but it is not to bad to lay on a raft and float. It's actually quite peaceful if you can ignore the children. I just have to let go of all that needs to be done inside the house. And there is always something that needs to be done. Riley is back at school today for one last full day, a half day tomorrow and then a class party on Wednesday. And then summer is here for real. I'm glad I let my reservations go. I'm glad we have another playing option at home and a way to cool off. Hello Summer! I am embracing you.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We are finished with preschool.


After five years of Mother's Day Out and one year of Preschool, we are finished. Mallory graduated yesterday! Very sweet ceremony - they wore paper caps and each class went up and had their name called and received a diploma, then they sang one too many songs about bugs. I didn't cry but was verklempt when the director gave me a rose for opening car doors in carpool which was quite fun, even in the rain. It was fun to see the fresh faces and how each was different. Some were raring to go, others were extremely reticent and had to be dragged. Some were talkative, and some were all business. The 15 minutes every Monday, made me think, hmmm, maybe I could work with children. What???!!!!

In 2004, Riley started the 2 year old Mother's Day Out program and I remember crying when I met the teacher. I was so excited and relieved to have a wonderful program for her to attend. Upon meeting the teacher, I knew we were in excellent hands. And then I teared up. So emotional, can you imagine, me, emotional?!!! After Mallory finished her year with the same teacher, I apologized to the teacher for crying and we laughed about it. We had a great 6 year run and now we are done. I will have to train the van not to drive to Jefferson Highway. I saw another mom nearly sobbing when we left the school yesterday. I understood what she was going through, but am also really freakin' happy that they will be at the same school next year. So there have been no tears yet, just a marking of the milestone.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I've finally been worn down, I'm looking forward to summer?!

I was exhausted yesterday, mentally and physically. This past week we had something every night and special activities during the day as well. Those crazy days of May for school age children where all activities culminate in special programs at this time of year. This past week was Young Author's Night, Soccer practice and game, one dance practice, two dance recital rehearsals past bedtime, end of year preschool class party, Little Gym, Field Day, and two dance recitals (the girls were in yes, separate programs) Sunday we celebrated GaGa's birthday and took her out to lunch. And now I'm spent. I have been eating and stopping when full but right now I want to eat more. I need nurturing. My throat hurts. I ran up and down stairs at the River Center Theatre on Wednesday and Thursday nights and all afternoon and evening on Saturday. I'm spent. A good kind of spent. My kids are healthy and active and involved and I enjoyed all of this activities.

With the end of May comes summer. I use to dread summer and have panic over what I was going to do with the kids for all of that time. After all of this massive end of year activity, I'm ready for a break, EVEN if that includes me being the entertainment director. I have been worn down. I only have slight anxiety over the summer. Tomorrow, Mallory graduates from Preschool. In August, she will be at her sister's school. Today she asked, "the first day after summer, I will go to Dunham?" So precious. Here's to summer, it's right around the corner.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

From my baby, four year old baby...I laughed until I cried.

I made my Mother's Day theme butterflies. Mallory painted a terra cotta tile with a butterfly on it. And then I saw this mug with these words on it: just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly. Of course I had to get it, I feel I am in metamorphosis. A little coffee and a little thought to ponder on in the morning.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Whoa.

Last week I went to a beginner yoga class because it fit in the schedule and the teacher complimented me on my alligator pose - one I had never done before. I was quite thrilled. I went again today to a more advanced class that I hadn't been to in a few weeks. As the instructor started, she was warming us up and said feel your bodies, feel what is going on, feel your pain. Then she said, "Embrace your pain!" Whoa. Whoa. It struck me. Instead of fighting the pain, embrace it. She said it is your own pain.

Hmmmm. I remember in the past when I had my back go out or had gotten really sick, like food poisoniing kind of sick, I would fill with fear. Complete angst. How am I going to take care of these kids? That didn't help to move me past the pain, probably intensified it and prolonged it.

And right now, I have a crick in my neck and a little lower back pain. So I'm taking care of myself. I have a routine NOW. Use hot/cold packs, take ibuprofen, take hot baths with epsom salts and stretch. Nurture myself, and accept the pain. I'm really learning to nurture myself and I have needed to for a long time.

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