Thursday, December 07, 2006 

Chikee may may sawy inna win

There is a tree in my yard. It is an oak tree, and in tree age, it is just a young'un; maybe 15 or 20 years old. I have termed this tree a she, because in my head, she just is. When we moved in to our house, this tree struggled a little. It had been overshadowed for a long time by the poplar and sweet gum beside it and we weren't sure if she was going to survive. But in the past few years, she has THRIVED. She's getting taller and fuller, and in the summertime she provides a good bit of shade. I like that the tree has shown she has some mettle. She has refused to be pushed around by the other trees. So I guess that's part of why I term her a she. I want to see myself in the aspects of her I admire. So, "she" she is.

One of the things I have always been amazed about is that she never loses her leaves. Sure they turn brown, and a couple of them fall, but she holds tight to the majority, and then, in the spring, when the new leaves push out, she finally lets go of the dry, shriveled coverings, and seems to shake her limbs like a woman shaking out her long hair and says, "See? I was gorgeous underneath all that brown!" Until recently, I found that so admirable. That the stormiest winds could blow, and she held fast. That the cold rains and freezing sleet and even a couple of layers of ice could not persuade her to let go of what she held so dear. I imagined the leaves were her belief system, or were accomplishments that she was so proud of. Outward things the world could see that made her "special", and no matter what troubles came her way, she remained, unchanging, save the color of her leaves.

Lately, though, I have looked at her in a different way. I have realized how sad I am for her that she seems unable to let go. I give her human emotions- fear, uncertainty, vanity, and security- and I have come to see the act of her clinging to these leaves as an indication of her inability to let what life throws at her, shape her into a new tree. A better tree. A tree that gets changed every year by the cold biting winds of November. A tree whose branches sag a little less because the ice covered leaves did not weigh so heavy on her this year. I find myself looking at her at night, and wondering why she won't just let go of the last vestiges of the tree she was last year. And I finally know why she won't. Because we, as women, are afraid of change. And a tree is no different.

When a woman looks into the mirror, she wants to see a youthful beauty staring back at her. At some point, that just ain't gonna happen, you know? There will come a time when we will see grey hair, or loose skin, and we will know our bodies have changed, and I want us to be okay with that. The same thing goes for our lives and our accomplishments. We hold onto our leaves- whether they are our jobs, or our community involvement, or our family's approval, or whatever activities bring us recognition- so tightly, even when they are really making life harder for us. If we let them go, then who do we become? We're afraid of being bare and naked without the shelter of our leaves to hide behind. And what we never realize is that a bare tree is gorgeous. When you see the skeleton-like form of dark brown tree against the frosty backdrop of a winter morning, you would be hard pressed to find a sight more breathtaking. Because at that point, all you are seeing is the trees strength, not it's garnishes.
There are leaves I am holding onto, afraid to take the leap into naked. And I have friends who are letting their leaves drop one by one. I am so proud of them. Because I can now recognize the beauty of a naked tree. And I aspire to be one someday.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 

Shoo-Fly, don't bother them

Someone please explain to me what on God’s green Earth could those Amish little girls have done to that sick psycho bastard that made him feel like he was justified in shooting them? I know he was sick, mentally. That much is obvious, and according to NBC news, he was taking revenge against something that happened to him 20 years ago. 20 YEARS AGO!!! Do you know how pointless that excuse is to me? How many of us have had something horrible happen to them when they were twelve? Eight? Six? Now how many of us intend on taking that anger and frustration out on people today? (Hopefully) Not one of us!!

Don’t get me wrong- I know kids can be cruel. I know this because for a short time I was a bully of the highest order in elementary school. It was a short lived reign. I was dared to do a horrible thing to another child who rode my bus, and I did it. I did it to be accepted, and I actually made myself sick. In ELEMENTARY school, my own actions against one child made me sick. I learned then and there that acceptance wasn’t worth the cost of my soul. I was lucky. Many, many years later (far too late in my opinion), I apologized to that child. I don’t think my words were eloquent, or even mildly sufficient, but they were heartfelt and even tearful, and he forgave me, and we are friends today because of the grace of that boy, and the understanding he had that was mature beyond his years.

My point is this. I don’t ever expect him to bust through the doors of my home and blow my kids away because I was mean to him one day 20 years ago. He functions with most of society in the way we can either a) forgive the hurts of childhood, or b) remain angry, but not act upon that anger. So, what makes the difference that puts this one man over that societal divide of decency? What was so awful that he decided to exact his revenge upon children that were completely unrelated to his personal incident?

I assume I am not alone in the fact that I don’t understand this. And I’m not sure why this one horrible incident strikes such a chord with me. Perhaps it’s because I have been to Amish Country (that county, in fact), and seen the beautiful and peaceful way they live with one another. I have the utmost respect for a group of individuals that hold onto their beliefs so tightly, in a society that runs so perpendicular to them. Especially when those beliefs are not harmful, or hateful, or hurtful to anyone. So maybe that’s it. Perhaps I am just angry at the carelessness of this man who brought the very nasty realities of the ‘modern’ world into the peaceful calm of that little school room, like a big unruly guest stomping his muddy boots on a little grannies tearoom rug. I wish I could go back and repair the calm that community knew prior to his intrusion. But I’m afraid that some stains will not wash out of a rug.

Pray- to whomever or whatever higher power you pray to, for the families of those girls. How bereft they must be. For the loss of their daughters. The loss of their way of life.

The loss of their innocence.

Friday, September 29, 2006 

Just Leave Sexy Alone

I didn't realize that "sexy" had gone anywhere. I certainly didn't plan on a former boy bander to be the one to try to bring it back, much less using a Casio piano beat that sounds like the Cha Cha Slide. That song is sexy in the same way that the people could really tell by the way they used their walk that the BeeGee's really were ladies men, no time to talk. It's just the most ridiculous thing I have ever been plagued by. I had seen other people on my friend list rip this song, but I had been blessed not to hear it... Yelch...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 

Where does it go?

I'm wondering where two things have gone. Today I went to eat lunch with Dakota. I made one of those 'mommy' sacrifices, switching lunch with Dakota, because he thought he was supposed to get Tacos and it ended up being Taco Pie, which was nasty. But more about that in a minute.

Thing number one- As I was walking (in line, on the second square from the wall) I noticed two little girls in his class ahead of us. They were very sweet looking, and giggling, and whispering behind cupped hands. As we got to the lunchroom door, and the children didn't have to be so single file, these little girls, while walking and talking, side-by-side, held hands. Without a word to one another, they both just knew that right then, they were exactly where they wanted to be, and were with whom they wanted to be, and it was the most natural gesture for them to hold hands.

I suddenly remembered being in third grade, in a new school, and Amy Parks was my salvation. She was the first person to speak to me, and I don't think there was a moment throughout the rest of my school career when I didn't see her at least once a day. But that year- third grade- we were those two girls. I can remember walking from Mrs.Watts class with Amy. Laughing. Whispering secrets to one another. And I can remember holding her hand.

Where does that confidence with our friends go? At what age do we feel self concious about holding hands with our friends? I have noticed older women will old hands as well, so when does it come back? Because there are times, I think for all of us, when I think we need a hand to hold. Not for a romantic reason, or a grief driven reason, but just because we want an outward expression of the connection we feel emotionally- that comfort, that sameness. When (and why) do we begin to feel like that's an awkward feeling to have? I think if more of us felt the freedom to hold a friends hand once in a while, we wouldn't feel so... separate. So distant. So alone, even in a crowd. And I honestly think we all feel those things occasionally, but especially women. We are all so concerned with everyone's perceptions of us. We don't want to appear needy, or clingy. We don't want people to know there are things wrong in our lives. We want to appear to be these super women, and it's just not ever so. I think if you could just hold a friends hand, you'd get that connection.

Thing number two- Dakota loves it when I come to school to have lunch. Right now, it's the only time I can see him during school hours, since those are my work hours. But he loves it when I can be at school with him. I don't know if it is the change of pace, or the fact that he feels special that day. I don't know if he sometimes feels insecure, and me being there is reassuring, or if he just thinks I am a cool mom, and wants his friends to think so as well. I also don't know how long it will last. So where does the feeling go of wanting your mom there? I know by the time he's in middle school, he'll be mortifid if I try to come to lunch with him. I remember loving when my mom helped in class when i was a child, but being embarassed when I was a teen. I also know, that now, even as distant emotionally and physically as we are, I sometimes wish she would just come to lunch. And that's the rub for me. I am totally aware that these moments are fleeting, and I will soon be asking, "where did it all go" when I look at my two boys.

And I will need a hand to hold.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006 

He should have been named Forrest

My friend and I, when our children were very small, were amazed (and not in a good way) by this one child we knew (obviously not a genius like our children were) who, by the time he was three or so, still could not identify the color Purple. We got hung up on his inability to identify the color Purple. We held this as a gross deficiency in his mother’s ability to educate her own child. I mean, it was PURPLE for God’s sake! Who doesn’t know Purple? Well, this child evidently. So I worked with my kids. I made sure Dakota could say all his colors by the time he was 18 months, and he was good at it!! Riley too. I got the colors down with them. Colors we knew. Mission accomplished, happy healthy, smart children should now be assured. Oh-ho, not so fast.

I have come to realize that I may have misplaced the focus of their study, to their own detriment. Because, now that they are back in school, they both have homework. Well, homework is illuminating with Riley, who is in Kindergarten. I am now getting the opportunity to see why it might be frustrating to teach my child. It took Ri about 15 minutes to master his three sight words last night. And that was after I got him to sit down, which took 20 minutes in and of itself. Normally, most parents would feel like this is average for a child new to the whole "sight word" process. The catch is that the words were ‘I’ (as in I want the ball), ‘a’ (as in a book), and ‘the’. Two of them ARE LETTERS IN THE ALPHABET. One of which is IN HIS OWN NAME, which he can spell!!!!! Now, I am sure I have failed him, because I was so worried making sure he could identify Purple by the time he was 2 that i forgot to teach him how to do more than sing the alphabet song, I forgot to show him how to point to the letters while we sang it!! It is so sad... I am saying he could not point to the 'I' (the second letter in his name) for 15 MINUTES!!!! Oh, I was trying so hard to be patient. It was terrible.

The conversation went like this, "Ri-ri, show me the I- remember? Like R-I-L-E-Y. Can you do that?'
He points to the "a" grinning and looking oh so proud.
"No honey, (big intake of breath) that's the 'a', and there isn't an 'a' in your name, is there?" Shakes his head no.
"Right, so can you show me the letter 'I'?" I ask hopefully.
He points to the word 'the', with the eyebrows raised looking very sweet and hopeful.
"Aww honey- you're so cute. You should be able to get by on your looks for a while."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 

Cheater, cheater

I have a confession. I have, sadly, been cheating on you, blogger. I have been having an intense relationship with... myspace. I know!! I know! you don't have to say it. I know you are disappointed in me, Hell! I'm disappointed in myself! But all of my friends knew about myspace, and I wanted to be like them, so I have been posting there some. Not a ton, mind you, but some. I just felt like I needed to come clean about all of this.

Right now work is... precarious at best. Life is excellent, but work has me stressed. To heed Dooce, let me state, very vaugely, that I am in HR, and frankly, my day to day office life is not much fun. I am, however very creative, and have about nine thousand psuedo business ideas that I am trying to pursue in an effort to make money by doing something I love. I have written two children's books, and have an artist illustrating them as we speak. I think they'll go over well, as my test group of children (4 neighbors and my kids) all liked the stories, even without drawings. I bake, as well, and I am trying to get a custom cake business off the ground. It's slow going, but the few I have made have been incredibly well received. The Ph says I am all over the place. That is not meant as a compliment. I just like to think I have trouble being grounded. So, in an effort to channel my positive energy on a day when I want to pack up my office and quit, I give you:

the top five jobs I could be doing and hating more than this one
  1. Port-O-Let Dumper- I would not want this job. In the words of Bill Engvall, you'd be catching shit all day. The mere smell of these in a mile radius will change my mind about drinking at an outdoor concert. No thank you, life could be worse.
  2. Accountant- picture, in your mind, that you have glanced up in your rearview mirror and glimpsed the flashing red and blue we all dread- NOW STOP! That feeling- right there, in the pit of your stomach at that instant- feel that? That is the feeling I get when I sit down with my checkbook to pay bills, do our investments, and balance our banking accounts. I get physially ill. To be more forward than I should ever be- it makes me have to poop, and I don't like that feeling. To think that I would have to have that feeling all day long for a career is horrific. It just doesn't add up.
  3. Enema-ist- while we are discussing poop (well, we weren't, but I was), I don't know if this is a real job title, but I know there are people who hold (forgive the pun) this position. It is along the same lines as a proctologist, a phlebotamist, or a sperm bank teller. There are some positions, dealing with certain bodily fluids and functions, that I never want to put on my resume. This is one of them. I'll pass. (oh I'm sorry)
  4. Super High Powered attorney- or his even moderately priced counterpart, low powered attorney. I am in the process of culling negativity from my life. That's one of the reasons I am doing this top five, so why oh why would I look to a career where i can argue all day long? Why pursue a job path that is frought with confrontation? For the almighty dollar, that's why- but, luckily, my peace of mind is priceless. Thank you, I rest my case.
  5. Kindergarten Teacher- I love to draw and paint. I like to glue craft sticks together and make things. I love to see the look in my childs eyes when they see their seeds sprout for the first time. I like to sing silly songs, dance silly dances, and read silly stories. I do not, however wish to do this at the beck and call of 18 spoiled 4 and 5 year olds who are used to "mommy does it this way" and "I don't have to" and "I don't want to" and "you can't make me". You see, I like all of those things a lot, but I like not being in jail more, and between kids today and parents today, I would slap someone and that would land me in court dealing with a super high powered attorney, of course after the full body cavity search, for which they used the enema-ist, and in order to do any of it I would have to use the accountant to pay for it, and in the end I would end up in the slammer cleaning out shitters. Face it, my last job choice would put me in intimate contact with all my top fives, and that's a sure sign that the end of the world is near. I think I would like to decline, but thank you so much for asking!

Good to be back! Missed you all!

Thursday, May 11, 2006 

Thanksgiving comes early

Okay, Why the Thanksgiving title you ask? Because it is completed. Done. Over. As the big JC once said "It is finished." Of course, I'm not capable of saving you all by dying, and I'm not sure I would anyway, but no, I am not talking about kicking the bucket. I am talking about M*A*S*H. Yes, people, the play I loved and longed for and worked at and then started to hate and then loved again is finished. We had all 4 shows this weekend, and now I know why people get paid to act because it KICKS YOUR @$$!!! Now, having said that, it was wonderful. The show went off pretty much without a hitch, I only screwed up once or twice, and the audience was none the wiser, thanks to my brilliant co-stars, and the Ph, although he hated wearing stage make-up, was really, REALLY good. Especially for an amateur. And while there is always sadness at the end of a show, because you are going to miss seeing these people with whom you have spent 15 hours a week for the past 3 months, there is relief. And that is where the Thanksgiving comes in. Because today, I give you my top five reasons I am thankful (at this moment):

1. I get to go home to my family each evening- There is nothing that is more tiring than having to go get your boys from school, go home, change, and immediately leave to go to practice. It makes you feel as if the whole day, you haven't stopped. And there were days that I saw my boys for maybe 2 hours total. No exaggeration. So, I am thankful to see my family again.

2. I have some of the best friends in the world- Not only did so many of my friends come and see the play, but so many called, or emailed or left messages and kept me in the loop for the last 6 months (2 plays back to back will do that) with very little reciprocation on my part. I love them all for loving me no matter how flaky I have been. Having said that, Tasha- time for my sorry butt to start making that trek to Gold's with you, Jill- when are we having lunch, Richelle- Stop laughing, we aren't having lunch no matter how many times you ask, but I will have dinner with you anytime we can get a moment, Coolwhack- I miss Screamer and the Big Head- I'll bring you chick-fil-A or Arby's, just tell me when.

3. I learned to let things go- One of the brilliant women mentioned above (richelle) sent me this this a.m., and it was perfect for me this week: "I crouched in the doorway of the airplane next to my skydiving coach. I held on to the doorway with my right hand for balance. With my left hand, I firmly grasped my coach's gripper, a padded piece of cloth on his jumpsuit.
It was up to me to give the count. "Ready, set. . ." I heard a snicker. "Get out of the plane," someone hollered. "Go." I released my grip on the door, closed my eyes, and dived headfirst into the air with my left hand firmly attached to my jump master's gripper. I was falling stable and holding on with both hands. He nodded, giving me my cue to let go.
I shook my head no. He looked confused, then nodded again.
I shook my head again, clinging more tightly.
It was almost time to pull. I released my grips. I just let go. It was time to save my own life. My coach backed away.
I signaled, and then pulled my ripcord. My parachute made that sweet whooshing sound, the one I had come to identify as the sound it makes when it opens correctly and fills with air, slowing my fall into a float.
Wow! I thought. This is really fun!
Sometimes we're so scared, all we can think to do is hang on. Hanging on in this case was a silly illusion. We were both falling through the air. Holding on to a relationship that's not working, a negative self-image, a job that isn't working, moments and times that have passed, or emotions such as fear and hurt can be silly illusion, too. To save our own lives, sometimes we have to let go first."
This is so valuable. We hold onto things we think are so important, never realizing they are plunging us to earth so fast. I love what I learned from this.

4. I get to cook again- Some people hate cooking dinner. Some people flat out refuse to. For the most part, I love to. And for the last half a year, I haven't been able to cook like I wanted to, so I am so glad I get to cook for me, for my family, and for my piece of mind. It's all about that creative process that makes me feel centered and normal. Cooking really does nourish my soul, not just feed my hunger, and I love that.

5. Summer routine is about to begin- We all go swimming in the evenings, frequently with Brownie-loo and the Frudog and their beautiful girls. The days stretch out longer, so there seems to be more time. I play basketball with Dakota. Riley snuggles with me on the couch. In summer, we all seem to exhale, and be content with the low hum of crickets and katy-dids outside the windows, and the entertainment of bubbles floating on air currents. Summertime is the time when my family is the closest to perfect I could ever imagine. And it's all right around the corner.

I promise I'm not taking any other medication than I normally do. I swear. I've just come to realize how truly charmed my life seems to be right now. And I may have just jinxed it, but that's okay. Somehow, I think it'll all be fine.