Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Is the Grass really Greener?

I interviewed for a job today.  It was at a place I loved working at and hated at the same time.  I loved my hospice patients, their families and the opportunity to walk with them in probably one of the most difficult times in life.  I also  hated it.  I hated the paperwork, the sadness, the times when I felt like I hadn't done enough to comfort the patients and the families.

I was asked today about why I wanted to come back and do that work again.  "Good question" I said.  I thought for a moment and finally said "I miss it...It was my ministry and I don't have that anymore."

I know it sounds funny...peculiar to talk about a job that way, but if you are a nurse, and the kind of nurse that I wanted to always be...you get it.  I decided when I was graduating for nursing school in the dark ages, that I would try to care for my patients as if they were my own family.  Every older lady was my mother and every older man was my father...and that was how I did it for many years.  I did get tired, though.  I got really tired when I had a person that was in pain and everything modern medicine could do didn't help.  After about 5 years doing Hospice, I declared that my soul was tired.

It was a time when I had kids that were little and were involved in things and I had a husband who was still youngish and wanted my attention...and I wanted/needed  to be everything to everyone...including my patients.  Most days, back then, I was.  But on the other days...watch out because I was a force to be reckoned with.  Finally, I decided the grass most certainly had to be greener somewhere else.  It would be greener at another agency or a rehab hospital or having my own business. 

The grass was not greener at those places...or wherever I went for that matter.  I learned over the years that it was me.  The grass would never be greener anywhere if I didn't stop and be in the moment, live for the now and appreciate what I had and have.  If I continued to search for a different job that I liked better or a different color of paint on the wall or a nicer car only to find that I still was searching...then what is the point?

So today, when I sat down and saw the old familiar faces that I had worked with...the most superb, caring nurses that I have ever known,  I felt that peace that I had searched for 5 years ago but couldn't find it there.  I didn't pretend to be something I am not.  I told my story of searching and finally feeling like I found why I was searching and how I am on keenly aware that the grass is not greener.  It is as green as you make it where you are at the time.  It was good to see them and to reconnect...and I think it went well.

We'll see how it all works out.  I do believe that if something is supposed to happen in our lives or our path...it does.  Sometimes, the things I really think are great to do at the time...well, we don't need to go there again. 

Wish me luck...I don't know if this job is the next chapter of my nursing ministry or not...but either way, I am going to make my grass green under my feet...wherever I am.

We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,

Sunday, March 27, 2011



My husband and sons are on the way to Mexico.   Not the Mexico that I dream of.  Not the Mexico that I would sit on my lounge chair with my  more than ample rear end immersed in the water...holding my glass up for a refill from a handsome, young cabana boy with a speedo on...not the Mexico that if I had to pee, I would just let it fly in my lounge chair to wash into the Gulf of Mexico where I assume the fish don't care.  Nope...their vacation is in Juarez.  Yes, Juarez has  gotten alot of press lately for the killings and drug cartel.  They aren't going there.  They are going to a place called Anapra or in spanish, it means "the dump". 

This trip was the brain child of a corporate executive and friend  from our church.  He went last summer with his oldest child.  It stirred him deeply.  He and his family decided that instead of having christmas...they would buy gifts for the people of Anapra and bring them.  No Christmas for their 15 and 13 year old except to give to others...very  noble.  It was scary for him and his wife...my dear friend...but they felt called and went.  It was beyond life changing for them.  Beyond life changing.  Listen, we folks that live in the outskirts of Denver are not hurting for much...we have plenty and even more. To have our hearts move to a place where we help folks with less...alot less...is life changing.

Enter my family.   I have been stirred by service for a long time.  I have loved the Nicaragua trips and when my family went...it was magical.  That first Nicaragua trip was a time that I fell in love with my husband again.  I was worried about how he would do...would he like it...would he feel safe and get involved with the people?  Well, let me tell you...he found his calling.  He talked in his "spanglish" as the Queen called it, and connected on a heart level with anyone he met.  He went to a Nicaraguan high school to speak english to the students, he built a house and at the end...the fella's hugged him...a anomoly in a macho central american country.  He was hooked too.

A Mexico trip came up last October and he jumped at the opportunity.  A group had backed out and they needed to build a house.  The "house" is an 11 x 22 rectangle...so for a former framer...it was easy.  He and a few other guys went and threw the house up in 2 days.  They stayed on cots in the living room of a gentleman and his wife and kids in Mexico.  Jim had the time of his life.  The food was awesome...authentic mexican...and he built and bonded with the guys.  The family they built for then was living in a box and were ecstatic to have a house.  It was a gift for Jim to go more, I think than the house that was built for the folks.

This trip...my 14 year old got to go.  He asked his father the cut his hair...1/2" crew cut so he was maintenance free while he was building.  He was so excited.  He made a list and packed.  I hope it changes his life and how he thinks of money.  I am sure it will at least make him think...of what he has and what those folks don't have.  My middle son talked about writing a dedication to his buddy that is gone and leaving it in the frame of that house...to honor his buddy and have a person in heaven to protect this family. 

Some folks will ask me...why Nicaragua and Mexico when there is such a need here?   I agree...why?  I think part of it is selfish and part is a God thing.  I am a service person here too.  I am...I do tons of volunteer work with kids...teenagers, middle schoolers.  I love them and can't get enough of them.  But...there is something exciting about a road trip or a flight with a passport...a different culture than ours...and I dig it.  Alot!  My family does too.  My daughter, the Queen will end up somewhere that spanish is the language that is spoken and will love it.  Is that because of the mission trips we have taken with her....who knows? 

As I sit in my home...with the view of Pike Peak out of the windows facing south...with count them...three dogs...mutts...lying at my feet...I am thankful.  Yes...was last week a freakin' disaster on alot of levels?  But today, I am calmer, settled and thinking of what is good.  I am lucky, happy and thankful.  I am thankful for a husband with a big heart, sons that know what is good and right, for a daughter that can count her blessings...and for a warm house.  That is more than I can say for the folks of Mexico...Thanks be to God that my husband and sons and the group that are down there building...they feel that ...whatever you do for the least of my brothers..that you do for me.

So as Anne Lamott says...Traveling mercies: love the journey, God is with you, come home safe and sound.  I miss you all and love you and am so proud of who you boys all are.  Build it strong and like you were going to live in it...like it will be your own.

We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I'm Tired...

I am blessed...lucky...happy...and mad.  The boys left for Juarez to build a house...and were totally "stoked".   They were talking about the route from our house to El Paso and wanted to take the scenic route.  My husband said to my son...."let's hypotenuse it" and my son hopped up and high-fived my husband..."It's a verb, Mom" and then said..."this is going to be awesome."

I have to say...after this week, the whole scene put a smile on my face.  I am tired.  Tired of the way the world is.  Tired of wars and politics and dogs that don't listen and husbands that are tuned out and kids that think I am crazy and suicide and dirt and chaos and lymphoma and bowel obstructions and surgery and pain and suffering... but mostly pain and suffering.

I am also tired of not measuring up and not being who I am called to be. I am tired of  not paying attention and driving the car into a pile of asphalt and then into the ditch and thinking I got away with it to discover the car was overheating.  I am tired of standing at Staples with a dog that ran away and didn't have a leash waiting for the tow truck.  I am tired of wanting the perfect job because I feel I must work but not really wanting to be committed to something.  I am tired of bringing the dogs to things because they have escaped or chewed something and they have to go with me because I didn't plan enough time to be on time.  (I was taking my dog to an interview with a Hospice to begin my career again in Hospice nursing.)  But...I am tired of wondering who and what I am supposed to do...who I am supposed to be... what is the deal?

Last night, as the boys were getting ready for Juarez, my husband kinda lost it.  He was asking my oldest son to do some things to get ready and my son was distracted.  After about the 4th time...my husband started to yell.  I was surprised and stunned.  Because he yelled, my son asked him to calm down which made him even madder.  I was still stinging from the sadness and tradgedy from the week and felt like this was not the time to freak out.  I went into my paranoid mode and felt like I needed to make it all better and tell my oldest son that he was a good boy and loved. Thankfully, he was aware that Dad was on edge and just let it go..."He's freakin out Mom...it's okay...I will settle down and get the packing done."

I went upstairs and went to bed.  I decided that I would just keep my mouth shut and try to sleep...but as I lie in bed...I started to cry.  I think I was mad at Jim for yelling at my son...my vulnerable boy, who lost his buddy, my precious 16 year old son...but now I am not sure that is what it was.  Jim climbed into bed and noticed..."What's the matter?"  he asked..."Nothing"  I said about 10 times.  I said that because it was not something I could really explain.  Yeah, I was mad but it was more than that.  It was a sadness that enveloped my heart and soul.  It was about all the things of the week and the grief and pain for the family of my son's buddy.   It was family things that I wish were different...just life in all of it's richness and sadness.

This morning, I pulled myself out of the funk I was cultivating and moved on.  I kissed the boys good bye and sent them on their way.  I told them I loved them and wished them traveling mercies...even my husband.  I picked up the car at the garage to the tune of 564.00.  I spent the day with the Queen. She made dinner with stuffed peppers while I snored on the couch in the living room.  I poured my glass of pink wine...let's face it...two glasses when all was said and done...and enjoyed my quiet night.  The boys called from Secoro, NM and are in heaven to be on a road/mission trip. 

So there....la di da...as we always said in college.  The ups and downs and all arounds of a rich life.  I can't wait to hear of the relationships formed with the people of Mexico and how happy they will be when the 11 x 22 rectangle of block and stucco is their home...the smiles my sons will encounter and the love they will feel and give...the time with their father.

I can wait to go to a memorial on Thursday in place of my son that will test my every belief in God.  But I will go...and honor that boy.  

Tonight, I have no answers...no easy way to wrap up the pain, suffering, luck and sweetness of the week.  I know that tommorrow is another day...as my mother used to say...and hopefully it will be without the sadness and troubles that the previous days were.  But, tomorrow I will drop the Queen off in front of her dorm and kiss her good bye...and that will bring it's own rush of feelings.

So tonight...love the ones that are close.  Give them the "benefit of the doubt" and remember...time is a precious thing...and we have no control of the amount but we do have control over how we spend and react to the things that happen in that time.

Good night and sleep well.
We'll tawk tommorrow,'
I love you all,

Friday, March 25, 2011

I Don't Understand...

Yesterday, I turned on my computer and opened my in box...there was a message from the high school.  In my cynical way I thought...what did my son do now?  I hesitated to click it open because it had already been quite a day...but I did and here is what it said:

Dear Parents,
I am terribly saddened to tell you that one of our students died last night.  He was in the 11th grade and as of right now, we don’t have any information about funeral arrangements.  I know that dealing with grief and the loss of a friend or loved one is always challenging for teens and their parents.  Please know that we will have extra counselors and other support staff at our school for your child, should they need help.

It was written by the Principal to parents to inform us of what our sons and daughters got hit with when they arrived at school yesterday.  I read it and my first thought was...do I know him?  Is he someone who has been over my house for one of the airsoft wars?  I decided that he wasn't and pushed the thought out of my head.  I just felt like I didn't want to go down the "what if" line in my head at that moment.  So I moved on.

The day went on and pick ups were done and extra kids were collected and dinner was fed.  I had still not heard from my boy...the baseball kid that has been busy.  He was supposed to meet his girlfriend and ask her to prom last night.  I finally called him at dark and he was on his way to meet her...with his guitar and a song he had learned...with the intention to charm her into saying yes.  I was happy that he had a plan and frankly, seemed okay.  I didn't ask about his classmate...I guess I didn't want to know.

He came home and went straight to the cookies that the Queen baked.
He sat down at the kitchen table and I asked the question..."did you know him?" Tears sprang to his eyes and he said, "Mom, he was one of my airsoft buddies...we sat together in seminar."  I didn't know how to respond...the moist eyes, the disbelief in his tone of voice...the sadness he was feeling.  The bright, noisy kitchen was suddenly silent.  He began to explain to us how he heard of his buddy's death.  You could have heard a pin drop.  By this time, the Queen was crying and I was on the verge.  My husband walked over to him and put his arm around him, shook his head and said nothing.  Finally, in my panic to find a reason, I asked "Do you know why?" to which my son responded that they didn't discuss that part of it.  I could tell he was going over all the last interactions with his buddy in his head.  The what if's...what if he talked to him longer, what if he said something different...what if, what if, what if.  I was at a loss for words...me...because I was just wishing it was Wednesday night and yesterday had not occured yet.  Then I looked at my son and said..."What can I do for you, buddy?"  "Nothin', Mom.

We sat at the table in silence for a while and I began to lecture him... that there is nothing that a new day won't put a new perspective on...there is nothing worth taking your life...nothing.   I thought about how I probably have never said those exact words to him, how I would hope he knew instinctively because we haven't had a whole lot of this kind of converstation...after I shut up, he said... "I know, I know, I know...the counselors at school told us, every teacher I saw yesterday told us...I know".   

I finally went down "that" road in my head.  It was heart breaking and unbelievable.  How do we make "sure" that teens know that taking your own life is not an option...no matter how bad things seem?  How do we do that?  I wish there was an answer because I would be the first one to put it into practice.  I'm sure there are things that are unknown and need to remain that way for this family.  I honor that and I honor them.  I wish there was something to make it easier, better...a time machine to change it all back.  But of course, there is not.

My boy walked upstairs this morning dressed in black.  A black baseball cap, black jeans, black t-shirt and jacket.  I asked..."Black, huh?"  "Yeah," he said..."we are all wearing it to honor our buddy."  I followed him down the stairs and told him again, "Listen, dude, if you need me...if you are too sad or any of your buddies are...I'm home today, come home and let's talk...".  Then I stopped him as he opened the door to go to his car and said " I love you bud...so much" and hugged his skinny teenage boy body and kissed his cheek, "I know, Mom...I know."

I hope he knows and it will be my mission to make sure he and everyone that I come into contact with knows everyday. 

We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Love, Goodbyes, Baseball and Time...

I am learning that when I love openly and take risks...there is a downside to that...letting go...saying goodbye.  Whether I am saying goodbye for the night or for a month or two or forever.  As strong as I tell myself I am and that I am  not going to cry because it is a good thing...it hurts and I  wish everything was the way it was and that there was more time.   So to my friend who is on an incredible journey...we will be here when you get back...good bye and traveling mercies!

On another note, Colorado is on fire.  It has been a dry winter on the eastern slope.  There are wildfires burning in a few places with the wind whipping them up.  We need some rain or snow.  It kills me to look for moisture but at this point, the summer is going to be one big fire.  

The week that we moved into our house and we watched the Hayman fire crest over the hills in our view.  We decided not to move in because we were the next to be evacuated.  Our area was going to be the next to go.  When we have been ordered to evacuate before, we ran around grabbing pictures off the walls and packing up the animals.  Deciding in our home what we were willing to lose.   Not a fun time.  My neighbors and myself...we understand what the risk is to live in the mountains. We accept that risk...but when it hits you in the face...man oh man.  

The Queen is still home on spring break and the adventure that we took is a memory.  A good memory.  She is a joy to have around and I will miss her again when she leaves for college.

My oldest son is neck deep into being a 16 year old JV baseball player for the high school.  He has been practicing from after school to dark, walking in the door and falling asleep on the couch with his baseball uniform on.  After a nap, when the rest of us are getting ready for bed, he gets up and grabs his guitar and begins to play.  Then...on to homework.  Kids these days!!!

My youngest has decided to learn the baritone to ensure his future marching band success...while starting his baseball season three days a week.  It gets a little crazy around here during the spring.

So crazy that my husband and I have not had a conversation that wasn't 
related to baseball or kids for a long time now.  Between working and fathering and between working and mothering...there isn't a whole lot of time for husband and wife-ing.  Some days, I think we are on the home stretch and we have to cherish every moment with these kids...then the other days, I am overwhelmed and think it will never end. 

The week has been a whirl of activity...and I am tired.  The weekend can't come soon enough but that would be wishing time away...and I don't want to do that.  I guess I will just keep on keepin' on...see what happens tommorrow.

Have a great night and Friday!
We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Whatever gets you through the night....

The Queen and I made it home from our adventure around 7pm.  She settled into bed for the night.  My bed...not hers.  I kicked my old man out.  It just goes to show you...we mama's love our babies, even if they are 19.

Thanks for all the positive thoughts, prayers and kindness...we felt it through our adventure and still feel it.  Keep them coming!

We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,

Sunday, March 20, 2011


A year ago today, I watched my friend marry her soul mate.  It was a lovely wedding and rockin' fun reception.  He was killed in Afghanistan last September.  I thought about the wedding and reception last night with sadness of what would and could have been.

A group of kids that know and love her went to her soldier's grave today.  They brought momentos and flowers to honor the date.  They witnessed the relationship and sadness of his death.  They still honor him for his service to us and his love for their friend.  They are still so tender about losing him.

My Pastor cried this morning as we recited the prayers.  He was her nephew.  She is a strong lady, kind lady and wounded woman.  Some days it must feel like just a bad movie and others, far away...but today it was raw and deep and she misses him so...even after a passage of time.

What is my point in the ramblings?  I am sad for my friend, for having to endure a broken heart at such a young age and for my pastor and her family. 
Life is so hard.  It is messy and dirty and unbelievably sad at times. 

It just is....
We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,

PS...The Queen and I are going on a great adventure tommorrow.  Please send your prayers and positive thoughts to the universe and our way.  Thanks!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Our Story

We all have a story.  Last night, we had some old friends over for dinner.  They are friends that we have been through just married times, to new babies times all the way through college kids and 21st birthdays.  After we got through the pleasantries...we told the kids stories.  "Remember when"...we started..."when you ran away to our house when you were 4?" we said to the eldest one.  "Or remember the picture of you two kissing that I had on my refrigerator...where is that?"  My oldest son laughed  and said, "Oh, I was sure we would hear that one again."  It went on and on.  We always laugh at the same stories and find comfort from hearing them.  These stories are woven into my story...my life. 

I used to think that I didn't have a whole lot to do with the story...I was powerless and had to let my life unfold as it did with me reacting to situations as I was hit with them.

I am understanding as I get older that I want my story to be my choices and my reactions to things from here... I understand that while I have no power to change my story of the past, I do have some power to change the story today.  Not other people's behavior in the story but how I react to those behaviors...  how I respond to what they do and say because of their stories. 

Like yesterday...I could have been alot of things.  I could have been embarrased, mad at the folks for reacting to my choice of behavior or defiant, "who are they...."  But I made a choice...I live with it and go on. 

I woke up this morning and the kitchen was a disaster.  We had 10 eating dinner, dessert, drinks and there was dishes scattered through the house.  I looked around and thought..."What a nice night with our friends...we need to do that more often" instead of  "what a freakin' mess and I am the one to clean it up".  That thought process was a choice.  It was not a hard choice to make today but I have to say...last  year at this time...I would have been mad for the whole weekend at my kids and husband for not thinking to help me clean up.
This morning, I thought, the heck with it...if I can do it, I will or I will leave it for later...it is not life and death.  It is not worth it to be mad all weekend...

I put on my Coldplay station on pandora radio, poured my coffee.  I wandered around and then got started.  After about 30 minutes, the leaves were out of the table, it was wiped down and it looked back to normal...              

Then I moved to the kitchen sink and counters...it took me a few minutes to get rolling but then the finshed product is below...

Not too bad..and now to move on the the fun stuff...a day with the Queen. 

Stories, reactions, choices...when I step out of the car into a mud puddle, in my nicest shoes...what choice do I make...I can't change the muddy step...but the reaction...I can. 

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it"
-sign at a gas station

We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,

Friday, March 18, 2011

Role model I am not!

The middle school had a concert and my 8th grader played his trombone.  He looked very handsome in his ironed white shirt, black pants and  black shoes.  All of the 8th graders look so much older than in the fall.  The music was better than the fall concert too.  As I sat there on those horrible bleachers with my back aching...I thought about how time flies.  It goes.  One day goes into the next whether you enjoyed it or not.  The sun comes up, it goes down and how you spend the time in between is up to you. 

I spent the day running from one thing to another.  I promised my youngest a coffee on the way to school for his good grades.  We got coffee which made me late for my aerobics class which I had to leave early to go to the honor roll assembly.  This was my first honor roll assembly and have been scolded every quarter when I do not show up for them.  Hey...I mean to...every time.  Well today, I was gonna make it.  I left aerobics about fifteen minutes early and made it to the middle school early.  Perfect...I thought.  Sure I was in black sweats, my greasy hair pulled up in a pony tail and my shirt soaked...I was there and I didn't forget!

They announced the kids and they walked up to the stage.  The announcer kindly asked that applause be held until the whole group had been recognized.  The bronze kids went...and every one was pretty polite.  There were lots of parents there.  Parents...as in Moms and  Dads clean and put together.  It was nice to see.  Oh and did I mention that they were so polite.

Then they announced the silver honor roll and there were less kids but it was all kids I have known over the years.  I was having so much trouble keeping quiet already.  I have coached them in soccer, taught them to swim at the rec center or have had them to my house for various reasons.  I live in a small town.  By the time the announcer was done with the silvers, I was sitting on my feet and clapping loudly with each kid.  I think back now, and that was still acceptable support. 

Now for the gold...my son.  This was his first gold honor roll...his first straight A report card.  He worked hard.  He did his homework and turned his assignments in.  The best thing about it for me is...I didn't do a thing.  He is a third child so I am well aware of my role.  I attended 8th grade myself and then again, in theory, with my middle son.  Not gonna do it for a third time.  My youngest gets that...it's his deal.  I have said, no lie, atleast 50 million times, "I have already attended X grade so it is your deal".  I have said that so many times that I am sick of listening to myself.

Back to this morning...I decided I needed to stand to see the kids that were next up and I was clapping loudly.  I couldn't help it, I was so proud.  Then comes my son...you can guess what happened next...I screamed..."Yeah,  Howie" while clapping loudly.  Every parent in that room looked back at me and scowled.  No kidding.  The announcer was quiet and gave me a look but did not say anything (I played softball with her) and continued on.  My son's social studies teacher came over to me and gave me a demerit...then the announcer whispered something to my son.  I thought it was funny but you know me...I just let it all hang out.

The assembly was over and I stood there waiting for my son.  He walked up to me shaking his head with a smile on his face..."I'm sorry How" I said "but I was so proud."  "It's okay Mom...thanks for coming" he said.  I asked him what the announcer said and he told me..."Your mom was inappropriate" and they both laughed...because I am sure he thought..."Isn't she always?" and walked on.

I was not offended at all so I hope I wasn't supposed to be.  I didn't care that every parent turned around and scowled or that the silence after the yell was so quiet that you could hear a pin drop.  Should I have been polite...sure.  And, I was a terrible role model...

Middle age has made me more spontaneous and able to give and show love in crazy ways.  I don't want to embarass my son but I don't want him to think for a minute that he is not loved and appreciated...not even for a second.  I know how that feels and it doesn't help anything.

So I leave you with a song from JT...makes me calm and introspective.  I hope you enjoy it.

We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green beer...just give me the regular kind....

It is almost 10pm and Jim and I are sitting at the table...having a St. Patrick's Day beer or two.  He is telling me things and every so often I look up and smile and nod.  He thinks I am listening.  I am kinda...but really I am not.  I feel like I am done listening for the week although it is only Thursday and usually I have the energy to listen through Friday night at 5 pm.

It has been a week.  I have made 3 banana/apple breads, 3 pans of lasagna, a italian sausage soup that I made up as I went along, I have attended 2 baseball games, 2 band concerts, 2 aerobic classes, walked the lake and did coffee and lunch with my girls, baked bread at church, walked and petted dogs at the local pound with my youngest, taught a confirmation class, played basketball with the kids and cleaned my house today.  I am tired...dog tired. 

But...it has been an awesome week.  I have spent time with people, watched my sons play their instruments and play baseball, moved my body.  Spent time doing things that at the end of the day, I said..."I got nothing done"  but I did.  I yelled and cheered and took pictures, I cooked in my kitchen and watched the sunrise every morning and exclaimed "It's beautiful...look" to which this morning my husband said..."I bet it's pink".  I drove my son to school while he read the sports page and told me what was going on with his favorite teams...

I feel old but I also feel young.  I feel tired but I also feel energized.  I am a mess and I fully admit it.  But as busy as spring is in my house...there is a joy that accompanies all the busyness if I just let it be.  To be honored by kids that I enjoy and a husband I "mostly" enjoy and friends that I love to be with...hey let's face it...when the world is crumbling...literally...around you...that is a huge gift. 

In the years past, I ran around and complained about how busy I was and how I wish things were different.  This year, I have the sense to know that what is right now...is and it can't get too much better than this.

We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's Monday...all day...

There is beauty in the way you handle less than optimal situations...
gracefully. You are a beautiful example of authenticity. And that is beyond beautiful.

This is a comment from the Queen about my "ugly" post.  You know, she is right.  Everyone gets the short end of the stick...gets screwed in life.  Sometimes it is big things and sometimes it is little things.  It is how it goes.  What really counts is how the situation is handled.  Do I act like a big girl and get past things or do I continue to marinate in the negative?  While I love things marinated...I don't do well with negative marinade...it dries out my skin and gives me wrinkles.  So it's time to move on...put on the big girl panties and try to keep them dry!

How about Japan...talk about being screwed...you are sitting in your house or car or even walking on the road and here comes a huge wall of water after you bounced around in the earthquake.  What did they do to have to endure that badness?  Mother nature...what's up and who's next? 

Since I have the big girl panties on...I decided to clean my refrig and pantry.  I found a ton of duplicate food and stuff that is totally out of date.  Who  needs 5 salsas and 4 grape jelly's?  Apparently those salsa and jelly sandwiches are all the rage for teenage boys.

It really helped talking to my girl dog, Bailey.  She is very wise and since everyone else in this house has tons of testosterone coursing through their bodies...albiet, some more than others, I needed a ladies opinion on my mood.  She gave me a big smooch and let me know it was time to get over it.

I guess I am over it...done.  Let the chips fall where they may.  My boy is fine.  He can move on...matter of fact, has had to do that for most of his life.
He is a forgiving soul...can let things go...can be really mad and then say, "We need to make this right, Mom" and we do.  As usual, I am learning from my kids what you can change and what you can't and when to move on without hard feelings.  I have learned so much from them and I am glad to do so.  It enriches my life more that I ever imagined.

"What's today?"  I would ask my mother..."Monday, all day" she would reply. I would always wonder what that meant.  Was there a day during the week that wasn't all day?  I still don't know but Happy Monday...all day!

We'll tawk later,
I love you all,

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I'm feeling ugly...

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.  
True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It's the caring that she lovingly gives,... the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years." 

~audrey hepburn
Yeah, right...Audrey.  I am feeling ugly...from my head to my toes.  Even my deep blue eyes aren't pretty today.  I bet if you pulled my soul out of my throat...it would be pretty hard to look at.
It's been a "this is going to be a good life lesson" weekend for my kid and I hate those.  I like days when everything is calm and bright and sunny.  Not how things went. 
We'll get over all of it.  He's already over it.  I, on the other hand, am not.  I am still stinging from the impact.  But can I tell you how proud I am?  I hope you said yes because I am going to anyway...it's my blog.  I have a young man with integrity and character and who can accept defeat with grace and beauty.  He is nothing like his mother!  Thank God!
We'll tawk tommorrow...
Maybe I will look better!
I love you all and I hope you still love me,

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Providing value...

I remember the day I decided I needed to be a stay at home mom.  I was picking up the kids after working a day shift at the hospital...which I didn't do much because I wasn't a fan of daycare.  I was about 38 weeks pregnant with my last son and I looked and felt like Jabba the hut.  I walked in to pick my two up and there was my middle son...in jail.  He was in a play pen in the corner and obviously in trouble.  "He has been biting" the daycare lady said, "So we had to separate him from the other kids".  That was it for me.  No more daycare, no more work, no more jail.  I was so mad...mad at him, mad at me and mad because I was as big as Jabba and could hardly move.  I remember thinking...what am I gonna do with three kids?  This one is gonna be the death of me and I have another baby coming.  I called my husband at work and said "I am quitting work...your son is biting all the kids in daycare and he is in jail.  I can't take it."  My husband, calm as always, said  "OK honey, take the kids home and we will talk later" to which I responded..."I am not kidding, I am done working."  And that was that.

I became a stay at home mother...I had 3 kids ages 4, 2 and a newborn.  It was beyond stressful for me.  The oldest, now known as the Queen, knew everything then too...at the age of 4.  My middle son, was busy and active and never shut up...he didn't stop for a moment.  He woke up every morning crying in his crib.  And the youngest...I walked around with him nursing so I could keep him quiet.  Sounds like bliss, huh?  I figured the kids and the house were my  job now.  If I wasn't going to be a nurse in the ICU, I would take all of those skills and be a mother and housewife.  I learned quickly that it doesn't work that way and I wasn't terribly happy.  I was the momma from the quote, "If momma aint' happy, nobody's happy."  One year later, I went back to work on a PRN basis and Jim watched the kids during the times that I worked.

Now I have teenagers and only two of them at home.  I also have a job as a consultant.  I am not so busy now so I have time to play.  I also have time to mop floors, do laundry, water plants, cook great meals and even decorate should I choose to.  The problem is the "choosing to".  Now at 46, I would rather meet up with friends and walk, have cocktails, listen to music, exercise, blog or be at home reading with the sun shining on me and Pike's Peak in the background.  I would rather do those things...

As I mentioned yesterday, Tuesday was magical.  It was exactly what I wanted to do and I could argue, needed to do.  On Wednesday morning, I felt the familiar twinge of uselessness.  I wasn't mothering and I definitely wasn't cleaning or cooking...and haven't been since I came back from Florida.  I decided to be "useful" on Wednesday and make sure that my husband and kids knew what I have been doing.  I needed to prove my value.  I called my husband and listed all the "housewifey" things I did and the "mothery" things I did.  I told him of cleaning the kitchen, exercising, gettting organized, billing my clients and at the end, I mentioned that I will be looking for a job.  "A job" he said "You already have one."  I replied "Yeah, but I haven't been working much and it's not fair to you  and I haven't been keeping up on the house and the laundry...don't get me wrong, I have been having a blast, but I'm not holding up my end of the bargain."  We continued to talk and I asked him what I ought to do.   He replied, "I've been traveling alot and everything here just goes on like I never left" and then,  " I'm the luckiest guy in the world."  Wow... Am I that valuable...do I provide that much value beyond the cooking and cleaning and watering and driving? 

When I sit at the counter and listen to the boys discuss their day or the homework that Dad needs to help them with...I don't think I am doing much.  Or when I make dinner...meatloaf and mashed potatoes...thrown together at the last minute because I don't want to cook...or even when my husband comes home and talks about his day and while in my head I am already thinking about going to bed, I guess that is valuable.  Being there must count for something, huh?  I generally think that I must be doing something while I am there...doing dishes or mopping or cooking...not just listening.  These days, I just haven't been in the mood to multi-task...I have been just there and it does get noticed.  Yeah!!!

I know the floor needs mopped, the refrig and panty need cleaned out and the laundry is wet in the washer needing to be moved to the dryer, but the sun is shining and Pikes Peak is as majestic as ever.  I think I'll grab the newspaper and read it in the sun...for just a few minutes...and then I'll get going...or maybe not.

The chores can wait...right?
We'll tawk later,
I love you all,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Just a simple walk...

I started to write this post yesterday...I named it "It's Tuesday and I'm fat....welcome to Fat Tuesday" even...but as I wrote I decided that what really went on in my little world could not be written without some more thought about what I really had to say.  But it started like this...

I got up and went to the gym...a conditioning class.  30 seconds of jumping rope, 20 hops over a rope, 10 push ups, and then a minute of sit ups.  Over and over and over again.  Initially, I thought I was going to die, but about 15 minutes into it I pulled my heart out of my throat, stuffed it back down and kicked into gear.  I was covered with sweat when we were done.  Then I met my girls at the lake to take a walk.  It was cold and gray and white.  Actually, it was beautiful.  My nose and ears were frozen but we walked a couple of miles and talked.  I decided I would talk them into coffee...or as I say..cawfee.

We headed to a coffee shop and solved the world's problems.  I looked up at the clock at the bank across the street and it was 11:45...."We should go to lunch and isn't it 5 o'clock somewhere?" I said.  Better than that, my friend said..."It's Fat Tuesday"...Oh yeah baby...off we went.

So that was the start of yesterday and today I will finish the post.  After a night of thought, heres what  I really felt happened with my women friends and our time together. We went to walk to move our bodies talk over things that were going our lives.   There were answers for some of us and not for others.  At times, we became angry, sad, or overcome with joy and felt so alive.  Isn't that the essence of this life?  To think that we met for an hour long walk at 9am and to end up having drinks at 2pm with the same group that was not really done being together... 

I am a social being and I love hanging with my girls...I do.  As I get older, I spend less time with other people and more time with myself.  That's okay...it is.  I remember when I was a pre-school mom or a grade school mom and I sat and talked at the playground with my friends for hours while our kids played.  It's not so easy now.  It takes plans and phone calls and texts to get together.  And,  most of us have gone back into the workforce in some capacity so there are no hours on the playground to spend talking. 

It seems easy to plan a walk with friends.  It hits all the important "shoulds" that we middle aged women need to do.  Get dressed, move and have a cup of coffee for some social time if you are lucky.   Most of the time, there are a million things I've planned to do after the walk and there is no way that I can waste a moment.  But yesterday was different.  I sensed that we needed to be together.  When I mentioned lunch, I could see us all waiting...waiting for someone to say no because we all really wanted to keep talking and being together.  Thankfully, no one said no.  After we decided where to go, we ran down the street like we were 19 year olds skipping class...like we were getting one "over" on someone.  It felt magical and even a little dangerous and I haven't felt that in years.  See how we get so complacent in our routines?  We ate good sandwiches and had drinks...screwdrivers and bloody marys and vodka and cranberry...and sipped and listened and loved each other.  There is nothing better than feeling a sense of belonging and love from my girlfriends.

So to my girls...I had the time of my life yesterday.  Sure we had our moments and you know what I mean...but it meant alot to me to be able to let go, talk about whatever came to my mind and not be judged.  It also meant alot to listen and know that we love and trust each other with our very lives...I haven't had that kind of friendship since college and man, it feels good.

So where do we meet for next Tuesdays..."Tuesday Boozeday"?
We'll tawk later,
I love you all,

Monday, March 7, 2011

Who deems perfection? It's about love...

Busy weekend...lots going on and lots to digest...including too much food.  But...I have been thinking about a few conversations that I have had over the weekend.  They had to do with perfection.  "It sounds like you have the perfect life"..."they all have perfect bodies" and so on.  Perfect schmerfect...I say. 

I spend at least 3 mornings a week at a gym with women who are amazing.  They have bodies like I have never seen before.  I usually stand in the back of the room and marvel.  I watch their rear ends, their shoulders, how they have these little waists and lovely breasts.  They wear beautiful work out clothes and don't have a bulge or ripple anywhere. They also have these beautiful faces that don't show a wrinkle and they are strong.  They can do push ups, pull ups and practically hold a plank the whole class.  Oh my...it is a feast for my eyes...just think about men in the class.  I would say, those gals have the closest bodies to a perfect one I have ever witnessed.  If I  had a body like that...I would get a tattoo, pierce my belly button and wear spaghetti straps in zero degree weather.  I would...I would!  But to hear them talk...they need to lose weight, get stronger, have smaller boobs, bigger boobs, better skin and a smaller rear end.  They are not satisfied with the work they do or how they look.  They are searching for the perfect body...

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of reconnecting with my niece.  She is off in a foreign land and sounds great.  We were catching up on who has done what and what is going on in our lives.  After one of my comments, she said "It sounds like you have the perfect life"...and I was surprised at that comment.  Not because I don't have a great life complete with ups and downs and all arounds...but the concept of a perfect life.

What is a perfect body...a perfect life?  Interesting food for thought.  

I think a perfect body is one that you can live with.  It is one that can do the things you want it to do and if it can't then...learning to live with it.  Would I love to be thinner and stronger without wrinkles...who wouldn't?  But I must say...my body is my body.  It is the only one I have.  I have no choice.  I can want someone else's body but it does me no good.  I can try to make it thinner and stronger and wrinkle free...and believe me, I do...but in the end, I got what I got.  Is it wrong to look at those ladies and admire them?  I don't think so... and sometimes I will just have to say...you have a beautiful body or point out to another women the beauty of her arms, rear end, stomach, etc because I am so in awe.  These gals work really hard and I think at my age...I admire any body..male or female that looks strong and healthy. But...perfection...can't do it anymore.  I can't.  I want to be able to enjoy movement, food, drink and laughs without thinking I don't measure up.  It's doing the best with what you got and then accepting what is.  I do not like that I have giant varicose veins or dry elbows that always look dirty...but what is the solution?  You got one?  I don't...except to accept what is.

The perfect family thing is interesting too.  When I was a kid, the perfect family was on TV.  There were a few.  That was nowhere near how my family operated.  Not even close.  Guess what?  We all turned out okay.  Are there things we all would have done differently...sure. 

What is a perfect family these days?  Is a mother and father and two kids that never fight and never get in trouble?  Is it two mothers and no father or two fathers and no mother?  You tell me?  My concept of a perfect family has nothing to do with who is who or what their role is.  I think it has to do with feeling loved by your partner, parents and a home that is a soft place to land when life gives you what it gives you.  I think it has to do with relationships that are loving, positive and real...the good, the bad and the ugly.  It's being who you are and letting the people in your family be who they are...that's it.  Sure lot's of money is good, I understand, but I have been in both places and neither time do I remember the stuff I bought.  I remember the love I gave and recieved. 

It always comes down to love.  It does.  Love yourself, love your neighbor, love your enemy and I would say...love people for who and where they are.
If love was the first choice in all situations...Imagine if my husband is mad at me and begins to yell...or my teenager and I are getting ready to go toe to toe...instead of getting our hackles up to really giving it to each other...grab their hand and start with..."I love you" and wait for one minute and breathe...what would our arguments look like?  What if you went to the mirror after you put on those tight pants and looked you in the eye and said, "I love you" and waited and breathed...then went on to put on makeup?   I think it could change alot of our day to day interactions...I know it would change mine.

It comes down to love...
What if...
We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,

Friday, March 4, 2011

Learning to Fly...

I used to listen to Tom Petty in college...along with Bruce Springsteen and a band that was called Four in Legion.  Four in Legion played a song I loved called "There's a party in my pants...and you're invited".  I am not kidding you at all.  Anyway, I think of those times so fondly...I was in nursing school, I was 19 and feeling saucy.  Great times...

Flash forward to 46...three kids that are almost grown...19 and out, 16 and wishing he was out and the 14 year old just looks at Jim and I like we are aliens.  It is a different life than I imagined when I was 19.  It's better and more and deeper and more meaningful.  I never thought that I would do half of the things I have done, loved half as much as I have and learned so much about what life is like. 

I was going to be a nurse...a mother and a wife.  I was going to have a house and people were going to admire me for how wonderful I was.  I was not planning on more than that.  I was going to have the perfect life and that was that.

The perfect life was not going to include death, family issues, money problems, depression and chronic disease.  Nope...none of that.  Well it has and we have weathered the storms and I think we will just have to weather the rest of what is thrown our way.

But...at 46, I feel so hopeful.  I feel like I am getting a second chance to do a whole lot of things that I still want to do.  I want to have a garden and eat the veggies and lettuce that I grew, I want a goat and maybe some chickens...I want to travel to other countries, hold grandchildren, sit on the beach with my old husband and drink beer after beer and relive the kids lives...to enjoy what is to come and not be afraid.  I am getting better at that.  It makes me feel so much more alive. 

So for all of us middle aged folks that are learning about life with kids leaving and coming back, chronic issues that never seem to go away and for leaving more time behind us than we have in front of us...I dedicate this song to us!


We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

19 years ago...

19 years ago today, I was as big as a house...pregnant...with my first child.  I remember vividly getting ready for work at the hospital.  I put on my blue maternity top that I lovingly referred to as my "elephant tutu" and my white scrub pants.  I worked my evening shift and drove home.  On the drive, I was feeling twinges in my belly but I was not supposed to have her for two more weeks...St. Patrick's Day.  She had other plans.  About 3 am, I called my husband at work...he worked nights...and told him I thought I was in labor.  He came home around 6 and cut the cast off of his broken wrist.  "I'm not holding my baby with a cast on" he said.  I was standing against the wall dealing with contractions watching him saw the cast off with a coping saw at the kitchen table.  We headed for the hospital shortly after that.  On March 4th...about 24 hours after I started the journey of labor...the Queen was born and our lives changed forever.

The first night home, I remember looking over at the Queen asleep on Jim's chest in her little diaper and onesie and thinking I had won the biggest lottery on earth...sure she was neon yellow and cried because she wasn't able to nurse at first and I was terrified of what Jim and I had done...who were we to think we could raise a family ...but at that moment in my little bedroom in the cabin when I woke up from a sweaty post birth, new hormone sleep...it became clear who I was.  I was "Mom" now and my job was to love this little being until I couldn't muster up the energy to do so.  That was my job, my priority and who I was going to be for the next how ever many years I would be here on the earth.

She came to us as she is now.  She was smart and sweet and had a gentle soul that was forgiving as I muddled through learning to be a mother.  I signed her up for everything I ever wanted to do.  I was going to live through her.  Isn't that what a good mother is supposed to do?  Well, no and I learned that the hard way.  She is a musician, a thinker not a responder, she is a lover not a fighter and she accepts who she is and shines.  That is who she was upon entering this earth and it had nothing to do with me.  She speaks spanish fluently, can do calculus and waits a long time to give her heart to someone...but when she does...watch out.  You can count on her for anything at anytime. 

Every decision I made after that day, was affected by that day...by being responsible for another human being.  My world shifted and I was a new creation.  As a woman, I was going to have it all.  I was going to be a great wife, great mother and great nurse... all while nursing my children into pre-school, maintaining a "smokin'" figure and a meticulously clean house.  Can you imagine what it must have been like to be first born of that woman?    None of that happened, but I learned after 19 years and three kids...what matters...what really matters to me.

I've learned that what matters and what is good through watching her grow and navigate life differently than I had planned.  It's watching a school play with her dressed as a lady bug, or coaching her little soccer team with my youngest nursing on the sideline while I am cheering on my little "rabbits" because she had to play soccer (I was a b-ball and softball player), or being on the phone with her so dissapointed my heart is breaking...It's her making a better decision about something that I would have told them to "go to hell".  It's watching her in Nicaragua falling in love with helping people or marching the band out on the field...it's kissing her goodbye in front of her dorm in tears and her telling me I will be okay.  What matters to me is not being able to get out of bed because I don't see her every morning anymore and then deciding to get help.  

My Queen...my Christie Lou...thank you for being you...for coming to me already loaded with the wisdom to deal with a crazy mother.  To understand my highs and lows, to know how to love and when to stop...to be born with a better filter than I have ever had.  Thanks for being a person who had been here before and knowing what is right and good and holy.  That is who you are and your father and I marvel at who you've been and who you are becoming.

Happy 19th birthday, Shortie-Morty, keep up the good work!

We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

2 Shakes and a Sensible Meal...

I went back to the gym.  I have put on quite a few in all the wrong places, if you know what I mean.  Don't get me wrong, the pounds did not materialize out of thin air.  I had pasta, wine, beer, burgers, ice cream and fast food.  If that menu doesn't put a few pounds on you...nothing will...and I am a middle aged woman!

So, the Monday before last, I decided I was going to try to reign in my intake with slim fast shakes.  I bought a box with 6 cans of "Dutch Chocolate" and put them in the fridge.  I made it through the week fairly unscathed.  I was hungry and wanted to chew, but I didn't...until Friday.  Friday night and over the weekend was the Women's retreat with a bunch of my buddies from church.  I immediately went to Costo and bought a case of wine...hoping that would last me through the weekend.  I also bought a plate of shrimp thinking I would watch what I ate but not what I drank (I guess).  To be honest, I was going to eat whatever I wanted last weekend and drink even more.  It was a party and in my experience,  what makes the holy spirit really show up...wine and lots of it.

The retreat was great...we talked about taking care of ourselves and being who we are and being okay with that.  As you can probably tell, I am really okay with myself after my second glass of wine.  So...it was great.  I ate way too much and I drank way too much. 

I got on the scale last Monday morning and I was up 4 pounds.  4 pounds...I only ate for 2 days...that's 2 pounds a day I gained while I was gone.  I wasn't mad or even feeling too bad about it though.  I ate alot of great stuff...and I mean alot.  We had roast beef and mashed potatoes, eggs with all kinds of sausage and bacon for breakfast, spagetti and meatballs for lunch (my favorite) and I can't even remember what was for dinner.  Then the snacks...salty, sugary, chocolatey snacks...with wine and whatever else you brought and you wanted.  I did enjoy it but once again...it's hard to breathe in non-elastic clothes!

I got up Monday morning, worked and walked the dog.  I wrote about the day because I was in such a good space.  On Tuesday, I went to my workout and sweat like a hog.  I was so sweaty...I thought I might have peed my pants.  Thank God I did not.  Anyway, I felt great after that workout.  Not immediately after, but after a while.  I felt great.  Today, I did the same thing.  I went to kickboxing and had sweat running into my eyes.  I was punching the bag and kicking the bag and whooping and hollering.  I had a great time.  It really felt good today too.  But,  let's face it, 2 shakes for a girl my size is not enough...at least that's what I was telling myself as I drove home.  I deserve a good breakfast after that workout...but I don't.  I may deserve some kudos for getting my big rear end to the gym...but not in the form of food.  As hungry as I was and as much as my head told me...eat something...I waited until lunch time and made my slim fast shake with a ton of ice and ate a huge blender full of shake.  It was okay...not bad at all...but not my favorite, spagetti and meatballs either. 

But...and I mean a big butt...I need to figure out a better way to celebrate, mourn, visit, reward, relax and whatever I use food and drink for.  I have to or I am not going to be able to punch the bag or kick the bag or get on a snow board or play softball. 

I have decided I am going to take it day by day or hour by hour or even minute by minute.  I sound like Charlie Sheen when he accepted help.  So far today, I have had 2 slim fast shakes and I am staying out of the kitchen.  I am not even going to clean up the dishes that are all over...not gonna tempt myself.  I have a new resolve (again) and I will triumph.  I have many times before you know... and then my loves, food and drink, call to me again.  This time, though, I am not going answer...really...I'm not!

I'll  let you know how it goes,
We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,