Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 23... regret... reprise!

I really wish I had finished college. I want to go back eventually, but the money for it is not here right now, and my brain is in too many places to bother at the moment. It's really difficult for me to focus on things right now, and I know it's because I prioritized my time so that I can spend as much of it with my 4 year old as possible right now. That is really fun, but seriously, by the end of the day, my brain is nothing but mush.

When we go out, I'm constantly trying to keep her safe, since she loves to run around, spin, dance and do all of the cute little 4 year old things that are perfectly normal for her at this time in her life. I love her to pieces, but she does take most of my energy and time.

When we stay in, we are playing and focusing on things for her and her sister. It's fun, but I don't get much time to myself. In fact, this has taken me all of 5 minutes to write so far, and I can hear her in the kitchen, so I'd better wrap it up.

I should just remind myself of the fact that this is temporary, rather than beat myself up over it. It's pretty counter-intuitive to do so.

But then I see friends who are well-educated, or who are working on their education, and I feel inferiour, and somewhat jealous. Not really for me, but for what I feel like is expected of me as a 34 year old adult. Why am I not doing the things my peers are doing? Why can't I do it? What's wrong with me? Why can't I measure up? Why am I so stupid?

Yeah. Not the greatest way to live.

If only I'd just gotten it right the first time...


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 22: Regret

Oy! Bring on the cheesy corn.

See, I'm a mountain of neurosis, carved out with gullies... of... guilt, waterfalls of pathos and regret, steeped in a cloud of self-effacing... uh... humour?

But... seriously. Sure, there are things I regret. I've been mean. I've even been cruel. I have lied. I have borrowed things without asking. I've done drugs. I've had premarital sex. I've been stupid with money, and planning. I've been messy. I have hurt people, and knowing that last part does sting, because I really didn't have to hurt anyone.

I'm not sure I would be who I am today without having done everything I have done. I don't always like myself, especially when I think about people I have hurt in the past, but I'm working on that. It has gotten better. My times of self-hatred have been whittled down to about 4 hours or less, so I'd call it progress.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 21: Quite possibly the dumbest question ever.

But I'll answer it anyway.

The topic today is something to the effect of: "Your best friend is in an accident, but you had been in a fight an hour before. What do you do?"

Hm. What the hell kind of question is that? Who the hell wouldn't do the right thing here and go see their friend? Now I'm starting to wonder where these questions really came from. Hmm...


Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 20: Drugs/Alcohol

Day 20: Drugs/Alcohol

Be safe. Be responsible. Be moderate. Know your limits, and get help if you need it. I could go on about personal experience here, but I think I'll leave that one alone. I've never had a substance abuse problem, and I've tried a few substances. Yeah. It's all about knowing what is safe and what isn't.

The end.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 19: Religion/Politics

Day 19: Religion/Politics

The first thing that comes to mind, is that this is a hot button issue, and should be handled carefully. I feel these things really should not be discussed in mixed company, unless you are looking for drama, or a possibly long, drawn out lecture from someone you later wish would just shut the hell up. I don't really know what's gained by trying to sway the opinion of another person. As Tolstoy once cited, this is something that has a long history of not going well. Everyone seems to wait for his or her turn to talk, no one really listens, and things usually heat up in a way that is never comfortable for anyone.

That's not to say that I don't discuss these things. I just prefer to know my audience, and if I know I'm opening a can of worms, I will try to steer things to a much lighter topic.

That said, there are some people I do know who don't necessarily share my views, but who happen to be respectful enough that we can get into a debate and no one gets hurt. It's all about knowing who you are talking to, etc. Personally, I believe this takes time, and it can be sort of an intimate thing for that reason.

As far as my own views, I'll start in the order things were received here. Religion is something I tend to view in a larger scope. I don't adhere to one, and I take what's pertinent or useful from many. I am often very interested in learning about new ones and why people believe the way they do, so I do ask questions when the opportunity is presented.

I do, on occasion, pray, even. Sometimes I send good energy out into the universe. Sometimes I meditate. I would never, ever call myself an atheist, but I have a hard time when things become exclusive and I'm told that I must follow a specific doctrine, and no others.

Politically speaking, I have a tendency to follow whatever happens to coincide with my personal logic and common sense. I don't like the idea of toeing a party line, unless it's an extreme case, and the problems arising from me not doing so are ridiculous. I realize I'm only one person, but sometimes it comes down to that.

I do tend to hang on the liberal side of the fence, but I can see good and bad things from both sides.

So, there you have it.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 18: Gay Marriage

Day 18: Gay Marriage

So, here is my take on this subject: If two people fall in love, are happy, and want to make a life together, they should be able to get married. End of story.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 17: Book

Day 17: Book

First, before I start, I should mention that I have been alerted, by Mr. Hed, to the fact that I should have been referring to a person yesterday. SomeONE I could live without. I was supposed to get all dramatic and throw said person under the bus. Uh... huh.


Well, actually, the subject matter gave the option of referring to either someONE, or someTHING or someone I could live without. So, yeah. Takin' the high road. I know... it's hard to find, according to Broken Bells. (Contrary to what Mr. Hed originally thought about the band by name alone, this band is not made up of hot chicks. Sorry, dood.) Anyway, I'm resourceful, dammit!

Today, I'm supposed to be talking about a book that has changed my views on something. This has happened a few times, but I think the greatest influence for me was "The Thinking Woman's Guide To a Better Birth" by Henci Goer. There were a couple of reasons for this. First, going into my second pregnancy, I was still pretty mainstream, and had originally resigned myself to having a "repeat zipper surgery", as my doctor so eloquently put it.

I put up with it for about a month, and then found some support and direction. I was leant this book. It is pretty technical and cerebral... and frankly hard to get into, but her research really showed me that trying to have a natural VBAC, away from a hospital, was the safest option for me.

I read passages of it to Mr. Hed, and they were also enough to convince him that perhaps this time we should stay out of the hospital. I carried my daughter to day 1 of week 43, and had a very fast, and furious labour. I caught her myself, and left the experience feeling very empowered. The last time we did this, I had major surgery, and there were probably at least 10 people in the room. This time, there were only 3: The midwifery apprentice who was overseeing the birth center, Mr. Hed, and Moi. The rest of the birth team arrived a few minutes after she was born, and I was able to go home the next day. I had guests the day after that, and things quickly went back to normal.

It goes without saying that this was much better than my first birth, where I was laid up for weeks after she arrived.

Second, this book and subsequent experience opened up many doors for me. In the process, I went from being completely dependent on allopathic medicine, and probably on the fast track to an early grave via many unnecessary meds, to relying more on my own body wisdom, and self-healing.

I used to be considered dangerously high-risk for serious respiratory illnesses, as well as ridiculously dependent on respiratory meds. I feel like I can finally take myself off of that list after 20 years of battling some extremely debilitating asthma. I now use meds on an as-needed basis only, which has gone down about 90+ percent, thanks to further research, dietary changes, and amino acid therapies.

Seriously miraculous.

I wonder if I would have ever been motivated to take this path without such strong positive results as a starting point.

If I ever meet Henci, I will personally thank her for giving me such a powerful start on this journey. It's nice to have confidence in my body and its ability to do what's necessary to thrive and survive.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 16: Can most certainly live without it

Day 16: Can most certainly live without it.

Procrastination. It's evil. Especially when it's pure. Especially when there is nothing to be gained, and there is no other reason for not doing something. I still do not understand why I allow it to happen at times. I can be very resistant, and very stubborn.

There are some things that I procrastinate that represent a thing I may not be ready for. There are other things I procrastinate because I know I have time to. But the problem here is that I usually forget in that time that I really should be doing something important, and then I no longer have time, and the thing that I should have done a month ago ends up going together with a little ticky-tacky, and not at all the way I had envisioned.

This is happening less and less as I get older, thankfully. There are things that I realize are worth the extra time and effort. I really should apply myself and do those things, because I deserve a good result. If I'm d0ing said thing for another person, that person also deserves the best possible outcome.

Conversely, the thing that seems to happen more and more lately, is that I have this nagging guilt that pokes and pokes and pokes, starting with my heels, moving up and around my body until it's poking me in the eye, and I realize trying to avoid it is just not worth it, and what I'm doing in lieu of the thing I really should be doing isn't even enjoyable... so why continue?

Yeah, it's just better that way. I like being ahead. I hate being behind. So there. Take that you annoying timesuck! This girl must get things done!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 15: Can't live without it

Day 15: Can't live without it.

There are a few things I have tried living without, and I always seem to go back to, because life without it is hard. The biggest one is probably coffee.

I have tried so many times to give this up, but yeah, I just keep coming back. I have tried to be a tea drinker, and while I do still enjoy tea, coffee is where it's at.

And... that's all I've got today, because I have a four year old sitting next to me yelling "Crocodile poop!"

See ya!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 14: Hero, no more

Day 14: Hero, no more

When I think of a hero who may have let me down, I usually think of celebrities. I don't usually hold them in the highest regard. In fact, I usually feel kind of sorry for them, because they can't just lead a free life. They have to be guarded all the time, and they are always expected to give their best. After all, you are only as good as your last performance. If you do something incredibly stupid, someone will be watching. If you are lucky, it will be portrayed as what it actually was, and not completely blown out of proportion.

Did you know Gerald Ford was actually a really great football player in his day, and somewhat graceful?

It's true.

But what do we remember him for? Falling down. He will forever be known as the clumsy, awkward president, due to one incident that could really happen to anyone.

What kind of life is that?

I guess, if I had to come up with one, it would be Damon Stoudamire. He was great here as an athlete, but man... talk about stupid. I mean, I don't really have anything against people who smoke the weed. I don't really care. Once I learned about the stuff, I realized that alcohol is far more harmful, but that's another story for another day.

Stupid as the rules are, it remains illegal for recreational purposes. When you are at the airport, you should probably think about what you have to do to get on a plane. Don't pack illegal stuff in aluminum foil when you know you are going to have to go through a metal detector.

Yeah... derp.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 13: Band

Day 13: Band

Today's assignment requires a letter to a band who has gotten me through some tough ass days (sic.) I don't know if I can do this with any balance, since I think there are plenty who have. As I have said before, I usually do turn to music when I'm having a very dark time. There are some bands out there who can help me out of those times, and others that annoy me to the point that I just can't deal, and end up turning the radio off, sending me further into a funk. I shouldn't let it do that, but seriously. If I have to hear "You Will Leave A Mark" by A Silent Film one more time... arrgh!!!


Why play to the point of ridiculous saturation, in which case no one wants to hear your song ever again? Why? Why do that to people, or artists? Who wins here? What's sad is, I actually liked that song at one point in time.

I guess I'll go with an old standby, whom I have been listening for years. Stevie. And no, I'm not referring to the bland shit he came up with in the '80s. I don't even know what to say about some of that stuff.

No. I didn't just call to say I love you. I mean, sometimes I do that, but usually I have a reason that has more purpose, since I'm not the mushy type.

Dear Stevie,

I don't even really know where to begin with what you do, and what you have done in the past. You were clearly born to sing and play, and that comes through with most of your material. If I'm feeling really down, all I have to do is put on "Songs In The Key Of Life", or "Talking Book", and I'm happy again. I don't know what it is about those two albums, because a lot of your others are amazing as well. For instance: "Innervisions"? Pure genius.

The way you pour yourself into everything, and layer your harmonies is more than brilliant. Is there a word? Nope. Sorry. You surpass them. All I know is that when I listen to your music, and everything that goes into your music, my senses are lifted, and my core feels like it is filling.

And yes, I do sing along. And yes, I secretly dream about performing with you.

So, really, and truly. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, because there are times when your funk brings me out of mine, and I can get to the other side, where I need to be to fulfill my many responsibilities. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

My darling, you save lives.

Thank you!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 12: No Compliment

Day 12: No Compliment

No one ever compliments me on how well I do dishes. I think I do more dishes than anything else in life. In the world. In the day. In the day in the world. Sometimes a ridiculous number of times in the day in the world. I also never seem to get complimented on my mopping ability, and I do that a few times a week. I dish and I mop and I dish and I mop and I dish and I mop... it's what I do.

And yeah. Nothin'.


Day 11: Compliment

Day 11: Compliment

I have never really thought about what people compliment me the most on. Really... I have no idea. I do a few things well, and regularly receive compliments for each of those things. Hm... singing? Well, the thing I think about this is... that just about anyone can sing. It's not hard. In fact, as Daria mentioned on the radio the other night, true tone-deafness is extremely rare. You need to have some sense of tone in order to speak, so... really, that's not where people actually miss.

This is a skill that needs to be crafted like anything else. There is such a thing as raw talent, and that's great. But really, what I think actually comes into play here is that people learn to speak, sing, and breathe by example. If a person is shown good examples very early, it's something that will come naturally to him or her. Bad habits, unfortunately, get passed on, because humans are natural mimics, and if their parents don't use their diaphragms when they speak or sing, their children probably won't either.

This, of course, does not mean that a person who has used these bad habits all their lives can't learn to sing. It just means they need to spend a little more time learning what to do, and what not to do.

Posture is very important. If you slouch, your airflow will be slightly compromised, and you will have trouble hitting higher notes, because your body isn't in a natural place to support them. You need a lot of air for that, and this is why voices will sometimes crack.

Use of your diaphragm is also mighty important. Your lungs are there to help you breathe at rest. Your diaphragm is there to help push the air our in such a way that will support good tone. If you are watching a competent singer, you are watching someone who never raises his or her shoulders to take a breath. One of the exercises that really helps with this is to do an Arpeggio while moving your breaths through closed lips. Your lips should flap, making a buzzing sound. That is how you know you are using enough air to support good tone. Go as high as you can, and you'll be able to gauge where you actually are in the scheme of Soprano, Mezzo, Alto, Contralto, Tenor, Baritone, or Bass.

Tone intonation is another place to really work on things. Practice singing vowel sounds with your mouth in different shapes. Practice moving your tongue down and really opening up the soft palette. The more practice you have with this, the more interesting your sound will become, and the more adept you will be at mimicking other performers. This is sometimes helpful if you want to adopt a certain style of singing. It's also pretty entertaining once you have mastered it.

Also, your diction is important, especially if you are singing in a foreign language. Study what you need to, well. I love the Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer" as much as the next guy, but damn. David Byrne really murders the French language in that song, and so does Peter Gabriel in "Games Without Frontiers". So yeah... this is important. You want to be believable, and not sound like you learned a few lines of a foreign language... lines that you probably don't even understand, just to have them in a song, right?

Vibrato is OK. You want to be able to hear some of this. When your voice really opens up and takes off correctly, this is the earmark. Singing in a smooth tone is also fine as long as you don't over-sing. But damn. I can spot false vibrato a mile away. It's not a pleasant thing to listen to, so please take the time to learn to do this correctly for this reason, as well as for the protection of your voice.

Singing is not difficult, or impossible. I really do believe it's something anyone can do if they take the time to learn to do it well.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 10: Let Go

Day 10: Let Go

I am trying to think of someone whom I need to let go of, who is bothering me, causes me excess stress, or drives me batty. Can't really think of one, because, as I have said previously, I don't hang on to people who have a toxic influence in my life anymore. I don't see a reason for it. My needs are met, and I don't feel like I have much of a void there, needing to be filled by someone who does little more than take up space.

That said... sure, there are times when I do feel lonely, and that I'm left out of things. I'm beginning to learn that there must be some sort of ebb and flow here, and most people feel this way from time to time. It's something I need to learn to live with, and just realize it won't always be that way when it does happen.

There are also many people in my life who I would like to take the time to get to know better. If anything may be the case with me, it's probably more that than the former. As far as people I need to let go of, I'm not big on keeping those people around. So, if you followed the link that I placed to this post, please know that you are around because I want you to be. And if we don't do much together at this point in time, let's try to change that!

'Cause I've got a brand new pair of roller skates, you've got a brand new key. I think that we should get together and try them out, you see... la la la la la - la la la - la la la la la la...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 9: Drift

Day 9: Drift

I have had a few friends drift away, and wish hadn't. Something about this particular assignment makes me think of that old telephone company commercial jingle that sang: "And... even though I hate your guts, can't stand you anymore... I want you to remember, I won't drift away." (Yeah, OK, maybe it didn't say that... exaaactly, but you get the idea.)

Hm. I really don't know. I think most of the people who have drifted from me were more lessons on what not to do in the context of friendship. There were times when I was pretty annoying, dramatic, stubborn, judgmental, and a general pain in the ass. So yeah. There are a few people I miss, but simultaneously understand why they may not still be around.

I can think of a few times specifically when I was less than understanding about people not being able to follow through with social plans, and let's just say I didn't take it well at all. I kinda blew up, may have even given them what-for. May have even laid guilt on so thick that they came along with me anyway, and yeah, afterward I felt like crap, because I could tell this person was genuinely ill, etc.

I have certainly learned from this. And I have learned that yeah, this probably isn't the best way to treat a person. This particular flaw was something I sort of learned by example, being around people like my dad, who... while I'm estranged from him, am guessing he still acts like this... to this day. I'm also realizing this is not the best excuse, which is why I only use it for past behaviour, have moved on, and don't act this way now. It's also why I am saying that I'm not him, and must take responsibility for my own actions.

There are others who I have sort of avoided for my own reasons... like the alcoholic friend who would only call me when drunk, not really pay attention to my end of the conversation, keep me on the phone for hours, and not let me hang up... usually in the middle of the night. Yeah, got old. I just stopped answering the phone when I saw that it was her. Then I turned the phone off when her calls became persistent, and numbered in the 10's per night.

Yeah, not everyone is a funny drunk. Of course... I know I am, but... let's face it. Not everyone can pull it off.

So, while I miss these people, there are some whose distance I can understand and relate to. I guess in a way, it's a comfort to know that those behaviours are in the past for me, and I will hopefully never be that annoying, dramatic, stubborn, judgmental, pain in the ass, again. There is, after all, a time and place for everything. And while I still consider myself a professional pain in the ass, it's reserved for the tongue in cheek moments, only.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 8: Hell

Day 8: Hell

In today's topic, we are supposed to write about someone who made our lives hell, or treated us like shite.

When I was a freshman in high school, I took an art class. We sat 4 or 5 to a large table and would work on our individual projects in a group setting. This was my favourite part of the day for a while, but after a couple of weeks, I noticed the girls I had been sitting with starting to whisper... and I could tell they were constructing some sort of plan. They were awestruck by a sophomore girl who sat with us, who was more than a trouble maker. She was a fucking menace. She wasn't an A-list sophomore, or even a B-list sophomore, so I wasn't really sure what they saw in her.

She was kind of big and scary though, so maybe they were just focused on survival, and grateful that she hadn't targeted them.

It started out simplistically enough. They would pass a mean note here and there, write something cruel on my project, etc. I thought about moving to a different table, but that was contingent on other people being willing to switch a spot with me, due to space issues. We did need room to work on our drawings/paintings, and other projects. No one wanted to switch spots with me, and the teacher wouldn't enforce it. Gee... I wonder why? Of course, now as an adult it does make sense to me. Who would want to deal with her? And still, why wasn't anything ever done about her?

It kept getting worse.

Before long, because they weren't getting enough of a rise out of me as a result of the minor cruelty they started with, she and her minions had resorted to discreet torture. They would do things like pull my hair when no one was paying attention. They would wait until the teacher went into her office, and force my face down into my project, and smear it around. They would take the scissors and cut chunks from my hair. It was really curly, so it wasn't very easy to tell what they had done, but I could. I could always tell, and it was the kind of torture I saw when I had to wash my hair. The kind of torture that would make me think of those bitches even when they weren't around.

One day, I had left the table briefly to grab some supplies. School pictures had just come out, and I had a Ziploc bag of my own photos in my school bag that I had written on the backs of to give to friends. One of these girls found them, got my wallet out, threw all of the pictures that were in my wallet away, and filled the slots with my own school photo, showing it to everyone, and saying: "Wow, look at this! She's so full of herself, that all she has in her wallet are photos of herself!"

I had to dig through the trash can to get my pictures back, and of course I was made fun of heavily for that. Some were ruined because someone had dumped tempra paint in there not long before.

I really don't know why I didn't do anything more about this. I guess it was due to the fact that I was scared, and a kid, and had no skills in this area. They completely freaked me out. It finally did get to the point where I said something to the teacher, and asked if I could be moved to a different class altogether, but that didn't work, either, so I was basically just stuck with these stupid, mean girls until the semester ended.

It really sucked that what should have been my favourite, fun, elective class was my own personal hell. And if I opted for truancy; even if I just ducked into honors study with some of my friends, I ended up in detention. I had a good chance of running into these girls there, anyway.

I never really talked about this with anyone. It was so humiliating that I just wanted to get out of there and go somewhere safer where I actually did have friends who wouldn't do that to me. But, I also figured the people who were nice to me wouldn't want to be friends with me anymore if they knew what these girls were doing to me, because who wants to be associated with that? I could barely admit to myself what was happening, let alone utter the description of it to another human being. Would they start doing the same thing to me, or would they desert me because they didn't want to be friends with a freak?

This experience along with a few others, (I'm ashamed to admit,) has stayed with me, and I have allowed it to affect me. I am still afraid of people. I never know what they might do, or say. I don't trust people right away, and I probably never will. It takes a LOT to earn that from me, and this is partially why.

I have heard many times over that bullying is the sort of thing people do when they feel inadequate. They need to affect power over another person, so they feel a little better about themselves. I understand that. It does make sense to me in a way. The memory of this pain is somewhat lessened knowing the above. Only somewhat, however, because when the bullying turns into something physical; literally painful, and humiliating, it's not a memory that is easy to let go of. Certainly, I can understand feelings of inadequacy. I have certainly felt them, but I have never felt the need to torture another person as a result. Knowing how it feels to be on the receiving end could be why. This pains stays with you, and it changes you. It changes your outlook on other people, yourself, and sometimes life in general. For me, it felt like I'd been put in my place. So, to avoid more pain, both physical and emotional, I should probably just stay there so as not to stir up any more trouble.

I don't allow the latter to happen as often now, thankfully, but at the time, it was how I reacted, and how I survived.

Did these people ever come back to thank me later for making them feel more adequate? Did they thank me for allowing them to feel more powerful, or more respected? No. No, they did not. So why am I holding on to this stupid pain? They got what they wanted, and probably don't even remember this crap.

I'm working on this one. I'll probably always be working on this one.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 7: Someone who has made your life worth living.

This one is pretty easy, because there are 2. First there was Lily, who made me into a mother. I learned a lot with her, since I was an only child, and had VERY limited experience with babies and children. I had never lived with anyone significantly younger than me before she came along. I can remember worrying greatly that I would break her. I was so terrified to leave and go home from the hospital after she was born, that I spent the extra day allowed there, even though they told me I could go home a day before that.

But I muddled through with her, and she is still alive, and is a sweet, loving child, so I figure I must be doing something right. We still face many challenges. She has speech delays, and appears to be dyslexic, so we are having to figure out how to either jump over those hurtles or find a way around or under them. There is more than one way to learn something, and if conventional methods aren't the path for her, we will work on her own personalized path that will help her succeed. Her spirit is one that endures though, so I have a feeling she's going to be OK.

Ruby is obviously the other one. If it weren't for my pregnancy with her, I don't know that I would have researched alternative medicine. I had a successful, low-key, fast and furious VBAC with her out of hospital. The experience left me feeling incredibly empowered and restored my faith in myself and my body.

During her babyhood, I discovered attachment parenting, and new methods of taking care of my kids that has strengthened our bond, and helped us better communicate with each other. She has a very sassy personality, and have a feeling she will always be a pistol.

It's funny how different they are. Lily is a very sweet, compassionate, sensitive child. She thrives in an artistic environment, and is already YEARS ahead of her classmates in artistic ability.

Ruby is much more analytical, and seems to be very scientifically minded. She is also a little comedienne.

I love watching them make discoveries and draw conclusions about everyday things. Some of the things they come up with completely blows my mind!

For the most part, they get along with one another, too. There are times when they fight, but these times are thankfully rare. Sometimes I feel like the luckiest person in the world, because I get to spend so much time with such wonderful little people. I am truly blessed, and I try to remember that when we are having a tough day.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 6; Something I hope I never have to do.

Day 6: Something I hope I never have to do:

I have seen this posted on a few other blogs, but it is certainly the ultimate in things I hope I never have to do, so I'm including it in my list as well, and that is burying my kids. I have thought of this a few times and at most, I was only able to bear the thought for 30 seconds or less. It's just too horrible, and I have no idea how I would survive it.

I know people do, but a huge part of me would die.

Obviously it's quite an understatement to think that I would never, ever be the same. My kids are my whole world. They represent some of the most drastic emotions I feel daily. What I mean by drastic, is that I can go from being seriously annoyed to being ensconced in pure magic in a matter of seconds, depending on how things are going. They can be simultaneously aggravating and the most lovable beings on the planet.

I can't say I have ever felt that about anyone else in the time I've been... on the planet. They, to me, mean: blessing, gift, responsibility, and unconditional love. And that is all for now, because the 4 year old needs me!

Have a great day! And if you have kids, cherish them.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 5: Something I hope to do in life

Day 5: something I hope to do in life I added the link in the title here so people could find out more about this project easily without having to go back to other posts where I had linked it previously.

I would really like to see more of the world, or even more of this country. I have done my share of traveling, and have traveled to Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Baltimore, Virginia, Arizona, Hawaii, most of California, since I grew up there, Yellowstone National Park, and all the places we had to go in between Portland and there, as well as a good portion of the East coast of Australia.

The world is enormous, and yeah, I haven't seen much of it. Hopefully the TSA will pull their heads out, bed bugs will once again be eradicated, and we'll be able to save enough money to take our beautiful girls somewhere wonderful. I would love to experience that with them. Their minds are so open, and they have a passion for discovering new things, learning about different cultures, trying new and interesting foods, and going on adventures.

I would love to see the world through their eyes.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 4: Something I have to forgive someone for

When I have a problem which falls into the irreconcilable category with another person, I have a process. Sometimes it can be a very LONG, drawn-out process, because there have been people in my past who have caused me great trauma. I have had to forgive them for my own sake, however, so I don't implode from internalizing the pain and anger I have felt from whatever caused us to part.

Let me explain my process: When something like this happens, I usually allow myself to feel the pain from it for a while. Sometimes a very long while. After a that while, I journal about everything I'm feeling at the time, and try to remember what I was feeling at the time of collapse. Sometimes, this stage will also take months, and many, many journals. After that, I ask myself if I want to try to fix things, or if I should just let the person go for good.

There have been times when after processing for a long time, I realize there may be a way to work things out. I'm not unreasonable, and I'm sure there have been a number of things that have also been my fault. But I tap into my common sense, and what boundary feels right to me... and let that sit for a while.

If I find peace in simply forgiving, that's what I do. Other times, I have to forgive, let go, and place a boundary that will mean I don't see that person again. Sometimes I even have to tell the person this, because they don't really understand what has happened. Tempting as it may be, I have learned to steer clear of name-calling, or doing things that would fuel their drama. Tempting as it may be, I won't engage them if this is the way they choose to handle it. This doesn't mean I have to re-hash the past, and go into a long, detailed account of why I don't want to see the person again. It just means that I have placed a boundary, and I expect them to respect it. And... how do I expect them to respect anything of mine, if I don't initiate respect in the first place?

There is a time and place for everything, including scrappiness... and yeah, this isn't one of those times.

Right now, as far as I'm concerned, I've forgiven most people. And forgiveness does not always mean a free pass back into my life.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 3: Something I have to forgive myself for

Let's see... there are many things I could name here, but I think I'm going to go with how irresponsible I was in my early 20's. I was quite a mess. Terrible with money, especially. If I saw something, I would buy it, regardless of whether or not I had money in my bank account. That's what credit cards were for, right? And... what happens when you sign up for too many and can't pay everyone's minimum payment? Yeah... not good. Not good at all.

I spent years, and I mean YEARS in financial Purgatory trying to catch up and just not go there anymore, sister. So, yes. There is definitely a method to my madness these days, because I could VERY easily slip back into spending beyond my means. But do I? No. I do not. I figuratively slap that overspending crazy girl in the face and I don't let her spend!

This is a good thing... and also a bad thing. Because nowadays, when I see something I want, I really, really, really have to think about it.

For days.

For weeks.

Sometimes years.

If I still want it, and feel like I can't live without it, I think about it some more, and then the guilt creeps in, and... there are times when I just... I just... can't bring myself to do it at all. And other times, I will. But believe me when I say this is VERY rare.

But hey, my credit score is pretty damn good now.

I have shoes that are 6 and 7 years old. I do shell out for those on occasion, because I like it when they last that long. But In 7 years... I have purchased less than 10 pairs of shoes for myself. That's right. I own less than 10 pairs of shoes.

It's true.

I try to make some articles of clothing last that long as well. I was really saddened to discover a favourite, 5 year old pair of jeans just... bit it last spring.

I still haven't replaced them.

There is safety in window shopping, and I can just look these days, because I just... think about how bad I was back then, and it stops me cold.

Really, it's fine. Sort of.

Hm. Perhaps it is time to just forgive myself, and use common sense when shopping. OK. I'll try.


Day 2: Something I Love About Myself.

If I had to pick something, it would probably be my singing voice. What's funny is, I don't think many people I know have heard it. I used to sing all time time; auditioned for all sorts of things, got the parts, and thought nothing of it. In my high school, I was the only girl who made it into the All-State Choir the year I auditioned. In college, I had designs on becoming either a stage actress, or a virtuoso soloist.

I had fun entertaining friends and family with my impressions. I can still do a deadpan Joni Mitchell, Tina Turner, Ella Fitzgerald, even Billy Ocean. (Yes!) I can still hit the high F in "Pie Jesu", from Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Requiem". When I still lived in Eugene, I was part of the Eugene Concert Choir, which was great fun, and I miss it all the time. I was trained in basically everything from chamber, opera, to jazz by age 21. Then, life sort of happened, and I just slowed down until I stopped. Things didn't fit into my schedule the way they used to, and before I knew it, I was married with 2 kids, and was lucky to get an hour a week to go read the paper at the neighbourhood coffee shop.

I did a few things with my husband's band a while back, and that was great fun. But I realized it was really the only outlet he had away from us, so I let him have that for himself, and shied away from it. And... because I suck at meeting people and cultivating friendships, I haven't been able to really find that for myself. That said, he has... apparently... recruited me again, and we have started doing a few things with a slightly different variation on the same theme recently. So, in not too terribly long, I'll have a few things for everyone to listen to. They aren't ready yet, but I will be sure to let you know when they are!

Be warned though. They aren't really work-safe, kid-safe, or... easily-offended-safe.

One thing that made me realize I've still got it happened last summer, while driving with the windows down. I was singing along with Stevie Wonder... fairly loudly, because that's what I do in the car when there is no one to talk to, a teenage girl in the crosswalk actually stopped to tell me she thought I had a killer voice.

Ha! That made my day!

I was slightly embarrassed, but at least I wasn't offending anyone, right? That's one nice thing about certain social mores. They let you get away with things that would paint a person as slightly touched, in any other setting. For instance, if I belted out with a few lines of "Ordinary Pain" just walking down SE Division, I'm sure I'd get some strange looks.

But in the car? Totally golden. Yes.

To this day, if I have to go into some sort of musical institution; especially one with practice rooms, and I can hear people doing their thing, it just feels like going home. My husband's band practices here every Sunday afternoon, and I love being surrounded by the music. It's not necessarily a style I would sing myself, but it's still music. They are having a good time, and I can feel it through the floor! And it's just another small way to hearken the past, even if it's not happening for me directly.

There is something about music that we all need in our lives. I don't understand how some people can go a day without it. I can be in the worst mood, and during the times when I choose to sing something, or listen to something really beautiful that my mind instantly tunes into and connects with, I can usually bring myself out of it. There is just something about it that improves the way I see everything.

And I know I'm not the only one.

There is something about music that just seems to unite people. It's a far deeper level of connection than just talking. I think it's because when your voice is your instrument, it's something so personal; so intrinsically you. It's something that sets you apart from everyone else... in the most complimentary way. It's one instance in which it's OK to be different, and different can even be celebrated.

There are times when I really miss being part of something like this, and there are times, especially lately, when I feel like I don't deserve the attention. That's a pretty tough dichotomy, but it's one that I'm trying to break.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 1: Something I hate about myself.

I love that this is how the month starts out. Ha! Hm. Well?

Being that this is the 30 days of truth, I guess I'd better be honest. The thing I hate the most about myself has to be my neurosis. It's ridiculous, and I'm not exaggerating at all when I say that I really have no clue about anything.

I don't. At all.

I... well, more than often... I... usually question whether or not people are being sincere. I don't trust people. Sometimes I worry that I'll say the wrong thing and my own mother will stop liking me.

My confidence is just not there. Shhh! Don't tell anyone!

Sometimes I'll watch others in amazement as they have an animated, happy conversation, and I think to myself: "Wow. Those people are producing words. Smart words. Smart, funny, witty words on the spot. Right now. To each other. Like it's nothing. How do they DO that???

"And look! They are smiling! They are making each other smile! Whoa!"

Sometimes I wonder what friendship stems from. I worry so much about my own imperfections that I feel unacceptable, and therefore, I should not try to make friends with people, because they will learn the truth: I'm not perfect. They find that I have some flaw that makes me useless, or drama ensues because I fail them in some way. It could be that I'm looking for friendship in all the wrong places. I don't know. All I know is that I usually shut down socially for years after a relationship of any kind ends. I don't get excited about people. I don't let very many people in. I keep to myself, because it's safer. Easier.

Yeah. Not exactly productive. But I don't like drama. So keeping to myself... yeah, that does help me avoid it pretty well. Of course, it helps me avoid everything else, too. Hm...

So... anyway. They asked.


OK, time to start over...

And... for starters, I guess I will go with something formulaic, that provides me with writing exercises to get back into the swing... I had been blogging since 2003, but started to feel very exposed, so I stopped. I'm feeling somewhat better about things, and where they stand, and boundaries I've set with people, etc. So... we'll see how this thing turns out, and if it goes well, I'll continue.

So, I'll be using the topics provided in 30 days of truth. Annnnd.... we'll start that in the next post.