Sunday Morning Song of the Moment

Since I've been using Youtube now for my Sunday songs, I had contemplated going back & trying to find Youtube videos for songs I've already posted. But I felt like that was cheating a bit. However....the fact that today this song resonates with me the same if not a little more is a sign it should be reshared. And the video is so endearing.
Going back to the song that started it all, on a whim I found it on Youtube. And while I was going to post something serious in light of April 30th for the one day blog silence, I think this is just as fitting.
It's full of love.
And I thought it would be great to go back and share the song rather than just the lyrics on a blog page.

It's full of love.
And it is oh-so fitting.

Love has no bounds.
It has no shape, no color, no end.
I wrap you all and everyone in this country (those who walked away from Virginia Tech, those who did not, those who are rich, those who are poor. Those who are angry, who are sad, who are suffering, those who are happy) in a blanket of love. And hope that tomorrow and everyday following will shine brighter for us all.
Please, take a minute and enjoy this wonderful, sweet, beautiful song.

Hunting and Gathering

It's the weekend. And traffic goes down on this here blog during the weekends. Therefore, stand-by for tomorrow's usual. And I'll get into my mercy post(s) on Monday or Tuesday. I'm taking this down-time to do a little researchin' and to gather my thoughts.
If you're really desperate to read my stuff (and I can't imagine that you are, but hey, I'll take a shot in the dark) read some of my archives. There are 300+ posts to chose from. You're bound to find something.
Enjoy the day!


Overuse Of The Word Asshole

Jen once again has got my mind racing with a million thoughts. She's got me thinking about assholes and getting by on assholery. Her perspective is good. And after thinking about it, she's probably right. That if we stop and think about the assholes we encounter in life, there is probably a good reason for why they act the way they do. And that they probably are meeting some need by acting that way. Their actions have served a meaningful purpose for them.
However, what I can't reconcile in my mind is, at what point does an asshole become accountable for the feelings they hurt or their actions that cause pain in someone else? Why do they get off with being an asshole and having hardly any capacity to worry about their actions? Or is the non-asshole's job to steer clear of them once the asshole has been detected and defined? Again, in my mind, if we dismiss the asshole's actions as being a survival technique, basically, and keep practicing compassion and mercy, yet all the while, the non-asshole is getting ripped to shreds. Crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
While I think compassion is important, self-preservation and having respect for one's feelings are important, as well. I wish that I could compartmentalize my feelings enough so that I could stow them away somewhere else when confronted time & again by an asshole. However, I know that I'm not that strong. (So there is my crutch.....).
I think this might open another can o' worms though. The run-in with a random asshole and the run-ins with chronic assholes. There is a definitely a difference. For instance, the asshole you encounter in Target while shopping (who may very well be a chronic asshole, but since you only encounter them once, god willing, they are just your standard, wild run-a-muck asshole). Then there are the assholes you encounter on a regular to semi-regular basis, be it a co-worker, a family member, a friend of a friend, etc. And wouldn't it be rather egotistical of myself to think that by my mere compassion alone I've turned an asshole into a non-asshole? If they are adults, surely by now they should understand or have some knowledge of what is appropriate or not. Saying and doing hateful things just because he/she is an asshole is a rather pathetic excuse. That opens the door for those people to say and do whatever they want with little or no regard to anyone else.

I think the chronics are the ones I'm struggling with in this post.
And maybe the lesson in dealing with this is that I need to learn how to better handle my emotions. I know I can't change their behavior.
Mercy is something I struggle with too.
In fact, my intent with this post was to discuss mercy.
That might have to wait until tomorrow.


Hidden Talents

As the weather (momentarily) turns warmer here in our wee state, I have become nostalgic for the times that Rav & I spent together at the summer camp where we met. It will be a sweet 6 years ago that we met in June.

We have done so much in that short time together.
We have also missed some things due to the fact that shortly after meeting we would become parents.

But that summer was pretty magical - looking back.

Our daily activities for our groups at camp where rigorously scheduled.
But as camp counselors we took it upon ourselves to rearrange the schedules as we saw fit.
And when we were assigned to the older groups, that meant that we did everything we could to play dodge ball. All day.
I know, I know. It's been outlawed in many schools.
It's a mean, violent game.
But the kids begged to play.
And the ones that didn't were not made to participate.

The counselors, of course, got very competitive.
During that summer, I was given the nicknames of Killer & the Dodge Ball Ninja.

Rav called me Killer because of my intense competitiveness, no matter what the game.
I was called Dodge ball Ninja due to my stealthy skills at the game. I would hide in the back of the court, hiding a ball, and I would wait for the right time to strike. No matter how many times, I executed this plan, everyone would forget about me. Maybe it was my size, or the fact that I was a girl. I don't really know, but they paid for forgetting me. As I stood there in the back, I would pick my target. Then, when there was some other action on the court, I would begin to strike. Like a snake, I would glide forward towards the net (we played on a tennis court, with the net acting as the barrier between sides). At first I moved slowly, gradually picking up speed as I moved. I was silent, no one heard me coming. The only sound I made was the whipf whipf whipf of my mesh shorts as I came within striking distance. It is hard to describe, the sound of a red playground ball flying through the air. It almost makes a whirring sound. I'm sure to those who stared at that ball flying at them, it must have screamed. But as I said, my targets were picked well ahead of the throw. As I released that ball, usually my target was another counselor, or one of the oldest campers. You see, the surprise was my ally. Head to head with other counselors, who were mostly male, or even the older boy campers, I stood little chance. Those who were targeted knew it, almost too late. They knew that ball was meant for them as I reached the net. That look of shock and terror when that ball left my hand was a wonder to see. There is however one problem. For all my skills at stealth and camouflage, I had the worst aim ever. You see, I picked my targets. They knew it was coming. That look of surprise and terror was genuine. Unfortunately, the ball usually did not hit those who wore that look. It swerved to the left or to the right. Almost every time, I missed my intended victim. I didn't miss entirely. Oh no, I hit a target alright. That little boy or that little girl who was standing next to the bigger kids, just hoping for a little protection. Yes they were the real victims. They had no clue what was coming. And if you've never heard a red playground ball as it whirred through the air, then you've probably never heard the whoomp it makes when it strikes an innocent young face. And 9 times out of 10, that is what would happen. That ball would connect with an innocent cranium.
There are many sounds that I remember from that summer...the sound of my head striking the hard packed earth...the sonic boom caused by my Rav crash landing after a 10 foot fall, or the sound of me sliding through leaves and sticks, leaving a trail behind me like a meteor slamming into the earth. But these are tales for a different day.


Baby Mine

When I was very pregnant with Connor, I remember being startled awake by a bad dream. (I had many a bad dream when I was pregnant). I remember waking up to the feeling of being totally unsafe. And that my unborn baby was unsafe. I remember rubbing my big, swollen belly as I was coming down from the adrenaline high of the nightmare. And fear, dread, worry, anxiety, and reality fell upon me like a concrete rain.

This world is a harsh, cold, scary place sometimes.
And as much as I wanted to meet my baby and see his precious, innocent, little face...
I knew how safe he was
nestled all snug and cramped in my den de utero.
I wanted him to stay in. Where I could keep him safe forever.
Such was my intense desire to protect my unborn cub.

Obviously, I can't fight natural processes and biology.
He came to us in a flurry.
In all of his pink, wrinkled, wide-eyed glory.
And my fears were forgotten.

But mostly I delighted in my baby boy.
We played.
We laughed.
We, scratch that, I sang.
We toddled.
We messed about.
His entire mode of entertainment was wrapped up in mommy and daddy.
Yes, he made friends and joined school. Where he, very awkwardly, made his way through social interactions.
And that was all OK. It was within my safety zone.
Playdates have been highly supervised, they are somewhat within my control. I set the course, to some extent. All of Connor's friends live far away. We don't really know anyone in our neighborhood. So, it has made this whole safety thing a little easier.
I had tricked myself into thinking that I found a way to keep my baby safe, even though he's baby stepping his way through the world.

One of my favorite pictures. Gracie was only about 1 month old or so.

Sunday afternoon, reality came a-calling.
Something so innocent, a milestone I had not even thought about & was not yet prepared for came knock-knock-knocking on our door.
Our neighbor's 8 year old son, and his 6 year old stepbrother asked Connor to come out and play.
Come out and play?
What is this crazy talk you speak of, child?

I instantly perked up and thought that was so nice. I hadn't yet begun to think clearly.
Rav told the boys Connor wasn't feeling well. Maybe another day.
You nasty, white-liar, you. I first think to myself.
Rav shut the door.
We had a brief discussion about the kinds of kids they are.
And that was the end of it.

Fast forward a few hours & Connor sees the kids outside & wants to ride his bike.
OK. I tell him. But I'll stay outside with you.
Rav & Gracie join us.
Connor is doing great staying on the side walk with his tricycle.
While this miscreants have the audacity to scoot down the street on their scooters with wild abandon. Wild, I tell you. Wild.

Connor is pedaling his little heart out to keep up with his new friends. But his tricycle is no match for the speed of these scooters. (And remember..his scooter was stolen.)
**I'm not insinuating they stole it. I know they didn't. I was just saying that because Connor now has no scooter himself.**
His handle bars begin to thrash wildly, the front wheel is gnashing to and fro. He begins to veer off into the street, then NO! it veers back onto the sidewalk and crashes in our yard.
He's OK & no worse for the wear. In fact, he probably enjoyed it. He probably got a rush.

But our sidewalk is so close to the road.
Cars drive like maniacs down our street.
And remember how bad I want to protect my wee one.

I want him to have friends. I do.
I want so for him to be outside on beautiful 80 degree, sun-filled days.
I want him to ride his bike.
But the thought of something happening to him is almost more than I can bear.

I don't consider myself to be a recluse or one of those nutty people who is completely consumed by fear.
That was until the day that little boy came into my life.
And my everyday existence, while filled with many meaningful things, is now wrapped up in the caring and loving of these not one, but now two precious,little beings that I had a hand in creating.

How did something as simple as playing outside become such an ordeal?
Are mothers hiding in their homes thinking the same thing? Or are they not even aware that the time will come when kids will come knocking on your door. Requesting the presence of your child. To play. And you look out toward the immediate world...the cars, the streets. And know that your baby is growing up. Things are changing.
Or am I totally bonkers (wait, maybe you shouldn't answer that - even though I know the answer)?
I don't want to keep him from community.
Or from living life.

I want to give him strong wings to fly & soar.
But his mommy is trying so desperately to hold on.
I can almost feel what it was like to hold him on my chest and know that I would lay it all down for him.
I guess for now all I can do is hold my breath.
Hope for the best.
And watch my babies as they are just...

beginning to fly.

Sunday Morning Song of the Moment

Today is Earth Day. And I thought it only fitting to share three songs with great messages. The first is The 3 R's by Jack Johnson, the second is With My Own Two Hands by Ben Harper and the third is Disappearing World by David Gray. I couldn't just choose one. Sorry....I'm jamming a ton of music down today. I hope you enjoy the songs though - they're not too obscure, so you may have heard them already. The second video takes a approx. 48 seconds before the song starts. But do be patient. It's worth it. Enjoy!!


Sweet Relief

I'm not going to get into a big diatribe.
I just want to acknowledge here that my academic year is winding down.
I'm handing in the last of my projects.
I'm being tested on the information taught and/or learned.

And I feel relieved.

I know in a few weeks I'll be missing it.

But I'm ready for warmer weather.
I'm ready to move away from the computer and play with my kids.
To give them the attention I haven't been giving them over the past few semesters.
And Fall will be here again before I know it.

I plan to try to soak in as much of everything I've been missing that I possibly can.
I plan to finally get some of those books off of my sidebar.

And I plan to take deep breaths.


Can't Bear To Feel

I remember having a conversation with someone regarding what she does for a living. She works in an assisted living facility. She was saying that she felt like something was wrong with her because years ago, when (not if) one of the residents passed away, she would cry. She would feel loss. But as of lately, she said she just felt numb.
I felt what she was saying and said, What I find interesting is that you hear how dumb our country is (and to a certain extent that is true). But what occurs to me is that our country isn't necessarily being "dumbed" down. We're being numbed down.

I hate to admit that maybe I fall into that category. I am sad and heartbroken by what happened at VT. I am outraged, in a way, about people speculating and hypothesizing that this could have been stopped. On one hand, that may be true.

But what I'm talking about is that parents everywhere want to know they can send their babies out into the world and they will be safe. Despite every measure toward safety and security we take, you can't stop madness.
Madness is an energy entity that we cannot prepare for entirely.
And a random act of madness is almost completely unstoppable.

The thing is, we see so much that makes us immune to basic human caring.
And we see so little that puts us in touch with it as well.

There are unspeakable horrors that go on on a daily basis. But we get the CNN version, the Fox News version. Hell, we can't even see a picture of a flag-draped coffin.
We get so used to hearing about atrocities that we tend to shrug our shoulders and just go on about our day.

And then we do feel something and we balm it with whatever. Myself included.
What is it that we can't feel anymore?
Do we think we're too busy?
That we're above it?
What is it that we think feelings are so 1960's and 70's?
Is it that we think we can better survive but being one, giant collective hamster on a wheel? Nose down, not thinking, just acting. Going through the motions.
Day in and day out.
What many may not realize is while we block out negative feelings, we may also be blocking out the
Joy, as well.

I know that often times people that know me in 3-D life might tend to look at me as a gloom & doomer. That I'm, perhaps, too sensitive. That I see all of the trouble. I see all of the problems.
And I guess, to some extent that is true.
I'm not a surface person.
I'm a meat & guts person.
I cannot help that I can feel what someone is feeling.
I cannot help that, at times, I embrace hard times because they, in the past, have made me the person I am.
I know that once the turmoil abates there is a new, stronger version of myself that has learned something. That has somehow reaped a benefit or a character value.

I think by keeping the world at an arm's length, by keeping ourselves so far removed from what humanity really means, what brotherhood & sisterhood, mankind, and love means we are doing ourselves a great disservice. We are hiding from how things feel. How it feels to have someone cry on your shoulder and be a cocoon for someone. A place where they can harbor themselves from the storm and come out a little shinier than when they went in.
Our souls seem so cold toward one another.

And all while hundreds, possibly thousands grieve. They try to pick up the pieces of who they were on Sunday evening. While all of America and possibly the world is talking about this. Some of us are feeling it. And some of us are hiding.

Our President will try to fight lawmakers today.
In an attempt to gain funding and more support for a War.
A war that puts tragedies like VT into a grim perspective.
He will do this a day after he has spoken at VT.

I know how that makes me feel.
How does that make you feel?


Necessary Silence

I need to be silent. I cannot post about inane things.
My mind is on Virginia Tech and the lives making their way, trying to make sense, moving on and of course...
the lives lost.

I will be back when I can say something meaningful about this.
Or when I feel it is appropriate to chatter on about whatever.

Let us be thankful, mindful, aware, and vigilant.

Our world is hurting.
Our people are hurting.
Let's heal.


Sunday Morning Song of the Moment

By now you've probably have figured out that I'm an old soul & that I was born in the wrong era. What can you do??

Last night, I was successful in my plan of getting Rav plowed. The first "open dance" of the reception....was a Swing dance! I was sitting at our table with 2 other Probation wives - we were chatting it up. I look over at Rav standing in a group of guys talking & he raises his eyebrows and motions to the dance floor. I excused myself from the conversation & headed with my Rav to the dance floor.
Everyone was standing around watching - as we were the only people dancing. And all I could see? Flashbulbs. Lots and lots of flashbulbs. I'm hoping that someone sends us some copies of us dancing & then I'll have to share them.
We had a great time. It was nice to get out & feel those sparks. When you're in the thick of day-to-day it can easily be forgotten.

So, in honor of my Rav falling pray to my plan & the drink, I thought I would share this oldie. It's nothing new. It's nothing we all haven't heard a gazillion times. But I wanted to share it anyway.


Go Daddy-O

We have a wedding to attend today for a co-worker of Rav's.
Nothing like this kind of social function to amp up my social anxiety.
Although it's nothing that a few Bombay-Sapphire & Tonics (with 2 limes) won't cure.

I'm thinking it will be a good time.
The thing is.
The thing is...

For our wedding, we had our friend, Jon, give us Swing lessons.
And that is our tradition when we attend weddings. To tear it up Swing dancing.
Truth-be-told the only thing we're tearing up are our hamstrings and back muscles.
But we have fun.
Everyone seems to be delighted & surprised that we do this at the weddings we've attended.
Delighted that we're finally off the dance floor, I'm sure.
And surprised that two people can dance so poorly.
Again, we have fun.
That's all that matters, right?

A few weeks ago Rav dropped the bombshell on me. He looks at me with those big, brown eyes and says: I have to tell you. I'm not sure that there will be any Swing for us at this wedding. I have to work with these people. And if we suck, I'll never live it down. Hell, for that matter, if we're any good, I might not live it down.
I just nodded and schemed to myself that this may be the night that mommy might have to lay off of the liquor.
And plow daddy with some beer & a few shots.
Because mommy just bought some new dancing shoes.
And they're money, baby. Sooo money.
My money shoes, with my swing-era style dress.
They need a go-round on the floor.'
Co-workers be damned!

If I can't get daddy-o liquored up maybe some poor, unsuspecting soul who knows how to Swing will be my partner?!
If I hear those horns, or Glenn Miller...
I'm like gone, baby. Solid gone.

Dashed Hopes

I think my latest dream has died.

I was so enjoying the thought of spending a weekend away.
Meeting new people.
Engaging my mind.

But alas, it was not meant to be.

Despite this intense desire to join in the fun of the Blogher Conference and Rav's intense desire for me to go just because he knew how happy it would make me, it's just not melding.


You all will have to take tons of pictures and blog about it to fill me in.


Who's Afraid Of A Big, Bad Blogroll?

OK, so I stress a lot about blogging & you know what?
It's absurd.

But I take it really seriously.
When I feel my writing isn't great, I beat myself up.
When I feel my writing or my blog is attacked, it's almost as if my babes or my Rav has been attacked.
When I begin to feel like I'm sitting at the loser table in the high school cafeteria, I realize I need to lighten up.

I'm pretty bad at commenting.
I'm pretty awful at networking.

I read a handful of blogs and I always am moved to laughter, tears, or introspection. But a lot of posts just take the words right out of me.
I may need to chew on it a bit before I can comment.

I've really been pretty bad about branching out of my little box - out of my comfort zone - and adding new blogs to my roll.
I mean, we're not talking about giving up an appendage. It's just reading. I freaked out when my blogroll got to the size it is now because I couldn't manage. But then I see the size of other people's blogrolls....and they manage.
I've never said I wasn't anxiety-ridden. Obviously I am. Maybe it's time for meds?

Well folks, blogging as I know it is about to change.
My goal is to add 2 new blogs a week.
And I have already done so for this week. I've added three.
Watch Out!

Yeah, I'm a bit of a blog recluse.
But I'm trying to branch out.


**This post talks of poop and wet farts. If that sort of thing is too much, you might want to move on today!**

It's funny to me how you can often tell the personality of your baby In Utero. I remember quite vividly that I knew I was "in for it" with Connor. When he finally started moving around in there, he moved all of the time. During my ultrasounds he put on a show, spreading his legs for the world to see his stuff, bouncing around, waving at us, basically.

My labor with him was also a clear marker of his personality. He was ready to enter this world. But seriously, on.his.time. My water broke. I was in labor. But I didn't progress. Finally, with the threat of being ripped out of my uterus by a stranger hanging in the air, Connor decided he'd take the natural route.
And I know this all sounds crazy. But seeing the way he works now, I know this to be true. He had his own mind. Always has. I believe he always will.

And that has marked every milestone. He didn't walk until a bit after his first birthday and he took off running. Seriously.
He didn't talk until about the same time & it was full-on sentences.

I figured potty training would go pretty easily. Rav took that on in a week & Connor was peeing in the potty like he had his whole life.
He wasn't so wild about pooing in the potty.
And he still isn't.

This became a topic of great concern last summer.
Connor informed me he would not be eating anymore because it made him poop.
I immediately called the pediatrician and our therapist at behavioral clinic.
They first told me not to worry & how to respond to this statement of his.
And then they congratulated me on having such a smart kid. Which, let me tell you, was really not what I wanted to hear at that moment.

I told Connor, when he would say this, that everyone poops. Even if they don't eat.
Thank goodness, he resumed eating.

We talked about this "problem" with behavioral clinic and we tried putting Connor on the potty at the time he would go every night (he was like clock work).
Then he started holding it in until the middle of the day, so I would be caught off guard.
Behavioral clinic told us he obviously feels very strongly about this. That we are to tell him they are his poops. That he can poop in his underwear, in his pull-up. But from now on, he'd have to help clean up.
So, we did this. I figured a few days of this & he'd be ready for the potty.
Nope. No way.

It got to the point where, one night he spent the night with my mom...she put him on the potty and asked him to go (and he did a little bit). He was so pissed, when we picked him up and brought him home, he went right up to his room, took off his pants and pooped in the middle of his bedroom floor.
Quite a statement, eh?

Again, behavioral clinic told us to let him know that his poops were his own. But he was responsible for clean-up.

We've gone on like this for almost a year. He goes in his pull-up, he helps clean up. Every so often, he'll go on the potty. As a teaser. Then we're right back to square one.
He's recently increased his withholding. He's been deliberately not pooping - at all. His poor tummy is so distended and bloated from the amount of poo he's got trapped in there.
At times, even when he would poop in his pull-up, he'd poo enough to relieve some of the pain and pressure and hold in the rest.

A few weeks ago, he came home from school and as he walked in the door with Rav, Connor had this look on his face of grave concern. I asked him what was wrong and he said he pooped in his pants. I asked him when. He told me at school. I turned him around and the stench hit me in the face. He sure had. Since he usually goes at a certain time in the evening, I knew that this was escalating. He was now leaking because he was so backed up.
I took him up and cleaned him up. And as I'm doing this & realizing how long he had been at school walking around like this, my heart just broke for him. I could feel his embarrassment at being discovered. How his whole day must have felt...one big stress ball of trying to hide this dirty secret in his pants.
We explained to him that everyone has accidents. And that if it happens at school again, he needs to tell one of his teachers.

Last night, Connor came to us with something cold in his pull-up (at this point, he hasn't pooped in days). He was beginning to leak a little and having "wet-farts".
I had to lay it on the line. I told him that his belly was really big & that he's having these wet farts because all of that poop needs to come out. And that if it doesn't come out he's going to get sick and I will have to call the doctor. So, if he doesn't want that to happen he has two choice: 1) Poop in the potty or at least try. or 2) Poop in his pull-up and I'll have to give him medicine tomorrow (laxative). After much stress, questions, explanations, whining, bargaining (on his part, to no avail), he decided on the potty.
He & I made our way upstairs with a new Space Book he got for Easter. He sat down and I began talking about each detailed page. The rings of Saturn, The Moons of Neptune, The life on Earth, and of course, Uranus.
He was asking questions and finally, a movement.

We finished the book. Cover to cover. All while he was working some magic in the bowl.
He looked better (seriously, his face looked better), I know he felt better. He probably felt a lot lighter! He looked in the bowl at his *ahem* accomplishments. And said, They look like hot dogs!!
I called Rav up to join in the celebration and gawk at what was in the bowl (something you would never dream of doing until it's your child's poop & it is something to celebrate). We couldn't believe the amount. Mind blowing. Connor said to Rav, It looks like a hot dog!
To which Rav replied, It's a whole pack of hot dogs, buddy!

I'm not getting my hopes up that this is over for Connor. I want it to be so. But most likely, we will have to resort to laxatives and mineral oil.

This process has been the single most stressful, heartbreaking thing I've ever experienced. It certainly wasn't listed anywhere in the "manual" at the hospital when I had him. This is not something I've heard other parents talk about.
This is something that has caused stress in our house....between Rav & I. Despite our best efforts at being calm and understanding it wears us down from time-to-time.
This is something that well-intentioned family members and friends need to understand a bit better. And that silence can be golden. But a listening ear and an understanding heart will go a long way.

I'm not really sure why I'm sharing this. After not talking about it on here, at all, I feel a bit better though.

I guess on one hand I put it out here for anyone who reads this or stumbles across it who might need to read about a personal experience.
This is a real problem, it's not an end-of-the-world thing, but it's very trying, it's scary and again it doesn't seem to get talked about.
Getting professional guidance is a must. Whether it be a pediatrician or a behavioralist - or both. It's a nasty, often painful cycle these poor kids start for themselves.

And I hope that maybe this helps someone.
Thanks for reading & allowing me to get this out (HA!).


Little Effing Princess...Bleck!

Somehow, somewhere between her voyage from the birth canal to the breast and now making her way to middle-toddlerhood ( that being life age of 2 & 3/4), my daughter seems to think that I am her hired personal assistant.

She has surpassed Diva status. She's passed princess.....and you all remember how I can't stand that princess shit. And she's moved right on up to Queen status (funny how I thought that was reserved for myself and my gay friend, Bob).

I'm trying to get a handle on this situation. And I do realize she is still only two years old. But my feeling is, if she can talk to me with 12 year-old attitude then she can:

*get herself a tissue ( it is only two feet away - if that)
*go upstairs and get her own pillow
*put the caps back on the markers
*go upstairs and ask Daddy to get her some strawberries
*walk up the stairs by herself - without being carried
*pick up whatever desired object is on the floor a mere inches from her cute, fat little feet

I've tried different tactics. The typical: You're a big girl. You can go upstairs and get your pillow. Or the less effective: Grace! If your nose is running and you need a tissue, you can walk over to that shelf and get one. Then mommy will help you wipe your nose.

Whining, demanding, stubborn behavior has taken over (between both of the kids). So I've now resorted to "I" statements. Such as the following:

*I don't help little boys who whine & yell at their mommies.
*I don't help little girls who whine & yell at their mommies.
*I will only help little children who will help themselves - or try - first.
*I don't really care who picks up the toys or how they get picked up. But. If mommy picks up the toys, she gets a trash bag.

Those are just a few. For starters.
And I guess it does sound a little cruel - maybe a little sarcastic or smart-ass.
But it helps.
Probably more with Connor than with Grace.

I just don't get Grace. She's so stubborn and bull-headed. And this attitude of me as her personal slave is crazy. I guess I must have somehow created this problem. Though I really don't consider myself one of those nutty parents.
Either that or she's testing the waters - which is completely possible and normal.

All I know is I have to figure out a way to nip this little bud.

Push, Pull

Lately, I've been thinking about things we want to do versus things we are supposed to do.
And I mean in a grand scheme. Not in terms of we want to eat ice cream, but we're supposed to eat dark greens.

This same theme has been recurring throughout different aspects of my daily life. I heard a dear blogger friend of mine refer to what career path she would have taken if she had it to do over, it has been a recurring theme on a few TV shows I've been watching, and it has been something that I long have struggled with.

I remember feeling so panic-stricken in high school because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. And the idea of following suit with every one else freaked me out. On many levels. The idea of locking myself into something for four years & then spend the rest of my life doing it freaked me out. I had done a work study with MBNA my senior year in high school - and corporate life scared the living piss out of me. I'm sorry, but nothing - and I mean nothing is scarier than corporate America. So, I knew that sitting behind a desk for 40 years was out of the question. I was constantly plagued with what it was I should be doing, what I wanted to do, what I was supposed to be doing (i.e. my "calling").

My grand desire - my ultimate life goal would have been to become a photographer with National Geographic (hardy-har-har - like that would ever happen). So, I settled on becoming a Marine Biologist. I spoke with a teacher at my high school who had worked within the field & he basically told me that the jobs were hard to get, funding was always a problem. In other words: pick something else. And then the realization that I would have to move away from a cancer that I was dating at the time - and I can call it a cancer now because I'm not in it - stopped me from pursuing the Marine thing.

I knew that I had something itching, screaming, fighting to get out. But whether or not I was ready to handle it, or just didn't have the extra support and confidence I needed to listen to these screams that were inside of me, I don't know. I just know that I was afraid. I was hiding. I was afraid of thinking that these things I wanted could be mine. I was afraid to show people how passionate I felt about issues, I was afraid to let people see how other people & their struggles would bring me to my knees. That kind of stuff wasn't cool.

I've lived aimlessly. I've wandered with the tides, but never roaming too far. I've tried many different jobs, I've had tons of life experience, I've been in & out of college. And never knew what it was exactly that I had to offer, where I would fit, because everything (almost) lit my fire.
Here I am, approaching my third decade and trying to pick up where I left off at 17. I now feel ready to listen to what I've been hearing inside my head for years. Sometimes, it's freakishly scary. And other times, it's frighteningly exciting. I can't wait to see what the road is ahead.

But the questions begin to arise about what I want vs. what is meant for me. Am I forcing something that I want, but not necessarily what is meant to be? And how do we listen for it? How do we know when we're pushing a bunch of useless boulders uphill with no progress or we're actually moving those mountains? Why is it so hard to stop, to listen, to hear, to see what the signs are that are right smack in front of our nose?
And then the trap of all traps: measuring ourselves against others - our peers.

I wish I knew the answers to the questions. I wish I had peace of mind.
I hope it's not too late for me - or any others out there. Who do feel a push, to give in to the pull, and find where it is they should be and......get there.


Sunday Morning Song of the Moment

I'm having all sorts of trouble getting Youtube linked up to the blog this morning. I've tried more times than I can count....

So, my latest obsession? Amy Winehouse. At first, her voice sort of bugged me. Yet I would listen over & over - in a train wreck sort of fashion. And now I'm totally sucked in, lost in it, gone.

There were two songs I wanted to share - one from Amy (but all I could find was a live version on Youtube & it's not so great) & another song (I don't want to give it away). I had a feeling that Youtube would eventually fail me (and it did), because I knew there would be a time when a song would be a little obscure for it. So, if anyone reading is schooled in Geekery, I really need to find a way to host music on here...if you know, share the gospel.

Anyway, I've included the link for the song choice for today. Hope you enjoy (it might take more than one listen).



On Why Holidays Suck Big, Fat Monkey Butt

I do enjoy the holidays. I really do.
Rather, I think I like the idea of holidays.

Since the divorce, I have come to loathe them.
You would think with being the only child for 11 years, that I would love the holidays like no other. This would be the time of year, where the parents would try to win me over by stacking piles under the tree so high I couldn't look over them. And while I never really wanted for anything it wasn't like that.
I could easily be won over with a gawdy, plastic record player and a couple of cassette tapes.

What I have come to loathe is the gentle pulling, the thin layer of guilt, the question that hangs in the air when being told of a family get-together. The disappointment that each side feels & isn't afraid to express, when I (now We) can't make it. And really, the one who loses out? Most usually, my dad, stepmom and my brothers. Just by geography, usually.
We usually seem to make it to see my mom & Rav's family. But there never seems to be enough time in the day for the one I'd like to see above all others.

And that's where I'm at today. Sort of. First of all, it's Easter. Easter. I mean.....I think this day has more Religious significance than say, Christmas. But it's Easter. And I'm not all that practicing in my religion. I believe I'm great at practicing it in my immediate environment. But I do not go anywhere weekly to practice. So, it's just Easter. Big whoopideedoo.

About a month ago, I was talking to my stepmom, Eileen, about whatever topic we were throwing ourselves into in that particular phone conversation. And she informed me they were having an Easter "Open House". Whenever you come, you come. No pressure. However, they were planning an Easter Egg hunt for the kids and we're going to exchange our Christmas presents. Yes, I said Christmas presents. See how religious we are?? We celebrate the two holiest of holy days in one. You've heard me go on & on in here about not seeing my dad yet for Christmas.
Everyone knows this.
My mom knows this.
And yet...

She's calling me every G**-D*** day asking me: Are we gonna see you for Easter? Even if it's before or after your dad's? Are we gonna at least see you?
(You know what? It's Easter. Get over it. I've seen you at least once a week for the past 4 years. I haven't seen my Dad since very early December for about 10 minutes. You can spare me for a day.)
I think what bothers me about her constant begging is she has seen my kids grow up. Jeez, she's seen me grow up - even if she doesn't remember it. My dad has missed a lot. I think that feeling is even more raw for him now knowing just how much he missed & he knows it's happening again with his grandkids.

I know, I know. I need to shut my mouth & stop complaining. It must be soooo hard to be soooo loved.
But I just need to get it out. Quite frankly, I need to tell them all how I feel. I've been carrying this around silently (except for complaining to Rav or possibly his family or my BFF) for years.

It just strikes me as funny that I'm an adult. With my own family. My own kids. And I feel like I am still stuck in 1984 - I still have this immense guilt when it comes to my parents - this weighty responsibility. This fear of making them sad and making them feel disappointed. I have this keen awareness of time. Something most people think about in terms of it's time to go to work, it's time to eat, it's time to go to bed.
For me it's, They're losing time, They're losing out, They haven't had much time with me/us, there isn't much time left.

Like I said, I know I need to stop whining. I just really needed to purge this.
The anxiety of tomorrow is already starting.
But I really can't wait to see my Dad, Eileen, and my brothers.
I know it's going to be a good day.


A Thin Slice of Humanity

OK, look.....I try not to get into religion. With anyone. Let alone on here.

Yeah, I know I rant about politics or the state our country is in (or not in). But that's just because I think we all need to be more aware.

I just received an email. And despite my better judgement I began to read it. I haven't even gotten 1/4 of the way through it and before I became so infuriated I had to immediately begin a blog post about it.

This email began with this woman in an airport who is reading her bible. And how she is sooo happy to be living in The Spirit. I'm sorry but these kinds of things scare me & I don't even know why I was entertaining this email. She looks up and sees a man sitting in a wheelchair who is obviously sick, old, hungry, tired and/or all of these. She keeps looking at him and wondering what his story is. And this line...this is what has my panties in a bunch:

There I sat, trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served on a wheelchair only a few seats from me.

I'm not going to rant. I'm not going to rave. I'll let these words speak for themselves.
All I really want to say is that this absolutely, definitely, with-out question defines and puts quickly into words the last 7 years in this country.
Can I get an Amen?

Happy Times and Tired Minds

I'm at a loss for words today. Exhaustion is crippling me it seems. Here are a few pictures I took on Monday evening when it was a beautiful 75 degrees outside - these pictures make me feel incredibly happy. I need to feed off of that for a bit. Maybe later today I can come up with a post. Perhaps when I have a cup of coffee and wake up a bit?!


Sweet Dreams That Leave Your Worries Behind You

I'm looking around the house for signs of a newborn.
And rightly so, there are none.

There are no teeny-tiny diapers littering the floor or the end tables.
There are no half-consumed 4 oz. bottles.
There is no sweet, sweet smell of a newly birthed baby.

When I look in the mirror there are dark circles.
My nights are sleepless lately.
And I do recall, on these sleepless nights caring for a crying offspring of mine.

About a year ago, we were plagued (rather, Gracie was plagued, so in turn we were plagued) with comforhing (in vain) our daughter through horrible leg cramps. She would fall asleep and every night, approximately 2 hours after floating away in blissful sleep, she would wake wailing, crying, screaming in pain. You could feel the ball of cramped muscle in her legs.
And nothing helped.

Honestly, part of me was thinking That's what you get, you cute little girl, for inflicting me with these damn leg cramps for the last 4 months of carrying your sweet little keister in my warm uterus and making my boobs swell up to a size that bordered along the lines of freak show.
The other part of me was thinking that I would give anything to take this horrible pain away from my sweet baby girl.
And the last part of me was wishing for sleep.

We heard every well-intentioned piece of advice you can think of.

Give her bananas.
Gee, thanks. Never thought of that one. (That's sarcasm folks. A good friend of mine.)

Make sure she drinks plenty of fluids.
Yeah, we generally try to dehydrate our children. Drinking juice or water? That's for looneys and wack jobs.

Use rubbing alcohol.
Mmmm. Hmmm.

Make sure you have a good bed-time routine.

Maybe some motrin?

A warm bath.
So we can drown you in it?

Nothing helped our baby girl.
But we got smart. Eventually.
After many a sleep disrupted night, we actually called the pediatrician.
Who, after listening to our heart-wrenching tale, told us it is a sleep pattern disorder.
And the best way to disrupt this nasty cycle was to establish a bedtime routine. Uh-huh, yes.
And wake her up. Before the cramps start. To try to throw a kink into the cycle.
Hmmmm. Wake.her.up.
This cockamamie scheme just might work. It's just that nutty. Everything else made perfect sense & didn't work. So. This has to.

And it did. Well, if it didn't, it was one hell of a coinkydink.

A year later. Here we are again.

A child in agonizing pain.
Parents who feel like there is a newborn back in the house.
Frazzled, bleary-eyed parents who would do anything to take these big, hard lumps of hell in the form of muscle cramps traveling throughout our daughter's thighs and calves, and send them packing. We would do anything to kick their ass. To hold them in our hands. To squeeze the hell out of 'em. Yell at them, tell them they are killing us. And that there are fates way worse than death. And that we are going to make them suffer the way she (and we) are suffering. Then I would put them in the trash can.
Right next to the nasty, stinky diaper I just threw away.
Take that, you nasty leg cramp. Now you know what suffering really means.

I think the worst part of all of this, is that I know, when I lay down at night that it's just a matter of time. By the time I'm hauling my happy ass to bed, is just about the time when this whole thing starts.
Actually, this whole thing starts just as I'm becoming one with the backs of my eyelids. When I can no longer feel the weight of my body. When I can no longer feel where my legs and feet start and where Rav's legs and feet end.
Every night I pray that my daughter will sleep a blissful, happy sleep. That she will dream a little dream, the likes of which Mama Cass sings of. That she will sail along on the tails of shooting stars, that she will swing from the moon in a silky nightgown, that she will walk weightless and treading on the tops of white, fuzzy dandelions in a wide open field.
Tonight is no different. I sit here with a heavy worry and a heavy hope. That tonight will find her sleeping peacefully, with no pain.

A slight hope that I am spared the pain of her pain.
And maybe a full night's sleep.


It Probably Would Be Easier To Lie

To shut me up whilst I was begging like a little, spoiled brat about being interviewed, The Queen of Funny sent me the following questions:

How did you meet your significant other and when did you know he/she was THE ONE?
I met Rav while working at a YMCA summer camp.
I knew he was the one when he a)Spoke to me in a Sco'ish accent (man, that got me going - gets me going) and b) When he did a perfect impression of Leon Phelps: The Ladie's Man. Cracks me up. To this day.
If you'd like to read the "real" answer, it is here.

How would you characterize the person you were in high school? In college?
The person I was in high school - Awkward, timid, too old (though I was among the youngest in my class), and not yet ready to embrace my inner dork or "incredibleness". I didn't relate to kids in high school. I was thinking about things that no one else seemed to be concerned with. I suppose I was sort of an outsider. I had friends in high school. But as I do now, I tended to have a handful of good friends rather than a gaggle of fake friends.
College - I never really did the whole college-life thing. When I attended, I was part-time, working and trying to support myself.
And now I'm back full-time as a stay-at-home mom, a bit older than the rest of most of my classmates.
I never seem to do things the "traditional" way.
If I had to say today what kind of person I am in college - focused and I am there because I want to be there.

Tell us about a time in your life when you felt ashamed.
I really can't get into that here. Which I know sort of defeats the whole purpose of being interviewed. But it's not something I'm willing to blog about yet.

If you could ask a genie to grant you three wishes, what would your wishes be? (Wishing for more wishes is not allowed.)
First Wish: To get The Farm back.
Second Wish: To travel the globe with my Rav.
Third Wish: A dress kilt get-up for Rav - they're muy, muy expensive-o.

Do you contest that the National Park Ranger Uniform is the sexiest uniform there is and, if so, what uniform would, in your opinion, trump that of the Park Ranger?
Now, while I don't get short-of-breath for the National Park Ranger Uniform, I understand where you're coming from. As Rav has his own uniform he has to wear to work. Sexy beefcake that he is in it, we've never used it for "recreational" purposes. But I think I am as most women are.....a man in uniform is hot. A man in a Dunkin' Donuts uniform, handing me a piping hot cup of, that which I shouldn't drink and handing over a glazed ring of death is in my heart forever.

BUT I think I lean toward this:

And this.....
Especially this:
I think it's time to do an ebay search for Rav. I need to fulfill one of those wishes. Oh, and....

Real Men Wear Kilts.

John Butler - What You Want (Acoustic Live)

This song is from about 1 1/2 to 2 years ago. I had actually forgotten about it because when my computer died, it took this and many other songs with it before they were put to CD (and before the iPod).
In this video clip, he calls the song "Far Away". The song is actually called "What You Want", so I'm assuming the song was brand-spanking new at the time of this video.
The CD version is wicked good. The musical arrangement is just beautiful. If you like this acoustic version, check out the regular version. You won't be disappointed. I promise!

Hope you enjoy today's pick!