Tuesday, December 30, 2008


i was just explaining to someone the other day how these new video games are really hard for me to play. when it was pac man or tetris, i was fine...working two dimensionally on a screen worked for me...my brain could handle it. but once the kids got these flying games that moved in three dimensions, trying to manipulate my airplane often left me feeling car sick. and i was a little embarrassed by this...i tried really hard to push through it and get good at those games, but the motion sickness would just get worse and i'd have to admit eventually that i had no desire to even try anymore. my planes would always wobble and then i'd get flipped around and thrown back into the playing field because, despite my best efforts, i'd always end up flying out of bounds. (and the flipping would really make me sick...)

but i have been thinking about those wobbly planes lately. because i've been feeling wobbly, i guess. not flying too evenly...or too confidently, either. i've learned to accept that this is part of life...sometimes without getting too bent over it. but it still makes me a little car sick...and whether that's part of life or not, it's a drag. yes, maybe i shouldn't attach an evaluation to this state of affairs, but it's there...and it's not work i feel like doing to adjust it right now.

it is so funny how i want to come on here and write sometimes, but i don't feel like getting specific...because i'm not always good at which details are relevant and end up getting wrapped around in the story and miss the point...but then i don't always know how to write anything at that point.

my spouse is working nights for a few days. nights suck. it is lonely. although i told him today that i wasn't really sure what all was that different between when he's here nights or not that would affect loneliness...it's not like we talk all that much, to be honest. but then lanatron posted about presence on her blog and it was perfect. i miss his presence...the shared experience even though we often do completely different things (and think completely different things, but i don't feel like getting into that just now) when we're sharing space.

it is a dynamic time for my family. and for whatever reason, one day i will be ready to embrace the new day and another i'll be grabbing ahold of what was, fingers white, nails dug in, not wanting to let go of where we are, what i know. i'm a little erratic these days, as annie would say.

my teenager worked through some anger he had at his robotics coach a few days ago. (yes, i'm also his robotics coach, but i mean the other one) he did really well. he really is an amazing kid who is really wise about how to speak his mind and amazingly in control of his emotions, well, on the outside, as he does it. but it just about wrecked me. i mean, i kept my cool in the situation, tried to be supportive and stuff. but on the inside, and in moments afterward...let's just say i mindfucked my brains out. but then i reminded myself about those times that a good "fuck it" is all that's needed and i tried that on, and it worked for a little while...well, sort of...

and i think that's about it for today. i am dying to put up the quotes i harvested from paper towns, and i think i'll do that tomorrow because i've been thinking a lot about the things john green explores in that book and maybe it'll prompt something for me to write...or maybe not...who the hell knows?

Monday, December 29, 2008

short ramble

my nephews are here to stay with us for a few days, and there's still a number of things for me to get done...

i really need to start running again. it is kind of sad to barely have four miles for a month. and i definitely need to get on the treadmill, if for no other reason, than because i am at 199.1 miles for the year and with .9 miles to go to get it over 200, i find myself compelled.

i just finished paper towns, by john green. it was really, really good. john green is an awesome writer...he pulls from works he's read that have changed who he is or how he sees the world, and he's able to incorporate them into these amazing stories that he's made up...it's all quite intricate, yet he still reveals his theme brilliantly. i really, really liked it...i mean a lot. and it's young adult fiction, just fyi.

ok, really, that's about it. snort...ok, there's more, but that's all i'm getting into for now.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

wow, i needed that

well, that was a beautiful holiday. the kind where i don't really remember what physical gifts i got, because there were just too many gifts of the spirit. i cannot recall the last time i was so physically exhausted, either...

we drove into our hometown on christmas eve...went to mass with my family (who aren't the catholics, for those who are counting) and then went to my cousin's house. some things about that evening... first of all, we usually go to church with my family. but, because they aren't catholic, my husband, who was raised catholic, usually insists we attend a catholic mass at some point as well. which i think is...how shall we say?...overkill. i mean two church services on christmas eve? but, my mom has had some issues with her church the last few years, so we attended my aunt's church who is, jump for joy, catholic. so we only went once this year, which i personally loved.... then we went to my cousin's house. now, this was great fun because there are lots of babies in her family and my spouse and i held them...lots...very fun. but it was awkward because my cousin's husband let us know that she, in fact, was not planning on us coming and was, perhaps, a bit overwhelmed by our large numbers. which almost made me cry. but then, when i got home, i got the letter she'd written me for christmas and decided her spouse was just having a bad day and that the whole even was good, although we will work out the details a little differently next year. (and the details on getting there this year are just a story i don't feel like repeating, but i cannot thank my friends lana and julie enough for listening to my devastated, crying, broken heart the night before i left...thank you, mamas...)

christmas day was great fun with my spouse's family. again, more babies to hold, good food to be had, funny stories to hear...we caroled at the convent (and sucked, by the way...we couldn't even remember the words to "do you hear what i hear?"...thank god most of the nuns are deaf, but not all of them, and the ones who weren't were looking at us like they could've done a better job than we were doing...and they probably could've, but we had two flutes, a guitar, and a violin playing, and those guys didn't need the words...it probably would've sounded better if we would've just shut up and let it be instrumentals with lots of roadies or something...oh well, hindsight and all that) my spouse played a lot...like physically played...tennis, rip sticking (which is like skateboarding, but much harder, i think), running around, playing his flute....i think he needed to get his play on and it was good for him. his family likes to play more than i do, i guess. and i just had fun being a part of that family for awhile...it had been a long time. i let my guard down some, which can, in itself, (i mean the maintaining of the guard) be tiring. it was refreshing and i'm grateful for the time spent.

i also saw two movies yesterday...i haven't done that since i was a teenager. we took the kids to see despereaux and then the spouse and i went to see doubt. i really, really enjoyed both of them. but i also thought doubt was kind of brilliant. it made up for the lack of good church lately for me. i think it made my spouse kind of tense and then he just decided not to talk about it.

so i've enjoyed the holidays. it was kind of a negative build up, and perhaps anything would've been fantastic after that, but whatever the reasons, the holidays were great. i look forward to things returning to their pattern of normalcy, whenever and whatever that may be. but things are good here...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

holiday message

or the best i can do right now anyway...

when i was a kid, i really loved untangling my mother's necklaces. the more snarled, the better. it sooooooothed me. srsly. i think it gave me hope each time i pulled this ball of gold into three dainty little necklaces or whatever. it may have also given me the unreal expectation that with enough time and tenderness and patience, everything could be unsnarled into its whole, if not a little crimped up. maybe the expectation isn't completely unreal...but maybe not everything is meant to be unsnarled at once...i truly don't know right now.

i try not to be unreal in my expectations. i try to be tough. i can laugh with the best of them. like at church the other day...i mean, i don't know about you, but i go to church for a little light...or at least some directions to the switch, you know? but the priest at this church...he needs medication, i think. and, not that this means i'm right, but i'm not the only person who thinks this...and some of the folks who also think this...they're doctors. not that that means anything, i'm just saying... so church was a drag. depressing, really. this guy will look at us and tell us some terrible headline and then say, "what is this?....." and if you wait for some answer that brings light into it...well, you have a long wait. (and i've been catholic for ten years...i'm used to waiting and let me tell you, the light, even a little...it didn't come)

but i digress. i try to be tough. laugh at myself. try not to take myself so seriously. and i fail pretty miserably. maybe it's not who i'm meant to be? maybe i'm just not trying hard enough. i don't know. maybe sometimes the damned chains just want to stay snarled. i mean, i'll admit there were times i'd get stuff straightened out and it looked pretty awful...nothing my mother would put around her neck...more like something she'd take to the pawn shop. so maybe some of the snarls in my life are just more becoming as balls of stuff that don't resemble what they originally were and really aren't meant to ever go back to that original form anyway.

ok...so i'm getting ready for christmas. i think i've wrapped all i got. it was pretty slim this year. i'm getting a lot of flack about the perversion of christmas this year. yeah, i get it...commercialism, over consumerism, bladdy blah blah. but it's also fun to use this holiday as a reason to buy people you love stuff you'd never get them otherwise. i understand the whole "obligation buying" thing...yeah, it's a pain in the ass. but finances cut a lot of that out for me this time around. and these guys are killing my buzz. i meaning killing it...dead...and i'm getting kind of tense over it. (this is understatement...i threw a huge tantrum today that included no less that fifteen "fuck"s in it...it was not a proud moment for me...but they say confession is good for the soul and wine always makes confession a little easier)

i hope everyone has a good holiday. i had a great time exchanging gifts with my cyber tribe last night. again...great fun giving and receiving. those are some wonderful people...but frankly, this world is hugely populated with wonderful people...i bet i could name a hundred right now. if you don't know one...go out and meet someone...i bet they'll fall in that category if you're patient...and maybe even if you're not.

merry christmas, happy holidays, and

Monday, December 22, 2008


it has been awhile since i've seen this movie...and i really want to rent it again just so i can see it again (my memory gets a little holey)...but i've been thinking about it a lot the last couple of days.

i often think of life as being circles. yeah, yeah, thanks to harry chapan somewhat, i suppose. but i can see the circles sometimes...when one completes and another starts. lately, my sense has been that life is crashing in on itself right now. i see so many circles overlapping...and i can only step back so far...my eyes are only attuned to those i know closely and share with. it's been overwhelming almost to watch all the connections between lives...the lines of dominoes, so to speak, sharing a path, breaking off on their own... the line in this trailer about people craving human contact and crashing into each other to get it...that's what i mean.

there is so much more i'd like to write about. but there is so much i need to get done before i could even feel good about sitting and blogging more. i hope to have time tonight, though...

Saturday, December 20, 2008


it was a really busy weekend. full heart, full head...that kind of thing.

my sister graduated with her bachelor's in computer science thursday night. she is thirty. we don't do the "send your child to college and they'll work on just getting their education and maybe party a little" in my family. us kids feel the need to do other stuff besides just work on our education...most of it seems pretty stupid from a distance, but it really does turn us into fairly brilliant folks...snort. no really...it's all good. but it was awesome watching her walk the stage. i was really, really proud of her.

we had a grand dinner out afterward...sushi and saki. good god, my head hurt the whole next day. but we laughed so hard, my abs were sore that night and the next day. and it wasn't even the young folks making the ruckus...it was the old ones. man, those guys are hilarious...and nasty, too. i almost clamped my hand over my father's mouth at one point...sheesh. but it heals everything at least a little when you share that much fun and joy and humor...this much i know.

then...we surprised my sister with a party last night. now, let me explain...we do not do surprises in my family. no one likes them. it makes us feel kind of stupid...like everyone else was in on a joke we were left out of. there's lies and betrayal involved in surprising someone. and i suck at lying...i mean really REALLY suck at lying. so of course, i got to spend the whole day with my sister before her party yesterday. friends calling her, acting like they're at work, in their hometowns, etc...and i'm just looking out the window lest i smile and she figure out they're lying. she had no clue. she was so surprised. she contemplated...i could see it in her eyes...whether to kill us or love us. i think it took her about a half an hour to figure out which way she was going. she opted for happiness instead of homicide. it was good...

so once i carried my exhausted ass into my own bed last night, i was delirious with all the great stuff of the previous two days. it was awesome. now, i have to admit, there were other things of the weekend to chew on...a top to my bottom, so to speak...but right now, i am happy for my sister...happy she finished her degree...happy she has such a sweet girlfriend...happy she's had so many supporting her and loving her...and happy she decided not to kill us last night.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

it's the wine talking

so, i went to a christmas party for dh's work, department, whatever. sat at the end of the table with and older doc (who turned out to be the chairman of the department) and his wife and got morbidly intense over education, poverty, politics, and entitlement. but dh says no worries because the chairman has no sense of humor, is always morbidly intense, so i guess it wasn't just me! woo!

i was pretty pissed about tonight, though. dh had mentioned it a couple of times and had talked about putting it on my calendar, but, uh, well, never did. so when he called after work today (and after this thing had already started) to ask if i remembered, i was a little put out. but i sucked it up, vented to my cyber tribe (which always has the BEST STUFF to say, i have to tell you), and put on some make up and went. oh, and it was a wine tasting christmas thing, so that helped... now i'm home and waiting for ten o'clock to roll around...

but i wanted to put this mandela quote out here...

Only free men can negotiate; prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.

i think the dalai lama would be quite pleased with this statement. maybe mandela was a little buddhist, too? i think sometimes i get confused about the idea of dependence arising because i always think "dependent on what?" as though it would be dependent on some alien thing completely different from me or anything i could imagine. but this quote made me think about the inter-relatedness of things...which i am not sure if this is the same as dependence arising, but it sounds similar and that's what sparked my thoughts tonight. and i really loved the quote, too.

yes corey...i often think too much. i cannot tell you how much i loved you saying that today...dh was floored by how well you know me.

peace friends

praying and stuff

so the good meme was, well, good. that's the most euphoric pms week i've ever had...seriously. but i did crash a bit. and i've had some pretty sarcastic, angry, whiny, mopey-ish posts brewing the past couple of days, but i really think so much of life is about your perception, about your attitude that i just pushed through it, so to speak. and while those posts may have been funny, they just were at the expense of things i wasn't willing to sacrifice for a laugh.

my spouse and i were actually arguing about this the other day...about whether it's okay to hurt some one's feelings if they know you love them. as far as i can tell, he believes it's inevitable. so much so that, again, as far as i can tell, he doesn't do much to try to stop it. i understand people need to have trust...but what about earning it? i understand the value of a thick skin...but unless you're the one growing it, don't you run the risk of being a bully? and what about empathy? kindness? you know...stuff like that. i don't know...we didn't reach any major conclusions.

but i guess i throw this in for myself to illustrate that what i ask of myself and i also wish to see in those that are closest to me...and i wonder sometimes if my perception were different, if life would be a little different, too. (ha, the dalai lama has me thinking in something like circles, only not so pretty, eh?)

so here's a song i've heard a few times this week. i think i've posted it before and it still makes me cry, but it is one of my favorites...


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

still flying the good flag

ever try really hard to keep your good flag flying? then maybe it starts to fall over, and you got to get it up again? and you're wondering what it keeps leaning on that keeps moving that makes it all wobbly?... yeah, well, i know about that...

got cookies made yesterday and hung with mama friend and cool kiddos...gooooood.

christmas carolling practice again today...more gooood.

gingerbread house making afterward. now, my guys and i have never done this before. so it was pretty fun. i may do another at home so teenager might get a little more involved. youngest was cheering me on as i got the thing put together...fun times.

christmas party at the rock gym...more goodness.

times can be lonely, times can be tense...but i keep looking for good.

i do want to post a quote from the dalai lama's book on this post...he's moving to the dependent arising nature of things, and this is so simple, it goes way over my head...so....

"Because dependent and independent are a dichotomy, when you see that something cannot be independent or functioning under its own power, there is no other option but to see that it is dependent."

so i think i got that part...i think...i'm never too sure with the dalai lama, i have to admit. so then it talks about existence being dependent on different things...certain causes, its parts, and thought. so when he lost me...

"The 'I' definitely does exist, but when it exists yet cannot be found, we have to say that it arises in dependence upon thought. It cannot be posited any other way."

i mean, i see it a little...but then it disappears and i have no clue. i'm working on it...i'm working on it.

oh, and one more good thing...i was feeling a little lonely last night. i mean, i'd hung for hours with a friend...and had a really, really good time. but last night was a little wobbly...then i got three christmas cards from my cybermama tribe. it was the best universal hug...and they all sent pics of their kids! i'm running out of pics from this year, but i think if it's someone new to send a card to, i'll just send last year's pic because it was great fun to see every one's families.

and so ends today's ramble...

Monday, December 15, 2008

one good thing, day seven (a day late)

i didn't blog yesterday because i was too busy to sit down and blog.

we went to mass yesterday morning, which was good, because we haven't been in so long and i just always know it will be a better week if i've gone to mass.

we went to breakfast yesterday morning, which was very good...gordito pastor, thankyouverymuch...good stuff.

then my robotics team met and that was good, too.

then we went to a christmas party for second born's robotics team...that was really a lot of fun. and it wasn't just because of the martinis either... those are some fun parents. and the kids had a lot of fun, too. just running around and playing together.... and they're all pretty sweet (even though they are all male...) and take care of each other, which is even gooder, uhm, i mean better.

so it was raining good yesterday.

i thoroughly enjoyed doing this meme and will probably add it to my regular daily blogging just to keep it good...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

one good thing, day six

except for the you tube clip i posted earlier, the best i can do for today is to talk about the goodness of not feeling pukey anymore and the goodness of some time spent alone working through stuff.

yeah, there are other posts brewing, i suppose...but there's a whole lifetime for that stuff, right?


who's line is it anyway? clip

this made me cry i was laughing so hard. i love richard simmons and his ability to laugh at himself...and this show was one of my favorites. we used to watch the british (?) version that was on pbs way before drew carey started doing it...but both shows were hilarious...


Friday, December 12, 2008

one good thing, day five

ok, today's a little bit more challenging as i'm pretty sure i'm getting the puke bug my teenager had yesterday....so bear with me.

i got another long, wonderful head rub from second born son...

i had a long conversation with a mama friend this morning that was good...

my spouse is home and will be home most of the weekend. this is the best one of all.

and my youngest keeps giving me kisses and telling me he loves me (although, i do want to say, he was playing with the side of my stomach, what might be called a slight love handle, and telling me how much he loved my warm chubby parts...snicker)

it's a pretty good time when even on the sick days you're still feeling the good...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

one good thing, day four

ok, this is a good meme...it really does make a list of good things go through my mind, even on a day like today, where i might not be predisposed to look at it so.

i had to cancel the party for my robotics team tomorrow night because my teenager threw up this evening. but it is sort of a good thing because one of our teammates couldn't make the party tomorrow night, and it really will be better to have all of them there together.

we also got to have my nephew over for a couple of hours tonight, which was great fun, as usual. when my spouse and i sang "oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang" to him tonight, he said, "that's one of my favorites"...and absolutely precious thing to hear from the mouth of a two and a half year old.

i've also been online most of today reading stephenie meyer's partial draft of midnight sun...that's been good.

and i got the teenager's room cleaned today...that was good. it was an organizational/decorating type cleaning, which is not his forte, but it got the room ready for next semester which has been a goal in the back of my mind for awhile. it worked out well that he was on the couch most of the afternoon, too.

so today was another good one. i'm grateful to mama jen for putting this meme out there. i am in such a great mood, despite the disappointment of cancelling the party tomorrow night. well, and the fact that christmas is coming and there's a little stress in that, but, again, thanks to my teenager's being sick, i seem to have a pretty clear weekend to get a lot done on that front, too.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

one good thing, day three

today's good thing, my sil's battery died. now, i realize this may not seem like a good thing right away. my spouse did stay home from work today, and that was good, too. because when sil called, the mister and i were able to go pick her up, take her to get our nephew, then go back to her car and jump it, then follow her to get a new battery where spouse helped her and i entertained nephew. it was really nice to be able to hang together, spouse and i, and help someone who we also happen to think the world of and enjoy hanging with.

my second born also rubbed my head for fifteen minutes....heaven.

i also covered the kids' windows with big blankets and that is very good because i think their room will be much warmer at night...that felt so good to get this one done....for me and for them, methinks.

and it snowed in lanatron's area of the world today...the idea of her kids seeing it snow made me very, very happy.

this is all really good stuff...

(i can't help but think in the back of my head that if this meme was about naming three things, i'd probably have a hard time thinking of one, but this is just how my brain works...always looking for how i need to step out of my box...oh well)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

one good thing, day two

funny thing...when you blog day one in the morning, and wait until day two evening to blog, you feel pretty sure you've missed a day somewhere in there...but apparently not.

my whole day was my good thing today. got my run in this morning. went to christmas carolling practice with my hs co-op group. went to lunch with the mamas (and our kids, but the bestest good part was hanging with the mamas). (it was extra good just to throw caution to the wind and just go pay for lunch and have a great time) then rock climbing, where the manager talked to me about teenager swapping volunteer hours for membership on their climbing team, which was good for teenager, but he still has to look at next semester to see if he really has time... home to clean up and put up lights, decorate the tree, yada yada... only not so good thing was dh is home sick...but he may take tomorrow off to heal, and i think that makes it a good thing in the end. so today...rampant goodness.

i have a blog about some insight into growing as parents that i talked to the-rapist about yesterday...but i told the story again today so i wouldn't forget it. so i think i can wait to blog it...mostly, i just don't want to forget it and putting it down in words will help.

oh, and for a bonus, one weird thing...dh drove home in frozen rain...how crazy is that in texas? it's like it's winter or something...i dunno...

Monday, December 8, 2008

one good thing meme, day one

got this from my friend, jen...

1. Post about something that made you happy today even if it's just a small thing and even if it's just a one-line post.
2. Do this everyday for a week without fail.

today, i went to counseling. i hadn't seen the-rapist in over a month. we laughed a lot. it was good and it definitely made me happy.

play along if you'd like. i think it's a good thing to do this season...


Sunday, December 7, 2008

another weekend

my robotics team attended their competition yesterday and did quite well. they placed in robot performance and research. it was a great experience for them, and i had a lot of fun, too. i was almost silly with the excitement of it all...

but today has been kind of a "coming down" we'll call it. there was a rule i misunderstood. and i bellied up and posted on the coach's group for clarification. i was directed to a forum that i knew about, and just didn't check before, where the clarification for that rule (and a lot of other rules we had been wondering about) was present. it's a frustrating moment to realize i could've coached them better if i would've stayed better informed and used all the avenues presented me... oh well. live and learn. and, as usual, there was A LOT of learning going on... (dying to type more self berate-ment, but willing myself to step away from the topic)

i don't know. sometimes it is just hard to do the right thing...and that may not prevent me from doing the right thing, but it does usually cause a fair amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth for some poor soul i am close to and comfortable enough to do it in front of...and that is something i have to work on. but how to channel all of that negative energy? or, i guess it doesn't even have to be negative...just all that damned energy that i have judged to be negative...where to start? changing the judgment?....

i know, i know...get my ass on the treadmill....


Friday, December 5, 2008

good vs. evil

here are the quotes i harvested from eldest, the second in the eragon series by christopher paolini...

"Even though we're linked, I can never predict what she's going to do. The more I learn about her, the more I realize how different we are."
Then Oromis made his first statement that Eragon though was truly wise: "Those whom we love are often the most alien to us."

I understand that I forced a defenseless baby to pursue a certain destiny without even giving her a choice in the matter. Can someone be truly good if they never have the opportunity to act badly? I made her a slave.

"You confuse the issue. All I wanted to know was the most useful tool a person can have, regardless of whether that person is good or evil. I agree that it's important to be of a virtuous nature, but I would also contend that if you had to choose between giving a man a noble disposition or teaching him to think clearly, you'd do better to teach him to think clearly. Too many problems in this world are caused by men with noble dispositions and clouded minds.
"History provides us with numerous examples of people who were convinced they were doing the right thing and committed terrible crimes because of it. Keep in mind, Eragon, that no one thinks of himself as a villain, and few make decisions they think are wrong. A person may dislike his choice, but he will stand by it because, even in the worst circumstances, he believes that it was the best option available to him at the time.
"On its own, being a decent person is no guarantee that you will act well, which brings us back to the one protection we have against demagogues, tricksters, and the madness of crowds, and our surest guide through the uncertain shoals of life: clear and reasoned thinking. Logic will never fail you, unless you're unaware of--or deliberately ignore--the consequences of your deeds."
[fyi, the question was what is the most important mental tool a person can possess]

i really, really liked that last one. i was driving around the other day, talking to my eldest about this series, and comparing it to star wars. how evil is always so much stronger than good in a almost every battle...it's like whoever represents good is usually lucky to escape alive...hand to hand, evil is so powerful. but i guess it's because of the unnatural way that evil gains that power...it is more potent at a moment, but almost always ends up consuming itself. good just has to hang on because it will always out survive evil...well, you know, if evil doesn't kill it first. which never happens...not in star wars, not in the lord of the rings, not in the bible, and i don't think it's going to happen in eragon either.

so, today's nelson mandela quote surprised me...

Communists have always played an active role in the fight by colonial countries for their freedom, because the short-term objects of Communism would always correspond with the long-term objects of freedom movements.

that's what i was thinking...but he's so much smarter than i am.

alright...it's the last day before our big robotics competition. my youngest was sick yesterday, so we'll see what kind of stamina we have for the long day ahead of us.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

just this

it is funny how a day can change so much. how so many surprises, and truths you knew deep down, burdens and gifts, pain and release can come about...and it can all be one thing or many...yet all these labels can still apply at the same time.

here's the harry chapin song going through my head today...


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

more from the heart

getting on the treadmill is one of the best things i do for myself, i think. and not just for the physical body that carries me around in a day, although she definitely appreciates it. but it's also great for the spirit inside the body... i guess, more accurately, it's one of the best places for them to meet and work together...well, if i don't push too hard. and after a month of not being on the treadmill, i wasn't looking to push too hard tonight.

i listened to the indigo girls tonight...1200 curfews. there's a song on there that i don't think they wrote, although the site i usually pull lyrics from is on sabbatical (which, as pete seeger says, will probably turn into a mondical and a tuesdical....). the song is called thin line and here's the best i can remember...

i thought the time was passed
for when i could find beauty in the world
i set the stage and the scenery
rehearsing every word

when i tried to make it more, well it was
always less
and it's a thin line between pleasing yourself
and pleasing somebody else

with my confidence on fire
i set to fixing up my role
my separation of desires
just left me deeper in the hole

when i tried to make it more, well it was
always less
and it's a thin line between pleasing yourself
and pleasing somebody else

now i'm trying to get back
what i know that i should be
hoping to god (oh, i was hoping i was just)
a temporary absentee

when i tried to make it more, well it was
always less
and it's a thin line between pleasing yourself
and pleasing somebody else

oh yeah, alright...

and without lifeblood.net, that's the best i can do.

this song strikes a chord with me...it always has. the chorus has always stood out, but the verses tonight were really clear as i ran, too. i have still been thinking about that diamond heart. i was talking to my friend lana last night, and the idea of a diamond core that can withstand all the things i'm so worried will shatter me came about. how i try to put this crappy armor around it, that is not meant to be there, and is not truly part of that core, and is easily injured, knocked down, defeated...but there i go, scurrying around trying to replace each lost piece with something else...all in the name of defense...trying to avoid pain...but stressed out the whole time because, if you had parents who spanked when you were a child...especially parents who used things like belts to spank with and were kind of ceremonious about it, like had you lay across a bed with your pants down, the damned anticipation of the blow can wreck you far more than the actual blow.

so, as i was running, i was trying to define some of these pieces of armor i attach to myself to try to ward off pain. what exactly are they? i didn't really come up with anything specific, but it made me think of an essay my friend patsy wrote when she was in college. she wrote an analogy between her life and a tapestry...yeah, like carole king. but patsy's essay was beautiful. she gave the colors of her tapestry feelings, emotions...loyalty, fear, love...all woven into the life that was hers. it was a long time ago, and that really is about all i remember of it, but it was beautiful, i do remember that.

i don't know exactly which parts of me are part of the core or not. i assume whatever part of me is compelled to construct these defenses is also a part of the core, so i don't know that any of it is "not real", if that makes sense. it's all me, i realize. (or i think i realize...i'm obviously making this up as i go...) but i did figure out this...there are times that i act as a friend out of a need to protect myself from the truth that i cannot be a perfect friend. that i am afraid of falling short, so i do things "to save my own ass." and as horrified as i might feel to realize it (and no, it's not the first time i've ever had this realization about myself), i have to know that those who love me either have no clue about this and will be repulsed when they find out (this is fear talking) or they probably already know i'm imperfect and are tired of having to avert their eyes kindly when my human hangs out (this is optimistically in the middle, i think).

this realization came, in part, because i try to give others permission to be human. i have always been the person that said "it's okay to fuck up...i'll still love you" because i do truly believe that we need love most when we least deserve it. (whatever deserve means...that's one i try to stay away from, but it's a quote, so i used it) but the realization came more fully because i have learned, over time, that i have limits. i have times that i have to step back and not be the one to give love...maybe just be the one to pray for peace...because my human can't stretch enough to be the lover, just the prayer. and in accepting this limit of mine, i have begun to see my own humanity a little more fully. and it occurred to me tonight, that in accepting myself more, in finding my core, letting her stand, that i am probably a better friend for it. i may not be as accommodating or outright supportive, but i am still loyal and passionate and believe deeply in each of us...i guess because like anne lamott said in those quotes i posted last night, we're each a mosaic tile of the One. and like alice walker said, but i'm going to paraphrase, we have to see ourselves reflected in each other...even those we don't think we're like or don't want to believe we even could be like.

ok...i anticipate more verbal vomiting along these lines...and while it feels weird to post something so raw, this is important stuff for me to work through. and after slogging through today, it feels so clean to be able to get a little of it out.

why don't i remember how good running is for me?...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

listening to your heart

this is a long one...

so here's today's nelson mandela quote

We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.

i really like that one.

yesterday, as i was driving around after i realized i was not going to be counseled, i was thinking about the things i was hoping to talk to the-rapist about. mostly, like i said, i was looking for communication help... i have realized how defensive i get when i am communicating with, oh, say, my spouse or someone like that...snort. so while i was driving, i was thinking, as i have been often lately, about what, exactly, i am defending. it seems like sometimes i am defending things that later turn out to be, oh, what's the word? stupid? unnecessary? kind of ridiculous? or at the very least not near worth the battle i was putting up defending them...

i've been playing with this idea for awhile...and it was in eldest a little, too. eragon can't open his mind to perceive the presence, and yes, potential malice, of those around him if he keeps his mind shut against everyone and everything to protect it. anyway...the image of a self inside, a self that was strong, which morphed into a diamond self came into my mind. which, of course, reminded me of the essay called diamond heart by anne lamott. (following me here?...hehe)

so here are the parts i liked a lot from diamond heart. i admit i was not a close cropper in harvesting these quotes...the essay kind of rambles, which is how i am feeling right now...this is an essay about her son, sam, who is a teenager...

I rest in silence and music and long strides, while Sam rests in noise and motion.

When he was two, being awful and destructive on every level of his pitiful, loathsome, poopy existence, I told my friend Pammy, calmly, "He's a bad person. He's already ruined."
Pammy said something that I have clung to like the last heel of bread: "Sam has a deep core of sweetness within him." She was right. He's deeply compassionate, and fair, but he also loves knives, and air-soft guns, and paintball guns, and Ninja blades, and violence.

He exerts tremendous energy, and it builds up and he sends it forth with his tools, his swords. It's art, it's an installation, it's the American way: "We're big and strong and male, and this thing is about to get seriously small, and be in shreds, because I am about to heavily fuck with it." He finds where something has a weak spot, picks up a branch, and jabs it, like a physical yell.

He is an exact person, as we all are, even though I sense that there is only one of us, that we are mosaic chips of that One.

My friend said our hearts are like diamonds because they have the capacity to express divine light, which is love; we not only are portals for this love, but are made of it. She said we are made of light, our hearts faceted and shining, and I believe this, to a point: I disagree with her saying we are beings of light wrapped in bodies that merely seem dense and ponderous, yet actually are made of atoms and molecules, with infinite space and light between them. It must be easy for her to believe this, as she is thin, and does not have children. But I can meet her halfway: I think we are diamond hearts, wrapped in meatballs.

You have to contain children, or you ruin them, and no one will ever want you to come visit. But children go ballistic when their unfettered spirits feel constricted and picked on by horrible you. They like you less, but if you don't do it, they feel wounded.

It's a mixed grill of sweet and nourishing and intolerable, like life. You and your bright, bonny child walk hand in hand to the park, and then, while sitting on a bench, you see his delight in hurting another kid. Kids go right for the vulnerability in other kids, ganging up on the weakest, ditching, or snatching things away. Life is not what one had in mind. It's punishing. It makes you want to punish back.

Maybe this is what grace is, the unseen sounds that make you look up.

Without all the shade and shadows, you'd miss the beauty of the veil. The shadow is always there, and if you don't remember it, when it falls on you and your life again, you're plunged into darkness. Shadows make the light show. Without shadows, we'd see only what a friend of mine refers to as "all that goddamn light."

i like that. it makes my image all the better...because i didn't want to focus on the hardness of diamonds in my mind's eye. the portals for light was a great addition, a much needed facet. i was going to write a post today called the presents of presence and talk about how all of these great people wash through my day in ways i'm sure they have no idea they've left themselves. phrases i use, a phone call made, an email, too many ways to name. but then anne lamott dropped by my mind in a diamond image and, well, the image became clearer.

it doesn't mean i don't still have instincts to defend myself...i do. but i just think, "how silly...what i defend is a lot stronger than what i have to defend it with...so what am i accomplishing exactly?"

Monday, December 1, 2008

made it through

for now anyway...

it was alright, even though i didn't get counseled today. hoperadio gave me a call and we laughed and were generally miserable together, which is great fun when you can do it in a humorous way...which is a highly underrated talent, by the way, but one that, thank god, we both possess.

and then i spent the evening with my robotics team. i don't believe i have mentioned here that our competition is this saturday. and i'm not really good with competition. like, i think everyone should get a prize just for showing up and trying. and it's really kind of funny because my co-coach is pretty comfortable competing. she's a pusher. and that's fine. sometimes we need pushers...i know this. but this whole week before competition/trying to pull it all together/let's try not to forget where our happy place is is kind of frying my nerves a little. i mean, i'm sure i'll make it through. and my teenager is starting to talk to me about this stuff...and listen to me too. so hopefully i won't corrupt him too much...i don't know.

ok, now, i had one more quote from eragon i wanted to put here...it's from brom again.

"Keep in mind that may people have died for their beliefs; it's actually quite common. The real courage is in living and suffering for what you believe."

i'm almost finished with eldest. and while i really love this book, harvesting quotes from it isn't as easy. so i'll save them for when i'm finished.

now i must go work on the poster for my robotics team. and i suppose i should also throw together some cookies for the end of semester shindig my cooperative effort is giving itself tomorrow. thank god i got all the stuff i needed for that event ready last week, which is very unusual for me to be ready ahead of time, but enough of a delight that i may actually attempt this again another time....if i can remember.
peace out

a new month!

which means my long assed list of blogs for november disappears...i love this. it is so tidy. i think this is how life should be, sort of. december first...all the november bullshit gets put away...

i have had a bit of disappointment today...the-rapist cancelled on me. it had been a month, hello? but she had a friend die and needed to attend the funeral. i can be understanding about this, i swear i can be. but you know that inner two year old i talk about sometimes? yeah, well, i'm trying to ignore her. but two year olds get so fucking loud when you ignore them...

i did talk to my sister today. and that was lovely. i was missing her, but now i'm not.

i don't know how this day is going to go...i really was looking forward to getting counseled today. i was going to ask advice on communication...anyone got any worth sharing? how to do it? how to make it better? how to make it a little less like slamming your head against the proverbial brick wall?...which is no softer, for the record, just because it's proverbial.

ok, i am tired. i need to go have some caffeine today. i think i'll be back later to post...yes, yes, already cluttering up the december blog list...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

weekend edition--short version

so...no one puked at my house. i think the odds of being exposed by two different folks to two different puking viruses in the same house and NONE OF US getting the virus are slim. which makes me feel like we have immune systems of steel. and maybe that's not what it means, but it is how i feel, and that is what matters....

my nephews came and spent the night last night. seven young men/boys...ages 16 (almost 17), 15 (just turned...yesterday was his birthday), 14 (that one's mine), 13, 10 (almost 11...mine also), 9, and 5...it was a blast. it really, really was. i am so glad we did it and we all had such a good time...almost burned the house down with my less than brilliant candle placement on my nephew's cake, but otherwise...all great.

i do notice, as i keep going forward with this life, how some things change...many things change. but many don't. but i can always change how i react to things. if i choose to. and i imagine that as i change how i act in those types of situations, it will change my whole perception of them. i don't know. i just have to slow down a little...pay attention somewhat...relax the rest of the somewhat. something like that.

lately, i have this feeling like there's more to say, but then i just can't frame any of it in words. there are many things and many people i pray for right now...but most of them involve situations i am fairly certain i do not know the right course in. i am fairly certain i cannot even sit and lay out five distinct courses for any one situation, which tells me i am limited in conceiving a solution. so, all i can do is offer my sincerest wishes for peace in and for all of them. and that's where i'll end this...

Friday, November 28, 2008

roller coasters and patience

i've been thinking a lot lately. actually, it would probably be more blog-worthy if i was able to stop thinking for awhile. and i have been playing around with that a little...but it's not what i'm writing about today.

i will say that i have been really, really stressed out lately. and i feel it. i feel the physical results of that stress. but i feel them for what they are--the result of being stressed out. i know i'm not handling my stress well, although i think it's a step in the right direction to at least see a little bit of a separation between whatever thoughts are running through my head, the stress, and my ability to handle this all differently, even if i'm not. although i am handling it differently because i am not wildly looking for things to blame this on. i am also rather suddenly able to let those that are close to me know when they're pissing me off...in a fairly direct and somewhat polite-ish way. and i think that's progress too. but i am not just working myself up in my head, looking for what is stressing me out. i'm at least able to know i'm stressed and try to figure out how best to handle the stress as well as what might be causing it. which may not sound distinguishable or even remarkable, but as a process, it feels like progress...like a step in the right direction...maybe i still have a long journey ahead, but it does feel like i'm at least on the right track, which i'll get back to in a minute.

but i want to say it is not like i've got this shit figured out, because i haven't. i know that i will not figure it out tomorrow either...or probably even the next day. it may take a lifetime. which means i need patience. which exasperates me a bit, i'll be honest. but i can exasperatedly accept that patience is what i need, where i need to be resting, turning to, growing myself. and once i reached that place, this song started playing in my head....

(can you believe this was guns n roses singing at the grammies almost twenty years ago? wow... i dressed up as axel rose one year for halloween...)

anyway...that was last night that the patience song started playing in my head. then i spoke to my friend jeanni this morning. let me tell you...sometimes i talk to that woman and it is like a cool, clear glass of water after hiking for hours. like you didn't even know you were thirsty but it still quenches you somewhere so deep down, you can't stop drinking. and she shared this quote with me about roller coasters. i was telling her about how sometimes we set things in motion in life...things that can take years to see them play out, if we ever truly see how they play out. and i can understand appreciating and living in the moment. but sometimes, i was telling jeanni, i'd like a little smile from the universe that it's at least going okay...a little nod that things are headed in the right direction...wherever that is. so she shared this quote i'll have to paraphrase because i can't find it online...

it was talking about how life is a roller coaster. how there is thrill, and color, and excitement. how we are drawn into it...maybe we like it, maybe we don't. how we start to live on the roller coaster, forgetting that, ultimately, it's a ride. it ended by saying that when people come along to remind us it's only a ride, we kill them.

which about slayed me. (we are jesus-y girls, jeanni and i, so that's who we were thinking of primarily, although we both mentioned that he wasn't the only one to ever try to remind us it's just a ride.)

i also talked to my friend who makes music. she texted me on my phone yesterday to wish me a happy thanksgiving and tell me she was thankful for me. imagine that...someone as beautiful and wise and amazingly talented as her being thankful for crazy, needy, off key me. it was definitely a high point. so i talked to her today, too.

i can be patient...i can. it is difficult, but i can be. and it strikes me that when i decide to surrender and not just talk about being patient, but truly try to be patient, i have these moments of contact with these incredible people who really end up encouraging me on that leg of the journey, even though they didn't know i was traveling that direction. it is one of the most beautiful and delightful parts of this amazing journey.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

happy day

well, it was my first thanksgiving hosted at my house. my sister and i cooked almost everything, with a few additions from my spouse and my bil. and my sister's girlfriend helped a lot, too. until she started puking at three o'clock this morning. which was weird because my eighty-five year old grandmother was coming and i didn't want her to get sick. but then, about six hours after she got here, my eighty-five year old grandmother was puking, too. but otherwise, i think it was a complete success...


really...it was good. my brothers came. my dad was funny and not too drunk. my sister was, well, very much my sister. my kids played too many video games. and everyone pretty much had a great time. except for the barfers. but the barfers even smiled some post-barfing and we all took our turns cleaning up the bathroom....

a lovely day with lots of moments to reflect on gratitude and whatnot.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

one thing

running a half marathon is like an energy enema. not too long ago, i did some push ups for the first time in awhile and had some crazy dreams as a result. whatever is stored in muscles can make for some interesting introspection once you've released it. so running for that long, pushing yourself, makes for interesting times for awhile. add a spouse in residency and four children and, well, it can almost make you believe you're crazy at times...

here's a song i heard today that kind of touches on things i'm having a hard time talking about. although i have to thank mama lana for letting me get a lot of things out last night...and i have to say, i think she'll appreciate this song, too... ;)


Sunday, November 23, 2008

a little catch up

it's been really busy around here. and a little bit crazy, too.

teenager has been accepted to the college he applied to, in the dual enrollment program. i drove him there for his accuplacer, and it was eighty-eight miles round trip. so we'll be doing that three times a week next semester. but i am happy for him and ready to do whatever i can to make this a successful semester for him. (well, i mean support him in having a successful semester...it's such a fine freaking line with a fourteen year old...and no, it's not really that fine a line...it's just trying to find the balance between his fourteen year old self and my thirty-four year old self...THAT'S the challenge)

thanksgiving is happening at my house this year. i don't think this is asking too much. i think i'm ready. but i'm a little freaking out about it. and i realize i am over-reacting here. no one cares about the house...or at least they do only minimally. which makes me freak out a tiny bit more because it means i need to go to the grocery store and i am not looking forward to that... but i just need to suck it up and go...

and we hung out with friends friday. that was nice. man, that was really nice. i don't know why i am so reluctant, hesitant, and most of the time honestly don't think about inviting people over. especially when i get so lonely. i don't know...it's weird. but friday was awesome. the kids had a blast and so did i. must.remember.to.do.that.again...

ok...i swear it's been busy. it's just not stuff that translates well into words before you've had coffee or tea or even a drink of water first thing in the morning. there are also other things, i'm sure. but i've been missing blogging, even though i haven't had much to blog about. oh, i begin no less than two or three blogs a day in my head...but once i sit down, nothing's been itching to be written.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

some wisdom

call me erratic, but after the last post, i remembered something i read today that i also wanted to post. i'm reading eragon, much to my fourteen year old's delight. i try to read most of the books that are really important to him, and he's been asking me to read this series for years.

this is a passage early on in the book, some words eragon's uncle says to eragon and his cousin, and words i'll probably put on my children's bathroom mirror...

"I have words for both of you. It's time I said them, as you are entering the world. Heed them and they will serve you well." He bent his gaze sternly on them. "First, let no one rule your mind or body. Take special care that your thoughts remain unfettered. One may be a free man and yet be bound tighter than a slave. Give men your ear, but not your heart. Show respect for those in power, but don't follow them blindly. Judge with logic and reason, but comment not.

"Consider none your superior, whatever their rank or station in life. Treat all fairly or they will seek revenge. Be careful with your money. Hold fast to your beliefs and others will listen." He continued at a slower pace, "Of the affairs of love...my only advice is to be honest. That's your most powerful tool to unlock a heart or gain forgiveness. That is all I have to say."

and then there was this part in the book where they're talking about an ancient language that names what a thing truly is and gives you power over it.

Eragon considered that. "What do personal names mean in this language? Do they give power over people?"

Brom's eyes brightened with approval. "Yes, they do. Those who speak the language have two names. Their first is for everyday use and has little authority. But the second is their true name and is shared with only a few trusted people. There was a time when no one concealed his true name, but this age isn't as kind. Whoever knows your true name gains enormous power over you. It's like putting your life into another person's hands. Everyone has a hidden name, but few know what it is."

..."I'd like to know mine, " Eragon said wistfully.

Brom's brow darkened. "Be careful. It can be a terrible knowledge. To know who you are without any delusions or sympathy is a moment of revelation that no one experiences unscathed. Some have been driven to madness by that stark reality. Most try to forget it. But as much as the name will give others power, so you may gain power over yourself, if the truth doesn't break you."

yeah. so i guess i'll be finished pouting. return to center...or a little closer to center anyway. i can feel when i'm walking the perimeter...or the surface. i actually visualize marshmallow goo when i'm there. but i don't hate that part of me anymore. at least i haven't lately. it's tiring though...like hanging out with a grumpy two year old...or a couple of grumpy two year olds, maybe.

but we are all heading inward. however we push or proceed...head first...side paths...muscle...heart...gentle...blunt...heavy or fluffy, i suppose...usually a mixture of all of these and more. i can be patient again.

but i'm still pouring myself a glass of wine.

i think i feel like pouting

i don't know...i just don't like hurting. i'm tired of hobbling. i'm tired of being overwhelmed by my kids growing up. i'm tired of not taking things in stride...i mean, can't i choose that? what's my problem?

i'm tired of not feeling like i have the right thing to say, the right way to look at something, the right mindset to get through something.

i don't like being the person that, when you tell me how great your relationship is, all i can do is tell you how i feel disappointed...i swear i don't mean to do that. it's just if we're talking relationships...i should probably be quiet. i don't like trying to joke around and being told to lighten the hell up...okay... i don't like trying to read and telling people i'm trying to read and then they laugh and keep talking. i don't like having to take my kid to take a standardized test...yipes.

think i'm just tired? grouchy? anne lamott calls this the natives getting restless, hearing the drums beat, how it gets really loud sometimes...sometimes it helps to look at it in another person's words...

i think i need a glass of wine...
peace out

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

wanna read a really good essay?

it's an anne lamott essay i found while i was searching for something for mama beth in my cyber tribe. i didn't find exactly what i was looking for...i found something better...



it's getting better

the muscles are finally ending their loud, painful protest. the foot?...uh, no. but it'll get there... and i guess i'll just have to stay off the treadmill til it gets better...sigh...(muwahahaha)

there's another shirt i thought of that i saw...in my dreams, i'm a kenyan...i think i need this sticker. or the one that says marathon ho, i'm not sure which.

today was good. it was our last day for the semester in co-op. i'm still amazed at how difficult it was to put together and how easily it ran...and continues to run. and i love the kids. i mean like toe curling love the kids. it's a blast.

the kids and rock climbing...there's a class of college kids that climb at that gym after the homeschool class. today was their final. there was a route marked, and the last holds were graded...match here for an 80....match here for an 85. they moved in five point increments to the last hold, which i must say was a bitch of a reach, up to 100. my oldest son got to 100...with all the college kids watching, mouths agape. he really climbs quite gracefully and has a fair amount of technique to draw on. his eyes were lit up afterward. and i have to temper myself...i don't want him to crow like a rooster, but i can't deny him the sensation of being thrilled with his accomplishment. i might end up turning him into me if i do that...no, introspection is not always warm and fuzzy...bla my second born scored a ninety on the route...not bad for a ten year old, hey? and the nine year old scored an eighty. but i think that's probably because he went first...headstrong, pushy child that he is. they also did this really crazy, really cool work out today. the rock climbing instructors are learning to loosen up, broaden what they're teaching, and really make it fun (and relevant) for these kids. it's a blast watching and i know the kids are loving it.

and then there's still the college thing. teenager still wants to go. i guess that will be my primary job tomorrow...scheduling the things that need to happen to get him there. it still feels kind of weird.

and my spouse...i have been avoiding a lot of this discussion because...well, a lot of reasons. it is tender. it is old. it is repetitive. it is huge, it is not so huge all at the same time. it confuses me. it challenges me, too. it feels sometimes like a brick wall that i run into, knocking the wind out of me. other times it feels like a phantom i've dreamt up and isn't real at all. and i think i'm about talked out on that for now....

ok, teenager has friends over. all the sons get so excited when there are more males here to spend the night. it gets kind of loud. it requires much food. it reminds me of another marathon shirt i saw sunday...this sounded like a good idea three months ago.

Monday, November 17, 2008

bookworm award

i received this from bohemi-anna, who is one of those young, intelligent, vibrant, and kind people who makes the world a better place. i even bought a scarf from her to wear to remind myself she's out there. i guess you could say i am happy to know her... <3

Here is the rule for the award:Pass it on to five other bloggers, and tell them to open the nearest book to page 46. Write out the fifth sentence on that page, and also the next two to five sentences...The CLOSEST BOOK, NOT YOUR FAVORITE, OR MOST INTELLECTUAL!!

ok, the book is plan b, by anne lamott. (man, i lucked out...i swear i had gardening or the trivium over here the other day...)

ok, page 46, fifth sentence...here we go... it's from an essay about her mom, and her mom's ashes, and how she finally dealt with them, called o noraht, noraht...

I put the brown plastic box in the closet as soon as it came back from the funeral home, two years ago, thinking I could at last give up all hope that a wafting white-robed figure would rise from the ashes of my despair and say, "Oh, little one, my darling daughter, I am here for you now." I prayed for my heart to soften, to forgive her, and love her for what she did give me--life, great values, a lot of tennis lessons, and the best she could do. Unfortunately, the best she could do was terrible, like the Minister of Silly Walks trying to raise an extremely sensitive young girl, and my heart remained hardened toward her.

yeah...it frightens me how i can relate to this as a daughter and be kind of terrified by it as a mother at the same time...but time settles in my chest and makes me settle down, eat it all bite by bite and stop trying to swallow the whole thing at once...keeps me from choking to death.

ok, i just needed the break and remembered i'd been tagged. thanks anna! oh, i get to tag five more...hmmm...i know! i know! how about jen, hope, lana, julie, and whit...i KNOW you all read like crazy...and you're all pretty sexy, too...

marathon lessons

ok, so i didn't win. (snort...my bil, for some reason, kept reminding me of the purse in this marathon, which was annoying after the second or third time...it was this implication that if i was going to run, i might as well try to win or something...buzzkill...)

but i did finish. and i did shave about twelve minutes off of my time in february. my sister had the goal that we'd finish in under three hours. and i admit, i thought that goal was kind of crazy since she hadn't run in two months prior to the half marathon and i hadn't run the two weeks prior. but, like this shirt i saw on the course (and as the mandela quote on the right reminded me of, too)...marathons are the triumph of desire over reason. and my sister and i experienced that triumph yesterday...it was awesome. (we finished in two hours, fifty-nine minutes, and thirty-seven seconds...shweet)

but triumph and awesome-ness sometimes hurt like hell. and my sister and i are also experiencing that today. oh yeah baby...can you say hobble? well, i can. (and i mean i can hobble...not just say it...hope, we didn't do too well without you to remind us to stretch afterward...oh well...it was humbling and we'll never forget again, i'm sure.)

but let me tell you something about my sister and i. or something i learned about my sister and i. or something i figured out about my sister and i. we are good partners in these kind of deals. because she is stubborn and cynical and freaking hilarious. (there was this moment that i don't think i'll ever forget...strangely it was one of my favorite half marathon moments...where we ran by this guy in a banana suit and my sister looked him in the eye and started shouting "peanut butter jelly time, peanut butter jelly time" and the guy's eye lit up and he and his friends and my sister finished this little chant from family guy that she showed me last night so i'd get it...but it was so random and so hilarious and this is the stuff my sister excels at.) anyway, she thinks i'd leave her in the dust if i didn't run with her. and i did pull her along a little at the end. it was a sweet moment when i told her we could make her goal even if we walked, but that we'd have to walk faster and she looked at me and said, not all yelling at me either, "but i am walking fast" and suddenly looked like a little kid again. anyway, what she doesn't know is that i may be able to run longer, or ignore the pain better than her (i HAVE had four children to her never even had intercourse, you know...), but i would never be able to do this without her. there are things she believes about me and limbs she is willing to walk out on with me that no one else in this world would even consider. and for that, i am strong. well, i'm sure working out and training has a little to do with being strong, but it makes me determined...and there's a lot of strength in that, too.

we had a big cheerleading section at the seventh mile marker yesterday. my mom. my spouse and kids. my bff from high school and her partner. that awesome friend i was writing about awhile back who plays beautiful music. and also my sister's new girlfriend, who i really like a lot and is already part of our family. i cannot tell you what a lift seeing all of them was.

and i told my cyber mama tribe i would be thinking about them while i ran. and i did. they are such a diverse, strong, gentle group of women.

so of all the shirts i saw that were inspiring...

the older i get, the faster i was

on a really long beer run

marathon, the triumph of desire over reason

who moved the finish line?

i know i run like a girl, try to keep up.

and my personal favorite, does this shirt make my butt look fast?

i have to go with...13.1 miles and still smiling.

Friday, November 14, 2008

gotta run

well, i run on sunday, but i'll be leaving tomorrow morning and not back til afterward. i'm a little nervous, kind of tired already, but since i've done this before, i guess i feel a little more confident. i admit i'm looking forward to the training time to work on some other areas in life that i fear may be getting a little "flabby"...but it's all a marathon, right?


yeah, today's better

how could it not be? i mean, we went on a field trip at a biosolids plant at ten o'clock this morning. there is NOTHING to perk you up like seeing the many stages of purification of sewer water and how they turn it into "sludge cake" (which is a really, really nice term for dried out, compressed shit that does not smell like chocolate) and compost and sell it back to the public. i used to be amazed by the signs on the side of the road in a the rural-ish community i lived in that would say "lamb manure for sale"...i'd think, "wow, that's ballsy...your animal shits and you ask us to pay you for it." but really...where we went today, these guys are geniuses...selling our own shit back to us...wow.

seriously, i think it's an awesome thing. otherwise our shit would go into landfills. so putting it back to use is great. this place also gets all the tree debris the city and the rest of the population generates when trimming for power lines, etc., and they chop 'em up, mix 'em up with the "dewatered biosolids" (another tricky word for dried up, compressed shit), and sell 'em as nutrient enhanced mulch for our flower gardens. it was neat. but it did smell like shit...there's no denying that.

so yes, i pulled myself out of my funk by literally surrounding myself with shit. maybe the problem is the solution? not exactly what i had in mind, but i couldn't pass up the little connection.

now i think i will go to park day. maybe....

and tomorrow, i travel to pick up my packet for my half marathon. i am ready to be finished running in races for awhile. i am really, really busy, and committing to run only stresses me out instead of the outlet running is supposed to be and usually is.

yesterday i realized i had forgotten this field trip. i'm so glad i got reminded the day before instead of the day after, because i've had the latter happen as well and it sucks so much more than the first.

my fourteen year old is also asking to be enrolled in a dual enrollment college class at a technical college about thirty miles away. i am looking into it, and it definitely seems like something that can be done, but it is also challenging me, this whole "fruit of my looms" growing up thing...and i don't mean learning to use the potty or use his own fork, either...i'm talking hair in places i used to be in charge of cleaning, chest broader than father's, shaving, wearing adult sized clothing, and now, hey, how 'bout i go to college? growing up. it's not bad...i mean, it's really mostly pretty good...it's just weird.

ok, i don't want to put myself back in a funk. (and i swear i still kind of smell the biosolids plant, too...)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

giving up for tonight

i had this post i was going to do about what if the problem is the solution?...but it's been a crappy night, so i give.

maybe tomorrow will be better...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

look what i found

sometimes i like to just look at all of my bookmarks on my computer...i have quite a few of them. things that, for whatever reason at a given moment, struck me as worthy of returning to. so today, i went to a lot of those places, clicked around and played. there's a group called bioneers that i often think about, wondering if NOW is the right time to join it. but instead, today, i let my attention and time be taken by the international baccalaureate degree programme. i did, however, find this on the bioneers website and i just had to put it here, because, well, it is beautiful.

Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done.
We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely
daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.

I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often
fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.

A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In Peace and Joy,
Alice Walker


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


i woke up this morning to a post written by my friend, jen. jen and i have read many of the same books. well, to be more accurate, jen seems to have read almost everything, which happens to mean that, conveniently, she's read most of the books i really like (yes, anne lamott included). in her post today, she quoted kurt vonnegut in breakfast of champions. i've read breakfast of champions, but unfortunately, all i really remember from it was a picture drawn of an asshole. thank god jen has a better memory than i do. i copied the quote from her blog to put here...

So this book is a sidewalk strewn with junk, trash which I throw over my shoulders as I travel in time back to November eleventh, nineteen hundred and twenty-two.

I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

my experience of military has been a little challenging lately. not because of the military necessarily, although the present war has definitely kept it more in the forefront of my mind...but many of the challenges are just part of who i am. i think i've mentioned before that i'm a non-confrontationalist who doesn't really even like to hurt other peoples' feelings, right? but this is me. it is not necessarily what i expect of the world...well, i mean, not in a forced way...

reflecting on today has been kind of difficult. maybe it is because i live in the south...maybe it is because i live near an army base...maybe it has nothing to do with what is going on around me and all comes from within me...but i am tired of being told what i should feel in regards to those presently serving or those who have served our country.

has it really gotten so bad that the assumption has to be that the general population is apathetic and needs to be told how to feel, what to do? and even if it has, are you trying to act in a way that perpetuates it? because speaking to me in a way that presumes i don't respect you makes me wonder why i should respect you, to be honest. (there may have been a bumper sticker here, a tshirt there...) are feelings about war supposed to be so simple? for or against? is that really all there is anymore...should it even be that easy? i find the feelings i have to be rather difficult to capture in a slogan and maybe that's why i feel so offended when i read some of these slogans...so like i said, it's probably more about what's inside me.

i liked this quote because of the way it portrayed armistice day/veteran's day...a moment of silence to hear the voice of god. it is comforting to me...the idea of god silencing a battlefield, of warriors stopping to hear.

it is hard for me to even begin to try to imagine war...very hard. but i know it is real. and i know as long the country i live in engages in wars, men and women will be called to man them. and i know those who are called to participate can do so with honor...and often do. so while i do feel gratitude, and many other emotions as well, i think the main idea of the day, for me, is...

Monday, November 10, 2008

roll call of sorts

so sometimes it feels weird to post about the emotions of a weekend and find them so completely untied in to what was actually going on that weekend...what my family did...the fact that we had a lot of fun together...stuff like that.

so i thought i'd post a little about what we did this weekend.

friday my parents came to visit. we were at the park when they got to our town. we'd just finished planning next semester for the co-op we participate in...very exciting stuff. then we picked up lunch and came home to meet my dad and step mom. it was very nice, very cool hanging out with them, watching them watch their grandchildren...you know, just normal old sharing space stuff. then they left to visit my grandparents, who have alzheimer's and dementia a few more hours up the road.

then my friend julie came to stay the weekend. she bought us all tickets to the renaissance festival for my children's birthdays. it was an awesome gift. we left saturday morning, after my dh finished rounding on his patients. we met my sister and her partner, who we were meeting for the first time. it was a lot of fun. we got to see the birds of prey show (a MUST SEE every time we've ever been), the other brothers (a comedy/juggling act that my spouse, i'm pretty sure, wants to be when he grows up), and the joust. my sister and her partner took the bigs to the ded bob show, too... then we threw chinese stars, axes, knives, catapulted frogs, rode in giant swings...it was great fun. the weather was absolutely beautiful and the company was the best. it had just been so long since we'd had time together, as a family and with a group of friends, doing something so completely leisurely...it was healing.

and then yesterday, as often happens when julie visits, she convinced me i can cook anything...so cabbage rolls were on the menu last night, and a cabbage casserole (to use up the rest of the head of cabbage) and a pumpkin pie. my bil, sil, and nephew came to visit, which always makes me very happy, and we all had a good time talking, laughing, playing with baby s, my two year old nephew.

yesterday was also remarkable because each of my guys got time alone, which is pretty rare. my oldest biked to his robotics team meeting and back. my second born had his robotics meeting. my third born went fishing with dad. and my youngest went to the grocery store with mama (he chose this, i swear...it wasn't a dead end field trip). julie stayed home and read twilight, which i believe i have gotten her addicted to.

so while i was having my kfkd delusions and feeling like an egomaniac with an inferiority complex, there were really quite a few great things going on around me that i was also able to participate in and enjoy. i am grateful for the time with loved ones this weekend. ken always reminds me there are chains of gold and chains of iron. the real kicker is that i'm starting to realize we get to choose our chains...letting go of some of them is kind of hard. yep...

here's the song i woke up to playing in my head...don't think it was kfkd playing this morning...must've bumped the dial... :)

uhm, yeah, this video was taken at a barnes and nobles in minneapolis...wow...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

pity party, sort of

anne lamott refers to herself in an essay as an egomaniac with an inferiority complex. this is a phrase that, for whatever reason, has stuck with me since the moment i read it. anne lamott also calls the negative voices that play over and over in her head, some times more loudly than others, kfkd radio, which stands for k-fucked radio. this also rang a bell for me. my friend denise says i also picked up the phrase mindfucked from annie, which may or may not be true...i've been an anne lamott junky for over five years now...but it does make me want to go back and read and see if annie agrees with me or spell check on whether mindfucked is one word. (although i suppose if i read it in her book, i'd be spelling it the way i read it, huh?...which may support denise's theory...hrm...)

so this is kind of how i felt yesterday. and believe me, i usually have much sympathy for those who must suffer me at these times. but something was different yesterday. as i've learned to observe my emotions and not become them, i've also found that sometimes i must suffer through my own bad mood as well. not just inflict it, because it is not always my choice. i did use to feel like i was somehow putting these folks through my mood, forcing them to endure my negative presence or something. but now that i am not, in fact, my mood, sometimes i suffer a bad mood. and it allows me to be glad as hell when it's over, instead of embarrassed or sorry or ashamed or looking for forgiveness or whatever bullshit i was, in fact, inflicting upon myself, albeit unawares.

this does not, however, turn off kfkd radio. it still plays. but it kind of makes me laugh a little. i mean, kfkd is crazy negative. for me, kfkd says everything that happens is bad because i am bad. in the "right" mood...i can believe i stub my toe because i suck and therefore deserved it. like somehow the magnetic fields of the earth are picking up on how much i suck...like sucking is a metal maybe? i'll stop there. anyway...instead of making me want to cry or want to drive my car off a bridge, it kind of made me laugh today, because it really was a bit over the top...i mean really, where do i come up with this stuff? and did i always used to buy into it? believe it? why didn't it ever strike me as kind of nutty before? i dunno....

i don't know what these things mean or where exactly they lead to. but it was fun to not be the donkey at the party, with everyone out to impale me with something...well, i kind of felt like i still was the donkey a little, but this time i had a faded party hat on and a glass of watered down punch.

Friday, November 7, 2008

it's all about math

so i was talking to my co-coach yesterday...about hsing, whatnot. i told her how much i loved math...particularly algebra. you can jump in the problem almost anywhere you want, work it forward, work it backward, work it sideways...as long as you don't break any rules, it'll work out. and then bonus, you can always substitute your answer back into the equation to make sure you got it right. i mean truly, this is healing stuff...settling stuff...the kind of thing you grab onto when your childhood is bouncing all around, ricocheting off of young parents, dating parents, parents who are still trying to figure out their place in the world and forget, sometimes, to check on the little person along for the ride. i loved math...way down deep in my toes.

i didn't say all of that to my co-coach. no way. but i'm sure she could tell i was not making it up in the least when i said i loved math. she likes math, too. she also likes sarah palin, so it's not like we're ideological twins or anything...i mean, she loves sarah palin. but i digress...

she said not many mamas that she knows like math, much less love it. and so we went on talking....

we talked about trampy family members. i know this sounds weird, but i do have some sort of trampy cousins and she, apparently, did too. it's funny though, because i was talking about inviting my cousins to thanksgiving and she was talking about distancing herself from hers. now, in all fairness, she was talking about high school and i'm talking about this month. so there's that.

but what struck me was how absolute her judgment was of some of the things we discussed...some of the issues that came up. we talked about abortion, for some reason. she shared some of her thoughts about it...i shared a few stories that my spouse has had come up in the hospital...instances where the life of the mother was at risk if they didn't induce labor for a fetus everyone knew was too young to survive. i didn't mean to be challenging, but it is a pattern in my behavior that i've long noticed...my storytelling shifts to cover the other side of the issue...

i've always been like that. tell me about a population of people that take advantage of governmental support, and i'll tell you about someone i know who's risen above. tell me how women who have a child with governmental support should be sterilized to prevent them from doing it again, and i'll tell you how my first son was born on medicaid. tell me how people who work hard for their money should be able to keep it and not give it to those who don't work hard and i'll tell you that i've earned lots and i've earned little, and i'll gladly pay my taxes to help someone who was in my situation. i'll even tell you that someone who loved us said we could use their taxes to have that first son so all the other folks who think i was stealing from them don't have to worry...

i know there are trends. i know there are stereotypes. i know there are even statistics that can prove some trends or stereotypes may be, well, statistically sound. but i also know that which way those generalities lean has a lot to do with the perspective of the person looking at them. and that there will always be things that we miss. always.

so...going back to math...it really is all about math. because numbers in algebra are pretty absolute. people, however, are not. and while i found solace in the stability of math from the unpredictability of people, i've had to learn to be comfortable in the world of peeps because, well, numbers aren't so conversational or supportive or even humorous on a tough day, i guess. and so when people call me liberal or bleeding heart or sensitive or aware or enlightened...it's really just that i hate feeling like i have the one absolute right answer and finding out i don't. math did this to me.

because i have had people make assumptions about me that just weren't true...apply generalities to me that just didn't fit. and while it didn't end my life, it did hurt my feelings. and i'm just not into hurting people. but it also hurts me to assume i know something about someone that i don't. it takes away from my depth as a person and my opportunity to see myself reflected in someone else...often someone i don't think i share anything in common with, or even don't want to believe i could share anything in common with. no, i obviously don't always get that right or pull that off in a way that i'm proud of. i often fall short. but it's a goal i have embraced and the learning in trying to achieve it is huge...learning about the world around me, the people i share it with, and myself, too.