Sunday, August 31, 2008

ADMIRAL BOOM


Remember the movie, "Mary Poppins," when Bert tells the kids, "The world gets their time from Greenwich. Greenwich, they say, gets their time from Admiral Boom?"

If you are wondering where Admiral Boom gets his time, it's from Rojo.

And this was a problem, because through some weird twist of fate, or Mercury in its ever lovin' retrograde, Rojo's watch was five minutes slow. The microwave, clocks, cell phones, computers, everything had one time, and he had another. There was no telling him he was less right.

"Mom! Shut your pie hole! My cuckoo clock is going to ring!" he'd say each hour at 4 minutes past the hour, instead of his previous 1 minute prior.

"Sweetie," I'd answer with nothing but love dripping from every word, "your cuckoo clock already rang! Your watch is 5 minutes slow! Can I please fix your watch to match the real time?"

"My watch is not slow! Stop saying my damn watch is five minutes slow!"

"Rojo! We need to go to summer school! Put your shoes on, it's 9:50!"

"It is NOT 9:50, Mom! Stop saying it is 9:50! My watch says 9:45! We will go when my watch says 9:50! Do not tell me to put my shoes on at 9:45!"

He had switched all three TVs to match his watch, and the TVs are the only other official source of time that interest him in even the least little bit.

I thought through each option:

1) Sneak in his room when he was asleep, take his watch and reset it, but he'd wake up and notice it didn't match the TVs, and then he'd be furious.

2) Sneak in his room when he was asleep, take his watch and reset it, also resetting the TVs, and then explain it all away in the morning as some kind of miracle that everything was synchronized.

3) Dump the whole problem on STM.

"STM," I cooed, with nothing but love dripping from every word, "Today I may very well lose my mind. Would you please get him to SET HIS DAMN WATCH TO THE CORRECT TIME??"

I woke up this morning and joined STM and Rojo, already in action in the kitchen. After at least 3 weeks of fighting with Rojo about what time it really is, he says casually, while pulling off bite-sized pieces of garlic toast and shoving them into his mouth, skinny leg crossed over skinny leg, kicking away at the wall beneath the breakfast bar, "Mom! I set my damn watch! Then I set the TVs! Everything matches! We won't be late anymore!"

"Easy," STM said, as I looked at him and wordlessly asked how he did the impossible.

"I'm so glad," I said, with nothing but love dripping from every word.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Mommy and Rojo Plus 8

Quick! Take a look at this picture:



Now, take a look at THIS:



You can't tell them apart, right? It's like seeing double?? Yea. Thought so. And after three straight days and nights of playing "Jon & Kate Plus 8" with Rojo, I'm seeing all kinds of things that aren't really there.

He's Jon, I'm Kate, and together we have eight kids. I am supposed to say, every five minutes, "Today I may very well lose my mind." Real Kate says this in the show's opening, and he listens for it each time we watch, always turning to me after she says it, big dimpled grin, saying, "I love it when she says that."

We kept mixing up the names of all our kids, so Rojo suggested name tags. He brought me a red Sharpie, a roll of tape, and said, "Here, Kate, I can't keep track of all these damn kids, put their names on them, would ya?"

Alexis (see below) is his favorite girl, and Aaden is his favorite boy (one with the glasses). He makes mention of their favorite status at every possible turn.

"Where is my favorite, Aaden? He was just here! Where the hell did my favorite, Aaden, go?"

"Kate - bring me my favorite daughter, Alexis. Her father, Jon, wants to see her right now."

"Jon!" I scolded, in Real Kate character, "That hurts the other kids' feelings when you say that!"

"Kate," he counters, two arms in the "Yelling Game" position, "the kids know I love them all, I'm just saying favorite, it's betend!"

"Kate! Put the kids in my bed, I'm going to go brush my teeth," he said at bedtime. I, being the dutiful wife that I am, obliged. He came scampering down the hall, flew open the door where I was baby sitting for him until he finished with the teeth, and said, "Now, where is that Alexis? Where is my favorite? She gets to come watch me brush my teeth."

He returned with Alexis, put her down with the other seven, and said, "Kate? Where the hell is that camera? I need to take a picture of my 'swish.'"



Today I may very well lose my mind.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

LIGHTING THE MARYS

Growing up, "Mary" was a 4-letter word (false god) in my house. Today she is a key figure in my life, and in the lives of those around me. Kathleen and I each have several Virgen De Guadalupe candles around our house in strategic places: kitchen, bedroom, desk, altar. And I hope Mary doesn't find it sacrilegious, but she makes an awfully good door stop, too. When one of us needs some extra help, we ask of the other, "Light the Marys for me at ________ O'clock, when I have to do _______________."

There are days that need the Marys in general, nothing specific, just an overall sense of "I need all the help I can get today." Knowing the Marys are in on the scheme of things is quite comforting to me.

Today there is a row of Marys on my altar, and they are all aglow. There are friends sending their kids off to college for the first time, there is someone taking an important exam, one desperately looking for housing so she can enroll her daughter in first grade before Tuesday. One is for my father-in-law, recovering from surgery. One is for a friend trying to get pregnant in an "unconventional" way. I gotta think Mary has a particular understanding of that issue.

And one is for my friend that was killed, and her family. There is such a sense of helplessness, and all I am left knowing what to do is pray, and hold the family in love, and hope that that's not "nothing," but "everything," instead.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

ON A BRIGHTER NOTE...

I just know you are all going to want to travel far and wide to come listen to me as part of the Internet panel, at the Ladies Who Launch BYOB (Be Your Own Boss) Event, Wednesday, October 22nd, 9-4 here in Portland, Oregon. Men, "laddies who launch," are welcome, too!

See you there!

(For more information, feel free to e-mail me at: fullycaffeinated@comcast.net)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

WORD CHOICE

My wonderful, former co-worker at NIKE did not appreciate being called my "old boss." She makes an excellent point. She is neither old, nor bossy. Never was, and I do believe she made the additional good point that she couldn't have bossed me around if she'd tried.

In fact, it was her idea that I take a NIKE-sponsored class on the wonders of word processing, which were just becoming a reality in those days. She thought I should take advantage of the training, and that word processing would make my job and life easier. I wouldn't hear of it. I had a typewriter at work and at home, and that was all I'd ever need. Somehow she managed to get me to those classes, and let's just make it official, she was right, and I was less right.

Word choice.

Not enough can really be made of the importance of the choice of words, or knowing when saying nothing at all, says it best.

I went through old e-mails last night. I was "in a mood" and decided a good raking over of the proverbial coals was just the ticket. I made myself read some hard-to-read ones, and then I deleted them. One finger on the delete button and they were gone - all of them. Poof.

Choice.

Those words didn't serve me any more. I was done with them. And now they are gone.

When I woke up this morning I went to my computer and saw an e-mail from an old high school friend. I hadn't heard from her in years, but somehow she learned of my blog, and found my e-mail address through it. She was writing to let me know that a dear friend of both of ours, from high school, had been killed in a car accident.

I don't believe "killed" was the word she chose to use. It's my choice of words, as it is the most violent of the bunch, and her death has me angry and shaking my fists at the heavens for "letting" a woman swerve out of her lane and hit my friend head- on, leaving her husband and children in the car to watch her die.

No accidents, I'm reminded. And no accidents I just read up on the 5 Stages of Grief, I guess.

Thing is? I wasn't "done" with that friend. And now she is gone.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


THE MIDDLE WAY

Buddhism has, at its core, the Four Noble Truths, which are:

1. There is Suffering - Suffering is common to all.
2. Cause of Suffering - We are the cause of our suffering.
3. End of Suffering - Stop doing what causes the suffering.
4. Path to End Suffering - Everyone can be enlightened.

The path to the end of suffering is called the Noble Eightfold Path, or THE MIDDLE WAY.

In Suzanne Finnamore's book, Split, she comes to the acceptance stage in her grieving process when she realizes, "Nothing is perfect and nothing is wrong." That really resonated with me, but it wasn't until I was doing something else, days later, and I realized, "She just described the end of suffering."

The Noble Eightfold Path/The Middle Way, consists of eight aspects that are intended to free people from attachments and delusions, which are the cause of suffering. The are:

1. Right View - To see and understand things as they really are.
2. Right Intention - A commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement.
3. Right Speech - Abstaining from false and slanderous speech, harsh words and idle chatter.
4. Right Action - Abstaining from harming self or others, taking what is not given, and sexual misconduct.
5. Right Livelihood - Wealth should be gained legally and peacefully.
6. Right Effort - Mental energy that occurs in a wholesome state.
7. Right Mindfulness - Seeing things as they are, with clear consciousness.
8. Right Concentration - Developed through the practice of meditation.

Is it just me, or does this sound a lot like the 10 Commandments? The way I was raised, you feared the breaking of any of the commandments, because some outside force would punish you, namely, send you straight to the fiery pits of hell. Understanding I create my own hell, and I can free myself from that hell at any time, that is both liberating and terrifying - much easier leaving the onus to someone/thing on the outside.

What occurs to me is that I don't have to swing wildly from one way of being to the other, I don't have to abandon all that is right and true about Christianity, nor do I have to embrace all things Buddhism.

There is a middle way.

(There is a great book that parallels the teachings of Buddha and Jesus, for more information click here.)

Friday, August 22, 2008


SPLIT

Not enough can possibly be made of how much I love this book. First of all, LOVE Suzanne Finnamore. Love her other two books, Otherwise Engaged and The Zygote Chronicles. LOVE that she is BFFs with two of my fantasy BFFs, Augusten Burroughs and Haven Kimmel. LOVE that she asked finding a mate advice from Augusten Burroughs and this is his response. LOVE that she posted his response, because I'll be damned, it's about the truest and funniest advice I've ever seen or heard.

This is her first "memoir," although her first two "novels" parallel her life. She brilliantly organized the book according to the 5 Stages of Grief, which is so fitting, and which she makes so funny, while remaining so candid and heart wrenching, all at the same time.

In her Anger section (Stage II) she says, "The snag about marriage is, it isn't worth the divorce. My new doctrine is, never marry. I won't ever again. It is absolute swill. It's not just my marriage. It's all marriages except a handful. Marriage is a conspiracy from Tiffany's, florists, the diamond industry, and Christian fundamentalists. The only thing good about it is the diamond ring, the wedding gifts, and the honeymoon. A, (the name she gives her son in the book) I could have gotten anywhere. I could have gotten A from a turkey baster and a lovely gay man with a college education and a pleasant disposition. IF ONLY I'D HAD THAT MUCH SENSE AT THE TIME. I'm sending turkey basters to all my single girlfriends, with holly tassels, for Christmas."

In Bargaining (Stage III) she says, "Sorry is the two-dollar bill of words. It's worth something, but in the end it's ridiculous, a souvenir at best."

Section IV: Grief, she says, "Grief, I understand with icy clarity, is simply information I allow myself to know."

And she says this, when wondering what she might say to her son one day when he asks about divorce: "I will say: 'You enter into - well. You enter into a kind of madness. You will make discoveries, not all of them happy. And the surprises are not staggered or regularly spaced, they are coming at you at light-speed, all at once, and you have to continue. You don't get to stop and say, I'll pick this all up in a year or so, when it isn't so difficult or painful or scary. When I'm ready. No no no. You have to go back in daily, until. Until it passes, or something happens to lessen its dark brilliance. you never know when this will be. You just have to keep meeting it. And gradually it disperses, leaving a small tear in your heart. A little hole, an aperture in you, as in a camera lens which, in the right light, can be perceived and accepted as a perspective-enhancing hole.'"

You don't have to be divorced, almost divorced, thinking about divorce, or even know someone getting divorced, to appreciate this book - it's about grief. And aren't we all grieving something, or someone? Or both?

Thursday, August 21, 2008


THREADING THE NEEDLE

My friend, Kathleen, originator of "getting the pink," "take an A," and many other of "my" expressions, has a new one that I must have: Threading the needle.

"We went out to dinner with them on Wednesday, but they were threading the needle, too, so it was just a quick dinner," she said the other day.

"I dropped her off at tennis, then just had time to get to the store, threading the needle, before picking her back up."

She uses it to describe those times when she is trying to cram one extra thing, into an already ridiculously tight window of time. Threading the needle is not something she's bragging about, it's with a groan that she tells these tales. We are both craving more peace, tranquility, calmness to our days/lives, and threading the needle has a counter productive effect: Although yes, we get that one thing/errand/social engagement done, too much threading of the needle undoes us.

Our new expression? We don't sew.


* Photo from www.istockphoto.com

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

JUST DO IT

So, you all know that I used to work at NIKE, right? Approximately 100 years ago, round the time Michael Jordan was just hitting it big. NIKE made a poster of MJ, "Air Jordan," and then "Freeze Frame," and NIKE could not keep up with the orders, so I was hired, and the rest is history. I met STM at NIKE, so really, Michael Jordan didn't just give me my first job out of college, he gave me my (first?) husband, too. And, MJ and I are only three days apart in age (I'm older). So, that's the back story.

Flash forward 23 years and my wonderful old boss allowed me to use a guest pass to the NIKE Employee Store. I took Woohoo and Rojo yesterday for some good ol' BTS shopping. Rojo needed new shoes, which is to say, he only owns one pair, also NIKEs, which he has worn, hard, every single day since he got them for Christmas and they are too small, too stinky, and very nearly worn through. And, although he's needed shoes for awhile, I've kept putting it off, because the ones he has don't require tying, yet don't look geriatric. They are "cool," and although he doesn't give two hoots about that, I do. (Besides, I'm cheap, see last posting for proof.)

So, the three of us went in search of a replacement pair, another super cool pair of NIKEs that didn't require tying. Not. To. Be. Found. Rojo is not clear on which shoe is left, and which is right. He does not have the spatial awareness to hold the back of a shoe rigid, allowing his foot to slide in, and then there's the tying problem. I found a pair that might work, offering it out to Rojo for a look, while the shoe remained corded to the display stand.

"Rojo? What do you think about these? Do you like these
shoes?" I asked him.

"I do not like the wire," he said, referring to the security measures installed.

"Oh, I know, sweetie," I said, still full of patience, and optimism, at this point, "we will try on a pair without the 'wire'."

So I grabbed me a pair in his size, loosened up the laces, marveled at their coolness factor, and tried to sell him on the shoe while simultaneously trying to cram his foot in. It would not go.

"What the hell?" he asked. "My foot will not go in."

"Sure it will!" I insisted. "Just keep pushing!"

He kept pushing, crammed in his foot, and we repeated the whole operation on the other foot. I laced them up, had him walk around the store, and pressed down on the toe part, just like all good mothers do, to make sure there was some growing room, but not too much.

"I love them!" I shouted, ebulliently. "Do you like them? Do they feel okay? What do you think?" I asked, bombarding and over-stimulating him, completely.

"Fine. They are fine. Can we go look at the T-shirts now?"

We tossed the shoe box in the cart, Mary Tyler Moore style, and moved over to the "Team Sports" section of the store, where we proceeded to spend the next half hour looking at the same section of T-shirts, while he searched for what he had in mind, one with the name of the college, the name of the mascot, and a picture of the mascot. Again, not to be found. Again, I over-stimmed him by showing him all the possible alternatives.

"Oh! Nittany Lions! You love Nittany Lions! Let's get this one!" I said, holding up a grey and blue Penn State T-shirt.

"But it does not say Nittany Lions," he countered.

"Okay, what about this one?" I said, holding up one that said, "Go Dawgs," and on the back it said "Gonzaga."

"But it does not say Bulldogs," he argued.

This went on and on, he pulling T-shirt after T-shirt out of its nice, neat stack, unfolding entire stacks to see if perhaps the one on the bottom said things the others in the stack, did not. I folded, folded, and kept folding, until finally Woohoo returned from her travel to other parts of the store.

"I'm going to lose it," I said, looking at her, "Will you please help him find a T-shirt, ANY T-shirt, so we can go home? I'm going to walk over here," I said while pointing to the women's section.

I walked away, found some socks I couldn't live without, returned to the kids in two minutes, where upon finding Woohoo holding not one, but two T-shirts, triumphantly, in her hands.

"Done! I found two he loves! We're ready to go!"

I looked at the T-shirts, and only someone who grew up in the Pac 10 can really appreciate this, and/or someone in my family where these type of things take on disproportionate importance, there in her hands was a "U Dub" shirt, bright purple, and arch rival of her father's alma mater, the University of Oregon, and a USC Trojan shirt, arch rival of her grandmother's, my mother's, alma mater, UCLA.

"Perfect!" I said.

When we got home and I began cutting off the tags of Rojo's two new shirts, it occurred to me to check his shoes, see if I could figure out a way to make the going on and coming off of them slightly easier. Jam packed in the toe was tissue. Lots and lots of tissue. No wonder the poor boy had trouble getting them on.

What the hell? I might have just as well bought the one with the "wire!"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008



SAVE A NICKEL JUST TO SPEND A DIME

So I'm writing, and trying to "drop in," using every trick in the book: music, candles, a little centering prayer beforehand, and still I'm highly distracted, listening to all the words of the songs rather than allowing them to fall into the background, annoyed by the jack hammer outside, reminded by the buzzer of the dryer that it's time to switch loads, etc. Suddenly Ferron sings in my ears, "You save a nickel just to spend a dime," and I start to laugh. Oh my hell of God, that is SO me!

Three Classic Carrie examples immediately spring to mind:

Wouldn't buy the $99 running shoes my beloved/trusted/knowledgeable walking partner of 9 years suggested, so bought a pair of $49 shoes that injured my knee, replaced them with another $49 pair that injured it further, THEN bought the $99 pair that solved the whole problem.

Went shopping in the spring, found a darling white cardigan that would go with everything I owned - too expensive - didn't buy it. Thought about it for months. Regretted not having bought it. Went shopping a few months later, found it on sale. Didn't buy it, not sure I needed it after all. Decided I couldn't live without it, too late, it was gone, bought a similar one, full price.

Bought Rojo a refurbished Mac for his birthday, he is so hard on computers, infects them with an untold number of viruses, removes the keys, etc., but uses them a lot, and needs one for school. Decided Mac was the way to go. Decided $1,000 + was not the way to go. Bought one Mac off eBay, didn't work, sent it back, spending $25 in additional shipping fees. Bought another one from eBay, believing it was WiFi ready. It was not. Hired an expert to come to my house and get it WiFi ready. He had me order a WiFi card that would "definitely work." It definitely does not. Do not have the receipt for the definitely on my last nerve WiFi card. Am just about ready to buy a new Mac for myself, and give Rojo mine, if only I can find some poor sucker sweet soul to take eBay purchase #2 off my hands.

Now I'm pissing more time away writing about pissing money away, when what I should/said I'd be doing today is finishing my flippin' book proposal, so I can make some money to cover all my unnecessary and embarrassing expenditures!

To borrow another great Rojo-ism, "I'm kicking my own ass!"


* Photo from flickr.com

Monday, August 18, 2008



HOUSE RULES

Rojo swears. He swears, a LOT, by choice. He deliberately peppers his language with many "damns" "hells" and his favorite, "jack ass." We let him. Around our house the only rules with swearing are: It has to be funny (not mean) and you have to know your audience (no swearing in front of the grandparents).

He follows both rules to perfection, having us doubled over several times a day as he lets 'em fly.

Typical morning:
STM: "Rojo! Come sit down for toast!"

ROJO: "The hell I will! If you would not tell me 'time for toast,' I would not kick your ass!"

Typical afternoon:
ROJO: "Mom! Oh my hell of God! You need to watch me play my basketball game! What the hell are you thinking not watching me play my damn basketball game?"

Typical Beer O'Clock:
ROJO: "Okay, everyone, listen for George, Elaine, Kramer and Jerry to say bad words! Make sure you tell me when George says, 'Jack ass!' Make sure you tell me when you hear Jerry say, 'What the hell?' Make sure you don't forget to tell me when you hear the swearing!"

I'm still not sure what he meant when he told Waking Up in Portland that, "If she was me, I'd be going to hell," but I know for a fact it was funny, and not threatening, and he knew his audience. So proud of my boy.


* Photo from flickr.com

Saturday, August 16, 2008

THE BIKEMAN

Went to dinner with Waking Up in Portland the night of Rojo's bike riding breakthrough. When we got back to my house we asked Rojo to come out and show off his skills. He beamed.

"So, she wants to see The Bikeman?" he asked me with a sideways glance over the top of his glasses.

"Yes, she wants to see The Bikeman," I answered, loving that he'd given himself a new name in the short time I'd been away.

"Okay," he continued, "The Bikeman will show her how he rides in a loop around our house. He will ride in a loop two times. Tell her The Bikeman will ride in a loop two times around our house. Tell her not to forget."

I delivered The Bikeman's message.

Rojo has only been with Waking Up in Portland a handful of times, but they have a special connection. Everyone loves Rojo, and Rojo loves everyone, true, but there are just a few people on this planet that he talks about long after they have gone home, and Waking Up in Portland is one of the lucky few.

Later that night WUIP sent Rojo this email:

Hi Bikeman,

I hope that you're off dreaming sweet dreams. I just wanted to let you know how much I LOVED -- L-O-V-E LOVED seeing you today! You are absolutely A-MAZING on that bike. You look as though you were born flying around the loop. I know that you and your mother are going to be able to have some really fun bike rides now. I can't wait to hear about your first excursion.

Thank you for your wonderful smile and for sharing your skills with me tonight. You are the rockingest bikeman on the planet!!!

Love to you,
Waking Up in Portland

The next morning I read it to Rojo as he stood over my shoulder, breathing his garlicky breath all over me. He said, "Tell her If she was me, I'd be going to hell! Make sure you tell her that!" I didn't/don't know WTF that means, but I emailed back his reply, none-the-less, making sure to let her know he said it with a huge grin.

She emailed later, and apparently that "nonsense" made total sense to her, and answered a question she'd had turning over and over in her heart, mind and soul.

That's my boy.

That's The Bikeman.

* Photo of Rojo and the GODDESS, Jenn, that taught The Bikeman how to ride a bike!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


WINDS OF CHANGE

Went to Safeway yesterday (note to self: Get Safeway to flippin' sponser this blog), and hadn't been there in over a week. It had changed. Significantly. It's been in the process of a major remodel, but in the week I was absent the entrance moved, the carts are in a different place, the little post office inside is on the other side now, and they added a Starbucks! I go grocery shopping at peak older population times, so it was me and the LOLs. They were not happy.

"Miss! Can you help me find __________" I heard many times.

"Crap!" one particularly spicy older woman said, "I'm so damn tired of them moving everything! I can't find anything!"

People were complaining to their shopping partners, they were complaining to the Safeway employees, and many were complaining to themselves, (or God?) out loud.

Change is hard. And so inevitable. And just when we get used to the "new" it changes again. Every. Time. And maybe it's easier to complain about the changes at our local grocery store, than to deal with the changes in our personal lives, or bodies, or families, or, or, or...

Or maybe, the complaints of not being able to find anything, are just that, no hidden meanings, no deeper truths, simply people wanting to know where things are.

When I get going on my "I hate change" tirades, I try to remember how many "Why don't things ever change?" tirades I've had. When Rojo took "forever" to move out of the toddler phase, took "forever" to be potty trained, took "forever" to be left to his own devices, safely, for more than 2 seconds, I prayed up a storm that this would all change. And eventually it did.

And you know what that boy did yesterday? That 12-year-old rode a bicycle, no training wheels, just him and his developing balance and a bike.

That's change.

That's big change.

Maybe today I'll ride with him up to Safeway.

Monday, August 11, 2008

ONE MORE REASON WHY MEN COULD NEVER STAND BEING A WOMAN

Couple of weeks ago I had a busy morning getting ready for a day of appointments and "must dos," but I had something really important to tell Suzy, so I called her in the midst of all the chaos.

"Okay, well, I gotta go," I said hurriedly, one hand already on the hairdryer ready to push "on" as soon as I clicked the phone "off," "I have to go to the dentist and have him drill into my skull, then I'm going straight to get my mammogram."

"Just don't mix up the two and flash the dentist!" Suzy quipped, and I laughed so hard I spit my coffee that I was also juggling, in my already full hands.

Got to the dentist and couldn't resist telling him what Suzy said, "Just don't mix up the two and flash the dentist!" I said, and the shade of red he turned was worth the whole experience of said skull drilling.

Had the mammogram and ended up having an HDR with the technician, as she was very interested in hearing about my round-the-clock hot flashes, and what I planned to do about them, and I was very interested in telling her about them, and asking her what I should do about them.

"I know if I went to my doctor he'd give me HRT, and they'd go away, and I would feel much better, but two women on my maternal side had estrogen receptive breast cancer, so I don't want to do that," I said, one breast smashed beyond belief in the new digital machine, the other one hanging somewhere around waist-length inside the gown.

"You're right," she said, fully dressed, and I couldn't help but think the whole scene was hilarious. "I have the same doctor, and I love him, but that is what he'll do, and you don't want the hormone replacements, you're right about that, too, but what are you going to do?"

I told her about my plans to meet with a naturopathic doctor, my already scheduled, six week out appointment, and my resolve to do anything she suggests, in an effort to solve this pesky issue in a non-hormone, holistic way.

As we continued on with the other breast, we discussed the likelihood that the naturopath would suggest dietary changes, and the likelihood that I would hate that.

None-the-less, until my appointment in a month I am psyching up for whatever changes she suggests, and preparing to make whatever adjustments necessary. Pretty. Much. I am willing to go from "fully" caffeinated to "very little" caffeinated, but I'm not sure I'm willing to go to "completely un-caffeinated." We'll see. If these 20+ hot flashes a day don't get reduced, significantly, I may have to reconsider. I'll cross that ironic bridge when I come to it.

In the mean time, I received a disk of my digital breast images in the mail Saturday, and if you all don't watch out, I'm going to post them. Oh, wait, that's the hormonal imbalance talking...

Friday, August 08, 2008

NATURE CORRECTS

Had a friend once tell me, "Nature corrects," and I think of that all the time. I think about that when my mood is foul and made better by having gone outside and stepping upon the earth. I think about that when I see so many of the "problems" I thought my children had, take care of themselves, all in the fullness of time. And I think about that every time I'm in Sisters and see this tree.

I want to know the story of that tree, how did it grow that way without falling over, without becoming completely uprooted? Then, at what point, and under what conditions, did it start to straighten out? What changed? How long did it grow outward and wayward, before skyward?

Today is said to be quite auspicious, and quite powerful. 8/8/08.

Maybe today is the day that marks the point in time my path will straighten out and go up, instead of always feeling like it's veering hopelessly off course?

Maybe not.

Nature corrects. That's all I know.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

WHOSIT

Because I am a saver, and the first born, and more than a little crazy, I still have many of the board games from my childhood. Hence, a 1976 version of WHOSIT is still getting kicked around my house. It is hopelessly dated and politically incorrect, and therefore, couldn't be more fascinating to Rojo.

"Mom! It is time for our game of WHOSIT! I have picked two people to be, and two people for you to be." Invariably, he chooses "the smokers."

"I am going to be the two boy smokers, and you are going to be the two girl smokers."

Now, let's put aside the fact that the whole point of the game is to GUESS who the other person is, we put "ourselves" face up in front of us and proceed, asking the other questions from the pile of cards in the center of the board, each with an attribute question.

"Are you white?"

"Are you a child?"

"Do you smoke?

"Are you holding something?"

Every time I draw a "Do you smoke?" card and ask it of Rojo, he beams, "Yes! I smoke! I LLLLLOOOOVVVEEE smoking!"

Then, he picks up the stick thingy (yes, that's its official name) used to strike my singing bowl, and shoves it in his mouth before pretending to inhale deeply, filling his lungs with imaginary toxins.

Not sure if this is the Universe's little idea of a joke, seeing that the entire 9 months I was pregnant with Rojo I watched my dad die a slow and agonizing death from emphysema. Am I meant to find humor in smoking? Yes, probably. Humor in dying? Yes, probably. Humor in the fact that my singing bowl will never have its matching stick thingy sitting next to it on my altar, as I'd prefer? Yes, probably.

Then it dawns on me, Terry's expression, "It on a stick!" We're playing WHOSIT and Rojo is "it" and he's got a stick.

No accidents.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

TRUTH THAT'S STRANGER THAN FICTION

Okay, was totally home alone, left for a walk, came home, alone, and walked in the kitchen and found THIS:


Actually, just a yellow one, which I took a picture of on my cell phone, but do not have the wherewithal to move to my computer...

I'm pretty sure I don't have a dog.

I'm pretty sure nobody with a dog came into the house while I was gone.

I'm pretty sure that yellow ball was not on my kitchen floor when I left.

Would someone like to please tell me how that ball got there?

Please?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

THE BREAKING POINT

"Rivers in extremely cold climates freeze over in the winter. In the spring, when they thaw, the sound of ice cracking is an incredibly violent sound. The more extensive and severe the freeze, the more thunderous the thaw, yet, at the end of the cracking, breaking, violent period, the river is open, life-giving, life-carrying. No one says, "Let's not suffer the thaw; let's keep the freeze; everything is quiet now." - Mary E. Mebane, Mary, Wayfarer: An Autobiography

Totally engrossed in this book with about one "aha!" per minute.

Did you know:

* 42 million US women are nearing, or in, middle age, approximately between the ages of 38 -55?

* 15 million of them will have, or are already having, a midlife crisis

* Menopause is not synonymous with a midlife crisis, fewer than 1% of women report menopause as being behind their crisis

* The average age for a midlife crisis, for women, is 44.6 (I was 44.3 when I "left my children.")

* 73% of American women between the ages of 40 - 54, describe life as "much too complicated"

* "During this time of 'crisis' a feeling of urgency arises: Now is the time to either fulfill your dreams, or give them up. To respond is to cast a lifeline to drowning parts of ourselves."

* During this period of time it is likely we will find a "midlife messiah(s)" - someone to whom we look to, to guide us through

* More WOMEN, than men, experience a midlife crisis

* This generation of midlifers is more than twice the size of the WWII generation of men that fought that war and transformed the US economy, and three times the size of the suffragette generation

* This population of women is so large, few sectors of society will remain untouched

Can't talk now, gotta go hear me some Helen Reddy!

Monday, August 04, 2008

HANDING OVER THE KEYS

Took Woohoo shopping recently for school supplies, wedding gifts, birthday gifts, and basic household necessities. We went to "Big Target," the one that is 2-stories and has the coolest escalator just for the cart. That never fails to amaze and delight us. We're like two little kids as we push the cart through its own special gate, into the grooves, then glide along beside it on our adjacent escalator. Cheap thrill.

She helped me print off the bridal registry, search down the gifts, and look for PE shoes for Rojo.

"Does he need facial tissue?" she asks, holding up a two-box package, "this is a good price."

"What about a ruler? We should get him one of the rubber ones with the ridge across the top, that would be easier for him to hold on to, you know."

"I think we should get the couple a shower curtain - that's something they'll use every day. Let's be practical."

When we got home she helped unload the car, put things away, and then she wrapped the gifts and offered to make a card.

She's crossed over. She's officially gives more help than she requires.

When did this happen?

More and more I catch her eye and see that she's just noticed what I've noticed. When something is funny, silly, poignant or annoying, I'll glance at her and see from her face that it's struck her the same way.

When I was a brand new mom a friend of mine, just a year ahead of me in the parenting cycle said, "At each phase something gets easier, and something gets harder." I've thought about the wisdom of those words so much in the last fourteen years.

When Woohoo was a little girl she was not easy, the behavioral pediatrician said during one of our numerous appointments with him, "The qualities that make her hard to raise, are the qualities that are going to serve her well as an adult."

Now, I realize 14 is not an adult, but nor is it a child, and I am beginning to see the wisdom of his words, too, that for years I just believed to be something he said to calm my frazzled nerves.

She was a willful child - she is a headstrong teenager, that cannot be talked into doing anything she doesn't want to do, no matter what her peers are doing.

She was a persistent child - she is a persistent teenager that takes responsibility for her own learning, and will not stop asking questions, until she fully understands.

She was a non-conforming child - she is a teenager that is not afraid to have her own flair for things, she is not a sheep that follows the crowd.

She was a bossy child - she is a teenager that is a born leader.

She had her childhood interrupted loudly and dramatically with the birth of Rojo - she is a teenager that has learned to be flexible, and that all her needs will be met - eventually, but not instantly.

She was a highly sensitive child - she is a highly sensitive teenager, always aware of how others feel, and careful to consider their feelings.

She was a serious child, most photographs show her with a scowl on her face - she is a funny teenager, one that finds the humor in most situations, and above all, has learned to laugh at herself.

I know that as we head into the high school years some things will get easier, and some things will get harder, just like all the other passageways she and I have journeyed together.

I like Drama Mama's comment on my last posting, "There are no wrong doors." I'm sure Woohoo will open a door or two that I'd prefer she not, but I know that when she does, she will be able to rely on herself to figure out what to do from there, and from there, and from there, and if she needs me I will jump in, but I don't hold the keys anymore. She does.


* Photo from pro.corbis.com

Sunday, August 03, 2008


THE GET SMART DOORS

Did you guys see the movie, "Get Smart" and/or ever watch the old TV show? Well, if you answered yes to either, you know all about the series of doors Maxwell Smart goes through to get to work each day. One steal, impermeable door after another, each with its own elaborate secret for gaining entrance.

Took Woohoo to that movie a few weeks ago, and have been processing the metaphor of those doors, for life, ever since. I have such a tendency to get too far ahead of myself, to "What if..." things to death, to have things planned, and each best and worse case scenario all played out in my head, sometimes paralyzing me entirely, and certainly keeping me from "being in the now."

I'm really trying to "Get Smart Doors" my way through the various challenges and opportunities, and challenges to the opportunities, in my life. Trying. "What's the door that's right in front of me now?" I try to ask myself, "And how do I get through that?"

Remember the movie, "The Sound of Music?" Remember Maria saying, "God never shuts a door without opening a window?" As various doors "shut" behind me, I'm trying to turn around and say, "Okay, so where's the flippin' window?" Trying. So much easier to do in the dark of the theater than in the stark light of day.

I recently got an e-mail "out-of-the-blue" - which if course isn't, as there are, say it with me, no accidents! A door that I thought I had actually shut, an avenue I was unwilling to continue pursuing, turned out to open a window I hadn't thought of. Not once. In all my "what ifs" I could not possibly have envisioned the scenario that played out in reality. Remember that feeling of being painted in a corner? Turns out that right above my head was a nice egress.



* Photo from wordpress.com

Friday, August 01, 2008


This just got sent to me as a forward in my e-mail, and instead of instantly deleting like I usually do, I decided to go big with it, because it was just what I needed to hear today, and thought maybe I wasn't the only one! Enjoy!

THE PASTOR'S ASS


The pastor entered his donkey in a race and
it won.

The pastor was so pleased with the donkey
that he entered it in the race again, and it won again.


The local paper read:


PASTOR'S ASS OUT FRONT.

The Bishop was so upset with this kind of
publicity that he ordered the pastor not to enter the donkey in another race.

The next day, the local paper headline read:

BISHOP SCRATCHES PASTOR'S ASS.

This was too much for the bishop, so he
ordered the pastor to get rid of the donkey.


The pastor decided to give it to a nun in a
nearby convent.

The local paper, hearing of the news, posted
the following headline the next day:


NUN HAS BEST ASS IN TOWN.

The bishop fainted.

He informed the nun that she would have to
get rid of the donkey, so she sold it to a farmer for $10.

The next day the paper read:

NUN SELLS ASS FOR $10.

This was too much for the bishop, so he
ordered the nun to buy back the
donkey and lead it to the plains where it could run
wild.

The next day the headlines read:

NUN ANNOUNCES HER ASS IS WILD AND FREE.

The bishop was buried the next day.


The moral of the story is .. . . being concerned about public opinion can bring you much grief and misery . . even shorten your life.


So be yourself and enjoy life.


Stop worrying about everyone else's ass and you'll be a lot happier and live longer!

Have a nice day!


* Photo from www. explorecrete.com