Sunday, January 22, 2012

X marks the spot...

You know what I love about our relationship? There are no expectations. I didn't promise you that I would be here daily. I don't think. Did I promise that? There has been no particular reason why I haven't posted in a few. I don't want to short-change you. If I'm not feeling it, you won't feel it either so why force something, right? So, maybe that should be the expectation. I'll write when the writing is right.

Actually, that's not entirely correct. There have been a few reasons why I haven't posted. Princess turned 7 this past Friday. So on Thursday I made cupcakes. And probably the best butter cream icing of all time. And I tried this super cool technique of striping the frosting as it was coming out but it was a total bust. The first one was a thing of beauty but then the butter started breaking down and getting all gloopy and it looked a bit like unicorn rainbow poop. So, I had to switch gears. I made the rest of the frosting pink. And I was using the coloring gels that “won't make your icing runny”. Liars. Such lying liars. It was super runny. And then I put it in the fridge to give it a chance to get it together. Then it was too hard and all separated butter fat looking. I wasn't going to be able to use it. Unfortunately, it was still ridiculously delicious so I started eating it. I knew I would eat the whole bowl of it so I had to throw it away. But by throwing it away, I had to use an idea I got from a friend of mine and had to mush it into the nastiness of the rest of the garbage so that my sicko mind would understand that it was a totally closed door. Shamefully, I have to admit that that was the only way the message could be sent. I'm not saying I would have dug it out of the trash. I'm just saying there is a part of my brain that would have entertained the thought for a moment. So, I had all these cupcakes that had to be ready for the butt-crack of dawn (which is an actual time – like noon- only this time happens with an incredibly loud and extremely close (how catchy is that phrase? What? I didn't make that up? A book AND a movie? Hmmm.) alarm that Hubs sets to go off at 6:30 am. But that's not butt-crack of dawn. Butt-crack of dawn is 6:47 am when I actually get out of bed to do my half of the morning duties). I had to make more frosting. This time I made a cream cheese frosting. It held up beautifully and was a much better color of pink. Except that it was pretty much the same color pink as this atrocity.

I have also been in a funk. This isn't the good funk – the kind that Prince, George Clinton and the Black Eyed Peas do so right. This is the blah bluesy funk that makes you want to listen to funeral dirge-like jams from The Smiths or Coldplay. I'm just kidding. I wouldn't listen to that music during any kind of mood at all. But my point is that gray weather gives me a gray mood – not black and angry, not white and light. Just this hovering waiting for some sort of shift, some sort of direction towards the promise of spring. I really just tolerate winter so much less as time goes on. It's bleak. I know that it's necessary. I know that all that ice packs down deep in the ground and eventually melts to become a life giving force to blossoms to come but I hate that wait. I'm a soul who needs sunshine. Probably I need a light therapy box and some vitamin D supplements. In the mean time I eat like I'm going into hibernation and sleep about the same way. Anywho, that's what I have been doing with our away time.

Let's catch up on how I'm doing with my resolutions. I still want stuff. But I have been doing splendidly with the spending fast. This was truly tested when I went into a consignment store and they were having a 75% off clearance sale and there was a GORGEOUS purple Coach purse. I have a bit of an addiction to Coach purses. I don't know why but I'm inexplicably drawn to them. Especially when they are $69.99 consignment store price and then take an additional 75% off. A GORGEOUS purple Coach purse for $17.50. If that didn't test my resolve, I don't know what would. Of course, I did text Hubs to talk me down. Which he found extremely easy to do (in the form of bossing me...) because he missed the part where it was 75% off and thought it was still $69.99. I didn't buy it. I'm still pining for it. And a little bitter. But also slightly proud that I could accept Hub's wishes and continue to adhere to my spending fast. Except for, well, here's the deal. If you recall, my spending fast was that I couldn't/wouldn't buy things that I couldn't eat or clean with. And that has been the case. On the other hand, my budget is already all gone. I know. It's because there was considerable increase in stuff that I could eat and clean with. Eating cleaner has a tremendous learning curve. I have realized that I have to make more frequent, smaller trips to get fresh food. I'm over stocking and stuff is getting wilty. I need to use it up before getting more. Previously, I was a stockpiler and for some things I still will be. But you can't stockpile chard. I know, probably you wouldn't stock chard at all much less stockpile chard. Give it a try! Also, I have decided to start making a few cleaners and soaps for the house and I put out some initial supply cost to accomplish that end. I have made my first batch of hand-soap. It's pretty cool. Next up is laundry soap. I'll keep you posted. But that is where my money went. Quickly. So, I have more of a spending problem than I recognized and need to fine tune the spending fast rules. Which at this point are moot because I don't have money which means a spending freeze. So, to recap, current spending fast rules: don't spend any money at all because I don't have any money at all. But that is going to be a massive fail because we are down to our last half-gallon of organic milk and it's still 10 days out to payday. I guess we simply explain to the energy company that we are short with the payment this month because milk has all kinds of ooky extra stuff that makes puberty come faster and younger and I don't want my children to sprout stuff prematurely so we are drinking cleaner milk to preserve their childhood for as long as possible. I'm pretty sure that the companies are totally customer oriented and care about our needs and will accept these reasons as important and probably will even take up the cause and persuade all farms to make organic milk so the price can drop to like $2 a gallon and allow all people to be healthy AND warm during the winter. Stranger things have happened. Not often and certainly mostly at the will of the Great I Am. But still...

I have something totally cool to share. Just after I posted about the resolution of telling my story, a friend asked to hang out with me. We were going to play some board games but when I got there we just talked. And she got all vulnerable about some struggles that she had been having. I was immediately gifted with the opportunity to use my experience to listen and give some additional perspective to what she was going through. And you know what? She hadn't even read that post to know that some of the same things I had revealed in that post were some of the same things she was talking to me about. I just LOVE when God uses me and any of my junk and/or triumph to reach out to someone else. It's just affirmation that I'm doing what He wants for me and that resolution was definitely born of His heart for us to have community.

I haven't been as creative as I have wanted to be. I guess that's a good reason to be posting more frequently. Plus, we are pretty much friends and it's nice to keep in touch. I have been crocheting but I only really know how to do lines and there are only so many scarves that I can make before, uh, I have so many scarves. So, I need to either learn how to do some different stitches or consider learning how to knit. Although, now that I think about it, I don't know what else I would want to do with yarn. I don't really desire to make sweaters or shawls. I would be up for doing a blanket but the kids' grandmother has made them all beautiful afghans so they don't really need another. I'm not going to knit or darn my own socks. I don't really care for Kleenex box covers or tea cozies. Mostly I just like the fact that I'm making scarves all by myself and in the colors I want and keeping my hands busy. One scarf that I made turned out all funky but then I redeemed it by making it into a cowly neck situation with a ginormous button that looks all intentional and groovy. I LOVE it.  I did that my own self. I have a scrapbooking retreat on the books so that's a whole creative weekend to look forward to. I've been drooling over Pinterest and have a boatload of ideas about being creative but haven't actually taken action on many of those ideas.

Okay, you want to talk Pinterest? Let's just go ahead and address it. It's yet another addiction. It's eye candy. It's the wedding you hope to have some day or the one you wished you had thrown together but never even knew you wanted. It's clothing you can't afford. It's bodies that may or may not be attainable. It's how I found out that I am a dork and not a geek or a nerd. It's how your house could look if you had a landscape architect, the right floor plans, an interior designer and roughly 3.5 million dollars. It's food you want to eat. It's tattoos you will hopefully never have enough skin to duplicate. It's vacation spots you didn't know existed but can't wait to get to. It's picture after picture of smack your head you can't believe you never thought of it. It's stuff you want to re-purpose and up-cycle but will likely never find the supplies for. It's an introduction to steam punk which I can't describe but I know it when I see it and I dig it. It's inspiration. It's expression. It's a world-opener. It's proof positive that beauty is subjective. As is art. As is taste, for sure. And that I have good taste. And lots and lots of people do not. I could spend – and for that matter have...- hours on Pinterest. And it's not just me – it grabs hold of most anyone who logs on and it won't let go. Mostly all I ever post on facebook anymore is what I have discovered on Pinterest because I have rededicated all my online time-suck to this entire site of possibility and probably will never execute. And that, my friends, is Pinterest.

And speaking of addiction, let's move on to the next resolution.

9. Exorcise the sugar demon. I reckon that people from both sides of the believing in Christ camp might question the use of the word demon. So, let's unpack that word for a minute. Webster-Merriam's website's second definition of the word is: “a source or agent of evil, harm, distress, or ruin” (footnote and appropriate legal usage expressly implied). I simply cannot think of much else that is so readily available to the general public that fully embodies this definition. wrote an article recently about sugar and summed it up beautifully. “It’s whiter than heroin, sweeter than your fiancĂ©e, more soluble than the National Debt, and more pernicious than nicotine because, like a true demon, this little beauty comes in a million disguises and always dresses like a friend”. Yeah. My go to when I am Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired or Mental – it's food. And by food I mean sweet. My sweet of choice is chocolate but if it's not around, I'll try to make something else work. Or go get chocolate. This article wasn't the catalyst for this resolution or my beliefs about what sugar is or has become. I've written before about sugar. Not for you. But I don't want you to feel left out so I'll sum it up.

I believe (and as this is a belief, it is not based on scientific evidence nor is it endorsed by doctors or politicians or anything) that sugar is a self-feeding organism. I believe that some makes you crave more and becomes this destructive cycle that feels like a rut. And you know what they say about a rut? It's just a grave with both ends kicked out. It takes something monumental to change any rut – but a rut that becomes an addiction and really, embeds itself into pretty much the fiber of your actual being, it sort of seems like something miraculous has to happen. If something feeds on itself, you have to starve it. If you have to depend on something to be your companion when you are in MHALT mode, you gotta find a true companion to see you through. God is the logical first choice but there is a reason that 12 step groups have sponsors. God didn't give Adam a piece of sugar cane and say “feel better (happy, whole, fulfilled) soon”. He gave Adam Eve to share life with. And really, I don't think that the Bible ever specified that it was an apple. What if the forbidden fruit was, in fact, sugar cane and God said – don't touch that – it's going to bring about evil, harm, distress and ruin if you touch it. And then Satan came along and got all tempty and told Eve how awesome it was and God was holding out on the goodness and the supremacy and she should taste of the sweetness of that fruit. I tell ya. If that's how it really played out, so many things would make sense. It would make sense out of having to mash garbage into buttercream frosting to make sure it was inedible. It would make sense out of realizing that you have gained a whole bunch of weight and comforting yourself with the rest of the incredibly fattening cream cheese frosting that you had to make to replace the buttercream frosting. It would make sense out of a system that supports enables the poor who rely on food subsidies to buy Kool-Aid, Doritos, Little Debbie snack cakes, “chicken” patties and other cheap foods that degrade health and promote diabetes and force a reliance on health care that other people have to pay for. I don't mean to sound like a paranoid conspiracist but I take a look at a whole bunch of seemingly unrelated issues and see an entire system of overlapping and interwoven problems that point to what food has turned into. And the more cans and boxes that our food comes in, the more sugar is added to make you forget that it barely resembles actual food. Look at labels on nearly anything in your kitchen – sugar, in all it's aliases is likely in just about everything.

Here's the last thing that I want to say about this. Artificial sugar – it's worse. And here's why. First – it's not natural. Even stevia and fructose – those come from natural sources but go through a process to become what they add to any food. And sugar is natural too but that doesn't change all that stuff I just said about it. And the second reason – it perpetuates the sweet. Really, what is it about us that needs sweet so much that even if we are overweight or get diabetes we will still drink sweet sodas and sweet tea and eat sweet foods and all of it is okay because it's not sugar? It's a lie that we tell ourselves – that it's healthier because it's zero calorie and we can't get fat from it. As if that's all that food should accomplish. We hold the sweet so dear that we would rather take a potentially cancer forming substitute than give it up all together. That's flipping mental. You know what that is? That's demonic and evil. Oh. That's right. I said it.

So. It's all gotta go. I feel like crap. I look like crap. My face is all squishy and I'm all floppy.  I'm hoping this is the last great hurdle. I kicked the smoking. I kicked the drinking. I know that this is going to be even harder territory to maneuver. And I'm terrified of not wanting sugar anymore. Truly. I think about birthday parties and actually fear not wanting to eat ice cream rather than look forward to being free. I can think of no better reason to do this. I have to have faith that the reward will be sweet enough.

And so it seems only natural that the next resolution would be:

10. Exercise.  I feel like crap. I look like crap. My face is all squishy and I'm all floppy.  The crap is just sitting around on my face and thighs and guts.   Apparently, it won't just fall off or be willed off while I indulge myself. I hate exercise slightly less than cleaning. At least with exercise I can watch Burn Notice. *Sigh* With cleaning there's the whole leaving the vicinity of the lone TV in our home. Also, I have an endorphin deficiency. I think that science should study me. Probably that would help my mood – endorphins. But when I'm exercising I never, and I do mean never, get that endorphin release that makes all those exercise freaks ENJOY exercising. It's like most unenjoyable things in my life – I just get all resentful and bitchy and power through – or quit. But I've got to stop quitting the quitting of the exercise. As of today, I weigh 132.6 pounds. I don't want to spoil any surprises but none of my resolutions will be to lose weight. I'm trusting that doing the other stuff that I pledge to do will get me to a place of health and along the way, the health will include a body that I own and not one that owns me. Part of that is to be a weight that is compatible with my frame. That weight is not compatible with my 5 foot 3.5 inch frame. This has got to be about long term change instead of short-term fixation on numbers. But I'll keep you posted on the numbers. There's that whole community and accountability and share my story thing.

Okay. That's all for today. I have been at this for like 4 hours. I'm a giver I tell ya. I have a healthy lunch to eat and an elliptical to ellip. Or a nap to take.

Friday, January 13, 2012

This just in...

This has been bouncing around my facebook page for a week or so.  I hesitated in watching it for no particular reason.  But then I did and I thought enough of it to make it into it's own post and  share it with you.  He says so much of what I would likely take up to 5 pages to capture.  I can't resent his brilliance.  I just want to make sure he shines on as many people as he can.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Once Upon a Time...

Good morning! Sorry I missed you yesterday. Hubs has been cray-zay busy at work which means I have been playing single mom lately. There are women out there who ARE single moms. There are also women out there who are married but whose husbands travel a ton and they live like single moms most of the time. There are also a few men who roll as single fathers. To all those folks I say a resounding – You. Astound. Me. I truly have no idea how y'all do it. I'm nutter just doing a few extra things and when I do just a few extra things, the rest of the few things that I do do fall all to hell. So, yesterday, I was pooped and didn't really have the ability to sit down and do my thing at the computer. The thing about kids is that you have to all the time get stuff for them. And talk to them. And feed them. It's really never ending.

Today, I'm tired. Hubs didn't come home until 6:15 this morning. I told you – cray-zay busy at work. I don't sleep well when he isn't there. It's a whole bed in balance type of thing. Also, I have to remember, while I'm sleeping not to get all twisty so that my back can recover and be all normal. Remembering things while you are sleeping is hard. And it puts a damper on giving into being fully asleep. Also, I'm pretty sure I'm an actual princess. When there are disturbances in my bed – a found lost sock because it used to be that I couldn't sleep with socks on and now I can't sleep without them but somehow I sleep through one coming fully off and the other staying on and undermining my sleep feng-shui, or some random product stuck between the fitted sheet and the mattress, or finding some sort of weirdo wet thing that my stupid sock eating dog coughed up into my bed (I know! Gross! Too gross to mention? It's not my fault it ended up there – I can't go around being embarrassed about my gross dog. I will not censor!) – I am acutely aware of those situations. Also, if something is laying across me that is contrary to being a pre-authorized covering, somehow when I am sleeping, that something takes on a weight of 2 tons and squishes me. If you were to put a dried pea (I'm assuming that it was never a raw pea. That's gross. They rot. Fresh food rots. I've got all kinds of evidence in my fridge.) under my mattress, I think I would detect it all royal style. Plus, I act like a princess what with all my entitlement and waiting for non-existent servants to do all my work for me. Today's biggest goal is to not go back to bed. It's tough to get things done from the bed. Believe me, I've tried.

So. I'm super pissed. Sorry Mom and Dad. Pardon my potty mouth. I am a perfectionist. I know. It's so contrary to everything that I have already talked about. And some day, perhaps, a doctor that shrinky dinks brains so that people can walk around all thinking “normally” in society can explain how I can be a procrastinating, self-indulged, selfish, lazy perfectionist. For now, I'm left to wonder. On top of that, I'm obsessive. Not in a compulsive way where I have to clean my house to the degree that the very thought of a germ withers away from the stench of cleanliness emanating from my home. I don't mean to make light of OCD. It's just one of those examples of how I wish I could do some sort of transfusion where I take on some of their care a lot about spic-n-span and balance them out with a good hardy dose of don't give a damn. Anywho, I re-read my posts about a dozen times – prior to publishing. And after. Each. Some might say that I'm narcissistic. But I'm not. I'm NOT! I'm overly interested, mayhaps concerned, about how the average Joe or Josephina might read what I'm writing. This is how I get my blog on: I have been burned by typing directly into blogger before. I'll be in the middle of typing, minding my own business when all of a sudden, out of nowhere it chops out some of my post. And there were many instances where I was caught unawares by re-reading my post only to find that a sentence started with something fragmented, disjointed and NOT capitalized. As a result, I came up with a brilliant plan to write off line, copy and paste into blogger and undermine it's editing Nazi style. I proof-read, check spelling and add and subtract various brilliant thoughts all while in a officey type program. Then I paste it into blogger and proceed to re-proof-read, re-check spelling and add and subtract various brilliant thoughts because they come so fast and furious and often and I believe you deserve all my brilliance, all the time. You can see now why it takes about 4 hours to do an entry. Yes. I'm aware that I still have mistakes in the final product. May I continue? Sheesh. So, I'm re-reading my post yesterday after it's all published and discover that a big hunk is missing. It wasn't a hugely important hunk of point, but it still bothered the crud out of me. On top of that, I had already announced my entry as ready and plenty of people had read it. I've fixed it since then but it was tough not to re-announce the fixed version. Super. Pissed. Now I know that I have to not trust blogger at all with my precious. I have to perfect my post all in the document phase. Yes. I'm aware that I will still have mistakes in my final product. May I continue? Give a girl a break, already!

You know what else happened when I was re-reading my brilliant post? I realized that all these ideas and thoughts that I had to put into my whole thing about growing up were forgotten. I was going to say all these enlightened things about how Big Stuff is such a little boy that he beats my laziness to the tenth degree. He drops stuff and leaves it there. He decides not to go the bathroom when the urge hits and he is busy. He does not want to clean or just in general do stuff. Except play. And how can I teach him to grow up, if I refuse to? And then I was going to say all this stuff about how growing up is the natural cycle of all living things and seeds are planted (conception) to end up as fertilizer for the next batch of life. And then I was going to put together this video montage of various stages of plant life beginning and ending with the sounds of Elton John singing “Circle of Life” in the background. It was going to be epic. I'm real sorry I short-changed you on all that.

The cool thing about being obsessive is that I check my stats occasionally Okay, obsessive doesn't really “do” occasionally Because I check my stats, I know that I have readers in Germany, Russia, UK and right here in the USofA. I actually know who is reading me in Germany and UK (Hi Girls!) but that doesn't make it less thrilling to feel like I'm internationally known. Also, I seem to be a little popular in Alaska. I don't know how that works but I'm pretty sure that's just some illegal pinging while people are all re-routing internet access from USofA to Russia. No. I have no idea what I'm talking about. It sounds good though, doesn't it? I know that Russia is very close to Alaska because Sarah Palin told me that she can see Russia from her house. Oh. Did she tell you too? She told everyone? Ok. So I guess being internationally known does not make me famous and grant me access to headline making folks.

Without any segue, I'm going to get into the meat of the matter. Here, for your reading pleasure, is Resolution 8.

8. Tell My Story. You may think that I accomplish this daily by just sitting here typing away and hitting a button to publish. And to some degree, that is correct. I tell you plenty about who I am and the stuff I think and do. But that's not what I mean.

Years ago, I was driving and stopped at a red light. Because that's the law. And the car in front of me had a typed out note taped to her back windshield. It was in a font big enough to be read by the person behind her. The note said that she was a beginner at driving a manual and asked that you please be patient and not honk at her because she needs a little more time to get it right. Words to that effect. And I was so moved by that sign. I admired her for being vulnerable and asking for human kindness. I was sad that she had to make up a sign to hopefully get it. I almost wish we all wore signs around asking for what we need. It would break down this idea that we all have to wander around acting like we have this thing called life figured out. It would give us a chance to come together as a community and give people what they need and not what we decide they should or can have. It would create affiliations that go beyond the boundaries of race, religion, gender and just all around judgment. I believe we would be astonished by how much we all have in common. Also, it would clue Hubs into secret answer C about what to get me for Christmas because it wasn't answer a) that thing I bought for myself that wasn't budgeted and he called a gift nor was it answer b)nothing. But I digress...

I'm a Christian. But I hesitate in leading with that. I feel that it gives the person or persons I'm dealing with the sense that I'm judging them and deciding they will go to Hell. I don't want them to wait for me to justify any and all their preconceived notions of what those dang Jesus lovers are all about. I'm just Jenny. I love God and I fully love what He did for me. I want that for you. My own personal way of sharing my faith is just in my day to day dealings with people and life. I give credit where credit is due – to God. Because what He has done in my life is a miracle and I think you should know that. I think you should have hope that He can do that for you. There are people who are gifted going out into the world and teaching people about Christ. That's not the way God put me together. The way I am called to reach out to people and share a love like no other is to use the gifts He gave me. My job is to go where He leads me, answer the prompts He gives me and be a good steward of my experiences. I should get fired about every other day because I fail at my job regularly. I am a flawed person. I am a mess. I don't always look like a person who follows the great I Am. But that is the essence of the whole experience of having this relationship. God is Love. The end. He has called me to do exactly four things. Believe in Him – including His word about how to accept Him, get dunked as a public declaration of my faith and renewal, follow His word and share Him with pretty much everyone. I can show kindness to a stranger and share Him. I can take the time to answer questions about what my church is about or God to share Him. I'm not doing it wrong when I'm doing it – it doesn't have to look like how anyone else does it. I'm wrong when I don't do it at all. And I could stand to do it a lot more often and be righter.

I'm an alcoholic in remission. Semantics. I treated my disease by unplugging it. But I don't pursue specific maintenance strategies which I feel are implied with the words recovering. For me, this works. For others, they need to do rehab or AA or counseling and those are all excellent avenues to beat down demons of all varieties. I say that I am in remission because there is always a chance that my disease will come back.

I'm a mother who has lost a child. She didn't die of SIDS. I didn't miscarry her. She wasn't still-born. She didn't have a terminal or rare disease. She was born perfectly healthy. Angel was beautiful and curious and sweet. She was snuggly and fun. But when she was days shy of turning 13 months old, her brother Scooby got a virus that took it's toll on him and left him no worse for the wear. It passed on to Angel and went horribly wrong. She went into the hospital on Sunday night and deteriorated until we let her go very early Wednesday morning. That's a part I don't share as much. I know how inflamed a topic that can be – life support and quality of life and such. But we made an insanely tough call in heart-breaking circumstances. And we stand by that call. It is sheerly through the fact that I accepted Christ that I made it through that. I honestly don't know how one does not have hope in God makes it through losing a child. I would be much worse than an alcoholic if God had not held me together. I may not even have made it at all.

I have absolutely with depression through various points of my life. I have even attempted suicide. About 2 or so years ago, I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar depression. There are a few things that keep me from fully owning that diagnosis. But I can't escape the fact that the two mood stabilizers and one anti-depressant that I'm on have made a huge difference in my outlook and overall functionality. Also, I can't escape the fact that I went 4 or more days without one of my medications and went full on bat-shit crazy. Sorry Mom and Dad. But it's true. What I took away from that night is that I really don't need to let my meds lapse because just under the surface is the anti-Jenny and she is whack. What Hubs took away from that is that $150 to cover meds when we don't have insurance cards to cover the cost might be a sound investment.

I am forty years old and I have started menopause. And many of the women I talk to tell me I'm too young. To which I say, why yes, yes I am. But I'm not. I've got the symptoms to prove it. And not just the hot flashes. And hot flashes are never considerate. Like today, it's in the forties and I could stand to have some hot-flashes because I'm cold. But I don't have any right now. But my hormones are all akimbo and make me additionally, uhm, unstable. My shrinky dink doc and I have increased a few of the stabilizer doses. I'm feeling much better now. But the menopause isn't going to go away and it makes me a little sad that I'm so blatantly exiting a particular stage of my life. Even if I had decided that stage of my life was way over.

I am a parent that constantly struggles about the right way to raise my kids. I take them out in public and correct their behavior and try to teach them that there are 7 billion other people on the planet and they aren't the only person in the store and watch where they are going! And then a random person will defend my kids and tell me that they are fine like I'm being unreasonably critical. But in the same visit, I will have people looking at me and my kids and the randomness that is our gaggle and shoot me the stink eye like I let my kids run around like hooligans. Which is the right strategy? I am anal about teaching my kids please and thank you. Isn't that a general requirement of civilized society? Are we heading so far off course of a civilized society that please and thank you are passe? I don't have the energy to figure out an award winning successful discipline plan. Or institute a much less perfect one. Or uphold a consistent measure of one that sucks. I struggle with many of the same things my kids struggle with. I, like Scooby, have a finite amount of attention that I can pay to any one thing at any given time. Do I have attention deficit disorder? I dunno. Maybe. I don't want to clean up just like Big Stuff doesn't want to. I throw temper tantrums like Peanut. An unkind word can undo me just like it can Princess. And yet, it doesn't keep from making me crazy when I have to put up with those behaviors with my kids. I don't know what the heck I'm doing. And then my 10 year old comes in last night and says “Mom? You know what I love best about you? Your always finding new ways to care for us”. I know. Despite myself, I tell ya.

I have seven tattoos. I would love to have 8 or 9 or 10 or whatever. I have big ones and small ones. And I don't think I look one bit like a tramp or white trash. On his show, Ami James once looked down on people who get a little single tattoo. He called them souvenirs. Yeah. This is my trip. This is my journey. That's what souvenirs ARE – they are visual reminders of where you have been. Places where your path took you. Lessons you learned along the way. Don't be a tool Ami. We don't all have to be head to toe in ink to be authentic in our love of tattoos.

I'm an only child who was an Army brat. I have lived in Japan and Belgium. Most of my time lived in the states was in Georgia and Texas. I don't have a southern accent but y'all is very much a part of my fiber. I am adaptable and get wander lust. I am a shy extrovert. Or an outgoing introvert. I feel like a doofus when I am forced to make small talk. I hate black and white films and really, any movie made before about 1975. I like music that has a fantastic can't help myself but dance beat but has no artistic value other than to be fun. I am relationally driven but would also love to live completely alone unencumbered by the messiness of dealing with other people who don't do things like me or think like I think. But I would also be creeped out by living all alone and afraid of animals and mountain people barging in. Also, of ticks getting on me, specifically my head. That may sound like an irrational fear but I have had an inordinate amount of ticks discovered upon my noggin. I wear jeans in the winter and dresses and skirts in the summer. I would love to re-purpose and upcycle all kinds of found objects into cool things for my house. But I would also love to have a minimalist contemporary house that looks completely clean, uncluttered and manageable. I claim no political affiliation and find voting to be very frustrating and tedious. Mostly because I hate politics and have no idea who stands for what other than to say that it doesn't matter because ALL politicians lie at some point and make trades in their stances on issues so that someone WILL get screwed but only in the general interest of the public at large. I'm an ex-smoker who cannot afford to pick up a cigarette any more than I can to pick up a beer. I like intellectual humor and dry humor and tongue in cheek. I don't like toilet humor. I don't get it. Why is that so funny? Poop. See? Not funny! There are days that I don't feel like eating. Nothing sounds good. Except something sweet. I'm sitting here planning out my healthy juice that I will drink today. But I'm also planning out if I should make Christmas crack or not. Some days I put on make-up and sometimes I don't – but I always feel naked without it. I think going out wearing shoes or pants that came out of the lounge or lingerie section of a store is tacky. I hate when people call me crazy or stupid. Or imply either. Even if I'm being both. I'm allergic to whining. It chaps me to no end when people complain about things that they have the power to change. Probably I do the same. You pretty much know exactly where you stand with me. And I appreciate the same in kind.  I love my kids and while I may yell at them and fuss at them for their behavior a lot, you best not treat them with anything other than kindness and care. A village does not raise MY kids. I do. Except I need a village when I need a sitter. It's a divide and conquer strategy. Incessant noises make me nuts. So does teeth-grinding. And useless noise. Which is noise that is similar to incessant but not repetitive. Come to the house sometime. There is an example of the differences between incessant and useless noise every. Single. Day. I like documentaries and action films and films from the '80s. I could watch The Closer, Burn Notice, VeronicaMars and Sons of Anarchy over and over and over. I don't believe in letting my husband think that I find anyone else attractive. And I certainly appreciate the fact that he does the same with me. I would LOVE to go to New Zealand some day. I have NO desire to ever visit China, Russia or India. I will eat pounds and pounds of king crab legs in drawn butter. No really. I've done it before and I will do it again. I don't drink enough water. I drink way too much coffee. I found out recently that I am actually an optimist and can't really stand when people have to make negative comments about anything much less everything. ROMPers (Rain On My Parade -ers) are my biggest pet peeve. So is saying “I could care less” instead of “I couldn't care less”.  

So. That's who I am – but still only a snap-shot. These are my headline stories. Every day I strive to be a bit more transparent. I share more of the section D or backstage stuff – the classifieds and certainly the editorials. There are no sports stories... I truly believe that it helps me become free. I stop expecting judgment. I let you see more and more of my ugly bits so that I can accept that you really do like me – and not the me that I play in any one given avenue. Because all this – it means I only have one Jenny to keep up with. And she is a handful. I start hearing more and more from people that they are having the same struggles and thought they are alone. And one of my truths in this world is that the force that opposes good (aka God) is bad (aka Satan). Bad is darkness and isolation. When you are isolated, you feel ashamed and alone. You think no one else could know who you really are, could love you because you did this thing, or thought that thing. Fear wins that game. Fear of being rejected. Fear of abandonment and disappointment. Fear of hopelessness. So, I'm revealing a lot more of me to y'all in case any of you identify and feel even one iota of feeling like someone relates to you or your experiences. I want to be at least one person, to the degree I can from way over here, that you don't think you need to wear a sign around. I won't honk. I'll just be patient. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.   

Monday, January 9, 2012

Just desserts...

Do you twitter? If you do, could you follow me: @12x12x12Jenny? I feel so pathetic with my two followers. Why did I join? Uhm. Uh. None of your business, that's why! Fine. It's because I'm a celebrity hound. And twitter is pretty much just celebrities spewing about every 5 minutes and not much else. It's all at once hopeful and frustrating at same time. On the one hand, you see that the celebrities are actually tweeting back to their fans and you love that there is some reciprocity going on. I mean, they take my money and attention in various ways and shapes. I read up on who's zoomin' who. Except for those Kardashians. I don't care one whit about them. Except in the ways in which God wants me to - you know, since they are humans on the planet and all. Or the cast of Jersey Shore – orange people scare me. Like Oompa Loompas. Or anything that has to do with Twilight and its subsequent films – seriously, you do NOT want me to get into that. I don't care about any of that. So it's a little nice to be noticed by a celebrity on a one/one scale like we are old pals. But then you see that they have 1.2 million other pals and not only did they probably not see your twit, but it's probably some paid lackey that's answering and twittery dittery doing back so that everyone feels like the celebrities care and there's some reciprocity. And you notice this because you check back about every five minutes like a panting dog looking for a puppy treat to see if they RT (re-tweeted – which means singled you out all popularity contest style) because they want to answer you and share you with the rest of the world. It's worse than facebook. Plus. I don't do so good with 140 characters to say stuff (who came up with that number? There are movie titles with more letters and spaces). 

Now, in all fairness, I could have 5K followers on Twitter. But I have a hard and fast rule: if your user name/website/motto/line of work/email address contains some sort of substitution for the word rooster, I won't judge but I won't follow you either. I'm all the time getting follow requests from women who want to show off their wares blindly. I have learned to discern from the picture what their end game is. So, when I eliminate the sluts, I mean harlots, I mean random scantily clad women who are soliciting themselves, I am left with 2 followers. Neither of which are celebrities. Although, one is IJM HQ which is really so ridiculously cool. I hope that they are entertained somewhat by my 8 tweets in the midst of their remarkable work. My other follower is a company that produces and distributes films out of Australia. As far as I know, it's not porn. Probably I should look into it a little deeper. Those porn distributors get mighty devious in distributing. 

The other problem that I have with twitter is that I am not a hash slinging masher master. What I mean by that, my fellow twitter newbies, is that if you want to get any bird cred, you have to put a pound sign (aka "hash") next to key words and phrases in your chirp so more people can find you based on interest buzz words. It's like the labels that I put ion my blog so that I surreptitiously end up in Google searches in things as random as chocolate. Or alcoholic. Or Jungle Jim's. You can see how I can sneak up on ya! And those hashes/pound signs? Those count as part of your 140 character boundary! It's serious pressure. Mostly I follow comedians on Twitter. If anyone can be funny in a short space, it's them. Do you know who one of my favorite Tweeters is (you know, among the great many number of 23)? Rainn Wilson who plays Dwight on The Office. That dude is dry and FUNNY! Also, I get to follow my all-time most talented comedians of ever, Brian Regan. Good gravy.  If you can, you MUST go see his show. And you know what? You can even take your kids to see him because he doesn't have to curse or talk about rooster stuff, or cat stuff for that matter, in his show. He's THAT hilarious!

Today, I have that solid 4.5 hour block that I mentioned in Resolution 5.  I intend to do some Resolution 5 things today. I did not finish the laundry yesterday. That is because my dryer is old. I have to dry clothing products two times to get them ready for the folding. For towel and sheet products, it can be as much as 2 times more that I have to turn that knob and hit start. And since my washer only takes once to get clothing products ready for the drying, things get backed up. And I'm not sitting there waiting for one machine to get on the other machine's cycle. Oh no. I have other stuff to do. I have Christmas candy to eat and blogs to write and ideas to pin (oh, to be sure, we will revisit that one) and other completely non-pressing matters to attend to. 

The other Resolution 5 (R5?) thing I must, must do today is clean my kitchen. I used to hate cleaning bathrooms. Okay, I still hate cleaning bathrooms. But I might have come to hate cleaning the kitchen about 10x more. It is never-ending. Like laundry but worse. Because while I have approximately 34 pairs of underwear which equates to not having to do laundry quite as often as the next person, I don't have 34 pots and pans and somehow, what with cooking, I have to use my pots and pans quite frequently. Which means they get dirty. Like every time I use them. And I have to clean them. Over and over and over. I like our planet. I would like to see our civilization last for centuries to come. Not personally. I really have no desire, truly, to live into my 500s. But every now and again I really yearn for disposable pots and pans. Casserole dishes and crock-pots too. Have you cleaned a crock-pot? Do they all have an eternal chalky white ring in them? Or do I suck that bad at cleaning? Probably it's that. Anywho.  

The other goal I have to do in the now 3.5 hour block of time is some yoga. I did a yoga DVD yesterday and felt that it really did some good for my back. So, I went scouting around the internet (you know, spell check keeps trying to capitalize that word.  Humble yourself, internet) looking for some New Year's deal of the day deals that would let me go do some classes pretty much for free. I didn't see any that were free so I lowered the bar a little and there weren't any for next to free. What I came to discover is that yoga is for rich people to do in a group with other rich people. It costs on average $10 a class to do yoga. And that's only if you sign up in advance. If you surprise them by just showing up, they add $3-$5 shock penalty. There are some upsides to the fact that I am unable to afford joining other people for a yoga experience. One is that I have no idea what I'm doing and, as you may recall, I can't willingly make myself look like an idiot. That's not so calming and soothing. Now, one might argue that yoga is about stretching yourself and that doesn't have to be mutually exclusive of your mind. Also, if you free your mind, the rest will follow. If I learned anything from En Vogue, it's that. But I haven't exercised my uptight muscle enough to relax and unclench so we aren't there yet. The other upside to doing yoga in my very own home is that I'm not using it as an excuse to leave my home. Inevitably when I leave my house, I end up going to more places than just where I set out to go which eats into my doing stuff time. Significantly. As in, I keep wandering around until I have to go pick up the kids because my 4.5 hours has dwindled away like sands in the hourglass. These are the days of my life. Also, the more places I go, the more tempted I am to buy things I can't eat or clean with. Also, to buy stuff that I can eat or clean with. Oh! That leads to a third upside! Doing yoga in my house is free. I can check out DVDs from my library or they even have some on Netflix! So, I'll stretch and extend in all the wrong ways looking kind of ridiculous in the comfort of my own home at a risk-free price. Stupid exercise.

The thing I hate about exercise is that there is no instant gratification. It takes soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo long to see results. Like, longer than that word so long. On Pinterest (Wait! I told you, we will revisit that. Sheesh), there are all these inspirational posters to inspire you to reach your inspired goal of self-imposed (or more unattainable and unhealthy society-dictated) acceptable body image. Mostly they are photos of a chick's washboard abs with some sort of saying like “Chocolate doesn't taste as good as skinny feels”. You know what I say? Skinny doesn't feel as good right now the way chocolate tastes good right now. That's what I say. Also, skinny is gross. I'm not talking about being 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighing like 100 pounds at best like Fiona on my recent obsession, Burn Notice. She has small bones and is a dancer and I don't think she looks like a morning co-host who used to work with a man named Regis. That woman scares me with her scrawniness and I just want to grab her in a head-lock and shove twinkies down her face. But in a loving way and with twinkies that aren't processed and are organic and cruelty-free. Skinny is not healthy. I miss Marilyn Monroe and the 50s. I miss them as much as I can having not shared a generation with them. I miss the 1600s when a man named Peter Paul Rubens saw beauty in curves. Not so much the burning for heresy (suspected or substantiated) that happened in the1600s. Not that I'm a heretic and would have much to worry about. It's just not a nice thing to do to someone. My point is that, at some point, it would be nice if there could be a balance between the obesity that is so rampant today and the obsession with being skin and bones that is also so rampant today. What happened to shades of gray? Why can't I celebrate the changes that my body has gone through because I have been blessed to have grown life inside of it? Because it still looks a little bit like I am blessed to have life presently growing within it, that's why. But I'm done growing babies and it's not so great to just schlump around not trying to feel your best. It's pretty hard not to look your best when you feel your best. Also, it's incredibly not so great for people to ask you when you are due when you are totally not due.  That's what I'm trying to get at here.

You know what else I'm doing with my 3.25 hours of free time? Blogging just for little ol' you. I made a commitment to you and by good golly, I'm going to keep it. Really, I think it trumps all the other stuff that I mentioned I should do. I'm a giver.

Okay. I'm down to about 2.75 hours of free time so we better get this show on the road. Also, I don't know how much longer I'll be able to hold your attention because I've already eaten up about 3 pages of stuff I've said. However, I would like to point out that I AM using more paragraphs today.  Hopefully breaking up 4 ginormous paragraphs into about 57 smaller ones will make this easier and more engaging to read.  You know, more than my holding your attention on sheer wit and interestingness alone.  

Probably, you thought that this resolution might have something to do with exercise or some other healthful thing, but you would be wrong.

7. Grow up. I hesitated in announcing this one just now. Really, my intention was this would be Resolution number 12 because truly, all the other resolutions stem from and ultimately are tied up into this one. But the ideas just started piling up in my head about what to write and I saw no way out other than to get the them out before they ran away.

I am, for all intents and purposes, an petulant child stuck in the body of a weary 40 year old woman. If I look at my childhood, I can see the writing on the wall from various experiences and life-long belief forming moments.

For one thing, I am an only child. I did not have to share one thing with anyone for any reason ever. What's mine was mine. And you know what? Today, what's mine is mine. If I'm done with it, you can have it. But for now, it's mine. Both my parents worked and I was blessed with a great deal of “have”. I got indulged pretty good. So, I have carried on that tradition. It's as good as any. Like cake for your birthday. That's a tradition. That's a good tradition. Like indulging yourself. Maybe that's not so much a tradition. You're giving me a lot to think about here.

Part and parcel with "mine" is that if I want it, I get it.  Not in a kleptomaniac sort of way.  More in a spend money on stuff I don't need to spend money on kind of way.  Or in a "oh, money is not a limitless resource?  kind of way.  Like that.

I eat like a child – whatever I want to, whenever I want to, because I want to. Like birthday cake for birthdays. Or birthday cakes just because they have been marked down. I love fruits and vegetables and I will eat them when the mood strikes. But as a woman starting to reach into my “the change” years (keeping it old skool), my mood often strikes with a rampant overwhelming need for chocolate. And salt. And salty chocolate. So I eat that. Because there is a demon inside of me and if I don't eat that, I'm convinced that the menopausal monster will get out and wreak all myriad of havoc. So, really, eating chocolate all the time is a safety measure to protect those in my home. Or those I share the road with because there are some straight up idiots driving around in cars anymore. Or those that I have to wait for. Pretty much just a general “those” that I'm trying to protect.

I don't do anything that I don't want to. And, I think that you have probably correctly surmised, there are a few things that I don't want to do. And by a few, I mean a great deal.  If there weren't, what would be the point of resolutions? Or a blog about resolutions? So, maybe we could agree that not doing things that I don't want to, is in fact, productive. It means that I will all the time have something to write about. Also, if I have unattainable goals, I'll spend lots of time pursuing them and always keep busy with the trying! Except for the part where I give up and don't do anything because I don't do anything that I don't want to do and I don't want to do that.  

I'm scared of disappointing my parents. I know. Whoa. I said that out loud (well, I typed it out loud) and was all vulnerable and exposed. I think there is a healthiness in a respectful stance when it comes to your parents. I think we all carry around a hope that our parents will be proud of us always and forever. These are the people who sacrificed and raised you. And, even if they didn't or if they did a sucky job of it, I'm so sorry that you got hurt, but even then, God still calls us to honor our parents.  But this fear, it goes beyond that. 

I watch actors and who they portray on film (read the very first paragraph way up there again, silly! Me=celebrity hound). I listen to the words and phrases they use. I see the skin they show (not intentionally! They just spring it on me when I'm caught all unawares! I'm not a perv!). I think about the situations they act out. And I think – that person likely has parents. There are people (mostly women) whose ongoing 15 minutes of fame are not based in talent, but in a widely watched sex tape (not by me. I don't watch sex tapes. I told you, I'm not a perv.  And, I kind of don't recommend that you watch them. There are all kinds of reasons. Just trust me on this one). And I'm a little horrified. I'm not a prude. I'm not even trying to pretend that I play one in a blog. Sure, this could all be my uptightness busting through. But I think about a movie like American Pie and as hilarious as it was – and it was- I wonder what goes through an actor's parent's mind when they watch it - “I'm so proud of all the money my kid made by doing that to a pie for everyone to see!!!” I don't know. Maybe a parent is so dang happy to be driving around an Escalade that they don't really care how they got in one. I've watched Kevin Smith talk to crowds about some really intimate information about drugs and toilets while his mom was sitting right there in the audience and I'm stunned. I couldn't be an actor for just that reason. I couldn't stomach my parents watch me as anything less than civilized and behaved. I can't imagine specifically embarrassing them. I don't know how anyone can be all adult and naked in front of them.  Or simulate all sorts of stuff in front of them.  Or say certain words in front of them.  Also, I couldn't be an actor because I can't act. Also, pretending makes me feel foolish and I can't knowingly make an idiot of myself. I know, I said that before, but it's so true, I'll likely say it often. I understand that at some point I have to allow my kids to do their own thing and maybe it's because they are still so young and innocent but I have a tough time imagining that if one of them ended up producing a “Burlesque” show (which is fancy talk for stripping), that I would applaud their success. Love them, always, but support that – not as easy to promise.

Now, there is a flip side to all this parental reverence I hold dear. The reality is that I have totally done things that my parents are not proud of. They have forgiven me, thank God. And, in the grand scheme of things, they came out pretty lucky on the having a hellion as a kid front. But the way I go about this is a protective bubble that I'm not supposed to put them in. It's not my job to shield them from my realness.  And it really isn't healthy for me, as a forty year old human to be afraid of my father getting angry with me. It's also not healthy for me not to regularly check-in with and build into my recently widowed mother (to avoid confusion – divorced and remarried parents). These are not mature behaviors. They are the behavior of someone that is choosing to stay in a relationship that doesn't exist anymore – with one, I am a child and with the other I am an apathetic teen.  And by choosing to remain in those expired relationships, it traps my parents there as well. It doesn't afford either of us the joy of becoming friends rather than the boss of me/no you're not! Phase of childhood. It keeps me from revealing who I have become and ultimately, I don't give them the chance to accept me as that person.  I'm pretending to be something that I'm not. I'm not being honest. I'm also denying them the ability to be accepted as the people they have grown into being. Parents change too. It's true. I'm a parent. I've changed. And in some good ways, too! They deserve better than that after all I put them through. I deserve better than that after all they put me through.  See - I'm almost tempted to delete that last sentence. I'm all afraid of hurting their feelings.  Or making them upset.  Or angry.  Screw 'em if they can't take a joke!  Too much?  Yeah.  You're right.  Sorry folks!

All this amounts to one fundamental truth. I am not doing all that I can to grow into anything else. If I stay in the past, there is not much to look forward to in the future. If I can't delay gratification, I'm not stoking a passionate fire. I'm pouring gasoline on it causing it to flare into a spectacle of now and then dwindle down to even less than it was because so much got burned out in the showmanship. If I can't cut out my selfishness and my stinginess, it's gonna cause gangrene and stinky rot. The kind of rot that stinks up your heart and your potential. That's what kind of rot that is. I know. I started out so eloquently and then brought it down a couple of notches. So, we shall sum up thusly (that's mature talk, right?). Get out of the past. Enjoy and celebrate the present. Don't worry about the future but build into by enjoying a little less in the present. Open the present, not when you get it but in the future it was intended for. Celebrate with cake. Don't cuss around your parents because it's not ladylike but cuss like a sailor around your kids because they don't care if you are ladylike. 

For the love. I'm down to like .5 hours and it's all your fault!! It's not fair!

Do I HAVE to go do the laundry right now? I don't wanna. Oops.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The rules are there are no rules...

I'm not sure what kind of research went into it, or what the criteria was, but I don't understand how the term “sick as a dog” was coined. Where do they get off being all sicker than the rest of the species on the planet? And around our particular household, when dogs get sick, they go eat some grass and work it out themselves and quickly. They don't lay around rolling from one side to the other trying to counter-act the nausea. Nope. So, two days ago I was sickER than a dog. I don't know the ins and outs of the entire malady as quite a few things were working against me. I don't want to bore you or gross you out with the particulars other than to say, I was throwing up a lot. You don't really want to get on the computer while this is going on, even if it is a desktop. Because if the urge hits and you don't react quickly enough, it may only be the keyboard that gets the business instead of the ENTIRE computer that is a laptop, but cleaning a keyboard to the degree of salvaging it is tough. And also gross. Probably that was more detail than I promised not to give you but now you really know why I have missed out on providing you the posts that you have so been yearning for. As for yesterday, I was in recovery. Throwing up is tiring stuff and makes my shoulders all tight from cinching up for the throwing up so I did a lot of lounging. Here's one more token throwing up before moving on the next paragraph.

So, here are a couple of updates for you.

Food: I bought some Christmas clearance candy again yesterday. I know. I know. Chocolate is sort of my go to at this point instead of liquor. I reach out for something that will be immediate fulfillment and instant gratification when I'm Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired (I'm adding in Mental – we will talk about that another time. The thing is that HALT works way better than HALTM. Or maybe it could be MHALT but then that makes me thing of malts which makes me think of chocolate shakes and ice cream and such).  So now I eat chocolate. I'm not sure if that is better, worse or the same as having a few hundred cocktails daily. Just kidding! It wasn't THAT bad! Both are sugar based empty calories. Both provide empty comfort. Both can leave you with a sick feeling when you have too much. You feel sluggish and have a headache in the aftermath of too much. Also, both tend to be secretive – one because it's shameful and the other because I don't want to SHARE my chocolate. Hmmm. The evidence is piling up in not substituting chocolate for liquor. On the other hand, one is legal to drive with in your system if you have some or a lot. One doesn't impair your judgment (you know, aside from feeling compelled to always, always buy it when it is 70% off and wrapped in seasonal colors AND comes in flavors that you can't get any other time of the year). One day, I will figure out how to defeat addiction all together instead of it transforming into a different version. One day. But here is some GOOD news.

Spending fast: There was some other stuff that was also 70% off. I didn't go for the boxes or wrapping paper or any of that. I did go for the Blokus board game. I LOVE board games. I don't even need to win. I love close games.  Those are my favorite.  So, like, (yeah, I'm a product of the '80s.  That's right.) I don't understand when Hubs is watching HIS team and gets ticked off that they didn't win by 35 points or more.  It's not enough that the team won.  It doesn't truly count unless they pummeled the other team.  Is that a guy thing?  I think a game that comes down to the last seconds is way more compelling.  Not that of that matters because I couldn't care less about sports of any kind and don't care how they begin or end.  Also, I don't care about the middle.  But we aren't talking about sports.  We are talking about board games.  And what I'm saying is that I'm thrilled to have a great competition and lose against formidable opponents. Also to win against formidable opponents. It's true. I play Words with Friends on my iPhone with several games going against a few friends and I win my fair share. Perhaps my opponents would argue that I win far more than my fair share. That's fair. But I think I'm making better players out of them. So, I guess you could say that beating them is actually a public service. Iron sharpening iron and all. But I have one nemesis who pretty much beats me all the time. And I don't mind a bit. It doesn't mean I don't try to win against her. I just love that I lose by trying my best. On the other hand, I played against one friend who played by adding one letter, maybe two, to the board at any given time. I won like 470 – 50 against him. Pretty hard to feel triumphant or proud of that one. It's like snatching a lollipop from a kid who hates candy or something. I don't know if it's like that. I've never done that and haven't fully thought through what that feels like. It sounded good at the time. Anywho, I have played Blokus exactly once in my life. And from that once, I have wanted to add it to the collection of games I have that no one plays with me. God love him, but Hubs is not into board games. He plays them with me about once a year because we have the games and he's not a fan of seeing us spend money on stuff that goes unused. Probably he does it for me a little too. Blokus is usually $25-$30 depending on the store and the time of year and what-not. That's not an appropriate price for a game that will only sit on a pile of other games waiting for the children to think the innards of the box are pretty or useful in their pretend game of anything and ruin the opportunity to play the game ever again. Because it's hopeless to try to buy property if you don't have the property cards. Or build houses on the property when you don't know how much they cost because you don't have the property cards. Or the houses to put on the property. So. Blokus was $9. And you know what I did? I texted Hubs and asked him about it. Of course, I was of the mindset that I wanted it and I would likely buy it no matter what he said. But he said okay. I think it's because he wants a Roku player and he could probably justify that cost a little more if he lets me win one here and there. Probably he did it for me a little too. But the point is that I checked in because board games are not edible (unless it's one of those chocolate ones they sell around Christmas time - but this wasn't one of those) and they don't clean anything (unless you are betting the bank on them and lose.  But we aren't the gambling type.  Because we don't have the money to gamble and gambling is addictive behavior.  And, as you may recall, we have established that I'm not so good with doing addictive stuff).  Anywho, I was true to my word and  talked (texted) through an extraneous purchase. I am now the proud owner of Blokus. Anyone want to play?

Cleaning: I'm doing laundry right now. Yes, I'm counting it towards the cleaning. Leave me alone.

I read this article about words that should be banished for the year 2012. I would like to point out that I haven't even used a lot of those words! Isn't that AMAZING? Mostly it's because I am too busy making up my own or slaughtering the ones that already exist. People have been doing it for lots of years. That's how Webster's stays strong - by having to add words that start out as slang entries but become part of the lexicon. Also, if I'm going to identify myself as a writer, I don't think that I should be limited to the rules of grammar and words that already exist. There get to be innovators in just about every field. People discover new uses for old stuff all the time. Scientist discover new species. Mathematicians come up with theoretical equations that can never been proven (how cushy is THAT job? I could do that job. I come up with math that doesn't make sense and doesn't add up all the time. I could just come up with some cockamamie letters other than x, y and a and b and call it a day – and a paycheck. Prove me wrong suckahs! You can't!). Astronomers or Physicists or whoever discover new solar systems and planets (Pluto). Also they undiscover stuff (Pluto). But as a writer, you are left with two things: your voice and the material and tools that everyone else has access to as well. That maybe turned into three things that a writer is left with.  I'll come up with an equation that justifies me calling it two and get back to you with that.  So, how does a writer stand out? I don't fully trust that my voice is strong enough or experienced enough to be to make my mark yet. So, to distinguish myself, I say to hell with the rules and regulations! I will rebel against the oppression and the tyranny of the confines of standard English. I will use fragments and run-on sentences and I will overuse commas.  Oh. I'll do it.  Also, do you know how many legitimate words defy the “all-knowing” spell check? Many, that's how many. Like “texted”. And it wanted to put a space between "I" and Phone. It won't even let me make that a lower case "I" to make my point!!  Apple should be outraged. So I say that language is flexible and I shall use and bend it to my whimwill. That's what I say. Speaking of which, that draws us to my next resolution.

6. Do something creative every day. When you don't win accolades or critical acclaim daily for doing something you love, it can dishearten you a little and make you a little uncertain about your abilities and talents. And by you, I mean me. And by me, I mean I. Because to insert me in the above sentence is lunacy and totally incorrect grammar. But it is correct in the spirit of the meaning. Now, perhaps one, and by one, I mean I, should actually submit various forms of creativity to be critiqued, judged and rendered brilliant. But then I would be subjected to critique and judgement and be vulnerable to hearing that I am NOT brilliant. And who wants that kind of heartache? It's way safer to believe in my brilliance in my own head and then cry in the middle of Jungle Jim's when someone sends me a personal message just to tell me that she thinks I'm a little brilliant in my writing as well. That's just good strategy for an uptight person.

Speaking of uptight, that's another reason why I am a little uncertain in my talents and abilities. In addition to being a writer, I'm a scrapbooker (another word that my spell check can't stand). But my best work comes from copying someone else's ideas. I look at other people's layouts or sketches and develop my page from there. Probably if you don't scrap, that sounded like jibber-jabber. But this is compelling information to enhance my point, I can tell you. I can't free-hand doodle. I look at all these amazing (sorry!!) doodles and it's become a real art-form. I try to do it and there is all this white space that I don't know how to fill. And then I get paralyzed looking at all the blankness and get doodler's block. When I'm cooking, it's more miss than hit if I just throw stuff together rather than taking a recipe and tweaking it. So the long and short of it is that I am not comfortable in inventing much from scratch. I'm less creative and more re-creative. Whether I write (by typing or with an actual pen because I hate pencils), or scrapbook, color, crochet, or take some time to fiddle around with my camera because I have no idea why there are settings other than automatic, I get happy. It truly fills my soul to do something re-creative, to refill a well that I believe God made in me to pour out into world for whatever purpose He sees fit. Remember, The meaning of life is to find your gift.  The purpose of life is to give it away”.  I think when I get quiet and listen that voice within, I have the gift found. That means that the work is in the giving it away. So, here. This is for you, if you want it. I can now officially check off today as a successful day of working on my resolutions. I gotta go. I'm looking to earn bonus points by FINISHING the laundry. Stupid laundry. On the other hand, I'll most certainly eat some of that Christmas candy which would cancel out the bonus points. If I eat enough, I might even cancel out the points for this entry. I am my own most formidable opponent. I'll call it all a draw. Drawing is creative.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Coming clean...

I don't know if this is going to surprise you or not but I actually don't always know what I'm going to post until I sit down to do it. I'm not trying to scam you – I do have 12 resolutions to pursue this year. I may not know EXACTLY what they all are yet but I have a general idea of the direction I want to go in. Today I had two different things bouncing around in my head and I couldn't for the life of me figure out which one to pursue. And I'm going to be honest, I'm typing this right here and now and I'm still on the fence! I'll just start talking and we shall see where we end up.

I spent time with some gals last night that I like pretty good. Oh, who am I kidding? I straight up adore them! I couldn't be more lucky to have ended up in a group with them. I get to be vulnerable and uptight and gossipy and they love me any ol' way. One of the chicks was the hostess of the awesome New Year's eve par-tay that I had such a good time at. She had food left over and fed us and hosted us some more. Lamb is gross but somehow they make little lamb burgers that I am super happy to keep popping into my mouth. And she sent me home with the rest of them. Cookies are delicious and happy and fattening and delicious and happy. And she sent me home with the rest of them. And then there are little potatoes stuffed with gross but somehow rendered delicious in their capable hands blue cheese Or the gross light version of Roquefort – still delicious when made by this super star couple who loves to cook. Guess where those suckers are? In my fridge. For now. Until lunch. What I'm saying here is that I have food in my possession that I will eat and while I haven't committed as much to you in a formal resolution status, I do plan to eat better this year. Maybe by better I should just mean deliciouser. Maybe I'm being too uptight with legalities and definitions and what not. For the record, I'm not committing to that – to the whole eat better/go on a diet- scene today. That is NOT one of the two things I'm deciding on. It can't be because I have cookies and potatoes to eat. Hubs got to take the little lamb burgers in for lunch because he is the dominant carnivore in our house. And I'm nice like that sometimes. And as long as he was leaving me the cookies, he could pretty much have what he wanted for lunch. I had the cookies for breakfast. What? I was drinking coffee and what goes better with coffee than holiday cookies? Not cereal or oatmeal, I'll tell you that. Perhaps I ate a little whipped cream right out of a bowl as well. What? It wasn't cool whippppped product for goodness sakes! It was actual cream that I had to do something with before it curdled up and died in my fridge. I was being unwasteful. No. It wasn't organic cream. And I'm pretty sure that the cookies, potatoes and lamb burgers weren't organic either. BUT they were made and previously eaten BEFORE the new year started officially so I'm grandfathering them in. Yes. So that I can eat some more right here and now. Judgey.

My back took a nose-dive yesterday. I met with my friend CoKe for lunch. God love her. I got a deal o' the day site deal for a place (maybe I drove 5 minutes, maybe I drove 2 hours.  You don't know!!) we hadn't tried before. Yeah. We had no idea that it was vegan. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But when you are not expecting vegan, I think that it takes you aback. Not so far aback that we ended up out of the store. We were very brave. CoKe was even so brave that she ordered the Mac and Cheese. Which was so not cheese! It wasn't bad. Here's the thing about vegan. You don't know what you got until it's gone. Things that are different without animal by-products include but are not limited to lattes, Caesar dressing (and I don't just mean disgusting ol' anchovies), mac and cheese. We had a good time talking and such and then we perused the rest of the joint before I had to hightail it out of there to be late for picking up the youngest three of my kids. There was some super cool stuff there. I didn't buy a single thing, thank you very much! Woo hoo! Way to support local industry! Anywho, the whole time that I was there I was sporting a therma-care patch. And the whole time, it didn't do much. I still walked all funny to feed the meters. By the time I got home with a van load of people, I was done. I had to get back onto the couch and be still. Then Hubs got home and man-handled me in a novice home-schooled chiropractic way and loosened me enough to go be with my girls. But he didn't pamper and console and sympathize me quite the way I would appreciate (perhaps also in the wayunsubscribing to every newsletter and coupon situation known to man being emailed to me and deleting all the unsubscribe confirmation emails that come directly after that. Good grief. I'm breaking up with them already! Yes. I'm sure. I'm sure I'm sure. Even though it means that I will get virtually no emails on a daily basis because these are the extent of the correspondence I receive. Virtual clutter is still clutter. Sniff. It's fine, really. It's not me, it's them! I just need a moment...

In the mean time, my next resolution has started fleshing itself out. I know that because I've been avoiding it all day long. I gotta pick up what I'm putting down... no, literally... oy.

5. Clean. My. House. I can inspirational message it all the live long day but the long and short of my reality, as well as those I share space with, is I HATE CLEANING. I will do just about anything in the universe to avoid it. Okay. I take that back. The list of things that I will do to avoid it actually does eliminate a lot of stuff but still. I kind of don't even mind that Hubs gets frustrated and upset with me. So that's one thing that IS on the list – I will let Hubs get frustrated and upset with me to avoid cleaning. I know. That sucks. That dude works real hard at stuff I don't understand a lick to make things happen for our family. And this is my job. This is what I'm supposed to be doing to contribute to our situation. To society at large, really. I feel certain that the state of my home affects society, sure. I'll buy into that if it can make me change my ways. I wish I could reveal a strategy that I've come up with to make this resolution happen. I haven't. I have NO idea what to do to tolerate cleaning. In broad strokes, it involves having less to clean. Purge and organize seems like a good place to start. The trouble with that is that when I start looking at all my stuff, I remember what I bought it for, what I was going to do with it. I start getting all nostalgic about the best laid plans and the road to Hell being paved with good intentions. I start getting all down on myself about what kind of mom I became instead of the one I wanted to be – I was going to be all gung-ho and crafty and resourceful and such. We were going to play this board game and laugh and learn. I get all bummed out about projects that never got started or lay about half done. I look at the entirety and run away. I go to the store and buy more stuff to put on top of the other stuff. More stuff full of promise and ways to Hell. But I am on a self-imposed spending fast so I can't do that right now. I have committed to be more intentional with my life this year which means I can't throw money or products or clothes or TV at my kids and expect to have fulfilling relationships with them. Or expect them to overcome my example of sloth and turn out to be productive members of society. So, see! It does affect society at large! I can't tell my Hubs that I love and appreciate him and all he does when my actions are screaming out something ungrateful and selfish.

That's the stuff that has to happen and the why. And that is about as much as I have right now.  The how totally eludes me.  I don't know how to unprocrastinate. I don't know how to unselfish. I don't know how to clean. I mean, I do know how to clean – although, if I didn't, I could really use that to my advantage soooo... hmm... Alright, FINE. I do know how to clean. I can spray products on other products and wipe off. I just don't have a working knowledge of how to do that with regularity when EVERY fiber of my being resists it. And EVERY fiber of my being indulges me.

I have 9 rooms in my house – not counting closets. Or my basement. Which really should count as 15 rooms given the amount of stuff down there. So, I have 24 rooms in my house. And I have 51 weeks left in this year. I have 5 days of the week that I'm willing to do work on. I do stuff at my church one day of the week. Out of 4 remaining days of the week, I want to use one to build into my relationships. I would prefer two but I am willing to keep it down to one. I'm being rather magnanimous as we break this down together, no? So, I have 3 days a week with a solid kid-free 4.5 hour window. 13.5 hours to work in a room and purge and organize and make decisions that stuff will not make me happy. Not even the cutest scrap-booking embellishments in the universe. But I have to clean toilets that are not in most of the rooms that I am focusing my time, energy and resentment towards and that's not accounted for in the 13.5 hours so where does that time come from? Okay, okay, I think now, I have to dedicate 1 hour of each of my three days to household maintenance. Right, yeah. Okay. So, I still have 10.5 hours a week. That's still a lot of time. I think I can do this. Wait. I also have to feed people which requires ingredients. And, I don't go to the grocery store encumbered by people. Like ever. It's a mental health issue. And I have to spend some time scouting the discounts on my newly more expensive eating strategy. Okay. So that's probably a 2-3 hour grocery store run. Although if I break that down into two one hour runs, that frequency will allow me more access to marked down products. Yeah, that's good. Okay, so that's twice a week. Which means I'm down to 8.5 hours a week to make this work...

I'm done. I'm exhausted. We're both bored. Admit it. But now you see how I process all this and end up just quiting. I don't get it. I go to other people's house and they have kids AND jobs and church and relationships and charities and hobbies and exercise and clean homes. And tolerable kids. And smiles on their faces. And some of those people don't even drink coffee. Are they on Ecstasy? Or meth? What the hello kitty is the secret???

That's all I have to offer up on this one. I guess that you will see me flounder about the whole year trying to decipher the enigma of cleaning a home. Bet you never knew that it could be so soul-sucking, life-questioning, will-breaking to have a clean house. Oh. It can. On the other hand, it just can't. Blah.