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Showing posts from August, 2009

Under Construction Forever?

Two months ago, the maintenance supervisor at work announced that the road in front of our building would be shut down until the end of August to widen it into four lanes and make a roundabout.  The stretch of road is still a dirt-covered mess with giant concrete pipes and construction machinery everywhere.  I’ve adapted.  I can go over a mile out of my either east or west to get back and forth to my home or to the hospital where I do assessments.  As I did the familiar left turn at the light where I would have gone straight in the spring, I wondered if I would know when the construction was finished.  Although the construction workers are great at putting up “ROAD CLOSED” signs, you never see a “ROAD NOW OPEN” sign.  What if I continued to take the long way to work when the straightest, fastest way is wide open.  What if I never bothered to test it out, see how it’s progressing?  What if I became a creature of habit, costing myself more time and gas money than necessary?It occurred t…

Saturday with the Kids

It’s been one of those rare days that I spend almost entirely with my kids.  When I rolled out of bed, they were both sitting in front of the television watching Flapjack.  I was torn.  I remembered fondly getting up early on Saturday morning with nothing on the agenda but Saturday morning cartoons.  I also remember about mid-morning the wake-up call my mom would give me to turn off the TV and get to work on picking up the house.  I did manage to get a little assistance for about 15 minutes without too much groaning and complaining.  After some discussion over breakfast, I discovered both my children had projects to work on over the weekend.  First, I helped my first grader find numbers around the house.  He was supposed to cut them out and paste them to his worksheet.  All went well until he wanted to cut into the front cover of my husband’s 2009 Fantasy Football magazine (the draft’s next weekend). Then we went onto my third grader’s projects, which involved choosing from a list of …

A Battle Lost

I succumbed.  After battling insomnia, I had been inundated with images of big juicy burgers, covered in melted cheese and loaded with toppings.Around the noon hour, my car magically drifted into a fast food parking lot, where I found myself with a giant cheese burger, french fries, and an iced mocha.  I hadn’t had a french fry from a fast food place for ages.  I savored the taste of crispy golden Idaho potatoes.  Before long I had to take a bite of the burger, perfectly juicy, complemented with fresh crispy veggies and thick slather of condiments.I managed to get mayonnaise on the steering wheel and turn signal lever before I returned to work.  Although the drive thru window attendants had been speedy, they had left me with a measly three napkins and no straw.  I did manage to keep my clothing dribble-free, with the exception of a sesame seed or two.Needless to say, I had blown my high protein, low calorie diet.  I had been so good, living on protein shakes, yogurt, fruit, nuts, and …

Clouds in my Coffee

In case you wondered, Captain John Smith is credited with introducing coffee to what is now North America. I’m not a habitual coffee drinker.  I own a coffee maker, but use it only occasionally.  I’m more of a social coffee drinker, picking up a cup when it seems like that’s what everyone else is doing.I’m not a coffee connoisseur, really.  I’ll drink a cup of institutional coffee as well as a cup of Starbuck’s- although I can tell the difference.  Nothing is better than a really good cup of strong coffee, tempered with just a bit of milk and sugar… and maybe a little mocha on a cold, rainy day.  Even before I drank coffee (which wasn’t until college) I loved the smell of it.  It’s like those commercials where the actor opens the can and takes a deep breath.  I drank a whole carafe of coffee in college once.  My husband-to-be and I were studying for Greek finals.  I had to stop drinking when the tremors started and I was talking a mile a minute.  After a point, you can’t concentrate t…

One of those Days

If a day could start off on the wrong foot, today was the day.  I was awakened by the alarm in the middle of a dream where I was about ready to check out some fluorescent floating robots at a birthday party. I had to drop off my children at school because they didn’t have time to make the walk.  By the time I got to the office, I remembered I had to email a report that morning.I headed out about 10 minutes later than expected.  I drove right to the spot where I’d seen the name of the hospital on a building earlier in the week.Shortly after my low gas light came on, I pulled into a private parking lot, sure I was going to be towed.  I entered the building and discovered it was a business office, not a hospital.  Thank goodness for GPS.I found the real hospital, and followed the signs to the main entrance.  I headed toward the visitor’s parking lot.  Every single spot was taken, and even the road surrounding the lot was full.  I headed to the parking garage.  From the parking garage, I …

Squirrel!

He stared right at me, watching as I lifted another bite of taco salad to my mouth.  His black eyes fixated on me, neither his nose or tail betraying a twitch.  Was he that hungry?  Would he come after my delightful combination of lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, chili, sour cream and seasoned tortilla bits?  My car windows were open.  Suddenly he jumped (or did he fly?) off the chain-link fence out of sight.  Was he going to sneak in behind me when I wasn’t looking?After watching a movie about talking guinea pigs I was nervous.  In the movies, the special agent guinea pigs’ human-like intelligence was revealed when a system was developed to communicate with them. If rodents had such capabilities, what would stop them from ganging up on humans and taking over?  Who’s to say they’d be on our side?I suppose a squirrel would only go nuts over… well, nuts.  What if I had been eating a bag of roasted peanuts like they serve at baseball games?  Would he talk his squirrelly friends into raiding th…

A Step Back

I’m reading a book called Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas.  I’m completely humbled by it.  Did you know our spouses aren’t responsible to make us happy or meet our needs?What really cut me to the quick is my tendency to criticize or judge too quickly- not just my husband, but people in general.   I realize that I have far too many faults and failures to judge anyone else.  It is far more rewarding to look for the good in others than focus on their faults.I only had my eyes opened a couple hours ago, so I don’t have any amazing insights yet.  It’s been a little difficult seeing the best in my children, when they leave their broccoli on their plate and then devour an entire pint of blue moon ice cream between the two of them.  Something else the book mentions is respect.  I’ve always heard that respect is to be earned.  Instead, Thomas suggests that we owe all people respect, especially those we are so close to that we know their flaws.   It would be really hard to live up to standards l…

A Kid Again

"Oh, to be a kid again," my co-worker said wistfully.

"You don't mean that," I said. "To have to start all over?" She agreed that it would be hard to have to go through growing pains again.

It's more fun to do kid stuff as an adult. For lunch today our family went to Red Robin and I had a prime rib sandwich instead of a gourmet burger. I did have a sparkly peach drink with a cool squiggly glass and bits of peach floating in the drink.

Then it was time for some shoe shopping. My husband didn't like the dragon design on the black dress shoes we were buying for my son. I let him get them.

My daughter wanted pink soccer cleats. My husband thought it would be more practical to get something neutral so her brother could use them in a few years. I let her get the ones she wanted.

Then it was off to Chuckie Cheese's where we used up the token stash my husband kept from their last visit. I played skee-ball, horribly. I did win two ticket…

Lucy, I'm Home!

I must really love my sister a lot. Only for her would I drive to her house in the next town at 8:00 at night to let her dumb dog out.

I'm not an animal hater. Lucy, a big rotweiler mix puppy, is not that bright. She's one of those dogs that would probably lick an intruder to death.

First of all, I couldn't get in the house. There's a code to get in and I had the right code but wasn't pressing the buttons hard enough or something... and then I had to figure out how to clear out the sequence so I could start over. The lighted keypad kept blinking at me, and I hoped there wasn't a limit on tries. I was afraid a silent alarm was being sent to the Sheriff's office that some goofball was outside pushing buttons.

As I called my sister's cell phone, the garage door started to rise. I hung up. My six-year-old son went in with me. I had flipped a coin to see which child was staying with Dad and which was going with me. So, without forethought, I took …

Homework Blues

As the first week of school draws to a close, my daughter has unchecked homework in her backpack on a Friday night.  I don’t ever remember homework on the first day of school, but her teacher has had her reading about pioneer life and working on story problems in her math workbook. I’m a little worried about what’s to come.  Her teacher last year rarely assigned regular homework.  It was mostly special projects or finishing something started in class.  Although my daughter enjoys reading and learning, too much homework can be discouraging.My son’s sole assignment so far has been to bring in a family picture.  Unfortunately, the only wallet size picture we could find is a few years old.  Our family hasn’t changed that much, I think.I was reading on MSNBC (“How Much Homework is Too Much?” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31910894/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/) how some school districts are limiting the amount of homework teachers can assign- by minutes.  As a former student who could easily …

Feeling Slothy

The large marquee-like sign outside the Methodist church listed the topic for the next sermon, part of the series, “Seven Deadly Sins.”SLOTH:  NO CARINGI thought sloth was laziness, like the parable of the grasshopper who played all summer instead of gathering food and went hungry in the winter.  I thought the biggest issue with sloth was a mismanagement of resources, such as time and energy and whatever other talents lie dormant.Apathy would be a good word for not caring.  In fact, apathy is really the opposite of, or lack of, love.  Most people would say that hate is the opposite, but hate still invokes passion.  That’s why it’s believable when Sam and Diane fall madly in love with each other after fighting so ferociously on the TV show, “Cheers.”Apathy could be perceived as laziness, especially if it comes from depression.  When I’m depressed, it’s like I’ve closed myself off from caring.  Since I don’t care, I don’t make an effort, which could be seen as slothful.I suppose that sl…

Discipline?

There used to be a sign on a bulletin board at the YMCA that said, “Discipline is knowing what you really want.”  I used to glare at it every time I walked past, huffing and puffing and drenched with sweat.  I really wanted a nap!As much as that saying reminds me how undisciplined I really am, it’s true.  If I want to lose weight, I will choose healthier foods and make exercise a priority.  If I want to enjoy an entire box of peanut butter stuffed Oreos, I will pour myself a glass of milk and get started.  The question is, what do I really want?Every day I’m faced with decisions that reflect what I want at the time.  Do I want a clean clothes to wear to work tomorrow, or do I want to watch a biography of Guy Fieri on the Food Network?  Guy, by the way, is a very passionate, disciplined person.  The perfectionist in me gets so frustrated with the inquisitive, hedonistic me.  I want to make my goals and go after them on one hand, and I want to enjoy the journey on the way.  I want so ma…

Back to School

“Will you walk us to the bus on the first day of school every year?”  my 6-year-old son asked me as we walked out the door.  I smiled.  All I could imagine was fast forwarding 10 years to when my son would probably be a head taller than me, wearing a letter jacket.  Would he still let me hold his hand and walk him to school?  Probably not.Time flies.  I reflected back about 8 years when my daughter was just learning to get around in her world.  How could I have known that little baby with the hardly there blond hair would grow up to be such a dynamic young lady?Today, I fixed my daughter’s hair for her, and reminded my son to eat breakfast.  I did walk my children to the bus, the pick up point about 3/4ths of a mile away.  I unwrapped my son’s granola bar on the way, and he tucked his wrapper in my hand when he was done.  There won’t be many more first days of school.  Eleven more to be exact, if you don’t count college.  It won’t be too many years before they ask me to drop them off …

Bedtime Stories

I love a good story.  I know I’ve watched a good movie when I keep thinking about the story line and characters for hours, even days after watching it.  The same goes for TV series, or novels.  After watching G-Force, I left the movie behind in the theater.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like it; it was very entertaining, even with the ridiculous surcharge for the 3-D glasses.  I guess it’s a little hard to identify with guinea pigs.  After watching Julie & Julia, I’m still thinking about the characters.  I’m thinking about a woman who based an entire career around food, because she liked to eat.  I’m thinking about another woman who jumpstarted her career by writing about someone and something important to her.  What an inspiration!I wish I knew what it is within the marrow of human beings that is drawn to a good story.  The main character might be someone I identify with, or someone who is so completely different it’s fascinating.  They may struggle with something within or people wit…

Dreaming

What would the world be like if everyone followed their dreams? Are some dreams too unreal to live? Are there people who are more likely to dream than others? Is it okay to be content with the way things are?

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

-Langston Hughes

Is it as much our responsibility to live out our dreams as it is to pay the mortgage, get our children to school, and hold a steady job? Are dreams the whisper of a Higher calling, or wishful wisps of a delusional heart?

Are dreams, once realized, valued less, or do they morph into something else? Can dreams be realized then destroyed by distraction or zeal? Are dreams about believing or achieving, or both?

Is it as simple as Disney's Cinderella would say:

No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the drea…

PTSD

They’re everywhere you know.  I see them down the state highway or in the bank parking lot.  They stare at me with their bug eyes and gloat at me as they pass.  Some are white and black and try to blend in with the others, but I can always pick them out.  Others are “gecko green,” “salsa red,” or “sunflower yellow.”  Even in my dreams they’re there, filling my life with dread.  Their little round bodies, compact and helmet-like, scurry around from place to place, hiding around corners and in alley ways.I’ve stopped screaming every time I see one.  Even the panic attacks have subsided.  I’ve found if I breathe deeply I can cope.I still feel as if they’re seeking me out, as if they smell fear.  I can’t concentrate at work, and I have trouble sleeping.  I would give up going out altogether, but then they would win.My doctor says it’s PTSD.  Punchbuggy Traumatic Stress Disorder.Ahhhh!  Look, it’s another Volkswagon Beetle!  Run!

Hula Hoop Olympics

As I’m driving to Culver’s, since I was called into work and had to interrupt my dinner-making plans (which frankly consisted of defrosting a frozen dinner), I see a beautiful silver convertible driven by a man with grayish white hair and sunglasses, with his female companion of similar colored hair seated beside him.  In the back of the car are… hula hoops- different sized half circles in neon pink and lime green.    I wondered who these people really were.  Were they clowns or jugglers, running away from the circus?  Were they on a long trip and used the hula hoops at rest stops to unwind?  Were they serious hula hoop competitors, driving cross country to the national hula hoop Olympics?  Were they returning faulty equipment to the nearest department store?  Were they going to a friend’s house for lawn darts and trying to cheat?I get tickled by the oxymoronic, or things that just don’t seem to go together.  Have you ever seen doughnuts being served at a health fair?  I love the For …

Just Fine

Rightly or wrongly, when it seems like the same song is on every time I get in the car, I think maybe God is trying to tell me something.  Lately I hear the song “Fine” by Jaymes Reunion ALL THE TIME.  I like it because it gives a new perspective on the struggles we all face in life.  It starts with a question about love and life… and the answer seems to be that we don’t truly appreciate anything until we’ve had to live without it.The chorus goes like this:You never really loved until you watch it fall apart
And you never really lived until you felt like you can die
And you never really stood until the weight has pushed you over
You’re pickin’ up the pieces just to find
You’re doin’ just fineIt gets me every time.  What is love if it isn’t tested?  How sweet is life when it’s been plucked from the jaws of death?  How much stronger are we when we’ve overcome obstacles.  Even if it seems like life is falling apart, maybe it’s just coming together.For years I’ve wanted…