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Thursday, October 28, 2010

We've got some bad news for you....

How would you feel if you were told that your loved one had a brain tumor? Nothing about that is good. What would you do? What would you say? What would you think?

My husband has had to deal with this. Twice. Really, it's something I wouldn't wish on anyone. But to have it twice is insane. This doesn't happen to people. Apparently it does.

The first time I was the patient. I went to the hospital with a bug bite and came home with a brain tumor. People hugged me - people I didn't know! Everyone said "Oh....I'm so sorry......how old are your kids?"

What do you think of? You think of all the things you haven't told anyone. For me that meant telling my husband where to find information. Where are the 401k accounts? Where is the safe deposit box key? I made lists. Here's everything you need to know in case I'm not around.

What do I tell my kids? Now and in the future? Now was easy - mommy has a "little something extra upstairs". We joke about it. We look at the MRI pictures. It's just there.

But how do I tell my kids about things like getting their periods, what to do (and not do!) with boyfriends, how much I love them? How will I make sure they never forget me?

Lucky for me, the diagnosis wasn't a sure thing. A new doctor came in the picture and had doubts. Doubts are good. Doubts saved my life.

We thought that would never happen to us again - at least not that way. We were wrong.

Mike's mom is sick. After several trips in and out of hospitals, a problem is discovered: there's a spot on her brain. Really, who has to hear that twice in their life? Several days and many tests and tears later, we get good news that sounds like anything but good news. The doctor called to explain it's not brain cancer. It's breast cancer in her skull. I'm supposed to be happy about that? Yes, said the doctor. Breast cancer - in many locations - can be treated with greater success than brain cancer. Um, okay. I'll trust that.

I will say Mike has been the pillar of strength once again. He shines in the face of sadness and emergency. Radiation and other drugs that I don't understand have saved my mother in law. Luck and prayers saved me. I hope Mike makes it through the remainder of his life never having to hear those words again. I hope no one I know ever has to hear it. Those words suck.

Monday, October 11, 2010

How much it too much?

Yowzah. Every time things go haywire and then settle, there's that false sense of security that comes after dealing with a big blow. Whew, we got over that hurdle. Glad that's done. Wake up, silly - there's another one just waiting for you.

That's the story of my life. One thing happens and I get through it and then another thing happens. Why is that? Is it karma coming back to bite me in the ass? Serioulsy, Universe, I'm doing the best I can. Stop testing me. Just for a few weeks. I need breathing space.

I know I'm not alone in this thinking. One friend recently commented that too many people in her life are dealing with cancer - all at the same time. She's a good person, doesn't do bad things (generally, wink). How is it decided what is too much for one person?

Clearly, I am writing this in crisis mode. The morning started out good enough - especially after an awesome night last night. A breakfast date at Starbucks started it out well. Going to see my kids at school continued the good mood. Business stuff going well. Then the phone call comes. Things are not good. Your good day just went to hell in a second.

When people find out that a family member is sick, a marriage is ending, whatever drama is happening in your life, they say very well meaning things. "Life will get better". What qualifies you to say that? How on earth could you know that? My favorite one is "You are never given what you can't handle." Um.....how could you possibly know what someone can and can't handle? That's your belief. It's not necessarily mine.

Actually it is my belief. I do believe that I am not given more than I can handle. But I really wish the universe, God, who or whatever would stop testing us. I think we've proven ourselves worthy time and again.

I also get annoyed at the comments regarding resiliency in children. Oh, don't worry, they say. Children are resilient. They will get through this. Do you not read the papers or see the news? These people who shoot people for no apparent reason, who hurt women, who do bad things are just grown up children.

Stop messing with me, Universe.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Perkiness

I was just reading over some of my previous entries. I suck. I have failed on my posting once a week goal (thanks for pointing that one out, Ms. S). I have failed to remain perky, though even I need to say I've done better with it than expected. It's now October and I find I'm happier more often than not. I have giggled a lot this year (my unofficial measuring stick). Sure, I get down. I'd be a moron if I never let any of the things happening in my life affect me. But at the end of the day, I'm usually still smiling.

I practice this with my girls every day. Even on the days I'm not with them we do this on the phone.

Every morning the conversation on the way to school or the bus is the same: "Tell me something good that will happen today."

Every afternoon or evening, the conversation is the same: "Tell me something good that happened to you today." Their morning answer and their afternoon answer are rarely the same.

And I found the one thing that both diffuses anger and makes my kids nuts all at the same time! When they are fighting or being mean, the one that was wrong has to 1) apologize and 2) tell the other something good about her.
I'm sorry I called you stupid. You aren't stupid. You read good books.

I'm sorry I smacked you upside the head. You dress very well and have pretty hair.

It's hard to stay annoyed when someone just complimented your hair. I try to practice this in my life as well. I apologize when I'm wrong (most of the time) and try to say something nice. Though, I think people would look at me weird if I told them they had pretty hair.

I think all said, I'm doing better with the perky thing than I thought. Now if I could just bust my own ass and post on a regular basis.


BFFs

Mommy, who's your BFF?

Well, let me think about that. I don't think I have one.

Why not?

I don't know. Maybe I'm not a BFF kind of girl.

Yes, you are. You need more friends. You need a BFF.

Maybe you're right.

1friend noun \╦łfrend\
Definition of FRIEND

1
a : one attached to another by affection or esteem
b : acquaintance
2
a : one that is not hostile
b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group
3
: one that favors or promotes something (as a charity)
4
: a favored companion
5
capitalized : a member of a Christian sect that stresses Inner Light, rejects sacraments and an ordained ministry, and opposes war —called also Quaker
— friend·less adjective
— friend·less·ness noun
— be friends with
: to have a friendship or friendly relationship with

I have friends on my mind. I like definitions 1 and 2. 3 and 4 are okay. 5 is weird.

I don't have a best friend. I have friends. I have people I like a little, like to hang out with or even like a lot. But I don't have a best friend. I think there's something wrong with that. Even, as stated above, my kid noticed it. Isn't that breaking all the girl rules?

I always had a best friend growing up. Sometimes they would change but mostly it was the same group of girls. When we get together now it's like I never moved away. We chatter and laugh like always. But I don't call them when things happen. I might send a facebook message but that's about it. And they don't call me.

Maybe it's because we all got married, had families and our responsibilities and priorities changed. Maybe it's because I spent many years with someone who didn't think I should talk on the phone with my friends in the evening during what was supposed to be "our time". For many years my husband was my best friend. As we've grown apart that's changed. I still want to call him with things but it's not the same any more. My current closest friends are male (except two) and much younger than me (except one). I call one once in a while but really, having a single male as a friend is a little, um, off balance when I'm married (okay, only sort of), have kids and am over 10 years older.

I had a BFF for a couple of years. Our kids were friends and we just clicked. I could tell her pretty much anything. Then she moved across the ocean and this American life was all but forgotten. I had good friends, other moms, when I was hanging out at the playground every day. But now I work. There's not much time for playgrounds. Besides, I got along with the dads better. They aren't gossipy (okay, that's not entirely true). They aren't mean the way the mean girl moms are.

So I'm looking for a BFF. Where do I find one? I thought about posting on craigslist but with my luck I'll get a serial killer. Then I thought about joining a parents group but the fact is, most moms are not like me. Or at least I don't feel like them. I could take a class but I've done that before and not made friends there. One of my close friends called me socially awkward. That's better than socially retarded, as I've been called before. I'm neither. I'm socially uncomfortable. I have social skills and do use them when required. I'm a pretty direct person, which doesn't work in my favor. So I'm becoming more vague. Maybe that will help?

There is eHarmony, Match - a ton of lovey-dovey match making sites. But where are the friend matching sites? I could join a support group for women going experiencing what I'm going through now. But I don't want a bitch fest. I want happy. And sometimes sad. But definitely more happy than sad. I want someone to tell me when I'm totally off base and tell me the truth. Maybe I want what I already have. Maybe in this time of technical choices I'm just being old fashioned. I can text any of my friends any time I want. Maybe I'm just old in wanting to hear their voices. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Maybe I'll just be happy with what I have.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Goals and deadlines

Goals are good. They're great in soccer and hockey. They're good to have in real life but they are often, for me, unattainable.

I'm setting a goal that I can actually achieve. That is, if I remain organized and motivated (that's the key) enough to do it. I'm going to blog once a week. Or more. But not less. I'm going to take these little rants I write on facebook and get them out of my system. I'm going to use pictures (if I figure out how). I'm going to do something.

That's it. That's my goal.

Friday, June 4, 2010

When Walls Come Tumbling Down

I think I'm a pretty reserved person. I have my comfort zone that is behind the facade I show most of the world. I let a few folks into my private thoughts but most of the time I'm a pretty controlled person.

Then I have a few drinks. Fruit Juice Drink clipart

And those walls come a'tumbling down. And then I laugh. A lot.

You' think I'd know this by now. Sadly, I'm a fairly new drinker. And I only drink with those I know well and trust. Well, most of the time. A few years ago a group of moms went to Mi Ranchos for taquitos and margaritas. I couldn't figure out why my glass never emptied. That's because my friend next to me kept filling it up every time I turned around. That was a fun night that ended up with a bunch of servers putting a huge sombrero on my head and singing happy birthday to me. That was in July. My birthday is in January. I was very confused but giggly.

Then there was the night of sangria. I don't like wine as a general rule. I liked the white sangria. A lot. I'm pretty sure I drank a pitcher by myself. The metro ride home was loud. Because of me. I laughed and laughed until I could barely breathe. Thankfully I was with friends who made sure I did start to breathe again. While I consider those two good friends, I don't think they've ever seen me so uninhibited. And giggly.

Then there's last night. I had TWO beers. Yep, that's right. I ordered a beer. All by myself without having to ask my friend what it is that I drink. By the time the second one came I was already starting to laugh. Pretty soon my friends were all involved in conversations and I was just laughing. Giggling.

The moral of this story? My protective walls are easily broken with a few drinks. Maybe that's not entirely a bad thing. I woke up this morning with a slight feeling of dread thinking about some of the things I said last night. Nothing bad - just more revealing than I care to be normally. But just thinking of it makes me giggle all over again. Maybe the moral of the story should be that I need to drink more. Yeah, I'll go with that one. But only when my friends are around.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Goodbyes

Goodbyes are never fun. There are many different kinds of them. There's the "see ya later" when we're leaving the mall variety. There's the "goodbye, my friend" to the person who makes me laugh most in the world and moves across the country. There's the "goodbye" that can't be spoken because sobs will happen in between glasses of sangria for a lost friend. There's the "goodbye, my heart is breaking" I feel when my kids are staying with their dad. So many kinds of goodbye, and none of them are good.

I can live with the "see you laters" because I really believe I will see them later. I've learned from some of the other kinds that I shouldn't assume that. Now a lot of my goodbyes include more feelings, even a couple of "I love you"s. I think my showing of emotion is startling for some but I never again want to wonder if people know how I feel about them - especially when sometimes they're gone before I can tell them.

I've had a lot of goodbyes lately. Goodbye to my friend who moved across the country. Goodbye to my old life, which while annoying at times, was familiar and comfortable. Goodbye to my children who I have to share now. Goodbye to a friend who was in so much pain she made it a permanent goodbye. I'd like to say goodbye to the guilt I feel about that but that's sticking around a little too long.

Not all goodbyes are bad. Saying goodbye to my friend who relocated was hard but technology keeps me feeling close. And the move was good for her (so I'm forgiving her in my WWJD way). Saying goodbye to a life that made me anxious and insane isn't bad. I can even live with saying goodbye to my kids because it makes the next hello all the sweeter. The goodbye that is permanent is harder to take. There will be no more hellos for (hopefully) a long, long time. Each goodbye changes me, some for better and some not.

I'm ready for some good hellos. My children's voices saying "Hello Mommy!" when they call me on their way to school is great. It wakes me up and makes me smile. The friendly "Hello!" texts from friends make me laugh and usually arrive at points in the day when I need a smile the most. I wonder if I pull out the old Ouija board if my permanently gone friend will say hello, but fear keeps me from doing that.

I wish I had a glass of margarita or some other fruity, happy drink in my hand. I'd raise my glass and say Hello New Life! Hello to the friends I miss. Hello to the world I still have to discover. Hello!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The happy things that happen

Happy things happen when I least expect it. I like that. They're good little surprises that come just when I need it. I'm not sure who controls those things but I'm happy about it.

Today started out pretty crappy. A grumpy client didn't help. A job that went over its end time also didn't help. Then good news arrives in the form of an email. It was very simple, really. A government office asking me for a price quote. Woo-freakin'-hoo. This is what I've wanted - real clients asking me to provide services for them. Awesome. One quick, two line email brought a happy cloud to me.

Then it got even better. I got my first performing arts gig under CSL. AWESOME. And my partner in crime for this event, the amazing Reverend, is by my side in this endeavor. I'm pfp again. It's about time. I hope my happiness is contagious. He needs some, too.

Sometimes happy things happen because someone in the universe knows you need it. Last week was a good example. Last week sucked. S.U.C.K.E.D. There's no way around that. A life was extinguished (at the owner's hand). My world was rocked, as were many of the worlds of my friends. Happiness seemed very far away.

Lots of said friends (and some new ones) got together to remember the good times of the friend we lost. Many pitchers of sangria later, the memories seemed to fade a bit but the laughs were still there. Happiness peeked its head in briefly to keep us all from crying.

Happiness comes in weird forms. For example, there is nothing that makes me happier than being called a "mother fucker cock sucker" during the neighborhood poker game. That means I won a major hand against a certain neighbor. Happiness again.

Happiness is a good thing. I need more of it. The cool part of happiness is that when I think there's none left, no happiness near me, it just appears. Thank you Karma, God, Guardian Angels or whoever is in charge of letting happiness visit me. Much appreciated.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cold hands.....clean car?

My mom always told me if you have cold hands it means you have a warm heart. Nice sentiment but I've always doubted its truth.

I don't understand the need to fix what ain't broken. This is on my mind as I leave my local Giant grocery store. It wasn't broken. It was fine. I knew where everything was and could really just run in and out. They fixed what wasn't broken.

They revamped the store and call it new. Whatever. They're allowed to do so. I can't find anything but I will learn where things are again. The check out folks are nicer. Now they say hello, so that's a plus. The nice guy checked my stuff (I was going to say "checking me out" but that sounded a little off) and finished everything. I was walking out when I hear "Ma'am! Ma'am! Wait please!" First mistake, calling me ma'am. I won't even start on that. The woman informs me that there are no longer cart returns places out in the parking lot. Now I must be escorted to my car, assisted with my groceries and then the assistant will return the cart for me. Deep sigh.

Why the sigh? Because now I am required to keep my car clean. I'm an interpreter. One of the job requirements is to pretty much live out of my car. Plus I'm a mom of slobby kids. That fact also leads to a messy car. Do you understand the pressure here? Luckily, my car was pretty clean today (because I had a passenger yesterday who I didn't want to know my dirty little secret of my messy car). But on a normal day, there will be empty soda cans, happy meal boxes, make up, a week's worth of newspapers and juice boxes scattering the floor. I make a slight effort to clean it when I know I have to go through a car security station for my job but otherwise what you see is what you get. Now there's going to be PRESSURE from the grocery store!

I know this is supposed to be improved customer service. It's just an added stress now. I have to make small talk with this person AND have them see my car. Again, deep sigh.

That got me to wondering: if cold hands mean a warm heart, what does a messy car mean? I think I'm better off not knowing.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gender Identity

I was born a girl. No question about that. Growing up in my family being a girl had certain expectations associated it. I should learn to cook. College may or may not be in my future and that was okay. I should expect to get married, have a family, blah, blah, blah. Okay, I got married (not that I expected to all) and have a family. Still can't cook well. And am still trying to graduate. Sigh.

One of the biggest sources of stress in my house is the role I'm supposed to have. I'm supposed to know how to cook all sorts of things. I'm supposed to be the one to do that laundry. Again, blah, blah, blah. I can cook. I can do laundry, though - and I'm sure I'm not alone here - I hate it. I am the primary caregiver to my kids. I'm a pretty traditional mom.

Only I'm not. And now I'm really not. The economy bit our butts, too, and now I'm the primary breadwinner AND all those other things. As the myth of Super Mom gets busted in front of my family, they are now faced with the reality that their roles have changed, too. My husband (who has always been a better cook than me) is now in charge of the girls' breakfasts, lunches, most dinners as I'm often out of the house before they're out of bed and home after everyone is done dinner. I left him this morning with the task of braiding little girl hair. We'll see what that looks like when I get home. He has, in reality, become not only Dad but also Mom. And it's taking its toll.

I, on the other hand, have reverted back to my old life. I'm working more than I have in a long time. I can schedule lunch or coffee in between jobs with friends. I'm taking on more challenging jobs as I start working for different agencies and clients. And I'm starting my own business. Stressful? Sure. Fun? Kind of. Different? Definitely.

Now, don't get me wrong. It's annoying to have someone else take over some parts of life that were controlled by me. The dishwasher doesn't get filled the way I do it. The laundry doesn't get washed the way I do it. He buys a different brand of peanut butter than I do. I'm working at being adaptable - as is he. There's a learning curve for all of us.

My kids still come to me when tears are involved. They still ask me to sign school papers and to arrange playdates. In our previous life, I scheduled everything and just informed folks of where they needed to be and when. Now I do the scheduling by phone or email and try to fit things into my work schedule. When they can't be fit it, they go to Dad. I have visions of Michael Keaton from Mr. Mom in my head. I don't say that out loud.....

So here I am. I've always known I'm a woman playing in a man's world. Now I'm on both sides of the fence. And now my husband gets to experience what I've known all along. Staying home and taking care of the house and kids and trying to remain sane all at the same time is far harder than going to work. Then again, it's hard to be away from home working so much, missing birthday parties and playdates, missing homework. I'm not sure who's getting the better deal here. I guess this is one of those rare times we get to walk in each other's shoes. I'm hoping it's just a stroll and not a marathon.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Why don't people pay attention to what I want?

The name is simple. WWJD. What would Judi do? I should have added more - what would judi do and how do my actions affect her? That would be more clear, no?

People come in and out of my life regularly. It's the job I've chosen. I show up briefly for a job and then leave. If I like the client, I can ask to go back and if I don't like them I never have to return. Perfect. My personal life isn't so perfect. People come in and out and I have no control over it.

I have a few close friends who are either moving or contemplating moving. This doesn't bode well for me. One is travelling all over the world (fine by me) and then coming back only to move across the country (not fine with me). There's a time difference between us. Who will text with me during boring jobs? Who will make me laugh when my world is falling apart?

The next might be moving half way around the world. That's definitely not okay with me. No one is asking my opinion. They just tell me what they're doing.

It's the start of a new year. Time for resolutions that will be broken within the month. This time my resolution is different. No more weight loss (that didn't work so well, did it?). No more dreams of organization (I know when to give up). No more world without caffeine (I did it for a while so it's been there, done that). I'm going to be perky. Not Gidget perky but happier perky. I can't help but think the universe is trying to tell me something. I feel like it's slapping me upside my head and I'm not sure why. So I've decided to attract positive energy. I know I work well in emergencies but that's what my life has become - one big emergency. In the last four weeks I've dealt with an unemployed husband and its related urgencies, a sick kid that has been in the ER twice in a week and all the holiday and post holiday stress of life. I feel the slap, oh Universe.

The person who exemplfies this idea is the one who is leaving. I find it very annoying. I believe that everything happens for a reason and I'm supposed to be learning things from everyone. Why is it when I have this epiphany the messenger leaves? It must mean something. Or it's the Universe playing with me. I'm not amused.

So here's to me being perky. I hope it continues past February.