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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

“I’m looking for my next Great Love….”

I have to stop watching Sex and the City. I watched it long ago but now it’s back in reruns and serves as a (mostly) amusing background distraction while I’m (supposed to be) working.

Charlotte says to her gay, afternoon-movie friend, “I’m not looking for sex! I’m looking for my next Great Love!” Isn’t this what every single female is looking for? Face it, sex is easy to get. You can either take care of things yourself or peruse the online sites which are full of guys who want to show you all their (self described) fancy tricks. While they are tricky waters to maneuver, they are mostly manageable. The problem is when you’re looking for something more.

Dating, especially after not having done so for a very long time, is daunting. The make-a-good-first-impression behavior is good but it’s not real. And it’s when you start finding the less than great stuff that the challenges appear. When does one decide to show their real self? There’s a time limit to the good behavior.

I thought I’d found my Great Love a few times. And maybe I had. Or maybe I just wanted it but it wasn’t real. So, as Carrie asked, how many Great Loves does one get in a lifetime? One? Two? What happens when we hit our quota?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Modern Conveniences

Mommy, is it true that if you wanted to change the channel on the tv, you had to get up to do it?

Yes, that’s true.

Mommy, did you really only have 3 channels on tv?

No, we had 7. Channel 3, 6, 10, 12 (pbs), 17, 29 and 48. Sometimes if you held the rabbit ear antenna just right, we could get another channel from Allentown, but that was rare. And none of the channels were on 24 hours a day. The star spangled banner would play and then it would go off the air.

Wow.

Is it true that you didn’t have to pump your own gas?

Yes, that’s true. The man at the gas station would check the oil, too. He’d do that for free. And if I needed windshield wiper fluid, he’d add that, too.

Were cell phones invented when you were little?

Nope. I remember getting my first one shortly out of high school. It was a bag phone and it was big and heavy – couldn’t fit in a purse or a pocket. I was the first of my friends to have one. I’ve been addicted ever since.

I also grew up with rotary phones – the kind you had to dial. Technology is amazing.

I remember buying my first microwave, computer (it was a gift) and life before ipods. I grew up with vinyl and tapes and encyclopedias.

When my mother was growing up, they had funerals (dead people!) in the parlors of their homes. I never had a dead person in my home. She can remember seeing her first car. I wonder what inventions will impress my kids. Personal flights into space? The regeneration of limbs? What’s next?

Modern technology is awesome and so….modern…..

Friday, July 8, 2011

Time flies....

Seven years ago today I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. A week later, I was also diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Both sucked and both were supposed to do terrible things to me. Let's see what's happened in the last seven years.

It might have been six years. I don't remember. That's the first thing that happened. My brain is a little fuzzy. My memory works but does so on its own schedule. That's frustrating.

I lost my ability to speak properly. Then I got it back. I still mix up words (tell my kids to put on their socks when I meant shoes) but people can understand me.

I lost all sense of direction. I got lost coming home from my kids' daycare and going to the grocery store. I had to keep a map with me at all times. I still have maps but I don't use them any more. I can get around just fine - without a gps.

I couldn't use my hands properly. I couldn't open a jar of peanut butter or fasten a seat belt. My hands work just fine now.

I dyed my hair blonde. I needed to do something while I was unable to work. I'm back to natural - brunette - which I like better. It's me.

I went through the worst pain of my life with the doxycycline (for lyme). I thought I would die. I didn't. I lived and proved everyone wrong. I have very few symptoms of lyme left and my last test, about a year ago, showed no signs of it in my body.

I developed bells palsy so half my face was paralyzed. This was fascinating once I knew it was temporary. The muscles started to work again after about a month. I could smile again. And sneezing was the scariest thing I've ever experienced. My whole face would feel like electric currents were running through it. That lasted over a year.

In this time my children have grown to become nice young women, smart and funny. I am now single. My life is being rewritten. This is a major chapter but no longer the sole one that defines me. I no longer look at people and think they know, that they can see there's "a little something extra" in my head.

I avoid camping and places where I think ticks might be hanging around, ready to pounce on me.

I started a business, take care of my family, and proved that my life goes on. I probably needed this to make me appreciative of the things I have. I am grateful.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Raising Girls

I have two beautiful daughters who are now 10. Ten is clearly different from nine. There’s a budding maturity yet a need to stay young. I go from Mommy to Mother! in record time, depending on their moods. I think daily about how I’m going to get my girls from this stage to being independent, thoughtful, productive women.

I want my girls to grow up and have healthy relationships. But how will they learn that? I didn’t do such a great job modeling that in my marriage, which I owe largely to the fact that I didn’t have that model. A general mistrust of humanity doesn’t help that, either. Yet here I am faced with the daunting task of making sure my children grow up happy and healthy. Daunting doesn’t begin to cover it.

I read an article recently by Lisa Bloom (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-bloom/how-to-talk-to-little-gir_b_882510.html?ref=fb&src=sp) which addressed the issue of how we talk to girls when their young can influence how they see themselves as they grow up. As someone with about a zillion self esteem issues, I don’t want my children experiencing that. Too late, I know. It’s already started. Mommy, I want to look pretty for [insert boy’s name here]. I want him to notice me. Mommy, I don’t like my thighs. Seriously, it’s started already.

I raised my girls from the beginning telling them it’s not enough to be beautiful on the outside (which they are, as they know from the strangers who would stop us when they were young to tell me how beautiful they were). They needed to be beautiful on the inside. But that’s not enough, I’ve learned. I reinforce their academic achievements but there’s more. I grew up with statements like “you hit the ball well, for a girl” and “girls don’t need to understand math”. I can’t tell you how negatively that affected me. I still feel stupid when dealing with math problems and I hear that voice in my head telling me I’m too dumb to do it. Luckily, both my kids are seriously smart. I can’t help M with her math anymore – she explains it to me. Both are voracious readers, for which I am grateful and proud. They know they’re brilliant yet still can’t get past the awkwardness they see in the mirror. I wish I could take this part of their lives away from them for a while, just to give them a break. Both are independent thinkers and are realizing how lonely that can be. They are mini-me’s and sometimes, while fiercely proud, it also breaks my heart. I know what they’re in for.

So how do I raise two strong girls who don’t rely on their beauty and boobs or popularity? How do I convince them that playing dumb to get a boy is just that? Geez, all of this and they haven’t hit middle school yet. My prediction is after several years, they will be fine. I will be gray.