Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Real Me

Yesterday I finally convinced my six year old that it was time to buzz his hair. He has 3 cowlicks, going all different directions, so we usually just buzz it ('cause it's impossible to do much else to it). He had been resisting, so his hair was very long--3-4 inches. He has inherited just enough curl from his dad to have his hair puff out and be all poofy--the result is that he looks somewhat like a dandelion puffball when his hair is long, but his hair goes in 3 different directions because of his cowlicks.

Anyway, finally buzzed him for the summer. He looks sharp, in my opinion. We loaded in the car for a memorial service celebrating the life of my DH's grandfather (who died last Memorial Day) and he says, ever so seriously and forlornly: "Mom, I don't think a buzz cut captures the real me..."

Ah, such serious words from my usually light-hearted boy! We agreed that we would let his hair grow long again and then he could cut it any way he wanted. Something that would "capture" the "real" boy.

What are you doing today to "capture the real you?" Leave a comment and let me know!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

On the Brink

I've had this feeling for the past couple of days that SOMETHING is coming, and it will change my life. Don't really know what yet, but I can feel it on the fringes of my day. It might be a new resolve to change some things about my self; it just might be the new paper I ordered for the store. But something's coming, this I know. I've had this feeling before, and it's usually right.

I've had a fascination with Victorian houses lately. I found a book called "Victorians House of the Northwest" or something like that, and there are three houses in Albanymentioned in it. One of them is for sale, and I find I am fascinated by it. For one thing--it's huge! Nearly 5000 square feet. Our current home has 1760, which is the most we've had, but when I think about what I could do with 5000, I get a little light-headed and giddy, and have to slow down and take a deep breath. It also has a lot of the original features--a plus for someone with a romantic attachment to historical things. On the downside, it's surrounded by icky apartments. The somewhat scary kind. They kind I've lived by before, and NEVER want to live by again. As they say, real estate is all about location, location, location.

But I have to admit, I want to know what happens to this house. Originally built in 1880, it was at that time one of the most expensives houses in Albany. The builder was also the owner, and he took extra care with it so that it would "advertise" the quality of his work, and be a nice place for him to live. I think that the fact that it is now one hundred and twenty-five years later says something about the quality of his work! I hope that whoever buys it has the ability to do it justice. If it were me, I'd buy the lot next door, tear down the nasty little 4-plex, and put up a huge walled garden to block the view of the scary apartments. I hope whoever buys it loves it like George Hochstedtler, the builder who built it well enough to last over a hundred years and still be pretty. I'm truly tempted to call up the realtor and take a look around inside the house as well, but that will only increase my desire to live in that house. (5000 square feet! Think of all of the scrapping space I could have! And still have bedrooms left over for other things!)

Anyway, back to my niggling feeling of change in the air. I've been rolling around the phrase "live a purposeful life" in my head. I think it's time for me to start being more purposeful with my goals. I've had this list of things I've wanted to do for a long time. Things like: Have kids (check), Travel more (check--but I still plan to travel more), sing a real, hour-long recital (check), be on national television (check--I was a contestant on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaiare" in its heyday), grow out my bangs (check), open a scrapbooking store (check), get my degree (check--2 bachelor's and a master's) sing the National Anthem at a sporting event (check), get published in a scrapbooking magazine (still working on it), finally have the body God meant for me to have (this is the hardest one of all). You see, I've struggled all my life with my self-image and my body size. I know that God does not want me to be this out of shape and overweight. Yet here I am. I've exercised, I've dieted, I've studied the human body. I know I will never be a teeny-tiny thing. But I also know that I can improve on what I am now and go back to where I once was. (I hope that made sense...). And I think THAT change is the one I'm feeling. I've achieved a lot of my major goals in life--and it's time for me to really work on that one. I know it will be a struggle--it's been a struggle. Losing weight and finding time for exercise right now in the chaos of my mundane life is incredibly difficult. I'm sure I'll write more about it later, but you have to believe me when I tell you it will be the hardest thing I've done in a long, long time. But it is time. Time for me to be purposeful with myself. Because if you can't be purposeful in caring for yourself, there isn't much point in trying to care for others. If George Hochstedtler can build a house well enough to last one hundred and twenty-five years, I can care for my body so it will last at least another fifty. Wish me luck! (and maybe I will go take a look inside the house...just for fun!).

And that's the other side.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Since When Did I Become a "Ma'am?"

Again, this is a "reprint" of an essay I wrote a couple of years ago. You'll figure it out when I refer to myself as being 33--and you know I am now THIRTY-FIVE! Yes, say it with me thirtyfive. That still doesn't feel exactly real....oh well...


The other day I was returning a cart to Costco. I approached the fellow collecting carts at the front of the building. “Can I just give this to you?” I asked. “Yes Ma’am!” was his hearty and cheerful reply. As I walked back to my car I thought, “Ma’am! When did I become a ‘Ma’am’? I just had his job a few years—pause for quick mental calculations—FIFTEEN YEARS ago!” I was honestly surprised at how long it had been since I was the one corralling carts at Costco. “Hmm,” I continued to myself, “Maybe I really am a ‘Ma’am.’”

I had a conversation with a gal at church this week who was turning 33. “Ah,” she said, “Seventeen. Seventeen was really good. I wish I could have stayed seventeen forever.” Again, that made me think to me about my own year at seventeen. I was a college freshman, going off to school just about ten weeks after my seventeenth birthday. So not only was I seventeen, I was a young seventeen. We moved to a new town two weeks after I graduated from high school and I left for college about eight weeks later. I felt rootless. Lost. I didn't know exactly where I belonged. When people asked me where I was from, I didn't know how to answer them. "Spokane." I would say, and then quickly add, "But my family lives in Oregon." It was scary and uncomfortable. Talk about teen-age anxiety! Stay seventeen forever? No Way!

Now Twenty, Twenty was good. At twenty, I had just begun dating my future husband. I was a junior in college and thrilled with my studies. I was living with my grandmother, whom I loved deeply, and we were getting along well. My future husband brought me a dozen roses for my twentieth birthday. We were beginning to think that maybe we had something worth pursuing further. Life was exciting and thrilling! I seemed to have the self-confidence and self-esteem I lacked at Seventeen. I loved Twenty! I could possibly stay twenty forever.

But if I stayed Twenty forever, then I would have never had Twenty-Two. At twenty-two, I married my husband. We were caught up in Newlywed Bliss. I was working on my second degree, in music, and I loved it even more than my first. We found ways to pay rent, eat, and pay bills on about $600/month. We lived in a tiny studio apartment. We watched television and movies sitting on the bed and used fruit crates for chairs because we had no other furniture. We were In Love and life was good. We had friends over, we played board games, and we often barbecued on a tiny little hibachi that I think I only paid about $10.00 for. The first time we used it, all of the paint peeled up and cooked off. Still, those were some of the best hamburgers I had ever eaten. Twenty-two was definitely good. A possible stopping place.

If I never left Twenty-Two, however, I would never have had Twenty-Four. That’s when my daughter was born. Suddenly I went from Student and Wife, to Student, Wife and Mother. Having my daughter was the most fulfilling accomplishment I had made up to that point. Twenty-Four is a strong forever candidate. But if there was only Twenty-Four, then I would never have experienced Twenty-Eight. That’s when my son joined our family. That’s when I began to understand both delight and completeness. What about staying Twenty-Eight? Absolutely possible.

By staying Twenty-Eight forever, then I would have not been able to turn Thirty. Now, I realize that for a lot of women Thirty is scary; Thirty is to be avoided and never admitted. Not so for me. When I turned thirty, I finally felt like myself. I felt like the person I wanted to be inside and the person I was were at last the same. When I turned thirty, I decided to have the courage of my convictions, to say what I felt needed to be said, to start doing the things I always wanted to do. I loved being Thirty. I could easily have stayed Thirty forever. However, if that had happened, I wouldn’t have my baby—and I love my baby. Really, really, love my baby. He came along just before I turned 33. I love being a family of five in our first house. I love finally being able to be a stay-at-home mom.

I guess my point is that rather than mourn for our lost, past, selves, we should celebrate and improve the self we have now. If we stay frozen in the past, we can find no enjoyment in the present. Love the skin you’re in. Love yourself for what you have accomplished and even more--for what you have yet to accomplish. Think about it--we all have places yet to go, things yet to accomplish. After every valley, there's usually another mountain to climb somewhere in the future.

And if we ever meet in the Costco parking lot, (or anywhere else…) go ahead and call me “Ma’am.” I’ve earned it.

And that’s the other side.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

My three favorite children! See how they take after their mother? Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A pretty picture to make up for the "eewww" post! Posted by Hello
This was my front yard wind chime--until a tree fell on it. Now I have another one.

Warning--Oooky Topic Ahead!

Okay. Some days I feel like my life is surrounded by poop.

That's right, poop. You see, I have a two year old who is at least a year away from even thinking about potty training. He has a healthy diet. Hence poop. Who changes most of his diapers? Me. Lately I have been doing some childcare for a good friend of mine who also has a two-year-old boy. Oh Goodee! More poop! Add to that the fact that Mom is the only one in the house who cleans the 3 toilets (my older kids share in the cleaning of the sinks and the tub, but refuse to touch the toilets) AND figure in that my Super Hero name is "The Flusher!" (seems that not only am I the one who cleans the toilets, I am also the only one who can FLUSH the toilets as well) AND add to that when the toilet clogs, I am usually the only adult home, and it's easy to see why I feel surrounded by poop.

So where's the other side to poop? I don't know. I don't have a pithy, thought-provoking perspective to poop. Poop comes--you flush--poop goes. That's basically it.

We all have rotten days where poopy things happen. Days where we feel like we are the ones being flushed. And sometimes, there is nothing we can do about it. Rotten things come--rotten things go. Sometimes, all we can do is wait for the poopy things in life to go. And hope that there isn't a clog waiting somewhere down the line. That's basically it.

And that's about as close to the other side as I'm going to get today.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Love Yourself Today...

From the Reader’s Digest:
Playing baseball alone in his backyard, a boy announced, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world.” He tossed the ball into the air, swung hard, and missed. “Strike One!” he yelled. He picked up the ball and said again, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!” Feeling confident this time, he lobbed the ball, swung—and missed. “Strike Two!” he yelled.

The boy examined his bat and then his ball. He spit on his hands, rubbed them together, then tugged his cap and repeated, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!” Again he tossed the ball, swung and missed. “Strike Three!”

“Wow!” the boy exclaimed, “I’m the greatest pitcher in the world!”

I love this little story because of the boy's attitude. How often do we put ourselves down when all we really need is a different perspective on things? Truly, we are our worst critics, comparing our perceptions of our worst faults against our perceptions of other's best attributes. So my thought for today is to love yourself more. Cut yourself some slack if you need it. Reach for a higher level of personal standards if you need it. Sometimes we love ourselves best by taking better care of ourselves, our homes and our loved ones. No one else can live your life; make sure you are doing the best job of it you can.

And that's the other side.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

So That Explains It!

At least, a little....

You Are 50% Normal

(Somewhat Normal)

While some of your behavior is quite normal...

Other things you do are downright strange

You've got a little of your freak going on

But you mostly keep your weirdness to yourself

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

My neighbor's garden frog. I like him. He makes me smile! Posted by Hello

Time is Flying!

I haven't written for awhile--not because I didn't have anything to write, but rather because I had TOO MUCH running around in my head and it'll take me a bit to sort it all out.

Last Saturday was my birthday. I am now thirty-five years old. Yep. 35. T-H-I-R-T-Y-F-I-V-E. I had to keep saying it to make it more real to myself. You see, when I was a child, thirty-five was the age in my head that was OLD! Really, really old. Really, really, very, really old. I don't feel really, really old. In fact, thanks to good skin care, I don't look really, really old. And yet, here I am, THIRTY-FIVE! (whisper it with me once: thirtyfive). Thirty-five is kinda close to forty. I'm not sure I'm ready to be kinda close to forty.

I was reading a Family Circle article the other day about women in their 90's. One of them said, "Don't forget, there's still a little girl inside of me!" That's how I feel. All of the hopes and wishes and dreams of my childhood, the insecurities of my teen-age years, and the confidence of my early adulthood all rolled into one. But someone else's body--other than my face, I don't really recognize this one. But that's going to have to be another blog entry.

I guess that it's official: I am now a Grown-Up. Yep. I have responsibilities, a mortgage, bills, the longest relationship I've ever had with anyone outside of my parents and siblings, (I'm talking about my husband), and children. And I couldn't, wouldn't trade them for anything. Especially the children. If I have to be thirtyfive I'd rather do it with them than anyone else. Being THIRTY-FIVE is worth all of the good things my husband and children have brought to me. Absolutely worth it.

And that's the other side.