Have yourself a beautiful little rainy gray day

Conservatory 013_edited_edited 2

Kids have the ability to see what most adults have lost somewhere along the way…The ability to see joy – even in the rain.

I used to be the person that would get mad when it rained. Especially when it was a string of rainy days on end where it feels as if the world will always be a gray muddy mess.

I needed the sun! No, I deserved it! And if my expectations weren’t met I’d get all bent out of shape and let it ruin the day. Especially if was a Saturday or Sunday. I would spend so much energy being angry and focusing on what I didn’t get, that it would rob all the beauty that was waiting to be found right in front of me.

A different kind of beauty. The kind of beauty I couldn’t see. I couldn’t adjust my controlled plan on how things were “supposed to be” to allow myself to see what “is”.

My mind couldn’t process joy because it was focused on the injustice of having to work all sunny week and then be paid back with soggy gray weekends. Unfair!!

A whole world of awesomeness was awaiting me…all I needed to do was adjust my perspective. I wasted days and…really years to anger.

Life is different now.

At least in some ways. I am now 6 years removed from a messy divorce. Time has healed (and in some cases still healing) many of those battle scars and trust issues.

I also had to face that fact that I had carried a lot of unaddressed anger from an unconventional childhood with a mom that suffered from severe mental handicaps which had left me a prisoner of fear, anger and confusion in general.

That meant taking time to mourn, deal and move past these things instead of bury them or hide behind some mask. I had to learn to say I am NOT ok, get help, and give myself room to heal. I was letting all these negative factors dictate how I viewed the world.

But in many ways my life is very much same. Many of the same factors are at play. I am still me. Same city. Same job. Same general struggles and constraints (time, finances, health, etc.).

So what IS different? And why?

A few main things:

First, I stopped trying to control everything!!

I surrendered the inclination to have a plan for everything and insisting everything go according to that plan. OMG…do you know how exhausting it was to be responsible for everything? And how much potential fun was sucked out of the room (and my life) by being so rigid?

I had to, sorry, but true…”Let it Go” like Elsa, or “Shake it off” like Taylor.

And guess what – letting go of that control was very freeing! Even spontaneous and fun!

The problem I have now is being TOO spontaneous and lacking a plan for things that really do need some forethought (Maybe I’m making up for lost time).

Secondly, I accepted things as they are.

Me as me (flawed). Others as they are (flawed). Weather for what it is (unpredictable). Life for what it is (hard, unfair…yet wonderful).

No more comparing what “could” be or what “should” be. No more wishing for something different. Just plain and simple accepting what I have right in front of me and making the most of it!

That includes getting to the place of acceptance with even tough breaks like divorce or moms with schizophrenia and a host of other tragic things that can happen in ones life. Accept (on your own time line) and then move on.

And again…guess what? Sweet freedom. No more false expectations to live up to. Acceptance has paved the way towards transparency…vulnerability…realness. I have more genuine friendships and people in my life than ever before because of this.

So when this past spring break week was mixed with freezing temperatures, snow, and rain nearly every single day…It was ultimate test. Had I really changed? Or was I just blowing hot air?

I was beyond thankful and extra pleasantly surprised to find that somehow those lessons have sunk below the skin into the deep corners of my soul that so desperately needed it. Ironically – like a good hearty rain sinking deep into a thirsty garden patch.

I had the whole week off to spend one-on-one time with only my youngest, which I rarely get to do. And while my friends were on sunny fabulous beaches…it didn’t even make me frustrated or jealous that we were bundled in 5 layers and prepared for a monsoon, or snow storm, or a polar vortex, or…

I was genuinely happy for my friends because it was not about comparisons. It was about celebrating what I have right here right now. So all that mattered is that me and lil tid bit had 5 days to spend together however we wanted!

Though we had envisioned going hiking and having picnics at play grounds, we easily changed our plans for indoor things like the Conservatory, bowling and movies. And had a blast doing it.

Shopping for the cutest rain gear from head to toe was also a key strategic move so she could play and dance in the rain (and look extra ridiculously cute doing it)!. I mean what kid doesn’t love splashing in puddles? Well guess what? We did a LOT of that! I gave her free reign. Get to jumpin’ kid!

So – I can’t take all the credit. A little brown eyed girl had a lot to do with my joy. But had I still been in control freak angry mode…I might have not seen or even allowed all those wonderful things to just be.

Last point – These past few years I have made it a quest to seek out beauty right where I am. And let me tell you – when it rains, that is prime time to find some serious beauty right in your own yard. I honestly think that has also helped my perspective.

I get excited when it rains because I know I can head out when it stops and find all kinds of beautiful dew drops.

Just some dew drops on a blad of grass. #findbeautywhereyouare

Just some ordinary dew drops chilling on a blade of grass. #findbeautywhereyouare

Plus the creek will flow extra high and I can hear it if I open a window. And of course, there’s the potential for rainbows and may flowers and maybe faeries and unicorns if you look hard enough.

I guess what I am saying is: Perspective really is everything. Overcoming the past. Replacing anger/bitterness with childlike curiosity. Trading expectations for the serendipity. Basically, exchanging your grumpy pants for some cute galoshes.

I can’t say I have completely mastered this. At any given moment I am still on a sliding scale of humanness. All I can say is that I strive towards it. I surround myself with like minded people that ground me and pull me back to this direction if I start steering off course.

But, I highly recommend buying some rain boots and to throw out your narrow minded, limited script for heaven’s sake and have yourself a beautiful little rainy gray day!!

Conservatory 008

unscripted joy

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What the Water Told Me

Indeed I do love Florence and the Machine’s song, but this is more of what the water told me – directly. Well, not with words because what would be both creepy and psychotic, but rather – here is a lesson I learned from watching and listening to water.

Anyone that knows me knows I have a fascination…no, possible addiction to flowing water. I could honestly sit and watch it for hours. It is one of the most therapeutic things I know of. So now that I live right beside a creek is pure and total joy for me. It’s the closest I have ever come to (un)intentionally meditating. Just sitting there, focused on watching the water flow, watching how it moves and flows over and around rocks. Peaceful fascination.

And that’s when I got it. A rock, or an obstacle doesn’t stop water (unless it’s like a hoover dam kind of obstacle…that kind of stops it up pretty good). Water flows right over it and around it. It covers it. It dances as if moving right through it. It gracefully tumbles and rolls. And as the water flows over these obstacles it makes music.

In fact a creek with no obstacles may be kind of beautiful in it’s own right, but honestly it is quite boring compared to a creek with rushing, bubbling life…which can only come through chaos and interruption.

The very prettiest parts of a creek are at those places with the biggest obstacles and disruptions. It causes ripples, motion, breaking of the water that creates the most comforting lulling sound. In some cases the water appears to be flowing backwards as backcurrents are created with all it’s bubbling and churning.

Wait – kill the pan flute…I think I might throw up a little…a big unicorn and rainbow glittery kind of throw up.

Bleck…enough whimsical talk. Here is the break down peeps.

Water can carve rock.

Water can move mountains (even if it takes a very, very, very long time)

Which brings us to another point…Water is persistent.

And – it doesn’t work alone. One water molecule can’t do much, but bonded with others – it is incredibly powerful. It can also use even abrasive things like sand and rocks to help it towards it’s purpose of reshaping canyons, or grinding boulders into crystal beaches.

And yes – it pushes through obstacle after obstacle and makes something incredibly and surprisingly beautiful out of it…and keeps going.

Sometimes I feel like my life gets a bit chaotic. Sometimes I have even felt trapped in a back current of endless churning but it’s important to:

Keep moving.

Find a way to take the grit in life and make it work for you.

Don’t always work alone.

And make music as you go.

New and Improved! Stubble Trouble

I love seeing the same old products continually trying to reinvent themselves to stay “New and Edgy”.

Let’s take the razor for instance. You know, back in the day…you had one single blade. That’s all you really needed as a beginner shaver to remove an ankle and live out the shower scene of psycho. Well, then they came out with double blades. Then triple blades…and now the Quattro.

Is there a razor out there with 5 or 6 blades yet? If not, I am quite sure some monkey brained marketer and new product developer duo is working all hours of the day and night to be the first to release the latest and greatest in limb…I mean hair removal.

I am quite sure that by the time my daughters are old enough to shave their legs that a release form will have to be signed as you make your purchase from a merchant or pharmacist behind the counter. Because the razor will have to be kept under lock and key as it could also be used as weapons of war and destruction. Heck…there might even be a 30 day waiting period and back ground check.

I mean really? 5 and 6 blades? I want to see some REAL marketing come out on these products. Not the cliché pictures of beautiful men and woman caressing their amazingly smooth and attractive bodies and faces. How about people showing off their exposed striated muscles and tendons…that would be a little more realistic.

I want to see Freddy Krueger on one of these commercials. You’d see him come out looking all scary and ominous and then suddenly this 6 blade razor comes out and scares him off as he goes running out of the room screaming like a little girl. Come on! Now, I would buy that razor! In fact if I was a razor company I would create a new sub company called…Krueger blades.

And how about some product responsibility here? Shouldn’t instructions come with these things at this point? I mean a razor with 6 blades is not for everyone. Why use a machine gun when a small pistol could do the job just as effectively. You have to size up your prey here.

They should have razors in clear defined categories so one can gauge where they fall into the hairiness bell curve:

One blade = fine or thin hair, possibly almost bald

Two blades = thin to medium hair, fairly normal

Three blades = thick to course hair, getting into the fringe of pretty hairy

Four blades = Fur

Five blades = Circus star potential

Six blades = You are a freak of nature and should consider NEVER wearing a swim suit in public. Ever. No matter how many blades you shave with. And by the way…did you sign the release form?

You know? Then it would make it fairly easy to figure out the stubble weapon of choice.

It just gets silly I tell you…improving just for the sake of improving. Where does razor technology go from here? Maybe the Laser Razor is next. An in-home answer to laser hair removal…or so they say. Sure…it’s all fun and games until someone disintegrates a limb. I can hear it now “Why me? God…How could this happen?”

Or how about this: The Razonator – the hair and flesh remover…when hair removal is just not enough. It’s the new sensation. The Razonator not only removes the hair follicle, but also the skin containing it, so you can be ASSURED that you will NEVER have to shave again.

Humans. We are seriously ridiculous sometimes. Our antics never fail to entertain.

Watch for a follow up post for New and Improved 2: Cleaning products. Coming soon to my blog near you.

By the way…did I mention that I am working on a new web site. It is going to have my blog on there and a lot more. It will be like my blog…but New and Improved!

Floral Homicide

I can hardly believe what is happening! Again this year – Just the same as last year and the year before.

Massive floral homicides are taking place all across the country. All in the name of this ridiculous, misinterpreted, over sensationalized holiday headed up by cult leader St. Valentines.

Most people see a beautiful bouquet of flowers. For some reason I see pristine beauty cut in it’s prime to sit in a vase to be admired or worse, ignored, as it withers and dies a slow public death.

There are plenty of animal activists…but where are the floral advocates? Who will step in and take action for these poor, voiceless beauties? They are raised in massive greenhouses, many of them never see the real sun or light of day. They just sit there.

Raised from just seedlings, they are just reaching their prime and then – WHACK! Chop, chop and they’re goners! No germinating for these poor souls. No birds and bees coming along to spread along their pollen and legacies.

So I am hereby proclaiming this National “don’t kill any flowers” day.

Yes…perhaps I am being extreme, but hey…someone has to do it.

And by so doing, that means that everyone would have to find a different way to show their valentine how much they cared about them. Instead of a cliché floral homicide route, people would be forced to do some other jester of kindness instead of escaping so easily with a quick last minute over the counter purchase thinking they have done their yearly Valentine obligatory duty.

Yes…this means people would have to be creative. Do something out of the ordinary. Something really special. Something from the heart instead of a going-through-the-motions check list purchase.

I heard that a few husbands cleaned the house for their wives. Now…THAT is a great Valentines gift. A massage, a new favorite CD, a special date night of choice…all these are so much better than giving the gift of floral death.

Ok. I have a small confession to make. I have two bouquets sitting on my kitchen table. One was from work (a perk of working for a flower/gourmet food company) and one is from a well meaning guy friend, who also took me to a great place for dinner. And guess what? I appreciated the gesture. Darn it.

I guess there is always next year to protest. I have all year to make my dastardly plans. I better start now.

From the Mouths of Babes

It’s really true – kids say the darnedest things…some really funny things. Mine are no different. Here are some of the funnier things that I can remember my oldest saying so far.

• One of the earliest “talking” memories I have is when she was just learning to talk. At the time her SP sound came out as F, her O sounded like a short U and her T sound came out as K. Her favorite cartoon for a small window of time was SPOT. Well…take the time to figure out what four letter word that turns out to be. The most horrifying time was when I had a sitter coming over and I used Spot to distract her while I was leaving. She quickly figured out my tactic and she started screaming at the top of her lungs…SPOT OFF, over and over. Only it didn’t sound like Spot. It was a Jerry Springer or Dr. Drew moment for sure.

• We were walking around at Krogers one day. She was about 5 at the time and wanted to carry the little hand basket around herself. It was pretty big and awkward for her, but she was determined. So I gave her a helpful tip to bend her elbow and make her arm like a “hook”. Near the end of our shopping experience after she had gotten the hang of it, she proudly declares in front of a busy line of shoppers, “Look mommy, I’m a hooker!”.

• In preschool one day the kids had bananas and some of the kids were pretending they were phones and had them up to their ears. The teacher said that my daughter was not participating and she asked her why and Autumn said, “No thank you…my mommy told me to never put fruit in my ear.” Now I cannot recall ever saying that to her, or ever having a reason to say it. Who knows what she was thinking, but it was silly I tell you.

• We were talking one day and for some reason I said to her, “Always follow your heart”. A few days later she got real serious all of a sudden and came close to whisper a secret in my ear and said, “Mommy, remember…always SWAllow your heart”. The ironic thing is I’m not sure whose advice is actually better.

• One night I was rocking her before bed time and the rocking chair is old and falling apart and it makes noise. She was probably 3ish at the time. She gave out a loud sigh of exasperation and said, “Ugh! I gotta get you a new chair”.

• She was grasping the concept that we have bones inside and it happen to be around Halloween time. So one night she was knocking on her chest bone and asked if there was a “Bone guy” inside of her. I said no, there was not a bone guy, but there are bones inside of her. She said, “I know that, but that bone guy is kind of scary”. And she made her hands into pretend spiders to accentuate the scariness.

• While she was in her Winn the Pooh stage whenever she saw a Robin outside, she say “there’s a Christopher Robin!!”

• “Christmas is right around the middle”

• “Deck the halls with Bob and Holly, Fa la la la la…”

• I poured her a glass of egg nog to taste and she said, “MMmm…I love hedgehog!”

• “I can hear my heart beeping!”

• I was taking a vitamin one day and I said “This is a mommy sized vitamin…a horse pill”. She looked thoughtfully at her own vitamin and said, “I have foal vitamins”.

• We were driving one evening and she noticed that that the light in the “M” at our local McDonalds had burned out. Later that night during her prayers she said, “Dear God, thank you for our wonderful day, for food, and please help the people to be able to fix that M sign. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

• I was reading her a bed time story and suddenly she says “Mommy, I see dead people”. No…I am not kidding, those were her exact words. I am trying not to react and luckily she pointed out quickly that she was referring to the skull and bones in the illustration of the Jungle Book that we were reading.

Even my little one is chiming in with some funny stuff now. The other day my big girl was trying to teach the little one some manners. She says to Evie…”Now, say the magic words”. Evie says, “Magic Woods”. Just as she was instructed to, but it ended up more like a Laurel and Hardy skit before it was all said and done.

She will say something like “I lub this book” and then I will say that I love it too. She then says I lub it three. Again…it is like a Laurel and Hardy skit, but yet, profound at the same time. She is intuitively picking up on the concept of counting, but it comes out kind of funny.

Oh…so much silliness. As my big girl grows, these funny mix ups and misunderstandings sadly start fading away. It was fun to go back and review some of these things. She is such a big girl now. I’m so glad I have journaled these moments, otherwise I would have forgotten them completely. There are so many other moments that I have failed to write down or remember.

Though my oldest still comes up with some funny stuff still, I look forward to my 2 year old providing us some comedy relief for the next few years.

The other thing that struck me from the journal was the profound statements too, but I’ll save that for a different blog. I want to keep it light tonight.

I’ll end with one of the phrases she learned to say with hand motions and all when she was about 4. “Peace out”

As Seen on TV!

My oldest daughter has always pretended to be different animals…ever since she was probably 2. I really thought it was just a passing phase, but now, at 8…I am starting to wonder. For the past 2 years now I guess, her theatrical animal of choice has been none other than a hamster.

She gets into character and digresses into one of the most annoying creatures that this mom could ever imagine. And this is coming from a mom that loves her daughter dearly. So of course – she has been bugging the daylights out of me to get a real hamster or a guinea pig.

As a single mom of 2 girls, with 2 cats and a dog (who is currently on sabbatical) I am thinking…the only way you are getting a hamster is if it doesn’t eat, drink or poop. A robot hamster, if you will. Mind you, this was before zu zu pets hit the scene with it’s fur ball frenzy and godzilla size presence.

Man – I missed my opportunity. I didn’t realize I was incubating a billion dollar idea. It just goes to show that ridiculous ideas like mechanical hamsters and blankets with arms worn like straight jackets can be a pot of gold with the right marketing techniques. I am also amazed and quite alarmed at how my 8 year old buys right into these marketing ploys. I really can’t use the word marketing genius because it is too degrading of a thought.

Hmm…

If I had the right marketing team I could be rich too. I am always coming up with crazy ideas that:

1. I am sure has already been thought of or even invented and

2. Have no idea how to launch the idea off the ground or find initial funding to do so and

3. Get too exhausted in the details of 1 and 2 and talk myself out of doing anything with them at all because the idea is so far out or ridiculous – where do you even start…and more importantly…why would you??!!

I mean in my mind, I created the roomba – the self vacuuming device that cleans your rooms while you are out doing better things – you know, that little robot vacuum thingy that aimlessly wonders about in any given direction for an hour, bouncing off anything it comes into contact with until it thinks it has actually cleaned the whole room. In the process it has completely freaked out the cats and dogs of the household – which, when all is said and done is really the only true entertainment or worth this silly contraption can offer.

Umm…bumpits! Oh yes…bumpits. I came up with that idea too. One day while teasing my hair I thought…there HAS to be a better way! I bet putting a sock or something under a clump of my existing hair would work like a charm! Of course, I hesitated moving forward with that keen idea because I wanted to keep the genius of it all to myself. Umm…no! it was because of the sheer ridiculousness of it all…but snap! I shoulda done something about that.

How about those bra clips that change the shape of your bra strap outlines so you can wear clothing with different kind of arm hole cuts outs. I made that too. It’s called using a safety pin real crafty like.

My favorite invention/idea so far that has not yet been developed, but I am sure in time will be a massive hit – is the do it yourself catheter. For that “hard to buy for relative that has everything”. It would revolutionize long road trips and movie marathons. I could sell it with a buy one, get 2 free deal…great for grand parents – and kids too! Replacement parts alone would keep me rolling in the dough. Yuck! Speaking of dough…

Ok…I didn’t come up with the perfect brownie pan contraption…but…seriously? Is it really THAT hard to actually cut brownies in a pan. Have we really gotten THAT lazy folks? Maybe I can come up with an invention that mechanically removes the brownie from the tray and inserts or catapults it into the lazy, gluttonous mouth of the person that thinks that cutting a brownie is just too much work.

Anyways…I am pretty sure that they are just recycling all the old stock and trash of those icecube trays of the 70’s. I mean…it is the exact same thing…what once was used for cold in the 70’s is now used for hot in 2000’s.

There’s another thing. What do you call this era we’re in? I mean, there was the 50’s the 60’s the…you get the picture. What the heck are we in right now? We are in the…the…see? You don’t know either! I think I should come up with a name for this no named time and market it as some kind of calendar or something. I can see it now…

Get your very own limited edition “in between” calendar ! Never before has there EVER been a time in our life time and never will there be again (never mind that it happens every century…let’s not be a kill joy here) – a time where we don’t even know what to call it…a time of all times…a time after the 90’s but before the 20’s, but not the 1920’s the NEW 20’s. Yes folks, get your limited edition laser space continuum “In between eras” calendars.

They’d come with a special laser marker that is actually a sharpie that you can mark off each day counting it down to the exciting time when the era actually has a handy name. Available on line, by phone or at your local store in the section for “as seen on tv”. With enough ridiculous hype…I bet people would actually buy it!

Give me a break.

Global Dumbing

While you may be one of those who think we have made wonderful progress in our society with all the strides in safety precautions of every kind and form imaginable, I have come to the conclusion that we are actually messing with the whole “Survival of the fittest” theory. We are completely turning it upside down!

Yes, thanks to the hollow souls of the capitalist ways of consumerism, high profit margins and sales – not to mention an endless array of really cool safety products to choose from in any color of choice – we have successfully turned the tide on one of Darwin’s crowning glories. As blatantly as there is a huge gaping man made hole in the ozone, there is now also a huge sucker punch in the face to this whole survival and natural selection theory. Global warming is so yesterday. Yes folks, we are facing a new epic pandemic…Global Dumbing!!

Back in my child hood we threw caution to the wind by riding in the car without car seats, we had candies that glorified bad habits like candy cigarettes (umm…yuck!), thought electrical sockets were play things, and we definitely never wore helmets or knee pads when riding our bikes. Only the weird geeky kids did that.

And not only is this scientific law being turned on it’s head, but the whole laws of parental dictatorship is falling by the wayside too! I mean I am apparently no match for the lords of advertising that make their huge impression on my innocent babes so that they later recite things like…”Helmets saves lives and prevents brain injuries” at the tender age of 4 when I am trying to just go around the block on my bike. I mean…here I am a grown adult…and still being preached too…by my own child nonetheless. It just isn’t natural!

And forget about trying to get out of the driveway without your seatbelt on…the safety savvy kids of this new generation will bust you and call you right out on it. They will then persist to make such a fuss if you ignore that they will only repeat it louder and louder until you have no option but to obey and secure the blasted harness. I mean, can’t a mom break the law now and then?

My 2 year old refuses to go for a short stroll on the scooter without a painstaking 10 minute routine of meticulously fastening tiny little pads on each elbow and knee. Then of course there is the helmet which needs to be readjusted seemingly multiple times just to get the RIGHT fit. And I know that millions of other parents the world over know exactly what I am talking about. And she will absolutely not ride in the poshy non flippable bike cart without being properly buckled.

What is going on here?!? What are we doing? Kids that might otherwise fallen victim to this whole “survival of the fittest” theory are actually making it through the system. As population increases, IQ is decreasing. We all contribute it to poor schooling systems and main stream media leading us astray…but I think the REAL issue is that less “fit” kids are actually surviving due to all these new safety precautions.

What I wouldn’t give to back in time and invest in the once pathetic, barely-there sales of helmets and safety gear equipment. In fact, I think that perhaps this whole racket was invented by some marketing genius just to increase the sales revenues…like some hallmark card holiday like ‘sweetest day’ or something. I can just see it now…20 years ago at long round table executive meeting room as they developed their evil plots to scare parents into throwing billions of dollars their way.

The time to act is now! I’d like to ask you to get behind me in this new campaign in trying to re-align ourselves with Darwin’s ruling of all that is true and sacred (insert sarcastic smirk here) and dare to defy the lords of advertisement and marketing and just say no to being a safety lemming of society. I mean, wouldn’t you want to know NOW rather than later that your child is actually among those that Darwin would consider weak and not genetically worthy of passing on the DNA baton? I mean…come on! I know I would.

This summer, if I have MY way – my girls will be out there riding bikes as fast as their little legs can take them withOUT cool flashy helmets, and with naked knees and elbows…that right. Just like their old mom used to do, only I did it gravel. Yea…I’m tough. If I have my way I am going to save hundreds on safety gear on all kinds of recreational activities. I mean…life vests? Are you kidding me? My girls are going to either beat the odds or sink like…

Ok…wait…

Yes. If I had my way of being a complete idiot myself, I would really show those safety product marketers just who’s the boss. But you know what? Some things are just not worth making a statement over.

And by the way…my daughters look absolutely freaking adorable in all their ridiculously cute gear…it is especially endearing then they put it on themselves as they so proudly flaunt their crooked helmets and woppy jawed elbow and knee pads. And do I really even have to mention how unbelievably edible both of my girls looked at 2 and 3 in inflatable swimmy suits that make her already disproportionate measurements even more magnified?

Sorry folks…and Darwin. This is one campaign that was doomed from the start. Well…I guess we still have the ozone thing to rally behind.