Sunday, February 26, 2012

Delighted With ShrinkyDinks

Oh, what a fun time we had at the party!  (My daughter turns 11 soon.)
Basically, three LOVELY little girls (ages 8, 9, and 11) joined my girl for dinner and cupcakes and fun.


Shrinky Dinks (TM) are awesome sheets of plastic which, after being colored and cut into shapes, get baked.  (*Not unlike me after the party last night.)  Upon baking, they shrink to 1/3 of their size, but get 9x thicker.  (Yep.  9x thicker after a night of partying? MmmHmmm.)

Primarily, the girls made charms for charm bracelets last night (a banana, hearts, a cell phone, a birthday cake, flowers, butterflies, and so on).  It was SO sweet to see them shrug off the "too cool for that" mentality and just dive in and color and play.  They giggled, screeched, laughed, and whacked the others with balloons.

One of the girls' moms stayed with me to drink wine supervise, help with the make-your-own pizzas, and chat.  She and I just get along so well, even though we come from very different perspectives.  She's from the other side of the world -- literally-- and comes from a religious/social background that is rather unknown to me (until recently), and she's a MATHEMATICIAN.  I mean, that alone outlines our differences dramatically.

I love little girls.  I love their capacity to become best friends upon sight.  The fact that they just ... play.
And you know what?  I'm learning to do the same.

Ranting From RFML Soon!

I'm so 'cited!  The spectacular Lydia at Rants From Mommyland agreed to post one of my babbles over there!  It's going up sometime this coming week, and I'm nervous.  Over at RFML, they have lots and lots of readers -- like, totally more than 4.
What will they say? Will they comment?  Will they hate on me?  Eeep!

So, if you're visiting from RFML, welcome to my cocktail lounge.  Don't lick the mirrors.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Birthday Girl

My daughter.  My precious little fairy. Turning 11 soon.  She's survived the years I worried most about -- 8, 9, and 10.  I don't know why those concerned me so much.  Could be that during those years for me, I found my lifelong passion (flute), fell in puppy love the first time, discovered how hard I found math to be, watched my family go through some big changes (siblings getting married, moving out, parents changing jobs), and started to figure out who I was.

Eleven was where I started to enjoy things a bit.  I started to be regarded by my peers as smart, talented, and sweet.  (It took me decades for others to think of me as funny, though.  Weird.)  At 11, I was already largely the person I'd end up being.

I wonder, when I look at her.  Is she already involved in her calling?  Would that be the science club she's in?  Or math-0-rama?  Or cooking?  Maybe the writing contest she does every year.  Flute she's been playing?  Possibly choir.  I have no idea.

Eleven is on the way to being a young lady.  At 11, you know some of the 'facts of life.'  And you've heard stories about the rest of them.  You have opinions about things.  About politics, economics, people, fashion.  This is delightful to think about, but a bit scary too.  We're on the cusp of this "mother/teenager" relationship I've heard of.  I know.  Eleven is NOT a teenager.  But we're definitely in the neighborhood now.

She's afraid she'll change into a stereotypical teen.  We've discussed this, and I remind her that all those generalities are just that -- general.  And I'm afraid I"m going to be a pre-menepausal woman who is a bundle of prickly feelings and hot flashes.  Does that happen to ALL mom/daughter pairs?  Am I just as guilty of believing the generalities?

I hope not.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

KateLibs: Harlequin Edition

For some reason, I've taken to writing mini-Harlequin romances about women I know, trying to incorporate lots of little details of their lives (facts AND fantasies).  Thought you'd like to read a few.

First is about a blogger, Mrs. G, who is a middle-aged author who entertains fantasies about Johnny Depp.  She accidentally posted just a title on her blog recently, with no text.  Here is what I imagined was the cause:

Mrs. G, wearing a seductive terrycloth dressing gown, made her way to the computer. She began to type; first quietly, gently, then with growing passion and abandon.
Johnny eyed her from the darkness of the sofa. He rose, earring glinting in the light of the monitor. Walking towards her, he was a graceful as a cat.
Mrs. G had gotten no further than the title of the post, when he could stand it no more, and whisked her into his arms with a hungry growl, and his elbow hit the "Publish" button.
Her bathrobe was tossed over the computer moments later, so the pair never knew.

Second, another blogger named Ashley gave me a set of details to choose from (fantasy boyfriends, occupations, cars, locations, and so on). Here's hers:

It was high noon as Ashley and her pea--green Nova pulled up in front of the county courthouse that day. Austin was hot, and so was she. “Today! Today I will get justice for MaryBeth and her family!” she repeated as she gathered her files, ready to assume her Advocate Ashley persona.
No sooner did she step into the searing Texas sun than did she raise her eyebrows at the vintage Mustang that screeched to a halt behind her car. “Ma’am?” a husky voice called. A voice weathered like a good pair of boots, with a faint hint of single-malt scotch in the rasp of it. “I do believe your car is on fire.”
She, horrified, gaped attractively at her now-engulfed-in-flames Nova. “Oh, fer Pete’s sake…” her accent intensified in her moment of shock.
The man unfolded his lanky frame from his seat, and leapt into action, rumbling past her like a tall, attractive tank. He reached his brawny arms into the conflagration and gathered her baskets of crafting supplies, and snagging her purse from the floor of the back seat. “I don’t figure y’all would want your gorgeous crafts to go up with this ol’ Nova.” He faced her, trying to free a sooty hand, “Adam, ma’am. Adam Levine. I think we’d better call the fire department. And in the meantime, why don’t you come on and sit with me in my car? I have some time before I have to catch my flight over to Kansas City for my VolunteerAmerica conference.”
The next thing she knew, she was being tucked into the black leather bucket seat of a Mustang that smelled like dust, band aids, and sexy man.

Playing Catch, Life-Wise

You know how you keep getting yourself into the same stupid situation again and again?
Where, afterwards, you say, "I totally coulda seen that one coming" and you slap your forehead? 

I'm getting quicker at ending the cycle now.  From the beginning, where things start to feel slightly off-kilter (one of the wheels is starting to wobble) through the middle (holy crap! what's that rumbling sensation?) and through the inevitable CRUNCH (eaumahgah/we'reallgonnadie!).


I have learned to play catch in a whole different way.  The ball o'crap comes at me, and maybe the first time or two I lob it back.  (And isn't THAT a luscious image?)

But -- when my head emerges from the sand, I think, "OH.  Right.  Must not participate." And then the next ball o'crap?  I catch it and then I SET IT DOWN.

And then I just stand there.  I try to look around and get some perspective.  I try to remember who I am, where I am, and that no matter how many balls o' poo are flying, they're not all aimed at me.

How it translates into real life:
I get frustrated by MYSELF missing a crucial schedule detail.  Then I make a plan to fix it, which in turn causes MORE problems, because I had -- in my hurry to fix the first mistake -- made another one, which would cause problems for OTHERS in my life.  The problems ensue, everybody gets mad, hurt feelings happen, I get defensive, I get quiet.
Then.  I look around and realize that we're all still the same people.  That these same people know ME.  They can forgive ME.  And I can forgive THEM.  I do not become someone else to them, even when I make mistakes, and vice-versa.

Remember in Sex and the City (before the stupid movies) where Miranda and Steve break up?  And she misses him, but ... now he's An Ex.  And he comes to her and smiles that crooked grin, and says, "But Miranda.  It's me, Steve."  And she smiles and cries on him and they agree that they can hang out and talk.
"It's me! Steve!"

I get to the point where I have to remember, "Hey, It's me.  Kate."

So I own up to my mistakes, and the problems caused when I try to rush in and fix them.  And then the other people involved (usually) forgive my mistakes.  And then they (usually) admit that they did something kind of thoughtless or stupid or whatever, and that kind of sucks. And we sit and look at each other, remembering that we're still us.

People do not become someone else just because you've made a mistake or hurt their feelings or vice-versa.

And thinking that they HAVE; positioning them as The Other, The Enemy, that just makes the ball o' poo splat all the messier.

Catch it.  Go, "Ew. For gosh sakes, please stop throwing poo at me." Drop it, wipe your hands off, and stand up and look around.

"It's me.  Kate."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Craptacular Poopfest

Well, I'm in quite the mood.

Just about every relationship, activity, and business item that I have going on has had SOMETHING go wrong this last week.

Not all are major things.  But several significant to cause me measurable discomfort, sadness, angst, anger, embarrassment, disappointment, or confusion.  And many of these in each and every day!  I have lost or hewn down or misplaced lots of my major supports, too.  That's kind of a wicked combination.

I haven't been making the wisest choices either.  Sometimes when I get over-stretched, I start making rather grandiose or presumptuous decisions, and that gets me further into the muck.  And I retaliate against myself by mooning about, going all pity-party, and generally picking lint from my toes while listening to borderline-lesbian-folk/angst music.

All my horses are running wild.  No fences in view.  I stand here in the dust, scratching my left ear, squinting, wondering what in the hell went wrong.
.... and there they go

Then I hear stories about people with real, serious life issues.  Being in settlements in Africa, then being bombed and thinking your husband died, so you move to another settlement, and so on for five years, until you finally learn that your husband is alive, but unable to join you for another year due to immigration laws.

People with major medical issues.  People with addictions, poverty, death, doom, betrayal, fire, famine.  And I want to smack myself and go "Waaah, waaaah, waaaah.  Get over yourself, you whiny little shit."  But then a part of my brain pokes me in the leg and says, "But. Your problems are real.  They're not like HER problems, or even HER problems.  But they're real.  And don't feel guilty for taking them seriously."

How?  How can a person with so many advantages ever take her own problems seriously, knowing... what I know?  How can I ever allow myself to enjoy my free time when people in my life are suffering from overwork, lack of time, lack of rest?  How?  How can I let myself luxuriate and care for myself, to do hobbies, to relax, when I could certainly be doing work to make others' lives easier?  I could be cleaning someone's house (mine or others), or be doing someone else's errands.  I could be bringing a nice hot lunch to the person who is stuck in an office for a long long day.

But .  I'm not really SUPPOSED to mother the entire world, am I?

If you have three pairs of shoes, and a close friend or relative has only 1, are you required to give one to them to make it even?

Aaaaaand ::let the toe lint picking begin.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Whoops. Forgot To Write

Holy cow! I haven't blogged in weeks!

Like you've noticed.  Please.

I went to see a therapist about the "depressed but not sad" thingy.  Now, I'm not convinced I'm going to keep going to this lady, but she had some good suggestions.
[BTW: My stupid reasons for not maybe wanting to return? Her office smells like food, and she has very very weird teeth.  I know.  I'm so shallow. But it's MY therapy, and I'll be shallow if I want to.]

Some of her thoughts, after asking tons of questions about my history (any abuse? No.  Any major head trauma? Um. Not that major.  Drug abuse? No. Any recent personal trauma? Unless you count going slowly mad, no. And so on):

1: Might be my thyroid acting up again!  That would explain the logey-ness, the aches and pains, the lack of motivation, the desire to over-eat, over-drink, and over-sleep.
Solution: Go get blood tests again and meet w/my physician.  EASY.

2:  Might be way-way-peri-menopause.  Doubties, but possible.  Would explain all of the above too, to a degree.
Solution: Same as above.  Done and done.

3:  Might be my desire to both be a good "Victorian wife and mother" (her phrase) as well as a modern career woman, spiritual liberal, and innovator.  That's crazy-making.
Solution:  Some talk therapy, some priority-setting, some 'get real'-ing.    Longer term time investment, but not beyond the realm of do-able.

4: Might be Something Else.
Solution:  Lay around in bed, moping, and wait for it to either get better or get worse.  That is the suckiest possibility.  I'd probably get  blood tests, do some talk therapy, and try to avoid this possibility.

Oh, and apparently I have The Guilt.

About what, you ask?

I have -- for the first time since the kiddos were born -- some free time.  Time during which I do not feel absolutely compelled to fill with income-creating work.  I don't need to spend all my time promoting myself, recruiting, building my presence.  So, I can fill this time with things I ENJOY.


I think I have heard of this.  Hobbies?  Friends?  Classes (taking, not teaching)? I have no idea how to handle this.  But here's the Thing.

My kids are busy.  My husband is full-on busy.  He's working towards tenure (cross fingers).  I'm the only one with this time, all by myself.  What right have I to be enjoying myself?
Shouldn't I be working to make THEIR lives easier?  Do all the cleaning? Cars to get oil changes? Blankets to the cleaners?  I WILL DO ALL THE THINGS!

See my problem?

::slapping self::