Friday, February 29, 2008

Twists and Turns

I'm kinda all over the place this time. Hold on tight.

The Not-So-Little One told me that I couldn't vote for Hillary Clinton. Fascinated with the prospect that she has learned something about politics in the 5th grade, I asked her why. She replied, "Because I want to be the first woman president. That means Hillary can't win 'cuz she'll get in my way." Makes perfect sense to me. And... this kid has been a negotiator since she was born. Politics is a natural fit.
My daughters have iguanas. They are interesting little creatures, vegetarians (hence no feeding live things), and since they neither smell nor leave hair, Mikel is fine with them. Every morning one of us girls makes a lizard salad. One of my dogs waits for a handout every morning. So far we have discovered that he loves radishes, squash, zucchini, and romaine lettuce. Wish my children ate as healthy as my dog.
My other dog is just plain weird. She sneaks up on you while you are on the computer and licks your toes. It tickles like mad, feels completely gross, and is just... plain weird. Last night I spotted her walking around the living room looking for unsuspecting feet. We were all wearing socks. You could see the disappointment on her face when she plopped down in the middle of the room. I believe I heard her sigh.
Heard in the car this morning: "My dad is scared of clowns and midgets." I didn't even ask.
I experienced some duress this week, and I discovered something interesting about myself. When things were not going my way, when I wasn't getting what I wanted, when I had slammed my head up against the wall for the last time, I took refuge in (of all things) my appearance. I got up in the morning, put on my best suit (the one that shows off my best assets), fixed my hair the best way I knew how, took time to apply my makeup just so, and accessorized. It was exactly like preparing for battle. When all else fails, show 'em that you know you are still worth something. It may seem juvenile, but it works a heck of a lot better than my old ways, i.e. sleeping, eating, drawing the drapes and covers tight.
Biologists tell us that when faced with a threat, living beings will either fight or take flight. I contend that there is another option. I think that when you are too little to fight off your attacker or too slow to outrun him, you seek help. Help to endure the pain, help to survive, help to overcome. Help from a source bigger than you and your assailant. Call it what you wish. I call it faith.
I hear my clients and my friends talk about love a lot. The recurring theme is that they are not receiving love from a significant other. I hear this a lot - "This isn't love. I don't know what (she/he) thinks it is, but it isn't love."

I imagine that it is true that some people are not capable of feeling love. I also think that some people feel love and believe they are showing it, although the recipient doesn't recognize it as such. I think that men who beat their wives do love them, that parents who hit their kids do love them. I certainly don't think they are showing love in an acceptable way, absolutely not, but I think they love them the best way they know how.

Maybe this is what I'm trying to say - emotions may "happen" to us in an automatic way, but expressing them is a learned behavior. My counseling mentor told me once that people need to teach others how they want to be loved. They need to make it clear to others what has to happen in order for them to know they are being loved.

Sometimes we can learn to express love in the ways others desire it, sometimes we can't. Sometimes we can teach others how we want to be loved, sometimes we can't. It is in the "can't" moments that we may have to learn to say "goodbye."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Yet Another Survey

I "borrowed" this from Amanda's site, and there are a few missing. They must not have been important...

1.Would you bang your neighbor?
What an utterly tacky word. I don't do tacky.

2. What word describes your relationship?

3. What does the 3rd text on your phone say?
I don't text much

4. What's the last movie you saw?

5. I've come to realize the last person who held my hand:
is my best friend

6. When's the last time you danced?
this morning, in the kitchen

7. Who have you talked to most today?

8. Do you carve pumpkins every year?
never got around to it this past Halloween

9. Color of your underwear?
What makes you think I'm wearing any?

10. Color of your shirt?
butter yellow

11. I'm always..
hard on myself

12. Who's on speed dial 2? 4? 6?
work, Mikel, BB

13. Honestly, how many boys/girls have you been in love with?
all of them

14. What's your favorite season?

15. How do you feel right now?
like a princess

16. Are you a bad influence?

17. Been drunk in the last week?

18. Do you play Texas Hold 'Em ?
What is that?

19. Would you do anything for someone else?
probably not just anything

20. Have you ever been called a bitch?
yes, and it hurts my feelings every time

21. Beer or Wine?
depends on the meal

22. What is your ringtone?
Hot, Hot, Hot by Harry Belafonte

23. What song is on?
Run So Far by Eric Clapton

24. Are your grades good?
when I was in school they were

25. Do you hate anyone/anything?
unfortunately yes

26. Does your best friend have a myspace?

27. Do you have a secret?
I'm not telling...

28. Last time you went out to lunch?
yesterday with Lisa and Sarah

29. How old are you?
It's not polite to ask a lady her age. But since I'm no lady, I'm 45.

30. Is today a good day?
if you like cold

31. What's your nickname?
don't guess I have one

32. Been to a concert in the past 6 months?

33. Do you have one or more Britney Spears cd?
no... bless her little pea-pickin' heart

34. What did you do last night ?
led a support group

35. Do you like drunk girls/guys?

36. Say you were given a drug test right now. Would you pass or fail?
pick any point in time and I would pass that sucker

37. Do you have a song by Ozzy Osbourne in your library?

42. What's the last thing you bought?
Encyclopedia of Counseling to study for the NCE

43. What's the last thing someone bought you?
Mikel bought me a can of cheese last night. Does that count?

44. Do you ever sing in the shower?
nice acoustics in there

44. Whats your favorite movie?
The Jerk

48. Do you believe everyone has a soulmate?

49. Can you sing?
I've been known to get paid for it, even.

53. Are you ever a freak about cleanliness or organization?
only about my car

54. Have you ever been to South America or Africa?
no, but I'd love to

55. Do you know how to knit?
I used to

56. Do you have a job?
more than one

58. What are you doing right now besides this survey?
listening to Eric Clapton and daydreaming

60. Baskin Robbins or Coldstone?
I am the one person on the planet that can live without ice cream

61. Physics or chemistry?

65. G's or R's?

66. Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars?
Lord of the Rings - you get Viggo Mortensen and Orlando Bloom in the same movie

67. Fly or road trip?
they both have their merits

68. Batman, Spiderman, or Superman?
Spiderman - he's flawed

69. What's your favorite Disney movie?

70. What are your plans for tonight?
see clients until 7:00, go see the old-timers jam at Lone Star BBQ, try to finish watching Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I am a stepmother. For five fascinating years Mikel's daughter and son lived with us. Although my stepchildren are grown now and living elsewhere, they remain a significant part of my life.

I fell in love with my stepchildren the first time I met them. And for a little while, I believed they returned my feelings. But as is often the case, other people in their lives resented those feelings, and for one reason or another they stopped loving me. I never stopped loving them, but I did get tired.

I did many things wrong, as I had no experience as a mother. I did not have the benefit of bonding with them at an age when bonding comes naturally. I did not have the luxury of smoothing over a mistake with a hug and kiss. It was never that simple. Every word and every look and every expression was scrutinized by the children, their mother, and sometimes even their father. Every error was tallied on a score card. Exhausting. Dehumanizing.

I did many things right as a stepmother, too. But like any job, the mistakes left a more lasting impression than the victories.

I contend that stepparenting is the hardest job there is. A stepparent cannot seem to do anything right. The kids hate you. The kids' real mother hates you. The kids' mother's family hates you. The schools do not recognize you as a real parent, even if the children live with you. Doctor's will not discuss their medical details with you, even when you are responsible for the bills. But.... the moment something goes wrong, you get all the credit.

You know what, though? Those things were not the things I struggled with the most. I had the hardest time accepting the fact that in my marriage I would never get to come first. When you enter into a relationship in which there are already children, you never get to be "the one." Not even for a second. Oh, your husband wants to put you first. He really does. And he can't. Because the children are more important. And they should be.

It's not that this is an impossible situation. Lots of women and men marry into ready-made families. And they find love and fulfillment. And... they feel infinitely guilty that they secretly (and not-so-secretly) long to be the most important thing in someone's life.

A commonly recited marriage vow goes something like this - "... forsaking all others..." Unless, of course, someone else has already taken up residence in the heart of the one you love. Maybe it is an impossible situation after all.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Relationships defines a relationship as

1. a connection, association, or involvement
2. a connection between persons by blood or marriage
3. an emotional or other connection between people
4. a sexual involvement; affair

In other words it seems that relationships can occur between any people who have contact with one another - stylist/client, grocer/customer, teacher/student, husband/wife. The list is virtually endless.

If you were to ask 100 people, however, for a one-word definition of relationship, you'd likely hear this: challenging.

Relationships have boundaries and, unless you are a robot, the boundaries tend to blur. Constantly. Professionals fall in love. Best friends fall out. Marriages fall apart. Parents fall down on the job. There is nothing more slippery than the parameters of a relationship. There are road blocks and detours. Signs get stolen. And sometimes the edges of the road vanish altogether.

As if that weren't difficult enough, relationships occur between human beings. Human beings who have traversed life via roads and back alleys and waterways. No one arrives at a destination without baggage. Sometimes the baggage is light and trivial, and the traveler hasn't had it all that long - isn't all that attached to it. He can set it down and walk away from it, realizing that it can easily be replaced with something new and improved. He even feels relieved when the burden is lifted. He feels like he can run a hundred miles, hand in hand with his new partner.

More times than not the baggage is heavy, soul-shattering. That kind of baggage has been around for a long time, and it has grown and morphed and gained momentum. That kind of baggage whispers lies into the traveler's ears, "You won't find anything better than me. You can't live without me. You don't exist without me." Often there is no one else around to dispel the lies, and the traveler eventually falls for this load of dung. Not only can the traveler not let go of the old baggage, he also finds some comfort in it. It's familiar, it's part of his identity, it's better than having nothing at all. So the traveler surrounds himself with the old, rotten baggage and tries to keep dragging it along everywhere he goes. Darn baggage keeps getting bigger and uglier and louder. The baggage gets in the way, sticking its tongue out any new partners, acting as a land mine. "Maybe," the traveler thinks, "it would just be easier to sit here beside the road and let others go by."

Only the traveler can break the spell that baggage holds over him. But the secret code is hidden in passages most of us are afraid to enter. The others that the traveler meets along the way feel frustrated, wishing they could be appealing enough to the traveler that he would toss the old rubbish aside and grab hold of them instead. Lots of times the others get tired of battling the old baggage and part ways with the traveler. Sometimes they fight the good fight but find themselves defeated and damaged. And now they carry baggage, too.

Ask the traveler what he would like, and he might say something like this: "I know my baggage stinks. I hate it, too. But I'm having trouble unloading it at the moment. Don't fight us, but don't give up, either. Walk along beside me. Bring your baggage, too. We can compare them and point out their shortcomings. Maybe we can help each other see just how unhealthy they are and find a way to outsmart them and escape. And then we can sprint off down that new road I caught a glimpse of a while back."

Hey, traveler, when you race off down that new track, go ahead and look back at your old baggage. Just one time. And stick your tongue out at it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

All Girl

This is how I know that I am all girl...

I have lost about 15 lbs since the beginning of the year. People noticed this morning. I love it when people notice.

Today I am wearing a skirt that I haven't been able to zip in two years. I was so excited when I discovered that I could wear it that I actually whoo-hoo'd in my closet. The acoustics are not that great in my closet.

Equally exciting was buttoning the silk blouse and seeing no gaps when I looked down. It's like having a whole new wardrobe without having to go shopping.

My hair is cooperating. This is a good thing.

I still wear high heels as often as I can get away with it. They make my legs look longer. Hey, when you're all of 5'2" you take all the help you can get.

People I like are not around today, and I am feeling lonely.

The loneliness caused me to consume the rest of the Junior Mints that were sitting on my desk. That means a couple of extra miles in the saddle this weekend.

I forgot to bring a lunch today, and I am contemplating skipping the meal altogether. I do not like to dine alone.

I have worn long-sleeved shirts since the bloodletting Saturday, so that no one can see the bandage on my wrist.

I am thankful that the vehicle I drive, although not the one I would have chosen for myself, looks nice and is in good working condition. Car trouble troubles me.

I am also thankful that Mikel takes care of our banking. It is not that I am unable to do it. It is that I despise doing it. It gives me great anxiety. By way of compromise, I spend very little money. (It is true. Ask anyone who knows me. I am a cheap skate.)

Sometimes I like to be the center of attention. Okay, okay.... lots of the time.

I chipped a nail and now it is shorter than the other nine. I will trim the rest so that they are all the same length. And then I will buff and polish them all to remind them who is boss.

Tomorrow maybe I will post about something deeper. Prove that I do, indeed, have a brain in my head. Perhaps I will contemplate our existance in the universe. But today I am all girl.

Now.... where did I put my lipstick....?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

25 Facts and 13 Secrets (borrowed from BB's site)

1. Talked to a cute boy? maybe...

2. Talked to an ex? not lately

3. Missed someone? yes

4. Last person who laid in bed with you? Mikel

5. Last person made you cry? no comment

6. Went to the movies with? the Little One

7. Went to the mall with? my family

8. Made you laugh? some goofball in a commercial

9. Said they loved you? the Little One

10. What are you most scared of? rejection

11. Does anyone like you? I hope so

12. Do you like being around people? quite a bit

13. Have you cried recently? Are you kidding me?

14. Are you lonely right now? not particularly

15. Song stuck in your head? not at the moment

16. Have you been on radio/tv? a couple of times

17. Ever liked someone who treated you like crap? Who hasn't?

18. What time is it? 9:42 pm

19. How much cash do you have on you right now? none

21. Who got you to join Myspace? my sister

22. Wish someone was next to you in the morning when you wake up? no, 'cuz someone already is

23. What web site do you visit the most? maybe blogspot

24. Do you have any plants in your room? no, the cats eat them

25. Who was the last person to talk to you? Mikel



2.WHERE WAS YOUR (MySpace) DEFAULT PICTURE TAKEN? at a chorus Christmas party



5. FRENCH FRIES OR TATER TOTS? six in one hand, half a dozen in the other


7. IF YOU MUST BE AN ANIMAL FOR ONE DAY, WHAT WOULD YOU BE? I was born under two cat signs - what do you think?

8. HAVE YOU EVER SANG IN FRONT OF A LARGE AUDIENCE? many times - I would rather sing in front of 2,000 strangers than two of my closest friends


11. DO YOU STILL WATCH KIDDIE MOVIES OR TV SHOWS? I have two children..... uh, yeah

12. DO YOU SPEAK ANY OTHER LANGUAGE? American Sign Language

13. WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW? my left wrist

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cleaning the Bathroom Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

I am not squeamish. I have never panicked at the sight of blood. Even when the Little One stumbled over her own crawling hands and nearly bit her tongue in two I remained calm. Oh my, but did that bleed. A stuck pig couldn't possibly bleed that much. The more she wailed, the more the blood spurted all over the kitchen. I held pressure on it with a cold washcloth until I was able to assess the damage.

Yesterday, as I was cleaning my bathroom (yes, me, cleaning a bathroom), a jar slipped from my grasp. I instinctively tried to catch it, at the exact moment that it shattered into the sink. The jagged glass ripped back a triangle of flesh from my left wrist, apparently hitting a small blood vessel. Blood began to squirt out in all directions. I thought that only happened in the movies.

I quickly determined that I needed to bleed elsewhere, since I would soon have to clean the glass out of that sink, so I wrapped my other hand around my wrist and moved over to the other sink. The blood shot through my fingers, spraying the mirror and all of the items sitting on the vanity. All I could say was "Oh! Oh! Oh!" All I could see was red liquid pouring down my arm. All I could think was, "Now I'm gonna have to clean this all over again!" I had a fleeting concern for my clothing.

I ran cold water over the wound, but I couldn't get a good look at the cut because of all the blood. Let me tell you, it is very distressing to watch your own blood pour out of your body. It messes with your head. Blood is supposed to stay inside, darn it.

Mikel walked around the corner and shouted, "Oh my God! We need to take you to the emergency room!" I hate the ER. I still suffer from PTSD from the last time I went to the ER with a broken elbow and sat around in extreme pain for four hours waiting to be seen. I decided that I didn't want to bleed to death in the ER. I asked for a paper towel, wadded up tight, and applied pressure until I could get a good look at the wound. It is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

I got the bleeding stopped and put a bandaid on it. It hurts like the dickens (I've always wondered about that expression...), and I guess I must have damaged some nerves because I have numbness in my wrist. Lovely. There goes my career as a professional baby bottle temperature tester.

The whole episode left me feeling nauseous and dizzy. I sat down for a couple of minutes to avoid hurling. Then I got up and helped clean up the glass. No rest for the queasy.

No bike ride for me today. Oh well, it's too chilly anyway.

Hope you had a good weekend. And that your body fluids stayed put.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Mikel forgot to purchase tickets this year for the local Daddy/Daughter Valentine dance, so he took each of the girls out on a dinner date. They were so excited about their date with daddy, getting all dressed up and picking a favorite restaurant. Since he was taking one on Thursday and one on Friday, mom ended up with a coffee date this morning, but that was just fine with me. It was fun to hear them recall the events of their evenings.

I scored some great gifts and ate too many sweets. I'd call the day a success.

One of the guys in my office received a singing Valentine - a ladies barbershop quartet singing "Love Potion No. 9." They were really good, and he was duly embarrassed. As it should be.
Couldn't have happened to a better guy!

I always enjoy seeing all the florist delivery vans jockeying for parking outside of office buildings on Valentines Day. Makes me smile to think about all of that love being spread around.

It also makes me smile to see all of those last-minute males crowding into the tents that some of the grocery stores set up in their parking lots. I think they set them up too early, though. Anyone hitting one of those tents is likely to do so after work on Valentines Day, not four days beforehand. They should just wait until 4:00 pm on the actual day and staff them heavily.

Hope you had a terrific V-Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Jam Session

Had a tough session with a client tonight. The client is finally tackling some real work, and although that is terrific, it is also hard work. For both of us.

Arrived home pretty wiped out, so we went to a local BBQ joint. Turned out to be a great idea, because there were about a dozen old-timers sitting around some microphones and amps, jamming! There were playing and singing some old country tunes, the kind my grandpappy would have tapped his toe to. And they were really good!

The owner tells us these guys and gals jam every Tuesday night. I think we've found a new mid-week hangout.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


This morning my church hosted a youth choir from Russia. They are a cultural exchange group that also raises money for underprivileged children all over the world. They sang and they danced and they played instruments, all in a traditional Russian way. And... they were.... terrific! The little eight-year-old girl that sang a solo could outsing my entire chancel choir.

Beautiful day for a ride! The Little One chose to hang with a friend this afternoon, so it was just the three of us on the trails today. And, much as I hate to say it, we were able to go further and ride in more challenging places without her. My cycling computer needs a new battery, so I'm not exactly sure how far we rode. Gotta remedy that.

Bought a cool CD at Halfprice Books - Duke Ellington Songbook. The Little One bought yet another dragon book. She is the only 9-year-old girl I know who is enamored with dragons. The Not-So-Little One passed on a book and is busy putting together a spy scope kit she picked up. She fancies herself some sort of sleuth.

Gotta go get some more laundry going.....

Friday, February 8, 2008


One of my all-time favorite videos:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What Did You Just Say?

The Little One starts the conversation like this:

LO - "Mommy, when I go on my first date, I don't want you to come along."

Me - "Oh, I'm coming along. You just won't know it. I'll sneak into the theater after you have already gone in, and I'll sit right behind you. But you won't know I'm there."

LO - gives me the dagger look

Me - "And if he tries to hold your hand, I'll go 'Ahem!'"

LO - throws more daggers my way with her crystal blue eyes

Me - "And if he tries to kiss you, I'll go 'AHEM!'"

LO - crystal blue eyes turn to steel

Me - "And if he tries anything nasty, I'll hit him over the head with my purse!"

LO - (giggling) "Mommy, if he tries anything nasty, I'll hit him in a sensitive spot on his body."

Me - eyes get huge, eyebrows lift to ceiling "Oh?"

LO - (innocently) "Yeah, like his ears. I'll grab him by the ear and drag him out into the lobby while he goes, 'Ow! Ow! Ow!' And then I'll hit him on the head with my purse."

Ears, huh? Somehow, I think this might actually work.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Soapbox

Got an opportunity to ride again Sunday. It was a splendid day - warm, sunny, breezy but not windy. This week I partnered with the Not-So-Little One, who doesn't do anything in a hurry. Turns out that riding very slowly uphill is a great workout!

I took the opportunity to teach her about drafting and attack (hills). She was a wiling student.

Remembered two vital pieces of equipment this trip: wrap around glasses and padded briefs. Much better!

Riding in town sucks. As is the case in most cities, it is not legal to ride on sidewalks. Sidewalks are for pedestrians. Bicycles are wheeled vehicles and belong on the road. Unfortunately, cars do not like to share the road with bicycles. And they don't stop on red before turning right. I watched in horror as the Little One barely escaped a collision.

So we relented and found the sidewalk. Which was littered with trash and overgrown bushes and trees and fence posts and broken beer bottles.

Daily we are bombarded with pleas to "go green." I would love to do my part by cycling, if only I didn't feel like I was taking my life into my own hands everytime I climbed in the saddle. As if the obstacles weren't enough, I have been honked at (from directly behind me), spit on, grabbed, slapped on the behind, and followed.

And what about those other two buzzwords, "childhood obesity"? My daughters would live outside if I allowed it. But the cars that speed down my block make wheeled recreation impossible. And let's not even talk about the sexual predators. Every parent I know agrees - we would love to send our kids outside, if we could.

Listen up lawmakers: make the roads safer and we'll all get out there and enjoy them. Without our automotive armour.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Went to see The Golden Compass, despite the many email warnings I received regarding this film. I took the girls to see it because 1) they liked the looks of the special effects, 2) I feel completely confident in my ability to guide them through any explorations they may have about God and religion, and 3) I like them to think for themselves.

That happens to be the major theme of the movie - free will.

The special effects impressed the girls. They especially liked the big polar bears. They were not one bit swayed by the movie to become atheists or to love God any less. The Bible speaks of having faith like a child.

Although much more subtle, the plot reminded me a bit of the tales of the Crusades. Powerful people forcing less "enlightened" folks to believe the way they did, or else. Entire cultures have been destroyed by well-meaning missionaries. It just isn't right.

I hope that we always have stories and films that make us think for ourselves and question popular thinking. If I am not mistaken, it was extremely popular in Germany at one time to eliminate the Jews. Lots of people went along with the idea. Lots didn't, but they paid dearly for disagreeing.

War, death, destruction - in the name of God.

And popular ideas, even religious ones, change with time. Remember "spare the rod, spoil the child"? How about "wives submit to your husbands"? Those beliefs seem to have fallen by the way side in modern times.

I'm thankful that my God gave me a sharp mind and a free will. I'm thankful that from every mistake I make thinking for myself and making my own decisions, I learn a lesson. Mostly I am thankful for grace. Which wouldn't be necessary if we always did what we were told and followed the rules.

You, dear reader, may not agree with me. You may question my judgment as a parent for letting the girls see this movie. That is your God-given right. I for one am glad you have that right. And I look forward to hearing from you.