Sunday, March 13, 2011

What if There Was No Tomorrow?

This post may come across as a downer, but I don't mean to come across that way. Based on my family history I just assumed I would live into my 80's or 90's barring some freak accident.

But what if I don't have much time left?

I've always done what I was supposed to do. I always thought if I did what I was supposed to, I would begin to feel like I was supposed to, but after years of doing what I was supposed to do, I still don't feel like I am supposed to.

The age-old struggle between security and freedom consumes me everyday. How many seemingly logical decisions have I made that were really driven by fear? How many opportunities have a lost because I was directed by fear instead of faith?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What About This Old Video Really Speaks to Me?

I like a variety of music. I'm probably the only person I know who listens to both Rush and Rusted Root. I guess if I think it's good, I think it's good and I don't spend too much time worrying if I like music that fits or doesn't fit one genre. And yes, while I'm hardly a hippie, in college I loved Phish.

I hadn't listened to Phish in a while. Maybe I thought that music didn't fit who I had become. I'm not really sure. But lately I have rediscovered Phish.

The video is fascinating. For one thing, I had no idea Phish had been around that long. Back in 1990 I was a Freshman in high school and had no idea who Phish was. For another thing, the music seems so raw, and in a way this is the best performance of Bouncing Around the Room I have ever seen. This performance captures Phish for me, and what I like about their music. To Phish's music I can dance around like a white person and not care how I look. There are some audience members in the front who are really bouncing around the room! How funny. The late 80's early 90's cusp era fashions are amusing. I wish I could have been there. It must have been an amazing experience.

I have been playing this video a lot. Rob says, "Turn off that hippie music!"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Price Of Contentment

The past 9-10 years I have been mostly content. Not full of angst. Not full of bliss. Just content.

Between the ages of 14 and 21, my feelings ranged from complete bliss to complete angst. During those years I wrote a lot of bad poetry, usually inspired by some boy.

A calmness hit me at age 26. I think that is the age I truly became an adult. At that point I decided it was time to stop giving in to instant gratification, and start seriously perusing long-term goals. I stopped daydreaming and became what I considered normal.

I don't think meeting Rob when I was 27 was accidental. I feel the universe really does work out.

I hadn't missed the flaky girl I had been, until recently. That girl may have had her flaws, but she lived with inspiration.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dessert Without Dinner

When you have gone for years always allowing someone dessert without dinner, you cannot reasonably expect that person to be on board when you suddenly decide dinner is in order.

You need persistence and patience and faith that person will come around, and understand that sometimes you have to allow that person dessert without the dinner.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bad Poetry

Just when I thought I was past that point in my life where I'm writing bad poetry, I'm right back at it:

The Dream

Last night I had a dream
of someone's Dad who I had hardly seen
He looked at me with those Dadly* eyes 
and said,
"Keep those secrets to yourself, jelly bean."

*That wasn't a typo for "Deadly" I actually mean to say "Dadly." I think I just made that word up. But maybe Deadly would make more sense?

Don't ask...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Anti-Facebook Life

Recently The Early Show on CBS did a story on "Facebook Envy." Apparently people are looking at their friends' Facebook profiles and feeling bad about themselves in comparison. I thought most people knew that only the best parts of life - the vacations, the new homes, the marriages, the births etc. - are shown on Facebook. I very much doubt there is anyone who posts pictures of Divorce proceeding or job firings on their Facebook profile!

In the days before Facebook, there were class reunions and Christmas cards. I admit there is a part of me who likes to present myself as more important than I am to the outside world. I guess I can sort of relate to the people who need to show-off a little bit. And these things satisfy my natural curiosity about old-friends - I admit I've Googled random people - come on everybody does that sometimes. And I know I'm only seeing the partial truth.

I'm actually very impressed with the old friends with little presence online, the ones without a Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin profile. There is a mystique surrounding these people, and my imagination takes over, suspecting that these social network avoidance people are like gadzillionaires, and don't want to be too easily found by "old-friends" looking for money.

Rob's not on Facebook. He says he doesn't care what some old High School friend had for breakfast on any given morning. Sometimes I wish he was on Facebook, but then I ask myself why. Honestly, because most spouses are on Facebook together. But it's not like I need Facebook to keep in touch with my own husband! I admit the only reason I wish he was on Facebook is so I can link his profile next to my relationship status and tag him in my photo albums!

And then I think about my web presence, and wonder if I should tone it down a bit. I have a Facebook profile, a Classmates account, which is becoming obsolete with Facebook, and I joined Linkedin at the invitation of my boss about 3 years ago, and I haven't been very active there. And then I have this blog. I wonder if I'm overexposing myself, and if anyone really cares to know that much about me anyway.

The purpose of this blog is to show my Anti-Facebook life, within reason of course. These are my raw unedited inner thoughts. For some strange reason, I'm proud of my mistakes and scars. Oddly enough, I think I'll share it on my Facebook profile!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Alternative Universe Life

For laughs here it is, my alternative universe life. Actually not all of it is funny, and maybe part of my alternative universe life is worth pursuing, although some of the opportunities have passed. Here it is:

Rob and I own a wildly successful family business. I guess I should have clear idea of what this business offers, but I don't. Maybe its something not that sexy that has potential like renting self-storage units. Rob does most of the work with the business.

As for me, I was so smart with my money before I had kids that I have all of these money generating assets that only require about 20-60 minutes of monitoring from me daily. I guess I should have clear idea of what these assest are but I don't.

From these assets I am able to generate money for the family while spending the bulk of my time at home with my kids. I take them to playgroups 2-3 days a week and every year for each kid's birthday, I hand decorate their cake in painstaking detail. I occasionally help Rob with administrative needs for our business.

Rob actually likes my name suggestions and our kids are named Cecily, Hugh, and he agrees to a third kid, a girl we name Louisa.

Every year we take some fancy vacation. We alternate between a cultural vacation such as a trip to Rome, and a purely fun family trip such as Disney World.

Since I'm home with the kids, there is no need for childcare, but I do have a mother's helper who comes in 5 hours a week while I get my hair / nails done, go shopping, run errands, meet for coffee with girlfriends or go to the gym. I also have a cleaning lady who comes in once a week to do all the yucky jobs such as scrubbing the tube. Other than that, I am able to keep our house spotless, and no more than 20 minutes to company-ready, which is important with all the entertaining we do.

We live in a Tudor style house on a lake, and have a vacation home down south in like Tennessee or something.

I am very fashionable both with my clothes, and my home decor. My kids are always dressed in the latest Gymboree clothes.

We are loaded and I live a charmed life.

What does this say about me? That I'm shallow? That I have a rich fantasy life? That I care too much what other people think? Would I really be happy with my alternative universe life?

Until next time...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wasting My Time On Wastful Thoughts

My son has pinkeye - again. My son has an ear infection - again. I am back on some kick ass strong antibiotic that could still give me hives that my doctor insists I take even though my feet are sometimes itchy, which makes me wonder if my lung abscess is a lot more serious than I thought, and then I scold myself because I sound like an old person obsessed with my health. And more importantly, I sort of now understand why old people are so obsessed with their health.

The upside or so I assume is that these kick ass strong antibiotics should clear up any pinkeye I might get from my son. And then today I see some goop forming in the corners of my eye.

Despite my experiences, I managed to remain humble yet optimistic about my family's health - particularly the health of me and my son who seemed to be hit the hardest these past few months. I didn't think we could possibly get sick again anytime soon, but the sickness never seems to end.

I thought I was being punished because I took my health for granted. Maybe I am being punished in part because I took my health for granted, but I am not taking my health for granted anymore and things still aren't getting better. What gives?

Where to begin? Maybe I have struggled with a looming sense of dissatisfaction that has resulted from my combination of high expectations coupled with low fearlessness. Throughout my life I have come to points where I wish I could travel back in time and do something differently. I would even imagine my alternative life in the present time based on my different action at some point in the past. I knew the exercise was pointless. I would tell myself to just move forward making different decisions, but fear would always consume me.

The past few months, I have been so consumed by fantasies of an alternative life, and part of me enjoyed the escape. I enjoyed it, and at the same time, felt sort of silly, knowing nothing good would come of fantasy, and felt somewhat tortured realizing this fantasy couldn't become a reality - or could it?

And then I feel guilty for not appreciating what I have. I have what I always wanted, a family. I thought once I had a family, I would have everything, and for a while I felt lucky, as if I did have everything so why do I now want more?

While I love my kids, my life consists of one mundane task after the other. I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, change diapers, bath kids, and live in a small blue collar New England town. I remember the fantasies I had when I was younger, my dreams of visiting Australia, and maybe Europe, dreams I have yet to fulfill. Now I'm literally up to my elbows in sh!t, and I ask myself - is this the rest of my life?

I can't help but wonder if my bout with illnesses is somehow connected to my constant fantasies of an alternative life. Is God trying to get me to appreciate my life or maybe as that crude expression goes, "sh!t or get off the pot"? Should I decide if I am going to fearlessly pursue my dreams no matter what or just give up my dreams and lower my expectations? Is there something to be said about having low expectations?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Health and Humility

When I was 6, I had pneumonia to the point where I had to be hospitalized. I was in the hospital for 10 days. Of course this was, ahem, 30 years ago and hardly anyone is hospitalized that long for anything anymore, but my point is, I must have had a bad case of pneumonia.

After that one really bad illness, I have remained pretty healthy, maybe getting one minor cold a year at most. Until I had a c-section at 32, I had never been operated on, and my doctor was amazed at how quickly I recovered, bounding up the stairs 4 days after my operation, only to remember half-way up the stairs, I wasn't supposed to do that. When I had a repeat c-section three years later, I recovered just as quickly.

I seemed so healthy, I actually became a little bit arrogant about my health, as weird as that may sound, like I was some invincible superhuman who rarely got sick and when I did, I recovered quickly. I think God is punishing my arrogance and complacence about my health. I don't know how else to explain my bad health luck recently.

The past 3 months, between my two kids, I have been dealt with one health issue after another, ultimately with me getting sicker than I have been in a long time. Here's the timeline:

Early November: I'm horrified to learn that my 3 1/2 year old got lice. A week later, I'm even more horrified to learn that after escaping childhood lice-free, I get my first case of head lice at age 36 from my daughter. The resulted in two weeks of frustration.

Thanksgiving: My 8 month old gets his first ear infection. His cold is so bad that he has wheezing and hives, and has to be treated with a vaporizing thingy.

A week later: My son has his follow-up exam on a Friday to check his ear. The pediatrician says his ear looks fine, but that it looked like he was getting another cold and he could get another ear infection that Monday.

The following Monday: My 8 or 9 month old gets another ear infection and pinkeye.

Around Christmas time: I start to feel horrible. The day after Christmas I find out I also have pinkeye and a double ear infection. While my husband got ear infections all the time as I child, I never did. After escaping childhood ear infection-free, here I am getting my first known ear infection X2 at age 36.

A few days after that: My son's ear infection did not clear up after the first round of antibiotics and he has to go on a second round of antibiotics. My daughter gets an ear infection.

Around the same time: I seem to be getting better, and then I woke up with odd back pain, covered in sweat. I took my temperature, and it was between 99 and 100, which didn't seem too bad. Not wanting to go back to the doctor, I popped some Ibuprofen and seemed fine.

Two or three days later: The back pain seems to have gone away and I feel fine after being off medication for over 24 hours.

One day later: I wake up with pain so unbearable, I am in tears. I pop some Ibuprofen and go to the clinic. There I have an X-ray to rule out pneumonia. When the doctor said, "I have to talk to you about your X-ray," I try not to freak out. The X-ray showed some anomaly. I would have to get a CAT scan.

About a week later: The CAT scan shows some sort of abscess. I have to get a biopsy. I try not to entertain fears of cancer.

About a week later: Rob drives me through a snow storm to the city to get a biopsy. Since daycare is closed due to weather, my mother-in-law watches the kids. When we drop off the kids at the in-laws, their street hadn't even been plowed. Luckily their house is one of the first houses on the street, and Rob manages to plow through the snow, and carry the kids into their house.

The biopsy concludes I have a lung abscess.

"It's a good thing you came in today and didn't reschedule due to weather," said the surgeon who performed the biopsy. "Did you have pneumonia?"

"Yes," I said, "when I was 6."

"No, I mean more recently. It looks like you had improperly treated pneumonia."

This came as a shock. I had that same cold with pinkeye that seemingly everyone in the state got. No one I know got pneumonia from this cold. I never suspected I could have had pneumonia.

As a Mom, I was so hung up on my kids health that I neglected my own, which as a Mom, is the worst thing I could do.

As I was contemplating the possibility of cancer, I prayed, "Please God, keep me around. My kids need me."

And then I realized just how much I took my health for granted. I realized I am no superhuman. I am human. And I can't continue assuming I will remain healthy with minimal effort.

I could be on antibiotics for the next two months. After being on two different antibiotics for about 10 days, I got hives, and had to stop until they cleared up. Now I have to start one of the antibiotics again to determine which one is causing the reaction.

All of these issues caused me to reluctantly ween my son two months earlier than I planned.

I do feel optimistic, however. I don't have cancer. And I'm left with a sense of humility and recognize my own mortality.