Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nope. Still Not Over It

Did you ever have someone in your life that is so filled with bile, just overflowing with hatred and bitterness, that they spew it without discretion? And does this same person think they are the kindest and most generous person they know, and if they do have a moment of anger they are complete justified? Besides, they are always so wonderful to everyone that in these rare times you should feel only compassion and concern, right?

And that's it! That's why I loath this person and have in the best of times, only tolerated them. They think they are just lovely when in reality they are the most annoying and offensive person whose company I've ever had to endure.

Just the mere thought of this person puts a kink in my neck and a pit in my stomach.

More so, the fact that this creature of a person can manipulate me into this state makes the whole situation even worse. Why do I allow it? This person means less than nothing to me, but their presence is enough to raise my blood pressure. Where the Hell is my switch for turning off my bubbling emotions?

I've said this before. Saying it again now will not be the last time. I believe that my life would be vastly easier if I drank.

I think therein lies my missing switch.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Poof" Go Away

I'm going to Hell one day. There has to be a consequence for what I'm about to say.

I just want to get it out of my system and hopefully that will be where my pain and frustration end... for the time being.

I wish someone gone. I'm not saying who and I'm not saying why. I'm not asking for some horrific fate. I just want them to "poof" go away. Bye-bye. No more.

Honestly, and I've given this some thought, I don't think anyone who was being truly real with themselves, would miss this person.

This person is bitter and delusional and those are their best qualities. This person is a liar and judgmental, ignorant and loud and opinionated, lacking in social graces, charm, personality, taste, and they have absolutely no sense of humor. And they stink; really they smell. OK, now I'm just being petty... oh wait, I forgot petty.

But their worst crime is that I have had to endure their very presence for most of my life. The ultimate bully, mean and stupid, turning people who should have my back, against me. The thought of this person turns my stomach. And as I am solidly middle-aged, this is far too "playground drama" for me. I'm done. I want out.

But seeing as how I can't wish someone away, I'm going to have to figure out how I can deal with the situation better. Fight fire with fire perhaps. Throw it back instead of take it. Stand my ground since logic and reason will be on my side. Easier said than done.

Off to bed now. I feel better for having put this out of my head and down on "paper". Perhaps a new day will bring a new perspective... or at least a way to avoid seeing this person ever again.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Parents Teach Your Children Well

I work for my public school system. In the course of my day, I have the privilege and the misfortune of working with children that are the direct results of their parents' parenting.

Today, our new superintendent made it known that under no circumstance is a child to lose any or all of their recess. This may be part of his thinking but it was certainly heighten by a collection of petitions from county parents irate that their children had to sit out recess to: either catch-up on homework they did not do, class work from the morning they did not finish, or for disciplinary reasons like not following the basic rules of the school.

I've read through the pages and pages of posts. I am officially sick to my stomach. I did not reply to the thread for fear of being found out that I have an opinion counter to the new rules of my employer. I would like to keep my job at least until I can no longer tolerate being spit on (literally and figuratively) by children whose parents feel their offspring are completely within their rights to do so. But had I written, this is what I would have said:

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I've just read through these posts and I have to ask, have any of you ever been in the school during a school day?

Have you witnessed teachers, in maxed out classrooms, being distracted by poor to offensive and certainly disrespectful behavior, from students that are not coded with learning issues but rather come from the "I don't feel like it" school of thought? They are the same teachers giving up their own lunch and planning time to meet with your children to get them up to speed and the only time they can do that without discouraging the students that actually care about learning and pay attention during class time, is to use recess time.

Recess is a privilege not a right. It is the natural progression of things that if you don't follow the rules there will be consequences and loss of privileges. It's that easy. How would you suggest the situation be remedied? Perhaps extra homework, staying after school, Saturday classes.

Additionally, I hope you don't mean to suggest that children should not have consequences for their behavior. It's not always a matter of the teachers keeping them in to catch-up. Sometimes it is a matter of your children's daily disregard for the basic rules of the school. Or more so, treating others with respect which apparently from reading some of these posts, is no longer a trait valued in this country. If that was the lesson you hoped to instill in your children, then job well done.

I support our teachers, administrators and staff and the difficult decisions they have to make daily with regards to the good of all. I am a staff member AND a parent in this school system. And if my children were behind on their work and their teacher was willing to give up personal time to meet with them one on one, why would I ever throw that generous gift away. Likewise, if my child was making poor choices when it came to behavior, I would expect consequences just as I would at home.

Think beyond just your child missing recess and look at the bigger picture. What message are you sending to your child?
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I wish I could post this. I bet the responses would be something to see.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I'm Very Close To Losing It

I am beyond angry. I am "I want to inflict bodily harm on someone" angry. I'm stressed and tense and aggravated and I want to scream! And on top of everything that has put me in this mood, is the realization that in all this time I've been "blogging to a better" me, I've gone absolutely no where. I'm still the same emotional, scarred, quick to anger person underneath the well mannered facade.

I have never yelled at my daughter. I have been disappointed, I have been stern, I have scolded, I have corrected, but I have never yelled.

Tonight I came close. Because she was being a kid and I'm in a foul mood. What the Hell kind of mother does that make me? Well I'm certain to find out one day when I'm paying for my daughter's psych appointments.

I still haven't yelled at her, but it's as close to the real thing as she's ever seen. And I'm sure I've done damage. I don't even know how to back pedal at this point. I'm sure I would only make it worse.

And why am I taking this out on her anyway, when those people who have truly pissed me off go about their petty little lives not even knowing how self absorbed and shallow they are?

What kind of mother displaces her anger and directs it at her only child? That's an easy one... a lousy mother.

And what kind of person wishes misery on their enemies? That's right. Misery. Not earth shattering, life ending tragedies. Just your run of the mill "life sucks". I want their lives to be filled with bad, irksome, endless dark cloud days. What kind of person does that make me? (Do I get points for saying something out loud that many would be too embarrassed to admit? No, I didn't think so.) OK. I'll tell you what kind of person it makes me... someone who needs to reassess their life.

I have to go now. I have much to think over. I'm still filled with rage over the events of the last few days. I'm still mad at myself for my behavior towards my daughter. I'm still reeling for the realization that I haven't grown at all. But I'm going to try to calm down enough to get to a place where I can get my life in order.

If I don't, I fear for the future.




Sunday, November 6, 2011

Diamond Or Cubic Zirconia?

Can you tell the difference between a diamond and a cubic zirconia?

If you saw a huge "diamond" ring on the finger of a woman standing on line in front of you at the grocery store, would you assume it was real or fake based on other aspects of her persona?

A blogger friend of mine recently wrote "It's nice to read what you post, because you keep things real, Bonnie." Do I? Honesty in my writing has always been the goal. I believe if it flows organically without editing, it comes from someplace true.

Or is it just the faux version of the diamond I wish to be?

If you were reading this in "real time", you'd know that there were many minutes that passed after that last sentence and now. I was pondering my own words... the faux version of the diamond I wish to be. Interesting...

Are you fake if you are pretending to be a better version of yourself? I'm not talking about pretending to be richer, or smarter, or more successful. That's just lying. I'm talking about acting like a better (ie more compassionate, more charitable, more resolute, more fearless) person. Are you faking it if it doesn't come naturally?

I've always said that "trying too hard to be something you're not, is the quickest way to prove you're not where you want to be". Judgmental? Yes. But I was speaking more specifically of the person trying to impress with external things. I would like to add that "trying to improve yourself, and by that I mean your character, is commendable at every level of achievement be it making a conscious effort or having it come naturally."

I am currently somewhere in the middle. I'm a carbon filled diamond. I need a bit more time for perfection. I guess my "keeping it real" moment comes in the form of admitting I still need work and lots of it. I'd like to thank my dear friend for prompting me to contemplate these thoughts... and get a blog post out of me in the process. "Thank you."

Let's go back to one of the earlier questions:
If you saw a huge "diamond" ring on the finger of a woman standing on line in front of you at the grocery store, would you assume it was real or fake based on other aspects of her persona?

If you said "no", I'm going to cry foul. You know damn well you looked at that woman and sized her up. Come on... join me in the shallow end of the pool won't you ;-)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spinning

I'm missing it.

I'm missing my favorite season. The leaves changing to golden hues, the slight chill in the air, the smell of frost in the morning. I'm missing it because I'm running through my life. I don't see the leaves as I'm driving with purpose to my next scheduled appointment. I don't feel the air since I go from house to car to place to car to home. I don't smell the season because even as I let the dog out in the morning, I'm doing as many chores as I can in the time it takes my 13 year arthritic canine to do her business. I'm not stopping to enjoy.

I've been running for months. Since school started and now that my daughter is at a different school, I'm commuting. Since work started and I'm back to standing for 3 hours on blacktop in the heat of midday. Since my cleaning lady broke her foot and has basically retired leaving me to do a little everyday since I never have more than an 1.5 hour window so it's never ending and never clean. Since my daughter has a full roster of after school activities all in different places and some days so do I. I feel most days, like I'm just spinning.

I wake up tired, a drink too much caffeine to stay awake, I don't have time to do anything I truly want to do, I'm not eating right, I'm not exercising, and I pass out at night, exhausted with lots of check marks on my to-do list, but many more items not accommplished.

And I've got bags under my eyes to prove it.

Somewhere on my journey I lost my way. Worst part now is, I don't remember where I was going.

So do I take this as an opportunity to make a new plan? Chart a new course? Forge a new path? Certainly sounds like knocking. But who is going to iron 2 weeks worth of clothes if I'm getting a manicure? Who is going to run the marathon errands while I'm crafting decorations for the holidays? Who is going to wait at home for the plumber and the exterminator and the AC guy while I'm off shopping?

Do I sound like a spoiled brat? Of course, I do. Am I willing to admit that the life I lead isn't much different than most? Yes. So what gives me the right to want more? Don't we ALL deserve more? Don't we all deserve a life we love and enjoy? I think that's an easy one.

I love my life when I take the time to think about all that I have to be grateful for. I enjoy moments of my life that seem to come in snippet form and I try to remember them for later. But I'm getting less and less of those moments and it's taking a toll on my ability to find the love. The pessimist in me is finding way to many opportunities to bitch.

There is no neat wrap up to these issues. I have no witty anecdote to end this stream of complaining. I'm too tired. I'm surrounded by laundry that needs to be folded, school papers that need my signature, and a to-do list that seems to be growing the more I check off.

I need a break. But I'm not getting one. So I just have to keep going.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

To Be Or Not To Be, That Is Indeed The Question

This week, I sat down to write at three different moments of irritation and rage, only to find myself questioning why I had let myself get this far. And somehow, still a mystery to me, I was able to defuse the issue before I wrote anything down.

Huh? Interesting.

But my anger has always been the fire to my literary flame. Without it, my prose are less "emotion-filled tirade" and more, well... what?

If the quest of this blog was to become a better me and to become a better me I have to find some inner peace then writing about what enflames me goes against the point.

Wait! Did I just have an epiphany?!

I'm at a crossroads. A fork in the road. A "to be or not to be" moment.

It's taken me two years to realize "this". I must have just turned a corner. I think that's called growth.

Would you look at that? Not bad, Bonnie ;-)

But now what do I do?....


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Letter To A Peace-Centered Friend

Hello My Friend,
I have been observing you in a far less stalker sort of way than that sounds.

I have noticed that you have had many successes with finding your inner peace, your time to re-center, your zen. I have recently discovered a desire to learn the ways of Buddhism. I am not seeking to convert from Christianity, just to find those Buddhist practices that I can incorporate into my regular daily routine as an over-stressed, over-stretched, out-of-shape, out-of-my-mind-sometimes, suburban mother and wife.

Please help me.

Know that I am happy with my life and for the most part, the way I live it. And at my core, I am being true to who I am. Changes will not come quickly or easily, if ever. But I am willing to try.

I cannot and will not, give up my worldly possessions. I will go as far as to purge more than is comfortable.

I cannot and will not, leave me family for months at a time to find myself though I will be more than happy to get away for a weekend ;-)

I cannot and will not, change who I am because for all my flaws I do like me, I just need a tweek. Well, maybe more than a tweek.

I want to learn to breathe and relax and center myself. I want to find time in my day to read and learn and grow. I want to learn to unwind and detox and generally be good to myself in a more healthful and productive way than treating myself to a Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte and a piece of pound cake.

I want to learn how to become a better person, so I can be a better mother, wife, friend, me. And I believe, the way to do that, is to learn from your successes as someone who embodies inner peace.

It's as if you glide through your days. For all that you do as a mother, wife, business woman, volunteer, world traveler you do it with an ease and grace. You always find time for yourself and yet, your family never seems to lack for your attention and affections. True, your home is not pristine, but that only serves to prove that some things are truly superficial and ultimately not important. [I have to be very honest, I'm not going to be able to give up on my "life at right angles" lifestyle, so you'll just have to work my lessons around that personality trait.]

And that's what I'm hoping this will be for me... life lessons.

I've gone on and on about what I need from you, I know. I have very little to offer in return that you would find of value.

Except my friendship.

Which, can only improve if I learn to be a better me, so really, you'd be helping yourself in the end ;-)

Thank you my friend.
My Best (and hopefully getting better),
Bonnie

The Ring

In October of 1994, my then boyfriend gave me a beautiful engagement ring. A perfect 1.25 karat solitaire diamond filled with fire sitting in a gold princess setting. I would stare at it for years after.

On our wedding day, I added it to it, a gold and white gold band that had been my mother's wedding ring when she and my father were still married. My idea was to give the ring a good home. And I have.

Sadly though, since I'm gained so much weight over 16 years of marriage, I can no long wear either. In fact, I took both of them off my swollen fingers during my pregnancy and have not been able to get them back on. I've, embarrassingly enough, worn them on my pinkie for my sister's weddings since. Other than that, they remain in their box, in the safe.

A few months after my daughter was born, my husband suggested I look for a new band. It didn't have to be a replacement wedding band, but a "mommy" band. I found one I fell in love with. A three band rolling ring with two bands of silver (one of each of us) and one band of gold (for my daughter). I have worn it on my left hand ring finger ever since.

Until Thursday.

Since working at the local elementary school, I come home from work with grimy hands. I usually take my ring off to wash my hands and then give the ring a good scrub. But not this week. What I remember is taking it off as usual and thinking for the last three days that it was in the same place I left it. But it's not there. Did I actually leave it there? Did I put it somewhere else? Did I lose it along the way?

It's gone.

I made a thorough scan of all the places it could have been. Now is the time when I have to start looking in all the places that make no sense at all. And that is just too many places. My head hurts.

And my heart hurts.

In the meantime, my bare finger is a constant reminder that I was careless. I don't deserve to find it. That's the way I feel right now.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saving Money One Unpurchased Item At A Time

I have a list. A list of things, high ticket items, that I would like one day to do or own or provide. On that list are things like European castle tour, vacation home, private school. The list once included (for 9 years) renovate kitchen. Yes, that's right, it took 9 years to get that one off the list. And if you asked my husband, he would say that the list topper is a sailboat... between you and me, I will put it on the top of list to avoid the discussion but it will always get bumped ;-)

My husband has a very good job and provides well for us. I have several part-time jobs so I can keep my mommy schedule. We are not short on income. Unfortunately, we are not short on out-go either. At it's core, our spending habits have not changed much since our twenties, pre-marriage, pre-house, pre-children. Old habits die hard and we are spenders.

If I was to take a hard look at everything we have, weed out what hasn't been used or touched or seen in years, boxed it all up and sold it or gave it away, you probably couldn't tell anything was missing because we would still have a house full of stuff. I'm guessing that's probably standard policy for most Americans. We are consumers and we all have too much - most certainly way more than we need.

Here's a question: How many people are in your immediate family, the people who eat in your house everyday? For us, it's 3. How many plates do you have? For us, it's 12 dinner, 12 salad, assorted plastic, assorted holiday themed... do you see where I'm going with this? We only NEED 3. And while I appreciate not having to do the dishes after every meal or having extra plates for guests, different courses, the dog's scraps, we do not need more than the one plate in front of each of us for each meal.

That little exercise aside, we (my little family and the global American 'we') yearn for more. I've seen it over and over again and not just on my own bank statement but in the spending habits of others. We have a goal in mind, we begin to save, perhaps something happens that requires we dip into that savings to take care of it, we're back to square one and we have nothing to show for it. Now we are feeling a bit pent up like we "need" to shop, some quick satisfaction, some prize for our non-spending and responsible ways... yes, I am fully aware that I sound like an addict.

So we go out and buy. Let me give you a random example of a typical day in my life prior to my newly discovered ability to save. Here goes:
Let's start with a trip to Starbucks where I tell myself, I don't really have a daily habit so every once in a while couldn't hurt and if I get the Tall instead of the Venti, I will have saved a buck or more. With cappuccino in hand, I pass a Payless Shoes. It's not Nordstrom I tell myself. I can buy 10 pairs of shoes in here for the cost of one at the department store. But I don't need 10 I'll just buy 3 (that I didn't need either). Shopping bag in hand and coffee cup drained, I'm ready for lunch. I have plenty of food at home in my newly renovated kitchen, but look, there's a Panera right here, why not pick up some soup and a salad, just this once. Two hours and $50+ dollars spent later, I'm home again feeling not quite guilty but also not quite satisfied. I just threw away $50 on a whim that didn't really fulfill me; but the worst part is, I didn't notice either. This done daily for decades is why I don't currently have a vacation home.

So, enter my friend, K. She and her husband and two kids have 3 houses including one at the beach, 3 cars, and they just came back from two weeks in Alaska where they dog sled and took helicopter rides over glaciers. She wants for nothing, in fact, she always looking to downsize what she has. How does she do it? By "Saving Money One Unpurchased Item At A Time".

In the last year, I have prescribed to her philosophy and it has paid off. No, I still am not planning that European castle tour but when the AC blew in June, I didn't think twice about the multi-thousand dollar bill, because I had the money. I had been squirreling it away.

"How" you ask? By not spending it in the first place. And surprisingly enough, it's actually fun! Not only have I found new ways to spend time I would have spent spending, but I've found an extra income in selling all those purchases that didn't really give me any satisfaction.

I know you're telling yourself, "Oh she was way worse than me. I never spent like her." Yes, yes you did/do. In a million little ways.

It has gotten to the point were the idea of spending even $3 here and $7 there makes me uncomfortable. I want to save and only then spend on the big things. But here's the kicker. When I do allow myself to spend, it is that much more satisfying. It doesn't get watered down with all the other meaningless purchases. It's special.

How about that?

So as I build my little nest egg for future fun and fore go the useless purchases and choose wisely where my money does go in the meantime, I am more secure, more focused, and more satisfied. And certainly happier.

And when there comes a week, like this last one, where every dinner turned out being take out, I chastise myself for not planning my days better, but rest easy in the knowledge that I crave being back on my "stinge binge" and will be soon.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

One Day

We were living where we live now, just outside of DC. I was in my 4th month pregnancy with my daughter and just getting over that first trimester of nausea. My husband was on business in Alaska of all places. As I was ironing a shirt for work and watching old sitcoms on USA Network, the phone rang.

It was my close college friend from Boston. She told me that a plane had flown into one of the twin towers. She asked if I knew anyone who worked there. I did. Many in fact. Family, extended family, friends, extended friends. You can't grow up in NJ without knowing a few dozen people who work on Wall St. I switched the channel to the news. As we reminisced about the time she came to visit me and I took her on a tour of NY, which included the World Trade Center, a second plane flew into the second tower - all in real time, all on air.

In a split second, the situation went from a horrible accident to the realization that we were under attack. I quickly said my goodbyes to my friend (in hindsight, I hope I was thinking enough to thank her for calling me and tell her I love her, but I'm not sure that in the thick of things I remembered to even say goodbye).

My sister-in-law worked in the World Trade Center, but I didn't want to call my mother-in-law (and no doubt wake her) to ask if she had heard from her daughter; she probably didn't even know what happened. Instead, I called my husband's hotel in Alaska.

It was around 4am. The woman at the desk was very nice. I said I was calling from DC, had she heard the news, and that I had to speak with my husband. She had, and she quickly connected me to his room. Of course, he woke up startled. I walked him through what happened as calmly as possible. I told him, "Call your mother. She shouldn't hear this from me." He was worried that I was by myself and pregnant; I was worried that he was working at a military AFB plus with the planes grounded, he wouldn't be home for weeks. We said our "I love you's " and weren't in contact again for two days.

The next few hours were a blur. The towers falling all in real time for the world to see, news of the Pentagon being hit, news of the downed plane in PA which was said to have been in route to the White House. I tried to make calls to all my family and friends in NJ and NY, but I couldn't get through. I tried to call my aunt who worked at the Pentagon. I tried to call my sister who was a student at GWU in DC just blocks from the White House. I couldn't get through to anyone.

I called work and said I was staying home for a few days. They understood given my condition, my husband a country away, and our entire family in the thick of things. It occurred to me that if my husband had been home, he would have been in lockdown in DC since his office was just two blocks from the White House. I preferred that he was in Alaska.

Two days passed and my husband was finally able to get through on the phone. It would be two weeks before he got a flight out of Anchorage. During that time, I was able to contact every one of my family and friends who worked downtown and every one of them, had a story... of running late that morning, of taking the day off to golf because it was so beautiful, of being stuck in traffic, of being the last train out of the WTC station before it was hit (that was my brother-in-law who is a motorman for the PATH train). When all was said and done, I didn't know anyone directly who had died that day. An incredible feat given just how many people I know who worked there or around there. And while I was immensely grateful, I was also plagued. Plagued with the thought of bringing my baby into a world that may be at war.

Six months (and 1 day) to that day, my beautiful daughter was born. And in those six months, I had plenty of time to ponder the world that I was bringing her into. A world where men's hatred not of each other but of each other's ideas could bring them to the point of committing such tremendously horrid acts against one another. A world where men's base animal instincts are acted upon instead of the civilized and rational thoughts we should have achieved over 1000s of years of evolution. A world where I would have to teach my innocent child to be afraid of the unknown instead of seek to learn about it.

We all have a story from that one day. A day that has forever changed us; some for the good, some for the worse. A day that can't be forgotten with time only perhaps looked at with different perspective. I have used that day to remind myself to be the best version of myself each day, to make a memory each day. Admittedly, some days fall short of that goal, but it is in the growing that we become.

I leave the politics and war to the powers that be. My focus is on "if today is my last day, what would I be leaving behind". My hope is that my bright and compassionate daughter be my legacy and that the worst anyone can say about me is that I left behind a sink full of dirty dishes ;-)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

When Mass Makes Sense

This morning my family and I went to mass. We haven't been to church in so long that when I finally found the offering envelopes, I wound up recycling the months of June, July, and August. Yikes!

I am Catholic by baptism and then again by marriage, but the years in between I was raised Protestant. I vowed during Pre-Cana (that's marriage class taught by priests for those of you of other faiths) that I would raise any children Catholic and I am. And while neither adult in the house seems to remember that Sunday is for church, my daughter does and it's important we support that.

I try to get something out of the liturgy. Sometimes, the story is not relatable or the delivery too dry. Sometimes, I just wholeheartedly disagree with what is being said. But then there are days, like today, that it clicks.

Today the sermon was about love. Of all the commandments, "love thy neighbor" reigns above the others. If you love your neighbor, you won't (fill in the blank - steal, kill, covet his wife or ass, you get the picture). If you genuinely care about your fellow man, then you cannot do him harm. It seems fairly simple.

But what if this universal "neighbor" is a jerk? Does things that are annoying? Does things that are mean-spirited? Treats you with disrespect? Am I obligated to love him because the Bible tells me so? (that was a bible song from my youth). The answer is "Yes"... and "No".

As humans, we are flawed. We can shoot to do the right thing in all situations but it is our failure to measure up that makes us human and so we have an automatic "out" card... at least, that's what I got of mass today. Nice, huh?

All kidding aside, my understanding was that I don't have to like that person, I just have to appreciate they have as much right to be here as I do even if they don't think the same of me. And perhaps if I'm nice to them maybe they will be nice to me and in turn, the world will be a nicer place for all just as the commandments had hoped!

Well, seems easy enough. I'm going to try and put that into practice tomorrow when I take my daughter Labor Day Sale shopping. Let's see how many neighbors I can find the love for while we fight over the last pair of shoes in my size ;-)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Natural Disasters

If there is a natural disaster on your horizon, I'm your gal. I am the queen of crisis management. If there is prior planning to be plotted, I'm the perfect person.

It may seem odd, and I can't believe I'm going to admit such a thing, but I recall "playing hurricane", "playing tornado", "playing tidal wave" as a child. Yes, while other girls my age were "playing house" by setting the table for dinner and feeding their dollies, I was barricading windows, rationing supplies, and pretend screaming as I attempted to reach that all important forgotten (like I would ever forget anything) item left outside in 100MPH winds. Yes, I was a child with an active imagination.

Growing up in Central New Jersey, I can't recall a single time that we actually did incur Mother Nature's wrath. Where I conjured up the details, I have no idea. Suffice to say, I always survived and quite brilliantly I might add ;-)

Fast forward to today. I now live in Maryland which for reasons beyond me, is the natural disaster epicenter. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, and apparently added just this week, earthquakes. Hurricane Irene's effects are expected to start by midday today. And of course, through many years of childhood pretend preparation, I am ready!

Yesterday, my daughter and I braved the crazy crowds at the grocery store to buy "provisions" - bottled water, milk, dog food, Pepsi (my only vise), canned ravioli (hope it doesn't come to that), apples, and chocolate (a last moment grab). Then it was onto the gas station to fill up and the bank to withdraw cash. Back home, all the outdoor furniture and anything that might take flight in the wind came in. The refrigerator was set to low so when the power goes out, and it will, it will be that much colder in there to keep things fresh longer. Same with the AC - which is currently blowing on me and I'm freezing. All the electronics were charged and all the laundry was done; like I said, we are going to lose power. It's another MD thing. And my old dog got a long walk - she may not have one of those for a few days.

In my daughter's short nine years, she has witnessed more than a few hurricanes, a tornado watch or two, and one year, more snow than this somewhat southern state knew what to do with. And every time, she has seen me prepare. Is it any wonder that she too plays preparedness games? I've seen her line up her stuffed animals behind her and brace herself against the make believe wind. "What are you playing?" "Blizzard". I had no idea that things like this were genetic.

Right now, there is a backpack of clothes and favorite toys next to her bed ready to be grabbed in a moment's notice and run down to the basement where she has set up a shelter of three makeshift beds and a stack of books and flashlights. There is even a section with snacks - how long do you think you can live on Ritz crackers and peanut butter?

Today will be our last chance to get out of the house before the storm, so my husband and I will go our separate ways and finish our to-do lists before reconvening back at home to relax and "enjoy" the storm. When you're prepared for a crisis there is nothing left but to sit back and be awed by Mother Nature's power.
I know... we're a strange bunch.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My New Year's Day

Hello All!

It's been too long. And while it is my hope to be back full force, back to writing at least once a week if not more, the truth of the matter is that life is busy. I can't always find the time to write and when I do, I don't always have something to say.

That's not to suggest that I'm not getting angry at situations or that I don't have a question for the cosmos or that I've found a way to keep my head on straight, because believe me, it's still a daily search. No, it's just that time gets sucked away... and chores/errands take precedence over blogging... life's fires/dramas override daily tasks... and motherhood trumps, well, it all.

This summer has been a time of growth. Not just for me (or my waistline) but for my daughter. She is, whether I try to wish it away or not, becoming a young lady. This was the summer of "the talk" and training bras, of talking back and one tearful tiff. And I wasn't thrilled.

We found time for fun, lots of it! But I, the eternal pessimist, could only see her pulling away, asserting more independence, and me "having to" let her.

We spent a good chunk of the summer at my parents lake house - a place I have fond childhood memories of and a place where many of my own childhood friends now summer with their kids. In this "safe haven" I took the opportunity to let out some slack on my daughter's tight reigns. I left her home alone a few times while I ran a quick errand. I let her play outside on the beach with her friends while I was still having dinner inside with mine. And my father and stepmother nearly passed out when she asked to use the bathroom in a restaurant and I did not accompany her; in fact, there was complete silence at the table until she returned and for all their anxiety, mine was 10 fold.

But I can't hold tight forever. She has to learn not only how to do things on her own, but that she can. I want her to be independent. I want her to be confident. And now is the right time. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

A week from tomorrow, she will start fourth grade. A big year for most, bigger for her since she will be starting at a new school. I told you a few months ago that she was accepted into a special program through our public school system. It has the horrible name of "Center for the Highly Gifted". I don't think she's gifted; I think she's intelligent and quick to learn, and she loves to learn. "Gifted" in my book suggests socially awkward or competitive and obnoxious. She is none of these things but the other students may be. It will certainly be a learning experience in more ways than one.

I've said it before that the start of a new school year has always been my "New Year's Day". It's always signaled for me a reboot, a rebirth, a reassessment of life and how to live it. I've still got the same struggles on my plate - weight, work, worrying about my daughter's future, wondering if I'll ever find inner peace.

Contemplating life's big questions, or at least trying to find the time to...
... all this, and I still can't find a new pair of black driving mocs to replace the ones I wore through.

Well, c'mon now. You didn't think it was all profound musings on the universe, did you? Sometimes, just finding the right pair of back-to-school shoes makes all the difference ;-)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I Have No Patience For Patience

I tried but I just can't find the time. And when I do have a bit of time, I can't muster the energy.

For what you ask? Why, for this little blog. This literary outlet that gives me, or should I say gave me, so much release from what ails me. Now I just keep my anger, frustrations, and general gripes with me, plaguing me, putting a kink in my neck. If only I had an outlet in which to express myself.

Wait... ugh. I'm back to where I started.
*****
Today, my family and I went to church. At various times during the mass, one has a chance to reflect and pray and I always use that time to ask God for one thing (when I'm not also asking for the winning lottery numbers) and that is PATIENCE.

I have never had a great deal of patience. Right at this very moment, I'm wishing I could type as fast as the words are popping into my head without having to go back to correct my spelling... see, I don't even have patience for myself. But this lack of patience is more than just some bratty response to wanting something "right now". It's yet another example of putting good out into the world and still getting sh*t on.

Let me explain myself more clearly with an example. I am never late. Never. The closest I come to late is being on time because I'm always early. Why? Because waiting is infuriating, and I don't want to put anyone else through what I can't stand myself. But why then am I always waiting for other people whom are late... and never apologize... or bother to correct this behavior in the future... or appreciate that they never have to wait for me!!! (deep breathe)

Is this my lack of patience or am I justified in my frustration?

Here's another example. If I ask for your help in accomplishing some task and your only excuse for not doing it is that you don't want to, don't expect to ask me to completely handle multiple tasks for you... without a second thought to what I feel like doing or not doing... within the same hour that you denied my request for assistance... for something that you can clearly handle on your own... and wonder why I'm looking at you like "what the Hell did you just say to me?" (deep breathe)

Again, is this my lack of patience or is this other's bad behavior?

I don't want to be miserable. Some people - those that drive me the most insane - seem to think I enjoy being upset. This could not be further from the truth. I want to be happy, I want to be calm, I want to be at peace. I also want not to deal with people who test my patience.

This may be a case of "you can't always get what you want".
*****
Well, it's been a long time since I've found some time to write. Usually this is the point where I feel I've gotten things off my chest and I feel freed of the burden. I guess I'm out of practice because I still feel like a raw nerve. More to work on. "Blogging to a Better Bonnie"? Not today.

Let me close with one final thought. Whenever I'm confronted with a situation that makes me upset - from sightly irked to furious - after the initial emotion, I think to myself, "How can I handle this? What inner strengths can I draw on to deal with this situation rationally and maturely? How can I improve?" And then, what bothers me further, is that the person on the other side of the equation is not at all concerned with their own character development. "This is your problem. Not mine." they seem to say. "No. No! Your actions caused my reaction!" That's right, isn't it? Can it be that I have this all wrong?

I'm so confused. Guess you can add that to the list of things plaguing me in this moment. Ugh.

Monday, April 11, 2011

It's A Go

I told you last time that my daughter had been accepted into the "gifted and talented" program offered through our public schools. We had a fairly even pro/con list and we were waiting for our impressions of the school to push us one way or the other.

During the Open House, the parents and children were sent on separate tours to have their individual experiences. My husband and I asked our questions and listened to the answers given to all the parents concerns. We took the tour of the school and heard from current students and their parents. By the time we met back up with our daughter, we had been convinced that this was an opportunity we did not want her to miss. And apparently, we were not alone. She ran up to us with wide eyes and said "I love it here!"

That was all we needed. We said we'd sleep on it and discuss it again come the end of the weekend since I was going out of town. But our opinions did not change. By Sunday night, it was a done deal.

I sent her paperwork in this morning. I'm less nervous and more excited than I was before. It's going to be an adjustment but also an adventure. My little girl is growing up and I am so proud.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

Oh the difference one week can make.

Last week, my daughter, a 9 year old 3rd grader, had her first "incident" in which she was called to the counselor's office to explain her actions. This week, my daughter, a 9 year old 3rd grader, was accepted to the "center for gifted and talented" children to complete their 4th/5th school years in a special accelerated program.

Of course, these things are not mutually exclusive. Smart kids have bad days. In fact, one could say that were she getting more stimulating instruction in the class, she wouldn't have been bored into doing something thoughtless. I'm not saying that, but one could.

Now we are presented with this rare opportunity, but the decision is not an easy one. There are an equal number of pros and cons to going as there are staying. We've placed a tremendous burden on the upcoming Open House to be our determining factor. What will the "gut" say? Will her heart fill with joy the moment she enters the school? Or will she feel ill and scared and want to leave? It may not be the usual way to make decisions, but I think ultimately, it's the best way.

In the last few months, I've also started the process of investigating middle schools. We've decided it's best to look into private/parochial schools versus our public school. One of the private schools I visited was a perfect example of "following your feelings". The building and campus were gorgeous, the staff was gracious and welcoming, and the headmaster was eloquent as he spoke of the history and philosophy of the school... and yet the whole time I was there, I couldn't get the creepy feeling out of my back. Ultimately I decided it was was less school and more cult, and therefore not a fit. The "gut" knows!

The Open House for the GT Program is a week from today. In one week's time, everything could be status quo or completely changed. Oh the difference one week can make.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mid-40's. Enter Stage Left.


Tomorrow is my birthday. My 44th birthday to be exact. I have officially entered my mid-40's. You may applaud ;-)

I've had a lot of, well let's call them, epiphanies as of late. You know, the moments in your life when you suddenly realize something that's been staring you solidly in the face for some time but you weren't ready to see it until now. The moments that make you stop and say, "I get it."

I suppose it comes from being an adult. The wisdom that comes with age. The confidence in your abilities, the contentment with your flaws, the feeling of being centered with who you are.

And the path is clear. Something in the last few weeks, maybe even days, has signaled the way to a more peaceful place. A place where I am completely happy with my life. A place where the things that plague me, don't really matter because I have been either proactive in changing them or I have learned to live with them as they are. I'm not there yet, but I can see it just up ahead. And the sun is shining on my smiling face as I embrace the positive in all challenges.

So, are you wondering what wonderful meds I'm on right now, and where you can get them? ;-)

It's called a grown-up pill. That's right. Just look yourself in the mirror and say, "God you look like Hell, but your wrinkles come from too much laughing, your fat from too much delicious food, and your greying hair that some say comes from stress is the stress of a life of work with accomplishments and setbacks with achievements." Battle scars of winning the war over "trying to be" in pursuit of "just being".

I'm nearly there and I have to say, it feels really good!
Happy 44th Birthday To Me! I can hardly wait =)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Where Is Everyone?

I haven't had a bout of insomnia in so long, I can't remember the last time. That's a good thing.

But I'm up tonight, and thought I'd take some time to write. I realize that I've been out of the picture for a month now and it's high time I put fingers to keys. But first, I thought I'd check out some of my favorite bloggers and see what they have been up to. Looks like we've all been MIA.

Some haven't written in a few weeks while others have been "off the grid" for close to a year, or more. It got me thinking about why I write.

Most of time, if not all the time, it's to vent. Could it be that I have nothing to complain about? Or have I just come to accept the trials and tribulations of my daily existence and move on instead of letting it rise to a full boil and an expletive laden blog post. Maybe, there is just no drama left in me?! ...I kinda doubt that too.

I think it's just life. It's busy. It can be complicated. It can mundane. It can distract you while you're focusing on it (chew on that one for a bit). But sometimes, it just doesn't leave enough hours in the day or energy in your body to sit here and write.
*****

My insomnia has not waned. I think it's time for meds. It's moments like these when I wish I drank. A glass of wine would do the trick ;-)
Goodnight my blogosphere family! Bonne nuit.