Category Archives: Life Encompasses Me

Overcoming Fear, a pondering.

(Written in July of 2006, but never published.)

I’ve always thought that fear is a bad thing. That it’s an ugly thing and should be hidden and suppressed. But, I’ve learned that fear is a feeling and, as with any feeling, to suppress it often makes it the only thing you can think about. It’s interesting, though, how as human beings we find ways to work around our handicaps and still manage to get done what we need to in order to move forward.

Last year, even before I’d set a date for our wedding, I nonchalantly went off with Grace and bought my wedding dress… “just in case.” Or how with the trip to Ireland, I booked the trip and then, in order to prepare for it, I bought a few guidebooks… “just to look at.”

The other thing about fear is that’s it’s oftentimes generalized, BUT it can be a guide to determine with specificity the root of the fear. Then, and only then, can measures be taken to face that fear. You can’t face down the universe, but you can take one fear at a time and learn to know it and, by knowing it, one can either live with it or put it down.

In the last five years, I’ve faced a lot of things I never thought I’d face, made a lot of decisions I never thought I’d make. But, at the time, when I looked at my life and the level of happiness I had versus the level of happiness I knew I could have, I realized changes needed to be made.

I remember shortly after I married Tony and he moved in, I was sitting in his office/spare bedroom with him and I looked at his childhood lamp. It was placed in the corner of that room, next to the closet doors. A feeling of surreality surrounded me. It was as if I was looking down a rabbit hole and it was very far away. I simply couldn’t believe that I was living in this house, in this city, with these pets, with this man, with these things on the walls, that I’d had major surgery just a couple years before, the situation with my brother, everything was just… unreal.

I left the room, walked down the hallway, down the stairs and curled into a ball on the landing of the stairs. It was just… just too much. The human brain is not meant to comprehend so many things at one time.

Tony joined me on the landing of the stairs shortly after I left. I attempted to articulate what was going through my mind, but mostly it was just tears. He is very good at interpreting tears… to the underlying message that I was feeling overwhelmed.

***Today, February 20, 2011***
I’ve come quite a ways since then… wow, four and a half years. I’ve faced down many of the fears I had then and I process things a lot better these days. But new fears, bigger fears already had their bags packed and were ready at a moments notice to move in and replace those that had moved out.

So, when in the throes of working through fear and anxiety, I try to remember these points:

Fears are usually worse when you’re worrying about them than when you experience them. (Example: Ever dread a Monday morning meeting, and then after you attend it, it really wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be?)

I may not think or feel certain goals are attainable, but if the desire is there, it’s already within my reach.

The hardest part is making the decision to face it; then I’m just along for the ride.

Sometimes, no matter how hard it gets or how many panic attacks I have, I just need to ride it out and stay committed to my decision. Even if I feel trapped. Even if I feel as if I can’t do it. No matter what.

A problem has never been solved by worrying over it. Nor will I be the first to do so.

Sometimes you have to do something REALLY BIG, out of this world crazy to put the fear in perspective.

***
Everyone faces fear, things that overwhelm you. Things that you can’t seem to get through. What thoughts do you hold onto when processing?

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Love & Loathe – 01/06/11 (Late)

Loathe:

* I’m at an age now where I feel as if conversations with my elders should start with, “Now they’re still alive, right?” For example, I sent a Christmas card to former neighbors of mine, of whom I am quite fond. They’re getting on in years, I know, but the letter I received in response from Mr. K sharing that his wife had passed on mid-2010 just made me so very sad. Something tells me this age thing isn’t going to get any better.

* Got a letter in the mail today from a real, live attorney who represents my HOA. Apparently, they felt the conversation I had with their painting vendor last month, wherein I expressed how upset I was about them screwing up my plants and stomping our Christmas decorations, was threatening. They want money to pay for a different vendor to paint our house. There’s so much that’s wrong with this, I don’t even know where to start, except it wasn’t a good ending to my Saturday.

* Knee high nylons that fall down. While I dislike getting to work and tugging my knee highs up, it does make me think of my Grandmas and I love thinking about my Grandmas, but I’m not sure I’m ready to follow in their footsteps quite this early in my life.

Love:

* My latest snack of banana chips and vanilla yogurt. The banana chips add an interesting crunch to the yogurt. There’s a way to make yogurt out of raw milk and I’m thinking that I may need to investigate doing so given the “distress” I’ve been having as a result of my foray in the pasteurized dairy products.

* Cuties. Whoever came up with the marketing ploy of fun, cute little stickers on the outside of Clementine oranges? Genius. Pure genius. Everyone wants a sticker for positive reinforcement, right? Well, I do.

* Our vet who saved Slasher. I took my two boys (Tug and Snug) in last night and she was soooooo good with them. Even though Tug was yowling and hissing and wiggling all around. I’m not thrilled that I need to spend extra $$ on Snug, who has inflamed gums and a bit of infection. So, he gets a dental cleaning under anesthesia. Ugh. All in all, though, it might be a good thing, because everyone knows dental problems are the gateway to a lot of other health problems. Since bacteria on the teeth, among other things, compromises the immune system, it also increases vulnerability to catching upper respiratory infections. Let’s hope it helps him.

* Four day work weeks, just finished the third 4-day work week in a row.

One Last Thing:

Sometimes it seems as if we’re all carrying such heavy loads every day. I know for me, it has certainly felt that way. I go a couple of days feeling as if I’ve just gotten a handle on it, and then something else happens and I’m left with a tottering load. I’m looking up at this big pile of concerns teeter-tottering over my head and, above it all, I’m not seeing the One who can truly help me carry it.

I know a lot of people are struggling with their relationship with God these days. I confess: I am, too. I also confess that even when I’m not struggling with my relationship with God, it’s difficult for me to give my concerns to God because I want to be in control.

It’s so hard for me to accept, that more often than not, there’s not one single thing I can do to change the outcome of situations. So I do all this work and research, trying to figure out a way to change things, and time goes by and absolutely nothing changes, except that I wasted a bunch of time researching and thinking about stuff. I wonder why I bother, why I even try at all. Which then, why don’t I give it to God in the first place? Is He really my last resort?

Lately, I find myself wondering why I even bother praying. It seems as if His answer to my prayers these days is always a big, fat “NO.” Which makes me ask myself how it is that all I’m praying for, the desires of my heart, are so misaligned with His will for me and my life.

I find myself searching for hope and joy, thankful for the love that’s in my life, but overall feeling confused, conflicted, overwhelmed and just tired of it all lately… and I’ll probably regret hitting the “publish” button right now. But here I go, being brave and baring my heart.

Please be gentle.

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Filed under I own a Home, Life Encompasses Me, Love/Loathe, Sometimes Thinking Exhausts Me, We're all searching for something

Love & Loathe — 03/25/10 (late)

Loathe:

* I think I’ll just let the previous post fill this slot this week.

Love:

* The movie The Blind Side. We saw it in the theaters and loved it so much, Tony bought it this week on DVD. Watched it again, and still love it. I’m a bit annoyed about that, because you know when people ask, “What’s your favorite movie?” I may have to change my answer… this is a big deal. I must give this issue proper consideration, can’t just decide that over night.

* $.25 hot dogs on Wednesday nights at Weinerschnitzel.

* Tony bought melon seeds at the store the other day. He has no idea where he’s going to grow them, we really don’t have any sunny spots around our place. But I just love his enthusiasm and desire to try to grow plants.

* I read in my community’s newsletter that they’ll start heating our pools in time for spring break/Easter. One more week!!

* I had a hot fudge sundae tonight. It was dark and we were driving to the mountains, and kept thinking I’d spilled it on my shirt, but I hadn’t. We got to the cabin and I looked in the mirror and started laughing. No chocolate shirt, but a chocolate chin. I looked like I had a chocolate beard.

* How joyful our little bird is every morning when she sees me. It’s such a sweet thing to watch her perk up, chirp and lean way far out to climb on my finger. Especially when I remember back to how when we first got her, we had to chase her all over her cage.

One Last Thing:

So, I made it through the week and still have my job… which is nice. More importantly, things seem to be doing OK as far as my health. I learned that Aleve (naproxen sodium) is my friend, especially when taken on a consistent basis. I feel tender, swollen and very tired, all of which seem like normal and expected things given what my body has been through, and I plan to go have blood work done next week to make sure my hormone levels are where they’re supposed to be.

But… I’m OK.

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Filed under Health/Endo, Kid Quest, Life Encompasses Me, Love/Loathe

Forever Day.

Wow, is it STILL February 1st? Really? Because it feels to me like this day should have ended about four hours ago. In a good way, I mean, because I packed so much into it.

We went up to the mountains again this weekend, it was a much more normal and relaxing adventure this time… less driving since all the roads were open, and thus, much more relaxing.

We came back a little early yesterday to take Tony’s parents to the airport. I have to say, with all the visits to airports in the month of January, this airport thing is starting to feel like a regular mode of transportation. Last night, as mentioned, we took the husband’s parents to the airport, and then today, I was back at another airport picking my mom up, can you say “parent switcharoo?” The best part is, after all the adventures we each have had, we have new stories to tell each other!

Between that, and driving to two different stores to replenish my raw milk supply (Monday is the day they get their stock), and a swim at the gym, I still managed to cook up a 16 pound turkey for dinner, along with mashed potatoes, corn, and cranberry sauce. I figured that would be a good homecoming dinner for my mom.

We’ve been joking that by the time she gets back to her home in Korea, she’ll be too big for her britches… for some reason, that thought makes me very happy.

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Filed under I have Family, I Left Home for Awhile, Life Encompasses Me

I Go On & On.

The Holidays are officially here. It’s December. Finally. Tony has been so excited. Every little new decorating thing I do, like putting our Christmas comforter on the bed and he notices and yells, “IT’S CHRISTMAS! YOU CAN’T HIDE IT FROM ME ANYMORE!!” Ahh, how I love that man.

When I was doing my fish tank changes on Friday, I got the wild hair to move the big tank. Problem was, I’d just refilled the tank when the idea arrived in my head, so I had to wait. And then realized that I’d have to put the Christmas tree up AFTER I did the tank move, because the tree needs to go in the corner that tank is vacating.

So I had to wait until today to do the tank move, for a couple of reasons… one being water cycling and the other being I was too busy yesterday.

We visited a local historical park yesterday, the same park we visited last year, if you remember. They have a one room schoolhouse, a tiny church, an adobe house, another house that’s like a farmhouse, a little library… it’s like a little bitty town and is really quaint. Every year they set up crafts for the kiddies, carolers come out and sing and Santa hangs out. It’s really cool.

Last night, we attended a Christmas party for my car club. We had a great time eating and visiting with everyone. The one thing I don’t think I’ll do again, and I forget every year, so I’m documenting it here for posterity’s sake: I don’t like participating in gift exchange/stealing games. I’m too much of a control freak and there’s too much of a chance that someone will want what I picked (if it’s cool) or won’t want what I picked (if it’s lame) and I spend all the time being stressed out about it. Last night I picked a $25 gas card and breathed in terror everytime someone got close to me! There were two other gas cards that were gifted, and those cards got stolen twice… somehow, I managed to leave without mine being stolen once. I don’t know how, but talk about being stressed out! GAH!

Anyway, I should be writing out Christmas cards or putting up the tree (now that the tank is moved), so off I go…

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Filed under Life Encompasses Me, Who I am

Love & Loathe — 06/09/09

Love:

* Getting a great deal on meat. Beef Round Cut for $1.99/lb. Regular price was $3.99/lb. Perfect for making beef stew in the crockpot.

*Beef stew in the crockpot — you didn’t see that one coming, did you?

* Summer fruits — watermelon, blueberries, cherries. Anyone else but me seeing a food theme here?

* Coming home on my lunch hour. Enjoying the heck out of that while I still can.

* My sweetie, who makes me happy.

Loathe:

* Worrying about things. I know full well that worry never fixes things and, in fact, it often makes things worse. So, why can I not turn it off sometimes?

* Lack of sleep from worrying about things.

* Being tired from lack of sleep.

One Last Thing:
With as crazy as things have been at work for me lately, I sometimes feel as if I don't stop going until I fall into bed at night. I use the word “night” loosely, because it always seems to be around 1 AM that I actually lay my head on the pillow. Then to lay there and worry about stuff, I still feel as if I'm running mentally because I didn't have time to process things intellectually during the day.

I just want to tell you that seeing that you guys have visited here, choosing to interact with me in the comments, those are little happy darts for me during the day. You guys mean so much to me.

So, just… thank you for being here. It means a lot.

Oh, and today is my brother’s birthday — I’m sending him Happy Birthday wishes in a prayer and happy thoughts, since we don’t talk. Someday he’ll know I never forgot.

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Filed under Brother rates his own category, I Blog about Blogging, Life Encompasses Me, Love/Loathe, Money Hump Building

Love & Loathe — 060209, 1 day late, but I found the dollar.

Love:

* Finding a dollar bill in my jeans pocket that I forgot I put in there. Money launders well, and I suppose they call that money laundering?

* Funky weather. Even though it’s jacking up my sinuses, I love weird weather. We had thunder this morning and sprinkling today. That was fun.

* Swimming in the rain.

* Having healthy fish. I have not taken for granted a single day of their health since I declared them healthy just before Thanksgiving last year. I thought I would mention this because that whole fish dying thing started right around this time last year. I hope I’m not jinxing their health by saying that.

* My gardenia tree is still blooming up a storm — every branch has two or three flowers. It’s quite ridiculous. I bring four flowers into work every other day… two for me, one for my boss and one for my friend. Even with that, I can’t keep up with it, the little tree just keeps churning them out!

Loathe:

* Forgetting to take my spare battery for my camera OUT of my pocket. Then not remembering which pair of jeans or shorts I was wearing when I changed the battery. GAH! But so grateful I hadn’t run it through the wash.

* Weird vibes and undercurrents. (sigh) Sometimes I wish I didn’t have that ultra-sensitive mood sensor intuition radar thing that’s part of my personality. Being an “NF” sucks sometimes.

* More with the gapped-tooth models. I’d post more pictures, but she wore the same exact expression in them all, so what’s the point? I mean, maybe if she was actually smiling it would have distracted from that vacuous vampiress look.


Different model, different company than I wrote about before. Yes, I know (again) this is terribly superficial of me, but really? How am I supposed to enjoy browsing catalogs when they heavily use the one model who has a gap in her front teeth? Even putting her on the cover of their 25th Anniversary catalog! Is she a bargain model? Is the economy THAT bad? It’s like going to bed at night with the closet door open. It’s the only thing I see, the only thing I think of. No, I don’t obsess much.

* Acne.

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Story of a Little Boy.

Saturday and Sunday mornings during the summer, I usually get up around 8:30 and go swimming for nearly an hour in one of our community’s pools.

Swimming is my time to think, dream, work through problems. If I can find my rhythm, which I usually do, my body feels like a well-oiled machine as it slips through the water. It feels beautiful. More than that, when I swim outside, I get to enjoy the beauty of the sun as it’s just barely making its way over the tops of the trees that hover around the pool, casting dappled light over half the pool. The birds are out gathering their food or taking sips of water. The air is still crisp, which makes being in the pool seem like a warm sanctuary. Best of all, though, is that normally there aren’t any people. Most people don’t start arriving until around 10 AM.

There is a family who lives up by the big pool in my community, I’ve seen them a few times before. The dad brings a kit for testing chlorine levels and is very militant about checking the levels and announcing to his family of two little boys and his wife whether the water is safe or unsafe. They usually arrive just after 10 AM. If I’m running late, I usually see them there.

I remember a particular Saturday that occurred last September in great detail, because most of this post was originally written, but saved as draft, after that experience.

The younger boy, maybe 4 or 5, ran over to the jacuzzi and went to hop in. His dad was hot on his tail and proceeded to berate the child. Telling him things like, “Dude, you know you don’t go in there! Look at the water! It’s green and yucky. How many times have I told you, when the water’s like that you don’t go in. Look, sheez, it’s only at 85°, that’s disgusting!” The little boy sniffled and walked over to his mom for reassurance.

The older boy did something and the little boy retaliated, just in time for his dad to catch him, but not his brother. His dad hit him in the middle of his back with his fist, a place he couldn’t reach to rub the pain away, causing (I assume) a charlie horse. His little back arched ineffectively to avoid the pain and the little boy started to cry. The dad berated him, yet again, telling him to behave, not to bother his brother. He was sent to time-out on one of the chairs.

At that point, I finished my laps and went over to shower. The mom and older boy got in the pool, the younger boy slowly joined them where laughter and giggles ensued. The dad got in the pool and swam over to his wife, the youngest boy was holding onto his mom. As his dad approached, in excitement, he let go of his mom and swam to meet his dad. Somehow, something happened that his dad popped him with his elbow in his face. I’m not sure what was hit, his nose or his eye, there was no blood, but his hands were covering both and the crying was immediate and loud.

I should note at this point that it was an accident on the dad’s part, at least I hope so, but also, that the little boy’s crying was authentic. It was real tears, from real pain.

The dad immediately responded to his son’s tears by yelling in exasperation, “You can’t just swim up to me when I’m not expecting it! I didn’t see you. Jeez! You’ve got to let a person get situated before you go swimming up to them! I didn’t see you!” There was no apology, no coddling, not even any apparent affection. Just… meanness, excuses and blame placing.

They’d been there less than 5 minutes and I was starting to feel stressed. Beyond that, though, I just felt sad. Going to the pool is supposed to be a fun thing. Something you do during the summer for laughter and relaxation. That poor kid had spent most of his time there crying and in pain and … as best I could tell, he was just being a kid. He hadn’t even done anything wrong to warrant that kind of discipline. Was that even discipline — to hit your kid in the middle of his back and berate him? Worst of all, the tears and pain were caused by his dad, someone who should be protecting and loving him. And what about their mom?

I mean, I received discipline growing up, I certainly got my fair share of spankings and talkings-to. Although truth be told, I was one of those kids who, if you looked at me sideways I was in tears, but still… my point is, I believe I know the difference between discipline and abuse. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a well placed swat on a child’s behind or firm words… but this was something entirely different.

Watching them, it made me hurt inside. I felt tears welling up and I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. And I’ve asked myself if there were something I should have or could have done? I don’t know… what those kids were experiencing was definitely emotional abuse, but the rest of it wasn’t enough for action to be taken by anyone official because the child wasn’t visibly harmed.

How does one get to the point in their life that they don’t even see the perfection standing in front of them in the form of a beautiful wife and two healthy little boys?

What resurrected the remembrance of this post is that I saw them again last week.

In the eight months since I saw them last, the younger boy has had a growth spurt and is the same size as his older brother. I think he remembered me from last year, because he looked at me sidelong behind his dad’s back and gave me the most beautiful of smiles. Or maybe he just thought I was funny looking. Whatever the cause, I found myself smiling back at him.

The father hasn’t changed, he is still as controlling as he was last year. Yammering on and on non-stop about “you’re being stupid” and “don’t do that” and demeaning stuff like that. But the little one has changed. He’s grown. And there’s also an intangible change that I noticed. He seems more aware of people around him. As if he’s realized there’s a world beyond the controlling person who is his father.

I thought to myself that someday, that little boy is gonna grow up and be bigger than his dad… and someday, I predict that father will have a day of reckoning.

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Filed under Life Encompasses Me, Mermaid Envy

Love & Loathe — 05/12/09

Love:
* Products that actually do what they say they do. After 7 years, the top on my convertible is showing signs of age. I found a small hole, which I patched and there is some cracking. At the recommendation of some people in my Miata club, I bought 303 vinyl cleaner and protector kit. The stuff works. I can see and feel the difference after just one treatment in the flexibility of my top.

* Sweet potato fries. Oh my.

* Capturing pictures, like this one, of the birds who visit my back yard.

* Tony took this picture last August when we were in Hawaii. When I saw it, I was all, “Hey, that woman has really pretty hair!” And then I felt all narcissistic when I realized “that woman” is actually me. Hehe. I am pleased to report that a couple weeks ago, I finally reached my goal of having waist length hair. I know I reached my goal because my hair is now tuckable… meaning, I tuck it into the waistband of my jeans if I’m not paying attention. I can’t wait until it’s buttcrackable! And maybe, if my hair ever gets long enough to hold hands with the Crazy Hair on the back of my knee, I might consider donating some of it to Locks of Love… but not until then!

Loathe:
* I’m presently in what I call “Klutz Phase”. For example, I’m constantly bumping my not-funny bone on things, on Saturday I ran the bottom of the door over the top of my foot, and on Sunday I forgot to put my splash guard/ingredient slide on my mixer. Ouch and oops!

* Being tricked. My acupuncturist gave me some dried salted plums and they were good. I was surprised by that. So when I spotted some in the store today on the “Mexican Food Aisle” (that’s what the sign said), I was excited. Except, apparently, Mexican dried salted plums are different than Chinese dried salted plums. I nearly died from foaming at the mouth before I could evict that nasty thing from my mouth. Yuck.

One Last Thing:
Tony has been watching the History Channel’s new show called Life After People. The show theorizes how cities, landmarks and animals get along without people to maintain and care for them.

It makes me think of my trip back to my childhood home in Oklahoma in 2004, and seeing the massive plant overgrowth on the property that my parents once owned.

Yesterday, when I was leaving work, there was a crow sitting on top of someone’s car, brave and brazen as you please, cawing away at his feathered buddies. The thought ran through my mind that nature will always try to win, and there that car was, probably no more than four hours “after people”… and I was glad he wasn’t on my car trying to poke a hole in the top.

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Protected: Love & Loathe — 040709

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