Category Archives: Sometimes Thinking Exhausts Me

Right Direction.

Tony had a coupon from Chick-Fil-A, a restaurant that we’ve come to really like for their healthier chicken food than other places. The coupon for tonight was to buy an adult meal and get a kid’s chicken nugget meal free. Since I’m a small eater, the coupon was perfect for our needs — he gets the adult meal, I got yummy chicken nuggets. Real chicken, too, not that processed crap that other places serve.

In my kid’s meal a toy was included. Tony asked what toy I got. Holding up the as of yet unwrapped plastic-encased plastic toy, I replied, “I don’t know… looks kind of like handcuffs to me.” He raised an eyebrow, I grinned. I knew just how incongruous that sounded. Turns out the “handcuffs” were actually a compass, although they kind of look like Mickey Mouse ears all unfolded like that.

We played with the wobbly kid compass for awhile and I learned that, all this time, I thought north and south were this way and that way based on the way the major freeway runs past these parts. Apparently “true” north is a smidge further this way and “true” south is a smidge further that way… which makes perfect smidgey sense given the direction the sun comes up and sets every day.

Which then reminded me that I recently discovered a freeway on ramp where, if I want to go northbound on one freeway (which I always do), I have to get on a southbound freeway for just a bit to get to the northbound freeway. Which just seems so counter-intuitive to me. Who goes south to go north?

I’m learning that’s kind of how life is these days. Counter-intuitive. To go the right way, you have to go a completely different direction than you originally intended.

Flowers from my back yard.

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Filed under I'm Never too Old to Learn, Sometimes Thinking Exhausts Me

Imagine Happiness.

I had arrived to the restaurant early. The wait staff was completing the setup for my girlfriend’s bridal shower brunch. We were all waiting in the foyer to be called to the party area, chatting softly amongst ourselves or just people watching.

A couple in their mid-thirties entered, spoke to the hostess and put their name on the list for a table. When they completed the task, the man reached out and gently stroked his wife’s hair away from her face, briefly massaged her neck, then caressed her back and his arm came to rest around her waist. She leaned into him and turned to smile at him. He was nondescript, average height, brownish hair, soft around the middle… just average. Nothing really stood out to me about him except the obvious love and tenderness he held for the woman who stood beside him.

She was not attractive. She was overweight, and her clothing was not intended to conceal or compliment her figure… a tight-fitting tank top, stretch jeans and flip-flops were her attire. Her hair was colored a harsh, unnatural black. Her arms were heavily tattooed and as she reached for his hand, I noticed that the soft inner skin of her arms, from her wrists all the way to her armpits, were covered with long-healed “cutting” scars.

In that moment, I wondered what her story was. She displayed those scars, and everything else I noticed about her, without any apparent self-consciousness. I admired her for her confidence to simply be herself in a world that judges appearances harshly. But I wondered what it had taken for her to get to that point.

Our group was called to be seated shortly after that, and throughout the breakfast brunch buffet and, later, the walk on the pier, I never saw that couple again.

That was 2 1/2 years ago, and I’m not even sure why, but that moment impacted me deeply… I was thinking about them again tonight. Pulling it out of my memory and examining it.

I like to imagine that she loved herself enough to allow his love help conquer whatever fears, anxieties and hurts caused her to cut herself. I like to think that he fell in love with her because she had a depth of personality that they could stay awake all night talking and never run out of things to say. I like to imagine that despite her visible imperfections, she was a perfect match to his heart and that they’re still together, happy and they go out to brunch every Saturday morning.

Imagine happiness. Imagine that.

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Filed under Sometimes Thinking Exhausts Me, We're all searching for something

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

Processing a Miscarriage

I’ve written and re-written this post… because the message I want to convey isn’t an easy one to summarize. The flow of it, it’s like a kaleidoscope, so many ways to look at it, and it all depends on perspective and where I am in the time line.

There were the days when I wrote it, and all I seemed to be able to express was bitterness and anger over the fact that God seemingly didn’t deem us worthy of being parents to our Miracle.

There were the months that I tweaked it while I struggled to understand why something that seems to come so easily and naturally to everybody else is such an unattainable dream for us.

I deleted portions and re-wrote them during those weeks, months, when we were going to the birthday parties of children who had successfully turned a year older — and I was joyful for them, life is to be celebrated, after all — but sometimes it felt like a gut punch because our baby didn’t live to see his or her first birthday.

And then, a week ago, I deleted and re-wrote it in its entirety from where I am now.

I’ve intentionally chosen not to keep our loss a secret, but by doing so, I’ve opened myself up to the hurt inflicted by well-meaning, but misguided people who think that by sharing their stories of being “fertile Myrtle” and “I had 4 kids in 5 years” or “my friend didn’t mean to get pregnant so she had an abortion” is somehow appropriate. Or, even those who tell me “I struggled with infertility but after two years ended up pregnant and it must have all been stress related,” or “Having kids is stressful, you should feel blessed you have none,” or “There are too many souls in this world as it is.” I am not making these up — I couldn’t possibly.

By remaining open about my experience, I find that yes, it’s hurtful at times, but then there are times when I’m able to educate those who don’t know or understand. I’m breaking the silence! And even more remarkable, I’ve come across people — both men and women — who have suffered a miscarriage or baby born still. People who have remained a silent member of a club they never wanted to be in. These people, they tell me in near whispers, of their losses — birth stories without a happy ending — as if they are ashamed it happened to them. As if it were something they could even control.

So, please, if you’re stumbling across this post because you’re trying to figure out how to console someone who has had a miscarriage or a baby loss — just tell them simply, “I’m so sorry…” and then stop. That’s enough. Truly, it is. Don’t go on to share birth stories, abortion stories, successfully pregnant after managing stress stories, someone you know is pregnant, kid’s birthday party stories, suggestions of trying again or adopting, or whatever… just don’t. When people have done that to me, it makes me feel as if they’re belittling the death of my baby, as if it were nothing… a “nothing” that was life-altering to me.

The baby I lost may not seem real to anyone else, but I can assure you, as someone who spent the first three months of this year peeing on a pregnancy test every day and then watching in amazement as it turned positive, hoping and praying that we would finally have a healthy baby, and then spent 10 days miscarrying our baby, with hours and hours of cramps and contractions, sitting on the toilet passing enormous blood clots the size and thickness of my hand? And then, finally, when I held the very beginnings of human life in my hands? Even though it wasn’t alive, that baby became very, very real to me.

Yet through it all — through the worry, fear of the unknown, and emotional torment, the nights and mornings when I sobbed my heart out because the baby wasn’t viable, and physical pain, those times when I was on my knees trying to remember to breathe through the pain — I couldn’t help but be awed by it all. All those blood clots I passed? Those were intended to act as insulation to protect my baby from any harm that may come to it from outside of me. Those contractions, if they had come 6 months later, would have brought a live baby into the world. Even the fact that we had even miraculously managed to get pregnant, when all the odds were against us, made my brain whirl. My body did what it was supposed to do, even though it wasn’t the result we so desperately wanted.

For a short time, that seemed such a long time, we were parents. And for that I can’t help but feel grateful for the experience. Our baby was too small to warrant its own marked grave, but I believe that God wove our baby together and I believe that God is taking care of Miracle today. I have to believe that.

This day is so painful to me, and I don’t plan to memorialize it every year, but today I will. Because I will never forget. Anyone who has had a miscarriage or a stillborn baby never forgets. No matter how many children someone has, if they’ve ever lost one, there will always be one more who is silently counted in their parents’ minds.

Every day, a thousand times a day, I think about our Miracle… today especially, because today was Miracle’s due date.

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Filed under Kid Quest, Sometimes Thinking Exhausts Me, Who I am

Long Weekend Ahead?

I’ve walked around all day today thinking that it’s Wednesday. Freaking out when someone asked me to schedule something for Thursday morning and thinking it’s TOMORROW. Yikes.

My car got two new shoes this morning. I was getting tired of testing my driving skills on slick pavement when it rained. The two that needed replacement were on the rear on a rear wheel drive car. Can you say “fishtailing”? Me neither, but I sure was driving that way.

While waiting for my car, I discovered a Starbucks gift card in my purse and, wouldn’t you know, there was a Starbucks across the parking lot!

I waited for my coffee, just people watching. The gal running the cash register and the two people making the drinks had a great system, and even though the line was long, it moved really quickly.

A fellow who was also waiting started to sit down in the chair sharing my table, and then realized that I was there already. He paused in an awkward half sitting, half standing position, so I laughed and said, “Go ahead and have a seat!” He grinned and shared that he’d called ahead for two gallons of coffee, but they had forgotten to make them. I said, “Uh ohhh…” He said, “Yeah. That’s OK, life’s too short to get upset over something like this.”

I replied that was very true. My mind flashed back to an experience I’d had a few months ago when someone got really upset because she wasn’t first in line to the newly opened cash register. The guy in front of us ushered her to the front of the line and told her, “You know, ma’am, life’s just way too short to be so upset over something so meaningless.”

Today’s person apologized and said, “Maybe that sounds too philosophical…” I replied, “That’s OK, there comes a point in people’s lives when I think it’s appropriate to be philosophical and realize that you have to prioritize everything, even the things you choose to get upset over… and it’s important to realize it IS a choice.”

And all this before my cup of coffee, mind you.

Is it no wonder I felt like it was already Wednesday?

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Filed under I ♥ My Miata, I Stimulate the Economy, I'm Never too Old to Learn, Sometimes Thinking Exhausts Me

Weekend Worry Warts.

I resolved my question about extended EDD benefits with a quick phone call to their 800 number today. I was greeted with a recording which informed me that they were receiving higher call volume than normal and that if my regular benefits are running out, they will automatically include an extension form request with my last check.

Yay! That was the easiest piece of work I had to do all week!

Next on my List of Worries is my mortgage. In July it converts to an ARM, which I was planning to refinance before then. But to refinance, you kind of need to have a job… and a house that is valued about the same as it was when you bought it. Strike one and strike two. Too bad my mortgage isn’t with Chase, because if it were, I would have had ample opportunity to discuss it with them in February when they were calling me 6 times a day hoping that the Trudeau’s would magically answer my phone. All that phone calling has tapered off, by the way. Thank goodness.

We won’t even talk about filing TAXES or the next property TAX assessment, both of which are rapidly coming due next month.

Instead, I’ll tell you I had my nose buried for a few hours yesterday in a book written by Kimberley Woodhouse, entitled Woodhouse Family Welcome Home! It was a much needed reminder to me that no matter what challenges, obstacles or fears I’m facing, to keep searching for my joy in the midst of it. That He has bigger shoulders than I’ll ever have, and that’s where my worries and fears (and praise and worship) really belong.

I reminded myself of that while I battled with my Sunday Night Insomnia last night.

If you’ve never heard about the Woodhouse Family, I encourage you to read their story. The book was an easy and quick read, and I really enjoyed it. If you want my book, I’m happy to pass it along. I won it in an online comment contest, so I’d be glad to continue its journey. We can do a drawing or something if more than one of you wants it.

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Filed under I own a Home, Money Hump Building, Sometimes Thinking Exhausts Me, Spirituality

Love & Loathe — 01/21/10

Loathe:

* Somehow one of my rear tires on my car dropped to only 10 pounds PSI. I thought it was maybe a slow leak, but it hasn’t lost any pressure since I refilled it to the 26 PSI that it’s supposed to be at this morning. Not sure what that means…

* Of course, I discovered it this morning at 1 AM, when my intuition told me to go check my tire pressure. Which I did and then worried about it until 5 AM when Tony got up and I made him double-check my tire pressure taking skills.

* The reason I was worried was because I needed to drive (or row) my mom to the airport for a domestic trip. I’m glad I checked it, because I ended up driving roundtrip to the airport two times. Once to drop off my mom and once to pick her up when Southwest Airlines canceled all their flights out due to weather.

Love:

* Homemade waffles.

* Honey baked ham.

* Another evening with my mom… an unexpected gift, although there was a certain amount of stress involved and wasted time at the airport.

* It’s snowing in the local mountains. Like, a LOT of snow. That means we’re going up tomorrow. So, here’s to safe travels for everyone in the house.

* My mom and I have been going to the gym together, including the aquatic exercise classes, and they’ve been letting her in on our membership. I’m not sure if they’re supposed to do that, but I love them for it. In fact, it almost makes up for all the pool issues they have there.

One Last Thing:

Here’s something weird… when I have insomnia due to worry, I ponder really weird things that are unrelated to the worry at hand. For example, my “worry” last night was that my tire wouldn’t hold air and I wouldn’t be able to get my mom to the airport in time because I’d have to spend MONEY on a new tire, and how was I going to do that AND get her to airport? Turns out that the tire held air and her flight was canceled… so there.

Yet, one of the things I was thinking about last night, totally unrelated to the real worry, was whether people who wear hats cause themselves to have a thinning hairline or whether they wear hats to cover up a thinning hairline. Similar thought about glasses… if your eyesight starts to get bad, and you do start to wear glasses, does that cause your eyes to get lazy and then you need thicker glasses, and then your vision gets worse, and then you need even thicker glasses?

I think I should go to bed tonight. Oh, and I’m moving my Love & Loathe list to Thursday… even though you were too polite to say anything about it, I know you missed it on Tuesday. *muwah*

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Filed under I ♥ My Miata, Love/Loathe, Sometimes Thinking Exhausts Me