Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eavesdropping

In my quest to lose 40 pounds by the time I turn 40, I have started religiously going to the local Y to swim every other day. While I was in the locker room changing out of my swimsuit, I was listening to two older women talking about recipes.

Woman 1: I have discovered something. It's great! I've been putting it in everything!

Woman 2: Really? What is it?

Woman 1: Cream Cheese! Man, that is some good stuff. Have you ever tried cream cheese before?

To which I just about choked on my own laughter. Here I thought she was going to say some new form of wasabi, or flavored vinegar, or blue eggplant. Something that hasn't been around for 50 years. But to her...cream cheese is the food of the Gods.

Yeah...I got to get me some of that.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bats, Raptors and Hummers

I hate bats. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them. When I was in college, I was walking into the school's oldest building when a bat followed me in. I had never seen a bat in the daylight nor one in such close proximity to me and I was terrified. I screamed and started running through the halls with this bat chasing me at full speed. I swerved and it swerved. I turned down a hall and it turned down a hall. It never even noticed all of the people I was passing (who were, by the way laughing at me until they saw the bat fly by). I was finally able to run into an empty classroom and slam the door, thus escaping the bat. But to this day I can't even stand the thought of bats.

So you can imagine my horror at discovering that my new town is FILLED with bats. They live in the eaves and attics of the old houses here. One church woman was even telling us about how she and her brother would go up into their attic during the day and brush the feet of the hanging bats just to see them fall to the ground in their sleep stupor. UGH!!

Next topic: The raptor. The raptor was neutered about a month ago and we changed his dog food to a high-protein low carb mix (apparently some dogs are sensitive to grains). We also have consulted a certified dog behaviorist who has given us some great insights and techniques, plus a book to read (Scaredy Dog). He is doing much better in the house. He hasn't bitten or even snapped at anyone in the immediate family in over a month. He does still become aggressive on a leash towards other people and dogs, but people can pet him if they follow our three simple rules: Kneel down, wait for him to sniff you and then pet him on the back. Easy Peasy, right? NOT!!! Kids are great at doing this and he loves kids. But it's the adults whom we can't get to listen.

For example, every day we walk E to school with the raptor. All of the kids know to leave him be, but today a teacher was standing outside the school with a pom pom in her hand to "cheer" the kids on. She commented on what a cute dog we had and reached her hand out. I very politely said, "Please don't do that, he bites." She actually shook me off like a pitcher to his catcher in baseball, gave me a look like I was crazy and reached her hand out even closer towards him. Of course, the raptor then bared his teeth, lifted off his front paws, tugged at his leash and tried to attack her. And yes, he would have bitten her if he had not been on a leash. After the bite he would have licked and loved on her, but he has fear aggression and has to attack first, ask questions later.

The thing that gets me is this..I have to socialize him to help him overcome his fear. Everytime he has a positive interaction, we are that much closer to overcoming his past. But everytime an idiot fails to listen to us, we end up taking 5 steps back with him. I don't understand why people think they know more about my dog than me. If only people would listen.

Lastly, the hummer. I read an article by Geneen Roth in Good Housekeeping about "Beckoners and Hummers." If you are a food addict, READ THIS ARTICLE. I always like what Roth says. She really speaks to people like me. But this article just really struck a nerve with me. She says that food can be categorized into Beckoners-food that you don't really want until you smell it or see it- and Hummers-foods that you really crave and need. All to often we fill up on beckoners because they are there and real and smell good, overwhelming our senses. But what our body really needs are the hummers, the things we crave. If you succumb to the beckoners you end up not being satisfied and seek out more food to satisfy yourself. I am a beckoner addict. And my Hubby has made me fat. I eat all of his hummers which are just my beckoners. He craves burgers and fries, pizza and fried stuff. I could live my life without ever eating fried foods. No, I don't really blame my husband, but I am finally opening my eyes to my eating patterns because of this.

So I have been asking myself before I eat anything not on the healthy list if it is a beckoner or a hummer. If it is a hummer, I eat some until I am satisfied and then put the food down. If it is a beckoner, I walk away. It's a pretty powerful, new experience.

Also, my new GP gave me the name of a counselor to help me with my food issues. I have her card on my desk and I am going to call her. I just need to get my courage up. But I am going to do it. TAWANDA!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dirty Little Secret

Have you been reading Dooce lately? I have been reading Dooce for a couple of years. Not since she was pregnant the first time, but since Leta was just turning 4, I think. I like Dooce. I really do. This post is not about bashing Dooce because I know that she has paid her mommy-dues. But lately I've been reading her stuff and thinking about how I would feel if I was reading it when I first had E. So here's my completely honest admission, just in case there is a new or soon-to-be new mom out there who is feeling lost.

Motherhood does not come easy to me. There...I said it. I am not a natural mom. I have to work at it and it makes me feel horribly guilty. Now don't get me wrong, I love my child with my whole being and want nothing but the world for her, but there are times when I just look at her and think "What the hell have I done?"

I think it started with an extremely difficult pregnancy. I was sick EVERY SINGLE DAY (yes, I am yelling that) of my pregnancy. Then my labor was just devastating. I had a doctor that wouldn't listen to what I wanted OR tell me what she was doing before she did it and then the anesthieologist had to stick me FOUR times before he hit the right spot. I didn't even want to have an epidural, but the doctor hung pitocin in my IV bag without telling me and I am just not a rockstar enough to overcome that pain. So it was a rough start.

But then E developed colic at 5 weeks old on Christmas Eve. And the colic lasted forever...and I was trying to cope alone with her because Hubby was always working on his school papers at night. Have you ever seen a parent with a colicky baby? Our eyes are just filled with pain and we can't compile complete thoughts because we are just so numbed by screaming. Anytime I hear about a mom with a colicky baby now, I force them to give the child to me and let them take a walk. I know that pain.

E was a very easy child, except for the fact that she didn't sleep. We tried to Ferberize her...once...she screamed for 4 solid hours. And we were firm on the Ferberizing, we weren't going in and making her cry again...but cry she did. She didn't sleep through the night until she was 4. Really.

And then there's the fact that I am selfish. I want my time to myself. I miss my days of getting in the car and driving off without worrying about getting back to pick her up on time. I miss the days when I could be a slob and curse and swear without worrying about setting a bad example. I miss having sex with my husband whenever I want without worrying that little ears will hear or she will walk in on us.

But I know I would miss so much more if I didn't have her. Her laughter just brightens my day. The smile on her face when I pick her up from school just makes it all worth it. And Hubby is such a hands on father that we work well together. He takes over when he sees that anxious look come over my face because I need a break.

So there it is. Someone out there probably feels the same way and suffers from the same guilt. But I have learned that it is okay. A lot of people feel that way but just can't admit to it because you see so many Uber-moms out there who make it looks so easy. But trust me, I have seen the end results of Uber-moms. Their lives are not always as they appear. Motherhood is not easy! More of us need to stand up and share that truth. It really does take a village.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Conversations in the Doctor's Office

Monday morning at new doctor for my physical. Throat's a little scratchy, thought it was allergies. Nurse gives me a flu shot before the doctor sees me.

Doctor jumps in, bouncy, energetic cheerleader kind of gal.

Looks in my throat.

Doc: "You didn't get your flu shot already, did you?'

Me: "Yes, she just gave it to me."

Doc: "Uh-oh!"

Me: "Um, Doc, I don't like uh-ohs."

Doc: "You'll be fine. You just have a virus coming on, I wouldn't have recommeded you get a flu shot. It just might make you feel bad for a couple of days."

Me: "Crap."

Tueday- fever shoots up, phlegm takes over, fatigue overwhelms, I am on death's door.

Wednesday- thinking I might die from the flu. Can anybody save me?

Thursday- have to drive 6 hours to go get my mom who will be staying for the week. Am I being tortured on purpose?

Today-feeling better but trying to play catch up.

Healthy LIMW will return with full sentences in a day or two. Wait until I tell you about the very strange socialites I met!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sept. 11

You know, there are some days when this anonymity thing really gets me down. I feel like if I could share the names of some cities things would become so much clearer for you. You would nod your head and go "OH...I get it...she lived THERE!! No wonder she feels the way she feels." But alas, I must not. Today is just one of those days, though, where you would understand more of what I am trying to say if you knew WHERE this took place.

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was 7 1/2 months pregnant and teaching 4-6th graders. I woke up that morning feeling weird. That's not uncommon for me. But I felt slow and draggy (is that a word). I walked into my living room and saw the world's largest spider. I had never seen a spider this big. It scared the hell out of me and just made me feel all that much weirder. My house had a giant, space-alien spider that potentially could have crawled all over me and covered my mouth, thus suffocating me by its massive size.

I started my drive to work. Every day I took a small, back road that circled around the World's Most Expensive Seminary. A lot of people took this road. It normally was always busy. But on this day, something strange was going on. I came to the main intersection to find an empty police car with flashing lights. There was another car that had hit a pole and one more that was left turned sideways in the middle of the intersection. You would think with all of this mayhem there would have been a lot of people milling around, but there wasn't. I was the sole person in the area. I have no idea where the cop was, or the accident victims, or the other traffic for that matter. I was alone. For just a brief moment I felt like I was in one of the Kirk Cameron books and that Armageddon had really come. Everyone was just gone.

I got to work and told my boss about my weird morning. I even told her "Today is going to be a bad day." She tried to joke me out of my funky mood and told me that I was going to create a bad day if I didn't snap out of it. But just an hour later, the director of my school came rushing into the classroom in frantic tears, pulled me aside and told me to get online and find out what was happening. The radio had reported a plane had crashed into the WTC in NY. My kids saw her face and looked to me to know what was going on. I excused myself from the room and got online. The computer was frozen and slow, so many people were googling to get the news. But I finally found out. I was just sickened by what I saw.

I returned to the room to find one of my most troublesome parents had already arrived to yank her child out of class. We were fairly close to our state's WTC and she didn't want to take any chances. By now my kids were in a panic with not knowing. So I sat them down and told them what had occured. They questioned me relentlessly, asking me if the Towers were going to fall. My dad was a scientist who specialized in corrosion and destruction. I knew what was going to happen. I told them that the buildings were built to sustain a hit from a small plane and that they were also built to withstand earthquakes. They would stand for long enough to get most of the people out, but they were going to fall. The kids focussed on the "most". It was about that time that the director came in again, took me aside and told me one of the buildings had fallen. There was nothing more we could say or do, so one of my kids asked if we could sing peace songs. They wanted to send out love to the people through song. I love Montessori kids.

So we sang. We sang as the firefighters and EMT's and employees and volunteers lost their lives. We sang as people learned they were orphans and widows. We sang as the world watched the second tower fall. We sang. There was nothing more we could do.

When I got home that night, I held my pregnant belly and finally cried. I cried for all the people who lost their lives. I cried for the people left behind. But mostly I cried for the world that I was bringing this new life into. Would she ever be safe?

My daughter was born a few months later and we gave her a special name. Her name translates into "Shining Light of Hope." I hope that we are raising her to know that she has to rise up and help to make a change; to have compassion for others who don't follow the same religious beliefs that we do; to believe that there is a world worth saving.

But for now, I will teach her to sing a song of peace and hope that is enough.

"Peace is the world smiling,
Peace is a gentle dove,
Peace is sharing,
Peace is caring,
Peace is filling the world with love."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Deep Breath-es-es 2

I hate Facebook. I really do. I keep telling myself that I should just delete my account and move on. Somehow it instantly takes me back to the drama of high school and I am that pimply-faced, awkward teenager all over again.

I recently joined an alumni page for my former performing arts high school. The administrator of the site asked very specifically for information regarding this one guy whom I happened to have information about. I left it on the site that he had been at my college for a little while, developed some sort of illness (lupus) and disappeared. I got my information a little wrong, he hadn't been attending my college, he had been trying to get in and was working at the coffee shop in town to make money and still get to know people. He did tell me he had lupus, however, I remember that specifically because I was going through a lupus scare at the same time.

Anywho, he appeared on FB and basically made me appear to be some lunatic liar. I can handle a lot of things, but DON'T call me a liar. I got all huffy and peeved and got sucked right back into the drama until I remembered...he was always lying in high school. ALWAYS! You couldn't believe a thing he said and I was a target for him every time because back then I was pretty gullible. I walked right into it again. I'm such a dork.

So I just left his comment alone and decided I don't need to defend myself. I am 39 not 16 and I have a life.

Speaking of life, the church that inspired all of the Tales from the Parsonage has found my husband on FB and all of the people are starting to friend him. Of course, I know they won't try to friend me, so I am safe. BUT...since they have been thinking about him so much lately they asked for him to come back in May and preach at their Homecoming. Hubby told me that and I just went cold. I shook my head and didn't say a word. The audacity of those people, especially after how they treated me at Christi's funeral. But then again, Hubby's the rock star and I am just the groupie. Hubby hasn't decided if he is going to do it or not but I know one thing, if he does do it, I will not be there!

Boy, I'm bitter today. Must be the rain.

One last thing... I was teaching my class yesterday and standing in the hall waiting for child to come back from the bathroom when I saw someone standing in the hallway out of the corner of my eye. It made me jump because I am locked away on a 3rd floor and no one has access to me. But just as soon as I saw it, it was gone. My little kid, however, was returning from the bathroom and said, "Miss Muddy, who was that?" I looked at the kid and said there was no one there and he said, "Yes there was, he was standing right there." And he pointed to exactly where I had seen the figure. CREEPY!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

So, how was your day?

I started actually teaching my new class this week. There are no Montessori schools within an hour of our city and people glance sideways when they hear I am a Montessori teacher, but one of the directors of a local preschool really wants her other teachers to incorporate some new teaching methods instead of just using worksheets. So she brought me on board two days a week and I work with a small class of 4 year-olds all by myself.

I have been working with children for a long time. I have seen a lot of things. I have had a 5th grader fall off of a high bar directly onto her neck and head. I have had countless beans and things in children's ears. I have had to talk a homeless vet out of my classroom who had wandered in through the back door. I have had a parent send her child in with poisonous berries to share for Show and Tell. I have stopped kids from cutting their hair and clothing and other kid's hair. I even had to talk a group of 4-6th graders through the events of Sept. 11 because so many parents came rushing into our school when the Twin Towers fell that I had to tell the remaining children what happened to ease their fears. I have been through a lot. But I have never been as scared as I was this past week.

Now I don't know if it is because this is my first time being a lead teacher, or because I was all alone with the kids in a separate part of the building, or if it was because it was my first day with a brand new bunch of kids....BUT...I was scared.

A little boy in my class has unlabeled "issues." His mom is currently working with some specialists to diagnose his learning disability. He came in and immediately started eating the playdough (this is the reason I only use homemade playdough in my class). That's not too unusual. I stopped him and he was fine. But later during our circle time the kids were playing Freeze Dance. Somehow when the game stopped, our circle sat down in a different place from whence we started. I went with it, not thinking too much about it. That was my mistake. I wholeheartedly accept responsibility for what happened next.

The little boy had ended up sitting next to an uncovered outlet where I had plugged the CD player in. 4 year-olds by now have learned not to touch outlets, so even though I saw his position, I paid little attention to it UNTIL HE LICKED HIS FINGER AND TRIED TO PUT IT INTO THE SOCKET! I have never seen a child actually LICK his finger to put it in a socket. A huge loud "NO" bubbled up from the deepest Mommy recesses of my soul and I scared all of the kids in my group, causing the little boy to actually cry. I immediately pulled him onto my lap and explained I wasn't mad at him but what he did was very VERY scary. All of the kids chimed in that their mommies and daddies had already told them never to touch an outlet, so they were fine and recovered, but I could not get this little boy to stop crying.

I talked to his mom and she didn't even bat an eye. But I have learned a lesson for life. All outlets must be overed until the children are at least 21.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Guest Blogger for Today

One of my IRL friends posted this on her blog. I want to pass it on. Terese is a beautiful person who deserves to shed her long sleeves and show off her beautiful body. Read on:

"In October 2004, my twin sister Therese Frentz was serving our country in the Air Force. At that specific time she was on her first deployment and in Baghdad… a few days before her R&R.

While in the Green Zone – Therese and 2 other officers were the victims of a suicide bombing that took place about 10 feet away from where they were sitting.

Therese was burned over 30% of her body. Her ear was ripped off, her kidneys were lacerated and she had shrapnel penetrate her entire body.

Therese had a long recovery
The road to recovery has had many more implications than just the physical healing.

Therese, 5 years later, now has to deal with the physical and emotional scars that this event has left on her life.

To this day- Therese has NEVER stepped out of the house without long sleeved shirts and pants.

She hides her scars… in San Antonio. It’s hot as hell and she still covers up. She keeps herself and the world from seeing her healthy, yet scarred body.

What Therese doesn’t know is that she is beautiful.

She is a hero.

She exudes strength and courage.

She is… in fact… a badass.

Therese has just started at CrossFit Alamo and she will be participating in the Fight Gone Bad challenge. This is a nationwide workout to support an amazing cause.

I spoke with Therese about this – and we came up with a personal challenge:
IF SHE RAISES $200 FOR THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT… THERESE WILL DO THE WORKOUT IN HER SPORTS BRA.

Let’s do it for the wounded warriors. Let’s do it for Therese. Let’s do it for beautiful women all over the globe who hide themselves because they don’t see themselves the way others do – perfect.

The wrinkles on our faces. The scars on our bodies. Our stretch marks from birth. These lines tell the stories of who we are and what we’ve accomplished. We are beautiful and unique. Just the way God intended us to be.

Donate here: https://www.rapidreghost.com/fgb/php/frpage.php?frID=26600