Saturday, May 17, 2008

Parenting 101

Dear Person Who Was Just At The Same Baby Shower As I Was,

Your daughter is sure cute. Her strawberry blonde hair was so pretty and she was obviously excited to be there.

Let me just point out, though, that she ceased to be cute when she insisted on opening the presents ahead of the honoree, and pulled things out of the gifts before the honoree even got to see the first item in the package.

I'm sure you noticed that the honoree was extremely gracious to your daughter, but did you not notice the rising tension in the room as your daughter continued to rush ahead? Did you notice that the hostess told your daughter to wait? Did you consider having your daughter come and sit back down with you instead of blocking everyone else's view and making the honoree focus as much on your daughter as she did on the gifts she was opening?

Your oft-repeated "Wait, honey" didn't do much. Did you notice? Did you notice how much energy had to be exerted to work with your cute little girl who just couldn't contain herself? Oh, did I mention that sometimes containing the child is the PARENT'S responsibility?

I'm sure your presence was welcome and appreciated at the shower. Your little girl was sure cute, but her behavior was neither welcome, appreciated, nor cute.

Your Friend,

The Lady at the End of the Couch

Friday, May 16, 2008

Something New and Diff

I am twelve hours into a 4-7 day fasting cleanse. This is the first time in my entire life I have fasted, except for about 1 1/2 days on a wilderness trip, oh, 25 years ago.

I have food issues. Mostly surrounding the problem of eating. I like this fasting thing cause I don't have to eat. I guess it's not a long-term solution, though.

Anyway, so far, it's been pretty good. I did force Val to cook dinner though. I'm not all that tempted yet, but I think it's a little much to expect me to cook too! Especially cause I am such a good cook!

For the first time in my life tonight, I will be experiencing a colonic. Sorry if that is TMI.

The plan for this is to do this fasting cleanse and then go directly into a 21-day non-fasting cleanse. My fine naturopath sister is administering these and is a great support.

My other fine sister recommended that I build in some nice things for myself during this time. Duh, that didn't really even occur to me. Sisters are so nice to have.

This time tomorrow, I expect to feel significantly cleaner inside.

I'll keep you posted.

A Nod to American Idol

I know, I know. I must be the last person in the world who decided to watch American Idol, considering it has been on for seven seasons now. Finally, in February I decided to give it a try, having pooh-poohed it without even knowing what it was. But Val had fallen in deep like with David Archuleta, and I wanted to know what it was all about.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that I really enjoyed watching this show. The judges are knowledgeable, engaging, and each has his own style. I love hearing what they have to say.

As I am not much of a tv watcher (due to that busyness mentioned in another post), though, I did figure out pretty quickly that we should record the shows and start watching them partway through so as not to waste time watching commercials.

There are a couple of songs on my playlist by David Cook and one by David Archuleta, who are the final two in the competition. They are both excellent singers and some of their songs have given me goosebumps. David A. is 17 and David C. is 24(?) and they have very different styles. Both will go far, I'm sure, and I'm not sure who I want to win at this point. They are both popular and polished performers.

I like American Idol!! OK, I LOVE American Idol!

Before and After

Oh, yeah! I remember why I started this blog in the first place! I was organizing and decluttering and wanted to share my accomplishments with all of you. OK, I got a little distracted for a few weeks. But he-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e's another installment in the incredible tale that is my decluttering and organizing adventure.

So Val was taking a shower about four years ago and was holding onto the handicapped bar so she could better reach the shower head, shrimp that she was. Oops. The wall fell off because water had been getting behind the tile for a long time. Good thing it was a lithe youngster for whom the handicapped bar gave out! Seeing as how the tile color scheme was black and blue, we voted to remodel the entire bathroom rather than replace the tiles. Plus, who knew what havoc that water may have wreaked behind the tile?

As part of the remodeling, we put in a laundry chute. Here's the business end of it:

And here's the resulting mess:

Although the lovely laundry chute saved me running down the stairs with baskets full of clothes, and also led to me finding some interesting items among the clothes especially when the kids were younger, I was not happy to have this big pile of mess on the floor. So I put my thinking cap on and came up with this:

And now the floor looks like this:

I got that hanging basket for free from Discovery Toys in my brief insane foray into multi-level marketing. It's been hanging around my basement for quite awhile and I finally found a great use for it! The hardest part of the project was hammering the %$^%#$%^ nails into the floor joists since there was only 8 inches between them and the hammer wanted more space. But, now that little rectangle stays concrete-y and uncluttered just all the time.


Another Post!

There's probably some official blog word for clustering posts. But, hey, at least I am actually posting, unlike the rest of my family who all started blogs and are hardly EVER posting (hint, hint).

I have learned much about the process of writing this year. I am thankful to have had some help teaching my kids about writing because I found out this year that there were a FEW things I didn't even know to be looking for. I think I am a better editor of their work now. I don't remember ever learning this stuff in school or college, but surely I must have learned some of it sometime. I had my freshman composition course at Bob Jones University, and I am completely oblivious to anything that I ever learned or heard in that class. Such an important course should never be relegated to the first semester at such an extreme place. I was culture-shocked and was so worried about making sure I didn't break any rules (why, oh why) that I didn't have any brain space to care about whatever that composition teacher might have been saying.

So, one good thing about homeschooling is the mom gets to learn right along with the kids. And I love that.

Flat Tire and Helpful Strangers

If you can believe this, I have had two flat tires this week. The first one was on my bicycle when I was riding home from the grocery store on Monday. But the second one was on my van yesterday in the pouring rain. I of course did not notice it since I was much more concerned with the fact that the gas price on the pump said $3.94. But the nice man pumping gas next to me pointed out the flat. I had two of the kids with me and several more places to go before I was in for the night.

That man actually laid down on the wet ground to see if he could loosen my spare tire (who thought of putting it under the car? bad idea in Ohio) but was unable to do so. The rain was dripping off the bumper onto his face, and he was lying on wet concrete trying to get it (his face? the bumper? no, the spare) off so he could fix it for me. He told me that he thought about what it would be like for his wife if she were in my position and that is what he wanted to help. I was so touched. Seems like anymore people don't like to get involved and I was so appreciative of his help. I have never changed a flat tire although I have been in a car a couple of times that had a flat.

So, the man put some air in my tire so I could drive to the tire store. I could see the screw that had punctured the tire and I expected to drive to the tire store and have the helpful tire man fix the tire and be on my way. But, no-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o! The puncture was too close to the edge, so the tire had to be replaced. And blah blah blah blah. Two hours later we drove off with 2 new tires and 200 fewer dollars. I actually had to call Greg a couple of times because I wasn't sure about some of the stuff to do since he handles this kind of stuff almost all the time.

The thing that really struck me besides his help was the fact that I live in a place where I can get pretty much anything I need pretty much anytime. It made me think about all the people in the world who don't have cars, let alone gas stations every 50 feet, and all the other amenities we totally take for granted every day.

My son was annoyed because he was having to wait and I did mention to him that that was selfish thinking, only because I wanted him to focus on the fact that in our time of need, our needs were met. I know there are many people who face such minor problems as flat tires that turn into major problems because of work issues, or no support, or lack of money to get the thing fixed. While I was waiting at the tire store, a woman came in who had had to be pushed into the parking lot by another car because her clutch had totally gone out. It wasn't a very nice car and my heart went out to her for having to deal with such problems.

My experience of life is that I am so very blessed. Even when I have a flat tire.

Friday. Finally.

This was the last week for the kids' homeschooling classes, so it was a busy week finishing up all the homework that was due and/or overdue on the part of one young man in our home. Val finished up everything pretty much on her own. Joel and I had a nice, exhausting day finishing up his work. Not that I did his work for him, mind you, just sat upon him, more or less, to keep him focused and making progress.

Wednesday, the very last day for the year, kept me busy with a used book sale I had organized. It was quite enjoyable, but as usual on Wednesday, I ended the day pretty much used up physically and emotionally.

Yesterday, I started the process of digging out from under all the things I had postponed while trying to finish up the year.

Ho hum. Not too terribly exciting, I know. But things are always hoppin' around here and I guess I kind of like the idea that I am SUPER BUSY and always have lots of things to accomplish. Because I still have many things to do and ideas to implement and hobbies to start and emails to write and places to go and books to read. I like being busy, but I hate being so busy that I don't have any time to just hang out and do something I really want to do.

So, I guess the moral is. Busy good, if busy with stuff I want to be busy with. Busy not good, if I'm just having to do a bunch of stuff I do not want to do.

Thank you for listening.

Friday, May 9, 2008

What is Marriage Anyway

I am part of a therapy group that meets on Wednesday evenings. I love my group. We have been meeting since last August, and have lost one member and gained three, so we have a full group now with eight members. Our newest member is unhappily married and soon to be divorced. Because of confidentiality, I cannot even share in this format anything else about his story, but our meeting Wednesday night really made me think alot about marriage.

We have been married for 23 years. And I believe we will stay married for good. I was so distressed to hear the conversation at group about "taking care of yourself" and "honoring your truth." I think there is a place for that kind of thinking, but when it comes to marriage, sometimes "taking care of yourself" can cause some huge problems in a marriage where one of the people is unwilling or unable to change his or her behavior. I do not advocate abuse of any sort. Abuse changes the reality and taking care of yourself is an extremely important thing to do.

I like to think there is a solution for most problems. Sometimes, or even most of the time, the choices we make as young people are not the choices we might make as forty-somethings, so the pragmatist might think that it's a good idea to jettison "bad" choices and find true love now that he/she really knows what he/she wants in life. But I believe that marriage is a great refiner of each of us. We learn to think of someone other than ourselves. We learn to give of ourselves, even when we might not want to. When both people really love each other, I believe ANYTHING can be gotten through.

When Kepler was born, even as strongly as Greg and I feel for each other and are committed to each other, I looked at him one day in the first week and told him I could understand why tragedies (which Kepler's birth and diagnosis were NOT, but it was still a difficult time) cause relationships to break apart. And I told him I thought we needed to be really aware of that possibility and re-up on the commitment side of things, and make sure we talked about what was going on. I shudder to think what might have happened if each of us had started focusing on "taking care of myself" to the exclusion of taking care of the other person at the same time.

How can anyone stay married these days without a sense of a larger meaning to life? If someone is unhappy in their marriage, why should they stay if they aren't happy anymore? If what matters is only now, and only what I want, then divorce makes a lot of sense. But if we are part of a larger story, which I believe we are, then there are great reasons for staying and working through things.

Planning for Next Year

Yes, we will still be homeschooling next year, and I am hoping to have a more active role in teaching the older kids. They have been going to an extension program for all of their classes this year, so I have had little ability or opportunity to be involved with what they have been learning. Next year, they will go to the same program, but for far fewer classes.

I have been enjoying surfing the internet looking at math programs and trying to figure out which one would work best for Val and which would work best for Joel. I don't think the same program will fill the bill, even though they will both be learning Algebra II next year.

Think I know where that economic stimulus check is going to go -- buying curriculum for next year!

A New House for Siouxsie and Fam?

My parents live one mile from us, in the house I grew up in, and have lived there for almost 48 years. They are the only ones who have ever owned the house. Dad's knees are starting to complain about the steps he must climb each day so they are considering buying the house next door to them. If they do, I know who wants to buy their house. We do!

I love their home. Not only is it filled with happy memories and laughter from my entire life, but the actual house is wonderful. The kitchen looks out onto the backyard, and I dream of watching the kids play in the backyard while I work in the kitchen. My mother is a wonderful decorator and is a beauty magnet, so their home is beautifully decorated. Warm, beautiful, comfortable.

There are a few things that would have to happen before the big switcheroo could take place, namely, we would have to sell our house. But it can happen! I look forward to seeing how it all plays out.