Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hello Goodbye

goodbye 2013, hello 2014.  I promised myself I would take a break from "new years" this year but I guess it wouldn't hurt to tap out a few words.

2013: (in no particular order)

You were the year that GOLD came back. And white wall paint had an uprising against the grey/beige aka "greige" of 2011-2012 fame. People act all like "Oh gold, you're awesome all of a sudden" and gold is all like "HAH you fair-weather friends! I've been around for literally ages and you all have despised me for the likes of silver and brushed nickel and said I looked TACKY FOR OVER A DECADE NOW. But whatevs. I'll take my place in the spotlight where I belong now, you witless oafs". (Yes, gold totally said that). 

You were the year that I turned 30, and I think really grew up over the course of your twelve months. Thanks for getting me there. 

I don't remember specifically if we joined our church in 2012 or 2013 but I think we officially "belong" there now over the course of this year.  

In 2013 I took on more responsibility at work. 

I ran a Cooking Camp!

My niece turned four. What?!

Two friends brought new people into the world. 

This year has cemented my life goals and given me a drive to get there. 

I made the decision and a plan to confront my worst of demons in 2014. 

I had a confrontation that had been brewing for years. I don't think I initiated it right or well, but when the smoke cleared I got to say some things that needed saying. So whether it's a win or a lose it was a lesson. 

It's been a year that made me itch and ache to leave my comfort zone. 

It's been a year that made me realize the desire for "comfort" can be an idol as much as anything else. 

It's been a year of making a few new friends and letting go of some too. 

It's been a year of laughter and fun.

It's been a year of appreciating Teddy more. 

It's been a year of appreciating my family more. 

It's been a year of being thankful for what is instead of dwelling on what isn't. 

It's been a year for friends to fall in love. 

It was the year we got to see Taliesin and tread on uncharted territory and dream of more. 

It's been a year of waking up and going to bed early.

It's been a year of trying new things in the kitchen. 

A year of taking walks and watching birds. 

The year we got our basement finished! 

The year we annoyingly dressed up as Doctor Who for halloween!

It was the year we were married for 6 years. 

New basement (paint much more yellow-y/gold than we thought…oh well!)

I went to NYC with my buddy Janna. Atlas, has the weight of the world on his shoulders. This was year he finally began to shrug. 

We went to Taliesin and it was beautiful and someone asked if we were on our honeymoon. Hah!!! I guess we must like each other or something. 

It was a good year. Maybe even a pivotal one. Who knows? I guess time will tell. 

Happy New Year's!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Grandparent Memories for Christmas

It's Christmas Eve! I love to think of time as tiny snow globes and look back on each year and see a tiny cross section of life. It's easy to do with holidays because you pretty much know what you were doing each year (give or take) of your life so far.

When I was a kid, Christmas Eve was for my paternal grandparents. They had awesome decorations reminiscent of Mad Men. They took such great care to make sure they bought us something we really wanted. My grandma would let me peruse the Sears catalogue and I would turn down the top of pages of pretty whatevers that caught my eye.  (Erstwhile my parents always saying "NO no no, they already have too many toys, you don't need to do so much this year").  Even as a kid I recognized the classic grandparent/parent tug-of-war, that is still alive and well and being passed on to generation after generation, hehe. I remember one year my uncle dressing up as a shepherd to read the Christmas story which was pretty gutsy considering there were lots of cameras around.

My maternal grandparents meant the first nativity set that stood out in my mind. Even when I was young it was old and fragile but I would stare at it playing make believe for as long as I could. Mamaw and Papaw meant chocolate chip cookies with black walnuts. It meant seeing cousins and my papaw dressing up in a hand made Frosty the Snowman costume that was bonkers legit. It meant my mamaw spending hours of time vhs recording all the Christmas specials on tv for us and stopping and starting so we wouldn't have to have the commercials. That tape was probably watched 1,000 times by me and my brother over the years forever cementing those specific specials as OFFICIAL CHRISTMAS CANON of holiday specials. (With such gems as of course Rudolph, Frosty, Mickey's Christmas Carol complete with the goofy skiing short, and the snowball fight short with Hewey, Dewey, and Louie, Chip and Dale hijinx, THE claymation Christmas special which we have recently acquired on dvd and forced on my niece and nephews, and others). I remember the sleigh bells on their door which would jingle each time another family member arrived out of the cold to join the festivities.

I'm so happy to have these memories. I am so lucky to have had four grandparents in my life. I am lucky to have two still here.

One memory that sticks out in my mind which can sum up all the biggest wish of my grandparents for me and all my cousins is this:

My mamaw was very into planning activities for family get togethers. As a kid this was insanely awesome and anticipated by me and more than likely not as highly anticipated by the adults. For Thanksgiving, it was skits with hand sewed pilgrim outfits, for Christmas it was learning songs and performing them, hand sewn angel costumes to recites scripture (me and my brother, I need to find those pictures) and other such stuff. One year we sang the 12 days of Christmas but with different words and got to hold up signs when it was our turn. I don't remember any of the the different words except the replacement for "and a partridge in a pear tree".  It said:

This is what was most important gift and memory both sets of my grandparents wanted us to know. Then it became the most important gift and memory my parents wanted us to know. I'm so thankful they made this truth known to us. I'm so glad that I know it. I hope this Christmas that you will also know it.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

liz lemon: "our lady of having it all" and other musings

I'm having a lot of thoughts. What else is new? My life is mostly thoughts. The other part is focusing on acting human and fitting into society so people will leave me alone, to my thoughts. Hah. My brain is trying it's best to digest the lessons and goings on of my busy school year and the looming change of life ahead. My brain is loosening it's tendrils on my thoughts and they are popping their heads out like woodland creatures, getting ready to be dealt with. 

My hair is tangled.

I forgot/ was too lazy to take off my makeup from yesterday.

I'm in a T-shirt covered in paint.

I'm wearing one of many yoga pants that were residing on the floor beside my bed.

This is one of my favorite looks for myself because it means this:

 I have two almost unfettered weeks of yoga pants and painty-shirt wearing in front of me because it's CHRISTMAS BREAK, baby! (Now I get that some people do not get a break around the holidays except that actual days (aka T only has Christmas Day and New Year's Day off) so you might be shaking your head in disgust at me. Go ahead. Shake away. The joy of being a teacher!

I have been awake since 5:15. I'm not complaining. This is my internal stress clock at work. It keeps me from missing my alarm and gets me to work on time. Hopefully this will dissipate so I can sleep a little over the next few weeks but whatevs. (I didn't have to set an alarm so that is a huge win.)

So one of the thoughts that is trying to escape the "brain tendrils" can best be summed up in Liz Lemon fashion:

(art work society 6)

Our lady of having it all. 

The notion of "having it all". 

For women, "having it all" is the dream, right? 

(and Liz Lemon is an awesomely hilarious depiction of what attempting to have it all actually looks like…stress acne, poor health and eating habits, skipping out on actual people to spend time with tv friends…um, this is all too familiar)

As we stomp over all the shattered ceiling glass I sense this general attitude of female Millenials saying "we have to do it all otherwise we're weak. Now that we can officially follow our dreams right out of the kitchen, we must look to society to tell us which dreams are worthwhile and which ones aren't glass ceiling approved!"

Don't get me wrong. This isn't a "women shouldn't work and should stay at home and have babies" post and "working moms are evil" post. No no no no no. There is no choosing sides here. I don't think any female is so black and white put into a category anyways. 

Getting older has made me begin to really get to know myself and know my limits. As in….(drum roll) I'm not the type of person who can (in the mainstream perspective) "have it all"

Let me elaborate. In my idea "having it all" means this:

1. you are married
2. you have a job that pays equal to what your husband makes if not more
3. you go on to additional schooling
4. you buy a nice house
5. you spawn children (multiple!)
6. you manage during this time of marrying, house buying, grad schooling, and child spawning to SAVE MONEY and make Dave Ramsey your bestie. 
7.  you have an obligatory social group in which you compete (cough) I mean spend time with.
8. health is important to you. you belong to a gym (or whatever is popular at the moment be it kettle bells, cross fit, running marathons, what  have you).
9. you eat healthfully and at home all the while being super organized. 
10. Family is still, somehow, your number one priority.

So for MYSELF, this sounds like a nightmare I could never in a million years manage to keep up with. In life I can focus on two things, MAYBE three, max. And even then "focused" might not be accurate. I think a more apt description would be maybe a percentage of energies or attention paid to. There is 100% worth of energies and this is what it looks like right now: (on any given day, except maybe a Saturday)

1. Thought life/spiritual life/dreaming/scheming: (all of which are very important to me)


2. Marriage: 20%

3. Work:45% (being at work, coming home and emailing to and about work, lesson planning, preparing for next day)

4.  Maintenance tasks like bathing, folding laundry, make up, hair, cleaning or cooking, lunch packing:

5. Keeping up other relationships: (phone, text, emails)

6. And, being real honest, the last 7% goes to television and rocking myself in a corner trying to get my introvert brain geared up for more the next day. 

Realistically there isn't room for "it all". Ok? Some men and women are able to have 200% energy throughout the day and keep coming back for more. That restores some people. For me, I get depleted. Currently I'm in need of being hooked up to a yoga pants IV drip. I need time for my thoughts to wander and work on something creative. That's when my mind rights itself and my spirit stretches back out and uncrumples itself. Space. Quiet. Then I'm ready to be busy again. Don't get me wrong. The idea of sitting on the couch all day everyday or sitting at the computer all day every day isn't inviting. I love to be busy, to be useful. I think maybe my brain is ready for a different challenge, a different way of life. 

Realistically? This is what I'm gonna yell at myself Major Payne style in the mirror each morning: "Pick the things that are most important and get to the other stuff when you can. Rest when you need to and work when you need to. Don't be a control freak and don't be lazy. If something's gotta give, let it give and don't look back". 

Don't let what gives be prayer/God/church because that hasn't worked in the past. 

The things that are most important will change as your life and circumstances change. 

What I know now that maybe I didn't know growing up is that the people who are all physical energy and the people who have more creative energy are of equal importance. We need both thoughts and actions to make the world go. What we don't need is all action driven by zero thought or all thoughts with no subsequent action. 

I want to kick punch the glorification of busy and having it all right out of my life and see it for what it is.


All the thoughts, still happening.

I am fearfully and excitedly trying to make some changes in my priorities. Who knows. Maybe at this time next year my life will look totally different?

(in Liz Lemon's defense, "having it all" was just having a job and a family and I think that's pretty darn doable. You go Glen Coco, er Liz Lemon). 

until next time,