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Monday, December 8, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Two weekends! Only TWO WEEKENDS left before Christmas! Yeesh!

I’ve noticed that my visitor count is down. Actually, my visiting count is down too! There’s so much to do and so little time! This week is baking week one. David and I did the grocery shopping this afternoon before he left for work. I now have a couple shopping bags of baking supplies in the atrium next to my exercise bike. (Don’t think the irony of that is lost on me!) Tonight I’ll get a start on the treats that will be going to Connecticut with us. The cats will love that, Mom and Dad gone and a cat-sitter again. Luckily, they like their usual cat-sitter, so no one trashes the house or spends the weekend under the bed. Not that I think Baggle would ever be scared enough to go a whole weekend without food, anyway! When we had all four cats in Michigan and Dad watched them for a weekend, he said he always thought there were three, but every now and then a fourth one would show up at the food dishes!

So this week, I work on earning that “anal-retentive” label so many of my friends lovingly place on me. The schedule on my desktop has specific times for cover letter writing, shower, which day is shaving day and how long I have to floss my teeth before the next batch of cookies goes in the oven with just enough time to change the laundry loads while they bake...

Okay, NO, I’m not THAT bad! But I do have a detailed “to do” list for each day! When people taste the treats, eat a meal I planed or enjoy the festive look of the home I welcome them into, no one utters the label without an appreciative smile!

This past weekend was COLD! I mean cold too, we were in Lafayette, Indiana in my car. My heater is dead. Saturday morning, the bank clock said it was 4 degrees. I had long underwear, leggings, a turtleneck, a sweatshirt, jeans, a fleece coat and three pairs of socks and STILL had my feet bundled up in a blanket and another one across my lap to keep warm.

Why didn’t I fall in love with a nice Georgia boy?

I spoke to David’s brother on the phone when we were en route to the store today. It’s not supposed to be above freezing the entire time we’re there.

Why didn’t I fall in love with a nice Georgia boy with kin in Florida?

I pose those rhetorical questions with a grin. David’s family are wonderful people who I enjoy spending time with and that Georgia boy would pretty much have to be David with an accent!

So, I have 45 minutes on my schedule to write and proofread a mug shot. ;) Better get to it!

A Christmas Gift from my Mom
circa 1994

This was a gift in my Christmas Stocking in the mid-90s. I’ve made mention before to my “type A” past. I lived with my parents then. The 60+ hour workweeks (on salary) and my seeming inability to talk about anything but work weren’t lost on Mom. I did still find time to have coffee with her once a week, almost on a schedule.

Now, I wasn’t the type who never took vacations. Mom worked on me at home to get away and my program director was awesome at tempering the balance between the drive of my ego and the point where I’d break. She was good about making sure I had what amounted to an extra week of vacation as comp-time every summer. I just wasn’t very good at relaxing, even when I had time off.

This mug was Mom’s way of extending a warning to me.

The truth is, when the company that bought out my old company came in and told me about that financial ceiling if I didn’t get a degree, then turned around and kept insisting that there wasn’t time in the schedule to let me have a night or two a week off to go to school that I realized I really didn’t have all that much to show for the over four years of grindstone I’d given. I’d been giving and expecting appreciation for it. Silly me. When it comes right down to it, a job is only a way to make a living. To be appreciated, to be remembered, you need to make a life, and for that you need people.

My nieces were 2 when I left to go back to school and they knew me as that aunt-lady who came home just before bed and played with them a little. I had old friends I hardly ever saw and new friends with whom I only “talked shop.” When I went back to college, I discovered Hip-hop music, deeper meditation and deeper relationships.

Everyone discovers something new outside of the curriculum in college, even those who are almost 30 and in college. My musical taste expanded courtesy of the top songs of the day on WJLB in Detroit that played on my way into school. I just liked what I was hearing and kept listening. College students commonly broaden their musical tastes. I also learned how to do something I already had tried even better.

I quit smoking in 1990, just before trade school, with the help of a self-hypnosis tape and absolute will power - I looked at myself in the mirror and told myself if I could provide one GOOD reason that I did it, I could keep doing it. I couldn’t come up with anything good. They say that in 5-7 years after quitting, your lungs heal and that’s where a lot of former smokers develop a serious allergy to it. That’s me now. I think of it as God's way of saying “Good job, I’ll help make sure you never do something that nasty again!” But, I really do consider that a gift!

That self-hypnosis program helped me stop overnight. No munchies, no cravings, I just quit. I figured that the sincere desire for it to work helped a lot, but I also figure that if it worked for smoking, it could probably help me help myself with a lot of things. I studied a lot of religious meditation for several different religions, in my World Religions class. What an eye-opener that was! Meditation is a lot about bringing yourself to deep relaxation, to controlling your own mind and how it reacts to your environment. I learned how to step back from the forest to study the trees before I start chopping them down. I am a lot calmer now. I’m not stress-free, in fact I still thrive on occasional positive stress, but I don’t let it become emotional chaos where all I can do is keep moving forward so I don’t see what’s left behind. I like to look back and enjoy my accomplishments now. I think I’ve become a more complete person.

I’m close to my nieces and closer to my family and my friends, all of my friends, in a more personal and loving way now. I feel that in many ways I have generally better relationships with everyone, even with myself.

1 comment:

seamhead gypsy said...

music! i recall looking forward to visiting my favorite uncle in the "motherland" a decade or so ago, not just for the visit, but because i could actually hear 89x and or 93.9 the river. driving my squad car in the heights of c-town, i could pick up the river at night and 89x after 2 am when a local college station shut down for 4 hours each night. back then i really liked the music on 89x but i liked a couple of the dj's over on the river. ann dilisi (sp?) comes to mind. now all my radio listening is done by satellite.

and this past weekend i found out that my oldest son (from another mother) is coming down on the eve of Christmas eve for a day or so. he'll have to go back to c-town on Christmas day, but he'll get to see Christmas morning through the eyes of his 4 year old sister. the bonus for me is that i not only get to spend Christmas morning with my wife, but with BOTH of my children. 2008 will be a Christmas i'll always remember. and speaking of little sis..... she is scared out of her little wits whenever she is anywhere near the guy in the red suit!

sigh.... another year without a pic of her and santa. :-(

she IS excited about everything else this month. and she's been such a good little girl that i let her play with the train set up around the tree! i just think she likes to play with the little elves around the inside of the track. i even found her tiny tinkerbell, snow white, & cinderella princesses helping the elves. and she loves to give cinderella's little mouse friends a ride on the train!