Posted in Uncategorized

Facebook and the ER


I spent a few hours in the ER yesterday.  Long story short, I’m fine.  Healthy even.  Great blood, great xrays, great EKGs.  But, I’d been having some weird, constant pain on my left side, and when I started having chest pain along with it, I decided to trot on over to the ER and rule out heart attack.  Heart attack has been ruled out.  I just need to go see my normal doctor to find out what the weird, still-constant pain is.

I posted my whereabouts on Facebook.  I had called B on my way to the hospital and asked him not to come because I didn’t want Thor sitting up there, and I wanted to wait until I knew what was going on to worry my mother.  As soon as Mom knew where I was, she went to watch Thor and B came to me.  In the in-between, I had all my friends in my pocket and could pull them out for entertainment and distraction.  That helped keep me calm and helped me maintain a sense of humor.

I love the idea that I can activate my friends’ super powers from an gurney.

And I love having friends who care.

Thank you all, from the bottom of my strong, healthy heart.

Posted in A Day in the Life, Friends of Mine, GNO

Mother, Monet I?


I kept seeing photos of friends at corporate team-building painting parties, and I was so jealous!  So, I decided to find one of these painting party places and organize an adventure.  For my October GNO, I invited about a thousand people to come along to Painting With a Twist in Dallas to paint a scene from Monet’s Venice.  We would be doing an impression of the great Impressionist himself.  Fun!

Painting with a Twist is BYOB, so I bought a massive bottle of Lambrusco and a couple of bags of Ghirardelli chocolates to share, and picked up a Cosmopolitan magazine because the cover looked like hilarious amounts of fun, and off I went.

 

 

Me, all smocked up, showing off the femur-length bottle of wine I brought. It’s fancy. You can find the Reunite Lambrusco served in fine establishments, such as the Olive Garden.

At Painting With a Twist, you walk in to find your place set up with your canvas on an easel, your paint and paintbrushes waiting for you, and a super friendly, super helpful, super supportive staff there to walk you along from blank canvas and your terrified googly eyes, to a masterpiece and face shining with pride (or too much wine.)  Our team was Victoria, who guided us through the painting process, and Amber, who walked among us offering encouragement, tips, and clean-up supplies for those of us who needed them.  (I only dropped one paintbrush full of paint on the floor, narrowly missing Karen’s purse.)

You come to paint, and the shop prepares. That’s my sweet friend Amy peeking out from between blank canvasses there.

 

If you are intimidated by the blank page, I think this is a great way to overcome the fear of the empty and start making art.  You’re surrounded by friends (or just friendly people, as the come-alone-guy who sat to my left discovered–he drank a LOT of my wine) and support, and fun outweighs the fear of failure.

What’s more fun than getting a little dirty with your favorite friends? Especially when you don’t have to think about the clean-up!

 

We all ended up having a terrific time, and produced varying likenesses of Monet’s work.  But I must emphasize that it was the fun that made this $45 of worthwhile.  I will definitely be going again.

Karen, Leslieann, Amy and I all had a great time. I love how different our paintings are, when we were all following the exact same instructions.

 

Our instructor had a lot of suggestions for what to do with our finished work:  In-Law Christmas present, White Elephant Exchange, Bathroom Art.  Thor claimed mine, but said he’d like to put it in his closet.  Ha!

My masterpiece resides in Thor’s closet. Facing the wall. I think he was taking one for the team by claiming it, and he knew exactly where to put it.

 

 

Posted in books, Explaining the Strange Behavior, Friends of Mine, Inside Lane, Politics, Religion

Books, Cures, and Poor, Poor Baby Jesus (Updated)


I started a new book.  I can’t tell yet if it is good.  I’m two chapters in and the story has my attention, but the writer writes exactly the way I speak, and I find myself-in-other-people annoying, so I can’t decide whether or not to enjoy it.  I will end up with a grudging appreciation for it, as I do most things that remind me of myself. 

It is funny how we can be repelled by our own personalities.  My dearest friends are usually very different from me.  I gravitate toward big personalities (admittedly, I am one of those), but behind those big personalities are methodical, organized, slow-burning characters.  I have come to realize that the reason I get so irritated with short-fused, paranoid, self-effacing, mercurial talkers is because I am a short-fused, paranoid, self-effacing, mercurial talker.  (Thus, the heroine of the new novel is infuriating, being the poster child for above flaws.)

I do idealize solid people.  I idealize people who are doing the jobs they went to college to learn, and who have done the same jobs for entire career spans.  This fascinates and intrigues me.  To date, the longest I have ever stayed with one industry is five years.  Granted, I have returned to that industry (it also being the industry I most enjoyed), but I don’t feel like that counts because I only returned one peg above where I left it off 15 years ago.  I am in awe of people who commit to a course of career and keep it.

(Telaryn let me know that, “Reports are coming in that the statement is a parody and not, in fact, attributable to Akin.”  Good to know!  I found this retraction/correction.)

Posted in Beauty, Counting Blessings, Friends of Mine, Uncategorized

Confident, or Arrogant?


I keep trying and trying to write this post.  It shouldn’t be that hard!  See, a coworker/friend of mine complimented my confidence the other day, and while I was flattered and appreciative, it made me start to think about what confidence is and isn’t.  Or maybe what confidence should be?  Or why it is so difficult to appear confident?

Society makes it difficult because we live in a world where we raise people up, just to tear them down.  Take a woman like Giselle.  Stunning.  Great legs.  Gorgeous hair.  Perfect skin.  We can look and appreciate how stunning she is.  We can tell her she is stunning all day long, and so long as she says thank you, we’re good.  But the moment she says, “I know,” we are in trouble.  The moment she says, “I have great legs, gorgeous hair, and perfect skin,” we will be out for blood.  How dare she acknowledge her own gorgeousity?!  How dare she enjoy her good looks?!

Why is it like that?

Because confidence in others shows us our insecurities.  Nothing shines a spotlight on how I feel about my belly fat like someone saying, “My abs are looking good!”  And if I feel bad about myself, it hurts to hear someone else feeling good about themselves.  I have choices there.  I can choose to celebrate my friend’s abs, acknowledging that my belly looks like it does because of my lack of interest in doing crunches and my affection for donuts.  Then, I can take myself out of the equation and appreciate my friend’s hard work, or I can choose to wallow in my jiggle and be offended that my friend has made me aware of my jiggle by pointing out her rock solidness, and lash out at her, calling her an arrogant so-and-so for daring to bring up the fact of her fitness.

Arrogance only comes in to play when we start believing that what makes us sensational, also makes us superior.  I am confident that I have good skin.  My good skin doesn’t make me superior in any way.  It’s just a fact, like the grass being green.  You can be Mother Theresa and someone will find a reason to call you arrogant.  You can’t pay attention to that.  Haters gonna hate is another grass-is-green fact.

But all that is beside the point.  The thing I really want to say is that I have great friends.  I have friends in my life who are secure and confident in themselves, so it doesn’t bother them that I am secure and confident in myself.  My friends celebrate my victories far more than they enjoy my failures–and honeys, let me tell you, you will know who your true friends are when you achieve something.  It’s easy to be the hero and swoop in to help someone when they are down.  You get to feel good about yourself for doing something.  But when someone is standing in the limelight, and all you can do is stand in their shadow and applaud their success?  It takes a strong, confident person to be that friend.

My friends don’t feel like they’ve lost anything when I gain something.  My friends cheer me on when I’m feeling good about myself, and remind me of my wins when I am down.  My friends want me at my best because it makes them better by proximity–and I feel that way, too.  I want my friends to be at their best, and I am delighted for every gain they make.  My friends make confidence easy.

That’s where a lot of confidence comes from, and I just wanted to take a moment to thank my friends for being those people.  I’m not afraid of what’s said behind my back because I know what is said to my front.  I love and appreciate you.

 

Posted in Family, Friends of Mine, Health, relationships

Pinpricks of Joy


A few of my friends have suffered miscarriages and still births recently, and several of my friends have lost babies in the past.  Losing a child is a heartbreaking, world changing thing no matter at what stage or age the child.  When you are looking forward to life with this little person, moving ahead once that dream is shattered is a challenge for both mothers and fathers.

I thought we were losing Thor right after we found out we were expecting him.  That’s part of how he got his nickname.  Not only had he prevailed against birth control, he had prevailed against a flood of cough syrup and a Zpack–you know, because I thought I had the flu, not a case of the babies.  He was a mighty Viking in the making, and I pictured him in there, wearing his horned helment and hanging on to my insides with his pic axe.  The Mighty Thor was born, both figuratively and literally, healthy and wonderful.  However, for those days I thought he might be losing his grip on the axe, I was frantic.

Like many women, I think I became a mother the moment the stripe turned pink on the pregnancy test.  Immediately, I was someone’s mother.  It was my job to protect and nurture this life.  I changed my diet.  I changed my patterns.  I gave up coffee!  I gave up coffee (which is probably why I was always so irritated with Ryan slurping his in the next cubicle–I had jealousy!)

  When I thought I was losing my baby, I went to the doctor to find out what I could do to save it.  Would I need to stand on my head?  Did I need a cork?  Could I drink something?  Take a pill?  Lie in bed for 8 more months?  Yoga?  Meditation?  Animal sacrifice?  Oh yeah, I’d have gone there.

The doctor was removed and pragmatic.  He was pulling off his rubber gloves and he said, “At this poing, there’s nothing we can do.  If you’re going to lose it, you’re going to lose it.”  Then, he sent my shellshocked self to the nurse for bloodwork, and that poor girl was new.  She told me all about how many pregnancies end in miscarriage, I guess hoping to make me feel not so alone in my probable fate?  She figured out that was not helping when I burst into tears.

I found a new doctor.  Thor hung in there.  We have a lovely boy.

Back last September, I got a new pink stripe on a pregnancy test.

People ask me if we plan to have other children pretty frequently.  I don’t think they are being rude.  It’s just conversation.  I have one child, so I must not be opposed to the idea of children, and if I am not, then might I not want more?  I would love to have more children.  It just hasn’t worked out that way.

So, back in September, we got excited.  We had our moment of shock, and I did my dance of trying to pretend it wasn’t that big a deal because when things are really important to me, I am a weirdo.  We had about 24 hours of being very excited, talking about names, and a new nickname–just enough time to fall in love with the idea and the potential for reality.  It was a Saturday.  I planned to call the doctor on Monday and make an appointment.  But, on Sunday all the plans changed.  It simply was not to be.

I was too sad to talk about it at the time.  I told a couple of select people, but I didn’t even tell my therapist about it.  I sat on her couch just a few days later and thought, “I should be talking about this, but it seems silly. It wasn’t dramatic.  It wasn’t even a big enough deal to go to the hospital.  It’s over and done, and nothing can change it.  Why talk about it?  Why trivialize what other women go through, when this was such a simple-to-lose loss?”

You all know that I’m not an “all things happen for a reason” person.  I’m a “sometimes shit happens” person.  I have faith in biology, and oddly enough, in natural selection.  It simply was not to be.  And, it was simply sad.  And, quite simply, I was broken-hearted.

So why talk about it now?  Because you all also know that I am a “talks about everything eventually” person.  It all comes out sooner or later, and because my friends who have so recently suffered have said, it helps to know someone gets it.  Because it’s the damnedest thing how attached you can get to something that isn’t the size of the head of a pin, and what a huge hole that pinprick leaves when it goes.

There is joy in remembering the excitement, though.  And joy in the knowledge that the capacity to love is endless.  And joy in other friends who are expecting.