Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Virtual Insanity?

"Virtual insanity is what we're living in."  Jamiroquoi

My husband is hot for a smart phone.  I'm not so sure.  I feel like I already have a tendency to be plugged in more than necessary and being able to carry that access around with me everywhere I go might not be a good thing.
Some time ago, one of my cousins posted something on facebook about why she was spending time on it as opposed to living life.  It caught my attention, as did one of the responses, which suggested that it was because she is a people person and it makes her feel connected.  I think that is true, but connected to what?
At a yoga training last fall, the teacher told us to notice where we spend our time when we aren't feeling so good and where we are when we do feel good.  Most likely we spend less time in front of the screen when all is well and more time in front of it when we don't feel so good or are seeking something we are actually not likely to find there.
I struggle with the whole technology piece in general.  I don't like for my kids to watch a lot of TV and of course, I have kids that beg for it, love it and always want more.  We never have the latest gadgets or technology, we don't have cable or flat screen TVs or smartphones, and I think I like it that way.  I get why my husband wants those things, but I feel this strong resistance to it.  I'm frugal (or maybe cheap?) too and I don't want to spend money on things that we don't really need. 
When I sit back and look at it, the problem really isn't the technology, it's me.  It's my inability to cut myself off from it or set healthy boundaries for how much and when.  I decided in the new year I would only check my email, facebook, etc twice a day.  I haven't followed it.  I did for a few days and quite honestly it is much  more interesting to open your email when there is something worth looking at.  When you only do it once or twice a day, chances are better there will be.  My draw toward this stuff is that feeling of being connected, the desire to feel like part of something greater than myself.  I don't have any answers really, other than, maybe I should work on being out of control on this one.  Maybe I should get on board with my husband and his smartphone dreams (being able to send a text without it taking 10 minutes to compose) and maybe I should figure out how to leave it alone and live smart.  Life isn't going to happen without me if I'm living it... that's virtual insanity.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Every kid has their lovie, that tangible piece of cloth that makes them feel safe, secure.   Rumor has it, my husband or his brother (can't remember which) had a cloth diaper for a lovie.  They go everywhere with you and are often a source of stress, when you leave them behind, or misplace it somewhere.  Some kids attach to one thing, others have a multitude of lovies, the favorite changing from day to day.
As a toddler, my oldest daughter had a kitty, a blankie and a binkie.  Binkie was as much a lovie as the other two, but at some point you have to give that thing up.  Most kids reach a natural parting of ways with their lovie, I think (some later in life than others) and the problem with the binkie is that it has other repurcussions, such as messing with your teeth if you suck on it all night.  At 2, we decided it was time for Ruby to give it up.  My husband made up a story about the "Binkie Bird" (I don't recommed this approach, by the way).  He told her that the Binkie Bird would come and take her bink and give it to some other child in need and sure enough one day her binkies disappeared.  Oh, how she cried.  That binkie bird scared her and she was so heart broken. I wanted to make her feel better, but I didn't want to back track, so I gave her my childhood lovie...dear old Rab. 
Rab was once a stuffed animal, white fluffy, lovable.  I loved him so much over the years that he became a mass of worn out dirty gray cotton.  My mom patched him up each time he lost an eye, (replacing his plastic parts with cloth) or wore a hole in his fur, at one point I carried around one of his feet as my lucky rabbit's foot.  He looked haggered and when I was 12, I finally decided it was time to retire him.  My mom helped me make a cloth box for him to permanently rest in (aka a cozy coffin).  Rumor has it when I was 4 or 5 I dropped Rab in an airport parking lot one rainy night and my mom had to go back and find him because I couldn't sleep without him.  I vividly remember lying in bed with Rab as a kid, telling him my troubles.  There was this one patch on his back that I could stick my finger in and feel his insides.  For whatever reason, that was a great source of comfort for me.
When I gave Rab to Ruby, she loved him immediately, but she also wondered a little about the looks of the ol' boy, tattered and torn, loved to pieces, literally.  What was left of his body lived inside a little blue and white gingham bag and his head was the only part of him that stuck out of the bag, sort of in tact enough to be out.  At some point in the last few years, Rab got attacked by our dog.  He lost an ear, half his face and his insides were really torn to bits.  His dirty stuffing looked like strings of something, he was a mess.  I think she cried when she found him, but she put him in his trusty little box and he lived on her bookshelf or under her bed, or wherever else the many stuffed animals she has go. 
This Christmas, out of the blue, she wrote in her letter to Santa that what she wanted was for Rab to get a new face, for him to be put back together like new.  At 11 pm on Christmas Eve, I didn't have it in me to attempt anything of that sort (no supermom award here) and Santa didn't bring his sewing machine when he came by.  She had placed Rab at the end of her bed, safely tucked in for the night, I'm sure with high hopes of waking in the morning to a new and improved Rab.
I asked my mom on Christmas morning if she might help me attempt a Rab reconstruction in the near future.  Of course, she said yes.  On Monday, my daughter came home from Mamma's (my mom's) full of excitement.  They had been working on Rab, making him a new face.  Yesterday afternoon, my mom showed up after work with the new Rab.  I hugged him to my chest and almost cried.  Ruby was thrilled, slept with him last night and told me how much she loved him and that he smelled like Mamma.  She even knew that his cheeks were colored from Mamma's lipstick.  "Smell it," she said, "doesn't it smell just like her?"   You could see in her eyes the comfort she found in him.  I know it isn't so much Rab, as it is the idea of him, the love that was poured in to his revival and the Mamma who would go to the ends of the earth to satisfy that little girl's heart's desire.  Thank you, Mamma, what would we do without you?

Monday, January 2, 2012

the Little one

As Shakespeare said..."the blessedness of being small."  My little peanut, Elsie Lea, turns 2 this week.  It's hard to believe and yet it also feels hard to remember life before her or without her.  Every child brings something special to the world, of course, and this one is no exception.  She is such a child of joy...happy, playful, affectionate, loving, mischevious....and many other qualities.  I feel like my words don't do her justice.  I am so very grateful to have her in our lives.  I wrote a poem for her last year and another one last night.  Here they are....

2011: My little E - all wrapped up

a short 12 months ago
you were all wrapped up in me
my big, round belly your home
the only place you knew
and then, you
were you
separate from me
still part fo the same being,
yet your own
a walking, talking, crying, singing, laughing
just you
all your own
not mine, not ours
just yours
beautiful and sweet
gentle and bold
now we are
all wrapped up in you.

2012: my sweet and spicy

you are many things wrapped
into one little bundle of goodness
you are sweet, snuggly
love to be held and touched,
cradled like a baby
to have your back scratched
your hair combed

you are mighty and fierce
strong willed and determined
independent and fearless

you are joy and laughter
your playful spirit
contagious and inviting

you are shy
you are bold
you are love
you are loved
sweet Elsie Belle.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Out of Control?

Happy New Year!  2012...and the world has not yet ended, hallelujah, I have a marathon to run this year!
My family spent the evening with several other families, eating, drinking and being merry.  It was a great evening. I was riding the high of my longest run yet, 10.5 miles.  Felt like a great way to end a year, accomplishing something on the way to something bigger, right? I ran in the afternoon, felt great when I was done (aside from an achy joint here or there).  I was feeling festive, excited to celebrate.
I was chatting with another runner at the party, one who runs 4 to 5 marathons a year and in the course of our conversation he said, "well, you are obviously a type A person."  I, incredulously replied, "Me?" For the record, I have never thought of myself as type A and quite frankly think of it as a negative quality.  He replies, "You wouldn't be out there running, preparing for a marathon if you weren't."  I was stunned.  It isn't the first time my own perception of myself has been altered, but I was definitely not eager to take this label on.
Later in the evening, as I sat with two of my girlfriends, I shared the story.  They both laughed and said, "you are totally type A."  Say what?  I, of course, asked them what type A is then and they described it as being driven, "liking to be in control", and I can't remember what else because I attached to the liking to be in control part and couldn't let that go.  I think it took up most of the space in my brain for the following 15 minutes.  
I looked up what type A is today and learned that type A and type B personality theory was developed in the 1950s as a way to determine risk for future heart disease.  Those that are type A (in case you also are curious) are described as ambitious, aggressive, controlling, highly competitive, impatient, preoccupied with status, and tightly wound, just to name a few.  And type B is the opposite of that, patient, relaxed, easy-going, and at times lacking an overriding sense of urgency.   Maybe we can't put people in these two boxes.  I would definitely like to think I possess qualities of both. is a new year and a time to invite in to our lives what we want and a time to usher out what no longer serves us.  What stuck out most for me in this whole Type A conversation, was my friend describing me as someone who likes to be in control.  As much as I did not like to hear myself described that way, I have to admit there is truth in it.  I do like to be in control, I often think I know best and I like to know what's in store.  I'm not a big fan of change (I can't control it, right?) and I am not exactly the most spontaneous person I know.  And so, what am I to do with this new self awareness at 38?  My goal for 2012 is to be less attached, to let go, and to learn to find some freedom in not being in control.  How's that for a new year's be out of control?