What baggage?

I was at the DCPS office getting fingerprinted and this man in his late 50's, who was also there for the same purpose, starts up a conversation with me.

He says, "You don't need to be carrying all that junk around......" and proceeds to talk loudly and tell me about how he teachers Tai Chi and can make me very strong. I just assumed by "junk" he meant my backpack.....although it did not really make sense, I was too busy to stop and make it make sense. But I've lived in cities all my life and there are plenty of people among us who don't make sense....so I just chucked it thinking, this guy's a bit off.....beware!

I am a generally polite person and as he describes what he teaches I am slightly interested although he hardly responds to my responses to his comments....making me aware that he's not really listening......he's one of these people who just want to talk.....and talk...and talk.....and make sure everyone around hears how cool he is....

My name is called and I go to the desk. His name is called and he comes behind me....and again repeats, "You don't need to carrying all that junk". Again, thinking he's referring to my backpack I answer, "I need this JUNK, It's my certification documents." He then clarifies as if we're talking about the weather, "No, you know what I mean, the one you're carrying on your body."

This man was referring to my weight!
In my mind I am amazed and say to myself, "My husband even knows not to mention my weight".

All my life I've never been a quick-witted person. I generally trust that people will be courteous and am frozen in panic thoughts when people become something other than polite. To my envy, my younger sister, on the other hand, is much more quick-witted than me. She will put a person in their place before they are even done being rude to her. I wish I was more that way, but I am not. On this day, I was not at all expecting this man to be so outrightly rude .....The old me would have been embarrassed and cowardly and maybe even depressed to have a stranger call me out on my weight, but I did not allow this socially disabled man to shake my sunshine...not even one bit. I am blessed with a wonderful husband, two amazingly smart and healthy children and I am going to be working the job of my dreams.....nope, no shaking me off that tree.

I felt sorry for him actually. To have gone 50 plus years not knowing how to be around people must be rough. I would not be surprised if he's had a rough time with women.

What would have I said, have I been quicker?
I would have said, "I might be carrying around a lot of body junk.....but I'd rather have have that any day than carrying around all that extra EGO. "

I love how life has these little ways of showing you just how lucky you are!



I've been getting my son emotionally ready for Kindergarten.

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This morning I cuddled up next to him and bear (his toy) and talked about his first day. From what he would wear to what time he'd get up all the way down to what he would take with him in his new backpack.
As I held his little yet growing body between my arms I let the moment fill me with joy.
This is my baby
My baby boy
as I call him, "My favorite little boy in the whole world".

My little boy is growing up.
Just yesterday my hubby and I were getting a sonogram and were told we were having a boy.
Like 2 dazed individuals we left the office drunk with excitement and trying to grasp the reality of what that would feel like.
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Before having kids I thought that dedication and love would easily carry us through without a glitch and as all people without kids think, I knew deep in my heart that I would do it much better than all "these" people I saw struggling all around me. But life has taught us that parenting is not black and white as you think it before having kids. Life, as it turns out, has an amazingly gently way of beating the "cocky" and "self-righteous" right out of you. So I've proudly joined the ranks of parents I've judged during my pre-kid years.

But all these life beating have bore a wonderful thing. Now I am a buddy, a helper and friend to that mom whose kid is going crazy down aisle 6 of the supermarket. I know enough to see that the child is not broken or deranged or mean, he simply is either tired, hungry or both and paired with the fact that he's only been on earth a fraction of the time I have....it's not planned or intentional.
Let's help make a more understanding world....


Lists of Everything

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I love lists.
There are few mundane things more satisfying to me than checking tasks off a list.
But, I'm starting to feel as if I'm competing with myself and now I am not able to just enjoy
sitting down and NOT having a task to accomplish.
I'm just sitting down for the first time today and wonder if I am crazy to take on so much....
Today I single-handedly packed the whole family (minus my hubby's clothes)
I made healthy sandwiches for the road
I shopped for foods easy to eat on the road and placed them in a large bag
I dropped by Blockbuster to pick up 2 new videos for the kids to watch while we drove
I deposited 2 gift checks give to Nora on her birthday a few days ago
Went by my job and said goodbye to all the people I worked with in the past 4 years
Bought stamps to send Thank You letters to people who wrote me recommendations to my new job.
Dropped by the Pediatrician to pic up a immunization form for Luke for Kindergarten
Cleaned out my car and filled the tank with gas
Bathed both children and dressed them in the clothes they will be traveling in tomorrow morning at 6am

Some of you might wonder why is my hubby not doing more.
The fact is, if I do it, I know where everything is...and honestly, I don't think he would have one clue how to do half the things I do...

He does help though...he did all the laundry (4 loads) for the trip and emptied my which was full of boxes...he also entertained Nora while I made sandwiches.

Frankly, I like doing it....I like knowing that I tightened the seat belt for the kids as tight as I want them to be. I like the fact that I made the sandwiches and placed them in Tupperware containers in attempts not to use plastic.....I put so much love in every act that I can't help to feel that it feeds some sense of creativity need in me.

All in all...I am exhausted.....Yet, lucky for me, Nora went to bed early and I get to practice my Chinese on Rosetta Stone for a few minutes....and in a little bit I get to do one of my favorite things the world.....fall asleep the minute I hit the pillow.

Is anyone else's life this busy?


Lessons are sipping in........

Collage for sale at www.MiriamsArt.Etsy.com

I hear Luke and Nora interacting from a few feet away....Luke lecturing to Nora about when she goes to school.

"Nora, you have to learn how to share for when you go to school". Nora, being 2 just repeatedly answers, "NO!" in the cutest voice imaginable.

Funny to hear such a lecture from Luke, who at age 4 does not "know" himself how to share yet.

Just yesterday I hear him lecturing again, "You have to learn how to tie your shoe, write your full name....." and the lecture goes on and on, almost verbatim from subjects we've covered with him.

Having a younger child around has allowed me to measure how much Luke (my oldest) IS absorbing from our many lectures. As much as he might continue to misbehave in 3 out of 5 situations....Luke does understand what we are saying to him as proven through what he in turn lectures to Nora.

Another One Bites the Dust...The Jon and Kate Divorce...

Okay....so I cannot stand the guy....Jon from Jon and Kate Plus Eight.

I hear him talking and he's always somewhat on the outskirts of all that is happening with his kids, his family. He walks away when things get too much.

He also wears these awful black shades during most of the show and squeezes out these meek attempts to stand up to his wife.

I read a slew of reviews on the show and was shocked to see how many people thought Kate was a bossy wife. I agree with this assessment yet feel it is his fault entirely that he gets bossed around this way. You teach people how to treat you....he just allows himself to be treated this way.

It's sad about the divorce, yet he seems to want to move on now that he has money and believes he might get a better girl. It's like you can smell his excitement at being single again....so, so sad. As he says, "I am only 32.....I have to take care of my needs.......and that of my children". Somehow I don't see Kate hooking up with a new mate as immediately as we all know he will.

As in MOST divorces the woman gets the kids and continues to raise them, while the man gets to go and pretend his a single man once again. He says his kids are his priority, but this entire disruption happened because he wanted to see what else was out there besides Kate. Signs of a typical insecure male who needs the "stuff" to fill in what he's missing......too sad, the family and their love is not enough.

But nothing is truly sad or ever really a loss. I hear strength and resolve in Kate's voice and words and know she will come out a much better person. Anyone who can jog 1 hour a day and be present to raise 8 children daily regardless of her crumbling world is a winner in my book.


I Love Everyone..

I see people around me being themselves
Gossiping, being mean, being nice, friendly, warm, inviting, evil....
I still love them....

There was a time when I'd ride the tides with them and envelop myself in the drama
Now, I stand and watch with a smile
seriously.....are you serious?
Heavy with seriousness they sink in the sludge of human pain

I smile and stretch my legs out comfortably....
This is my space, my world, I understand me and me only...
what else really matters?
all is perfect and wonderful 
Just as it should be....


A word on Fathers

Father's Day is here to spark some thoughts on dads.

I grew up without a father. 
After my parents divorced when I was eight I never saw him again. 
Whether his presence could have saved me lots of pain or not.....I will never know...

Now I have 2 little ones and I could not have chosen a better father for them. My husband is protective, caring, plays with them, teaches them, but most importantly he is self-reflective in his parenting and open to trying new ideas. 

I saw a show once about how we choose mates and it said that a lot of it is subconscious and instinctual....we are wired to automatically choose mates that are physically healthy, and emotionally stable and that those 2 things guarantee a physically and emotionally healthy child. The funny thing is that when I met my husband he had never even thought of being a father. It was not even in his plan. But it's true, I knew he was emotionally stable (more than me for sure) and physically healthy (let's not go there...LOL)....so somehow that translated to me thinking he was attractive.....

I'm glad I followed my instincts....


American Chopper and Jon and Kate....OMG

Kate Gosselin goes for a ride with the Orange County Choppers from TLC's "American Chopper" show.
I am watching the show and I am cringing the whole time as I am watching it. Jon and Kate are so obviously not together (as rumored).....as a wedding photographer I can sniff love in even its subtler emanations.  Yet, they are like two strangers in each others' presence. Jon is even more pathetic to watch; he had a long face the entire time except the end when he's chatting up with the guys (From chopper) and trying to be cool mentioning his female friends. He wears these awful shades as if anyone would find them cool. 

This particular show is about Jon meeting with the crew from American Chopper and having a custom made bike made for him. I can't help myself, but I get allergic reactions in my brain when I see people get such pleasure out of  their expensive "stuff" . Here is Jon, he does not even look like a biker, he is quiet, shy-ish, total guy-next-door look...and he wants a big burly-man bike. I see this quite often...men get older and start to feel empty and fill their lap with "things", younger women....so sad...and pathetic....

I gotta say, I have never been attracted to men with "stuff".  I think my doubt and mistrust in the institution of  "beautiful" helped me with this.....It's not like I'm being biased towards men with stuff...but it just so happens that men who dress themselves up in all that "stuff" are often rotten eggs....why else would they need to cover up so much?  

The news briefs tout her as some sort of control freak, who yells at Jon all the time.  I feel perhaps more of the blame should come his way. Any man (or woman) that allows anyone to speak to him in a bossy manner 24/7 and never stands up for himself is allowing it to happen. I feel no compassion towards him, in fact, it makes me have no respect for him as he trudges around following his wife's orders, then makes negative comments about her bossiness to the men when alone with them.....as if he had no control of it.....I would boss him around too...he's so damn accommodating. 

What I find the most disturbing out of this show (Jon and Kate Plus Eight) is that most of the shows have been about all the ways in which they have been spending their money since they got in the show. Apparently, they make 70K an episode, so I understand then trying to keep going, despite their very obvious dislike of each other.  For that kind of money I'd do shows with Bush for a few months. There have been episodes about hair implants, about moving to a bigger home, and now about their specialty bike......spend, spend...That seems to be the whole drive behind the show. 

Sadly, although they have a much better house, are filthy rich, and they even look like pseudo-movie stars now the family seems to be falling apart. Seems like when you  get addicted to stuff you only see and value the world through it's materialistic gifts and the thought that dominates is "what can I get next".....

One's addiction to "things" makes all life's true blessings seem mundane......


Our "Terrorist" Bias

Law enforcement officers and vehicles are seen outside the U.S. ...

I was shocked and saddened yesterday to hear about Wednesday's shooting by an "88-year-old gunman" inside the crowded U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. I was also waiting for the words "terrorist" to come up as a way to label this incident....and it never came. I'm sure if the person who did this horrific act were of Muslim they'd be all over it and labeling it a "terror incident".   

I have these questions brought up by this incident....

* How come this was not labeled a "terror" incident?
* If the person who did this horrible act were Muslim would you have expected it to be labeled a terror incident?
* What do you think that says about how and who we define as a"terrorist"?


Found Your Lost Collar....

Nora reached for her battery-operated doggie toy from the bottom of her toy basket and on it was your long lost collar.....

It made the noise you made as you walked and oh it took me to you so fast......it was as if you were right behind me...

it smelled like you even

I ran my fingers over your faded name and address on the silver bone-shaped tag, the carved letters almost blending together with age. 

The kids, being so young, have gone on with their daily routines. Every once in a while looking back with a memory and speaking of you in the present term. 

Nugget, our parrot, yells your name in anger in Chris' exact voice and tone. That is how daddy sounded when you barked at the neighbor's dogs without mercy....it was your favorite social activity. 

I know this rawness will pass just as all other past pains I've experienced. but right now, I ache to hold you in my arms and smell your fur, even if it's for one more time. Grieving, I am learning, is getting all your five senses to readjust to not having a loved one around....


Letting Death Happen Naturally

I have never felt stronger about letting death unfold naturally as I do now after watching Duncan die such a peaceful death.  I am so glad I did not choose to have him put down. He was not in pain, just did not want to move....eat or walk....

He stopped eating his regular food about 3 weeks ago and only drank water that whole time until his death. Of course we tried offering him all sorts of bacon and chicken....but he would not eat.....he had made up his mind and this was the beginning of the end. 

We did not know what was going on with him so we took him to the vet immediately and they could not find anything wrong with him. They gave us antibiotic pills and we were sent home. A week later we took him again and they only found a small lung inflammation and again were given meds and sent home.  The third time we took him to the vet, (a week later) we were referred to a specialist and it was only then after $2K in medical bills that we find out he's terminally ill. Once we know he's dying we take him home. 

That night in search for ways to keep him comfortable, I read online how dogs feel bad disappointing you and will often hold out on dying trying to please you....they mentioned it was important that if he's dying to verbally release him and tell him it's okay to go...

I immediately go upstairs and tell him I love him, I hug him around the neck, take in a full smell of his musky yummy fur and then say, "It's okay Duncan, if you need to go....it's okay, we love you....and will miss you, but if it's time to go....go."  The next morning he looked unusually good, his ears were up, his eyes bright....I left for work in a rush....he dies 2 hours later, laying down by his bed as if he were napping.  

After 3 weeks without food, he finally gave himself permission to go....he did not need to worry about us anymore, I reassured him. Of course, I miss him terribly, but I also feel satisfied that he died peacefully, not in cage, not in fear, not away from us, not with pills being shoved down his dry throat, no needles........he died in HIS home, surrounded by the people who love him....he died a peaceful death....without fear or pain.....I truly feel blessed to have given him that space and time to allow this process, that is wiser than us, to unfold unfettered. 

I can only hope and wish that when my time comes there is as much respect placed on giving me the time and space to allow this unknown thing called death to happen naturally......what a beautiful gift to give a loved one...I wonder now if I too will just know....and think" This is my time."  Only time will tell....



My resolutions after watching this: 
* We are buying Luke a used bike from Craigslist.  
* We are also getting his new booster seat used and absolutely not buying a new one. 
* Use technology until it dies and not until a new style comes out.
* I have never bought and never will buy a new car. 
* Carry a bottle of water. Never buy bottled water. 
* Always buy used clothes from ebay. Search for clothing LOTS for sale. 
* No juice boxes....

Telling My Son About Reincarnation....

We buried our dog of 7 years yesterday in the backyard, he was about 11 years old. The entire family got involved in burying him. My hubby and step-dad dug the 6' deep grave. they measured his body to figure out how they would fit him in for he hardened in a sprawled out sleeping position. Our roommate took me to home depot to get lime to help the body decompose faster into the soil and cancel out any odors once it decomposes. Luke gathered some of Duncan's favorite toys and a cup of his favorite food to add into the grave with him and my mom made coffee for everyone. The whole time I thought about how much Duncan would have loved being right there in the middle of the action, and that his spirit was probably right there with us. 

My 4 year-old son, L, cried as we lowered his body into the exact sleeping position we found him in. He participated by throwing in his 2 favorite balls. I threw in 2 freshly cooked chicken bones, and our roommate who'd always sneaked him treats, threw in 2 donuts.  When L asks about Duncan we've been telling him that although his body is dead, his soul lives on....We told him Duncan is in heaven right now resting and actively getting ready to come back in a new body to learn new lessons. As Buddhists my husband and I believe strongly in reincarnation. He seemed to like knowing that his soul lives on and the prospect of finding him again in the future. 

I noticed how well my son embraced our dog's death. All night as we lay cuddled he told me funny stories about Duncan which made me feel like we did a good job involving him in the burial and in being so open about his terminal illness. Death is not a thing to be feared, but just another phase in the circle of life.