Friday, November 28, 2008

I am SO Thankful for so much! :)

So, it was my intent to write and reflect yesterday on Thanksgiving Day, but as usual, it is such a fun and busy holiday, I didn't want to spend any time away from my family the computer, so I am here today instead (but didn't finish until Sat. pm 'cause no downtime.) I LOVE Thanksgiving dearly, and as I think I've mentioned earlier it is my favorite day of the year. This year was even better than usual!

We spent the week with my mother-in-law visiting us, who I enjoy spending time with and wish she lived closer. Last weekend we took her to my parents' beach house to show her around and had a great time, despite the premature deep winter weather. The cute little victorian town has a beautiful Christmas season of events that started last weekend, and it was a blast. I even got to go to what I think was my first tree lighting ceremony ever!

In addition, over the last 3.5 days, my sweet 3 year and 3 month old boy was FINALLY ready to make some real progress potty training, and it has gone so well that shockingly is already in underwear instead of diapers except for sleeping. I know, I'm STILL trying to find my jaw on the floor! He's been in underwear for 2.5 days, (now 3.5 since I started writing this) and only 2 small accidents! That is so like him, too- starts most milestones super late, but then learns instantly. Phew, because I was really getting a lot of outside pressure and wasn't confident of how it would ever go! The transition to school should be interesting, but I've done my job. In addition to school, public outings should be interesting too. He went fine at my parents house on Thanksgiving, but we haven't been to any "public" potties yet... (A day later he is afraid to poo after having had initial success, stay tuned or not...)

So, we have Thanksgiving every year at my parents house, who live nearby, and we also have every year my mother-in-law, my aunt and uncle, and my grandmother. I contributed my signature garlic redskin mashed potatoes, my apple pie (this year upgraded to Honeycrisp apples, there is NO going back!) and I added a new dish, mashed sweet potatoes. Cinnamon, brown sugar, fresh not canned, and NO marshmallows. Actually, I was never a big fan until having a kid who eats them, but I might have liked them BETTER than the white potatoes! Everyone was happy, the food was good, and it was a joy to show off how much Adam has progressed since the last time they each saw him. I thought all day about how thankful I am to have such an awesome family, despite split factions in my mom's side of a larger family that we don't get to see much anymore. And despite the reduction in time with my boy that is to come, I am grateful to have acquired a decent paying job in a poopy economy, and that I was getting paid already for the holiday. I am grateful to have a husband that I love, a sweet awesome son who I still can't get over how much he impresses me every day, and wonderful family and friends.

So, for a life's update: my house is still in marvelous order, and I am only a couple of hours worth of filing paper away from achieving perfection. We are going to put up our Christmas tree today, like we do every year, and we're having the family over for dinner tonight before my aunt and uncle leave tomorrow. Shopping at the outlets this afternoon, too. I'm feeling moderately ready to deal with going back to work full time, and we'll see what happens! (Update- shopping was MADNESS because they were overcompensating for the bad economy and practically giving stuff away. It was amazing, but a frightening mass of humanity!)

However, now amid all these big changes I STILL need to change my fitness and eating habits!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One Week Until the BEST Day of the Year!

Ok, so I've been doing some reflecting this morning. In doing so, I re-read this whole blog. Good lord people, are all of your lives as insane as mine has seemed to have been this summer and fall? When I occasionally mentioned feeling like I was on a roller coaster, that was no joke. Fortunately, the key to making the ride stop (or, at least slow way down and skip the big hills and drops) seems to have been a secure job situation. I am wrapping up my part time position this week, taking the week of Thanksgiving off, then starting my new full-time job Monday, Dec. 1. As I mentioned earlier, I am ready. In the meantime, I have continued to get myself more organized, and continue to feel the great benefit of the results. (Of course, I read in my blog that I've gotten to this point before, then not finished and/or maintained it, so keep on, soldier!)

Friday my awesome sweet mother-in-law comes to town, and we are taking her to the beach house for a long weekend. I plan to work out, chill, get my computer and email files organized, finish refiling the rest of my recipe pile into the desserts section of my cookbook, and relax, relax, RELAX!! Then we get to come back and it will be Thanksgiving. For those of you who don't know me as well, Thanksgiving is hands-down my VERY FAVORITE day of the whole year, and yes, that includes trumping Christmas. Don't get me wrong, gifts are wonderful, the extended season of music and twinkly decorations is a good way to plow through some of the shortest and therefore darkest days of the year (Dec. 20 is the shortest day, the day after which the days start to get longer again) and the spirit of love and cheer is great. But, for whatever reason, for me personally, Thanksgiving edges it out. I love the gathering of our family and occasionally other people we warmly include, I love the food traditions, I love that there is football to watch as part of it, I love that it is right in the throes of fall and not into winter yet, and I love that all of the happiness and warm cheer does not have anything to do with material presents. Less stress for everyone, and I think more people travel to their families for this than for Christmas. I am grateful and blessed to live near my immediate family, and to still live in the area that I call "home." I also enjoy the fact that immediately after, the Christmas season starts, and we usually take advantage of the long weekend to get our tree set up and start decorating. (A note to you super-early Christmas people- the Christmas season does NOT start until Santa comes out at the end of the Macy's parade on Thanksgiving morning, dang it!!)

Anyway, I am hoping that over the next week and a half, I will continue to reach the FINISHING point of getting organized so I can more easily keep up with it and relieve more of my mental clutter, thereby helping me survive the transition to full time. I hope to truly live the next two weekends and all the days in between in the moment, enjoying the break fully, and restore that trend to carry forward in my life. Living that way into my job transition and through the Christmas season would also be an important achievement.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Random Flashes of Domestic Brilliance; Staring Down the Barrel of Big Change...

So. I finally have a full-time job lined up. Within my same county agency, but not within my same division. Translation: people I know less well, work I know less about, but still beneficial to my career long-term, and most importantly a full size paycheck and my foot gets more fully wedged through the budget-closing door. I will still be in a perilous position, because as the most recent hire I will be one of the first if not THE first person to go if they get down to cutting actual people, but that puts me on the third page of things that might happen, versus my current third item on the first page. Definitely an improvement in the long run, and a great financial relief in the short run. Phew!!

Now, what DOES mean, however, is the end to an era in my life, which I am sad to see go, but that I am resigned to and prepared for. Being a stay-at-home mother first full time and then part time for the last 3+ years has been, by far, the most rewarding, life-altering, important, and wonderful job I have ever had. The most difficult too, at times, for sure, but exceedingly worth it. I could dwell on the loss of time with my sweet boy that is to come, and it will be difficult to "fit it all in" without feeling I am missing his life or being too overwhelmed, but I don't plan to let negativity rear its ugly head and make things any tougher. We never thought we could afford for me to stay at home with him at all, so since we were right, I'm grateful for the time I did get, especially since it was at such financial sacrifice, and for the fact that it was ME who got the opportunity to lay the foundation for who he is. I will always cherish that. Plus, it was the home mommy life that helped me adapt better to the foreign concept of being a mommy in the first place, and offered both he and I the opportunity to meet some amazing friends who are important enough to us to work to keep through the schedule adjustment (and they have agreed that they feel the same way, which is a relief!)

So, with pending change in the air, and a huge weight of relief for the financial doom that has been at least for now, averted, I have turned my focus to getting my act together. And, for whatever reason, it is working. After I shook off an ass-kicking cold that ruined a fun getaway weekend with a friend, I have gotten to work. The house is steadily getting clean, dinners have been planned and executed, and domestic order has begun to creep in. Thank God, because it seems sometimes that chaos has been in the mix since the day we found out we were going to have our sweet boy just about four years ago! The biggest happy surprise, second only to an understanding and recently more helpful sweetie: I am NOT adept in the kitchen, and after organizing my recipe book back into a book from the mountain it had become, I tried a new recipe. One that required a little bit of clue, plus I changed it a little, plus I added a side dish that I dreamed up myself. The result? We were both in shock and awe at the yum factor of my performance. Definitely a confidence booster!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

See, it DOES help!

No sooner had I finished writing all that then I got my job offer!! Phew!

Pouting and Pessimism (an exercise in wallowing...)

Ok, so I generally try to post things on here in a positive light, because it makes me feel better when I'm done, and probably also makes for better reading. It has yet to be determined if I have regular readers, but assuming that I do makes the process of "telling someone" my thoughts and feelings a bit more real, and therefore more effective for MY purposes- cathartic revelation and therapy! And, of course, as the title lets on, it IS all about ME! A nod to my upbringing as an only child, although I sure didn't get the spoiling rotten treatment of one, regretfully at the time but thankfully later! :)

However, despite my generally positive outward persona, I've always been a glass half empty kind of person. No joke, it's true. I enjoy complaining and am quick to criticize, at least from a distance. Easily jealous, too, not in my relationships, because I am secure in my status there, but rather in what other people appear to have or achieve in their lives. Impossible, you say, if you've only known me since the birth of my three-year-old beacon of light and happiness. If so, you'd be partially correct, because becoming a mother was the single event in my life that has caused the most astounding change in the core of who I am as a person and what I care about. Definitely for the better, but it was still startling how sudden, dramatic, and permanent of a change it was. I have felt more emotionally raw and vulnerable, yet stronger, more empathetic, and certainly more caring about the situation(s) of others since then. I've also tossed my personal priorities up on their head, as I suspect most mothers do. It has even affected my view of the world such that I have gone from a lifetime Republican to a strong Democrat (the most recent administration didn't hinder that process any, but by no means was it entirely 43's fault.) My mom recently called me a bleeding heart liberal, and I laughed out loud at the bizarre sound of that, but it is completely true now!

Anyway, I'm feeling all bummed out, and I feel like whining about it. Here's your cue to tune out and exit if you'd prefer. The rest of you, stay and wallow in self-pity with me if you like! Certain audiences in my life do not react well to my whining or being down now and then, but I can say whatever I want here- and I hope to feel better by the end of my rant. Well, rants are more anger based, this is really just a pity-party...

I am tired of feeling like I am on an emotional roller coaster. My life is so filled with blessings, but also hideous pressure, stress, and difficulty. I'm tired of needing a job and money, and being utterly freaked out about both. I'm tired of being jealous of the people who don't have those worries, and who get to do what makes them truly happy every day. I'm tired of letting myself get so worn out by those underlying emotional stresses that I don't accomplish nearly as much as I could and want to in my daily and bigger picture life, thereby increasing my stress and feeding the negative cycle. I'm tired of being so unhappy with that situation that I CHOOSE to medicate myself with food and be fat and unhealthy. Yes, folks, a friend set me straight recently, and she is right, what I eat and how I take care of myself IS a choice. For the first couple of years of the boy's life, his care was a significant source of my stress at times, and I really did knowingly choose to remain fat and do nothing about it. Since then however, now that he's a million times easier, I THINK I want to put myself first, but I am apparently lying to myself. I don't necessarily FEEL in control of that choice sometimes, but technically I am. I wish I had the discipline to focus on care for myself without taking away from my all-important family. I wish I could get all aspects of my life under full control and just have to worry about maintaining it. I wish my sweet honey didn't have his own related and not set of stresses making HIM unhappy and unhealthy, because we seem to react to each other's negative energy in an unhealthy way, dragging us both a little further down. I'm tired of wondering why other people have what I don't- be it money, energy, drive, and I'm tired of being tired. I hate being so bad at saving and budging money. I hate having to take a ton of time and gas to get an allergy shot lest I break out in a miserable and persistent rash. I hate it getting so dark so early already, I hate the week before my period feeling like a miserable person, and I hate windy coldness. 'Zat enough?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Yes and No

Do I feel 100,000 times better and happier when I am here at the beach house than at home? Yes. Do I usually eat better, exercise more, relax more, and straighten out my head? Yes. Am I feeling like it will stick when I get home? Well... No, not really. However, I am having a really great time hanging out with our friends and getting to know them even better! I'm so glad they seem to be having a good time, too. I guess I just have to hope and assume that the weekends ALL MONTH that I will be here will be enough to get me back on track, just in time for Thanksgiving. Hmmm... Today I did a little exercise, and it's been awesome to spend some adult time, although I miss the boy terribly. Unfortunately I've been eating everything I find! Better luck next week...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Rainbow! And random musings...

I saw a rainbow today. It probably has been about 10 years or so since I can remember having seen one. And I got to show it to my 3 year old, which was cool, too. :) To get all goofy and philosophical about it, it signifies a new beginning for this country, having been a bit battered of late. I am so happy that sweeping change is hopefully in the mix, with newness and optimism thrown in for good measure. I was so moved by the concession speech of John McCain, also, oddly enough, it was back to the cool guy everyone used to like, and I loved what he said and how earnestly he said it- a truly classy and proud American. To imagine how far this country has come to be able to elect to the highest office an amazing person who also happens to be of minority race is fantastic. Of course, being white myself I can't truly know what people experience day-to-day, but I have to hope that this would blast away the last of any "victimization" people might feel from the past history of discrimination, and know now that the racist people who still remain are not of any relevance, and therefore should not be considered a hindrance to success and happiness for anyone. I hope that is the case!

I guess I didn't send out a news bulletin to some of my friends/acquaintances, though, when I changed political teams a mere 3.5-4 years ago. My best friend and I apparently don't talk politics much, because when she asked me what I thought of last night and I said I was happy, she was fairly surprised! Likewise, at work, the people who are known to be republican (a minority there) still talk to me like I'm "one of them" when stuff like that comes up. It's kinda funny. :)

On the job front- another good omen- my fate is not sealed, but rather rests in the hands of the County Executive. My agency and the division that is attempting to hire me back full time has apparently decided they can afford me, and management has agreed it would be a good idea. But, it must get approval from that "head appointed guy" since there is a hiring freeze of late.

Other random thoughts for today:

I'd like to start letting this blog live up to its name by making daily or nearly daily entries. I think it is good therapy. If I do have any readers, apologies if it becomes TMI.

I'd also like to have more to say in this blog about the weight loss journey, which caused its beginning in earnest but has never quite gotten off the ground for long enough to stay aloft. Stay tuned, I haven't given up!

Lastly, my tongue is miserably cut up and swollen from the new additions to my braces. I'm not quite to the home stretch, but at least I am in the fourth quarter, and supposedly this is the last of crap to be added. Now it is just to be a rubber band ballet to get the final moves needed. Oy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Now, to talk about me...

Ok, so I've been absent from this blog for a bit, my loyal self-therapist that it is, and I'm definitely noticing the effects. Apparently unloading on here really helps take some of the jumble out of the ole' upstairs for me, and I am in need of it more often than I indulge. The personal life of a mom is often pushed to the back of the priority list of her own accord, and although I know I shouldn't let that happen I can't help it.

I have had so many things to talk about in the last month that, stepping back, I'd say I've pretty much been riding a roller coaster. And I have no view of the end of the ride, either, which is a pain the ass. I suspect that this continued chaos of good and bad, stress and relief happening in my life accounts for the poor care I continue to offer myself.

The weekend after my last post was Columbus Day weekend, and it was a huge winner. Unbelievably gorgeous weather, and I spent the weekend at the beach house with my dear husband and sweet boy, plus my favorite aunt and uncle. Three days at the beach in a temperate early fall and a Wine Festival. Yes, it was heaven! I took one long run (in which I achieved my recent best of running 1.4 miles straight, and then walking 2 miles back,) and my head was filled with joy and peace. There was a fantastic breeze but it was warm, the monarch butterflies were migrating (I counted 125 on one-way of the boardwalk), and my heart was singing. This was in sharp contrast to the angst of not knowing about my job yet before leaving.

Follow that up with hectic but EXTREMELY FUN planning, decorating, and execution of dual (not dueling, hardy har) Halloween Parties! I could not have been more pleased with the outcomes of those- good turnout, kids happy, good turnout again, adults having fun, interesting conversation, loved it. THEN came the happy but pressure filled week finalizing the plans for and executing Kristie and Dave's wedding. Now,this marvelous, beautiful, touching wedding and easygoing elegant reception were a MARVEL of things going almost exactly as planned. Could it be that my own awesome self was responsible for that in some small or large part? Because, let me tell you, it is highly improbable for a wedding and reception to go THAT well. Funny thing was, though, that during dinner, while I was relaxing for a second and realizing the hardest parts were done, I had a nasty wave of anxiety wash over/out of me and make me feel quite nautious and weak for a bit. But I got over it. I'm such a pansy!

Weaving in to that week was further stressful delay in finding out about my job ststus, with the added information that my current boss was denied hiring a tech person that HE needs, so he suspects I will get hosed also, but they haven't told me. He did authorize a band aid if I need it of going up to 20 hours from 15. Which I WILL absolutely do as soon as I know if the full time spot is a no. I also had a few moments of pressure squeeze me while I was encouraged by my sweet and forward thinking hubby to apply for an outside Planning job that I am not qualified for on a longshot. But I DO plan to start applying for other stuff, if there is any. Ug, it's just not a fun process...

Another underlying stressor of the last several months was actually resolved yesterday, though, which was the BOMB. Adam's teachers are seeing the same improvement in communication that we are, and they not only said they do NOT think he needs speech therapy, but further they finally see how smart he is and think he's very advanced. We've always thought so, but I don't fully trust my own bias. The enormity of that joy and relief was indescribable!!!

Tonight I'm going to stay up all night and watch the fate of our country unfold historically, and I am spending the next THREE WEEKENDS in a row at the beach house. Can't go wrong there, hopefully it will drown out the negativity between now and my FAVORITE day of the year, Thanksgiving!! (The beach weekend I am most looking forward to is this coming weekend, which will be a couple's weekend with good friends and no kids!)

So, screw the county, I'm not even asking about that job anymore, it's embarassing to be a broken record with a matching response each week. "Any word yet?" "We hope to hear something this week..." Then the inevitable silence. Repeat next week. They are just going to have to suck it up and come tell me the verdict in their own time. Meantime I am hoping to gather the energy and focus to drum up more wedding business and seek out alternate full time employment.

Proud to be American on Election Day!

Is there anything more cool than the fact that our ENTIRE country of proper age is able to go out today and say who they want to be in charge next?! It only took me 5 minutes to vote, but I would have waited 4 hours if asked. I hope everyone else values this privledge as much as I do... I bet the world is pretty intrigued to see what happens, too. I never get tired of it, especially when it is NOT a done deal, and in this case, it's history either way!

You do realize that it's just dumb, karmic luck (or a gift from God, depending on how you feel about things) that you HAPPENED to be born in THIS country, and that you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want, and have more opportunity here than anywhere else in the world to make good things out of yourself and your life?! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS YOU CARE ABOUT, GET YOUR ASSES TO THE POLLS TODAY!!! :)

Then, have fun tonight watching and waiting, and if you dare to go to sleep before the outcome is assured, don't be shocked in the morning. I personally will be glued.