Blackbird, fly…

Last night, we pulled into the driveway around 7-ish. I knew the dogs were going to be happy to see us because we’d been gone all day. The cats; well, they’re cats. They’re happy to see us, but they won’t admit it.

Mr. Magick Man still had something to take care of, so he dropped the Teen Boy and I off. We fed the dogs, said hello to all our furry children, & started on dinner. Suddenly, I heard this odd noise coming from the den. It sounded like one of the dogs chewing on something or maybe batting something around (because both cats were visually accounted for in the dining room). Then the noise stopped. I thought, perhaps I’m just tired. Or maybe I’ve finally gone off the deep end and I’m hearing things. Just in case it’s the latter, I won’t mention it. He was really enjoying that cheeseburger and I really didn’t have the heart to break that moment by telling him his mother had finally lost it.

Then I heard the noise again. It found that last nerve I had and started dancing up and down on it. I couldn’t contain myself any longer.

Me: “Ok, do you hear that?”

Teen Boy: “Huh?”

Me: (thinking to myself – …why was I even worried?) “What does the dog have now?” And I get up from the table. Teen boy follows, of course.

We go into the dining room to see this:

Yes, somehow, a grackle has managed to get inside the house while we were gone. I can only guess that little miss Freyja Kitty brought it inside the dog door. She has a history for bringing live prey inside.

It doesn’t seem to be injured, just scared. It keeps hopping from one end of the window to the other, not knowing quite what to do. Its wings seem intact (nothing looks bent out of shape or appears to be missing). No blood, just fowl. ;)I tried opening the back door, hoping he’d see it and fly out. Nope. He saw it was open, saw outside, but was too scared to move off of his perch.

I needed to see if this guy was hurt. If I could get him to fly to the next windowsill, he could fly outside. If he couldn’t fly, well… I’d deal with that if that problem arose. I got a broomstick and touched his feet, nudging him out of his corner. YES! He flew! He gave me quite the dirty look, but he flew! Next windowsill, the bird is doing the same thing, scared to death and hopping back and forth. But now I know all he needs is a gentle nudge (even if he may not think it’s gentle at the time), so I can eventually get him out the door (and please, please, don’t let me hurt him in the process…). By the time we got to the last windowsill, I had him grasping onto the broomstick so I could carry him from the windowsill to the door. He saw the opening and flew away.

I sat down with the Teen Boy and we finished dinner. I then started thinking about human nature, how we handle change in our environment, and how our friends and family support us in times of need. Sometimes we need that gentle nudge to push us on to the next phase or next step in life, whatever that may be.

Those giving that gentle nudge do so out of love and care, but they’re afraid of harming the person in the process, just as I was afraid of harming the bird. But they know they have to give the nudge anyway, because allowing the person to remain in his or her current circumstances does more harm than good.

Those receiving that gentle nudge may see it as anything but gentle. It may be perceived as more of a push off the edge of a cliff. Or, it may feel as though you are being dragged, kicking and screaming all the way, rather than being nudged. Clinging to old, familiar ways is so easy, even if those ways are unhealthy. It’s the fear of the unknown, or, the unfamiliar path, that holds us back.

But like the bird, once we embrace the change and go with that nudge in a new direction, we are truly free.

It all happens so fast

Wow… today is the last day of middle school for the Teen Boy. It’s not even a full day. He just left to take one final exam – he’ll be back before noon. He’ll be done for the summer, then …

High School

When did all this happen? Where did the time go? I don’t know if I’m ready for this. I never thought of my kid in the whole “Class of ‘(insert-year-here)” terms before. That crossed my mind last night. My first day of high school crossed my mind last night. Was it really that long ago? Yeah, I guess it was, but where did the time go? A lot happened in that … ahem … undisclosed number of years. 😉

Somehow, I think the next four years are going to speed by faster than the past 14. Of course, it’s still moving at a snail’s pace for the Teen Boy. I wonder how old he’ll be when that changes.

Change, Lessons Learned, and The Universe (or, “How I Wax Philosophical as I Drink My Morning Coffee”)

It’s been a rough year. Really, with everything building up prior to the layoff, one could say it’s been a rough couple of years. I’ve had to deal with a lot of change in my life.

I was never one who embraced change when it came to major life events.  I never “went with the flow”. It would probably be more accurate to say I “followed behind, kicking and screaming”.

I’ve always believed events occur in our lives so we can gain experience and learn from those events, and move on. If we have repeating patterns in our lives, from unhealthy relationships to a string of stressful events requiring our coping mechanisms, it may be we need to take a step back and look at the big picture – ask ourselves what the common theme in all these events has been. What lesson have we had to repeat in each event?

I did this recently.

When my seizure threshold lowered and I temporarily lost the ability to drive, that was a change in freedom for me. A change in control.  I could feel the downward spiral of depression begin. Suddenly, although I wanted so badly to get out of the house, when I left, I just wanted to go home. It wasn’t an agoraphobic reaction – I wasn’t afraid of anything. No panic attacks. Home was the last little thread of control I had left. It was my domain. When I left (with someone else driving, of course), I was leaving my domain of control behind.

I looked at major life change events that have occurred for me since 2006 (both positive and negative) and my reactions. With the anticipation of change in my environment, I became so stressed and full of anxiety. I allowed it to impact my health. All of this stemmed from the concept that change equates to “relinquishing control”. When in reality, I can control my reaction to changes in my environment at anytime. It’s when I allow myself to panic or stress about change that I relinquish control to change.

So, how does “The Universe” fit into all of this? Excellent question! When I finally made the realization about how I’ve been fighting change all these years, and about the lesson I finally needed to learn, it was as though The Universe opened a new door for me. Suddenly, I had recruiters contacting me this week about possible job opportunities (people looking me up on LinkedIn). I had people responding to me on positions I’d applied for about a month ago. Now, I have no idea if any of these are going to come through, but things are no longer stagnant. I’m going with the flow.

However, I think I’ll go with the flow with a bit more efficiency if I finish my coffee and have some breakfast. 😉

Family

It’s Mother’s Day. I have an amazing teenboy and a wonderful husband. I may kvetch every now and then, but when it comes down to it, I really do consider myself to be the luckiest woman on earth.

The teenboy hasn’t been sleeping well lately. We got up this morning and he was still asleep, so we decided to let him sleep in. Really, he needed it. Mom always made my sister and I feel  obligated to do the whole “breakfast-in-bed” thing for her. Really, while that might be nice, no kid should be obligated or “guilt-tripped” into doing anything just because it’s Mother’s Day. That’s just not right. So Mr. Magick Man took me to Kenny & Ziggy’s for breakfast and we let the boy get some well needed sleep.

When we got there, we were surprised to see Mr. Magick Man’s brother, sister, et al… basically, my brother-in-law had a “Mother’s Day” breakfast for everyone in the family and didn’t call my husband or me. We got there just as they were leaving. Mr. Magick Man’s sister says she asked where we were, but his brother never gave her an answer. When we drove up he finally admitted to not calling us. Never gave a reason why, she just said he looked … awkward. She said she didn’t know about this breakfast until last night, when her son told her “Uncle M said the whole family is meeting at Kenny & Ziggy’s tomorrow morning.” She just assumed we were going to be there.

You know, I will never understand the relationship between my husband and his brother. They’re pretty much the only family they have left. Their parents are deceased. They have cousins, but they aren’t in touch. I just wasn’t raised that way – you don’t treat family like that.  Just as my son was not obligated to get up this morning and make breakfast for me, M was not obligated to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. But you know, Mr. Magick Man is M’s only brother; if you’re going to organize a “family event”, include the whole family, damnit.

But what really gets me is the way my husband just lets this roll off of his back. “That’s just my brother. That’s how he is, and he’ll never change. I don’t understand him either, but he’s my brother.” I know for a fact this would never happen, but if M ever came to my husband in need of anything, my husband wouldn’t hold anything against him. He’d be there for him. I think that’s one of the reasons I get so wound up when things like this happen – my husband still treats his brother like family, but it isn’t returned in kind.

And maybe I’m a little bit angry, too, because his younger sibling doesn’t see how lucky he is to have his brother living so close. They’re in the same city, maybe 20 minutes away from each other in traffic. I’d give my eye teeth for my sister to live that close.

:: sigh :: Enough with my rant for the day. I’m going to get off the computer and spend some time with my son.

Flip-flops: They aren’t just summer footwear

I saw today’s headline on CNN:

“Obama says he supports same-sex marriage”

I thought to myself, “seriously?” The timing is impeccable. Wasn’t he saying this when we were gearing up for the 2008 election? I remember lots of my friends in the GLBT community being extremely disappointed after the election, when he backed off on his strong, supportive position on this matter. It appeared, to the people who supported him in that election, that he no longer needed their support and he caved to his financial supporters instead. Or, perhaps he never truly supported same-sex marriage; but that’s mere speculation on my part.

My point is, just as every politician does, he flip-flopped on this important issue once again in order to gain political ground. I’m calling shenanigans. No, I don’t believe he supports same-sex marriage. I believe he’s doing the same thing Romney is doing: He’s telling us what we want to hear so we’ll vote for him. And if he wins in November? Yes, I think he’ll do the exact same thing he did in 2008 – he’ll back off of his stance and not be quite as supportive as he said he was. He’ll flip-flop again.

The sad thing is, as disappointed as I am with Obama, I don’t like Romney one bit. Come to think of it, I have yet to find a decent candidate. They all lie. They’re all owned by the banks funding their campaigns. When it comes down to it, politics isn’t about the Party or the People anymore, it’s about money. We little folk don’t really matter.

I really wish I’d paid closer attention in my World History class when we studied Rome… :/

Fleeting visits pass, still they satisfy

Last weekend my husband had a festival to work up in the DFW area. I went up with him and his crew. I love the festivals up in the DFW area if for no other reason, I get to see my friends and family.

This time, I think I spent more time with my sister than I’ve spent in a very long time. I think we both miss that “sister-time” we used to have when we were younger…

Friday night, we went to dinner and caught up with what’s going on in each other’s lives. We talked about our kids. We talked about her job. We talked about our health, getting older, etc…  After dinner, we said our goodnights & went our separate ways. It wasn’t so difficult because I knew I was going to see her the next day.

Saturday, she came out to the festival with one of my nieces & my youngest great-nephew (I still do not consider myself old enough to be a great-aunt… the great-aunts I remember from childhood were old ladies who wore their hair up in buns…). After looking around, they rescued me from the heat & took me back to her nice, air-conditioned home (did I mention this was an outdoor festival in North Texas and it was over 90 degrees?). My sister did what any sister would do. She let me shower, loaned me something to wear that she knew she wouldn’t see again (or, at least, wouldn’t see for a few months), handed me a beer, and said, “relax, honey.”

And relax, I did. We hung out together in her bedroom. She was looking things up on her computer while we were talking, and I was making a draft of the post previous to this one. That was when she said, “OMG! We have a Super Moon Tonight!!” Now, you have to understand… My sister and I have always had this thing about the full moon. When we were young, she taught me the rhyme, “I see the moon, the moon sees me. God bless the moon, and God bless me.” We’d go outside and look at the full moon together and admire its beauty. When she moved to Florida, my sister was so far away, at first I didn’t know what to do. But we’d talk on the phone. I’d look at the full moon and I’d think of her. Sometimes we’d call each other, talk about the full moon, and do the whole “I’m-thinking-of-you” thing, but it wasn’t as frequent as either of us would have liked.

When she moved back home to Texas, I think we got closer. We still live a good distance apart, but not half the country away. Just a few hours. We call each other when we see the full moon. I love it when my sister calls me, all excited, and tells me to “go outside now! it’s beautiful!”

Now that you have the back-story on the full moon, you know why the Super Moon was so important to my sister and me. We were together that night. We jumped in the car and drove out to where we could see the moonrise and we waited. I’d like to say it was easy to find, but it wasn’t. We were about to give up because it was kinda’ cloudy and hazy. Just as she was about to turn around and drive home, I saw the moon and said “WAIT!” We were in the parking lot of some park. We had a beautiful view. And, damnit…. I didn’t have my camera. But we got out of the car and stood there, arms around each other, and watched this big, beautiful full moon come up, and listened to the frogs around us. For the first time in a while, I was calm.

We eventually went back to her home. I had to get my things and get back to the hotel. I got to say goodbye to my niece, her husband (I suppose that makes him my nephew), and my great nephew. Before I left, I got down in the floor with my great nephew and told him when his Mimi and I were young, we used to say a rhyme about the moon, and I asked him if he’d say it with me.

I see the moon
The moon sees me
God bless the moon
And God bless me

He started singing it. He knows the rhyme quite well. But he sang to me, “I see the moon and the moon sees you. God bless the moon and God bless you.” I’m right there with my sister – that boy has me wrapped around his finger. 🙂

I’m glad I got to spend more time with my sister this trip up. I don’t get to see her nearly as often as I’d like. I don’t see us moving up to the DFW area anytime soon, so I think she needs to move down here. 😉  

Fleeting visits pass
Still they satisfy
Reminders of the next
Overshadow goodbye
Our flames burn as one

Sister, I see you
Dancing on the stage of memory
Sister, I miss you…

 

Self-maintenance

The air conditioning went out in my car. It probably just needs to be recharged after the car just sat for a month with no one driving it anywhere. As I sit idly, while someone else drives up to Dallas, my mind wandered on this thought of maintenance (and, occasionally, how damn hot it was).

When something sits unused for a while, it seems to break down or cease to function properly. For example, you let a car or a motorcycle just sit untouched for 6 months to a year, that vehicle will need some maintenance before you drive/ride it again, even if it was in perfect working condition when you parked it.

People are like that, too.

You can be the picture of physical fitness and mental well-being, active every day, etc… If you change that person’s lifestyle – throw in a major life change that causes a domino-effect of changes. You pick; it really doesn’t matter. This.is all hypothesis. This person is now, for the most part, sedentary. Give it 6 months. You’ll see a decline in the person’s physical health; this is expected. However, you will also see changes in the person’s mental and emotional well-being. All aspects of health will decline with the sedentary lifestyle.

And, just as a vehicle that has sat for a while has lost its “get-up-and-go”, the individual falls into a cycle of depression, losing the motivation to do any of the things he or she used to do. It is truly a vicious cycle because it can keep the person in this new “nothingness” for much longer than my hypothesized 6 months.

So, how do we break out of this cycle? Well, we take care of ourselves just as we would anything else that’s been “out-of-it” for a while. With a car, if you aren’t a mechanic, you go see a specialist for help on that tune-up. For yourself? Talk to someone. You aren’t alone. I’m not saying go out and find a therapist, although it did help me, but I am saying figure out what works for you. Best friend? Therapy? Call someone. Get out of the house and go talk. You don’t have to talk about your stuff, but make that contact. Get up, get dressed, get out, and do it for yourself.

Just like that car you got running again and proudly showed off to your friends, remember, you took care of yourself, too! You want to keep yourself in good shape, right? That means treating yourself well. It also means recognizing old patterns for what they are when they appear (which they will), laughing and saying to yourself, “Yeah, I used to do that,” or, “Yeah, I used to talk to myself that way, but not anymore.” Let it go and move on.

And I realize so much of this is easier said. I’m still learning a lot of this, myself (or, rather, un-learning old habits). But I still know this is right, and I wish I’d known it much earlier in life. Now I just need to work on remembering some of it when I’m stressed. I have a feeling I’d be a lot less stressed…