Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Marching into April

I sat down this morning and wrote out all that has happened to me in March or April for the past 20 years.

  • my first date with the ex
  • starting my affair
  • finding out about the ex's affair
  • asking for a divorce (a year later)
  • filing for a divorce (2 years after that)
  • my father's diagnosis of terminal cancer
  • selling my old home
  • buying a new home
  • ending things with Soldier...

What is it about this time of year?!

Looking back over these dates, I could easily be filled with dread about spring. Yet, all of these things have made me who I am and taught me the impermanence of my external reality.

I can only be grateful for the spring... the endings and beginnings.

---

I found out that I came in 21st place amongst the women triathletes last Saturday. Out of... 26 women.

But hey! At least I wasn't last!!!

---

Wednesday night at 7 p.m. CST, PBS is broadcasting a family show related to how military families cope with a return from deployment.

For more details: Coming Home: Military Families Cope with Change. The show will also feature Queen Latifah and John Mayer.

---

If there was ever a definition or reflection of true unconditional love, this is it.

The Miracle of Love... by Modern Single Momma

---

This article on Four Guys You Think You Should Date... but Shouldn't! was entertaining to read.

Something to keep in mind the next time an Ironman competitor intrigues me...

---

I had lunch with TNT today.

Lately he's been referring to me as "T1"... and himself as "T2"... since we both go by the nickname, "T".

Today, after filling him in on the latest with Soldier, my triathlon and therapy, he gave me a new moniker.

TNT: "So, you're no longer speaking with (Soldier), right?"

T: "Nope."

TNT: "And you've done a triathlon now."

T: "Yep."

TNT: "Ok, T. Then its the new you. You can't go back anymore. You're no longer just T1...

You're T1.1, the new version!"

I like it!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring cleaning and coming undone

"Who do you need
Who do you love
When you come undone..."

I knew when I walked in that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Duran Duran has been one of my favorite bands since my days as a lacey gloved, bangled, hair-permed-like-Madonna pre-teen. As I walked in the therapist's office to the lyrics of, ironically, Come Undone, I had to smile. This was perfection.

I was indeed coming undone.

---

Spring has arrived. I saw signs earlier this month, hinting that it was time for a new beginning. Now, I am following through.

I have much spring cleaning to do.

I find myself painfully aware of patterns in relationships with men that I love. Ugly, heart wrenching patterns that are not visible in any other area of my life.

I am weak.

I don't trust my instinct.

I aim to please.

These are patterns that have been sitting upon the dusty shelves of my life much like faded old photographs.

It is time to replace them with a new healthy perspective.

---

Of course as women, our relationship patterns with men begin with the first man in our lives: our daddy.

My dad and I had a... challenging relationship. I feel pretty good about it now. I feel as if we found a place of forgiveness before he passed away.

I feel as if I found a place of forgiveness with the ex too. He is kind and respectful to me. We did have our challenges during our marriage and I did act out in very passive-aggressive ways. I guess we both did.

Now, I find myself at the end of yet another challenging relationship, one that I apparently knew wasn't good for me on many levels, yet I continued to give.

And give. And give.

Because I thought it was the loving thing to do.

The therapist reminded me of the old airplane oxygen mask analogy.

"You have to take care of you first. Then those girls. You shouldn't be in ANY relationship where you're giving to the point that you were."

Amen.

---

I am opening the windows, allowing in fresh air, breathing in the oxygen that sustains me.

For with the sprout of every leaf on my trees...

With the bloom of every flower...

With the fluttering of every single butterfly or humble bumble bee...

With the song of every robin....

I am reminded that this is a time of purging the old, cleaning off and starting again.

Perhaps the spring storms, like my tears, will be a healing cleanse, releasing that which no longer serves me.

This is a time of awareness, uncovering, coming undone...

So that when I put myself back together again, I will take pride in the brightly, less-cluttered me.

I will shine in the blue springtime sky that is my life.

Because happiness, pure dust-free joy, is mine for the taking.

**Thanks to Dadshouse for hosting this Spring fever contest!**

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Adventures in Swimming, Part 3: First Triathlon

Last week when I went to lunch with my friend K, he handed me a bag of goodies to help with my swimming.

He did the same thing when I initially took up cycling last year.

I love that he encourages my athleticism.

Maybe its because he's known me for 13 years now and knows that this is a big deal for me. Maybe its just because he's a triathlete too. And triathletes, at least the ones I know, always want to encourage other triathletes.


My favorite item from the bag of goodies were these hand paddles. You actually attach them to your hands, much like fins, and they encourage proper stroke technique.

Proper stroke technique is always a good thing, no?




(For the record, I'd caution against Googling for images of Stroke Master Hand Paddles....unless you have a spanking fetish. Ooooo, my stats will be fun after that!)

I tried my new paddles last Thursday night. I could've easily swam for hours. Like fins for your feet and used correctly, they help push you along faster. I swam many laps with calm, relaxing breaths.

I felt confident I'd do well in the triathlon I had scheduled for Saturday.

---

The triathlon was, thankfully, an indoor time trial triathlon.

I say thankfully because the wind was something fierce that day and the temperatures were in the 40's. I couldn't imagine attempting my first tri under such conditions.

The goal was to swim for 10 minutes, bike for 30 minutes and run for 20 minutes.

Each participant would be scored according to what they could accomplish during the time allotted. The idea was to see how your body handled three athletic activities in a row and to adjust to the transitions between the activities.

The transitions...

I felt pretty happy knowing that I'd have 10 minutes to transition from swimming to cycling. Five minutes between cycling and running seemed fine too.

I was excited and nervous but knew that I'd do just fine.

---

My mom, my brother and my friend Gem came out to encourage and support me. I felt much more comfortable, knowing they were there.

Gem and I noticed all the hot men. Holy crap! I think I may be able to talk her into doing more triathlons with me after that!

The triathlon was broken down into "waves", with each wave consisting of 10 people. I was in the 2nd wave.

I stood with my little support team and watched the first wave of people swim. I didn't feel so bad... noticing others taking breaks, using the breast stroke to get them through their laps. I was happy to see that I wasn't the only one trying this for the first time.

I was put in a lane with a big football player of a guy named Matt. He talked my head off until the whistle blew. I suppose he was experiencing as much nervous anxiety as I was.

I started my laps and actually felt pretty good. I'm never able to count laps as I'm swimming since I'm concentrating so much on when to breathe and what my body's doing. I did run out of energy at one point, stopping in mid lap to rest.

Matt swam by at that moment.

"Are you..." as he took a breath... "Ok?" his face went back in the water..."Do you need... help?"

I had to laugh. What a gentleman! Asking if I needed help right in the middle of his lap. I told him to just keep swimming. I'd be fine.

I did have to flip over on to my back at times or switch to breast stroke. I think I may have been too anxious, breathing too shallow, with others swimming around me, splashing, legs kicking underwater. This was good for me.

This is what the big triathlon in June will look like. But it will be in a lake.

I have never been so thankful to hear a whistle blow.

Ok next, get changed for cycling.

---

I love cycling. I knew that it would probably be my strongest part of the event.

What I didn't anticipate was how long it actually did take me to get ready for it.

I thought for sure 10 minutes would be plenty of time to get out of my swimsuit, into my cycling shorts and shoes.

By the time I made it up to the spin room, the coach yelled, "Wave 2, you have 1 minute!"

YIKES!

My brother, thankfully, had already scoped out a bike for me. Some bikes had the Shimano clipless pedals for my cycling shoes but others didn't. I nearly missed out on the exact bike I needed.

Ugh! Then I had to adjust the seat! They had the tension set the same for everyone (high) so that was one less thing I had to worry about.

I was only just starting to pedal when they said GO!

Whew!

They did have some fun "spin class" type music playing and the large video screens were broadcasting footage from the scenic Nice leg of the Tour de France.

I kept a good cadence throughout the cycle portion but with the consistent high tension, my legs began to feel like jello. I know that my distance was 1 mile short of the highest distance for women at that point. I guess we'll see how the scores fall.

As I stepped off the bike and made my way towards the treadmills, I wondered if I'd be able to finish the thing.

My legs were feeling weak and now... I had run?

---

Thankfully, as I changed shoes and began walking, I felt a little life returning. This was almost over.

Then I heard one of the coaches yell,

"You have one more part of this and you will have finished a triathlon. How many people can say that?"

RIGHT ON!!!

As soon as I pushed the Quick Start button on the treadmill, I was off to the races!

The only thing I will do different next time it make sure I get in a bathroom break. Oh my...

I held a good steady pace until the last 5 minutes. Then, for some reason, I felt a giant surge of energy and kicked up the speed even higher.

I felt glorious... imagining the finish line, until the coach yelled, "TIME!"

Woohoo! What a rush!

---

I haven't seen the results yet but I'm still proud.

Yes, I still need lots of time in the water. Those transitions need work. But still... WOW.

I would have never thought I could finish a triathlon and I did. And I have a t-shirt to prove it!


Heh. Yep, I've been wearing it all day...


Now... to prepare for the next one.


**Pardon the blurred picture. Rose hasn't had photography lessons yet!**

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Everyone knew... including me

I noticed when we were initially dating, in 2007, that my body didn't respond to him in a healthy way.

I couldn't sleep when he was in the bed with me.


I couldn't eat when we were having a meal together. I frequently lost weight when I was around him.


Though we had sex like a couple of crazy porn stars, I couldn't reach climax for the life of me.

I ignored those signs. Surely it was because it was all so new?

But no, I've noticed that all of these things continued to happen...

---

Before his deployment, when he was too scared to continue our relationship, my friends all came to my side.

I was devastated. My father had just died and now the man I was falling in love with decided to end things?

He deployed and we corresponded frequently. My friends were stunned that I would actually consider waiting for a soldier to return from war after 15 months.

Had I lost my mind?

Hardly any of my friends supported me in my decision. So, I started a blog.

---

During the course of the year, there were signs, little things that made me feel uncomfortable. He always had a reasonable, perfectly understandable excuse for them.

I began to wonder if maybe I was being unreasonable.

I started asking for less and less... and giving more and more...

---

By the time he was home in October, I was making excuses for many of the things he was doing.

All of my friends came to my rescue again. This time with the words no one likes hearing...

"I told you so."

Don't ever say those words to me. I will destroy myself before I will admit that you are right.

I never knew the above statement about myself. How awful.

---

My gut instinct has been telling me, for over a month now, to let go.

"Say no to this... to say yes to something else."

I've heard it over and over again in my head.

But my heart says, "He NEEDS you. He tells you all the time."

Fuck off, heart. You can still love him. But from far, far away.

---

When I realized that my job was at risk, I sat down to talk with the CEO.

We talk nearly every day and he's very open and honest with me.

He tries to be like a father figure, doling out relationship advice. As we talked about my situation, he pointed out that I needed to make a decision. Let go or do something else.

"This relationship is affecting your job performance. You have got to decide what to do about it."

I knew he was right. I can't focus. I can't think straight. I've been a nervous wreck lately. I barely even know what I want to do anymore... I've been struggling.

---

When I saw my chiropractor friend last week, she'd only just barely heard about him when he was first deployed. She knew nothing of what had happened over the course of the year.

As she was examining me, asking my emotional body questions, she looked perplexed.

"This... soldier. He.... oh, T... he's not good. He elicits a virus in your body. You need to shut down every input from him except love. No.. he's not good for you at all."

She also told me that Rose, my very intuitive first born daughter, senses that he's bad for me as well.

All of this was from an intuitive energy healer that didn't know anything about what was going on in my life.

---

I'm not sure why I was so adamant about sticking to this. I am beginning therapy to help me to uncover whatever drew me to such an obviously dysfunctional relationship.

This is the time to make a change.

My body needs me, my kids need me, my friends need me, my job needs me,

MY LIFE NEEDS ME.

I have been in healing mode since October and now... I'm getting me back. And dear God, I hope that my discoveries about this help someone out there.

We all deserve better.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Love when I need it

I love how love shows up in our lives when we really need it.

I have a serious problem. I have mentioned, more than once on this blog, that I always remain friends with my exes. Its just... what I do.

Now, I find myself in a state of "Huh. I can't do that right now."

And so, I feel a little bit of failure.

I actually do. Knowing that he is in pain, even if the pain has nothing to do with me or my actions, I feel as if I failed in some way. I feel that by cutting all ties, I am hurting him in some way or causing more pain.

That is the most messed up crap I could ever think about myself, isn't it?

Who freakin' made me the "healer of the world"?

I mean... REALLY?!

Thankfully, I have friends in my life to remind me that I did EVERYTHING that I could.

I gave my best.

And our best, is all that any of us can give.

---

Yesterday around lunch time, I was feeling especially lost and lonely. I actually thought to myself,

"I wish I had just the perfect person to go to lunch with..."

About that time, my cell phone beeped with a message. It was Pickle Boy, (a.k.a. Sweet Pickle), inviting me to lunch.

The thing is, he's never in this area of town. It was a total fluke that he just happened to be around here.

Or was it?

During lunch, he talked to me, listened to me, held me, treated me with kindness, love, respect...

It was exactly what I needed.

But as I told him what happened, the final crux of the story, he said to me,

"T, you are one of the strongest women I know."

---

Today I had lunch with my friend K. He is easily the kindest, most gentle and loving man I know.

He listens to me, giving me his full attention. He holds me, comforts me, takes care of me.

He supports me, whatever decision I make. He is one of the constants in my life to remind me that... I am a giving and emotional person.

And that's ok.

He loves me for it and many others do too.

---

On the drive home this evening, I began talking to myself. I feel so terrible for calling off all communication. I just know that its for the best.

My ego takes over and I feel as if I'm on a downward death spiral. I can't take it and I grasp for whatever rope I can grab.

I decide to call my friend D.

A fellow student of A Course in Miracles, he's always helpful to talk to when my ego is a beast untamed.

I told him how I felt. How I would be haunted in dreams, anxiety and panic attacks due to my dropping communication with you-know-who.

"I'm not sure I can do this. I'm always friends with my exes. I need some sort of resolution."

"T... you are judging it. You are judging what love should look like. I have friends in my life that I don't talk to. It doesn't mean I don't love them. It means that I do."


---

Oh thank you sweet heaven for the beauty and love in my life.


For without it, I would be truly lost.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Because my head is full of thoughts...

I love that my little Grace won't even start her morning without a snuggle from me. Even if she's up before me on a weekend, she will come into my room, find my hand or arm and give it a sweet squeeze before starting her day.

There's so much love in my life.

---

The Beautiful Kind twittered about a tool that will analyze your blog to see what personality type you are - based on the Myers-Briggs personality types.

My blog persona:

ESFP - The Performers

The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

Apparently, I'm a spiritual, harmonious feeling type of person who likes order.

Duh.

---

I always seem to look at the clock when its 12:34.

---

Did you know that people who have a major fear of abandonment are the very ones who will subconsciously force an abandonment to happen?

Of course, what we fear, we make real.

---

I think about sex probably 95% of the time.

I can also turn just about anything into something naughty.

Like for instance, I drove past a sign that said:

"This street adopted by the Young Men's Service League. "

Of course, my eyebrows raised and I thought, "Hmmm... I may need to look them up for some, ya know, service. "

Yep, I have a gift.

------

When I was a little girl/early teen, I thought Grizzly Adams was coolest guy ever! I mean, his best friend was a bear for pete's sake!! I also liked John Corbett's character from Northern Exposure.

Sensitive souls who co-exist with nature... yay.

---

I've realized that I've been in a relationship with a narcissist.

(Thanks to QT Mama for the heads up on that one. I love the blogosphere!)

Perhaps it was a mild case before but apparently, life crises (like, um, war? turning 40?) can cause narcissism to fully take over a personality.

I have been learning quite a bit about myself here.... and the narcissist with whom I'm currently breaking ties.

What I'm reading is frighteningly accurate.

And sad. Very very sad.

It is also apparently completely normal for the break up with a narcissist to be "a tortuous and drawn out post mortem".

The narcissist's partner, throughout much of the relationship, will be in a "predominant state of .... utter confusion". Huh. Ya think?

*sigh*

Ok, moving on...

---

Yesterday evening, I finished cleaning the kitchen and walked out on the front walkway to enjoy the sunset at the end of my street.

The spring birds were happily singing their songs and the breezes blew through the newly sprouted leaves on the trees. The weather was a perfect 75 degrees.

As I looked up in to the cloudless blue sky, I noticed a butterfly fluttering seemingly aimlessly above my head. I watched as it landed in a tree branch... and joined at least 10 other butterflies already lit on the branch.

The Monarch butterflies are on their spring migration from Mexico to Canada and they're resting in MY tree!

Tears came to my eyes as I witnessed the perfection of that moment. I turned again and looked towards the western sky. The sunset sky was a perfect mixture of orange, pink, blue and purple.

I took a deep breath and thanked God for everything. EVERY thing that I've seen, done and been through.

Then I walked back into my house and grabbed my girls to share in the wondrous moment!

---

The other day, we were driving to school and were stopped at a red light. Rose was perturbed. Our brief exchange about the situation stuck with me:

R: "I hate red lights."
T: "If there weren't any red lights, there wouldn't ever be any green lights."

Profound statement, eh?

Or something like that.


*Photo from here.*

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lunch with a friend?

After a frustrating week of communication with Soldier, I was on my way to a restaurant to meet with him for lunch on Friday.

He called to ask for directions to the restaurant since he is unfamiliar with the area. He was being jovial on the phone with me and I was still non-responsive.

He pulled into a parking space next to me. I opened my door and stood next to my car waiting for him. He walked to me and lifted my face with his hands. His blue-green eyes were sparkling and he smiled his beautiful full-lipped-perfect-teeth smile at me.

I shot him a "go to hell" look and he began laughing.

Then he took me in his arms for a full on Soldier hug. I love his hugs... and he hasn't hugged me like that in.... it seems like years.

"Hi T. Now what was all that yelling about yesterday?" He laughed in my ear as he held me.

"Well, you pissed me off. That was getting a little ridiculous. "

We were walking into the restaurant like old friends. He was chatting away about his week and his attempts to balance basketball with family time. His mother had apparently been upset with him for not spending enough time with her.

"I was doing everything I could to see you, T. I mean, I offered nearly every single night to you, busy girl. "

Ok, he was right. He did do that. I also told him that I was anxious to get our initial meeting out of the way. I wanted to see what it felt like to be around him again.

It felt like... old times. We sat in the booth; he had his arm around me. We split a sandwich. We laughed. We looked at the waitresses in their short shorts and discussed asses.

"I love hanging out with you, " he said, "And that I can completely be myself. I let it all out when I'm around you."

We talked about October and how he felt... how I felt...

"I didn't tell you..." he began, while staring blankly ahead, "back in March and April of last year, I was nearly killed 6 or 7 times. "

I recalled a particularly difficult conversation we had during his deployment in March of last year. I could tell that he was frightened. I didn't realize why.

"And I was.... so alone over there. I felt like the people I worked with were more out to get me than the Iraqis were. We were getting bombed some nights at 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning. And you knew that I wasn't going to bed until 2 or 3. Sometimes I wasn't sure if I should go to bed or not because being in the office was safer than being in my bed. I told you that it would change me."

I rested my head on his shoulder and stroked his arm as he spoke. I could still feel the pain in him.

"I know what you want, T. You told me that you wanted a relationship and I... can't make any promises. I will be stationed here in Texas. That's good. But I'll be further away than I am now. I will be up here visiting family and I'd love to see you. I'd love to spend more time with you. If you'd like that too?"

"I had a plan," he continued. "I had also asked to be at stationed here in town. I had planned to buy my brother's house here, remember when we were at his house? I would work here, live here and continue seeing you. But... it didn't work out that way."

Yeah, things just don't work out for us, do they?

It felt good to hear him speak so honestly again. Our in-person communication is always infinitely better than our phone conversations.

I told him that I would love to see him. But I can't make him any promises either. I would love to continue to be his friend. We have always made really great friends.

We spent the rest of the afternoon together and the conversation never wavered. I remember now why we hit it off initially when we met in English class in high school. I remember now why we spent more time talking than having sex when we dated back in 2007.

We just really like each other.

As I tried to leave the restaurant to begin my drive back to Louisiana, he said, more than once, "Are you sure you have to go?"

We were having a blast.

I really needed this. I needed to spend time with him in order to take him down from the fantasy that was built up for SO long. After our dating and then all the phone calls, foreplay emails and naughty exchanges, after longing for each other for a year, I had filled in so many holes of how perfect we could be for each other.

I didn't know if we would be that perfect. I was only taking guesses based on all of this ethereal communication and history.

I needed to see him now. I needed to see his pain and how he is still not completely himself. He still has some things to process that I absolutely wouldn't put up with in a relationship.

The new contract is in order now, signed and agreed upon by both parties.....

****Update****


I wrote this blog post on Sunday night and things were very good. We were planning on going out on Thursday night and both of us were looking forward to it.

Today... I learned something about him that was very disturbing to me.

I asked him about it and his response... was very ugly to me. He began saying some things....

I tried to tell him that I really REALLY wanted him to do what he had to do to be OK again. That I was trying to be his friend... but perhaps now wasn't a good time for that.

I said "It is obvious that neither of us trust each other right now. Maybe neither of us needs this in our life..."

He is still angry, blaming, accusing, not acting very nice...

The last thing I said, the last thing I could squeeze in, was a very sad, "Oh... honey..."

...and well.... I let him go on and on and I put the phone down while he continued on his tirade.

I can't do it anymore. I've told him that here and here and here... and he keeps fighting me.

But if I can't ask someone to simply talk to me, be forth-coming with me, try to trust me...

I am not his enemy.

But at this time in his life, he thinks everyone is.

********

Monday, March 23, 2009

Timing and the short fuse

Last Sunday night, I was on the phone with a potential suitor from online dating. He is very kind and we have quite a bit in common. In the middle of our phone call, my phone beeped with a text message.

It was Soldier asking if I could go to dinner on Monday night.

I ignored the message and continued my conversation.

-

I was still irritated with my last phone conversation with Soldier from two weeks prior. I knew he'd be calling but I wasn't sure when. I knew that he was busy following his Alma Mater's basketball team during March Madness.

Yes, I wanted to see him. However, I also didn't want to be that available to his whims. He would just have to wait to hear from me.

The next day around lunch time, I texted that I already had plans for Monday night. He called.

What about Tuesday?

Can't. Have plans.

Thursday night?

Nope, Rose has soccer practice.

What about Friday?

I'd already set aside Friday thinking that it would be a good night to meet him. Besides, it was my weekend without the kids so I wouldn't have to get a babysitter.

Ok, Friday it is.

He could tell that I was still hesitant to meet with him. That evening I had a message from him on my answering machine at home. He was just checking in.

By Wednesday morning, I knew that I would have to cancel Friday night and drive home to visit my grandmother. We talked again and tried to reschedule for Thursday night. He had a family friend flying into town and couldn't get out of it.

Wednesday night he called me from a basketball game and said that he'd stay in town until we could go out. It was that important to him to see me. He was kind, nurturing, and supportive upon hearing about my grandmother's illness. It reminded me of his support during my father's terminal illness when we were initially dating.

His kindness cracked me open.

Suddenly, my heart was pounding loudly in my ears and I wondered if there was a chance again....

-

Thursday morning, I awoke to a text message from him from 3:20 a.m. He was asking if we could meet for dinner next Thursday evening instead.

By this point, I was more than irritated.

I couldn't stand waiting any longer to see him. It was getting ridiculous trying to schedule anything with him.

I texted to see if he could meet me for lunch instead. He didn't get back to me until after lunch. How freakin' convenient.

Could I meet for dinner next Thursday? He needed to get back to his post and he would drive back up to see me next week instead.

I can't. Rose has a soccer game. What's wrong wth lunch?

He said that lunch would mean limited amount of time with me. He didn't want to be rushed.

In my translation, that meant one thing: He wanted sex.

I told him I'd think about it. He commented on my hesitancy. I told him that I didn't feel comfortable with him yet. He began joking with me...

"When we meet, it is going to be a big deal. We have to call out the press, you know? We're signing a new contract. Its going to be televised and everything! We can't do that over lunch."


I had to laugh. I was also especially amused that he referred to our new start as a new contract... because though I have frequently referred to it as such here on the blog, I've never mentioned it to him in that way.

I could see his point. This would be our first meeting since he left my house in October. Both of us wanted to discuss our thoughts and feelings on how things went wrong the last time we saw each other.

After I hung up the phone, I was still uncertain as to his intentions. I also thought that if he wanted to see me that badly, he would make an effort to spend whatever time with me that he could. Besides, I was getting really anxious and wanted to get this initial meeting out of the way.

That evening, I texted him,

Tell you what... meet me for breakfast or lunch tomorrow and I'll meet you for dinner next Thursday.

He replied, "Lunch."

Cool! I was ecstatic.

Then he replied again, "Late lunch."

-

(Have you ever seen those cartoons where they light the stick of dynamite and you're waiting til the fuse gets down to the stick? You know its gonna blow but you're not sure when? Well, this was the end of my fuse.)

I called him. When he answered, I couldn't hold back anymore.

"I.. AM.. DONE.. It is SO obvious to me that you have a complete disregard for my time and what I have going on. I told you that I have to leave town to get back and see my grandmother and you want a LATE LUNCH?!? And I had to BEG you for THAT because the ONLY thing that you WANT from ME is SEX!!! I'm SICK of this! I can't stand it anymore!!!"


I was yelling completely uncontrollably. It takes quite a bit for me to get angry but once I'm there, every ounce of Latina blood comes boiling over the surface. Then it takes me a while to calm back down again. This was not one of my proudest moments.

My hands were shaking and I didn't hold back anything that I'd been thinking for months now. He couldn't understand much of what I was saying. He was at a restaurant with his family having dinner. (Oops.)

He said he wanted to call me after dinner. I told him he could try but I would not answer the phone.

I hung up, drove to the gym and went swimming. I swam lap after lap trying to cool off. I wasn't sure if I wanted to take the time to meet with him after all.

When I picked up my cell phone, he had called 3 times and left voice mails. When I returned home, he had left a message there too. The next morning, he called me while he was still in bed. He sent a text message.

-

I realized, that morning, that it wasn't him that I was angry at. It was our timing. We've had timing issues since we first met.

  • 1985: He asked me out and I was dating someone else.
  • 1986: I was single and he was dating someone else.
  • 1987: We were to go out on our first date. That didn't happen because his parents wanted to spend time with him before he headed off to college. He stopped by my house to see me on his way to the airport.
  • 1991: He comes to visit me in Dallas. I'm dating the man I would marry the following year.
  • Mid to late 1990's - 2001: He checks in occasionally over email and yes... I'm still married.
  • 2007: We finally begin dating only to find out that he has to leave for war for 15 months.

I guess our bad timing shows that its not supposed to happen for us. And this week just proved the point.

-

I finally texted back that I would meet him for lunch. I was still really frustrated and thought that when I saw him, I could at least clear the air with him. Maybe in person, he would actually listen to me.

I left work on Friday and called to tell him where to meet me for lunch.

To be continued...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

On love and dying

Whenever I call my paternal grandmother, otherwise known as "Mema", I ask how she's doing. Her response is always the same:

"Oh pretty good for an old woman."

Mema turned 95 years old back in December. I grew up hearing her stories of the Great Depression. She took my sister and I to Hawaii when we were 9 and 6 years old. She and Papa lived three doors down from us our entire childhood lives. We practically lived at their house as much as we lived at ours. When I would spend the night with them and Papa was out of town, I'd sleep in Mema's bed and she'd hold my hand all night.

These thoughts came to me as I sat in a chair next to her hospital bed on Friday night. I reached under the covers, careful not to disturb all of the wires attached to her frail body, and held her hand too. She stirred in her heavily sedated sleep but her hand held mine tightly. I wondered if she felt the same sense of comfort that I felt as a child, clutching her hand all night long.

Mema smoked for 60 years of her life. She finally stopped smoking 20 years ago but was soon stricken with emphysema. This left her completely dependent on oxygen. When we would visit her and Papa, we could always track her down in the house by following the tiny tube from the oxygen machine to where it attached under her nostrils.

A few weeks ago, she began acting strangely.

After further examination, it was determined that something had occurred in her breathing and she was actually inhaling carbon monoxide.

Now she's strapped down in a hospital bed with a tracheotomy tube cut into her throat and a machine doing the breathing for her. If the machine wasn't doing the work, she would die.

Papa cannot bear it.


He sits in his chair at the house and stares at the clock in silence. He is awaiting the next visiting hour so that he can sit at her bedside and act as if everything is ok. He jokes with her, saying he wants her to come home and start an argument with him. He tells her to give him "sugar" and that he wants to make love to her. She grimaces, much like she would do even if she wasn't hooked up to one hundred machines. He loves to talk sexy with her and if she could, she would tell him to "shut the hell up."

They love each other.

"Look at this," Papa said as he handed me an article in the paper. It was an advice column from Billy Graham. A man had written in wondering why he survived his days at war. Billy Graham's advice to the man was to thank God that his life was spared.

"I've been having visions of your dad... and feeling so light, like I'm in heaven and there are no pains in my body. I thought for sure I was going to die first. I guess I'm supposed to take care of Mema. That's why I'm still alive. God is the only one who knows.... I keep telling her to come home so that we can both go at the same time..."

I had to leave the room. The tears welled up in my eyes and I didn't want him to see me upset. I am his oldest grandchild. I am the "strong" one. I am the one who makes sure all is ok.

Papa has thus far survived the war and 92 years on this earth.

Mema has survived septic poisoning, smoking for 60 years and inhaling carbon monoxide... don't most people die of those things? Heck, if she would have never smoked, she'd probably live to see 120 years!!

That is pretty damn good for an old woman!

This July is Mema and Papa's 70th wedding anniversary. I'm not sure that she will make it. And if she doesn't make it, I'm not sure he'll last much longer either.

Its not even her that I'm truly worried about. Her face lit up into a smile when she saw me. But she's also seeing others in the room, much like Dad did when he was dying. Who knows... maybe she even sees Dad.

I love my Mema and Papa and how they love each other. We could all be so lucky to experience a love like that.

A love that even death cannot divide.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mommy vs. the kids

I've seen these kid interviews on other blogs and Facebook. It was too cute not to try it.

I called Grace in the room first, without Rose, because Grace will say whatever Rose says.

Then Rose answered her questions separately. I was amazed when they answered the same!

They were also just about to go to bed so they were especially silly.

But still... aw! I'm glad I captured their answers.

Grace (age 4)
Rose (age 7)


1) What is something Mommy always says to you?

  • Grace: "Stop. Close the door. No ants in the house. No food on the floor so ants can come in. When its nap time, you have to clean up."
  • Rose: "Life isn’t fair"
(For the record, I only say "Life isn't fair" when they complain... "Its not fair!!!" Right? Ain't it true?!)


2) What makes Mommy happy?

  • G: "When we clean up our bed and playroom. And when we’re sick, we need to read sick books."
  • R: "When we help you"

3) What makes Mommy sad?

  • G: "Not cleaning up"
  • R: "If you’re sick"

4) How does Mommy make you laugh?

  • G: "Saying silly words like knock knock jokes. Putting stuff on our head"
  • R: "I do"
(I think Rose thought the question was who makes mommy laugh. And she's right. She's pretty silly.)


5) What was Mommy like as a child?

  • G: "She was little as a tiny baby"
  • R: "A good girl"

6) How old is Mommy?

  • G: "24"
  • R: "39"

7) How tall is Mommy?

  • G: *crawls in my chair and puts her hand on top of my head* "That big"
  • R: "I don’t know that one"

8) What is Mommy's favorite thing to do?

  • G: "Type on the computer"
  • R: "Well, you do type on the computer a lot..."

9) What does Mommy do when you're not around?

  • G: "Go to the store"
  • R: "When we’re sleeping you watch TV"
(They hear the TV on while I'm on my bike trainer)


10) If Mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?

  • G: "Typing"
  • R: "Singing"
(I had to explain that the word 'famous' meant I would be on TV. )


11) What is Mommy really good at?

  • G: "Have you ever been in trouble?"
  • R: "Taking care of us and being a mother"

12) What is Mommy not very good at?

  • G: "Putting band aids on" (???)
  • R: "You’re not good at playing my DS." (so true...)

13) What does Mommy do for her job?

  • G: "Go to the bathroom" *giggles*
  • R: "Work at an office"

14) What is Mommy's favorite food?

  • G: "chicken"
  • R: "Fruit"

15) What makes you proud of Mommy?

  • G: "Taking care of me"
  • R: "When she does nice things for us, like take us to the movies without even asking us."

15) If Mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?

  • G: "Tweety bird"
  • R: "Tweety bird"
(They've been watching a ton of Looney Tunes lately and they both LOVE Tweety.)


16) What do you and Mommy do together?

  • G: "Watch Tweety bird singing 'I really mean it, what puddy tat would want from me…'"
  • R: "Snuggle in bed and watch movies together"

17) How are you and Mommy the same?

  • G: "We make dinner together"
  • R: "We have the same hair" (Grace adds that we have both the same brain too.) (again... ???)

18) How are you and Mommy different?

  • G: "One has dark hair and one has light hair"
  • R: "You type quickly on the computer and I type slowly on the computer."

19) How do you know Mommy loves you?

  • G: "Because you’re the biggest person"
  • R: "Because you always take care of me and you keep me with you and you never, ever, ever let me go!"

20) Where is Mommy's favorite place to go?

  • G: "home"
  • R: "home"
(Yep, home with my two little bunnies!!!)


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

She's got the look



Yesterday the kids and I visited a chiropractor friend that I worked for shortly after the ex and I separated. She has always been so good to us.

I'd also swear that her chiropractic adjustments and attention to my emotional energy, really helped me get through that first year of single parenthood.

We haven't seen her for our regular wellness adjustments in quite some time since she's been on maternity leave. The girls and I enjoyed visiting with her, her 3 year old son and her new 7 month old baby girl.

After our exams and adjustments, we sent the kids off to play and sat down for a cup of tea.


"I have to tell you something SO funny." my friend began, "My husband saw the Christmas card photo of you and your girls on the fridge the other day and he didn't recognize you."

This actually is funny since I worked for her for 9 months. I saw her husband at least once every week or so. It hasn't been that long ago either.

"He was so surprised when I told him that it was you. He told me, 'She didn't look like that when she worked for you. She has that I want a man look now.'"

Ok, now that is hilarious.

My friend explained to her husband that I didn't have "that look" while working for her because I was going through a divorce and actually didn't want a man anymore.

"So, I'm wondering," she continued, 7 month old cooing in her lap, "how do I get that back? That look. Do you know?"

Wow. Hmmm... Well? I didn't even know I had that look to begin with!

---

What exactly is the "I want a man" look?

Maybe its the comfort level with spending time alone.

Maybe its the glow from feeling empowered over the future that I thought I'd lost.

Maybe its because my relationship with the ex is strong, secure and trusting, something that was missing after our initial separation.

Maybe its because my daughters are at an age where they're pretty self-sufficient, they help me around the house and they actually tell me what they need (as opposed to baby language).

Maybe its because I've found some precarious balance between being single and being a mom. Something else that took some practice.

Maybe its because during these 3 years of being a single mom, I have found bits and pieces of myself that I didn't know I'd lost! And the quest still continues...

Maybe its because... I want a man!!!

---

"Men love that look," she said, "It's a good look for you! You seem so much lighter and full of good energy since I last saw you."

I was happy to hear that from her because she has this uncanny sixth sense about what's going on in my life without my saying a word.

Which made for a very interesting place to work, by the way.

She wants to get "the look" back to appeal to her husband. I think we all wanted that in our married days. After having a baby though, it will take some time to get back to that place.

"Right now," I told her, "Just accept where you are. We all go through phases in our lives and the only way around them is through them. The acceptance will help you to get there quicker."

She smiled in agreement. Then she continued drinking her tea and made more happy faces at her adoring baby daughter.

To me, she looked absolutely glowing.

That's a look we could all aim for.

**This and more super hot photos here. Not suitable for work viewing! (well depends on where you work.)**

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'd like to know you

I saw Lisa Hannigan in concert last night and she... is just amazing. She's off to SXSW in Austin now where I'm sure she'll amaze even more music lovers.

Her sweet Irish accent and musical talents are simply mesmerizing.

Perhaps since she is Irish, this is perfect for St. Patrick's Day?

I love this song. I would dedicate the lyrics to my next perfect partner.

Enjoy.



I don't know
Lisa Hannigan

I don't know what you smoke
Or what countries you've been to
If you speak any other languages other than your own
I'd like to meet you

I don't know if you drive
If you love the ground beneath you
I don't know if you write letters or you panic on the phone
I'd like to call you

All the same, if you want to
I am game

I don't know if you can swim
If the sea has any draw for you
If you're better in the morning or when the sun goes down
I'd like to call you

I don't know if you can dance
If the thought ever occurred to you
If you eat what you've been given or you push it 'round your plate
I'd like to cook for you

All the same, I would want to
I am game

If you walk my way
I could keep my head
We could creep away in the dark
Or maybe not
We could shoot it down anyway

I don't know if you read novels or the magazines
If you love the hand that feeds you
I assume that your heart's been bruised
I'd like to know you

You don't know if I can draw at all
Or what records I am into
If I sleep like a spoon or rarely at all
Or maybe you would do
Or maybe you would do

If you walk my way
I will keep my head
We will feel our way through the dark
Though I don't know you I think that I would do
I don't fall easy at all

If you walk my way
I will keep my head
We will feel our way through the dark
Though I don't know you I think that I would do
I don't fall easy at all

Monday, March 16, 2009

Time... and the busy single mom

I am blown away that it is already mid-March.

I completely forgot to mention that it was a year ago last week that I moved into my new home.

Then seeing all of my high school friends over last weekend... people I hadn't seen in 10, 15, even 20 years!!!

Where does time go??

---

Blogging...

I love blogging. Writing is such a wonderful catharsis for me. I also enjoy all the great friends I've met through my blog. My blog roll keeps getting longer and longer! There are so many fantastic reads in the blogosphere!

I'll admit it... I did much of my blog reading at work. I haven't been that motivated at work until recently but all of my tasks were getting accomplished.

Now I've kicked it up a notch.

I now realize that in order for me to go back to a technical role, I have to make the time to train. Which means that I have to streamline the current job that I'm in. My current job is like... 10 jobs.

I definitely have my work cut out for me.

So, I'm only checking out a blog here and there over my lunch break. Its not nearly enough time to get around to all the ones I'd love to frequent. I'm doing what I can.

I'm also going to have to plan ahead on my posts. This is something very important to me so I will be making time for it.

Somewhere between everything else...

---

I've been communicating with a few men online.

Some of these guys have promise.

And some... would make great friends.

Do I really need anymore friends??

I have friends now that complain that they never see me or hear from me.

Some friends... they really have no idea...

I only have 4 days a month to myself. In those 4 days, I have friends and acquaintances that want to get out for dinner, dancing, cycling, and other things that I really enjoy doing.

Other times, I just want to be alone.

I love my "me" time!! There have been some Saturdays that I will do nothing but lie in bed, rent movies, order out... I feel amazingly refreshed the next day.

Why is it so difficult for me to simply tell these potential "friends" that I, um, don't see it happening?

Besides, when I do finally meet someone that I want to spend time with, then I'll want that extra time away from these new friends anyway, right?

---

Then there's my triathlon training...

Tri = 3 athletic activities

When I was training for my 150 mile bike tour last year, I only had to focus on one activity.

Now, I have to make time to swim, run and bike every week! I'm trying to do each activity at least twice a week!

I have to really juggle these things:

  • I swim after work but before I pick up the girls from school.
  • I cycle on my bike and trainer after the kids are in bed and after I've written my blog post for the night. Or I cycle on my weekends off with a cycling group.
  • I also run on my treadmill at home after the kids are in bed or get out for a run when the ex has the kids one evening a week.

Sometimes, I really just want to go to bed!

Last week, I actually put off my cycling and running because I felt so tired from the time change.

Yet another way that time screwed me up!

I need my sleep...

I've also been missing out on my lunch time yoga classes because of work.

That has to stop. I need my yoga just as much as I need my sleep!

---

Not to mention...

  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Laundry
  • Grocery shopping (or whatever other miscellaneous shopping the girls' schools are asking for)
  • Bills
  • Soccer practice and games with Rose
  • House maintenance (my lawn has needed mowing for a few weeks now!)
  • Homework and other special school projects
  • Oh, did I mention that the kids just want my attention too?
  • Doctor's & various other appointments
  • A Course in Miracles study groups
  • Sleep? Oh yes, sleep would be nice...
  • Eating would rock also!

Seriously, Calgon take me away!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Unfulfilled love is romantic


A few weeks ago when I was home sick, I rented the Woody Allen movie, Vicky Cristina Barcelona. As I've mentioned before, I have a thing for Scarlett Johansson so I knew the movie would at least provide me with good eye candy. And Penelope Cruz is ... wow, too.

During the movie, Penelope Cruz's character says, more than once,

"Only unfulfilled love is romantic."

The line stuck with me and I've been pondering it since.

---

I mentioned it to my brother as we drove back to Texas last weekend and his ex-girlfriend was burning up his phone after he'd been especially vindictive. Every relationship he has been in can be qualified as "unfulfilled love".

Then I began to think of my own history of falling for unavailable men.

Perhaps I, too, have lost myself in the "romance" of unfulfilled love.

How fucked up is that?

That is not real romance.

I loved this interview with Scarlett about that line in the movie. When asked if she believed that line, she said:

"No.... I think the idea that only romance would come from something that was either unrequited or unavailable is sad. Also, I think the most romantic love is seeing people who have been together for so long or have known each other for so long, like two best friends or a husband and wife who've known each other for forty or fifty years and are still so excited to see that person come home. That might be rare, but that's the most romantic kind of love, I think."

Yes, yes, Ms. Scarlett... that is exactly the sort of romantic love that I long for.

---

However, just last month I admitted to myself that I enjoyed all the drama of having Soldier in my life.

Now?


I'm so OVER the drama.

I was talking with a co-worker the other day about relationships and we both agreed that as we've gotten older, we long for ease in a relationship.

No drama. No long distance longing. No game playing. No wondering if they feel the same way you do.

Its exhausting!!

I feel like the perfect partner exists for me. I can almost feel the energy of it getting closer and closer.

But the drama continues...

---

Soldier will be calling this week, expecting that we will be going to dinner.

I haven't spoken with him since our last conversation, when I told him that dinner was a bad idea, I was moving on, readying myself for a relationship. He was upset and still attempting to persuade me to change my mind.

I waffle when I speak with him. I always know exactly what I want until I hear his voice.

This is exactly why we shouldn't meet for dinner.

I know this. I can feel that it is an all around bad idea that will either leave me disappointed and sad... or wistful and hoping.... neither of which is good.



He is not consistent. I NEED consistency!

He is not available. I NEED availability.

I'm not even sure he is hearing me. I think he is only hearing what he wants to hear.



And so, I'm telling myself:

...don't answer the phone when he calls.

...hold firm to your decision if you do speak with him.

...if you do meet him for dinner, see him differently. And DO NOT have sex with him.



Unfortunately, my breasts are telling me that this is my week of PMS.

This is a very bad thing because during PMS week, I am emotional, depressed, lonely, overly dramatic and analytical... and could easy fall for the "unfulfilled loving romance" notion of how we started off so great and that he will be that guy again....

I certainly don't want to get wrapped up in that.

He wants me to forget about what happened in October. But if I forget that, then I have to forget all of it, even the good stuff that happened a year and a half ago....and start fresh with a new contract.

Which means I have to see him as who he is now....just a sad shell of the man he could be.

I just don't have it in me anymore to subscribe to the unfulfilled love idea. I know that I want more.

He will of course feel like I'm pressuring him to love me. I am only pressuring him to love himself.

Too much pressure means something's gotta give.


---

Send me some strong, healthy vibes this week, if you would. I could definitely use 'em.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I am that

Whenever things begin to look ugly in my life, I pull from my resources to restore my joy.

A Course in Miracles
reminds me that I am the peace that I seek.

I do realize that any time my peace of mind is lost, it is because I, alone, allowed it to happen.

---

In some of the yoga classes I have taken, we chant in Sanskrit or we choose a mantra on which to focus.

One of my favorite mantras is, "I am that."

I was amazed to find a book entitled with my favorite mantra. And even more amazed to see that the book's concepts echo the concepts of ACIM too.

Note to self: Buy this book.


Whenever I am not at peace, I focus on that mantra.

Its simple enough, right?

I am that.

What exactly am I?

Well, I am beginning to realize that I am exactly what is either disturbing my peace or restoring my joy. It is my decision.

---

One of my favorite psychological exercises also helps me to process the ugliness that shows up in my life.

I think of someone that is bothering me, causing me stress or irritating me in some way.

Next I create a list with two columns. In the first column, I write down all of the things about this person that is bothersome to me - all of the things I don't like about this person.

In the other column, even though it may be a struggle, I write down all of the good things or things that I like or admire about this person.

Once my list is complete, I write above the first column:

"I do not like myself when I..."

And above the second column:

"I like myself when I..."

Suddenly it becomes clearer exactly why my peace is disturbed.

Can I forgive this person for the things I perceive as "not good" .... about them and myself?

Can I forgive myself these things?

When I offer forgiveness to those around me, I realize that I am actually offering forgiveness to myself, releasing myself from pain and restoring my joy.

---

I'm also reminded that I see what I choose to see.

We're told by so many that we see what we think.

Thoughts become things.

We actually project our thoughts into the world ahead of us. And so, through our projecting, we create our experience.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from A Course in Miracles:

"As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world."


I love this Course because it helps me to realize that if I view those in my life as limited by their bodies, if I view them strictly as egos, then that is how I view myself.

However, if I can see past form to the pure, divine Spirit in those I encounter, then that is how I view myself as well.


"Are you invulnerable? Then the world is harmless in your sight.

Do you forgive? Then is the world forgiving, for you have forgiven it its trespasses, and so it looks on you with eyes that see as yours.

Are you a body? So is all the world perceived as treacherous, and out to kill.

Are you a spirit, deathless, and without the promise of corruption and the stain of sin upon you? So the world is seen as stable, fully worthy of your trust; a happy place to rest in for a while, where nothing need be feared, but only loved.

Who is unwelcome to the kind in heart? And what could hurt the truly innocent."

---

It sometimes takes all of these resources to bring me back to the joyous soul that I know that I am.

We all tend to forget. We have limited ourselves and have forgotten that it is our true nature to fly.

We are all the same in our forgetting.

But tonight, as I sit here in this quiet house, my children tucked warmly in their beds, their soft faces illuminated by the pink lava lamp on their dresser, I feel that peace.

I know it has never left me.

I am thankful for the Spirit in me. I am thankful for the love that I feel. I am thankful for the peace that I am.

I am that.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Adventures in Swimming, Part 2




Since my last post on swimming, I have tried to get to the pool at least twice a week in preparation for the two triathlons I have scheduled.


I mentioned before that though I actually know how to swim, I am not very efficient at it. As a matter of fact, I didn't even know, when I wrote my previous swim post, that the type of swimming stroke I needed to learn was called freestyle.

Ha! That sounds funny now.

And now you see why I have much to learn.


I've watched youtube videos and observed other swimmers, all while practicing the not-freaking-out part and attempting such a beautiful art form.

Over this past weekend that I was out of town, it was starting to "click" as I was swimming in the smaller hotel pool. I think the smaller pool boosted my confidence. I still have to build up endurance and speed.

Thankfully, I already had plans for private swim lessons this week.

---

Through our local community center, I contacted their aquatics director. She passed my contact information to a local private swim coach. The price seemed reasonable and I definitely needed help.

When he called, he sounded young. He apologized for missing my phone call because he was in school.

"Oh, which school do you attend?" I asked, thinking of the many colleges in the area.

"I go to (local town) high school."

Hmmm... ok.

Then I was impressed. Not a bad job for a high school kid.

I met with Swim Coach tonight at the activity center. What a cutie!

He's very encouraging and confident. He asked me to swim freestyle so he could see where we needed to focus first.

I giggled. Dude, I don't even know where to start!

He took off his shirt and grabbed his goggles to join me in the pool.

A half hour later, I was swimming freestyle!

A lap here and there and lots more to work on but WOW!!

He makes it look so damn easy! I want to look like that! Just seeing him move so smoothly through the water... his cut, muscular arms (ok, I am human) gliding without causing nary a ripple with each stroke.

I think I actually even said out loud, "That's hot."

Can you make me look like that too?!?!

There is SO much to think about! Again I was reminded of my beginning cycling days and getting used to the clips on my cycling shoes. I had to make a conscious effort to remember to clip out before stopping or else I would fall over.

With swimming, I have to remember to breathe out while underwater, turn my head, take a breath, focus on getting my arms in the water, stretch out, kick loosely.... aaaahhhh!!! Its all so much to remember!!

I'm going to get there though.

With my supportive high school Swim Coach and my determination, I won't miss out on a triathlon because I can't do the swim part.

Nope, I'm going to conquer this thing.

And I'll make it look easy too.

** Photo of the inspirational Dara Torres. Full article here. **

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Doing my part

In October, after Soldier asked me to stop sending care packages, I felt really sad.

Obviously I was sad about our relationship but also because I really enjoyed sending care packages.

In November, I decided to foster a soldier through Treats For Troops. Through the treatsfortroops.com website, you can sponsor a soldier at random or select a soldier based on their home state, division of the military and/or where they are deployed.

I chose a soldier from Texas deployed for the War on Terror. Through the convenient shopping choices on the TFT website, I had a big $50 care package sent in hopes that it would arrive before Christmas.

I'd completely forgotten about that Christmas care package until one day - one depressed and gloomy day - I received this postcard in the mail:


"Tonya from Texas, Thank You so much for the great package of goodies! I received it on Christmas. It was a great present to open. Gifts like this make the many months spent away from home out on the ship easier to deal with. Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Your fellow Texan, Jeff Thompson"


Oh my... this so brightened my day! I was in tears knowing that I made some soldier smile on Christmas morning.

Even if it wasn't the one I thought it would be.

I have a link to the Treats For Troops website on my sidebar. Consider fostering a soldier.

Because it feels really good to do our part for those who are putting themselves in the line of danger for the sake of our or someone else's safety.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Always Do Your Best

One of my absolute favorite books is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel-Ruiz.

As someone who studies spirituality, I am always striving to learn how to be a better person, to myself and to others. This book is a quick easy read that gives four simple rules for doing exactly what I'm striving to do.

The Four Agreements:

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word

2. Don't Take Anything Personally

3. Don't Make Assumptions

4. Always Do Your Best


I've actually referenced two of these agreements in other blog posts here and here.

Over this weekend and thinking about all that occurred last week, I realized it was time to take a hard look at another of my four little life rules.

Always Do Your Best.

---

I went out of town to visit with some friends from my high school days.


All of us are turning 40 this year and we were invited to the first (of maybe many) surprise parties.

This was such a wonderful getaway for me. I spent all weekend with my brother and three of my very best friends from high school.

All men. Me and four men.

Yippee!!!


I enjoyed so much love, respect and laughter! By late Saturday night and into Sunday morning, my abdomen was actually cramping from laughing so much. I SO needed that.

The night grew more interesting when someone pulled out our yearbook. Oh boy...

I was amazed as we scanned photos of ourselves and others that we attended school with. All of the assumptions we made about who those people would be now and what they'd be doing for a living. Everyone had such a different perception of each other.

I realized that we all reacted to each other based on those perceptions.

We are all doing our best with what we perceive and what we know about ourselves. In high school, we really had no clue who we were but we sure thought we did. We laughed as we reminisced about all of the out of control things we did and assumed about each other, other students and teachers.

As with my high school reunion, it was a very eye-opening experience.

---

On the drive home, my brother admitted to me some not-so-very-nice things he did recently in vindication towards his ex-girlfriend.

As a big sister, I was not happy with his actions at all. I grew especially annoyed when his ex-girlfriend was burning up his phone with calls and voice mails as we drove back to Texas.

"So.... now that you've ticked her off, she's going to call and harass you all day?" I asked as I choked down the rare partaking of fast food on the go.

"Yeah." he replied between bites of a breakfast burrito and GIANT ASS Dr. Pepper, "It's a little game that we play."

Isn't it funny?!?! The games that we play?!?

Don't we all do that?

Even those of us who declare that we're too old for games or we're done with games - Don't you find as you look back over recent relationships that your actions were all strategic to get exactly what you felt you deserved?

It's almost like life's a big game of actions and counter-actions... all based on what we perceive and know about ourselves at the time.

I realized I shouldn't judge my brother or his ex.

They are only doing their best.

---

As we drove, my brother decided that I should hear the Dixie Chicks' cd, Taking the Long Way.

I. LOVE. THAT. CD.

Both my brother and I could relate to the lyrics of the title track. We're both alike in the uniqueness of how we view things and how we handle life.

My brother said that this was the cd that was released after Natalie Maines upset everyone with her comments about George Bush.

Isn't perspective a funny thing?

She was slammed hard for her comments and now, geez, it seems like most people make those same comments about the man.

She was only acting based on her perception about him and herself at the time. And she was judged harshly for it.

But wasn't she, just as we all are, only doing her best?

---

Sure maybe your best today make look embarrassing to you tomorrow. Maybe my best looks like I-could-care-less to you.

Our "best" changes from day to day, moment to moment. Even in yoga we say that today you may be able to do this asana but not tomorrow. Maybe you could do it last week, but not today.

It's ok.

Give your best today.

And go easy on yourself if its not what you'd hope it would be. Because even what you think it should look like today.... will be different tomorrow.