Thursday, February 25, 2010

Randomly ME

I am always surprised when fellow bloggers link to me, award me, give me credit or mention me in their blog posts. I feel all warm and fuzzy when that happens.

Thank you... to all of you who have done that.

The awards you offer do not go unnoticed or unappreciated. I add them to my Awards page with a link back to you. And I'm not usually good about returning any awards because... well, I think all of you are great.

Seriously, I don't think I could choose just a few of you to honor.


Instead, I try to link to or quote from your posts or I add your blogs to my ever-expanding blog roll. I'm also not very good at doing the whole meme thing. My brain is always thinking... and I've always got a post or two brewing... and to do a meme means I'd actually have to take time to think even MORE than I already do.

Ok. Maybe I'm just lazy really busy.

So, since I've been awarded a few times recently and told to give random facts about myself, I thought I'd at least do that much. I'm pretty random anyway and have done a few random fact posts here and here.

Hmmm... what can I come up with that you may not already know...

1.  I don't like when there is booth seating on one side of a table and chairs on the other. I have no idea why I care but it bugs me. Maybe its a balance thing.

2.  I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up. Yet I know that I could do anything I set my mind to. Sentence #1 scares me and sentence #2 is very empowering.

3.  Sometimes I think that I want to write a book and/or write for a living. Then I change my mind because I prefer to write what I want, when I want, without someone else dictating all of that for me. I can't even do memes!!

4.  I secretly long for my blog to gain more popularity so that I can continue to write what I want, when I want. But even then, will it pay the bills? I also cannot bear to shamelessly promote myself. Besides, if it does become more popular, does that mean I'll become self-conscious about what I write and who's reading? (Do you see where this is going? See #2)

5.  I grew up the daughter of a MOPAR man and hated it. Now I desire to have either a classic MOPAR or a new one. Dad is smiling down on that last sentence.












6.  I only watch the news for the weather. And I rarely do that. I don't worry too much though because my mom will always text me or call me when there's a tornado heading towards my house or if its snowing outside. Thanks Mom.

7.  My mom and dad's first date and favorite dating place is now a restaurant/bar that my Gentleman takes me to when I visit him in Louisiana. True story.

8.  Speaking of cars, my dad actually chose my mom because she drove a cool MOPAR. Here is her version of the story. Oh and she was a hottie too. Still is.

9.  I moan out loud when I like something. Yes. Take that as you like. I didn't notice it until Gentleman Jack pointed out that I moan in a hot shower, when I crawl into a warm bed, when I snuggle up on my comfy couch, when I'm eating something especially yummy, when he's holding me in his arms and yes, of course, during all kinds of sex.

10.  Speaking of sex, on Pippi's blog she divulged that she likes lesbian porn. I commented to her that I actually have porn moods.  I can't usually tell what sort of porn mood I'm in until I stumble across something and I begin to moan out loud. Uh huh. I do.

11.  Sometimes I think I'd like a boob job or reduction so that I won't have to wear a bra. The older I get, the more low maintenance I get. I know for sure that I'm going to continue laser hair removal so that I will have to shave only once a month.

12.  The worst insult you could say to me is that I'm boring.

13.  I rarely eat meat but I cannot resist sausage. Any kind of sausage. Sometimes though, I crave meat when my body desires more protein. I listen and obey.

14.  When something becomes extremely popular (fashion trends, music, etc), I will usually rebel against it for no reason other than its popularity.

15.  I am extremely patient with most people in my life, including Dallas drivers. I am NOT patient AT ALL, however, with people trying to sell me something. Beware, if you are a telemarketer, you will see a side of me that no one ever sees...

16.  Some of my biggest pet peeves are misspelled words or when someone misuses 'your' and 'you're' or 'there', 'their' and 'they're'. I am by no means perfect but I love spell check and I re-read things umpteen times before I hit publish. Guess I'm an English geek because I love this site.

17.  I am really good at remembering numbers. I still remember my phone number from childhood. And also my grandparents' phone number and my best friend from high school's phone number.

18.  I am not very good at deciding on a particular style of decor. My house is very eclectic from dark wood classic furniture to modern bluish purple leather couches to colorful Mexican masks, ethnic Buddhist statues, tiled crosses and bold original art pieces. I also have Scandinavian light walnut furniture in my bedroom mixed with Moroccan fabrics and funky light fixtures. I think I just like worldly. Yeah. That's my style.

19.  I used to collect original art when I would travel (and had lots of disposable income). Every piece of art in my house has a story behind it.

20.  I do have favorites but I am open to trying anything. Because of that, I can appreciate most of everything. Different decor styles, different types of art, different types of food, different types of exercise, different types of people, different types of fun, different types of sex, different types of fashion, different types of religion, different types of music, different types of books, different types of movies, different types of bloggers.... some may call that wishy-washy and indecisive. I like to think of it as open-minded.

Aannnnd there you have it. Maybe one day I'll combine all of these random things and make a 100 things list about myself.

One day.... when I'm not so lazy busy.

Have a great weekend ya'll!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Maybe anything IS possible

I don't know what it was about yoga today that begged me to write this post. Something in the words "be gentle with your body and it will respond".... or "allow your body to find its limits and then patiently persuade to see if you can go further"... or "don't force but instead gently encourage".

I was reminded to allow.

Allowing has been a consistent message for me for quite a while now. Ever since I wrote about the phrase it is what it is, I hear it at least every other day from someone in my life. So strange...

Rachel Sarah wrote her own post on allowing after my realization that my controlling is due to fear and allowing comes from faith. I have also written recently that my Gentleman says he loves me because I allow him to.

I've noticed that I've been feeling supported lately, and because of that support, I feel that I am allowed to relax.

I've been working on allowing myself to feel whatever I feel. I've learned that if I'm aware of an emotion and allow it to sink into me, it passes much quicker.

I'm learning to allow myself, others and situations to be imperfect.

In my A Course in Miracles study group this weekend, we discussed that all of us are always connected to God but that we "choke off" or "block" the awareness to it. We feel alone, isolated and depressed when we stop allowing the divinity to flow.

I believe the same thing about love. I do believe that love is constantly present but I put up such resistance to it by deciding exactly what I want it to look like.

I've been hearing the same thoughts about money lately too. And health. And success.

"There is not a source of sickness. There is just the disallowance of wellness."
~ Abraham-Hicks


Gentleman Jack and I have discussed that each of us have money issues because of limiting beliefs about it. He believes that he has to work his ASS off for money or he will always struggle. Then he gets exhausted from struggling and working his ass off and begins to have financial issues. I've been trying to convince us both that we need to allow the money to come. Because when we tap into that 'allowing', the money shows up.

The most difficult part of allowing is believing that we're worth the ease. Most everyone believes in the struggle... struggle to live, to make ends meet, to find love, to be healthy.

****

Divine inspiration doesn't come when I'm struggling or overthinking about something.

When I was a computer programmer fighting to get my program to run, the fighting didn't fix it. It was only after I went to bed and stopped thinking about it that my answer would come.

When I can't find something, stressing on where I last left seems to only push it further away and frustrate me more. When I move on to another thought, THAT'S when it suddenly appears.

There was a yoga pose that I loathed. I would fight it and think all sorts of negative thoughts about how I'd never be able to do it. Of course, I never could. Until the day I finally allowed myself to try it without thinking about it. I just... did it. Now the pose is a favorite of mine.

I stopped forcing it and allowed it to be.

I use to pray and pray for answers, deciding ahead of time what I hoped the answer would be. Now I believe that prayer isn't asking, but listening. A quiet mind allows me to be aware of and more accepting of my answers. The divine answers that come to me without my force are the ones that always lead to my greater good.

***

I could go on and on about the ways I am learning to allow and how my limiting beliefs block those things I desire in my life. Instead, I want to paraphrase a story from an article written by Karen Salmansohn.

There was a study of goldfish in an aquarium with a glass wall down the middle of the tank. The fish thought they could swim past the glass, since they could see past it, but they would instead run into the glass. They finally resigned to their limited space and even when the glass was removed, they never again attempted to swim past where the glass once was.

I do the same thing. I become afraid to dream because of past disappointments. I am afraid to try because of beliefs that I was taught from a young age or because of society or extenuating circumstances from past situations. I resist divine allowing because I think I know better. I think I have to struggle, force or control things or else I won't be happy.

I fail to remember the question, "Would you rather be right or happy?"

I choose to be happy. I choose to dream. I choose to believe that I'm worth it, gently encouraging and patiently persuading myself to think a little bigger than I did before. I choose to allow the goodness and the unlimited possibilities back into my life.

I choose to kick my fin into full gear and try to swim to the other side of the tank.

I may forget all of this tomorrow. My faith will waver. I will become resistant, scared, doubting and controlling... but beyond that is yet another message that anything is possible.

I'm always grateful for another chance to choose again.


"When your heart is singing, you are allowing Well-being. When you are appreciating, you are allowing Well-being. When you are yelling at somebody, you're not. When you're feeling insecure, you're not. When you're frustrated, you're not."
~  Abraham-Hicks

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Phantom passion

I was 18 and visiting a friend in Dallas. She had just returned from New York City where she saw the original cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.  I remember sitting down on the floor next to her record player and putting the needle on the black shiny vinyl....

Hearing the pain in the voice of Michael Crawford as the Phantom and the endless last note of Music of the Night.... Feeling the chills as the beautiful soprano Sarah Brightman nearly shattered glass during Think of Me as Christine. I was a goner.

That same year, I was working as a bartender and a regular customer brought in his record of his favorite opera, Puccini's Madame Butterfly. I read the story. I listened to the voices. I felt the feelings of the characters. I cried at their pain.

I saw Phantom at the theater shortly after that. I saw Madame Butterfly. I saw Miss Saigon.


And I fell in love with theater.

I love sharing the theater with my children too. My girls are like me. We love to sing and dance and wear shiny jewelry and fix our hair and play dress up...

Well, ok. You get the idea.

I haven't had the disposable income to take them to the theater too much in the past few years. We did manage to see the touring productions of The Lion King (awe-inspiring and amazing) and Peter Pan (fun with Cathy Rigby). We've also seen various productions of High School Musical, Beauty and the Beast, and Cats. Rose and I saw The Phantom of the Opera a few years ago. She loved it. Rose also starred in her drama school's production of The Aristocats. She's definitely made for the stage.

This week has turned into our theater week.

My friend TNT has managed free tickets to see The Phantom of the Opera tonight in Dallas - its last time here. Gentleman Jack knows how I love the theater and TNT loves Phantom like I love Phantom...

So YAY!!!

The kids and I are also heading out later in the week to see Sesame Street Live.  Sure, its not the same but live entertainment still rocks! And yes, I'm a big fan of Elmo.

I enjoy doing these things with my girls. I like sharing my love of creativity with them. At some point, I will introduce them to my favorite art museums too.

Isn't it fun to share your passions with your kids?




Gerard Butler as Phantom in the movie. Sooooo sizzlin'.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Things I've learned about Men

Warning: These are all broad generalizations based on what I've learned about MY man in particular (and myself) and probably why my previous relationships didn't work out.


A man feels the most like a REAL MAN when his woman is happy.

This is why most men will give up trying in a relationship where a woman is never happy. He feels that if she isn't happy, he must be a failure as a partner. When he feels like a failure as a partner and gets no appreciation for trying, he will sink further in to his man cave - which, in turn causes a woman to become even more resentful and unhappy - and thus the relationship becomes a pit of despair.

Ask a man when they are happiest and they will more than likely answer that they felt happiest in the presence of a happy woman. Ask a woman and she will give you another answer completely.

Thus the saying, "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."



When a woman has expectations, a man feels like its a trap.

A man doesn't think like a woman, you see. Thus he will constantly question whether he is meeting her expectations, will tread lightly and not feel comfortable in her presence until he senses that she is finally enjoying the moment without something else in mind. If a woman has expectations that are not met, that means she could be disappointed. And if she's disappointed, then she is not happy and he feels like a failure. (See above.)



If a man wants sex, he will initiate sex.

If a woman wants sex, she will initiate too. As she senses that the man is not in the mood for sex, or because she has been brought up a certain way, she may or may not initiate but instead hopes that the man will initiate. If the man doesn't initiate, she views that as rejection because she was expecting him to or hoped that he would. (See above.)

However, a man doesn't realize that she wants sex because instead of initiating, she is passive-aggressively seething. Sensing that she is expecting something that he is not giving, he feels nervous that he's being trapped. (See above.) He may or may not respond to that feeling in a positive way and thus pushes the possibility for sex even further away.

But....  apparently, even if it seems as if the man has no interest in sex, a man is ALWAYS interested in sex. If the woman wants sex from a man, she need do nothing more than simply initiate sex.



Men are used to rejection.

Men are used to asking for what they want directly. If they want a date, they ask for a date. If they want sex, they ask for sex. Sometimes, they get what they are asking for. Most of the time, they don't. Since they are used to being told 'no', they are not afraid of asking. Being told 'yes' is an exciting and unexpected side effect of asking and thus, they will always try.

A woman, on the other hand, doesn't normally ask directly for what she wants. For some reason, a woman expects (see above) that a man should KNOW inherently what she wants. Because isn't it obvious? Besides, he's always known BEFORE!

A woman, if she DOES ask for what she wants, generally gets her way. She is used to being told 'yes' and therefore, when told 'no', she feels rejected. A man may tell a woman 'yes' more often than 'no' because he is aware of this fear. And he wants her to be happy (see above).

Due to her fear of rejection, however, she will not ask for what she wants. Instead she will have unspoken expectations (see above) that will not be met because a man doesn't think like a woman. She will therefore be unhappy (see above) instead of simply initiating with encouraging (not demanding) words or actions that her needs are met (see above).


A REAL MAN is a beautiful thing.

A real man is the man who will hold you in high esteem. A real man stays connected to you. A real man pays attention, asks questions, tries a little harder. A real man will continue to want to please you because he is encouraged that you are pleased.

Remember, T: 

Speak up. Encourage. Allow. Hold hands. Accept responsibility for your happiness. Trust. Believe. Touch. Have faith. Set boundaries. Communicate your needs. Be honest. Use your words. Let him be. Act with kindness. Connect as one. Be yourself. Give. See the beauty. Find the good. Accentuate the positive. Accept. Be thoughtful. Learn his language. Be open to his expressions of appreciation. Choose him. Forgive. Please yourself.

Be grateful. Be grateful. Be grateful.

Love.


I am learning much in this relationship. I can't say enough about the perfect teacher who's handling my lessons with such love and patience. He is a beautiful mirror.

"People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake....

A soul mate's purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master..."
~ Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Lesson in Expectations

Since Gentleman Jack and I were unable to spend Valentine's Day together, and since he sent me this:


I felt the need to plan a special evening for us.

GJ was coming into town on Friday night with his teenage son. My daughters were with me and looking forward to spending time with all of us. I had, however, made arrangements with my friend Gem to keep all the kids at her place overnight.

I planned out a wonderful Valentine's meal, bought groceries and decided on exactly the outfit I would wear to woo my man.

Then, as Friday afternoon wound down, my co-workers and I decided to head to happy hour. Prior to that, I was in a wonderful mood and giddily excited to see my Gentleman, as usual.

I walked in the door of our regular happy hour hangout only to be greeted with a wall of cigarette smoke and an obnoxiously loud group of people sitting in the middle of the bar. They sucked the energy right out of the place. BAM! Instant downer.

I'd been sitting for only a moment when my stomach began bothering me. I went to the restroom only to find that my monthly visitor decided to visit a week early. Damn. More downer.

I returned to the table and texted Gentleman Jack to find out where he was. He was only just leaving the office. Then he texted that his son hadn't finished something that needed to be done before they could leave. The evening was withering away with my mood.

I left my non-happy hour and headed home. Now I needed to take yet another shower to get the cigarette smoke out of my hair. That would mean re-doing my hair and makeup too. I was downright pissy by the time I picked up the girls from school.

I talked to my Gentleman briefly and found that his mood was sour too. He'd hoped to be on the road already. I tried to keep a relaxed mood but as usual, I can never fool him. He was sensing my disappointment and he hadn't even begun the trip to see me.

The shower revived me and I texted him to let him know. I fixed my hair and makeup and prepared a quick dinner for my girls. The meal for GJ and I wouldn't take much time as I'd done most of the prep work the night before. Gem arrived and kept the girls occupied while I tried to keep my spirits up. I was getting anxious and nervous that the evening would be a bust after all.

Then as I was putting on my dress... it occurred to me.

I had too many expectations for this night.

You see, I put on the same dress that I'd worn while waiting for Soldier to arrive home on R&R after being in Iraq for over a year.


And that night didn't turn into the perfect evening either.

It was strange how I actually felt all of those same feelings of anxiety and expectation as I put that dress on. Was it because of the last time I planned the perfect evening? Was it memories? Was it because I was feeling especially hormonal? Was it because I was putting on a show for a man who appreciates me the most in jeans and a t-shirt?

I don't know.

But I do know from experience that expectations ALWAYS lead to disappointment.

With that new awareness, I did what I could to give up what I hoped would happen. Gentleman Jack did arrive and Gem did take the children to her house.

He took me in his arms and giggled.

"Sweet girl, you look beautiful but you also seem so emotional about tonight. Why are you trying so hard?"

Again, I don't know.

I guess I hope that I won't get so used to him that I stop trying for his attention. I guess I just WANTED more attention.

He definitely didn't disappoint.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"And you call yourself a Christian..."

She saw me from across the classroom and found instant comfort. She rushed to my side like an old friend, though I've actually only met her once or twice before. Her daughter and my daughter are classmates in school. They live a few houses down from us. She is a yoga teacher and knows my best friend De. She friended me on Facebook. I guess she sees a kinship with me beyond the acquaintance that we've created.

"Oh it is SO good to see you! I have to vent to you and I know this isn't the time but its killing me..."

She squatted by the tiny desk where I was sitting with Rose. My daughter and I were attempting to create something artistic with our Valentine's cookie, icing and sprinkles.

"Well, you'll understand how I felt," she continued, "when this morning, in Bible study, someone told me that I was going to hell for practicing yoga. Can you believe that? And then one of the mothers of the girls in my kids yoga class asked me what I was teaching her child."

I listened, licking the pink frosting from my fingers. I did indeed know how she felt. Many people are concerned that yoga is a spiritual practice - and indeed it can be - but for many, yoga is purely physical.

She went on, "I just don't get it. Why would someone judge me for that? I mean, aren't they being so judgmental and narrow-minded? And they call themselves Christians...."

I had to smile. I hear the exact same complaint from many in my spiritual study group. In fact, I'm quite positive I've said it myself.

"How dare you be so narrow-minded and judgmental because my beliefs are different than yours?!"

And yet, aren't we doing the exact same thing?

Aren't we all on a path to happiness? Why does it matter if my path is different than your path? Perhaps we are even on the same path but different points along the way. Those paths could be spiritual, religious, relationships, parenting, fitness, environmentalism, life, etc. We're all doing what we believe is right at the time with whatever knowledge we have and feel comfortable accepting.

 I believe there are as many paths as there are names for God.

To me, IT DOESN'T MATTER.

I may be right, wrong, or talking out my ass. Who cares? My question to others and myself is simple: the Golden Rule

Am I treating you the way I expect to be treated?

That is my religion.


"Every religion emphasizes human improvement, love, respect for others, sharing other people's suffering. On these lines every religion had more or less the same viewpoint and the same goal." ~ Dalai Lama

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Half Pipe Pride, Rock Walls, My boys and the Man your Man could smell like

I kept my kids up til nearly 10 o'clock tonight because I wanted them to see Shaun White on the half-pipe.

Hello repeat GOLD MEDAL!

I mean really!



And congrats to the BEAUTIFUL LADIES -  Lindsey Vonn on her GOLD and Julie Mancuso on her Silver as well!



Go USA!!


---

Gentleman Jack and his teenage son, Carbon Copy, are coming in to see me and my girls this weekend.

I can't even believe it but he hasn't been here since my birthday party. We went for 3 weeks without seeing each other - really tough - but we survived it. Then I went there a few times...

So, I'm cleaning, doing laundry, preparing for my boys.

Thankfully, my friend Gem has offered to watch all of our kids on Friday night for a date night. We're not even married and have to get a babysitter for date nights. Wow.

We might go hit the rock wall on Saturday. Yep, my girls have talked me into climbing rock walls. Now that's a full body workout! They love it and its fun to do something athletic with them.

I've been telling Gentleman Jack about it and since he has the arms, he wants to give it a go.

Should be fun, healthy competition, don't you think?

---

I've got a few posts brewin'. Maybe I'll finish one tomorrow night.

Sorry for the randomness. Gotta go make a grocery list! There'll be men in the house this weekend!!!

---

Oh but before I go, let me leave you with this...



Tell me that this commercial doesn't make you smile big. Thanks to Old Spice!

Ah ladies.... we all want the man your man could smell like, don't we? Ha ha ha!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What's keeping me warm this winter

Ok, its still freakin' cold outside. I actually said to my daughters tonight that I can't wait for summer. And I loathe being hot. I just have to have some nice warm days soon. I'm sick of shivering and being chilled.

So, I thought I'd turn things around and look at things I'm thankful for this winter.


******

 

First of all, I have to say that I'm enjoying the Olympics right now. The games always leave me emotional. I normally don't watch much TV but this is fun for me. The girls and I are cheering wildly for Team USA!

******



I'm pretty particular about what I put on my or my daughters' skin. I bought this coconut oil because, wow, it smells fantastic. It absorbs easily into my skin and is keeping my hands and lips from cracking up in the dry air. I also use it for massage, in my hair and as oil in my pancakes and baking. Love it.

******


My bike trainer and Spinervals Irongirl DVD. Its like having my own personal spin class in my house. I haven't been outside cycling in months. This is the best way for me to stay strong on my bike in preparation for whatever athletic events I plan to do this race season.



*******


 


I love, love, LOVE Karen Salmanson. Her advice is spot on. This book is doing nothing if not reminding me that Gentleman Jack is perfect for me. She quotes A Course in Miracles a few times, she's positive, encouraging, funny... I will write a review on this book eventually. For now, trust me. Great book.

******


 
Pic and taste review from here

Dear lord, I could eat an entire bag of these chips in one sitting. And I don't do chips. I mean, seriously... cannot eat just a few of these. I'm gonna have to stop buying them altogether. Put them with a Cherry Dr. Pepper and I'm done. And I don't do soda either. Wow.


******




My heated mattress pad. I bought this for myself last winter when I realized that it was going to be yet another long cold winter without a man to warm up my bed. I finally thought, "Who needs a man!" and purchased this awesome item for myself. Every night lately, I turn on my mattress pad while I'm getting ready for bed. Then I crawl into a nice, warm, snug, comfy place between the sheets. I literally squeal with joy when my head hits the pillow.


******



I am completely in love with this scarf. I received this scarf, and the blanket that's just like it, for Christmas. Sometimes, I even wear the scarf around the house. It is so soft and luxurious that even the guys at work ooohh and aaahhh over it. Yummy.

******

And speaking of yummy... Certainly not least are the arms of my Gentleman. I love my man's arms and he definitely knows how to keep me warm.



******

What are you doing to survive these cold winter days?

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Sexuality, part 2

I wrote last month that I would be reexamining my sexuality. The first post I wrote was in response to a reader's comments regarding a boundary issue between Gentleman Jack and me.

The boundary issue is precisely why I am taking a deeper look at my motivations and history with sex.

In this post, I will focus on how I came into my sexuality from childhood and through my teen years.

When I think back about my childhood, I don't recall many specifics or detailed situations. All that I see are snippets of time...

***

I believe that I started masturbating around the age of 8 or 9. I don't recall exactly what started it or how I discovered the pleasures of my clitoris. I only know that it felt good and I wanted to share the good feelings.

I remember talking to my sister, who couldn't have been more than 5 or 6, and instructing her on how to place her teddy bear between her legs and rub her pelvic area on it. I had my own very well used teddy bear that I kept hidden between the bed and the wall. I remember my sister being very confused about how she was supposed to feel. We didn't know it was forbidden in any way but we certainly didn't want to tell Mom or Dad about it.

We also learned by what we saw on TV. I do remember experimenting with kisses. I remember Mom walking in and catching my sister and I having a good long smooch. Mom, needless to say, flipped her lid.

We didn't understand that those kisses meant something else. We didn't understand the differences in two adults loving each other and two children loving each other.

When I remember this, I can understand why it is so confusing to Rose sometimes to see Jack and I together.

***

My father always had a stash of Playboy, Penthouse and the occasional Hustler magazines hidden in the bathroom cabinet. I don't recall the first time I began looking at these magazines but I most definitely enjoyed them. My parents must have noticed, because at some point, they removed them from the bathroom and put them in a cedar chest in their bedroom.

Yep. I found them there too.

I was always fascinated by the female form. I never saw men naked (obviously) but to see the beauty of a naked woman gracing the pages of those magazines.... was extremely intriguing to this young girl. I could look at those magazines for hours and, as I grew old enough to stay at home alone, I did.

When I eventually moved out at age 19, I bought my own subscription to Playboy magazine and left them out on the coffee table at my apartment. I still think that magazine is brilliant.

***

When I was old enough to stay home alone, my imagination would go wild.

I would imagine that it was me who was being photographed. I would force my panties into a thong and prance around the house half naked. I would imagine men wanting to look at me. I would always end up masturbating.

***

When I was 12 or 13, a boy touched my breast for the first time.

I remember the electricity of it. I remember feeling my legs go weak and my breath get heavier. I remember feeling lightheaded and thinking I might pass out.

He only touched me gently, cautiously and for a moment but I remember it like it was yesterday.

***

When I was 14, I had a best friend who was a year and a day younger than me. When I think of her now, I wonder if she wasn't molested as a child. She was very sexual and I could sense it about her.

She and I shared many secrets and dreams. We celebrated birthdays together until long after I turned 16. She made me laugh so much. We had fun together. We would also cry together in that dramatic way that young teen girls do. All of those things we hoped for and longed for in our lives and we never knew when or if they would happen.

Then, at night, we would share a bed. She would spoon me, wrap her arms around me, slide her hands under my top and caress my breasts. It was the most comfortable feeling in the world.

***

My teenage idol was Madonna.

Need I say more?

I love that she was so comfortable being herself. I love that she put her sexuality out there with pride and no regard for what others thought of her. I thought she was powerful, beautiful and amazing.

I wanted to be powerful too.

I went to a party my junior year of high school. I was quite shy and unsure how to relate to anyone - I didn't know most of the people there. So I escaped my usual way: with music.

I found Madonna's Like a Virgin album in another room, put it on and began performing. I knew every word. I could imitate her singing. I'd studied her dance moves and could improvise my own. I lost myself in that moment, that music, those lyrics, that feeling, that dance.

And someone saw me.

"Don't stop," he begged, "You're really good."

Gradually, the whole party was in the room, watching me perform. They all stood mesmerized at my moves, my voice, my power.

My sexuality.

After that party, I was an entirely new girl - in life and at school.

Continued in part 3

***

I have to look back at these snippets of time because sexuality has always been a big part of my life.

Love Coach Rinatta asked if I was molested or sexually abused as a young child. I told her no. This is just who I am.

Why? Why was I born such a sexual young girl? Or are all girls born this way? Perhaps this is part of our very nature? Maybe it is stifled by some parents and allowed by others.

I don't know. But I will continue to look at this historical side of myself to see if there are any clues as to why I "put it out there" sometimes when I shouldn't.

Surely there's a healthy balance somewhere.

Part 3

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Supported

"There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be..."
~ John Lennon

I thought about this lyric as I drove back to Dallas a week ago Monday afternoon in a torrential downpour. My mother had already warned me of a possible "wintry mix" of precipitation on the drive and the flooded streets of Dallas were all ready filled with accidents.

But somehow, I felt fully safe and supported.

It reminded me of my last triathlon. I remember looking out over the lake in which I was about to swim 1/2 mile. I was nervous and trying to steady my breath. A calm swept over me as I realized, "The water is the same as you. You are made of water too. It will support you and help you back to shore."

These holy instants that seem to take place outside of time and space... they help me to let go and relax. In those moments, I choose to allow instead of control. I choose ease instead of the fight.

I remember a similar moment, a simple moment when time seemed to stand still. I was at a red light right around the corner from my office. I don't know what happened or how. I looked around me and... it felt as if everything was exactly where it was supposed to be. Like every movement, everything in my sight, all of it was working together in perfect concert. I felt a wave of peace sweep over me.

Tonight in yoga, I lay in supported reclining bound angle pose, with blankets under my legs. "In this way," the teacher instructed, "your muscles can relax because you are fully supported."

Being supported, physically, emotionally, spiritually, reminds me that the world is working with me and not against me. Those moments remind me that feelings of being unsupported, alone and vulnerable are based upon past disappointments or future worries. I can only feel supported when I bring my awareness to the many ways that I already am. Then, I can let go, breathe easy, smile more.

I can't lie. It doesn't work for me all of the time. I am at least aware that when it is not working, its because I'm choosing to be resistant to it.

I love those moments when I feel as if time has stopped and the external situation isn't controlling my feelings. I love those moments when I am simply allowing *what is* to be. I know then that I will be OK.

I always am.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Weekend started early

My ex-husband took the kids this afternoon. Their schools were closed and I worked from home. Except that I didn't get much work done because I had both kids home with me.

It snowed the biggest snowstorm that Dallas has ever seen. Or, ok, I think the news said it was the largest amount of snow we've received in 35 years or something?! So, instead of working, the girls and I did this:

 


And there was so much snow:

 

That we kept playing until we came up with this:

  

Then, because we're really silly around here, we decided to give the snow girl boobies:

 

And Rose added what was supposed to be pony tails but instead looked like horns:


So, in effect, I guess we created a horny, Mardi Gras snow girl with boobs.

Wow. I am corrupting my children.

We had a blast though. I wouldn't trade a day like this for anything.

***

I'm without kids or my man this weekend. Yes, even on Valentine's Day. I did purchase some king crab legs (my favorite - and such a rare treat!) to have for dinner. I figured I'd build a fire, enjoy my dinner in front of a chick flick on my couch, have some wine, a nice dessert, a hot bath and then boom chicka bow-wow... I'd get it on with my chillaxed self.

Heh.

That's not too different from any other weekend.

Are any of you making this weekend different than usual? Plans? Favorite dinner? Chocolate?

Mmmmm.... chocolate.....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The "M" word and my little overthinker

Before Gentleman Jack and I went on our trip to Mexico, I told my daughters about our planned trip at dinner one night. Rose began to sulk.

T: What's wrong baby? Are you mad because you want to go to Mexico too?

Rose: No. I'm mad because I know what's going to happen while you're on your trip.

T: Um... what? What do you think is going to happen?

R: You're going to get married.

I have *no idea* where she got that idea. I assured her that no, in fact, we weren't getting married. Then I was curious. What was so bad about the idea of us getting married?

R: You love (Gentleman Jack) more than Daddy.

T: Oh baby, I loved your daddy with all that I had. I still love him but differently now than I did then.

R: I don't want another daddy.

T: (GJ) has no intention of being your daddy. You already have a daddy and he will always be your daddy - whether I get remarried or not.

Then over this past weekend, she watched as Gentleman Jack and I held each other. She observed our snuggles on the couch or little kisses in passing. At one point, when we were outside on the Mardi Gras parade route, I was snuggled up in his arms and coat because it was so cold outside.

She eyed us, up and down, pointed at us and announced, "I want that. I want some of THAT!"

Startled, we both giggled at her and invited her into the snuggle too. But still, she kept repeating... "I want some of that!"

What did she mean? She wanted the affection? She wanted love like that? She wanted me like that?

The next day, she decided to mention the "m" word again:

R: Mommy, I don't want you to marry (Gentleman Jack).

T: Baby, we're not getting married right now. Why are you worrying about something that hasn't happened yet?

During this conversation, Grace chimed in with, "I do! I love him! I want to stay here forever!" Grace also made a Valentine for him professing that she loved him. She adores him and was stuck to him most of the weekend. Rose was too, ironically. They both seem to have fun with him and like the way he is with all of us.

R: I like him. But I don't want another daddy. And you love him more than you love me.

T: Oh honey, I love him differently than I love you. I don't love him more. And he's not going to be your daddy.

R: But I don't want him telling me what to do.

T: Well, he's a grown up. And grown ups will tell you what to do. I don't know what else to tell you about that.

Otherwise, she enjoyed herself. She enjoyed the trip. She enjoyed playing with GJ's sons. She enjoyed the wrestling and cuddling with all of us.

Sadly, I think my poor baby is an overthinker like her mommy. Thankfully, she feels comfortable enough to talk to me about it.

I hope I'm giving her all the reassurance she needs. But now, a part of me is wondering if I'm giving her all of the attention she needs. I stay busy, continuously, when they're around me. I can't sit at the table for a moment without getting up for something. Then there's laundry. (Ugh...neverending!)

I'm outnumbered - by children and by tasks. Even when I snuggle up with one, the other one wants more of me. Soon, I'm covered in arms and legs and I can't breathe.

When I'm with my Gentleman, I stop, I relax, I allow him to do for me. Maybe she senses that. Maybe that is the THAT she's wanting more of.

I sure am trying baby girl...


Thank you to Little Mama for inspiring this post and asking the important questions about when to introduce your significant other to your kids.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Plan

When my ex-husband and I were dating, he gave me a detailed plan of what he expected to happen in his life. He wanted the following items to occur, in this particular order:

1) A new job
2) A new vehicle
3) To buy a house
4) To marry me

I don't recall how I felt upon hearing the list of items.... though I'm fairly certain that I was thrilled to hear the last item.

When Soldier was preparing to return from Iraq, he laid out a similar plan. He wanted to transfer to a job in the Dallas area, purchase his brother's house here in town and continue dating me. The job fell through and the relationship did too.

I recognize that there are different love languages however, in my experience, this "planning" seems common among the men I've dated.

I recall when my ex-husband was laid off from work for 3 months. He felt useless and pulled away from me.

My friend J, who is retired, goes through bouts of depression because he doesn't feel like he's "contributing to society."

Gentleman Jack, with all of his gentlemanly ways, gets frustrated when he cannot "provide" for me. I gently remind him that I've been taking care of myself for quite a while now.

I suppose this is part of the "allowing" in a relationship. My guess is that it must be an inherent part of a man's instinct and upbringing to be the provider (a.k.a. the "hunter"). I love allowing a man to be the man, however, at what point does a man allow a woman to help too?

I understand that men are traditionally known as the "fixers" when a woman needs to vent. Guess what? We don't like to see you guys struggle either. Are we supposed to listen and cheer on and empower?

What is our role, as the women who love these men?

Is this the same as the old stereotype of men who never ask for directions?

Do men generally define themselves by what they can provide?

Help me out here guys!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mardi Gras/Saints Weekend in Pics

Too tired for words tonight so I'll keep it short and let the pictures do the talking...


This was our Mardi Gras setup along the parade route. These spaces were available for rent and people were setting up tents, grills and fire pits days before. Good thing because it was COLD. We arrived at our site at 3:15 and didn't leave until 10 p.m. that night.

  

Our host made the most fantastic red beans and rice I have ever tasted. He filled us up with this concoction of pork tenderloin, andouille, deer, polish and other kinds of sausages. Grace tried deer sausage and declared, "I like deer."

  

More of the munchies inside the tent. There was also a playground and duck pond behind the tent. The kids had a blast.

  

We were at the end of the parade route so the parade didn't arrive til it was dark. There were lots of great floats, a TON of beads and cups representative of each float. Watch out that you didn't get knocked about by flying cups or the people fighting to get one!

 


 

  

Rose stood in the back of a truck with other kids, grabbing beads as they flew overhead. Grace decided to fish for beads below... She scavenged them as they landed at the feet of all the grownups. I'm still surprised she didn't get stepped on. She hit the mother lode of beads on the ground.

  

  

  

Anybody want some beads?



The next day, Gentleman Jack and I hosted a SuperBowl party at his place. I made these special "Who Dat?" brownies for the party. And can you believe it? We won the SuperBowl.

I'm still soaking that one in....

 

 
photo from here

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dream. Don't worry about the details.

This was in my email inbox this morning:

"First, T, completely forget about who, how, and when. Then, decide only upon what you want, the end result, with as much clarity as possible. I'll shuffle the deck, the magic show will begin, and jokers won't be all that are wild."
~ Notes from the Universe

Back in September, I challenged myself and you to do a vision board. Did you ever do yours?

I didn't.

I liked this message. I do seem to get stuck on the who, how and when. I know, intellectually, that I can get stuck due to fear.

If I'm at point A and I really want to get to point C, EEK! I can't imagine how it could happen. It appears impossible.

But what I forget are the in-between points: A.1, A.2, A.3... B, B.1... etc.

I'm gonna work on this - even if I do so in writing - and try to let go of the details.

I choose love.

I choose peace.

I choose joy.

I choose balance.

I choose contentment.

I choose appreciation.

I choose ease.

I choose smiles, hugs and support.


I am grateful. I am happy.

Now to dream even bigger!

What did/would you put on your vision board?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

 
photo by sfmission.com


I'm so focused on this weekend that I cannot see straight. My girls and I are heading back to Louisiana Friday night. Gentleman Jack will have his boys too. We'll spend Saturday visiting family and preparing for our first Mardi Gras parade of the season Saturday afternoon/evening. Sunday evening is the SuperBowl.

I am DYING. I am SO ready to play. I can't stand it. I want to go NOW!!!

---



The parade we'll be attending on Saturday is for the Krewe of Centaur.

For those of you not familiar with Mardi Gras speak, a "krewe" is a group of people that put on a parade during the Mardi Gras season.

I grew up attending Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans as a child. I remember fighting for doubloons and beads. I remember strolling the Quarter with my grandparents. I've never been to a New Orleans Mardi Gras as an adult. I don't remember that we had Mardi Gras parades in my hometown until long after I'd moved to Dallas.



Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday". Fat Tuesday is literally the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday - a Catholic holiday that begins the Lent season. During Lent, a Christian is supposed to "give up" or sacrifice something. (Many people give up sweets or alcohol.) Lent is representative of Jesus' 40 days of temptation in the desert (where he was tempted by Satan) and is followed by Easter.

The Mardi Gras or Carnival season that precedes Lent is a time of celebration, parties, gluttony and fun. Carnival is celebrated all over the world. The most famous Carnival celebration is in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (I will get there one day!)


---

Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?




I've had several people ask me lately what the term "Who Dat?!" means. Spoken in the Cajun dialect, its translation is "Who is that saying they are going to beat the Saints?" which sounds hilarious to say with a straight face. You have to say it with passion and a carefree attitude. As a LONG suffering Saints fan, we've been waiting years to say this phrase and mean it.

I am beyond excited about the Saints in the SuperBowl. I would love for them to win but hey, just the fact that they made it there... for the first time EVER... is enough to make this Louisiana girl thrilled!




Gentleman Jack and I are throwing a small gathering at his house complete with venison chili, queso and other football snacks. We'll also have a King Cake filled with cream cheese and topped with sugar colored in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of gold, purple and green. I'm bringing a pan of homemade brownies topped with a powdered sugar fleur di lis.


---

I am ready to let the good times roll! Laissez les bon temps rouler!

I'm also ready to be completely gluttonous with food, fun and lots of sex! (Its been 3 weeks people!) All in the spirit of the season, of course.

So, in honor of my trip back home this weekend, I leave you with this. With the recent controversy regarding the origins and ownership of the phrase "Who Dat", I present to you a video featuring New Orleans' own Aaron Neville singing "When the Saints Go Marching In" and chanting Who Dat from 1983.




Geaux Saints!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

That little girl is ME

Yesterday, I read a beautiful post written by Student Mama. In the comments, she credited me for "calling out" the feeling she portrayed in the post.

I was honored and inspired. The post was exactly what I needed to hear!

(Don't you just love blogging for that reason?)

In the post, she wrote about her inner child - the "scared little girl" who believes she's "not good enough". I've explored this side of myself many times on the blog. I've learned that I should embrace this little girl, remind her that she is loved, that she is good enough, that everything is going to be OK.

I can do that on most days. When she fully takes over, however, I become angry at her for letting everyone down, including me! I tell her that I expect more of her. I am impatient and want to punish her for this lack of self-love by hiding her away and denying her the very love she is asking for!

It sounds pretty vicious but yes, I do that to myself.

And unfortunately, sometimes, I feel these same feelings about the little girl that is SO very much like my own inner child: my daughter Rose

***

Rose is a spiritual, intuitive, very intelligent girl. She is empathetic, loving, shy, expressive and feels with amazing depth. She is strong and secure but the little girl lost shows up at times too.

She is me.


Most of the time, if she is having a bad day and I am feeling connected, I can handle the insecure little girl. I can hold her, tell her that she is not all of these negative things she feels with such emotion. I can remind her that she is human, no one expects her to be perfect, she will make mistakes and still be forgiven. She is always loved no matter what she does.

Other times, when my own "inner little girl" is pouting, I don't handle her very well. I do get angry. I do hold her to a higher standard. I do feel disappointed. I do notice myself pulling back from her so that she gets the message that she's let me down.

Its awful. I hate it. I don't want to do that to her. I especially hate it when I see her do it to herself.

Lately, when she's gotten in trouble, she immediately goes to a dark place...

"Mommy, I am the worst kid ever!"

The other day, she was grounded from talking too much at school. She was so distraught that she was begging to be released from her "prison". Because of her shyness and fear of rejection however, she chose to write down her thoughts on paper and have her little sister deliver it to me. The note said,

"I would do anything to be ungrounded.
Signed
The Worst One"

I couldn't help but laugh at her dramatic representation of herself as "the worst one". She didn't appreciate that I found her begging for forgiveness so humorous. I hugged her, told her that she was in no way the "worst" of anything, and then told her that she was still grounded.

I guess I worry about her and her self-esteem. I want to give love and security to her as a child NOW so that later, her "inner child" will be stronger, healthier, more gentle to herself..

Is that even possible?

I do my best to be a great mother to her. Oftentimes, I treat her the way my father treated me - like I could never do anything right. I am aware of it and try to reassure her that I, too, am not mistake-proof. I, too, could be wrong. I let her know if I am feeling off in some way and simply cannot offer a soft place to land on those days. She hears me, loves me and we seem to be OK. I certainly hope so.

I pray that I offer both of my children more "connected" days and less of the other.

I've found that conscious connection makes me a better mother - to myself and my daughters.

The more introspective I become about all of my relationships, the more I realize that One relationship I need to nurture the most.

My Spirit waits patiently as I struggle in my own tantrums sometimes. I'm happy that when I finally choose peace, I always have a soft place to land and that ultimately, I can offer the same to my girls.



"The search for love is but the honest searching out of everything that interferes with love."
~ A Course in Miracles

"You have so little faith in yourself because you are unwilling to accept the fact that perfect love is in you, and so you seek without for what you cannot find within."
~ A Course in Miracles

Monday, February 1, 2010

Conscious Connection


Currently, two of the people in the small group where Gentleman Jack works are going through marital difficulties. One, actually, recently completed a divorce. Unfortunately, when you work that closely with people, you do notice when their personal lives are affecting them. It tends to bleed into their attitudes.

When we went out a few weekends ago, we ran into a couple that Gentleman Jack knows and decided to have dinner with them. The couple watched as my Gentleman and I, naturally affectionate with each other, relished in our time together. Soon, after more alcohol was consumed, this couple began to tell us how they resented our affection, how that "used to be" them. We made a quick exit and let them fight it out.

We've both been hit with a deluge of relationship negativity lately. We each become worried, even fearful, that one day, that could be us.

Ah the past relationship fears that surface...

"I can see it," he explains, "I can tell that the problems they describe in their marriages or relationships run so much deeper than the trivial things they complain about."

Its true. I think many of us divorced parents can relate that our problems were nothing more than symptoms of a real, much deeper problem. More than likely, that problem was disconnect.

***

Gentleman Jack and I do our best to choose each other daily.

If there is the slightest disconnect felt by either of us, the other one immediately steps in to bridge the gap. It is a choice, a daily choice, to continue to remain connected to each other. I think in marriages, we tend to go complacent - we assume that cohabitation or obligation is connection enough. It isn't though. It has to be a conscious connection.

He continued, "But baby, we have it good. We can always go back to who we are. We don't live together or anywhere near each other. I can still do my thing and you can do yours. We don't take our connection for granted because we still have our own lives to lead. Would we still do that if we were together daily?"

I can't answer that but I do know that part of that conscious connection is spiritual.

Both of us have to go back to ourselves and our respective churches.

I don't mean a physical place of worship, as in organized religion. Then again for some, maybe it is. I can name many places where I feel connected to God or Spirit - yoga class, on my bike, in my A Course in Miracles study group, in water. In GJ's case, his church is a duck blind or in his boat with a fishing pole or lifting weights at the gym or on a golf course.

Maybe neither of us is conscious that we're connecting to God but we're consciously connecting to our Selves. In those moments, we are not thinking or attempting to control. We are simply allowing ourSelves to be.

Controlling = fear
Allowing = faith

In that allowing, all the noise of the brain (or monkey mind) is silenced. That is when inspiration is actually heard. That is when the body is nothing but a tool; the brain is nothing but quiet; we're simply IN THE MOMENT.

Those moments in our "churches" fill us back up. Those moments bring clarity and peace. Those moments remind each of us WHO WE REALLY ARE. When we get back to that, we're willing to reconnect with that significant other that we love.

***

I believe it is the spiritual connection that drives every other connection in my life. I try to remember this simple rule:

Connect vertically first. Then connect horizontally.

Connect with Spirit first. Then connect with everyone else.

It is a constant practice. Sometimes I find it difficult to remember to connect with Spirit. I can feel it. When I ignore mySelf for too long, I feel disconnected from everyone, including my Gentleman. Those moments remind me, sometimes not so gently, of where my strength lies.

I'm hoping that Gentleman Jack and I continue to choose something other than what happened to us in our past relationships. I hope that we continue to choose something other than what is happening with others in our lives. Day by day, as long as it feels right, I hope we continue to choose each other.

Because neither of us know what's going happen, that's the only thing we can do.


"Relationships--of all kinds--are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto some of it, but most will be spilled."
~ Anonymous