Thursday, September 27, 2012

Searching for center

I have been searching for my center for a while now. The search probably started somewhere in the middle of Wyoming on a 15+ mile training walk (one thinks of lots of strange things while walking alone for hours) in 2009, continued through my diabetes diagnosis, some inexplicable losses, a deliberate resetting time at Brave Girl Camp and a few more months of deciding that there is work yet to be done.

I have spent the last few months simplifying and cutting back and resting. I have discovered that this behavior doesn't make sense to some people. They think I have abandoned them, and I suppose that, in a way, I have. The results of that have sucked - some of them have lashed out or wished me ill. I actually understand this behavior, as anger is my own default when I feel wronged or attacked. I often say and do things I am seriously sorry for later. My retreat has made perfect sense to other people - many of them who have been on a similar journey of their own -  and they have encouraged me and embraced me and loved me.

I am still working on stepping away from the carnival and into the peace. I am working on protecting myself and not apologizing for doing so. I am trying to reconcile the idea that sometimes I do not have to have a logical reason or an explanation for everything I do - sometimes a feeling is reason enough. I am working on being a kinder and gentler soul - allowing others to be who they are without responding with criticism or anger.

I am working to figure out what I can handle as far as commitments and relationships and hobbies. It seems like such a simple idea, but it is one of my biggest challenges. I get over-scheduled and overwhelmed and find that it is difficult for me to enjoy much of anything as I rush through my days, getting more and more aggravated as each hour passes.

What a long and arduous journey it is, yet I am so thankful to be on the journey every single day.

I really look forward to figuring it all out. And to the resulting book deal allows me to buy a fabulous house on the beach.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

From the mouths of babes

This is the prayer the kids' Sunday School class wrote this summer. It made me chuckle. Grant wouldn't fess up to any participation in any of the lines - he maintains that he just colored (which I am not buying since he is about as quiet as his mother!).

How's it going?
We will worship you every day!
Thank you for games and food and gifts.
I made my sister cry.
I'm sorry!
Keep us safe .

Well, it's back to just the two of us at home during the day. He misses having his sister home every day to play with, but it isn't long before he is off to preschool himself. And KINDERGARTEN next year!?!?! But we are not going to think about that just yet.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Another Milestone

Bryn started middle school today. Since middle school starts in 5th grade here, I realize that she is technically not REALLY middle school age, but still. Time flies.


We sent her out the door and she never looked back. Sniff. That is my forward looking, independent kid, I guess.

Reports from her first day were good. I decided to go into this year without gathering much info about the specific teachers or the administration to avoid any preconceived notions. So far, things are going smoothly. Now to get through day 2.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Enough Chicken

Ya know...I don't even really like chicken much anyway. I would much rather have a big, juicy sirloin or a burger or even a little minute steak. And I could eat crab legs or shrimp or oysters all day long. But chicken? Meh. I have struggled for years to find a way to cook chicken that gets me all excited right down to my intestinal core. Hasn't happened.

I guess it is just as well since I have evidently been forced into making a decision about whether or not I am going to boycott Chick-Fil-A because of the owners opinion on the "traditional family" and where he donated portions of the monies dished out from chicken lovers the world over.

I don't have a terribly long blog in me on this particular subject. I have read many blogs that did a far better job of summing up both sides of the "argument". And while I do believe that Dan Cathy can say and believe whatever he wants about whatever he wants to, I also believe that he donates to organizations that oppose equal rights for homosexuals. I find it offensive that he donates to these groups, just as I would find it offensive if he donated to groups that support dog-fighting or segregation in schools. I believe that homosexuals and dogs and black people (among others) should be treated with dignity and respect. And I believe that if you publicly state an opinion that people find objectionable, they have a right to say they think you are an idiot (and boycott your business). Is that nice? Probably not. Should one use pleasant words and simply say they disagree with your opinion and smile and move on. Probably. But that isn't the way the world generally works. People tend to become hateful and irrational and emotional when they feel attacked or offended. Is that ideal? No. But it is reality - and we all know it. So if you choose NOT to shut your mouth, you run the risk of this reality occurring. I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

So will I be eating at Chick-Fil-A anytime soon? No. Because just as Dan Cathy has a right to donate his money and efforts to what he believes in, I have the right to keep my pennies from going where I wouldn't normally put them.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Now I remember...

why I haven't been blogging much. I don't feel like I have very much to say. Surprisingly enough, I have been relatively mellow lately. I haven't gotten worked up over politics or stupid people or the fact that Kansas resembles a ring of hell complete with dead, brown grass and temperatures that make crying about them pretty pointless as the tears evaporate as soon as they are squeezed from the tear ducts. Although I am a little put out by the fact that I currently have no running water - it seems that Tonganoxie has been having a hard time keeping the water pipes together lately.

I did want to mention, though, that today marks Aaron's and my 13 year anniversary. If I weren't feeling so lazy, I would scan a nice wedding photo. We had the best wedding and reception ever (and I am TOTALLY unbiased). Aaron is still a wonderful husband, father, provider and garbage taker-outer. He puts up with a lot of craziness from me, and I am so happy that 13 years later, he hasn't run screaming into the night. Well, except for that one time. But he came back.

Anyway, Bryn tells me we have running water again. Time to go flush the toilets and rinse the breakfast dishes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hello Again!

It has come to my attention that there are actually a few people who stop in here to read and they have wondered where I have gone (thank you all 3 of you loyal readers!). The problem when I stay away so long is the need I feel to recap all of the events I have missed blogging about. So here it goes... We muddled through the spring and early summer. Here are some of the highlights...
  • We celebrated the kids birthdays (10 and 4 - wow) 
  • Bryn finished 4th grade
  • Grant had his last day of Parent's Day Out (onto preschool next year)
  • Bryn and I took a Spring Break trip to St. Louis on the train with Riley and Victoria
  • The Hunger Games move finally came out 
  • Bryn played soccer and took a theater class at the Arts Center
  • Grant played blastball (a fast paced and kind of hilarious form of t-ball)
  • I went to Vegas with Krista and got a tattoo ( was only a temporary one. I still can't commit to a real one) 
  • I finished my tenure as Library Board president - yippee! Now I am treasurer...
  • All of us visited Idaho and I went to Brave Girls Camp (more on that later, most likely) 
  • I survived another year of VBS. Probably more importantly, all of the kids survived another year of me at VBS 
  • All of the grandparents came for a visit (not all at the same time, although even that might work as they are all pretty well behaved!) 
  • We took a family canoe trip with friends 
  • Bryn went to Animal Camp for a week 
  • Aaron and I went on an adult canoe trip with friends and laughed our asses off all weekend. Actually, we laughed a lot but none of my ass disappeared in the process, unfortunately.
  • I bought a guitar that I have no idea how to play.
As always, when I list our goings-on, I feel like it is way too short a list to be taking up so much time in my life. That being said, I have been working hard to simplify my life and quit living at such a frenetic pace. Some days are more successful than others in that regard, but I figure it gives me a goal to keep working on. Or something. At any rate, dear readers, I am back...frenetic and crazy and always full of opinions.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Nap, interrupted

Despite the fact that their are some bigger, more unpleasant things I could be complaining about, I decided to hone in on something that is really just a slight blip on the radar.

My nap (which I had high hopes for as a cure for this nagging cold and cough I have acquired) was interrupted today by a phone call from a local man who seems to be quite convinced I am trying to steal his identity and rob him blind. Evidently not satisfied by the fact that I have already talked to the bank 3 times, his wife 3 times, two different vendors AND had money immediately transferred from my account to his as soon as I was made aware of the problem, he had to call just to throw in some condescension and unasked for advice on personal banking matters. Awesome.

Now in all fairness, the man involved in this bank issue has reasonable evidence to suggest that I am indeed trying to use his debit card number. Since he does not know me, he obviously cannot know what a lovely and honest human being I am (no laughing, please. It is my blog and I have a right to my delusions). But trust me when I say that if I did ever decide to go into a life of crime, I am going to take off with A LOT more than $26 and some change. And I probably am not going to call you back and straighten things out in less than 15 minutes of being notified there is an issue. All of that aside, I understand you being upset that there is a problem. But once it has been resolved, please LEAVE ME ALONE! Phone calls to my home to say things like "do you not look at your card when you type the number when you order things online?" and "I know you have already taken care of this, but I thought *I* might just need to get involved" are not only annoying, but kind of offensive.

I know there are bigger things to worry about...Death, cancer, rocky relationships, the fact that Grant's teacher just called to tell me there is a case of head lice in his class. But complaining about a small blip makes me feel better. Now I am off to wash some bedding and check noggins for parasites.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Goodbye, Grandpa

When you make it to 38 years old with all of your genetically related grandparents still living, you begin to think that maybe they are going get the better of this death thing after all. But as was stated at a funeral I recently attended, death is coming for us all. Whether or not we want to admit it, and no matter how uncomfortable it is to talk about or think about, we are all going to end up there. Yesterday, after 92 years of living, death came for my grandpa, George "Ray" Hudson.

The child in me remembers my grandpa as the guy who rolled around on the floor and played horsey with the grandkids. He shucked endless ears of corn with us for family reunions, kicked the ball around the yard with us and taught us to draw (unfortunately, I never caught on despite the fact he was a talented artist). He took us to big buildings where we sat in big chairs and he taught us about politician-y things. He sent us to bed when it was time for the adults to have a beverage and talk about adult things. Many hours were spent whispering in rooms of that house in Hinsdale while the adults downstairs solved the world's problems.

The teenager in me remembers a generous man who had many opinions, many friends and was very active. He willingly went to dinner theaters and countless musicals when I went to visit. He loved to talk to people and always had a smile and a kind word for anyone he met. He went out for a daily walk and had a nightly drink. His driving was scary as hell and the late night lectures from he and my grandma regarding proper dating behavior were exasperating and out-dated. Dinner conversation had to include current events and the latest political developments and the nights often ended with a viewing of one of the many old movies out of the video collection.

The adult in me remembers my grandpa as a passionate politician (a little too conservative for my taste, but passionate nonetheless), a devoted Christian, a loving family man and a caring husband. As time claimed many of his physical abilities and most of his mind, he retained two things...his love for his wife and his sense of humor. He always knew where my grandma was sitting and never failed to recognize her voice, even when I don't think he knew who anyone else was, he knew my grandma. During my last visit there, we were talking about the ability to catnap. My dad mentioned that my grandpa was always able to catch some zzzzzzzzz's no matter where he was. A couple of minutes later, I looked over at my grandpa who was breathing heavily and unevenly (not a comforting thing to see). When I asked if he he was OK, he informed me he was trying to fake snore so he could pretend he was taking a catnap. He said he obviously needed some more practice.

My grandpa was guided by a very strong sense of right and wrong. I am betting that he, like everyone else I know, wished for a couple of "do-overs". But I think any of the decisions he made that may not have turned out the way he had hoped were a result of doing what he thought was right using the information he had at the time. What more can you ask for from a person, really?

My grandpa loved to sing- I can't hear Edelweiss without hearing his voice in my mind. He didn't like people going without shoes and more than once reprimanded me for being barefoot. He loved to take pictures and filled countless albums with pictures of he and my grandmas vacations. It would have been helpful if digital cameras came about a bit offense, Grandpa, but I don't think we will keep ALL of the sheep, cow and countryside pictures.

A speaker at the same recently attended funeral talked about "home"- that place that stirs that feeling in your heart when your eyes light on it after being away. I get that feeling when I cross over the Mississippi River bridge and head toward the Memphis skyline. I don't know the physical place that gave my grandpa that feeling. I never asked. But I know he had that feeling yesterday when he laid his eyes on heaven. Rest in peace, Grandpa. I know that the angels were there to welcome you home.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Of lice and nuns

Kind of like mice and men, no?

It is well past time for a blog update, but I just haven't had much to say. Actually, that is not true...I just haven't had much to say in public. Because despite the fact that I started this blog as my journal, ready to throw it all out here, there are still a few things I keep private. Shocking for those of you who know me in real life, I know...I tend to not keep much to myself. The long and the short of it is that I am still struggling with tidying up my relationship world and just can't seem to quite get there. There are some relationships I have held on to that I need to let go and some relationships that I have let slide that I need to hold on to. When I get it sorted out, I will be sure to post. Actually, I probably won't have to - my screams of joy and accomplishment will be heard the world over.

Anyway, back to lice and nuns...

A few weeks ago, we had our first encounter with head lice at the Reed house and if I never experience that again, it will be too soon. Bryn acquired the creepy crawlies somewhere, was duly mortified and is now lice free (knock on wood). I have learned more about the life cycle of lice than I wanted to know, exactly how hard it is to remove nits from hair and that Tonganoxie Elementary School is completely non-sensical when it comes to keeping the school lice free. On the bright side, I figure I am now a valuable community resource as I have become somewhat of a lice expert.

In January, I went on a "nun retreat" in Atchison, Kansas with a friend and had a fabulous time. I had some time for reflection, got to eat in a nun cafeteria, bonded with my friend, stayed in a cool Victorian house and got to experience Benedictine prayers (they sing. I did not know this). Said friend and I have already signed up for nun retreat, Round 2 in September...needless to say, it was relaxing and refreshing.

I also has a fabulous trip to Memphis with my friend Lisa. We were there for the funeral of Lisa's childhood friend's parents, but it was the most fun funeral trip I have ever had! I finally went to Graceland, ate some good food, saw friends and family, met some neat people and got to spend 16 hours in the car bonding with Lisa.

Christmas was great...nice and relaxing with Aaron's parents and brother at our house. Although I have a tough time staying still, it was really nice to have a slower paced holiday. Of course the kids were spoiled rotten, I got more presents than I needed and I ate too much. I love holidays.

I just got back from a trip to Chicago. I met dad there and we stayed with my grandparents and it was as nice a trip as I have had there in years. My Grandpa was more talkative and engaged than I have seen him in eons and my Grandma seemed to be feeling pretty good. She was playing Scrabble on her iPad when I left. I am thankful for the time with them and with my Dad - it was a truly lovely trip.

There are, of course, a million other little things both good and bad going on, but those are some of the highlights. Now back to's a new semester and the grading is piling up.