Taking stock in 2011

I’m still sick. Remember in the comments of a recent post when I told El Guapo that I didn’t get grouchy…. I lied. I do. And as of yesterday I hit the grouchy point. Tired, voiceless, coughing, whiny, forced to be couch-ridden… I hate it. Being forced to stay home makes me feel totally useless.

It’s official: I have bronchitis. I also have laryngitis. I also have a sinus infection. I also fell off the exam table *in* the doctor’s office and sprained my wrist. Yup… Life is pretty damn fantastic. So I took the day off work (against my will… although I did work for two hours BEFORE the appointment at the doctor). Went to get my meds filled. Bought way too much to eat because I just wanted to feel better. Went home. Ate the aforementioned food (which included, but isn’t limited to: tomato bisque, grilled two-cheese sandwich, cupcake, hot cocoa, snowman shaped marshmallows) (oh…and a rib roast….but the rib roast is for later). Made my cocoa, in my favorite cup, with the snowman accompaniment. It was fantastic. The best part of yesterday. Almost. I was alone at home, but I had good company. That was the highlight of the day.

Tasty Cocoa

Hot Cocoa in the BEST cup! Ever. Ever in the history of ever.

Slept. Slept. Slept. Watched Ally McBeal. Slept. Woke up today, still felt bad, couldn’t speak. “Called” in (it was a pathetic conversation). Slept. Watched Ally McBeal (Season 2!!). Slept. Heard this quote and it moved me to write this post.

“If you think back, and replay your year – if it doesn’t bring you tears of joy or sadness, consider the year wasted.” ~John “the Biscuit” Cage

I looked back at my 2011. Yeah. There are tears. Some joy. Some sadness. I couldn’t tell you the mixture… I don’t even know that I would want to know if it was 50/50. 30/70. 80/20. It wouldn’t matter anyway. Instead, I’ll tell you it’s been a phenomenal year. For good reasons and for not so good reasons. I want to summarize the year by telling you what I’ve learned, in no particular order.

  • We teach people how we want to be treated. As I was telling my BFF, yesterday, I’ve known that for a long time. But I didn’t learn it until this year.
  • Work is what we do, but it isn’t who we are. Being who we are is who we are. That may seem redundant. But it’s not. Trust me. If you are nodding your head, you get it.
  • I am full of very many talents. I still haven’t decided how to use them in a way that pays the bills and makes me happy. I’m not sure if there’s a way.
  • Patience is a virtue. It’s a virtue I suck at. I don’t know that I’ll ever change that.
  • Love is thrilling. It’s also destructive. If you don’t love yourself enough, you’ll never know when you cross the line between the two.
  • I wanted to learn to raise one eyebrow at a time by the end of the year. I think it adds character. I haven’t learned that.
  • I did learn how to move my ears when I smile. When I smile a genuine smile, my ears move. *That* adds character.

    If you could see yourself, just for a day, you'd see how everyone else sees you. And my God, you are fucking beautiful.

    My BFF is *awesome*!

  • My loved ones know my heart. And today I got this in the mail from BFF#1 and it brought me to tears. “If you could see yourself, just for a day, you’d see how everyone else sees you. And my God, you are fucking beautiful.”
  • There are angels all around us. Open your eyes to them and they can help guide you.
  • I don’t always know best. I need to do a better job of considering the advice that my loved ones offer. They have a better view of what’s happening, sometimes.

Finally….a biggie:

  • I will be okay. Despite the struggle, the good days will return more often. The bad days will come around less. And I will survive. Because I’m good at that.

Next week I’ll do a review of my resolutions for 2011. And then make the 2012 goals. I’m really excited about that. But it was worth taking stock of this year before I did that.

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Why it’s fun to make my kid cry

To start, I’m still sick.  I’m beginning to suspect bronchitis.  BFF #1 has it, and it’s possible that I got the bug from her before she knew she had it.  I got a little better for a couple of days, but I feel worse than I did before, now.  Plus, no voice, again.  I did, however, make it to the Christmas party in my bad-ass steel-gray dress (because I was so freakin’ medicated that I could have bled pseudoephedrine).  And I looked good.  So there’s that.  Yay.  Today?  Sucking.  Whatever.  It’ll pass soon enough.

With Christmas rapidly approaching (I really should put the Christmas Tree up already), I was thinking about some of our holiday traditions and how they came about.  Here they are, in no particular order (plus the reason why we do it):

  • Frozen Pizza on Christmas Eve
    We started doing this after many years of Christmas Eve dinner with my in-laws.  They are very nice and well-meaning, but their food is gross.  Not even kidding, none of us ever really enjoyed the meal.  So, one night after the meal, we stopped at a grocery store and picked up a frozen pizza for each of us.  Later that night, we realized that we loved it because each of us got what we wanted (I am a veggie pizza girl, the kiddo likes cheese, and the hubs loves meat).
  • No family on Christmas Day
    It’s just a rule.  Keeps me from murdering them.
  • Chinese Food on Christmas Day
    One year we were so broke that we took the Christmas money we got from the In-Laws and went to the cheapest chinese food restaurant that was open so we had at least something to eat on Christmas Day.  The next year, we did it for fun.  Now we do it for tradition.

Lastly, one of the biggest traditions is one that will make me laugh forever: torturing my daughter with Dora the Explorer.

Dora the Explorer / Courtesy Nickelodeon

Christmas Dora / Nickelodeon

When my daughter (now 16 and a half years old) was only 7, we would put Dora the Explorer on TV and tease her by saying we knew how much she loved it.  She would get all haughty and stomp out of the room.  All of the sudden, we had an instant child remover!  We could put it on, at any time, and she would run out of the room.  (For the record, we’ve probably watched most of the episodes of Dora.  It works to this day!)  Because of this strong aversion, I started buying cheap Dora-themed items and giving them to her for random holidays.  Christmas, Birthdays, even Easter, once.

When she was 9, I started harping on the Dora thing about two weeks before the holiday.  By December 22nd, I had her convinced that not only did *we* get her Dora stuff, but so did her Papa.  On the 23rd, everything came to a head.

Her: So… when will be taking the presents back so I can get the stuff I want.
Me: *gasp* (giving her a stern look) Not until after Christmas!  There’s no time now!  And there’s like, 4 feet of snow on the ground.  I’m not going to tell Papa to go to the store now!
Her: Mom! (and she gets really upset now)  But it’s all Dora stuff!
Me:  I don’t care.  You need to be gracious, even if you don’t like it!  You don’t want to hurt his feelings do you?
Her: (crying now)  But…mom?
Me: Knock it off.  Be graceful, not a spoiled brat!

I know… I’m cruel.  She left the room bawling and I was giggling.  The hubs scolded me and told me that I was being mean.  So I ended up going into her room and calming her down and telling her I was kidding and Papa didn’t get her Dora stuff.  She settled down and I was bummed because I was really enjoying myself.  I get it though.  It’s not nice to scar the child.

She learned a few things, though.  She learned that no matter what, she should be gracious about gifts.  Even when it’s not the thing she wants, it’s the thought that counts.  We used to have a little trouble with her, when she was young, with being kind and polite in challenging circumstances.  One thing I won’t ever tolerate is a spoiled child, so this taught her something.

I did get the last laugh, though.  The very first gift she opened on Christmas Day?  Dora Bubble Bath.  Yeah…her facial expression was priceless. I winked, and she got the joke.  But ever since then, we have that.  I told her that I’ll give her Dora panties when she gets married.  And the great thing is she knows I will.

That’s love.

Cardboard People

I want to first apologize for being overly chatty. My annual bout with laryngitis has begun and already I’m feeling the sting of not being able to communicate freely. Not being able to talk is a fate worse than death, as far as I’m concerned. I can’t speak. I can’t laugh. I can’t sing. It all sucks. I jokingly say that getting laryngitis is God’s way of telling me to shut up and listen. And so I will….later. But this is my forum and dammit! I’ll use it to send smoke signals to the rest of the world, since I can’t talk. 🙂

Today’s random thought is about the behavior of people, and the masks we wear. Now, I get the whole “time and place” thing. We can’t (and shouldn’t) just say what ever is on our mind when ever we think it. I’m talking about something deeper. Something that defines our character. I’m talking about who we are, on the inside.

We all know that one person. That person who talks a big game but, in reality, is totally different. When they’re in groups they behave one way, and in private they are totally different. These people tend to be “boogie men” that walk around in the daylight.
(I say boogie men, but clearly I’m not only referring to men. Don’t leave me hater comments about how women are boogies, too. Trust me, I’m very well aware. It just sounds silly to say “boogie people” and I don’t care all that much about being PC.)
These are the people who you hear others talk about and think, “Really? He seemed so nice…” and you’re left with a distorted image of him because you’re not sure what to believe.

I see right through those facades, normally. I suppose it isn’t that I see it, with my eyes. I feel it. Something about that person just rubs me the wrong way. And I’ll try to work through it, but ultimately I find that they are just not nice people.

They’re shape shifters. They take on the appearance of their personality to suit the people near them. When someone else joins in, they change again. They are the personality equivalent of cardboard – shallow.

And when people are like this, it’s the very worst. They play games with other people. They pretend to be kind and nice and as soon as

Cardboard

If you have the depth of cardboard, you're useless

the doors are closed, they are horrible and rotten. Their dysfunction leads to other dysfunction. People who love them might make the excuse, “It’s not like that all the time” or “He just had a really bad day” or “She didn’t mean it. She was just upset.” Yeah… I don’t buy it.

Listen, I get that we all behave somewhat differently within the constraints of social situations. Obviously, when I’m at my daughter’s school, I’m not going to swear like a sailor. Conversely, when I’m at the bar with friends, I’m not going to be demure. I am, however, totally, 100% the same person, no matter what. The person whose thoughts you’re reading now would be the same person you’d hear in real life.

The really messed up part about cardboard people is that because they absorb whatever is around them, they never assume the blame. It’s always someone else’s fault. They deflect and avoid responsibility because they never fully see that their behavior is a choice. And the people who love them are left carrying the blame….not understanding what they did wrong. It’s upsetting.

No single person is perfect. No one. But I value imperfection. I value growth. I value independence and individuality. I don’t want to keep up with “the Jones'”…hell – I don’t even know any damn Jones’. But overall, I value my ability to think and choose for myself, without being a bitch, and without making other people responsible for my choices. I am who I am because I am willing to make mistakes, learn from them, grow, change, cry, laugh, feel, adapt, think, love…..I am willing to live out loud.

And this… this is the quote of the day from my favorite musical of all time: Evita (secretly, I long to play Eva Peron on stage someday)

“Better to win by admitting my sin than to lose with a halo.” ~Eva Peron

In other words… I’d rather people hate me for who I really am than to love me for someone I’m not. I feel sorry for anyone who feels differently.