Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Direct Friends

Dear Direct Friend,

Thanks for standing up for me when I won't do it myself - or don't know about the situation and therefore can't. Thank you also for scolding me for not asking for help and trying to do everything on my own. Which leads to funny conversations with the boy like:

"C scolded me today for not asking for help." - Me
"Good. You need to ask for help." - DH
"Shut up... Yeah, I know." - Me

Your delivery can be a little harsh at times, but I know it's coming from a place of caring.

Thank you,

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Family is incredibly important to me. I have been blessed with a close-knit, without being overbearing, family and I am often reminded of just how amazing that it.

My Aunt Deb stayed with us this weekend before flying home to Illinois. She hung out at the Washington Square mall while I attended to my housecleaning job. When I called to tell her I had finished she told me she was sitting with Aunt Lou at the mall.

I live about a mile from my great-aunt, but they are always on the go and so are we so we have not gotten together since we moved here. We see each other at family functions and I often see their car driving down the road. It was so nice to sit and listen to my aunts talk about marriage, family, raising kids, etc. Things that I have very little knowledge on, but enjoy listening to.

As I was listening to the wisdom that comes with 80 years of life and nearly 60 years of marriage, I looked over at Aunt Deb and how intently she was listening to Aunt Lou. It suddenly struck me that there were three generations sitting at the table. My Aunt Deb who is my best friend and mentor, and her aunt who has been her mentor and is also my aunt. This is my family and even at 25, er, especially at 25, I still have so much to learn from them.

When Aunt Deb and I left we talked about how much wisdom Aunt Lou has and how helpful it is to hear advice on life and the situations we are in now from the perspective of someone 20, 30, 50 years removed from it. I told her how fitting it was for Aunt Lou to urge us to live "real" lives, have real discussions about thoughts and ideas, and to be honest with people about how we're feeling considering my current state. I also shared how I was completely overwhelmed to be sitting with my two aunts and all I have to learn from them. Aunt Deb replied, "Whenever I'm in those situations I think, 'This is my family. This is who I come from,' and how amazing that is."

I love my people. I am very much a family girl. I hope one day I can share this same experience with my Aunt Deb and my own, God willing, niece. I look forward to seeing the growth in myself, and my aunt 25 years from now.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Week 3: Favorite TV Show

Bones. Hands down. Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan, Agent Booth, and the Squints are welcome in my living room any time. The show is a good mix of science, investigation, humor, action, and a bit of romance.

(Granted, Bones suffered from the writer's strike a couple years ago with the axing of Zach, but I like to pretend that never happened since they've had some good interns since then... I'm still a little bitter, though.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Sore Muscles

Dear Sore Muscles,

Thanks for confirming I am being active. I know I whine a lot, but without the achy reminders I might give up the whole trying-to-be-athletic thing altogether. Jillian Michaels always says, "Pain is fear leaving the body. When it hurts the most that's when change is going to happen," and we don't want to make her out to be a liar now do we? No, we do not. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Week 2: Favorite Movie

I have been putting off this post. First off, I'm not much of a movie watcher and never have been. Which is ironic, because I wasn't much of a get-outside-and-do-stuff kid either. I'm not sure what I did - read and journal I guess - while my siblings watched A Goofy Movie, Superman series, and Dumbo on repeat.

So, I've been thinking long and hard. I usually give a pat answer to this - whatever pops into my head first: Hope Floats, Kate & Leopold, Blind Side, Gladiator, The Notebook, 50 First Dates, So I Married an Axe Murderer... the list goes on. Then someone says another movie and I say, "Oh yeah, I loved that movie!"

The movie that I've decided to list as my favorite feels like a cheat, because it's also a Broadway musical. EVITA with Madonna and Antonio Banderas gives me chills every time I watch it. I bought the full soundtrack so I can listen to it over and over. It's history, music, and complex relationships all in one.

After that, it's a long list of go-to movies: Aristocats, Bolt, Kung Fu Panda, and just about any Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts (except Notting Hill, yuck), Russell Crowe, or Sandra Bullock film. ;-)  

Friday, August 6, 2010

5 Question Friday: Wishing and Wanting

Mama M at My Little Life, hostess of 5 Question Friday, is roaming about the Black Hills, but is so dedicated the questions are up. Be sure to visit her and link up!

1. Are you a neat sleeper or a messy sleeper?

Traditionally, neat. The kitties always sleep next to me because I don't move. Due to recent events I haven't been sleeping well which has also resulted in a lot of thrashing around. I'm very much looking forward to being a neat sleeper again.

2. Fill in the blank. I wish I was more ________________.

Athletic. I'm getting better about pursuing athletic things, I just wish it wasn't so much work (both mentally and physically). ;-)

3. What is something that you wish you had been warned about?

How stressful being a Hood to Coast Team Captain would be! Who knew, right? 21 days and no more injuries, no more update e-mails, no more finding safety gear, no more managing. (This has been a great experience so far, I'm just kinda exhausted at this point. Ha.)

4. What was the best think you ever found at a garage sale/flea market? 

Ummm... I find cool stuff all the time, now I'm trying to remember one of those items. The sewing desk/cabinet my husband found me is one of my favorite new-to-me treasures. At some point (when my sewing corner is set up) I will post pictures. The awesomeness of the desk cannot be described in words. 

5. If you could have any meal brought to you right now, what would it be?

I've been drawing food blanks this week. Nothing sounds good. I've been hungry a lot lately from all the training, so I think I'm burnt out on eating. The thing about being burnt out on food is you still have to eat. Baked mussels are always a hit. Ooh, actually, now that the wheels are turning, the apple porkchop dish from Cheesecake Factory sounds divine right about now. 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Furbabies

Dear Claire,

We brought you home three years ago. I wanted a cuddly kitty and you have never let me down. You're almost 4 years old, but your kitten side still comes out in the most random of ways. Like when you discovered the paper bag was fun or today when you sat on all the toys and dared Donte to take them from you. Thank you for being so lovable and comforting. Everyone should have a kitty as wonderful as you.

Love, Mom

Dear Donte,

I wasn't sure what to make of you when we brought you home last August. You were to be Jason's cat and he thought you were awesome. It took me a while to get used to you. Unfairly, I compared you to our furbaby who we unexpectedly had to put down and the pain of that decision was still too fresh to open my heart to you. I called you Legs for months because I couldn't remember your name and I'd never seen a cat as lanky as you. You never stop moving (unless you're "helping" with laundry), so I've not been able to measure you, but I'm pretty sure you're three feet long with 5' arms. Right now you are sprawled across the desk napping. I don't know how you do it. You crack me up when you meow and run around the house like your tail is on fire. I've recently become amused by your propensity to move items in the house around. Thank you for being so persistently lovable and being a constant stress reliever. You're all right, floppy cat.

Love, Nike

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Week 1: Favorite Song

I love music. It always seems to express who I am and how I'm feeling so much better than I do. My all time favorites are Kokomo by the Beach Boys and Don't Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin. I remember Dad playing those for me as far back as when I was four...

I appreciate all music, so I always having trouble picking a "favorite." Right now I'm really digging Way Out Here by Josh Thompson. It reminds me of home. Enjoy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Journey: Rediscovering Self

 "You must dare to disassociate yourself from those who would delay your journey... Leave, depart, if not physically, then mentally. Go your own way, quietly, undramatically, and venture toward trueness at last." ~ Vernon Howard
I have been on a journey of sorts for the last several months. Trying to remember who I am... my values... my beliefs... my true self. It's been upsetting. Challenging. Unnerving. And I'm not finished yet. In fact, the real work is just beginning. 
Last fall I learned some things, and re-remembered things, about my past that have had an unexpected affect on my present. I've shared before that I have always been the one to take care of everyone else and in doing that I have neglected to take care of myself. I didn't think that was a problem. Then the irrational anger started, followed by spontaneous cry-fests, leading up to a glorious two months of not sleeping or having night terrors when I've always been a sleeping pro. (They would be called night terrors if I was two, I don't know what the term is when you're 25, so we'll just go with that.) Now I have all of it.

After several months of fighting against it, I have heeded the advice of people who love me and have started the path to counseling. I met with a professional last Friday and have decided to try working with her starting this Wednesday. 
When I first realized there were bigger issues than I could handle on my own, or with the love of my support system, my husband and I knew this may be where the path led. I have held my cards, so to speak, very close to the vest for a number of reasons, none of which were shame. I want to be very clear on that: there is absolutely no shame in admitting you need help and if talking to a counselor is where your path takes you, embrace it. 
I told my husband at the beginning of this journey that if/when I began counseling it would not be a secret, but until then I felt more comfortable with as few people knowing what was going on as possible. As I recently told K, "I can't be an advocate for reducing mental health stigma if I am not honest about my own struggles."
That is not to say I'm not struggling with an onslaught of emotions. I'm still pissed to be in this place to being with. The rational people in my life are telling me those feelings are valid. I want to forget and move on, but that hasn't worked out so well the last few months. My foundation has a fracture in it and its put everything else helter skelter as well. 
I'm hopeful that seeing this counselor will help me move past this to a place of healing. I'm terrified of what else might come out over the next several months, but mostly hopeful. I know the work I need to do, I just really need direction to get it done. (I know ya'll just said, "Git R done," admit it... okay, bad joke.) Most of all, I am feeling so blessed to have a husband who has stuck by me through the roller coaster of emotions and such a wonderful support system. That makes all the difference.     

Sarah's Key: Never Forget

It has been awhile since I read a book that touched me so deeply I felt compelled to share it. (In fact, it was over a year ago after reading Once a Marine, by Nick Popaditch). Sarah's Key by Tatianna de Rosnay has so compelled me.

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, especially in conjunction with World War II, the Holocaust, and mideval kingdoms. Sarah's Key intertwines two stories, one of 10-year-old Sarah in occupied France in 1942, the other of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist married into a French family in modern day Paris.

The book begins with police pounding on the door of the Starzynki's apartment on July 16,1942. Naive to the situation, and having no reason to fear French police, Sarah locks her four-year-old brother in their secret cupboard, promising to return after everything has been straightened out with the police.

Sarah's papa had been hiding in the cellar as rumors of a "big round up" had been circulating. No one anticipated, under orders of the French police, all the Jews would be rounded up, including French born children. In the middle of the night, they were taken to the Velodrome d'Hiver on city buses and left in deplorable conditions before being sent on city buses and city trains to outlying "work camps" and then, ultimately, to their deaths at Auschwitz.

60 years later, Julia Jarmond is asked to research the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup as part of an anniversary article for her magazine. Julia is confronted with the horror of that night, shame for not knowing, and anger at how the French government and people refuse to acknowledge what happened. The more she learns and researches, the more she starts to unlock family secrets and a horrific history. In the end she must decide for herself the value of life and the price of honesty.

Sarah's story is heartbreaking. Julia's is one of awareness. Neither should be ignored and I won't soon forget either of their stories. 

At the end of the book I felt very much how Julia did, "I am so, so sorry... I am sorry for not knowing."

Historical note: July 16-17, 1942 13,000 French Jews were rounded up from Paris and its suburbs and taken to the Velodrome d'Hiver. They were then loaded on buses and sent to Loiret. On July 20, children were forcibly removed from their mothers at Loiret. The mothers were sent on to Auschwitz gas chambers; the children to Drancy, unaccompanied and mostly unidentified, then to Auschwitz and death. Roughly 4,000 children were massacred as a result of Operation Spring Wind. Click here for more info.