Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Packaged goods

There's nothing like a good box of mac and cheese (organic thank you very much) to really help a dinner on a night that's gotten the best of you. So simple and yet, so rewarding for the kids. They eat it, they want seconds, they're satisfied. The frustrating part is that they'll eat this with no comment, much like they'll eat some amazing meal I cooked up. Their cute little palettes are clueless to whether I cook from a box, or cook my ass off!

Luckily I get enjoyment out of cooking for them and eating a great meal that we enjoy around the table. But tonight - thank you for processed foods!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Shake your maraca

There's nothing better than watching someone just dance for the love of dancing! Saturday night found us at a friend's surprise birthday party at this great bar - Edgewater Tavern. I love finding a new bar that has the perfect mix of dive bar (with the old regulars who have a look like - don't think about taking my seat) and nice neighborhood bar where you could maybe take the kids for an early dinner of fried food. As we walked to the back room I could hear some cajun/blues music drifting in...and there they were right out back in this great little courtyard. A band of 10, the piano player was a 12 yr. old boy, and the trumpet player had to be reaching his 70s. Now, this trumpet player actually played 2 trumpets at the same time...pretty amazing! 

Anyway - the drinks were flowing and it was just a great vibe all around - really good friends who are easy to hang out with and there's nothing going on except enjoying the music and gorgeous Chicago summer night. 

Then, the dancing started...and our friends mother-in-law got up, grabbed a maraca and started dancing her heart out...the maraca was keeping time with the band, and she was just so happy. Now - here's the thing...she was obviously an older woman, a little on the heavy side, and pretty drunk. Her dancing wasn't that great, and the maraca didn't stay in time with the band for too long. But she didn't care, her daughters didn't care, her husband was looking on lovingly...and we were all standing around enjoying the music. 

So here's the thing - I found myself thinking of how I would handle this situation if my parents got up and started dancing like that. I may be a little too sensitive as my parents have definitely had a knack of embarrassing me. But it hit me that night - who really cares what anyone else is thinking!!! That woman was having an amazing time and everyone was loving it. I want to live like that - supporting my loved ones - no matter how they look or act. I think I do most of the time and it was just a great reminder of how to be!

Plus - I also know that I'll probably do a ton of things to embarrass my kids - I can only hope they support me in all that I do!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I'm Back

Hello, hello dear friends!

I can't believe I haven't written anything for almost a month. I've had many times I've wanted to write something and then just didn't...and I think it's because at the end of the day, when I have time to write, I just want to do nothing - it's my lazy bone...or rather my god damn (scuse the language!) back bone. This back is just taking so much energy that by the end of the day I really can't do anything except lay down and wait for the pain to go away...

And then...my amazingingly spiritually connected mom started asking her friends if there was anything I could do...lots of responses and I just didn't do any of them - I've been stuck in my going to the physical therapist, follow up with dr. routine. And, to be honest, I just didn't want to try anything else...

But then today my mom sent me an email from a friend, Debbie, that has given me some tangible things to do. My back issue is in the L4 and L5 discs. Well, the information that Debbie passed on is so amazingly spot on that I have to do something. Like, this piece about the L4:
Difficulty, attachment, or holding back on the ability to create action that is compatible with what has already been set into motion. Need to have a willingness to respond to conditions as they exist.

Yes, yes - that resonated with me so much. And then it went onto what action to take:
Make a list of conditions as they exist in your life today. Make another list of what you desire in your life. Every day for the next year, produce action toward what you desire and that which will give you fulfillment.

Basically - get my ass in gear and make it happen - I've already started the ball moving and if I don't keep up with what I've set in motion (which I have) then my body will react (which it did)!

Anyway - you can guess that I'm thrilled and this little message got my off my ass to start back up blogging. So I'm back and will continue sharing my journey with you.

Hopefully those who were reading this blog have hung in there - thank you!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Another day gone!

Hello all. So I'm realizing I want to write more on this blog! And it's on the top of my list at the beginning of the day...and, as I'm sure many of you deal with...the day is suddenly gone and half the things that you wanted to do, you didn't! How does that happen - that each day goes so quickly, and then all of a sudden, the summer is over, and it's fall, and then the leaves are on the ground and winter's here. Before I know it, a year has passed and I have that suspicious feeling that half of what I intended to do, I didn't!

Well - I won't say that I'll write here more, because...well, just because. What I will say is that I am starting to be aware of the things I want to spend time on each day. And right now, that includes blogging. I feel a big change coming on. There is some good mojo around me - I'm determined to get my back sorted out, and over the last few days I've got some amazing clarity around my passion and next career move. It's very exciting. I'm sure you've had those moments of knowingness...when you know you're on the edge of something huge, something different. And even though it's scary, for me, it's almost a relief. It's like I can take a breath and realize that I'm ready. 

If you feel stuck - know that unstuckness will happen. And if you're unstuck - Enjoy the feeling and momentum...and tell me how to stay there! 

Ps - went to an amazing sushi place for dinner tonight - Tanoshi in Andersonville - get Mike's special - you won't be sorry!


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Waterfalls a plenty

Yesterday someone told me something that really stuck with me...I know, it's only been a day...but by now you know me, right? Anyway - it was about having bad, sad, depressing, thoughts - you get the idea. In this theory, having any kind of bad thought is just not good (the monks say it is so, so be it!). So if I wake up and think, oh man another day of work, or if I get down on anything - it's just not good. I'm sure most of you think that too - bad thoughts really don't get you anywhere. The thing is, even though I know it, sometimes those negative thoughts are really hard to give up, not have, let go, etc. 

So this idea is that when you have a bad thought, you imagine a waterfall and just standing under it, washing away the bad thought. Hokey, maybe, but today it really worked for me. I stood under a number of waterfalls today! The minute I thought of one, the bad thought really did go away and I felt a little calmer and happier.

For what it's worth, I wanted to share this as I'm always ready to learn a new way to stay in the moment, not get bummed out, and just be happy! Enjoy your waterfall!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Anyone for chocolate pudding wrestling?!

First, with the title I just gave this post, I hope I don't get some really weird hits. Oh well! So we went camping this past weekend with another couple and their kids in Merrimac, WI. It's the second time we've been to this campsite and it just keeps getting better...new management has really spruced up the place. There's still those seasonal campers who, for the most part, seem to have a budweiser or miller product crazy glued to their hand. And the campers who have the huge RVs with all the amenities (which, with each passing year look more appealing to me). I wonder what people say about our motley crew. Overall though, this campsite is top notch.

The new owners have basically made the campsite a dream come true for kids - there's a huge swimming pond with all kinds of blow up toys. And a wonderful thing called the jumping pillow which is basically a huge inflatable trampoline that the kids jump on and on and on - that thing was never without at least 10 kids on it. I hope you're getting a good picture of the serene wilderness that we partake in when on our camping trips - yeah right! At least we still have a tent, start a camp fire, and make smores - that's gotta count for something.

So, the chocolate pudding. Well, it was chocolate week in Merrimac so there had to be a chocolate pudding wrestling event! At 6:30 on Saturday night, campers gathered around a huge blow-up pool filled to the brim with chocolate pudding...I think it was still warm as I saw steam rising up. All of a sudden this big guy is standing by the pool with a megaphone in hand. The camp ground owner. He yelled out the rules of pudding wrestling (basically wrestle at your own risk, and the you win when you hold your opponent down - what fun!) Then, the first two entered the pool. The whistle blew and pudding started flying - this was serious! Pudding, if you didn't know, is quite slippery when used to wrestle and these kids, and a few adults, were just slip-sliding around, as the first row of onlookers got good and chocolaty too! The wrestling matches went on for about an hour and the crowd never left. With each new contestant, the pudding got dirtier and I'm sure slimier...I was mesmerized!

It was the highlight of our camping trip. And that night, as we all bit into our chocolaty smores, I know we all felt so lucky to have been witness to the Merrimac chocolate pudding event. We'll be back...and maybe next year, I'll do a little pudding wrestling!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ah, sweet chocolate

I knew where it was and avoided that particular cupboard all morning...which isn't hard to do as there's nothing in there that I would ever need...it's a junk cupboard. Then around 10am I found myself reaching up to open to cupboard door and grab it...but nothing more - just to bring it upstairs. Good self-control, I thought. I don't even want it, it's a new day, I don't need it. 10:30, I'm staring at it...think to myself, I don't even want it...just leave it there for husband or kids to find - what a treat! 10:33...screw it. Open up the wrapper and inhale curly wurly candy bar (it's from england and oh so good). well, I think to myself - I made it til mid morning - it's my morning snack.

Who am I kidding - I have no self-control with food! And I know you've heard it all before...I just love chocolate and sweets. So, here's what I'm going to try...just enjoy eating the food I do and stop beating myself up for what I eat! If I'm going to have the candy bar, I may as well savor it! I mean, my body must want the yummy foods I'm choosing!

For any of you who struggle with eating right, not eating right, and on and on...practice just enjoying what you're eating no matter what it is. Otherwise, what's the point!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Camp highlights

How do I sum up the suzuki music camp in a way that captures all these memories...

The oblivious mom and dad who need a little wake-up call (when your child is thrown out of a class, chances are your kid may not be perfect)
The mother who was there, alone, with her four kids and was the most laid back person I've ever met
The over bearing mother who couldn't let her daughter enjoy one moment of a dance class because she had to perfect every move,
The blind sister and brother who performed an amazing piece - one on piano and one using an electronic bag pipe?
The crazy teachers who were just so passionate about music
The friendships the kids made in a matter of moments.

It was an adventure...
Moments when hubbie and I could barely keep our rising giggles from overflowing to me from keeping tears of amazement from topping over (yes, I can be ridiculously sentimental).
Our cute, little pre-fab cabin with a great fire pit and a family of determined black carpenter ant from the wall.
Mediocre food...the iceburg lettuce salad bar...who doesn't love some good iceburg, surprise taco meat...but luckily supplemented with a stash of goodies back at our cabin.

Yes, it was an experience. And will we go back? Well the kids wanted to stay and would go back in a heart beat. I think we may go back...for me, it was more about having some family time in a remote place, and to throw some music in, why not. Although I've heard there's some other family camp vacations that are a little more up my alley...get this - you don't actually have to do everything with your kids...now that's some good family time!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

One time, at band camp

We just returned from the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp...and I do feel like I have many stories to tell that all start with...one time, at suzuki camp! We had fun and I realize that we're not the typical family that listens or, for that matter, practices music every day. We're the bad seeds in the suzuki family. But, what family doesn't need a bad seed? I'll tell more later...just wanted you to know that we're back!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Miniature golf adventure

Driving along Western Ave on what seems to be an incredibly busy car day. It's Sunday so I should expect more traffic...but then I see the reason why - good old German fest in Lincoln Square. One we drive, turning onto Lincoln Ave. to our destination Novelty Golf for my son's 6th bday party. A total of 8 boys will spend the next two hours scaring my husband half to death as they putt putt their little hearts out.

For those of you who know my hubbie, you must be wondering, how can that get nervous around a bunch of boys...he's so laid back! Well, let me tell you - it was a little fun to watch as he tried to corral the boys to maintain order. You see, my hubbie loves miniature golf and now, so does my son. The first time he went, I got many evil eyes as I played at the speed of the kids. Pick that ball up, sure, onto the next hole, why not, skip this hole, sure. Hubbie wanted to keep score and savor each green - whether it be the Empire State Building or a very large mermaid. It's kind of cute, in that naive kind of way!
Anyway - on the day of the party - the boys were like a pack of wolves being told by the father wolf that they had to wait before feasting on their catch - sorry for that image - but it was a little like that! They had their clubs on hand...and didn't want to wait for anything. I do have to say - the party was great and for the most part all the kids were really well behaved. I digress....

Looking back, the issue was that a girlfriend of mine - one of the boys moms, was staying to help out. So for the first 8 holes, we were chatting and lagging behind. When I finally caught hubbies glare, we both stepped up and helped out...a little too late though! Hubbie definitely took one for the team - saved daughter from a number of possible head contusions, and protected the boys from each other. And that was just on the first 18!

Needless to say - after all was said and done - we had a great time . The ride home was a quiet one as the kids in the back reflected on their day at golf course! But if you want the real scoop, you'll have to ask my hubbie!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Taking Action

I think about me and my life, and the kids, and my husband, and basically my little life too much! Today, it hit me that there is too much going on outside of our cozy life, or the worries I create, that if I just put some energy on that, then I'd probably think less, worry less, let go more, etc. That's my thought anyway!

This came about as I was at physical therapy this morning and realized that even though I'm in constant pain (just wrote that so you feel a little sad for me!) my life could be a whole lot harder, more complicated, etc. And instead of just dwelling on what's not working, I need to focus on something outside of just me and my family.

So, here's a couple of thoughts. First...I really need to get a new job! I know, that's still thinking about me...but here's the logic. For those of you who chat with me, you know I'm not enjoying my work at all. So I really need to step up and start looking for a new job. I'm scared...I start thinking about money, working outside of the home, that I'd have to shower every day and wear something other than sweatpants, what job would I do, etc. But, the scaredness I'm feeling has to outweigh this feeling I have now of really starting to hate my job. So for any of you out there who can help me get a job - I basically want to make a difference! Figure that one out.

Second - I need to start volunteering. That will definitely get me out of just focusing on my immediate family and our issues. So, I'm not sure what yet, but have found some ideas. At least I'm taking some action.

It's all about action again - I'm finally doing some things to move forward, versus just doing the same thing over and over again in the hopes that something will change - isn't that the definition of crazy!

Wish me luck...and for any of you out there that have been thinking about something for awhile...what would it take for you to take a tiny step towards doing it? Good luck.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

One less task a day

Do you ever wonder how we fit in all the tasks that need to be done in one single day? I've decided not to think about it anymore - I'm going to give that saying, ignorance is bliss, a shot! I don't want to get more organized (papers on top of the fridge will just have to stay...and those random photo booth shots from the Village tap taken years ago), I don't want to go through the basement and clean it out (although looking at the maternity clothes I wore and thinking they weren't so bad was kind of fun...patterns and pregnancy don't mix!), I don't want to plan out my dinners (even though I know it's easier), I don't want to enforce bed times (I know, I should), I don't want to pick up pieces of food from the floor, the couch, the bed, and on and on! I would love everything to just be handled - I need a Mary Poppins to come in and sing a song and make everything magically clean and in it's proper place.

Don't worry, I'm not about to run out of the house naked screaming, I can't take it anymore! I won't even run naked in the house (that's a little too real for our nanny!). I actually am excited to give up being in control of everything. To know that all will work out...what a sigh of relief. I can actually feel the weight leaving my back.

We'll see how long this lasts! And for all you out there reading this...today, do one less task - as long as it's not really important - like filling up the gas tank, or brushing your teeth (for some reason, dental hygiene just came into my mind...need to make a dentist appt.). I think it might be fun!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Margaritas + Target = fun

What a whirlwind weekend. Luckily my hubby and I got a break and had an early dinner at a local restaurant - Agave Grill. By early, if we were senior citizens, we would certainly have qualified for the early bird discount! This place has the most amazing margaritas - served in a martini glass. I had the hacienda which is a gorgeous blend of tequila, some other stuff, and pomegranate juice - yum! After two cocktails and appetizers we still had a few hours to play with before we headed home. We told our sitter we'd be home by 8ish as she wanted to go out with a friend. So we had the task of timing our return home not too early so the kids would already be in bed! I mean, if we're having a sitter, part of the fun is getting out of bedtime routine - no book reading for me tonight.

Oh and let me just add that we were both exhausted...me and the never-ending pain in my butt (getting a shot on Tuesday so will let you know how that goes), and hubby who had been cleaning out the basement, taking kids to t-ball, and on and on. So where to spend the next few hours. The first exciting task - car wash - what fun! Although I have to say I love the smell of a newly cleaned car, as well as the view of the back seat that's clear of pretzels, books, and tiny pieces of a star wars lego set. Ahhh - clean - so soothing. I didn't even mind that as soon as we pulled out of the car wash that it started raining - for the next few hours, nothing could touch the clean, sparkly inside.

So, what would be our next exciting event? Target!! And not on my suggestion....my husband wanted to go to get a new fan - we've been talking about a fan for ages, so who was I to get in the way of his dream. Now, I'm sure most of you have been cast under the spell of Target at some point in your life...you know, where you go in with the intention of buying one item, and come out with 10! It's like a Target concussion - you can't remember a thing that happened in the store - and only awaken after you've put your credit card in the machine and signed your name!

Well - I've never seen it before, buy my husband fell to the Target spell. He wanted to buy everything - from special camping forks for making smores (ok we bought those), to a gameboy for our son...which shows how out of the loop we are as gameboys aren't even sold anymore. The best was when he actually tried a skateboarding helmet on in the hopes it would look cooler than his bike helmet - thank god I was there to coax him out of buying it and a number of other things.

Overall, the damage wasn't too bad...and we did get a new fan! We arrived home, the kids were in bed, and we were determined to stay up for SNL...didn't happen...after all, after a crazy night of margaritas, car wash, and Target, we need our rest!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Who am I to Judge!

I was at a baby shower this morning and have to share. The mom-to-be is going to use cloth diapers - I don't know why this seems so crazy to me! Now, I know in theory, this is a wonderful thing, right? All natural, all clean, no chemicals. When one tiny, turquoise diaper was passed around, I thought to myself (well, actually said to my friend), well, if I had to wear a depends-like garment at some stage in my life, I would like this fuzzy bunny brand (in an XXL)! I mean, the cloth was so soft, and, as more tiny diapers were passed around, I saw an endless array of hip designs that were quite appealing! This comment led to, of course, a discussion about the possible company you could start...manufacturing all natural depends products for the baby boomer generation. Then another friend chimed in with a story about a woman she met who actually made adult-size diapers for people who are into dressing up like babies (that's a whole other story).

My point was that I remember how exhausted I was with my first baby that the idea of having to wash and clean diapers would just about do me in. Wiping the poop off, putting special stuff in the laundry, on and on. I am a true lazy ass at heart so I just couldn't do it. So it's always amazing to me when I know people that are doing things differently and are so excited about something that would make me cringe. Part of me wants to say, what the heck are you doing, are you crazy, do you know how tired you're going to be!!! Then I get to remember that I really don't know much of anything, so who am I to judge! And really, cloth diapers have been done for ages so I know all will be good. 

Now, onto my million dollar scheme of cloth depends for the older generation!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Life Lessons - good and bad

It's so wonderful that there are so many people on this planet that I can watch and learn from - lessons in oh no, don't do that...and on the opposite side - ooohhh yes, do that!

Here's my what not to do example - at the Cubs game on Monday night...sitting in the bleachers, which, by the way, is like hitting jackpot when it comes to people watching. And who am I kidding...all I really do at the game is watch people! Don't ask me what the score is - oh I'll stand and cheer, but I don't have a clue as to what's really happening down there by the ivy. Now, the people - that's where I can tell you what's going on all around me. So...never, ever do this. If someone tells you you have something on the end of your nose - don't flick it into the crowd! Disgusting beyond words. This drunk guy just couldn't help himself...he was so above and beyond funny drunk that even his friends were avoiding him...I'm actually getting a little sick just writing this! My point is though - good life lesson on what not to do!

OK - now to what I want to do more of. We were at a wedding this past weekend for one of our past babysitters. It was in Louisville, KY and both kids were in the wedding, so they had a blast. For me, I got a good reminder to live in the present moment. The bride was so alive with energy and happiness and was really embracing everything about the day. Now, I know in my real life, every day is not a wedding. And yet, I got to remember that I can slow down and take time to really be present with the kids, husband, friends. And remember that everything works out and not to get bogged down with worrying about things that haven't happened yet!! So I want more of that in my life - more living in the moment. Take a look around your life and look for those reminders on what to do more of...and don't, no matter what, flick anything into a crowd!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Strep no more

I'm here! My GNO seemed like my last social event before the strep bug broke loose in our house. Needless to say these past days have been a mix of taking meds, making the kids take meds, and just making it through the day. The entire house had strep and we've all been in hiding since last Thursday. I won't bore you with the pain of strep, or the extreme cabin fever with the kids (the endless creations of marble runs, playing game after game of restaurant - which happens to only serve eggs, or the wonderful 'no you didn't, yes I did, no you didn't, yes I did' screaming matches).

All that matters is we're back to our wonderful healthy selves (minus the never ending pain in my butt).

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Girls night out! Woohoo! Party! Late night! Rock on! Well, not exactly. Picture six fabulous women meeting at a great local byob, drinking yummy wine, eating yummy pizza, and chatting about anything. What I love about a good GNO is that we can have serious conversations and lay our stuff on the table, and then, in a matter of moments, be laughing hysterically at something (crying lady imitation, anyone?). I love just being able to connect and be away from all the stuff we all, as moms, have to do on a daily basis. Ah, the bliss of leaving the house while the Wiggles are singing Wake Up Jeff!

Now, to get us all together, on the same night, at the right time, is no small task - we're all busy, we have to set up a babysitter, or make sure the husband gets home in time. And I'm sure most of us still got the kids dinners ready, or maybe even put the kids to bed! Although it takes an effort, it's so worth it. So, my tip for the day is this...take time for yourself to keep up with your friends...it's so easy to make up excuses - but you'll be so much happier and revived when you take the time to get out and keep the connections in your life alive.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Where's your margin?

I wish I could say I'd been away on a tropical island, with an island boy serving me wonderful drinks for the last week and that's why I haven't written. But alas, I've been here stuck in the thick of life. And, that's probably why I haven't written anything. Oh and also working at creating margins in my life - Jordan, if you're reading this, you know what I'm talking about! 

I went to the U2 church for the second time on Sunday and I have to say it's really cool! I know...a church, right? For me, it's this new found place that I can sit and think about my place in this world and how I can live a spiritual life. Plus, the kids go to a sunday school and are loving it...painting, reading stories together. The kids actually woke up Sunday morning and all they could talk about was going to church. This time, hubbie was able to come along, and ?I warned him that he had to be ready for a completely different experience than the catholic church upbringing he's used to. Secretly, I thought to myself...finally...he'll be the one out of place, he'll be the one wondering if he should stand or sit, he'll be the one amazed that so many people know a really long prayer by heart (not the lord's prayer - I somehow know that one) But actually, the U2 folks even put notes in the Sunday pages telling you what to expect. They even give you the words to anything that will be said! Can you imagine!! The catholic church, in my mind, prides itself in making everyone who's not catholic feel a little uncomfortable...I never really knew when to sit, or stand...but here, they actually want people to know what to expect - what a concept! 

Anyway...I digress. So the sermon this week was about living life to the fullest...and gave a whole new perspective. I always thought the goal was to live your life to the fullest - make sure your cup is full and runneth over kind of thing. On Sunday though I heard  a different perspective - one where maybe doing everything possible in our life just isn't the way to go...is there room in my life to just do nothing! The minister gave this great example - think of a book - do the words run right to the edge of the page? No...there's a margin...a space. Well, it got me thinking - where's that margin in my life? I think we probably ask ourselves this type of question all the time...on Sunday, it really hit home for me.

So - I'm not about to say that my life has drastically changed or that I've found nirvana (I'll let you know if/when that happens). And what I have noticed these past few days is that it's great to give myself a margin every day and not fill up my life just to fill it up! Does that make sense? So...wonderful readers out there...whoever you are...find a margin in your life and stick to it! 

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Steroids + healthcare = good times

Remember that pain in my butt? Well, I'm now on steroids to hopefully remedy the situation. It's really not a big deal, I just get a kick of telling people I'm on steroids! Some people give me the once over, looking for a new bulging muscle, or perhaps some extra facial hair, or waiting for me to just run really fast...but alas, these steroids are not those kind! Although, there are some side effects my dr. mentioned...including profuse sweating and wanting to eat more. What a perfect combination for me! Not only am I not working out because of this pain, I can still feel like I'm getting a good run in as sweat runs down my forehead. And...I can act like I'm working out as I grab another handful of salt and vinegar chips - good times. And unfortunately for my hubby, these steroids only increase my appetite for food!

Ah, and the good times continue. It's ironic that I work for a health care company and seem to have really bad health care coverage. As I rarely get sick (knocking on wood as I type), I left my husband's coverage for a cheaper monthly payment. Well, have I learned my lesson as I know need coverage. I'm contemplating the real need for an MRI - ridiculous, right? Luckily it's not a major surgery decision or something for one of my babes...in the realm of all that others have to deal with, I'm pretty lucky. I know I don't know enough about the healthcare issues here in the US, but Canada does seem to have a good thing going on.

Well, onward with my steroids - if I suddenly have an urge to enter a weightlifting contest, I'll let you know.

Monday, April 21, 2008

That nagging feeling

What a weekend! I have lots of things to write about...an amazing church, thank you Jordan, a successful couch swap, thank you Danielle and yet, I can't let go of something that has been bugging me. You know that feeling - you're playing with the kids and that nagging voice comes in, reminding you about something you want to forget...and you think...ok, play with kids, go away voice! or just sitting reading a book - a good one at that- and that voice comes in again, reminding you about the thing you want to forget...aaaggghhh, frustrating to say the least.
Well, I have that nagging thing going on, and I have to say, thank you friends who call unsuspectingly just to say hi, and then here me go off for about 10 minutes! Thank you for not hanging up, or at least using your mute button so you can go about your day.

So here's my hang up...when do you stand up for someone else, the else who you love a lot, the else you think is amazing, the else who's character is brought into question by the same person every time we see that person...but, here's the catch, that certain someone else couldn't care less? Wow - it's hard to write about people without using names. I should probably use fake names...next time. Anyway-I am at such a loss because I'm so angry when I talk about it, that I know, even if I find the right time to talk to this person, I'll just get angry again. How do you check your feelings in a conversation that is full of feeling and emotion? Knowing myself, of course I'll end up saying something! I just can't go around not saying what I feel - and yes, friends, thank you again for all the feelings you've been privvy too!

I think I get angry because I want to stand up for something, yet I'm conflicted about it as I really don't like to rock the boat. So, ah, this is it...my anger is just a way for me to be pissed off and not do anything - so I get to go around talking about this person, rather than talking to that person and resolving the issue. And it is my issue - the certain someone else doesn't have an issue - that's fine...but I have to be true to myself. Oh, this is good! So my ugly ego raises it's head again and just wants me to be pissed off. Well, ego - no more...and for any of you out there holding onto something that really needs to be said, find a way to say it and let it out. Unless, of course, you need to talk to me...whatever I've done - I'm an idiot and didn't know any better, and I love you! Good luck...and, said person, we'll chat soon.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Midwest earthquake

Cougar found up the street just the other day...now an earthquake? Yep - I woke up at around 4:30 this morning to the bed shaking...it lasted, what felt like, 15 seconds. Husband slept through. I'm thinking, either we've just been poltergeisted and the devil is deciding which body to take over, or someone's turned on the washing machine downstairs. But no, it was an actual earthquake. There's never a dull moment in Chicago!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Follow up - time to talk

Just so you all know...setting up time to talk with hubbie...how's that going, you wonder? Hasn't happened yet. I am so good at coming up with great/mediocre ideas...executing...sometimes not so good! In my defense, we've spent a lot of time together the past few days and talked about lots of things...whether or not hubbie should go to cubs game after grandpa's funeral (answer was - you're kidding, right?), merits of paying off loans, what's on tv, merits of embracing loans and just going out to dinner with the kids...again,  decision to partake in a great sofa swap, discussing pain in my ass - yes, still there, and talking about nothing in particular - which is after all, what I really want to do. So we've done enough talking for, oh I'd say, the next few weeks! Just so you know.

What's your mark?

I went to a wake last night for my husband's grandfather. I'd only met him a handful of times, and each time I was always a little nervous of him. He had a very strong presence and loved to debate...so I knew if I started a conversation, I better know what I was talking about, and be ready to hunker down and talk for awhile! He was an immigrant and worked hard all his life. He was so smart, and even got his master's at the age of 70! He fought hard his entire life for Unions and the Labor movement. Anyway - what's my point? Well, even though I barely knew him, the sentiments I had for him were exactly what others said - his daughters, son, and friends all said he was a fighter and you'd better be ready to argue your point if you ever talked to him! Every person who spoke used either the word fighter or warrior - how amazing is that? This man made a mark in the world and everyone knew what it was, whether they liked it or not!

I got thinking then...what mark am I leaving, and...is it a consistent one? Am I true to myself with everyone I meet...or do I alter myself a little depending on the situation I'm in? Al Verri never wavered and everyone knew what he was about. That takes guts...to really be yourself, no matter what. Now, when I do that, I feel better...when I actually allow myself to be me, everything is better. There's no point to be anything else than what you are at your core. Because then, even if you have people that don't like you, the people who do like you...will really like who you are! Does that make sense? I guess I'd rather be known and leave my mark, than be someone who just fades into the distance, leaving people wondering...what is Kirsten really about? What's your mark? I'm working on mine - it's kind of fun!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Advice for the bride

I went to a bridal shower on Sunday - and one of the requirements was to give the bride some advice for a good marriage. What a loaded question! How on earth can I give advice on a how to have a good marriage when each day the requirements change.
On friday night, for example, the requirement was to go through our 2 foot stack of papers in the in box and do any of the following - file/shred/throw. I told my husband - it's very sexy when you file! So - note to bride - keep up on your paperwork...not so romantic.
Then saturday, the requirement was for me to give my husband time to write a eulogy for his grandfather that he was never that close with. So I wrangled the kids, as best I could, and hoped the creative juices would flow for hubbie. Note to bride - allow for quiet moments to get stuff done! Again, not hitting the mark.
What about a good argument? For me, I like a good argument every once in awhile...to get everything out, vent, and get mad. My hubbie and me have had some good arguments and have always reached the bright side...eventually...and we have gone to bed mad, so I can't write that one down. So the note, Have a good fight every once in awhile, just won't dol.
Sunday morning, though, I think we hit the mark...we made some good advice! Laugh together. Find the funny things and just have a good time. I can't even remember the exact circumstances, but I do recall a lot of laughing by everyone and that's really when I feel so connected to my hubbie. It's those moments that make the filing, the arguing, the tasks that we don't really want to do...doable.
So my advice to the bride was simply that: Laugh together. Any advice you have for keeping a marriage strong?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mom, she's hot!

Yes, heard from the mouths of babes, my almost 6yr old to be exact, just last night - Mom, there's a hot girl in the movie! Now, I consider myself a good mom and I do know what the kids are watching...and limit how much they watch, thank you very much! The movie in question - The Flintstones. A terrible movie, but not inappropriate in my mind for a 6yr old...so how is he growing up so fast to start knowing when a woman is hot or not...and even more frustrating to me is how do I explain that calling a woman hot isn't really appropriate for him to say, or even start to touch upon feminism and seeing beauty inside a person...aaggh - I'm at a loss. 

And then, I start to wonder, did he get this phrase from me? Have I said that to myself out loud - Momma, you're looking hot today? No, don't think so. Or perhaps I said it to my husband one morning as he's flipping some pancakes, Why honey you sure look hot this morning.  I don't think so. I'm not sure where he's picking up this stuff. 
I was talking to my mom about it and she was definitely shocked to hear her grandson comment on the hotness of a woman. And then I thought, is that just the language used today? And no matter what I do to censor what comes into our house, they're going to hear words and phrases that they don't even understand. 
But the story doesn't stop here. He then told me after a few minutes that he couldn't watch the movie anymore because the hot woman made him feel strange! Talk about the body chemistry kicking in. I thought I had a few years, at least, to even start discussing how our body reacts to things/people we like. It's amazing to me to see this little boy figuring out, already, how he feels about things, gets embarrassed about things. And it's my job to make him feel ok with all the different emotions he's going to go through.
So, here I am again - learning on the fly on how to be a mom, how to say the right things, how to stop laughing when funny, yet somewhat inappropriate things are said, how to not make a big deal. And, I know in the grand scheme of things, this isn't a big deal - After all...the hot woman he was referring to was Halle Berry - who doesn't think she's hot?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Time to talk

OK - so...where to begin on this subject. Finding time to talk, really talk, a conversation that has meaning, with your significant other. My husband and I got into this last night - well, actually, I got into it...that we just don't make our time important enough. Yes, we go out with friends regularly, yes we do things as a family together on the weekends...but when do we really sit down and just catch up.
And you know how this conversation started? When I asked my hubbie if he'd heard about the latest installment of the Jimmy Kimmel/Matt Damon feud? He said oh, yes, he'd heard about it last week. And that, my friends was how our discussion began! I asked, well, hon, why didn't you tell me - those are the things we should be sharing with each other.
I know how crazy I sound...I actually got mad that we didn't have a discussion about a youtube video! But that's the thing...if we don't make it important to talk about the crap that doesn't matter, how are we going to find time to talk about the stuff that is important to us? And if all we talk about is the serious stuff...then we're both going to start dreading talking at all - does this make sense?
So, I know it's creepy in a way to 'schedule' time to connect with loved ones. But, I'm doing it. We're going to make sure, after the kids go to bed, that for even just 10 minutes, we sit and just hang out. Maybe there's nothing to talk about, maybe we just find a funny video on youtube to watch, maybe we...well, there's a number of things that can be done in 10 minutes! What the heck though, right? I mean, may as well give it a shot. We've got this one life and I'm going to make sure I make my marriage important as all the other things in my life. So, I'll raise my glass tonight to scheduled alone time! Yikes...wish us luck!

Monday, April 7, 2008

For you parents out there who have kids in school, I'm sure you've all attended a fundraiser...or 2! This past weekend found us at the White Eagle in Niles for our son's money raiser. White Eagle banquet hall really packs the crowds in - our wonderful room was smack in the middle of a Resurrection Health dance - random, right?, and a true White Wedding - complete with photo staging area and the macarena blasting in the background...oh, don't worry, the macarena creeped over to our event at around 11:30! 

So here are my top three observations from the night: 
1. Before dancing to the macarena, make sure the lights are low.
2. Don't talk yourself into bidding on a big piece of jewelry that, after winning and putting on, is referred to as the milk dud necklace for the rest of the evening.
3. While helping to close out the silent auction tables, don't get in the middle of last minute bidding wars - ladies, I know it's a one-of-a-kind afghan, but come on now.

Good times.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Cubs Day

Today we're heading to the first Cubs game of the season. My daughter's school scored $2 tickets so off to level 500 we go! Honestly, I'm more excited about my first hot dog of the season. There's just something about a ballpark hot dog - the warm, squishy bun, little bit of ketchup and the perfect size dog - oh, 1:20 pm, can't you get here any faster?
I will outright admit I'm a fair weather fan...not the kind that waffles from team to team depending on the stats. No - just plain weather related fan. And today, it's not looking so good for me. It's in the low 50s, I can handle that, but possible rain showers - that's an automatic game over for me. I'm hoping my daughter will agree with me and, if the rain starts coming down, we'll catch the Addison bus home, as the boys hunker down to hear the 7th inning stretch. As long as I've had my dog, I can tell everyone I see - oh, it was a good game!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My love and hate relationship with the mute button

As a fulltime working mom from the home, I don't know where I'd be without the mute button on my phone. That small little button has saved my working relationship many times, as well as allowed me some mommy moments too (even with that headset on I can console a crying child!). Oh yes, my headset has just been upgraded to wireless so I can walk around - the freedom, the excitement. Sometimes I may wander into the bathroom and test the mute button...hello, hello, can you hear me...as the person on the other end keeps talking. I haven't had the nerve to do anything in the bathroom yet - some things are just too private, right?...well for now anyway. And the mute button has also saved people on the other end from the loud cough, the slurp of coffee, all those wonderful human noises we just can't let others hear.

I have learned, however, that the mute button can also turn on you in a moments notice. Is the light really flashing, am I really safe? One day, oh I remember it so vividly... I was actually participating in this call...you know, for you office workers out there, the amount of calls you're on when you don't say a word except for hello and goodbye - mind numbing, isn't it? Anyway, so I actually had to speak, and it was a call that had 8 other people on. It was also a day when my son and daughter were off school and the person who was watching them was taking them to the zoo...for the first time. So in the middle of this call, my cell phone goes off...quick, mute button on - check. I see the call is from the sitter so have to answer. And I proceed to check in with the sitter, whispering, mind you because, I never feel totally safe with that mute button - it can be pesky.

All of a sudden, in my left ear I hear a voice...hello, Kirsten. While in my right ear, I hear, Oh, Ok, so I turn left on Fullerton...then the left ear again - hello, Kirsten, we can hear you. Ohmigod. I've been caught - the big caught. What could I do? I was in phone limbo and had to make fast decisions. Whisper to sitter - I gotta go; and could only hope she'd turned left on Fullerton! Then, back to the meeting, mixture of oh everything's normal tone with a bit of an apologetic laugh...I just basically blathered an apology - it was pathetic. I wanted to hide under the table and eat a box of chocolates. Luckily...most of the people on the call were women, with kids, and were actually great about my blunder. I wonder, what the reaction would have been if the call had been mostly men - I doubt as well. Oh, just thinking about it now makes my heart race a little bit...and also laugh...I mean, haven't we all gotten ourselves into these types of situations? I've become quite good at inserting foot in mouth!

Anyway - it's crazy trying to juggle it all. And I just have to remember - laugh when I can - I'm still here and all's well!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Mercy Now...

Saturday night found me and my husband at the old town school of folk music - for any one who hasn't been there for a concert - stop reading this now and buy some tix to something/anything! it it such a wonderful space - so intimate and great acoustics. I saw my first Josh Rouse concert there and fell hard for his blue eyes and amazing voice. Anyway - don't get me started about Josh (no we're not close, yet I feel we should be on a first name basis). We went to see Cowboy Junkies - random as I haven't really listened to them since my college years during some melancholy heartbreak moment. Flashback to sitting on my futon bed on the floor, singing along with the lyrics, in between ridiculous, heaving sobs, not even enough dignity to wipe my snotty nose, while the music reinforced the inhumanity of the world. By the way, wasn't college such a great gig? Ok, ok, where was I? Ah yes, the concert...I was pleased to go, but nowhere near a josh rouse excitement (ok, I'm not that addicted to him, though I did manage to spend/waste an hour watching his videos on youtube the other day). 

So, with a full belly thanks to the Daily Bar and Grill, and a yummy beer in hand, we sat down for the opening act - and this is where I was blown away. Mary Gauthier has to be one of the most amazing folk writers ever (never mind that I don't know many folk song writers). I was sitting listening to her, laughing and tearing - I know, crazy! Some of her words just affected me so much - she had such an honest voice. One song, Mercy Now, reminded me of how we all need to give each other love and mercy...yes, we all mess up...and in her words, even our country, our parents, our leaders. I know it's a hard one to grasp because I, and, I'm sure you, can think of people who you just don't feel deserve any mercy. Yet, what can we do? 

So, of course, being me...I just had to buy a cd of hers...signed, thank you very much! And of course I was over the top - like I have to make sure Mary knows how amazing she is. Why am I such a goof? If she had t-shirts, hats, even a guitar pick, I would have bought them all (no, I actually haven't bought anything of Josh's yet - amazing, I know!). 

What's my point? Well, it's good to get off my butt and go hear music - especially some soulful, folky, tragic stuff from time to time. And...to remember that we could all use a little mercy now. 

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Go ahead, pick your nose

Do you - moms - ever feel like a lot of what we do is reminding your kids what they can't do? No, honey, we don't lick chocolate syrup and ice cream off the floor, no, not even with the 5 second rule; yes, I know your sister just pummeled you to the ground, but you can't do it back; wash your hands; don't pick your nose; did you say please; it's time for bed; no more tv...and on and on! For me, sometimes it feels like I'm expecting my kids to be super kids, without ever making a mistake...and if they do, say pick their nose, I'm right there to tell them ooh, yucky, we don't do that.

Here's the thing....I make mistakes quite a bit and would go mad if someone was right there to tell me what I just did wrong. What if I want to veg out in front of the tv and someone shows up, right before the show is over and decides I've watched too much and turns it off! Or when I just can't be bothered to wash my hands...I know I should...it's not difficult, but there's times when I just don't want to turn the faucet on, put the soap on, rub the soap around (I heard somewhere for at least 20 seconds!), dry my hands...and as I walk out of the bathroom, someone asks, did I wash my hands? Go back in and wash those hands clean!

So for me it's all about living in the present moment. When I let my ego take charge, it tends to want a perfect little world when everything is in order. But life isn't that way. And maybe, just maybe, when I see a little hand going up to that little nose for a good pick, no matter how gross it is, I'll let them have their pick (I mean, really there are only a few years when nose-picking is even somewhat acceptable anyway). After all, we can't be perfect all the time - how boring!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

You're Going to Put the Needle Where?

I just got back from my first acupuncture session! And let me tell you, I feel relaxed and in a lot less pain. To give a very short explanation, my husband went recently as he had western medicine for an issue, and I thought, well, in order to be well-rounded, you gotta throw some eastern medicine into the mix. He had great results. Meanwhile...I started to get a pain in my butt - literally - funny, right. I must have pulled a muscle and 4 weeks later I was getting sick of doing a slow roll out of bed, and even slower roll onto the floor off the couch. And, before we go any further, I would recommend acupuncture to anyway.

So...off I went. And it was a great experience...except for 2 mistakes - 1 by me, 1 by dr. dan. Here's mine - and this is total ego here, because, I do realize that no one, especially dr. dan, cares! So I arrive, fill out my form, and go back to chat about my issues. Saying I have a pain in my butt to friends and family is funny, but it just sounds plain silly when I'm telling dr. dan. Anyway...we got into the practice room, lovely stressfree room, with one of those lovely paper robes laying on the table. As soon as he said, 'take your jeans and socks off and put the robe on with the opening to the back.', this voice in my head yelled - Thong!!! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I wore a thong. So maybe no big deal to you - but all I could think of was, great, this poor dr. dan now has to look at my white ass with a strip of cotton between the cheeks as he's going to put needles in and talk about the great energy! Wonderful! I started to think of all the appropriate underwear I could have one - oh yes, my stripey hanes boy shorts, or oh yep, that old pair from the gap would have been just fine. But no...I had to go and wear a thong. I wasn't thinking....and usually I like to be prepared for anyone who will be inspecting a part of my body. Well, I got over it - and hopefully he did too! Note to self, thong it at my own peril!

Ready for mistake #2? The incorrect placement of posters. So after dr. dan leaves, I'm lying on my side with my bare ass (somewhat covered, but the needles really get in the way) hanging out. I was actually really relaxing and feeling so good. Then I started to look at a poster, right in front of me, with different life-like drawings of the body with locations of various needle points. There was the whole body (very cool), then a close-up of the eye (wonder if that hurts), the arm, the leg, the nether-regions of a man...what! Are you kidding me. Pretty much at eye-level was a life-like drawing of a man with legs open wide, his twig and berries laying ever so neatly on top, a life-like whole representation of the you-know-what...and then a black dot right right in no man's land, where a needle would go! Right there for me to look at, to stare at, to tell myself look away, look away, but looking back...and thinking about how would I relax if I had a needle in that area? Dr. dan, move that poster!
I guess, on a positive note, dr. dan's seen a lot worse than my butt!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tuesday Timeout

I woke up this morning thinking about the whole meditation thing. And it seems like such a good idea - you know, sit somewhere quiet, reflect, do a little chanting if it helps - some quality time to just be...and then I thought - that's exactly what a timeout should be like! Wouldn't we, with kids, want them to sit quiet for those few minutes and reflect on what happened? Instead, what happens in my house, they scream, cry, bounce up and down, basically wanting to do anything but sit and reflect. Then I thought - that's what I do when I try and meditate...just turned down a few notches. My mind doesn't want to reflect or be quiet - it starts thinking, making lists, then my body gets an itch that I just really want to scratch. In essence I'm bouncing up and down and screaming! It's always been tough for me.

So this morning, I decided I would give myself a timeout. I know timeouts are a minute for every year, right...but I wasn't prepared/willing to sit that long! So I went with 6 minutes - the age of my son. 

I set the alarm (I know, really, for 6 minutes - but I wanted those 6 minutes to be uninterrupted blissful quietness). Then I started. Here's a glimpse of how it played out for the first 2-3 minutes...

"it's quiet in here, this is good, I need the quiet, wow, it's windy outside...stop thinking about the wind, think about nothing, ok, I can think about nothing, wait, now your thinking about thinking about nothing..."

Then for about 30 seconds I got it. I focused on my breathing and everything really did become peaceful. I felt calm and without any need to do anything. Then I heard this little voice in me say 'You are one'. Then it was gone and I was back into planning my day. But I felt it just for a moment. And that moment, my friends, is why every tuesday I'm going to meditate...I loved that feeling of just being. I know - 1 day a week - I have to start small or I'll get overwhelmed and stop. I will do it more than 6 minutes though - that really wasn't enough time. There is something to be said for just finding a quiet moment to sit with myself - I do feel a little more energized...and can go back to that brief moment when I realized I am one.

Monday, March 24, 2008

What's with the name?

As I started this whole new blogging site up last night, my husband asked - what's the name MomEgo all about? Well - I've come to the realization that being a mom is a challenge and at times I feel like the only thing that identifies me is the fact that I am a mom. Add to that my ego that likes to get in the way of me living my life. In my world, there's the obvious ego - the one that wants to look good...like in this recent scenario. Getting dressed for an evening out and wondering if I could really get away with these really cool, but tight, jeans I just bought, that I swear didn't feel tight in the store. The answer was a resounding Hell no, as I proceeded to get a huge rip right under my ass from doing multiple squats in the attempt to make the jeans a little less tight - good times! 

Then there's the not so obvious, slightly sneaky ego - the one that makes me second guess myself, or wonder if I'm doing the right thing, did I do the right thing, will I do the right thing. You know, right? (if you don't know what I'm talking about, then just write me off as crazy!) The voice that says, remember the time when, or what happens if. 

So as a mom that is unsure of my path in life, and with this ego that just wants me to be unsure - I thought that's it - my challenge is to come to terms with the mom in me and the ego in me...and, drum roll please - MomEgo.

I don't know how this really works - honestly, I don't know what to write about. As I look at the blogs I love to read, I started wondering, what draws me to these blogs. And it's the honesty, the humor, the insight into someone else's life that may help me in my life. So again, welcome and enjoy. 

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I've Had It

Ok, so I've had it and my husband has had it. One more conversation about how to be happy, what's life about, how do I fit it all in...again. Seems like every couple of months, ok, let's be honest, weeks, I want to talk about how do I find my passion again. As if I've lost it somewhere along the way. It's easier to say that I've just lost it, when perhaps all along I never had it. Now, I can turn to the kids, my job, where we live, lack of time...for the reason that I am not fulfilled. I secretly know that I didn't have it...and am scared as hell to figure out what it is. Because in my mind, I think my passion must be so opposite of what I'm doing right now that I'd have to turn my back on everything and start over. See my problem? 

So this is my journey - well, my journey has been going for quite some time. This is the start of my journey as a blogger. I know there's other people, moms, non-moms, out there that feel the same way I do. And maybe my rantings will shed light for me and others. That's what it's all about, right? We all have to help each other figure it out. I'm scared of taking this leap - I'll have to stop blaming others and actually do something! Yikes - that's a new one for me.

I'm ready - come along with me. Tomorrow - I think I need to write about my Easter day with the family.