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!