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Friday, August 26, 2016

Why You Should Always Help the Flailing Beetle on his Back or Why the Moon Crashed into Texas

Have you ever seen a beetle flipped upside down?  He struggles valiantly, all of his tiny legs waving in the air frantically trying to right himself.  

That’s how I feel every morning when I wake up.  I’m flailing around groggily trying to right myself, the only thing on my mind is making it upright and to the potty in time.  

I’m.  So.  Huge.  I’m massive.  The moon may fall to the earth, drawn in by my gravitational pull.  If so I apologize.  My bad.  

If I could stop myself from eating that second bowl of ice-cream daily I may be able to get a handle on this thing.  But…biology.  It WANTS me to eat.  All the time.  I’m insatiable.  And it isn’t for broccoli and rice.  It’s for ICE CREAM and pasta and anything full of yummy, yummy FAT.  All the books say to eat healthy, it’s for the baby.  SCREW YOU.  I’m eating this second bowl of ice cream and baby and I say…zip it!


At least I can’t overindulge in chocolate and fried things - the heartburn is SO not worth it.  I had pizza for the last time about two months ago.  I thought I was having a heart attack. So really the only thing I can totally pig out on is vanilla ice cream and pasta.  And cereal.  But pig out I do.  One bowl is never enough…of anything.  

I’ve broken down and asked the doctor what else I can take for the heartburn besides Tums.  (I was thinking 7,8 a day wasn’t good for the baby either).  I wasn’t getting any sleep at night and I figured the constant heartburn wasn’t good for my health, and in turn for the babies health either.  So I’m sleeping at night now and down to a pill at night and only about 4 Tums a day.  This baby better be born with thick luxurious Elvis hair…because…chocolate!  How I miss thee.  Caffeine.  CHIPS!  Pizza.  Jumping out of bed in the morning without the need of a rope and pulley.  

I digress.

So in other news we’ve given up encouraging Ellie to switch from crib to big girl bed but time is running out.  The new baby will need somewhere to sleep…so.  We’ve moved the crib to her new ‘big girl’ room, beside her ‘big girl bed’ in the hopes that adjusting to the room was the bigger step and moving to the bed after that will be…well…child’s play.  

So far she has shown no interest.  Baby 1 - Mama 0.  I refuse to force her to go to the bed - but eventually we will need the crib.  Baby will be here in November and when that happens any other change may seem like the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Better to get her in her bed and adjusted before the baby comes.

I want to be careful not to force her though, you only get to be a child once and I am loathe to make her feel like she has to grow up before she has to.  At least, I want her to mature at her own rate, and not because it’s convenient for me because of a new baby.  I know every mother thinks this but…she’s special and sensitive.  She’s already feeling the ‘change in the air’ so to speak.  She understands perfectly well something is about to change, she just doesn’t understand how or why yet.  

And, as always, just when I’m prepared for her to be upset and totally traumatized over some new change, she’ll probably just take it all in stride and I’ll wonder what the heck I got myself so worked up for.

So don’t do what I do, don’t create problems where they're aren’t any.  And flip over that beetle every now and again will ya?  Help a beetle out.  I know I’ll never walk by another one without flashing back to my own morning struggles.

“Some women can’t stand being pregnant, getting big and bloated, and hauling around a giant stomach, and some women, for reasons probably understood by Darwin, Love it.”  Rich Cohen

Friday, August 19, 2016

Letting the Cat out of the Bag

One of the oldest and most generous tricks that the universe plays on human beings is to bury strange jewels within us all, then stand back to see if we can ever find them.”  Elizabeth Gilbert.

I just love that quote.  And the idea there are ‘strange jewels’ lurking within us all.  A guitar riff, a sculpture, a pencil drawing of your favorite face.

I just read Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Big Magic - Creative Living Beyond Fear’ and I’m all jazzed up to live my creative life fearlessly.  (Thank you Liz!  Can I call you Liz?  No?  Ah…ok.)  

If you don’t rush out to buy it today, here are the top three creative living tips that are making a difference in my life right now. 
  1. Done is better than good.  (I’ve increased what I submit by like 50% on these 5 words alone.)  Nothing I wrote was ever ‘right yet’.  It wasn’t perfect.  New flash to me….it doesn’t have to be.  And done and out there is better than stuck in a drawer until you have time to ‘fix it’.
  1. Don’t pressure your creative pursuits to make you money.  You support your creativity, not the other way around and everyone will be happier.  Wow has this ever helped.  Poor creative Ange, the only way I’d let her out is if she might make me money.  Well who would want to come out and play under that kind of pressure!?
  1. Follow your tangents.  You don’t have to follow one particular passion.  BE a scuba diving, Ballerina collecting tax lawyer who paints amazing still life tomato vines on her Harley.  Feel free to follow each little interest.  If nothing else you’ll have a more interesting, engaged life.

So many times I read these ‘improvement’ books about improving your life and they all say, hey, just find what you’re passionate about and follow that to the pot at the end of the rainbow!  Ugh.  Hate that.

I have about 17 things I’m ‘passionate’ about.  I’d really like to be a yoga instructing, blogging Real Estate Agent-Poet who teaches Kindergarden to under privileged kids who designs amazing outdoor garden-scapes.  Why would I want to focus on just one thing!?

Now Miss Elizabeth has officially given me ‘permission’ to follow all my lovely interests down the rabbit hole.  Lots of different rabbit holes.  How wonderful!  And none of them have to make me money.  They just have to make me...happy.  World.  Shattering.

“But to yell at your creativity, saying, “You must earn money for me!” is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring it away, because you’re making really loud noises and your face looks weird when you do that.”  (Miss Liz)

She cracks me up.

Anyway - so I’m letting the creative cat out of the bag - not to work for me, but to romp around playfully like a kitty should.  Meow!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Raising Kick-Butt Girls

How Ellie's brain (and any young child) is a little like an empty laundry basket:

I was recently reminded of an article I read about how children’s brains are when they are very young - just open receptacles.  Whatever you toss in there is getting caught and held.  They don’t yet have a developed judgmental/critical mind that will evaluate what they hear before it gets tucked away.  They hear, they absorb into themselves.  


I was recently reminded because I had a friend over for a play date and Ellie was being pretty shy and clingy.  I was trying to explain she’s very, very shy.  She’s very attached to me, etc.  

All the things I say to someone who doesn’t know us well so she doesn’t think she or I is a total freak.  I don’t know why I worry about what other people think of her so much - but I feel the need to explain I suppose.  

Anyway, as I was saying it she was clinging tightly to me and I thought, at least a part of this is her hearing again and again how shy she is.  How she doesn’t like men.  (Well, she doesn’t but that doesn’t mean I have to keep repeating it over and over so it solidifies in her little persona.)  Wait.  Maybe I should just add…’She really doesn’t like men until she’s 24 and has a degree…..’  Yes…this could work to my advantage…

So can telling her she’s smart, and beautiful, and sweet.  (Which she is).  This also goes for what we say about the world around her.  I heard myself say just last night…”The world is a dangerous place for women.  We have to be more careful.  It’s why women are more intuitive and better able to judge a person’s character in a short time.”  I know this is sometimes the case and I’ve found myself in situations that I had to make a choice about whether to listen to my instincts or ignore them.  Usually I listened but no woman on the planet is without a story of how she got that itchy bad feeling and walked away.  Or didn’t return a phone call.  Or didn’t get into the car.

Even still, I don’t want her worldview to be..’the world is a dangerous place for me so I better act accordingly.’  Sure it may be safer if she hides in the house and never takes any risks but…what kind of a life is that?  

We had been talking about finding babysitter’s on and that some of the photo’s were obviously not appropriate and only a crazy person would trust their kids with them.  (The face shot of 20 year old who submits a photo of her coyly holding her fingers to her mouth while dressed in a low cut dress).  Really?  I’d hire you to nurture and care for my child?  Think you’re on the wrong website sweet pea.  (Of course the guys were all very interested.  I endured some good natured jibes but being pregnant and as big as a whale I did also imagine some well aimed shots to the head.)  Pow.  Pow.  Sometimes I’m cranky when I’m pregnant.  La la!

Anyway, I was in her room with her yesterday morning playing blocks and I just got hit by this overwhelming sense of gratitude for her, and the real sense that this is the most important job I’ve ever had to do.  And I want to do a good job.  She makes me want to be a better person.  A better mom, a stronger, more independent woman.  

I just found a t-shirt I love for her - it says Strong girls = Strong world.  That’s my job.  It’s to love, encourage and support her and ensure she sees the strength both in herself and the women she shares the planet with.

Lastly, here is a quote and I couldn’t track down the source but I liked it so much I’m adding it here anyway.  

“You can tell who the strong women are, they’re the ones building other women up instead of tearing them down.”

Let’s go moms!  Let’s make the world a better, more supportive place for our little women to grow up in.  

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Angela's Rants. Or, the Beginning of the End to Angela's Ability to Keep Friends.

I do my best to contribute to the elevation of my best self.  I try at least to be silent when people are being negative so I don’t add my own voice to the discord.  

But…every now and again, it builds up and I gotta let it out or it's going to make me EXPLODE.  

That's right, it’s RANT TIME.  When I spew off ridiculous half baked opinions on things I have absolutely no right to weigh in on.

Bumper Stickers:

I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that said:  “If you don’t follow Jesus, you can go to Hell.”  And I thought…I was brought up in a fire and brimstone, fourth generation United Pentecostal family where Hell could very well be the topic of a sermon at church and I’M offended.  

I get real ‘specially annoyed when I see people who are claiming to be Christians being…well…mean.  Like the tow truck driver who stranded a woman by herself on the side of the road (In North Carolina) because he saw she had a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker.  (Meaning she was a Democrat).  He told her to call the government to help her.  Then he left.  He said God would have been proud.  

No sweetie, no that’s not the case.  In fact, there’s a story about just this issue IN THE BIBLE.  Something called, oh, I don’t know, THE GOOD SAMARITAN.  Something’s screwy in the head when you ignore a basic tenet of being a Christian and feel good about it.

The Canadian Medicare System:

Specifically, Americans talking trash about a system they’ve never used and know nothing about.  I recently got into a bit of a heated debate about it at a dinner party with a friend.  I assume we’re still friends and since she has a bit of a reputation for being confrontational I also assume the conversation went totally under her radar.  

It was kind of a huge deal for me - I’m allergic to genuine confrontation and generally avoid it like you would a rabid monkey.  It’s just not worth it.  Usually.  But when people talk trash about a system I know intimately and they’ve never personally experienced (hello, Leukemia) it really pushes my buttons.  I was diagnosed and admitted same day they took my blood, a Saturday.  I went in Saturday morning to check for Mono and was admitted that night for Leukemia.

I had the operation I needed to inject the chemo (sort of an internal IV line) the next day and was starting Chemo by Monday.  I never waited for MRI’s I needed or X-Ray’s or any kind of life saving diagnostic tool.  Dr Rubin would order an MRI in the morning and they’d wheel me down by the afternoon.  Blood work results took hours, not days or weeks.  

I don’t know about someone’s aunt, or uncle, or third cousin once removed who used the Canadian system and died.  I do know if I was born in Maine and not Moncton, NB I’d be dead right now.  Why?  Because the life saving Bone Marrow Transplant I needed was $200,000 in the mid 90’s.  My mom took a leave of absence from her secretary job to take care of me and dad was a lifer at CN.  $200,000 might as well have been two hundred million.  

I watched them struggle as it was to pay out of pocket for the medication I had to take while I was home, to pay for hotel fees while I was having the transplant in Toronto (3 months I was there).  I remember thinking, this is so unfair, why do we have to worry about something as silly as money when my life is on the line?  I was 15.  

But that’s what millions of Americans have to do every day.  Even when their loved one survives they’re left with staggering amounts of debt.  My parents may have been able to swing the payment on all the treatments IF they mortgaged (or sold) their house and charged things on credit cards.  One thing is clear, they wouldn’t be retired right now, and mom would never have been able to take time off work to spend taking care of me if we lived in the US.

One thing is also VERY clear to me - the US medical system works great if you have the money to pay for it.  If you’re middle class (like we were) or less and you have a catastrophic illness, you’re screwed.  It’s worth mentioning none of the people who trash talk the Canadian system are working at McDonald’s to make ends meet.

Kids taking chemo should never have to worry about their parents too.  They should be focused on getting better.  Life saving medicine should be free.  Period. 

I’m willing to pay a little extra tax on my Old Navy shorts if it means that 6 year old with cancer can have his mom take a leave of absence from work to focus on taking care of him.  That she won’t have to take a second job to pay for the medicine he needs.  It seems incredible to me that people place the value of money over the value of human life.  

I digress.

Ellie’s Rants:

When strangers ask me what’s wrong with her when she’s crying.  I.  DON’T.  KNOW.  She doesn't like you.  Go away.

Ellie is very shy and if there’s too many people (or a new house) she kind of shuts down.  She grabs me in a death grip and cries for mommy.  That’s just the way she is.  I’m not interested in changing her, or pushing her out of this, whatever it is.  I’m interested in accepting her for exactly who she is.  In taking her fears and needs seriously and being patient.

Is it hard on me?  Sure, it’d be great if she ran out with no fear and talked to everyone she met.  (Ah, maybe not EVERYONE she meets).  

Do I feel like I’m doing something wrong, that I’ve failed because she’s fearful?  Kind of.  

But, I’m having faith that I’m doing the right thing by loving her, by accepting her, by not trying to push or change her into something she isn’t.  At least, I'm trying to do that.  Sometimes I just look at her and I'm like..."What?  Why?  You're fine!  Argggg."

But mostly I feel like she’ll come out of her shell eventually but not if she feels made fun of, or threatened.  Kids are people too, people.

That about wraps up my rants for the week, hopefully I’ve still got a friend or two left and if not well…you must not have liked me much anyway.

In the immortal words of Dennis Miller:  “I rant, therefore I am.”