Friday, May 12, 2006

More squirrels

So in the car on the way to school yesterday Dev says, "Hey mommy, what is it that squirrels like again?"

I was a little surprised, but then, nothing surprises me anymore. Dev has tuned in to my squirrel frequency, I guess.

"What do you mean 'like?' You mean what kind of food do they like?"


So I ticked off a list of things I've seen squirrels eat. Then he asked me if we could buy some peanuts to feed to the squirrels this weekend. I said sure, asked him if he wanted to put a little plate out in the courtyard where he could watch from his room or if he wanted to go to Grey's Lake and take a walk and see if we could find any squirrels there to feed.

"Both, please."

So apparently this theme won't be exiting my life this weekend.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Another day

Christie asked us to blog, no matter if it said much or not...

Life right now is exceedingly difficult for me. I'm struggling with Darius about custody issues. My boys can't seem to sleep when they are at my house. I broke down crying last night because Elyas simply wouldn't go to sleep, because D. called and yelled at me about money, because my life is not what I wanted at all at this point. Elyas put his arms around my neck and coo'ed "It's awright. Wyas is here." over and over and over. It was nice to see him reflecting back to me what I know he's seen from me over and over again, that he knows what comfort looks like to him. I hated being comforted by my four year old. Two hours later in the dark of the night I finally caved and moved the whole clan out to the living room. We opened up the windows to watch the rain and pretend we were camping out. Devereaux reached out and stroked my face in the moonlight and lightening flashes I could see love written all over his face. He sighed, "Mommy, if I were grown up, I'd marry you." Right back to tears it was. Then he told me it looked like the sky was crying too. We cried ourselves to sleep finally, huddled in a mass on the living room floor.

I woke up at some point with my stomach in knots and all I could think about was a sense memory of deboning a chicken...of gently and carefully splitting the breastbone in half with a very sharp knife and carefully pulling and cutting the flesh from the bones. It was what my soul felt like last night...

Sorry to be a bummer. Hopefully the day will improve with coffee.


I don't know about you but I really love the Johnny Depp version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Ok, yes Mysty, Johnny is creepy...I have to give you that. But he's always been creepy and it's a weird part of his sex appeal. But that isn't why I love this version of this story. As much as I LOVE Gene Wilder and the little orange Oompa Loompas, that version lacked the squirrels. More specifically, it lacked beautiful little Julia Winter delivering the immaculate line "Daddy, I want a squirrel!" Her diction alone was enough to inspire me to wander around for days saying "Squirrel, squirrel, squirrel!" in my best fake British accent. My boys hate it when I do things like that. But it's a mother's job to annoy her children, and I'm just warming up for their teenaged years.

My life got, well, a little squirrelly again yesterday. In fact, something downright weird happened to me yesterday. First, let me share with you that I got an invite to subscribe to a blog yesterday from a total and complete stranger. Ok that's not so weird, those kinds of things happen all the time, right? I checked his profile to see if maybe it was somehow someone I was connected to, you know, from my past? I'm always curious to see what happened to the kids I went to high school with. But he wasn't one of those people. And while there was nothing particularly offensive about his profile, I couldn't even see much of anything we have in common, saving one. We are born under the same astrological sign in the same year. So in the hopes of furthering science and seeing if our astrological similarities spelled out personality similarities, I decided to read one of his blogs. It was not a side splitter, and it wasn't a very long blog, but in essence it is about him seeing a tail-less squirrel, and how that freaked him out and caused him to wonder about the poor squirrel's life. Like I said, kind of cute. Fast forward several hours when this was the last thing on my mind. I was getting home from work and my mind was full of personal business stuff I needed to accomplish during the evening. My arms were full of stuff I was carrying from the car and as I walked across the parking lot at my apartment, I dropped my keys. A flurry of motion in front of me made me look up as I had knelt to retrieve them. About four feet in front of me know what's coming...honest and no kidding, a squirrel with no tail. NO SHIT. Can you believe this? Oh ok the thing had a little stub, it looked like a teeny poof on his butt, but still!

Now what the hell does this mean? Is my spirit animal the ferocious tail-less squirrel? Is it a sign that my means for balance in the universe has been amputated from me? Am I just a karmic FREAK? Seriously...who else would this happen to?


Friday, May 05, 2006

This I believe

Ok, so my friend asked me a very pointed question about my spiritual beliefs. I was a little hesitant to post a blog about this because, you know, some of us (ahem - cough) have gone down this road a few times before. And well, it wasn't pretty. So for those of you who know I'm talking about you, I would heartily encourage you to stop reading right here. Or here....or...ok it's your call. The reason I make this disclaimer is because I earnestly believe in each person's RIGHT to their own beliefs. I also earnestly believe in my right to disagree with them. And well you know, I'm a bit bullheaded and mean when I get backed into a corner. But I don't intend this to be like that. I intend this to be a simple statement of my beliefs, which are not so simple, which is why it required more than a response on a blog comment. I could have sent her a private message, but then I would miss the fun of comparing notes with some new people I'm meeting now and learning about their more esoteric approaches to life and spirituality.

So the big question is what does one CALL oneself when you don't particularly believe in a GOD/DESS, but you really do believe in a higher power...just not the kind most people think of? I've used different terms as my spiritual path has unfolded before me but this is where I'm at right now. I'm a SPIRITUAL agnostic humanist UU. I'm sure that doesn't really help much. I believe not in a god or god-like BEING. I distinctly do not see a higher power as a BEING. I believe it is more of a collective energy, an energy that binds all life, perhaps even all matter in the universe, each to the other. I believe that we as humans are capable of calling upon this energy in a way that is unique to our world, and therefore also kind of difficult. But when have we ever done things the easy way? I also believe that there are many paths to this calling. Some call it God and read bibles and pray. Some call it life and read philosophy and work hard. Some call it by dozens of other names and read tarot cards, or study stars, or practice Taoism, or meditate, or watch Oprah (she keeps coming up in my think I'm supposed to get something from Oprah today?). Some people just enjoy their lives. Some people write poetry or sing. I think they are all paths to the same source of energy. I've studied enough about world religions to know how remarkably similar they are in places, and that so called "miracles" happen regularly in many different religions. I see this as proof that, forgive an old saying that is crass, there is more than one way to skin a cat. I believe that people are inherently good...a rather radical belief in itself, I've learned. I believe that there are parallel universes that some call "heaven" and others call "other world" and others call tripe. And I believe in certain conditions these parallel universes interconnect with our own. Sometimes we have a modicum of control over that happening, usually we do not...but I don't think "they" have any more control of it than we do. I think of it like being on a crowded elevator and having personal space...whether you are trying to or not, you somehow end up touching someone else. I believe in the wonder of evolution...and I believe that it's an amazing creation story that is not contrary to a higher order at all. I believe at death the energy that comprises the spirit, like the energy and matter that comprises the body, returns to the earth and is redistributed to other life. I think from time to time it stays together to the extent that some sense of the soul departed can be tangibly sensed. I believe in the power of people to do amazing things, both amazing good and amazing bad. And I believe in Calvin and Hobbes.

I believe I'm done now.

God love you, you're a success!

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it before, but just in case you didn't catch it the first time, I'm a bit of a self help junkie. Not in a bad way (I laugh as I type this..."I can quit anytime I want - really!") I got introduced at a young age. My mom was taking a Dale Carnegie course, and I'm not sure why she decided to take it...maybe it was to support a friend, or maybe she wanted to Win Friends and Influence People. I don't know, that really doesn't sound like my mom though. Oh yeah, now I remember. She became an Amway sales all know Amway, right? The mother of all direct sales programs? Yeah, I shudder when I think about it too, don't be embarrassed. I'm kind of proud of the fact that my mom failed as an Amway representative, just as I've failed at selling lingerie and toys through direct sales (different time periods in my life...obviously). But I must be careful not to play to the end here (my actorschmactor friends understand that term...I don't know how commonly its used in the outside world, sorry if I've confused you.)

So anyway, self-help books, programs, courses, CD's, DVD's...I LOVE them. Not really because I'm a basket case. Really. Stop laughing. I MEAN IT, STOP! I'd kind of lost track of it all when I was in college when I accidentally got a copy of "Life 101" in a book club because I didn't mail the card thingie back...because I couldn't afford stamps, much less a book, but hey. Back then you couldn't put stamps on a credit card, but books you could. Unfortunately I didn't find the credit self-help gurus until way later in my life (read...last year...and yeah...I'm an accountant.) That book really spoke to me. And then I was on this journey...becoming more than a self help junkie. I realize I've officially become a self help aficionado. Now you know the difference between a junkie and an aficionado, don't you? It's the quantity versus quality thing. I got a lesson in that this week, at a time where the reminder that I'm a "less is more" person seemed amazingly appropriate.

You see even though I need it desperately, I haven't had time to return to my favorite authors and speakers for help through this rough time. And even when there has been time, I've been indulging in a lot of bubble baths lately, an interesting side effect of not having a husband. Bubble baths are essential to a reasonable separation. And because I've been neglecting my own deviant delight, I made a junkie mistake that an aficionado should never make. I tried to mainline some MOTIVATION. Now maybe you've seen the dark underbelly of the world of MOTIVATION up close and personal or maybe you've just glimpsed it through the veneer of a "harmless" Tupperware hostess catalog. For the former this may be the sound of Marley rattling his chains at you, and for the latter, try not to throw up and consider it a warning. And if you are a Mary Kay representative for the love of Pete get help.

So my company did this advertising trade with the company promoting an event called "GET MOTIVATED!" Subtle, isn't it? In trade we got twenty or so VIP tickets to this event which featured speakers like Suze Orman, George Foreman, Rudy Guilliani (sp?), Steve Forbes, and then that guy that is legend in MOTIVATIONAL circles, Zig Ziglar. He in fact was the reason I wanted to attend, though while I think back on it the only reason is because I know my mom heard him speak once and was giddy for a week. I should have known better. I should have really noted the fact that the only press this thing was getting was that it would create the worst traffic conditions known to downtown in history. History. But I have an attraction to disaster too, I suppose.

So Monday morning I got up bright and early and got chewed out by my downstairs neighbor for making too much noise. I shuffled my children off to their proper locals and I set out to GET MOTIVATED. Except of course for that damn traffic. I ended up driving to my office anyway and walking nearly two miles to the event. I was only an hour late and had only missed one speaker. I found a seat and wedged my way in between a platoon (?or whatever?) of Army National Guard dudes who all had shoulders the width of a compact car, and a newspaper guy from Bondurant who kept borrowing my pen to take notes. Not that my notes on the fatigues of Mr. Shoulders did me much good anyway.

I got an education first on what these people think entertain Joe Junkie in the front rows. Apparently it's really plastic version of American Idol. Barbie meets Kelly Clarkson on mind control drugs, if you will. But I digress. I could break down each speaker and what they said, but the truth is I only stayed until lunch and only that long because I couldn't move, really. And if I did break it down I'd probably offend SOMEONE for the wrong reasons. The final analysis is this. If you ever get the opportunity to hear George Foreman speak, GO. If you ever see the phrase "GET MOTIVATED!" "full day seminar" and "free tickets!" in an email, schedule the day off and lay in bed and watch Oprah instead. It will be much more fulfilling.

The thing I think they all miss is what my favorite honest to goodness motivational writer warned us about many years ago. I will only paraphrase, because I don't remember the exact words. But he said that the problem with SUCCESS and MOTIVATIONAL programs is there is this idea that life is all about plateaus and that in order to be a success, you need to keep climbing up to the next plateau. And sooner later you are going to climb up to that last plateau and they are going to throw some dirt on you and you'll be done. He says the really important thing is, if you get to plateau 2 and you are happy, stay there! There is no magic rule that says you have to start climbing again the next morning. My favorite line from this tape (which is right around thirty years old and I listen to it once a week) is this, "If you are a janitor, and you are happy, and your wife loves you and your kids love you God love you, you are a success!"

Less is more see? Okay, except when it comes to how long it takes me to get to the point in a blog.

Much success to you my friends.

Yes, I did.

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