Archive | February, 2015

Texas or Bust?

28 Feb

A couple days ago I somewhat jokingly and also in a moment of profound fury after losing a contract on a house we loved and a hefty amount of cash asked my Facebook friends where in the world I should move if we left Atlanta.

Before I met Dave, I was interested in moving out of state. I had even applied to graduate programs all over the South. So far in my life I have only lived in Atlanta and also one other place (for a year or two). My first memories come from Claremont, California, with our rock garden, tangerine tree, pool, and the coyotes howling in the faraway mountains. But Dave had just bought a house here, had just moved back here after boarding school and college and Marines, and I loved Dave, so I stayed put.

Now, however, the world feels wide open and free. The house will sell. We are not obligated to buy anything else here. Yes, we have lots of friends and family here, lots of responsibilities and loves, but I feel something calling me out West.

Maybe it’s the books I’m reading. I never used to read multiple books at once, but right now I’m still in the middle of a Benjamin Franklin biography, a novel about Nazi resistance, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s On the Banks of Plum Creek, and Chris Kyle’s memoir about being a SEAL sniper since 9/11. Chris Kyle is a Texan through and through, and it has gotten me thinking about my husband. Dave has friends and family in Texas (that I like too!), and Texans really do love their veterans. I like horses, independence, cowboy hats, and *gasp* guns (well, in actuality I love the people who love guns. I don’t mind rifles but I am not comfortable with a handgun). And being closer to the National Parks out West. And Mexico if The Day After Tomorrow turns out to be correct.

Laura Ingalls Wilder is making me thirsty for wide open spaces. And making me wonder if we should hire a horse and wagon to move?

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I had to bring both books to the lunch table because I wasn’t sure which one I would want to pick up to read at that exact moment.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. Maybe we’ll get a house here in Doraville, or find another gem in Marietta, but maybe when everyone reminded me of “God’s timing is the perfect timing,” they were talking about this: a brief chance at freedom and exploration.

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Parenting with Love and Logic

27 Feb

Yesterday Dave went to our parenting class by himself because I got in a huge, albeit brief, fight with my mother that morning, who was supposed to babysit for us. It was going to be the last session of a six-week course, but the instructor added on another one next week because we were going too slowly to finish the workbook in time. And I suppose because she liked us too!

The course is pretty much instructing us how to be calm, loving, and funny people in the 21st century. And then how to raise our kids with empathy and responsibility. One of the biggest lessons I’m learning is to not own someone else’s problems, or even their worry. For example, if I am worrying about something my husband needs to do, then he doesn’t have to worry, and then nothing will get accomplished. Except happy moments shed from my advancing years. If I solve all of Walter’s problems, then he will never learn how to do it for himself. Worse yet, I will be telling him with my actions that I don’t think he’s able to!

The idea that I think I will have the hardest time implementing is the basic tenet of the whole premise of Loving and Logic-ing: responding first with empathy. Not anger. Never anger. At least never expressing that anger. Anger is natural, but we must fight against our tendencies to lash out. It is OK to take a moment away from the situation if you are mad. People have memories longer than mice do.

I’d like to say that I’m already a better person because of this class, but so far I just feel called out. I certainly see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it is illuminating the dirt and grime in my life. Most of which comes from my own BS.

Parenting with Love and Logic was invented and institutionalized by the Fays, a father and son team. They actually invented the term “helicopter parenting” in the ’70s. Their videos often remind me of stand up comedy routines, interspersed with complete and utter wisdom. Our instructor — or their ambassador, if you will — is a shining example of their ideas. I feel calmer just being around her. And chatting and laughing with the other parents has been wonderful and enlightening. I could meet with this group every week for the rest of the time I’m in Atlanta!

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He is such a great kid to be around. I always want to do right by him.

The Oscars, or Why I wanted Bradley Cooper to win

23 Feb

It has been a wild week, with the loss of the Marietta house, the possible sale of our intown house, and the feeling of being a little free-floating. The days culminated in a very creative-minded weekend.

Watching Walter learn things is so very cool. Much more fun re-learning with him, than it was learning all this stuff the first time around. I swear, the boy has gone from delayed speech to teaching himself how to read at 2 1/2 years old.

At dinner, we spoke of muses, and how to pull a poem out of you before it flows away. I also made my best pot of Killer Shrimp yet.

When I walk around with my phone in my back pocket, an album playing, it makes me feel like I have my own theme music.

I happened upon a spiritual healer, whom I plan on contacting. I am very interested to see what happens, what it is like to get a private reading or energy cleansing. I always love talking to people like that, card readers and other mystics.

I absolutely adored the Oscars this year. In years past, if I turn on the Oscars, I usually get hooked just because I am interested in which movies are nominated, as I normally don’t even have a chance to find out what movies are being released. This year, I felt like I had a stake in the game. I am a big fan of American Sniper and Chris Kyle. I find the story enlightening and heartbreaking, knowing that Kyle was murdered and his wife and children are currently undergoing their dad’s murder trial. I am reading his memoir right now and am basically learning all about Dave’s time in Iraq, as they were both in the Second Battle of Fallujah. Chris Kyle’s voice is unique, so much so that I am more compelled by him than almost any other book I’ve read, except maybe Margaret Mitchell in Gone with the Wind. And Sniper‘s story itself… there is such fodder in discussing a man who gets killed by the very weapon he so adores (and a deranged man, of course), after surviving four tours in Iraq. Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper brought the story to Hollywood superbly and with undeniable mastery of their craft.

I am also a big fan of Neil Patrick Harris. Dave and I both think that How I Met Your Mother is one of the most comedic and high quality sitcoms ever. I was amazed and delighted from the moment the Oscars started. Neil’s opening act was perfect. What a performance! The visuals were clever and stunning and nostalgic. And then he spent the rest of the show intelligently poking at the audience and the world, opening up even more intimate details of Hollywood. The speeches were wonderful to listen to. Political but not offensive. They hit all the high notes, such as gender equality and suicide, two subjects I’m passionate about. My favorite was the man who won Best Supporting Actor. I’ve seen him in a million movies but don’t know his name, even now. But he was the every-man, reminding us of family, and how we are an extension of the people who came before us. It was beautiful.

The show-stopping moment came when Lady Gaga performed a medley from Sound of Music, one of my top favorite movies of all time. I have never been a fan of hers, because I could never see past her gimmicks to the art. Sure, I heard a few songs on the radio, which might be catchy, but other than that I was not impressed. Gaga blew me away, however, with her simple yet glorious dress, makeup, and hair, on a beautiful stage, with the most exquisite and powerful voice. Thank you for that, my dear! I look forward to future such soul-awakened moments of pure art.

All in all it was an evening well spent. Onward and upward!

LADY GAGA

Benjamin Franklin and I have a bath date

3 Feb

It’s a rare moment of calm in the house. The house is exceptionally clean since we just had another showing. My mom took Walter with her after a delicious lunch at Stone Soup Kitchen, since he was singing “Mimi’s house Mimi’s house Mimi’s house” all morning and destroying anything I had just cleaned. The dog is sufficiently walked. The cat is sleeping and not meowing. I have a cup of hot raspberry leaf tea, the Hozier album is playing, and I’m contemplating relaxing in a tub with Isaacson’s Benjamin Franklin. What an amazing person. Reading that book is opening my mind, and I’m so excited to learn more. Because of this book I’ve already put several more books on my Amazon wish list and a few free ones on my phone’s Kindle.

I just bought a St. Joseph statue off Amazon. Comes with a pre-packaged prayer, which I’m interested in reading. I asked my realtor to look into the tradition, and he sent me back a link about novenas. This is getting serious! I’m glad at least that we have a good relationship with our current realtor, both in buying our new house and selling this one. He’s the only one so far that has been able to work with me, to put it bluntly! But the statue is a good, fun break in the monotony and work that is involved in selling this house.

At a party recently a friend told me about how he and his wife sold their townhome in 8 days, and to be honest it made me incredibly jealous. Another friend said it took them a year, but they were able to move out anyway due to job opportunities that took them to another state. That still sounds like a better situation than living in constant readiness of a showing with a toddler, a dog who sheds like a maniac, and a cat who walks all over the counters devil-may-care. I’m managing to stay calm without too many breakdowns, but this morning I was ready to hail an Uber to send Walt to Nini’s.

Dave and I are taking a six week parenting class entitled Parenting the Love and Logic Way, and so far we’ve learned how to diffuse the situation for arguing and begging kids. That was great advice, but I need something to use on someone who isn’t logical yet. Smart as hell, but also quite emotional, demanding, adventurous, and charming. What a great kid!

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He’s getting really tall already.

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She plays with this thing almost as much as Walter… and usually while he’s sleeping. It isn’t quiet.

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Wait, who’s the baby?

I should just go take a yoga class and remember to live in the moment. Because if I’m not mistaken, I’ve got it really, really lucky. Lots of love, laughter, shelter, food, and warmth in this life!