Monthly Archives: April 2014

TURN THE MUSIC UP!!!! MY PARENTS ROCKED!

I cannot express what a huge impact music has had on my life. HUGE! And I am not a music purist. I do not have a particular genre that I stick with. I love good music. That is all. So if you hate rock or hate country or hate jazz or hate blues or hate pop this blog may drive you crazy.

There are some serious negatives to having a baby when you’re18 years old. Im sure there are. I was 27 and 29 when I gave birth. At 18 I could not have kept a plant alive much less a human being. Damn I’m 41 years old and sometimes still wake up and have a serious “oh crap I have kids” moment. But there are a few people who make it work. Two of those people are my parents. They were 18 & 19 years old when I was born. WOW! So many reasons that SHOULD NOT have worked out. But it did. They stayed happily (well mostly) married for 34 years until my Dad passed away. I did not have what you’d call your conventional Dad. He did not have an 8-5, suit wearing, office job. He did not drive a practical sedan. He did not refrain from cursing. He did not sit around and make my Mom wait on him. He did NOT do a lot of things that the other Dads I knew did. But all of the things he DID do were waaaay cool.

I got so many things from my Dad. Lack of patience, sense of humor, sarcasm (ok thats from both sides), skinny toes, a mind boggling ability to always be right (thats a tough one for other people), humility(ha), but mostly, MOSTLY from him I got a love of music. From the moment I was born there was always music playing in the house. ALWAYS. We were not exactly well off but we always had a nice stereo system and record player in the house. My Dad was a rock purist in his younger days. Im pretty sure I was the only toddler who knew all the words to Stairway To Heaven. I remember being mesmerized by the cover art for the album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. I also remember wondering where the bodies were on the “Queen II” album. I mean how did they get the heads on there and where were their bodies? It was a rock n roll house for sure. And he didn’t edit what we listened to. I remember belting out the lyrics to Eric Clapton’s classic “Cocaine”. Im sure my fairly straight laced Mother was thrilled. But even still they never really “edited” what we listened to or read. I’d like to think it was some sort of well thought out progressive parenting technique but in reality it was probably just lack of knowing any better. I mean they were kids themselves.

It was not JUST rock in the house. My Mom got her way sometimes much to the chagrin of my Dad. My Mom was a fan of John Denver, Michael Murphy, Placido Domingo…we had a ton of what you’d call “softer stuff” in the house playing as well. It’s weird now but I remember hearing John Denver sing “Rocky Mountain High” and thinking what a beautiful place he must be singing about. Yes, yes I know the dual meaning of the lyrics but the purist form of the song is about a place of peace and fresh air and calmness. And I get it now. I live it now.

On Saturdays we had chore day. And that meant music. My Dad would turn on the stereo in the garage (because everyone has a stereo in their garage) and one in the house and you would go about your Saturday chores while listening to loud music. It was awesome. Somehow, signing along to Pink Floyd made scooping up dog crap into an old coffee tin almost bearable.

I remember when my Dad bought the Joshua Tree album. He actually got it on cassette tape! He made me sit down and listen to the whole thing. He said “this is one cool band”. He was right. One of the greatest albums ever made.

Later on he reluctantly began listening to country music. He said he never would as he had viewed it as an old person’s type of music. But with time I think he appreciated Merle Haggard and Willie and Johnny. I know I do. Kris Kristofferson was another one we often listened to. My parents liked his lyrical ability. Actually I think my Mom liked his butt but whatever…

I sit today and while I am working or cleaning I much prefer listening to music than watching tv. And I’ll listen to anything. OK not anything- Justin Bieber is banned from our house but other than that- almost anything! When my Dad died I got a few of his mixed tapes. I like that they are songs he chose to put together randomly. I like that the song titles are written out in his handwriting. I like that it makes me feel like he’s sitting there singing with me. Music is such a very powerful thing. Certain songs instantly transport you back to somewhere…they make you think of someone…they make you cry…they make you sing loud…they make you happy. When I hear “Lord Have Mercy Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On” by Conway Twitty I see my Grandad laughing & signing to my little sister. When I hear Luke Skywalker I think of sneaking out of my house in 9th grade. When I hear Taylor Swift I think of the concerts with my daughter & our dear friends Sanjana & Meera. When I hear Nine In Nails I remember my brother’s stupid goth phase. When I hear anything alternative I think of when I met Patrick. When I hear Paper Boy’s “Ditty” I think of college and my roommate, Jessica. And when I hear Bob Segar sing anything I see my Dad. On his Harley.

I wish I could explain how completely and utterly grateful I am to have had the parents I had. To have had the “not quite conventional” Dad I had. Mom was always more reserved and mellow (believe it or not). Dad was always outspoken and loud. Yin and Yang. It worked. Thank you for not editing what we listened to or read. Thank you for knowing we were capable of deciphering lyrics from reality. Thank you for treating us like people rather than babies. Thank you for teaching us that music is awesome. Music is cool. Music is powerful. You had 3 pretty great kids if I do say so myself. You obviously did something right. (Theres that humility of mine).

“THERE’S A FEELING I GET WHEN I LOOK TO THE WEST AND MY SPIRIT IS CRYING FOR LEAVING” ~Stairway To Heaven, Led Zeppelin

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The Compound Effect~ Why Setting Small Goals is GREAT & Consistency is KEY

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

George Bernard Shaw

As I have written before here I am not a woman of patience. I am trying. Starting my own little business from home has forced me to find some skills that were not genetically bestowed upon me…one being patience. Another skill I am working on is what I like to call “stick-to-it-ness”. I have also written before how Im pretty good at giving up, quitting, stopping, etc. Well, when you have a business and people are depending on you that is not really an option. My previous blog was about how I have made an art form out of giving up. I was good at it. I could burn a bridge and walk away and never look back. Yes thats a metaphor for many things in my life not just business stuff.

Ive never been obese so I could give up on a workout program and not worry about it. I’ve never smoked (well ok not NEVER but themed frat parties where I was dressed in a trash bag and rode home in the back of a truck do not count). Man I hope my kids don’t read these. Anyway- Ive never had to give up smoking, never had to break a really bad habit, never had to really really really stick with anything. So giving up on stuff was never a big deal to me. Until now.

I read a book recently called “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy. I’ve told so many people about it that I truly feel Mr. Hardy should send me commission. It was recommended as reading by Beachbody and has a great message. It’s premise is that consistency is key to success in EVERYTHING you do. Whether you are starting a business, trying to save money, trying to lose weight, trying to quit a bad habit, whatever it may be…consistency is key. There’s a story about a guy who quit putting creamer in his coffee for a year. That’s it. One small change. And he lost 20 pounds that year. There’s a story about someone who saved a penny a day for a year and when invested it turned into a million dollars. It was a real eye opener about how tiny changes that are implemented consistently make HUGE differences.

Setting big huge ginormous goals can be overwhelming. When you set a big giant goal it seems so unattainable. I mean I know the title of this blog implies that Im against setting big goals. I am NOT. Big goals are great…for some people. For me they are a bit overwhelming. I get obsessed with the BIG picture and lose sight of all of the little goals between start and finish that are required to get to your big goal. I have a customer who needs to lose 100 pounds! That’s a lot of pounds. If she were to get up everyday and say “damn I need to lose 100 pounds” that would suck. Instead we discussed setting smaller goals. Lets shoot for 10 pounds. And after she loses 10 pounds we set a new goal, etc. There are little victories at each goal you reach. And why not? Id rather feel great about myself and victorious every few weeks than wait a year to celebrate. How disheartening would that be? But you know what? Eventually a year has passed and the weight is gone. IF you have committed. I mean….the year’s going to pass whether you commit or don’t.

The book helped me realize two things: smart & successful people work consistently.They don’t give up. They never give up. They have stick-to-it-ness. They set little goals and reach them, then set new little goals, then reach them, etc. The other thing the book helped reiterate to me was that tiny changes can make a HUGE change over time. When I started with Beachbody a few months ago I knew that it would require COMMITMENT from me. So before I started I told myself that if I was not willing to be consistent then there was no reason to even start. It would have been super great to sign up, make a million bucks and float. Who wouldn’t want that? But that is not realistic. The reality of it is that you get up each day and commit again to working hard for what you want. Its a daily thing. Its a consistency thing. Its a slow, steady process. I believe I could insert a little anecdote about a tortoise and a hare….its true. Slow & steady (and consistent) wins the race.

Because I am immersed in weight loss stories everyday I get to read about all kinds of different people. They are inspiring and heartfelt and sad and happy and joyful stories. They get me pumped each day. These strangers turned customers turned friends give me a reassurance each day that when you stick to something, when you believe in something, when you commit to something it always pays off. My little goal recently was to hold “crow” (a very difficult yoga position) for 5 seconds. I fell on my face no less than 20 times in the past few weeks. But I kept trying. I kept trying. Everyday I practiced a little. And guess what?

Don’t. Ever. Give. Up.

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A Year of Yeses

Life is short. Really short in the grand 2 billion-year-old-Earth kind of way. We occupy this planet but a very brief time. A year and a half ago my husband had the opportunity with his job to move to Colorado from Texas. I am a 5th generation born and raised Texan. No one leaves. Ever. But we did. It was scary and sad and exciting and invigorating and necessary. Necessary because in life you have to do things that are scary or you’re not really living. That’s my belief, anyway.

So we started on a journey with one big change. One big YES! And I decided if we can say yes to something as big as moving to another state then we should say yes to everything. I mean why not? Life is short. I think there’s some movie with Jim Carrey where he has to say yes to everything. I haven’t seen it so I don’t know how it turns out but so far the real life version has proven to live up to all expectations.

Andy decided to play soccer for the first time this season. He’s never played soccer, only baseball and football. Guess what? He LOVES soccer. He said YES! Maddie decided to run for student council at the very beginning of the school year when she knew no one at all. Scary. Guess what? She’s on student council. Patrick had the chance to go overseas and tour India, England and Belgium with work this month. He is still there and loving it. Amazing opportunity he would have never had if he’d said no. I’m just hoping he comes home…he seems to love it ALOT. There’s been lots of yeses this year for all four of us. We got ski passes, I climbed the infamous INCLINE at Pikes Peak, I went to Los Angeles and started working for myself, I made new friends, we became members at a MUSEUM! And not a museum of like dog art or anything but a real life real museum.

When I first moved here I looked up the local alumni chapter of my sorority. I emailed the girl in charge and went to the first meeting alone not knowing a soul. I thought it would be a good way to meet new people. I had a great time and it seems Chi-O’s are the same everywhere- funny, nice and welcoming. There was a happy hour scheduled yesterday about 40 minutes from my house. Last night the weather was terrible. Snowy, icy, rainy, cold, windy, yuck! I really really wanted to stay home on my couch. But I didn’t. I drove through the muck to have a few drinks with some other Chi-O alumni. And I sat down next to a 70 something year old firecracker. The ages at the table ranged from early thirties I’d say to early seventies. An eclectic group for sure that all shared one thing in common.

I am a big mouth and usually talk people’s ears off but last night I was honored to shut up and listen…well mostly. I asked a thousand questions. After graduating from college with a degree in journalism in the mid 1960’s she moved to Los Angeles by herself to be an assistant to the editor at a magazine. She got so personally invested in some of the stories she covered that she became a legal advocate. Vietnamese people who were flocking to the US during the war, immigrants who needed assistance, cancer victims who had been exposed to chemicals, a lady forced off a bus, she went on and on about all of the people who she helped and wrote stories about. What a fascinating time to have lived in. The 1960’s in California! Her stories sounded more like a movie than real life. She is now in her seventies and still advocating for people. Still working for underdogs. She literally said the words ” I just can’t say no to someone who calls for help..I have to say YES”. She proudly touts that sometimes she has to “raise a little Irish hell” to get things done. And I have no doubt she gets things done. I asked if I could walk her to her car when we left…she said “oh honey nobody’s gonna mess with me”. And I believed her.

I drove 40 minutes home thinking about what she must’ve been like in college and how different the times were when she was. How brave she must’ve been to stand up for things she felt were wrong. Would I have been that brave? All of the things she said yes to….

I had seriously considered skipping the social last night. I’m so glad I didn’t. I’m so glad I said YES I’ll go. I truly believe you only regret the things you DONT do in life. If something is scary or you think you might fail at it or no one else is doing it chances are you should say yes. Those yeses tend to be the most rewarding.

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Run FORREST, RUN!!!

I want to be “a runner”. I’ve always wanted to be “a runner”. I see runners on the side of the road, whizzing past me up the mountain, on the trails near my house. They are everywhere. They are “runners”. They have special shoes and get subscriptions to RUNNER’S WORLD magazine. They get up early and put their special running watches on and head out the door. They sign up for half marathons and have those stickers on the back of their cars…you know that white oval with the 26.2 on it.

But there’s a problem…I cant run. I literally cant run. I mean not far anyway. I can run down the stairs. I can run to the bathroom. I can run after the dog when he grabs my flip flop. But I cant REALLY run like a runner.

I mean even if Jack The Ripper was behind me and Adam Levine was in front of me Im not sure I could make it 100 yards. And that’s so lame and not cool. I’ve tried running. I can make it about 150 yards and its pretty OK. And then…I start wheezing and making a baby seal kind of sound and it feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest and my lips get numb and I get a cramp in my side that feels like a knife stabbing into me. And my form….well, remember that episode of Friends where Rachel wont run with Phoebe because she runs funny. Yep. That.

So my at home workouts are great because there’s no long distance forward running. It’s a lot of isometric moves and push ups and footwork and stuff that I can actually do. I’m not sure how I can do choreographed moves and not run in a straight line. What am I doing wrong? I have this Life Bucket List with a few things on it and have ALWAYS wanted to put “run a marathon” on it. But I don’t because I know I most likely wont. And here’s the problem…I’m signed up to do this 5K color run thing in May with some friends. Like running in a group thing. 5K is a very, very, very long way. I mean its like 2 or 3 or something miles I don’t know but its far! And I need to figure out how to run before the end of May.

So this is me asking for help from my runner friends. I’ll take any advice, tips, knowledge that you might have. I am in decent shape. I have cute tennis shoes. My running outifit is hot pink and black and looks GREAT with my shoes. I also have a fitbit that matches everything else. So really I have all I need, right? Maybe I’m just meant to LOOK like a runner. I mean unless I actually move and then I look like some sort of wounded chicken. Sigh. My friends are going to leave me aren’t they?

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Saying goodbye to Trampolines & Coming to Terms with my Happiness

Happy, cheery, spunky people are annoying. To me anyway. I was born a realist. And to realists there is nothing to be happy, cheery or spunky about. I’ve grown comfortable with my sarcasm and my complete conviction that the glass is always half empty. ALWAYS. I love that quote from the movie title that Jack Nicholson is in- “Is this as good as it gets?” I mean your born, you deal with a bunch of shit then you die. There’s your life narrative for you. I remember being 13 and standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon, looking out over it and realizing how insignificant I was. How insignificant we all are. Pretty profound for a 13 year old. Don’t I sound like someone you’d just loooove to spend time with?

But apparently happy, cheery, spunky people are contagious. Annoyingly contagious. I feel like Benjamin Button. I think I am aging backwards. I was more “grown up” at 13 than I am at 41. What the heck? I was such a serious child and teenager. Everything was so black & white to me. You follow the rules, you get to places on time, you don’t tolerate half-assedness. Is that a word? If it’s not I’m taking ownership right here right now. Half-assedness (the act of not doing a task to your full ability). I was such a rule follower when I was younger. And now…NOW I do all that I can to learn the rules and then break them. Now I know things are not always black & white…there’s a lot of gray. Now I’m actually late sometimes…but mostly that’s my kids’ fault. Now I think there might just maybe probably be a chance the glass is actually half FULL. AND WORST OF ALL….I’m happy and cheery and spunky. Well, most of the time. It’s awful. I feel like I’ve betrayed my true self. What has happened to me? At 13 I hadn’t experienced tragedy of any kind. No real sadness or loss. At 41 I have had plenty of tragedy in my life. Plenty. And a lot to be sad about.

I’m thinking maybe there starts to be a basic appreciation as you age that you are actually still here. “Wow. I’m still alive! Pretty cool. Now I need to get off my ass and enjoy it.”

I struggle with aging just like everyone. I don’t like wrinkles or age spots or the minor pains in my joints or making a grunting noise every time I stand up. I am definitely not in love with the consequences of a jumping jack at my age or the fact that I’ll never EVER jump on a trampoline again without some sort of “protection”. I know…TMI… Whatever! But I AM in love with being alive. I am grateful every day that I wake up. And I guess that makes me happy, cheery, spunky and annoying. And throw in a bit of sarcasm and snarkiness cuz I’m pretty sure that’s not going away either.

I know that exercise has always been my anti-depressant and since I’ve kicked it up a notch recently maybe there’s something to be said about that. Maybe it’s these peaceful, majestic mountains I get the pleasure of looking at everyday. (No I’m not smoking “local plants”…yet) Maybe it’s the fact that my kids turned out pretty decent (so far). Maybe it’s the cool husband that got stuck with me. Maybe it’s just really who I was all along. When you live your life as if the other shoe is always about to drop it’s pretty hard to enjoy the happy moments. I am certainly enjoying the happy moments now. And….if the other shoe drops….I’ll just enjoy it all bare footed.

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MY DRUGGED UP KID AND MY IMPERFECT PARENTING

I’ve seen a post lately on Facebook that says something like “these kids today…they call it ADD when in my day it was just called “being a kid” or maybe they just need a good whippin'”. I’m sure it’s meant in jest or as humor. But it’s not funny to me. My son has ADHD.

My smart, cute, sarcastic, sensitive, funny, loving, short-tempered, athletic son has severe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

I see celebrities and other people on TV or in online articles protesting medicating children. They say we shouldn’t drug them, that ADHD (and a few other disorders) can simply be treated by behavior modification, patience, diet changes, etc. I have two words for them. And I won’t print them here.

From the time my son was born I noticed he was different. Now, let me preface this by saying that I had Maddie to compare him to. How can I explain Maddie? She’s smart. Very smart. Smarter than me…always has been. She spoke in complete sentences at 17 months. She preferred CNN to Blues Clues. She is an anomaly to me. Her father’s daughter for sure. So having to be her younger sibling is no piece of cake I’m sure. I bet my brother and sister can relate. HAHAHAHA

But Andy was never ever able to sit still or concentrate or focus. Never. He was aggressive and frustrated most of the time. From first grade through fourth grade we tried everything. We tried behavior modifications, diet changes, time outs, special seating in the classroom, anything and EVERYTHING to avoid medication. It was painful to watch and frustrating to know my child was capable of so much and yet his “behavior” held him back. But all the “noise” I heard convinced me that if I drugged my child I was a bad parent. And then…an adult friend of mine opened my eyes. She had struggled with ADHD since she was young and her parents had chosen not to medicate her. Her grades suffered. When she went to college she decided to get herself on medication and it made all the difference in the world and she wished she had had the medication all through school. What a jackass I had been. I let the opinions (and we all know about those) of other people keep me from doing what was in the best interest of my child.

We were really left with no alternative by fifth grade. So after a battery of tests with different doctors who confirmed that Andy’s numbers were off the charts for ADHD I agreed to drug my child. I felt guilty and sick and worried and like I was poisoning him or something. And then something happened…..

Andy’s grades got better, his teachers noticed he sat still and focused better, he was happier, he was more pleasant to be around, and he was still my funny boy. What a moron I’d been for listening to assholes who probably did not live one day with a child with ADHD. Medication is not for everyone with ADHD. It’s not. It may not work for some kids and I’m no expert on all of that but I know one thing- it works for my kid. Parenting is a crap shoot. It’s a daily game of Russian roulette where you roll the dice and hope you are making the right decisions. I’ve made more than a few parenting mistakes. For instance I let Andy eat dog food for a few days straight when he was a toddler and thought he was a dog. I was tired and it was full of protein so whatever. I may or may not have given my kids Benadryl when they were not exactly sick. I believe I have uttered the words “you will never use Algebra in your life so why are you stressing over it?” a few times. I also MIGHT have let my children drive my Jeep…it was in the woods and no one but the deer were in danger so sue me. Oh and during my pregnancy with Maddie I saw that letting your fetus listen to music like Mozart or Beethoven was good for increasing IQ. I could not stomach that crap so for 9 straight months I sang Slim Shady very loudly in my car. Everyday. Hey- she turned out Ok so don’t judge.

Point is I’m doing the best I can. And I know it’s human nature to judge others. Hell- before I had kids I was the person in the restaurant wondering what kind of idiot parent let their kids run wild and wreak havoc in a public place. Now I know those poor parents were just thrilled to be outside of their house in the midst of other adults and most likely unaware of the chaos their children were causing. Cuz you know it’s a scientific fact that once you have kids you can’t hear children’s screams/whines/crying.

Every child is different. Every parent is different. We all make the very best decisions we can for our kids with the information we have. And that’s our job. But I do know that ADHD is real. It’s real and it’s frustrating and it’s treatable. Thank God. For every kid that has to work a little bit harder than the others- YOU ARE AWESOME! For the ones that want to judge…..bless your heart.

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