Tuesday, September 29, 2009

2 + 2 = 5

I really am quite intelligent.......that is, in areas that don't include any math. Pretty funny, as I spent my career in the investment management business!

My brain just freezes when I have to do anything of a mathematical nature. In high school, I had to take Algebra twice and only passed Geometry because I promised my teacher that I wouldn't go any further.

When I started college, I had to take a math placement test. Guess who had to take Algebra all over again from the beginning? I struggled through it - emphasis on the struggle - I just didn't get it.

I put off taking any more math classes until now. I have one this semester, and then just one more class to take in the spring (math again) and I will have my degree.

I had my first math test today. While getting ready to go to school , I felt like I was going to have a panic attack - internal shakiness, tight chest, etc. - all the assorted fun stuff associated with them. I realized that I had a choice - I could allow this one (small) area of my life rule me, or I could change it up. I chose to face my math anxiety and meet it head-on. I had studied and practiced ad nauseum, and felt that I had given my best effort in learning the material. I went and took the test. I'm sure that I passed it. After school, I went and bought myself flowers to celebrate.

I have decided to not allow math to beat me. I will "get it" and overcome. I will triumph (or at least pass the class!).

This whole math thing is symbolic for me....it's an opportunity to apply what I'm learning about myself to other situations and attitudes that I've carried throughout my life. Without thinking, I automatically react in certain ways to certain situations - and not always in the most positive manner. I'm hoping that success in this area - not staying "stuck" in my old thought patterns when it comes to how I deal with math will lead to doing the same in other areas of my life!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Who's In Charge?

I went to San Diego this weekend to see the house that my daughter and son in law are buying. It has so much potential - and I'm certain that Elizabeth, with her eye for color and design - and David, who is willing to do-it-yourself, will make it into a showplace over time. I'm so excited for them!

My 2 1/2 year old granddaughter Emma has a BIG personality.....and very definite ideas about how things should be. When I arrived, she had our activities all planned out....first we played Ring Around the Rosie, then "Folding", then Hide & Seek. Afterward, we went outside for a little tricycle riding......the next morning, she declared it was time for our reading party. We set up her tent in the living room, collected books, popped popcorn and settled in the tent for a reading session. (She reads her books to me.....and the stories are subject to her imagination)!

We went to see the new house in the afternoon, and Emma declared that when I came to visit, I would be sleeping in her room - NOT the guest room! Afterward, we went to the park for a little play session, and were informed that all the girls would be going down the slide TOGETHER! We dutifully lined up - Elizabeth holding Ashlyn and Emma, with me bringing up the rear.......it worked, and was great fun!

On the way home, David and Elizabeth were discussing what to cook for dinner. Emma declared that we should have burritos from her favorite place...guess what we had for dinner?

I just hated every minute of it.......:-)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I Love You So Much.....

....I could just eat you with a spoon! This is what my grandmother used to tell me when I got to spend time with her.....to be honest, it gave me the shivers - imagining my Nannie eating me up, a spoonful at a time.

Now I understand what she meant!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Five Words.....

My new blog friend Betty from A Glimpse Into Midlife sent me five words to post about.....it's making me think and reflect! If you'd like to join in, just send me a comment and I'll send you five words!

Marriage - Been there, done that. Twice, as a matter of fact.....but I don't take it lightly. First time at 19 to my first love....what did we know (and what were we thinking)? And besides, I needed to get out of my home...Second time at 29.....my "picker" was broken, and I did not choose well. Lasted around 3 or so years, and I received the greatest gift of my life during this time....my daughter! The rest of it was pretty ugly, and I had to leave in order to save both myself and my daughter. This doesn't mean that I don't hold marriage as a priority - I do, and I respect and admire those couples who have weathered their storms together and become stronger as a result. I believe that we were intended to have a partner to share our lives with....and if it is meant to be for me, it will happen! If not, I am just dandy on my own!

Health - I have been blessed with such good physical health for these almost 58 years....no diseases or serious illnesses. However, my definition of health encompasses not only the physical, but the emotional and spiritual realms as well. In the latter's cases, it's been a roller coaster of a ride, but I am in an awesome place these days. Hard-earned, and lessons will continue to be learned, but I have no regrets for the bumps in the road (which have sometimes had to be a 2x4 hitting me right between the eyes in order for me to "get" it!) that I have endured and worked through in order to be at a place of spiritual peace and emotional balance. Of course, tomorrow could bring a new set of challenges, so I am enjoying my abundant health each and every day, and taking each day as it comes!

Passion - I believe that we all have a passion-some of us just have to dig deeper in order to find it. Once we discover what our passion is, we do ourselves a huge disservice if we ignore what speaks to our souls and don't incorporate that passion into some aspect of our lives. For me, that passion is kids of all ages, sizes, shapes and colors. I've been given a tremendous gift in the form of the ability to relate to them - I'm sure it's because I have never forgotten what it felt like to be a kid myself - I can still "speak kid!" This is a part of myself that I just cherish, and the willingness to use my gift has already enriched my life beyond measure. This passion lead me to completely change my life about four years ago, when I quit my corporate job and enrolled full-time in....

College - because I know that I want to reach more kids and affect their lives in a meaningful way. I think that most of us can remember at least one special teacher who did more for us than just teach us the curriculum - who had a hand in shaping the unique individuals that we are today. I want to be one of those people....So, I went to college to become a teacher! I will graduate in December with my B.A. (finally) and begin my credential program in the spring. At the beginning of this adventure, I wasn't certain that I had it in me - but I do! I believe that we can all find a way to do the things that bring meaning for each of us into our lives. It may not take the form that we envisioned when we were younger, but there's always a way to figure out how to do it!

Grandkids - I saved the best for last! Before I comment on them, I have to comment on their mother, my daughter. She is an incredible young woman who did not have a broken "picker". She always dated quality young men, and picked the best of the bunch! I am so blessed by having her and her young family in my life......it is so awesome to be a part of this all, and to watch her and her husband grow in their partnership and their parenting together. It's truly a privilege. My two granddaughters, Emma (2 1/2) and Ashlyn (10 months) have awesome parents (and a really
fun "Grammy")! I am forging a wonderful relationship with both of "my girls", and treasure the times that we have together. I love the generational "distance" between us - when I have them, I am responsible for them, but I get to play with them and then give them back....I'm not "on 24/7"- the best of all worlds! But most importantly, my daughter and son-in-law trust me with their children. My girls just make me smile, and they live close enough that if my arms just get aching for them, I can jump in the car and drive 3 hours and get my hugs.....it's just the best!

A Flange by Any Other Name...

I am still penetrating the mystery world of building supply stores and am learning a new language. They might as well be speaking Martian, or whatever baby hedgehogs speak (see above) as far as I'm concerned...

I finished tiling my shower (beautiful subway tiles....I'm SO proud of myself) and realized that I needed a new metal thingy that fits over the pipe for the shower head and sits against the tiles to hide the hole in the tile that the pipe comes through.

Try explaining THAT to the guy at Lowes! It makes perfect sense to me! So I drew him a picture....and he figured out what I was talking about. It's called a FLANGE - who knew!

Will be getting the floor tiles this weekend, and am sure that I will need more "thingys" as this project moves along. I'm having fun looking at the guy's faces as I try to describe what I need...this is great entertainment - can't wait to go back!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Other Mother

Yes, I do have one! She anointed herself with this title when we were neighbors another lifetime ago....and she chose ME! Bette and my mom were dear friends, and we all practically lived at each other's houses. Her children were my first babysitting job....we stayed in touch throughout the years, even though circumstances pulled us apart.

Do you have any idea how wonderful it has been to have "another mother"? One who saw you for who you were and thought that you were just wonderful, no matter what? One who shared what she knew about laughing at life and playing.....who showed me how to "make lemonade" out of my lemons....

I got to spend time with her this past weekend. Drove up to Santa Barbara with my sis (who was here visiting) and we all went to lunch. I don't think I've ever met another person who has been so comfortable in her own skin as Bette is. We had lots of laughs and lots of love & hugs. I'm going back to see her again soon. I want to be like her when I'm 73!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Different Point of View

After my mom passed away last year, my sister and I went through all of her possessions, earmarking those that would be donated and those that would be given to other family members. The one thing that I didn't let go of was her pair of glasses. I was going to donate them through a program run by LensCrafters, where they would be given to someone who needed them.

I couldn't do it. They sat on a ledge by my front door for weeks. One day, I had misplaced my own glasses and without thinking, picked up Mom's pair from the ledge and put them on. The world looked entirely different to me while wearing them. At that moment, I realized a new truth - intellectually, I had understood that people view things from different perspectives - but it now became a visceral understanding that I "got" at a deep level. Mom's glasses have a permanent home on the ledge; I see them and remember that truth every day.

Today was my Geology lab.....it's a capstone course, and not too much fun. The good part is that I have great lab partners - young women in their 20's that I'd met in previous classes - we work well together as a team. I was touched when one of my partners taped together some papers for me for a project....she noticed that my hands aren't as nimble as I'd like them to be. I'm the one who is used to doing for others - not being "done for"! When I thanked her, my other partner joked, "Well, we've been taught to respect our elders!" A couple of years ago, that remark would have really stung. Today, it didn't....because it's the truth! I am their elder, they do respect me, but they don't diminish me. After class, I thanked them for their help - they were surprised and spoke about how much I helped them! Teamwork is just that.... each member brings their own individual strengths to the table in order to create the synergy that results in the best possible outcome for the group. That pair of glasses continues to remind me to see things through other's eyes.

Although my mom is no longer here, she continues to teach me....I just love her glasses! Thank you, Momma!

Monday, September 7, 2009

We Only Get to Go Around Once...

...and I'm enjoying the ride!

My sis is arriving next Saturday morning from the San Juans. She needs and deserves a break. I couldn't put up with, or even begin to do, her job. She's an extraordinary woman. Actually, we're both extraordinary women!

This is the first time she's been to see me since Mom passed away last year. I could not have gotten through that time without her. She was always available to me on the phone as I was struggling to make good decisions about Mom's care. And when the going got too tough, she got on a plane and came down to be with me in person. And told me what a good job I was doing. And believed in me and supported me. And we supported each other at the end, when Mom was in the hospital under hospice care. It was an incredible experience, and there is no one else on this earth that I would have rather shared it with.

That's what my sis and I do. We are there for each other in the good and not so good times. We can count on each other....maybe not to say or do the things that the other wants to hear or to be done, but to say and do what is right, true and best for each other. Aren't I just so blessed to have her in my life? It wasn't always this way, which makes me cherish our relationship even more.

She's only staying until Wednesday morning. But she wants to do everything. Here's what's on her list so far:

Pedicures - this is our tradition.....we always get pedicures when we're together!
Visit Mom and Dad at the cemetery
Visit friend in Santa Barbara
Go to the beach
Eat grilled fish tacos at Baja Fresh

Attend PBS taping of David Foster and Andrea Bocelli's Christmas special at the Kodak Theatre Tuesday night- getting dressed up and wearing makeup...whoo hoo! Fancy dinner beforehand.....have to figure out where....

I can't wait to see her! Now, if I can just figure out how to not go to my classes on Monday and Tuesday......

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Did It!

I've been struggling with a situation for a couple of weeks. I needed to tell someone close to me that I needed something from them. I had made it crazy-complicated in my own head, visualizing less than perfect responses to my request and my feelings of rejection to the "no" answer. Finally got sick and tired of the anxiety and avoidance of stating my needs and visualized stating them clearly and calmly. Stopped worrying what the other person's reaction or answer to my request would be. Clarity at last. The exercise was about letting another person know what I needed - something that is extremely difficult for me to do....I protect myself from being rejected by others by being self-sufficient. Learning that there is a definite balance between total self-sufficiency (which isolates me from others) and accepting the fact that I do need to practice intimacy with the people in my life. This is a trust issue. But. the better and stronger I grow in learning,loving and liking who I am sets the stage for this next foray into learning my limits, expressing my needs and my expectations. Good stuff!
P.S. LESSON LEARNED: My request was well delivered, simply stating my facts and my needs; itwas well received and agreed upon. I amd SO GOOD at complicating things....simpler is easier and better, and less stress-inducing for everone involved.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I'm So Excited!

On Friday and Saturday, I get to spend time with these two lovely young ladies....Emma (top) and Ashlyn (left). Aren't I just the luckiest Grammy? I think they're worth the three hour drive - can't wait! Of course, Sunday will be a "rest" day for me, as I'll have had too much fun with my girls. But it will be worth it!