Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Season's Greetings / No News is Good News

Yep, its September, Yep, I meant to title my post that. Why not? Costco has Christmas stuff in stock, and so does Hobby Lobby, so I'm running with it. Although, I must admit, I'm not sending you Christmas wishes, or New Year's wishes. I'm acknowledging the time and season for change. Time is running head-long into Autumn here (I actually got cold overnight and had a blanket over me to sleep!...that is a happy day here in Arizona) and Autumn seems to be bringing with it more than just a changing of the leaves. (Which we won't see on the Palms or Mesquite, or the Pines up north even if we did take a drive.) Responsibilities have changed, both voluntarily and involuntarily. Suddenly my quiet little life has exploded into a flurry of activity, and some things must give.

I never felt a "responsibility" towards blogging, except way back before we were "Clan of the Cave Hair" and blogging was a way to keep out of town family informed about the kids, the funny things they said and did and any adventures we embarked on. We became "Clan of the Cave Hair" and blogging got really fun. This became a place to write down every silly thing thought I had, ever idea, notion, question, etc. I'm sure I wrote down quite a bit of non-sense, but hey, the subtitle IS "Nonsensical Adventures of a Tribe with Bad Hair" so I do not apologize for the non-sense. But that leads me to my next thought which is : as fun as it is to post non-sense, as much as I enjoy non-sense, I don't have time to think about our own non-sense right now, only to read other's, and I've gotten really picky about that.

So perhaps its just a season of change. Once upon a time Clan of the Cave Hair was listed under a mommy-blog directory as a "funny lady"...I'm thinking the better category right now would be "blog which is being totally ignored and is no fun to read anymore." Come-on, that's a real category! (and you know it! This is not the first blog to go that way.) So, daily posts, no more, can't do it, don't care. Silly posts, sure, if I have a silly moment long enough to realize something hilarious is happening. Reflective posts, probably, that seems to be my season right now.

So, season's greetings, and welcome change. See ya when I see ya, and remember...in the famous words of my mother, "No news is good news".

Monday, August 24, 2009

calling all mommy bloggers.

Is your "comment's" section your own personal "Great and Spacious Building"? Think about that.

Discuss.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bathing in it...

I spent more time in the company of the XX (That would be "females" for those of you who are not scientifically literate) sort yesterday than I have spent in a combined 2 years. Don't anybody go getting offended, but I found it absolutely exhausting...for no good reason. Its not like I really had to put myself out there, or do anything much other than listen and make the occasional nodding of head in agreement, but somehow I still ended the day emotionally drained and full of anxiety for the future. Its partially that whole "making new friends" anxiety, and partially that whole "I just spent my entire day in an estrogen bath" anxiety. Its probably mostly that somebody must have slipped me some caffeine because my brain would not turn off and the jitters were out of control. (like I wanted to laugh, cry, and puke just to get that crazy electric feeling out of my belly, chest and joints-kind of out of control.) JP asked if going shooting would make it better...I said no, because honestly, I doubt that there is any possibility that 6 lanes of semi-automatic weaponry being wielded by hairy men the size of apes could even begin to counter the effects of an entire day with ladies...plus, I wouldn't want it too.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Learning to be Human

I figured out something about myself today. Its nothing new but I finally was able to peg it, pin it down, identify it. The reason I feel inadequate next to genuinely nice caring people is because I lack compassion. Compassion is definitely not my strong suit. It does not come naturally to me, rarely does it occur to me that a person needs anything other than a stern talking too, a clear set of rules, and possibly a good whack upside the head in order to turn their lives around. (not that I'm whacking anybody upside the head...at least not in anything other than a recreational way.)
Its like a light bulb went off inside my head today when I found myself thinking about a sad situation with nothing other than annoyance, and I knew that being annoyed was not the appropriate response. I couldn't let it go, I did not WANT to be annoyed, I wanted to feel the same love and respect that everybody else seems to feel, but me and my warped brain, I felt annoyed, and I felt disappointed in myself.

Remember in your growing up years there was always that one person who would be anybody's friend no matter how "uncool" that anybody was? But that person was never my friend. Probably because I was tense, uptight, mean, and judgmental. I could see that the nice people were the happier people. I wanted to believe that their love for life, their willingness to be a friend, and their compassion, was real. But my skeptical mind told me that they were in it for a selfish reason (not that I could name what possible selfish reason a person would have for being kind and loving.) In truth, I wanted to BE that genuinely kind girl, but I didn't know how. For some reason my efforts at being kind felt like they diminished me in some way. If I let my guard down I would most certainly be taken advantage of. Should I stop expecting people to just buck-up and deal with "it" in some way their problems would burden me. I am the selfish one. I am the one who is stingy with my love. I am the one who is burdened with feelings of remorse for those I could have treated with more patience. How ironic that my being "strong" diminished me, and those who were "weak" (gave themselves up to another in a moment of need) were the one's strengthened. Isn't this exactly the way Satan works? He makes the strong look weak and the weak look strong. He makes the good look bad and the bad look good. What a mess!

Either way, at least I can admit to myself that compassion is something that is not naturally within me and I need to find a way to put it there, to train myself up to respond with patience and kindness to any need a sister, friend, or loved one may put at my feet. Maybe now that I am aware of this hole in my heart I can fill it, one small act of service at a time. Maybe, just maybe, over the years I can sew it shut and lose the injury my selfishness has caused. I hope so. I don't fear lack of opportunity. There's plenty of that to go around. So bear with me, and understand, I'm learning to be human, the loving, caring, compassionate kind Heavenly Father intended me to be.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Well at least it wasn't another one of those Clown Sharks

"Strange" and "Dream" basically are synonyms, we all know that. When somebody says "I had a strange dream" I always wonder if they ever have "normal" dreams. I don't. All my dreams are strange, and I tend to remember many of them. Often times I just laugh them off and forget about them. Sometimes I ponder on them for a few minutes, even an hour or two until I get them figured out. (things like dodging sharks with clown faces painted on them while getting yelled at by one of them that you know represents a certain person in your life are pretty obvious to me...) Sometimes if they really intrigue me I think about them for days.

Last week while I was killing time at the mall while the kids were seeing a movie I had no interest in, I visited the bookstore. There I found a dream interpretation book on sale for just a couple of bucks. I couldn't resist it. I brought it home and began perusing it just about anytime I found myself with a few free minutes. Its fun and some of the interpretations really do make sense, or when combined with the interpretations of other images really pull an idea together which makes sense for me personally.

I happened on this book on the same day I had a dream about being in a bus with a tour guide driving past a dry lake which had depth markers all over it. The lake bottom was dry and cracked, "parched" might be a good word for it. There had clearly not been water in the lake for a period of time. The area surrounding it was totally barren. It was a canyon lake surrounded by tall, not quite treacherous, but not exactly welcoming mountains. As we drove around the lake, I was intrigued by the cracks and crevices and the total lack of water. Each depth marker was clear and easy to read, but the tour guide spoke up and said "the problem here is that nobody really knows the actual depth of these parts." I remember thinking to myself (in the dream)-"huh? What does he mean? I can see quite clearly that A: its so shallow the depth doesn't matter, and B: THERE'S MARKERS! C: This man doesn't know what he's talking about."

Needless to say, since I'm blogging this one, for somereason this dream stuck with me, so I referred to my handy-dandy "10,000 Dreams Explained" only to find that "Dry Lake Bed " is not one of the pre-explained dreams. I did however look up the meanings of the individual images and came up with the following:

The Lake represents creativity, the fact that its dried up ought to be self explanatory. I don't seem to have an original idea in me lately on any creative front. I'm thinking the shallowness represents the fact that maybe I was just never that creative to start with! You know how "they" say some kids have only so much good in them per day and once its used its gone? I think that goes for me for creativity and I must have used it all up on something else, although I have no idea what. I'm choosing to interpret the tour guide to be those people out there who perceive me to be creative and keep telling me there's more there to tap. As for the road, obviously a road represents a journey, and unfortunately, I seem to be headed for some rocky, not entirely welcoming, mountainous territory. I know what those mountains represent and its a task ahead of me that I feel capable of completing, but not entirely enthusiastic about completing. I know soon I will be called upon to complete some tasks that will definitely be outside of my comfort zone--lets call it "opportunities for spiritual growth." The good news is...no creativity required! (or in other words, no, I'm not the home-making counselor and so nobody will suffer from exposure to my barren wasteland, void of the ability to create.)

The real message for me, I do believe, is that I better stop worrying about how creative I may or may not be and start gearing up for a long climb. I'm ok with that. Its a little liberating to decide that I don't need to be creative. There's plenty of time for those reservoirs to fill again and drain once again. If for now my focus needs to be on less "fun" things...so be it. I'm game. Bring on that mountain, I have a decent pair of hiking boots, I'll manage. And like I said, at least there were no clown-faced sharks, those guys are really annoying.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Tone of our Home

A week or so ago the concept of "Kindness Hearts" was introduced to our family by one of my Big Girls. I don't know that I thought we needed a reminder to recognize the small kindnesses each family member engaged in on a daily basis in our home. But what I learned is that we do need this reminder. It seemed to me that specific behaviors didn't particularly change this week, but recognition of those behaviors changed. It boosted each family member's self-esteem to be recognized in a positive way for a small kindness. I think each family member was conscious that they wanted to be able to award at least one kindness heart to each member of the family, they didn't want anybody to feel left out, so each night at the dinner table we had a large stack of tiny notes to read aloud. We didn't sign them, we only put the name of the person we noticed on the heart. Sometimes many hearts were awarded for the same act, sometimes something tiny was only noticed by one person. Each time a family member's name was mentioned, a huge grin spread across that person's face. I entered this activity believing some good would come out of it, that my children would have fun doing it. I didn't know it would build them up so much that it would change the tone of our home. I was amazed when my children awarded me kindness hearts for doing things like baking bread, playing barbies, or taking them to school. To me these things have just been part of "the job"...but for them to stop a moment and consider it a kindness makes the job so much more rewarding. Feeling appreciated does wonders for a soul. I think the kindness hearts have possibly run their course for the week, but they will be back, that I know. What an inspired girl to bring this idea to our home. She must have seen something I did not. She gets a kindness heart for creating kindness hearts.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Do You???

Do you have a personal mission statement? Do you have a family mission statement? Does your spouse have a personal mission statement? This has been on my mind here and there for a few months now, last night I picked up my old copy of "The Seven Habits" (wow am I so much more ready to read this now than I was 13 years ago)and read again this suggestion. I'm wondering what other's experiences with developing a personal mission statement and living by that statement have been.

Share? I don't care if you leave a comment, send an email, or blog and link, just want to see what's out there. You don't have to specifically share your statement, but I'm curious about your experiences living by it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Political Leanings

I thought the quiz linked to the right on top of my "results" was pretty interesting. It actually explains alot to me about some of my political confusion. I always figured I was a little more of a moderate type and now I have proof. I probably won't leave that up there too long, but I thought I'd leave it up long enough to share it with those of you who are interested in taking it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sorting Laundry

Have you ever finished the laundry?

No?

Me neither.

However, I have emptied the laundry bags from time to time, washed, dried, and put away their contents, only to discover that by 8:00pm they are semi-full again. This doesn't actually bother me. I gave up a long time ago on "finishing" laundry and accepted that laundry is a perpetual task.

Last night JP got out of the shower and mentioned it sure would be nice if he had some clean clothes to put on. I felt confused. I had EMPTIED those laundry bags out. The laundry was as near to completely finished as any perpetual task could be. We were at the TOP of the laundry cycle and there could be no possible reason why he would not have clean clothes. Those bags were empty.

Then I noticed the floor of my bedroom. 3 stacks of dirty clothes occupying three seperate corners. A pile of whites, a pile of light colored uniforms, a pile of dark colored gym shorts. There was also a 4th pile which I'm sure I'm supposed to assume is "been worn, but not quite dirty yet. Too dirty to put away, but too clean to wash." (yes, my husband swears this is a category. Worn shorts do not belong in either his dresser drawer nor the dirty clothes bags. They belong on the floor. He'll swear to it.)

Now my laundry bags, I have 3 of them, one for whites, one for lights, and one for darks. I am trying to figure out why its possible for my husband to organize his disrobing by color, dropping each garment into a carefully selected, color-coded corner, but can't take 6 dang steps to put them into the bags!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Life According to Madness -the "Our House, In the Middle of our Street..." guys

ok, I'm out of ideas and this one looked fun. I chose a favorite childhood band.

My Life According to...Madness

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Try not to repeat a song title. It's a lot harder than you think! Repost as "my life according to (band name)"

Pick your Artist:
Madness

Describe yourself:
Idiot Child

How do you feel:
Forever Young

Describe where you currently live:
House of fun

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
Bed and Breakfast Man

Your favorite form of transportation:
Night Boat to Cairo

Your best friend:
Baggy Trousers

You and your best friend are:
Embarrassment

What's the weather like:
Grey Day

Favorite time of day:
NW5

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called:
One Step Beyond

What is life to you:


Your relationship:
It Must Be Love

Your fear:
Yesterday's Men

What is the best advice you have to give:


Thought for the Day:
The Liberty of Norton Folgate

How I would like to die:
Cardiac Arrest

My soul's present condition:
Lovestruck

My motto:
Shut Up

lol, I guess Madness was a lousy choice of bands because there weren't even enough songs to answer the questions. Oh well. Fun tag anyways.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Test

I'm Just Not Miserable Enough to Laugh

It has occurred to me that I have lost my funny bone. The only funny part about that is that I'm pretty sure I lost it in the process of living a happier more fulfilling life. So sue me.

It seems I deal with loneliness and a myriad of other miserable companions by finding something silly to laugh about. And if I'm out of ideas for laughter one of two things is happening: I'm way too happy to be funny, or, the only things I can think of that are funny, are also mean, and mean is not funny.

You know there's some truth to this. The best love songs are written with a broken heart, the best art created by a tortured soul. If the best humor comes out of being miserable, I'll chose to not be funny.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Its Weird and I Question it.

Its a borrowed phrase from my brother who started out his career airbrushing protruding bones out of anorexic models in print ads designed to sell liquor to flamboyant men. But its the perfect phrase to describe anything that you're not quite comfortable with. Its the perfect phrase to describe my feelings about participating in the sparring (fighting) part of our Tae Kwondo tournament this weekend. I had a great amount of fun entering the "Forms" portion of the contest (totally messed up and made a wrong move, so no medal for me) and breaking boards was an insane amount of fun. The kids even broke boards! (and after witnessing JP break boards, I now know that its absolutely no problem at all should we ever go camping and forget to bring an ax, Jp will be able to split the wood with his fist...no problem..) But the sparring...its weird, and I question it. I never understood women like Layla Ali. Why would any woman want to get in a ring and punch another woman? This is not very feminine. Women don't do this.


Unless...all their friends are doing it and they agree they can still be friends afterwards? Is that it?

Ugh. I don't know. My heart is beating with a full blown wave of pure anxiety just thinking about it again. My face is flushed with embarrassment. I'm "Pittin' Out"(sweating) as my friend Lisa McD used to say. I am uncomfortable with fighting. I realized (after I won the gold medal) that my discomfort comes from knowing that I have no idea where the middle place between exchange fighting (which is darn close to non-contact where one "fighter" gives two kicks, and then allows the second "fighter" two kicks. We practice this in class and we almost never make contact) and brawling is. I may have won, but I felt like I lost something in the effort. And because I can't quite put a name to what exactly was lost, the anxiety over it is consuming. I'm imagining in my head that the other women dislike me because I won. Which is ridiculous, because I know I would not have disliked my opponents had they beaten me.

The fact of the matter is, I didn't want to fight, but the more compelling emotion was determination. I refused to give up. I seriously considered not showing up for the sparring. I almost asked my husband how bad would it be if I threw the fight just to get it over with. But there was something inside of me that said it was unacceptable to not give it my best. So I gave them my best and when my son shouted "Use your Blocks Mom!" I used my blocks, and when I heard my gals yelling "You can do it mom!" I found energy I didn't know I had. And when my husband cheered me on yelling "don't give up, do not give up" I kept going, even though I wanted to sit down and let her pummel me. (even though she would not have done that because that's not the way we behave).

Maybe there's a figurative lesson in this for me. Maybe there's a couple of different lessons in this for me. But I've realized that I will probably always remember the sounds of my children and my spouse cheering me on, telling me that I COULD do something that was incredibly difficult for me to do, that I didn't want to do, that I was embarrassed about. And because I had these people "in my corner", I was not defeated. In truth, I did it for them, because I think they needed to see me do my best and not give up. Perhaps I should feel fortunate that my opportunity to show my children how not to give up came in purely recreational form and not some serious thing.

I want to take a permanent marker and write down my predominant emotion on the back of the medal. That way, as time passes and perhaps I may win other medals in the future, I will be able to look back and remember what I have learned from each competition. I may also want to notate that, apparently, I won with my eyes closed...lol. That is according to Gabe, who was jumping up and down and screaming, "Mom, I can't believe it! You won with your eyes closed!" (yeah, because I was trying to decide whether or not to just sit down and take it in the head or not! ) And in case you were wondering...that would be considered extremely poor technique, and I'm lucky that the other gal was just as ready to give up as was I.



And let me not fail to mention how excited my son was to "win" two ribbons, and how proud of him I am for participating. He also did not want to participate in the tournament, he had to be convinced that it would be a fun day, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. I am also extremely excited that I got to see both my big girls break boards WITH THEIR BARE HANDS! (and they don't even take Tae Kwon Do) And JP, he got gold too...for fighting of course! (duh) but he also earned a Bronze medal for forms, which is awesome, because he was working on learning his form all the way up until the night before the tournament.

This was our last weekend before school starts back on Wednesday and I'm really glad we were able to spend it with so many friends and soon-to-be friends, even if we had to kick some booty to meet them. ;)

**edit** I just figured out what I lost! My fear of success. My dad has always asked me why am I afraid to succeed. Maybe, just maybe, my fear of success has been shot in the heart. That would be a good thing. I suddenly realize that embarrassment is not the appropriate (even if very real)emotion. Apparently I have issues. But that's been long established, right?