It does not matter what you say. You are my best friend.

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IMG_9279Sometimes in life we make mistakes. We inadvertently say things that are hurtful, or we forget about the important people in our lives.

Maybe it is just growing apart. Cross country relationships are hard to maintain.

My life is completely up in the air these days. I do not know what my future holds, and I am not even entirely sure of my goals. I have been totally wrapped up in myself, and I hurt my best friend.

She is the person I chose to be my family. She is my person.

I suppose I took it all for granted. I made mistakes, and they cannot be undone.

It is hard to be human. It is hard to maintain relationships. It takes effort. If you stop making the other person a priority in your life, the relationship can fade away.

Some of this is my fault. I doubt it is all my fault though. I have no hard feelings, I am just sad.

All of that said, here is the most important part. If you need me, I am here.

Dress shopping for the bigger girl

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It’s hard to feel beautiful in a dressing room.

I needed an outfit. I was going to get pants and a top. I did not like anything at all! This was my second excursion for this occasion, and I needed to find something today.

So, I wandered around the store aimlessly, gazing longingly at the door that would lead me to the safety of my Jeep. I had to find something comfortable, pretty, professional, and something I would wear out in public.

Finally, I saw a couple of dresses that remind me of my wrap dress that makes me feel so confident. I tried on the first one. It was okay, but a little too big. (I cannot explain how happy things being too big makes me.) So, we tried on a second one. Hmm. It’s okay. I need Spanx though. Put on Spanx and put it back on.

How do the girls look? Not bad. Is my butt too big? Yes, but nothing you can do about that today.

So, what is the lesson? It is hard to buy clothes when you are not happy with your body. Yes, I have made progress, but I am certainly still under construction. I have to give myself a break. I think this dress looks nice, and I feel like I can be proud to walk around in it.

Sometimes, it is not whether or not I feel pretty, but whether or not I feel confident. I am going through a lot of changes in my life, and I need to dress the part of the woman I want to be. I used to say I wanted to be thin enough to wear a dress.

I am not sure how thin that is, but I am wearing this dress.

I have a tendency to find the things about me which are less than desirable. So, in order to make shopping a little less painful, here are some strategies I employ.

  1. Make friends with the sales people.
  2. Tell them you want honest feedback.
  3. Do not go shopping overly hungry or tired.
  4. Laugh at the disasters. Everyone looks ugly in some things.
  5. Celebrate when something makes you feel good.
  6. Accentuate what you like about yourself.

Most importantly, if you want to wear a dress, buy a dress.

Tomorrow, shoe shopping…

The Great Flood of Lubbock, Texas

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Photo credit: Me- 5/28/2015 The Great Flood of Lubbock, Texas 2015

Wow. It is really raining hard. I am not about to complain. We are recovering from a terrible drought that I was afraid would never end.

In West Texas, we love rain. The only bad part? Our infrastructure is woefully unable to handle much precipitation at one time. Yes, we are those annoying people who cannot drive in snow, wind, rain, or fog. People rush to the grocery story the second we hear bad weather is approaching.

So, now there are tornado warnings south of where I live. I am hoping for no damage, and hoping my neighbors all stay safe.

Other than that, I am ecstatic for all the lovely wet stuff pouring from the sky. Stay safe my friends.

 

Contrition and Evolution: Actually, sometimes I am just a jerk.

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IMG_9249It is not particularly unusual for me to make an ass of myself. I do it all the time. I laugh, you laugh, we all laugh. Unless, I accidentally really hurt your feelings.

Contrition does not matter if I do not have compunction and change the way I respond to others.  

In a lot of ways, ADHD does not negatively affect my life. That is, until I speak before I have time to think through the consequences of my words. It is not only my words, my face is unusually expressive, and my voice tends to be more forceful than I probably intended (sorry, I don’t hear very well.)

Obviously, if I think back on my actions later, I might feel a pang of regret. If I am lucky, I realize I was rude, sincerely apologize, and make an effort to make amends.

The real issue is when I justify my impulsive initial reaction. I find it interesting how easy it is to condone my own thoughtless behaviors by simply saying I did not mean for it to be interpreted however it was received. I did not want to hurt their feelings. Therefore, I am absolved of all guilt. After all, it’s not my fault they were upset. They should have known my intentions.

This is simply not acceptable. I should hold myself to a higher standard, and act with purpose instead of coasting through life, and anticipating most will disregard my spontaneous outbursts.

As I get older, I am more cognizant of the negative consequences of unintentional churlish interactions.

Sometimes, I pick on people. Not meaning to be cruel, it is just a way for me to show affection. If I have paid enough attention to you for me to observe your idiosyncrasies, then I must like you! I thought it was forgivable if I just laughed and insisted it was a joke. Well, jokes should bring joy, not pain.

So, perhaps the best lesson I have learned, is to act instead of react. I am going to take a moment to evaluate whether my thoughts on the subject add anything to the conversation, if my words are appropriate for the situation, and ensure the tone of my voice conveys my intent.

It can’t be that difficult to just not be a jerk. It is not fair to insist everyone forgive my self-centeredness.

*I am not always so careless, I just forget that other people can hear my thoughts if I say them out loud. How cool would it be if we had soliloquies, and complete control over whether or not other people actually heard the ideas that managed to escape our mouths? Perhaps we could be on a 10 second delay, and there would be a magic censor who could beep out inappropriate comments.

– Or, we can just act like grownups and be polite.

One more thing: I firmly believe people never hear what is actually said. They hear a few words get distracted, and fill in the rest based on their personal frame of mind at that moment.

It’s no wonder people get their feelings hurt, they don’t listen! See what I did there? I shifted the blame, to assuage my remorse. 

I rarely mean to offend, sometimes I just forget that words have a real impact on people. The children’s rhyme is wrong: Sticks and stones may break bones, but words can wound indefinitely.

It is difficult to admit I have asshole tendencies. It is embarrassing. So, perhaps the best thing… is to just be quiet.

 

You say you want a revolution…

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Well, you know… we all want to change the world. (Not sure why this song is running through my head this morning.)

How did I forget I wanted to be a writer? I allowed stress to interfere with my goals! No more of that nonsense. Back to work.

Life is full of exciting opportunities, and it does not really take much more than an open mind to see what is out there.

How does one go about making potentially life changing decisions? Do you follow your heart and emotions? Do you attempt to objectively weigh the pros and cons of each choice? Do you seek the advice of a trusted mentor? Flip a coin? (and then keep flipping until you get the option you want? 2 out of 3 anyone?)

I am somewhat certain it is a combination of all of the above. The most important thing for me is to simply give myself permission to evaluate the choices. The tendency to avoid change is hard to overcome. Am I selling myself short?

Remember when I kept saying I wanted to go on adventures? If that is true, why do I find myself avoiding them? It is time to see what is out there for me. I cannot allow myself to be complacent. I have too much to do.

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I highly doubt it is going to be as dramatic as rowing off into a foggy unknown. For one thing, I doubt that a boat is actually a good metaphor for my life. I don’t even hang out on boats all that often. (Or ever! I never hang out on boats! I live in a pretty dry place.)

No, my life is more like a winding road. (I do love road trips!) I am ready for adventure. (Don’t worry, the adventure may leave me close to home.) The adventure could lead me to some travels though. I am not committing to anything just yet. I am going to explore all the options, and then make the best decision for my life.

Oh! One more thing. What’s the worst thing that can happen? I make the wrong choice? Well, that will just have to be a learning experience.

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I love Northern California. Stole this photo from:http://www.destination360.com/north-america/us/california/napa/highway-29

 

Their expressions are cracking me up

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This picture cracked me up. For some reason, my son was holding Harley and they both look vaguely unimpressed.

IMG_9214Harley is my Mamaw’s puppy. He is hilarious; full of spunky attitude, and a great buddy for my Mamaw. It is funny how these little guys come bounding into our lives and hearts, and the impact our furry friends have on our lives is profound.

I am more of a cat girl, and dogs need more time and attention than I have to give right now. However, I love my canine family too. Wanna meet my sister? Her name is Presley Nicole. (I bought her for Mom, so I insisted she name her after me.)

 My mother is crazy about this dog! She is so much fun. She is a great guard dog, and no one come into the yard without her permission. (Well, without her greeting anyway.)

We are lucky to have such loyal little buddies, and someday I will have time for a dog of my own. Until then, I get to love my family and friend’s pups. Just another example of how I am a lucky girl.

Why we need ethics: Brian Williams should not be allowed to return

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There was an interesting article in Vanity Fair outlining the events that led up to NBC’s problems: Long story short, bad management. However, even this interesting story was possibly filled with exaggerations and quotes about individuals that have not been substantiated. (Brokaw says that he has given no indication that he was “Livid” and he maintains he and Williams have a “cordial” relationship.) According to CNN Money‘s interview with Mr. Brokaw.

I don’t care as much about all of that, my biggest issue is the necessity for ethical behavior by our journalists. These are the people we count on to provide us with unbiased news reporting that enables the public to make informed decisions. I know, I keep trying and failing to make this point, but come on people! Where are the honest people? The ones who do not allow their ego to run their lives? 

We invite these people into our homes, and we allow their reporting to influence our decisions. We allow them to help shape our children’s view of the world. We need to be able to trust them. Unfortunately, Brian Williams has violated that trust. 

I find myself wondering who I can trust, and where to turn for accurate, unbiased reporting. I love a good story, and I am not opposed to embellishment. I just prefer that my journalists stick to the facts. They have an incredible power to sway public opinion and need to remain cognizant of the importance of maintaining trust.

It is imperative to maintain journalistic integrity, and to hold the members of the press accountable for their actions. Brian Williams cannot be trusted. It makes me sad, he was a likable personality on screen, but if NBC allows his return, they will be promoting dishonesty and their newscast will become even more unreliable.

Don’t even get me started on his pathetic apology. It sucks to be caught in a lie. Don’t make it worse by underestimating the intelligence of your viewers. Variety posted a nice opinion piece that says it all so much better than I ever could.

It is time to hold ourselves accountable for being honest, and it is time to hold the press accountable. The prevalence of exaggeration and embellishment to make our point (whatever that point may be) has to be acknowledged. Just be real. Stop trying to impress people. It’s not cool, and the public is tired of it. Seriously. Give it a rest.

I would like to see an overhaul of journalism. Instead of the focus on the pretty people, can we bring back the smart, intelligent people? Where is the integrity? Who can we trust? I need somewhere to get my news.

 

Really Universe? 

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I put something out there, and now there may be an opportunity if I am confident enough to try. 

That’s what I get for running my mouth. This is a pattern with me. I say I want something, that I really don’t think could possibly ever happen… And then there may be a chance I can try for. 

Sigh. Time to get braver and get over myself. I do want to try to do this. Wish me luck and bravery. I’m gonna need it. 

  

If I could do anything, I would…

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IMG_9180If I were a truly brave person, I would live a life full of travels and adventures to wild and exotic lands. I would jump out of airplanes and ride a raft through the Colorado River. Climbing mountains would be just another afternoon for me.  I would not let anything stop me.

However, I am not a courageous person. I am terrified of heights, and not entirely certain I would enjoy an adrenaline soaked trip through the rapids. Nope. I am a chicken with a serious fondness for private bathroom facilities.

If I were not afraid of how it would all turn out, I would be a brave writer, pushing the boundaries of polite narrative, and I would set the world on fire with my keen insights and challenge societies to make a change. I would challenge the status quo, and I would surprise my readers with a gripping tale of redemption.

If I were not secretly painfully shy, I would sing at karaoke bars, shocking the audience with my fearless performance. I would be forgiven for my untrained warbling voice just because I was having enough fun for every one.

I would audition for leading roles on stage and film. I would fearlessly embody my characters, and tell stories that need to be told. I would inspire the masses and my Oscar acceptance speech would be remembered for years.

This would be a grand time, and it would be completely out of character for me. I wonder how close I can get, while remaining authentic to my true self.

Of course I am not going to do most of these things. I do not sing or act. I am certainly not going to jump out of a plane. Climb a mountain? Yeah, right. 

Are fears a manifestation of self? A protective mechanism of sorts?

Are all fears meant to be conquered?

Well, for now I will take it a little slower, and master the tasks immediately before me. I do not have to compete with others for personal achievement. I just have to do the best I can.

Maybe someday, the rapids will call my name.

The day my life changed… forever.

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I love this boy so much. He made me a mother.

I was eighteen years old. There was so much wrong with me, and I knew that I had no business to be in this position. I was having a baby. I was single, a high school dropout, slightly crazy, unemployed, and an all around mess. I had even dropped out of childbirth classes.

It was April 12, 1999.

My mother drove me to the hospital for my scheduled induction. I was nervous and so ready to get this over with. To be honest, I was expecting this to be the day that some magical transformation would happen, and I would finally know how to be a mother. It was impossible for me to continue to be the same person I was, I was about to be a mom. The instincts would kick in, Right?

It was insanely early and the sun had not even started to brighten the sky. We rode up the elevator to the Labor and Delivery Unit at Covenant Hospital. I was already registered and they were expecting me. Check in, and start the chores of the morning.

ID bracelet? Check. IV start? Check. Enema? Excuse me? What was that? You are going to do what to my what? Sigh. Check.

What had I gotten myself into? Okay, now for the fun part. Starting the Pitocin. Let me tell you a little about this drug. It’s whole purpose is to cause your uterus to have the most intense contractions imaginable. If you are not feeling too bad, then they have to turn it up. Are you kidding me? Turn that shit down! This hurts. Oh, here is the doctor to break my water, and attach a little probe to the little guy’s head. Did you know they basically use a contraption that looks like a crochet hook to rupture that amniotic sac? It sounds so high-tech, and it is actually the equivalent a breaking a water balloon.

Side note: I think most people imagine their physician being right there with them throughout labor. Nope. He just drops by for the crucial moments. The most important health care personnel are your nurses. I had a great one. Her name was Marla, and I will never forget her. I have a lot of friends who are L&D nurses, and I even briefly considered it. Until I saw a real baby coming out of a real vagina- ummm. No. I’ll stick to MICU, thank you very much. The Horror of Childbirth is too much for me. 

Contractions are an interesting feeling. It is like someone is reaching up into your soul, and wringing you out to dry. They start out a little uncomfortable, and then crescendo to a plateau of intense pain before they slowly subside. It is difficult to explain exactly where the pain is. Is it in your back? Your gut? Oh, there is some pain medicine. Demerol does not get rid of the pain, but it makes you not care about it at all. I felt like I was swimming. It could have been the pool of amniotic fluid I was drowning in. Turning every which way, bed up, bed down, flopping from one side to the other, there must be a position which will relieve this discomfort.

Oh, my family has come. Mamaw and Papaw, Grandaddy and Granny, and my friend Josette join my mom and stepdad at the bedside. I may be a little grumpy. This is decidedly less fun than I imagined it would be. Besides, it is nothing like the movies. For one thing, in the movies there is always an adoring husband who is just so damned grateful that this woman is bringing his child into the world. Oops. I forgot that part. Next time, make sure there is an adoring husband, That will make this experience a walk in park. I just know it. Note to self: find adoring husband. 

Ahhh. Time for an epidural. Some people say they are horrible, and they complain about the pain of getting the catheter shoved into the space around their spine. I don’t know why they are complaining. Seriously? This was sweet heaven and relief. Ummm. Why can’t I move? OMG. I am paralyzed. Ugh. What on earth is going on? Okay. Maybe I should take a nap. Yes, a nap sounds wonderful. 

Remember those childbirth classes I dropped out of? Well, I must have missed the one where they teach women how to make their cervix dilate on command. Mine was doing nothing. Nope. Nothing. My nurse began mumbling about a possible C-section. What? Cut me open? No… I don’t want to do that. Can we please stop talking about that? Here, I will think happy labor advancing thoughts. 

This was obviously going to be a long day. We sent everyone for lunch. Just because I am not allowed to eat does not mean my family should suffer right? So, it is just my mother and I and my nurse has left explicit instructions to notify her if I feel any pressure. She was going to come and check me in about an hour. Remember, I was paralyzed. I could not  feel anything at all. Except about two minutes after she went to lunch, I felt different. I could not be certain it was pressure, and I was about to ignore it. I was curious about what the new feeling was though. So, I tell my mom I am feeling something.

We called the nurse, and she came in and “checked” me. Checking a cervix must be an interesting skill. You feel around blindly in a vagina, and you have to determine what you are feeling, how big in diameter it is, and whether or not that is a baby. Are you kidding me? Why would anyone sane want this job? You are shoving your entire arm into a wet slimy pit, hoping to determine the current state of affairs in an actively breaking vagina. Yuck. 

When she checked me, her eyes got wide and she pronounced me “Ready.” What? No, I am not ready for anything except a nap. We just sent everyone away. I am not ready. That mom instinct has still not set in. I still feel like a kid. I am not ready for this. I am tired. Maybe I can just go home, and we can do this tomorrow. What in the hell do you mean I am ready? Who says? 

My mother started making phone calls to get everyone back to the hospital, and Marla was a flurry of activity. She was wheeling in equipment and pulling the stirrups out of the bed. Once she got me draped and my most personal business in the proper position, another nurse came in to see if she needs help. There was a discussion about shaving. I’m sorry. Do what? You need to shave my what? Why? There is entirely too much activity around my hoohaw at this point. 

They had me start pushing. Once again, I was reminded I should not have dropped out of the childbirth classes. I am paralyzed. What do you mean push? Push what? Good grief. I have no idea what they are talking about. These people are insane. 

Finally, I must have done something right. Marla says she can see the head. Of course everyone in the room wanted to look. Sure, why not? What’s a little vagina peering between family and friends? 

The doctor came blustering into the room. Dr Burkholder is a larger than life man with a booming voice and an air of confidence. He had already done so much for me throughout my nightmare pregnancy, and I trusted him completely. My only complaint? His hands are huge. Other than that, he is great. He donned his blue gown and sterile gloves, and started running the show.

At one point there was something concerning, I never knew what tipped them off to Ty’s distress, but they no longer had time for my uneducated pushing skills. There was this magical suction cup device that would help guide this baby out in a hurry. Once the head was out he wanted me to look down and see him. I refused. He called me a brat and told me to mind. I closed my eyes and turned my head. I never did like to do what I was told. Looking back, this seems a stupid place to exert my independence. 

Swoosh, out came Ty Garrett. His umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck several times, and he was an unnatural shade of blueberry. The doctor held him up proudly, my mother cut the cord, and they hurried him over to a crib. Seven pounds, four ounces. A NICU nurse was ushered in, and they proceeded to give him oxygen. The mood in the room was tense for a few minutes. Thankfully, he was fine after a short while.

Now, the doctor was still preoccupied with my lady bits, and I think he may have been slightly gleeful when he held up my placenta. Ewww. What the hell is that? Get it away from me. 

Several minutes go by, and he was still down there. Finally I ask him what on earth he is doing. Oh. I “tore?” Ummm. Can you fix that? Am I broken? Can you put a couple extra stitches in there to make it like it used to be? Oh. It will never be like it used to be. Got it. My vagina is permanently disfigured. Wait. Why do I still feel like a kid? Where is that mom feeling? Maybe I will get it when I hold him again. 

Everyone passes him around. The moment he was delivered, Mamaw gleefully exclaimed “Oh, he has your nose!” Poor kid. Hope it works out better for you than me. (Turns out, the nose is quite handsome on him.) My mother was practically beside herself. She loved him so much. She apparently had the grandmother superpowers that day. She knew what to do immediately. I am so grateful for all her help. I may have been inept as a mother, but he always had Nana to make sure I did not screw up too bad. 

They perfunctorily cleaned up the baby and handed him to me. I am looking at this little guy, and I know he is the best thing to ever happen to me. I am baffled by him though. I have no idea what he needs. We were supposed to do all the post birth stuff in the delivery room, however the L&D floor was  apparently hopping that day. They needed the room. We would have to bond later. Sometimes I wonder how things would have been different if we could have had more time before we were separated.

Ty was whisked away to the nursery, and I was wheeled to my postpartum room. I was certain the next time I saw him, I would feel like a mom. I just knew it. I wanted it so bad.

Let me just say, there was no magic moment. I tried valiantly to breastfeed, and I gave it a good two or three minutes before I opted for a bottle. Ummm. Breastfeeding felt weird. The most natural thing in the world felt painfully unnatural to me. Yeah, I regret that, but I cannot turn back time. I knew that my life was never going to be the same, and I had to get my act together. This kid needed me. It took a while, and the road had some bumps and turns, but I believe it turned out pretty good. I had a reason to succeed. More importantly, my life had a new purpose. But, where is that magic mom feeling? That instinct all the Supermom’s claim to have. Where were my superpowers? What is wrong with me? 

So, this is the day my life changed, forever. There was no magic moment where I magically knew how to be a mother, and I did not become a real live grown up that day.

I became a mother to a son. I love my son more than anything I can imagine. I am so blessed, and I am so lucky that he has had the patience to allow me to grow up. He was the greatest gift I can imagine, and there have been times I wondered if he got the short end of the stick with a mother like me. He has taught me so much about love and worry. He has taught me to laugh and to always try to be better. I want to be better for him.

I am not a typical mother, and some people may not understand our family dynamics, but they work for us. So, on this Mother’s Day, I want to wish all the Mom’s in my life a happy and special day. May you always be as blessed as you were The day your life changed, forever.

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I like to think we turned out okay. Even if I did not get the supermom powers. We muddle through. I love him so much. Thanks for making me a mom. It is the best thing I am.