…my brain on a Monday 

  
“This is your brain…this is your brain on drugs… Any questions? “. You may recall this powerful Public Service Announcement funded by the Partnership for Drug-free Kids. It ran in 1987. This ad has always stayed with me… I’ve created many versions of this PSA in regards to my own brain…some are quite funny and some…well not so much. 
Today’s brain PSA….
AND…this is my brain …on Monday! 

Did you see that shirt I just had? Where’d my pants go? I just had them are you kidding me? Is that my phone? Can someone shut the alarm off?  Anyone? Hello? Ok…found pants…where’d my shirt go?

Never mind I will shut the alarm off… Thanks though! 

Coffee water is heated…start making it…

Recycling has to go to curb…why is it cold out?

Shirt? Do we have zip lock bags?

“What day is it? A or B? ” she inquires…

Huh? I have no idea…brain frantically searches…am I supposed to know this? Did I lose that memo? 

I ask…what do you mean? (Even though I have quickly figured out that she means that she wants me to open the app on my phone and find out for her)

Ok… Where are my shoes? Where are your shoes? What the hell is my name? Oh yeah phone… Where’d I put it? 

Umm…”I don’t even know where my phone is” of course I find it…and I look up what day it is…I don’t know if it’s A or B … But you have English 

Did I make my coffee? Have to bring the compost buckets out.  Was that the microwave?  Wait a minute… Where’s my phone?  Is that the recycling truck I hear? 

Should I start the car? Zip locks? What am I going to pack lunches in? There’s my shirt! Is the water hot enough to make my coffee? Yay! A new box of zip locks! Excellent! Two lunches to pack… Coffee? Did I start the car yet? 

“I can’t find my fleece!” Hmmmm. My brain scans to visualize where I last saw that fleece… Maybe the stairs? Must pack those lunches… Oh the water is hot again…start the coffee… Fleece?  Did I forget to buy creamer? 

“I can’t find my iPad”…. Couch? Kitchen? Fleece? Near the backpack? Wait a minute! The fleece is right here…  The fleece was found and the search party wasn’t called off.  Not a surprise! 

Lunches!!!! Finish making coffee. iPad? Where did you use it last ? Searching….searching… Is it in Dad’s office with your bass? No! Ugh! Ok…lunches done…is this my coffee? Can someone see if the car is started? 

“The cat? Mom we don’t have a cat! ”  sigh… 

Why????

 (Insert expletive here) … What? “My iPad was underneath my backpack the whole time! Can we go? Mom I’m going to be late”

Really? REALLY?? REALLY???!!!!!

Sigh… This is 15 minutes of my Monday morning… Today’s coping strategy? 

  
This has been a public service announcement from my brain on a Monday…

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The Persistence of Memory

Please note my use of ‘an’ and not ‘the’. ‘The’ edge does not exist in my world. There are a plethora of edges …each with their own neatly organized list of criteria for going over. Sometimes it’s pretty… This time it was not. 
By nature, I am a fixer…and tonight, this is what led to my demise. And now, the backstory. I received a Starbucks gift card for Christmas from a treasured family that I do elder care with. Lately, my nine year old has become fond of the double chocolate chip frappaccino… A little too fond , so fond in fact that I searched up the copycat recipe on Pinterest. I scanned the recipe to be certain that all of the ingredients were within grasp. Sweet! Ready to roll! I was having a proud frugal mama moment.  
I gathered the ingredients, the nutri ninja base and cup,and the cover with the blade that makes all the magic happen. I even had the whipped cream and a recycled frappaccino cup. I followed the recipe very carefully making sure that all ingredients were measured to the ‘t’. I was happily tallying all the money I’d be saving by this fabulous idea as I placed the cover on the container. My heart was beating happily in anticipation.  
I placed the container in the base and pressed down to engage the motor. I could hardly contain myself! I was celebrating victory inside my head… What a party …champagne, chocolate fountain….

As I lifted the cup from the base, all of that frappaccino goodness poured from the bottom of the cup. The cover that holds the blade had loosened during all that magic. My brain immediately flashed a view of the masterpiece that is Salvador Dalis melting clocks…so aptly named the Persistence of Memory.

  
And so it was the persistence of the memory of all the bank I’d be rolling by making this beverage at home that fueled what became my undoing.
You see… The ninja comes with more than one blade cover. Aha! And guess what?! Each cover has a sweet little gray piece of rubber that is called the gasket. There it was! A loose gasket and a blade without one. Just as I began rejoicing the solution ….it happened. Why wasn’t this gasket fitting soon turned into ‘if it’s the last effing thing I do in my life …this gasket is going to fit!”  

  
I tried a knife, scissors, a chopstick… Nothing …a corkscrew…Nothing! I googled it… Watched YouTube video clips… Nothing! Two long hrs passed, peppered with colorful expletives… I had to get to bed… I stomped into my husbands office and chucked all the parts onto his desk with a gruff “Over an edge!” 

I went to bed… Still reeling and muttering to myself. The freshly washed Starbucks frappaccino cup remained empty among the disaster of the kitchen counter, the empty green straw leaning wearily against the side of the cup.

When I woke the next morning, I went to investigate the progress. Part of me prayed my husband was unsuccessful … Like that would make me feel less of a failure! At first glance it looked like that was the case… Gasket still laying next to the blade cover. Maybe I’m not as hopeless as I thought! Ha! He couldn’t do it either… Let the rejoicing commence! 
“You couldn’t do it either huh?” I was feeling better. Both of us had failed to get into the Mensa club of the nutri ninja! 

Then it came, like a wall of embarrassment … Red hot cheeks… “Um… There’s already a gasket in this cover”, he stated.

No need to share the rest of my reaction… After all, there were three blade covers… The gasket-less one in the sink. Sigh… Fast forward 25 minutes…..

  
…and as I handed the crisp dollars to the lovely barista I inched slightly towards the plateau… back up from ‘an’ edge that I had been sent over.

knowing…the long story…and the short

You are a firecracker…lit the moment your beautiful coffee brown self was placed in your loving mamas arms on the day you were born

You were three when we met… going on fifteen…you enter a room with presence…

Your knowledge so vast for your small frame…I wonder how you hold it all without falling over…so many volumes already written in your memory

You are just one year older now…since I have known you…and I have come to know you well…synchronized…your moods recognizable

Such a joy to always see your raised hand …anticipation to answer…and more…to grow us with what you know beyond that

We sometimes shake our heads…your teachers…and your mama too…I have seen it…in awe of your shining brilliance that you know not yet the full magnitude of…

I’m grateful for you in my heart… You have blessed me so…challenged my humor…and brought forth in me the desire to hear both the long and the short version of the story before I decide which will feel just right…

…is THIS thing ON??

…is this thing on?

Many times as a parent and teacher of young children I find myself in the throes of a recurring Ally Mcbeal moment. The scene…an empty stage, spotlight aimed at a single microphone, audience is hushed and still in anticipation…across the stage struts a small child who grips the microphone with both hands and boldly clears their throat, confidently taps the microphone a time or two and asks”is THIS thing ON?”

Next moment… Wham, I’m back in reality which most often than not finds me with one of my own children or a preschooler standing with arms folded or hands on hips in front of me… The expression on their face demanding an answer to the question… “Is THIS thing ON?????”

I am pleased to report that I have grown to be very comfortable and adept at welcoming the challenge…I have learned to remain calm ( for the most part) and meet the child where they are at. I can recite the expectation, offer a choice, throw in some humor and roll with it.

Point in case, in the recent past, a beloved preschooler of mine stepped up to the mic… With verve and audacity he grabbed that mic with both hands and shouted…”IS THIS THING ON?” When I came to from my Ally McBeal moment I sat him down, sat next to him and the dance began. I laid out the expectation of reasonable behavior and waited… I acknowledged his body language and verbalized what I heard his heart saying…and I waited…I validated his feelings…all feelings ok…taking those feelings out on others by invading personal space not ok…and I waited. I looked around the room as he sat next to me… Even took a phone call on speaker… As he sat next to me… I spoke about how awful he must be feeling on the inside to be so visibly upset on the outside… I encouraged calm breathing and the return to peace in his heart and body…and I waited. Several more times through the process, he stepped back up to the mic… Each consecutive time his voice a bit quieter…his stance less confrontational… The answer was sinking in, the message getting through… Yes the mic is on… Yes I am being heard… I am supported and loved… My needs will get met… My feelings are ok but not all my responses to those feelings are beneficial. Here’s where my honed talent comes in: humor!

After about 30 min I offered the following…
“It looks like you would really like a hug from your Mom! Here’s my suggestion …would you like the short version or the long version?” I was not surprised by the answer… He wanted to hear both prior to choosing. Here is the short version , “hug?” And the longer version begins as I stand tall and refer to a non existent long scroll of a message . ” my dearest mother, I am wondering if I were to stand up and move towards you with my arms extended outward, if you would then also stand up and move toward me. Perhaps then if you were to also extend your arms toward me and we moved closer to one another, then maybe we could embrace in what is sometimes referred to as a hug? ” This elicited a fabulous giggle but did not keep my beloved preschooler from stepping up to the mic one more time and with a tiny whisper ” is this thing on?” As we moved towards gathering his things together he pondered long or short version as his mom and I stood close awaiting the end of the test. I jumped in before he voiced his request and I asked him for a hug… I then asked, ” long or short ? “. His reply, “short!” He looked toward his ever patient mama and said, “hug?”
It took us 40 min to get to that moment but through it all, we stood firm, we rode out the test not waivering in love or expectation. And that’s what it all comes down to …not getting stage fright when someone steps up to the mic and asks, “is THIS thing ON??”

waking up…

It has been quite some time since I last posted. I have a collection of posts that I am in need of sharing and they have been written and re-written on my hand for weeks…see that’s my thing…how I remember…if it goes on my hand its VIP material! When it starts to wash off, it is re-written in pen, sharpie or anything else permanent enough to stay until said task is addressed or reminder adequately reminded. As I have been known to say…’I lose paper. I cannot lose my hand…in the event that I do lose my hand, having my hand re-attached takes precedence over what may have been written on it.’

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So here, I must say, is my exhale…the opportunity to not rewrite one of those things…to accomplish my task. I have noticed lately that staying busy is still a good strategy for my focus. In this focused state I have taken the opportunity to reflect. I have been thinking a lot about where I am in my life and the choices I am making. I consider what I spend my time doing and the state of my own heart. Waking up, as I have named this post, is symbolic of this awareness and also somewhat literal in reference to my self care journey and a Starbucks drive-thru.

Lately I have been rocking the ADHD style I know and love…multitasking and getting it done. For most of my life, this entailed a level of unawareness and oblivion and to a great degree, neglect of self. One thing I have implemented of late (due to much love and prompting from close friends) is more attention to self care. Let’s be real…I still am hyper aware of a kajillion things around me…hearing and seeing everything in a two mile radius…but the difference…I am having a better ear to hear one thing…ME. Now don’t get me wrong, I am ALWAYS talking to myself, I’m just not likely to listen especially if it has to do with taking good care of me.
Considering that my life mostly consists of care giving as a wife, a mom, a friend, a teacher of young children, and support for a dear elderly couple, this is quite oxymoronic (my daughters word). So back to that voice…it is that voice that led me to the Starbucks drive-thru not once, but three times in one week! Did I have the money for three venti’s? No. Did I need the self care? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes.
I will say that my ‘waking up’ has not been without distress…I have had several days in a row that consisted of little more than brief breaks in crying. Through this profoundly deep sadness that I had come to feel, I reached a place of ‘waking’. A place of some clarity to see myself in a different light and consider myself to be a little higher on the list of those that I care for. I am not at the top…nor will I ever be, that’s just how I roll. So for now, I will stay comfortably a few up from the bottom.
So this listening to myself, honoring myself, being kind to myself, led me to the Starbucks where for three days, I handed over a hefty chunk of my hard earned money for a delightfully enjoyable coffee.
Here is the humor…what led to my having Starbucks drive-thru written on my hand as a topic for posting…Day one: the ever-cheerful person greets me as I order a venti mocha iced coffee, made with skim please and no whipped cream. My order is politely repeated in Starbucks speak “okay, that’s one venti non-fat mocha iced no whipped? anything else?” no thank you…I say, trying to remember how I had said my order and how they changed it.
Day two: I try again…I try to remember exactly how the Starbucks server ordered the words that resulted in my delicious morning libation. WRONG! I hear an old-time game show buzzer in my head and wonder if the employee is smiling and thinking, ‘novice’.
Day three: I’m feeling anxious even before it is my turn…mulling it over in my head. Do I say the size first? Remember to say no-fat! Was it iced mocha or mocha iced? Forget it! In the big picture of things, it matters not, what matters is I am waking up…I am listening to myself and caring about it. Will I think about it the next time I go to Starbucks? Yes! Will I have googled it and written it on my hand in order to avoid hearing the ever polite restructuring from the Starbucks drive thru speaker? Oh Yes!
Take some time today to awaken a little…hear your own heart…and truly listen to what it is telling you. Thank you for taking the time to listen to mine.

…i wonder

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i wonder lots of things in a day…some of them deep and thoughtful, some just pretty amusing…a peek into my wonders for today:

as i lay here in our family bed surrounded by my sleeping littles, I wonder if they know with certainty how much I love them…

…i also wonder will my daughter vomit all night tonight as she did last night…

as my husband tirelessly searches for a way to unlock my stored iphoto library so i may email some needed photos to my children’s ministry leader…i wonder if he realizes how much i appreciate him…

as i spent an hour navigating through the automated phone system at our mortgage lender today i wondered…will i EVER speak to a flipping customer service rep??

and at the same time i wondered why the automated voice was assuming humanistic qualities by saying, “let’s see if we can find someone to help ‘US’ “now that freaked me out just a tad!

each time i look at this photo of my then 2.5 year old daughter holding this fragile bubble in her hands i wonder…how is she now almost 12?

what’s on your ‘wonder list’?