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Jul. 19th, 2008

Announcement and The Love Bucket Revisited

Announcement:

 

From now on, whenever I talk about the pieces that make up our beings I will not refer to them as mind-body-spirit.  Instead the components shall be referred to as spirit-mind-body.  Since I spend so much time working on allowing my spirit to thrive, in spite of my mind’s obsessive need to control every breathing moment and deny the spirit’s existence, and even though the three parts are equal, I am making spirit the first of the three parts of my being to help stay in balance. 

 

It’s a small change but one that feels important to me and if I post it in this journal, hopefully, it will remind me to keep them in perspective.

 

The Love Bucket Revisited

 

A better name for the love bucket would be the emotion bucket.  It’s a constant task to not allow the emotion bucket to right itself and begin containment measures on my emotions.  That’s my busy mind at work trying to control the world.  Or at least my world and those who interact in it.  I can’t tell you how many times a day I am filled with anxiety (my controlling emotion of choice) and I have to acknowledge it, let it go, feel it move through me and then reach deeper into my being and connect there. 

 

Typical stream of thoughts in my head:

 

The cell bill is due on Friday.  I won’t have the money until the following Tuesday.  What if we don’t have enough to pay it?  I should call Sprint.  Ugh.  That’ll take a couple hours.  I don’t have a couple hours to sit on the phone.  What if they cut us off?  Oh man, that would really ruin things.  I should call them but I really, really don’t want to.  (Dread settles in my stomach.)  My son needs to figure out his classes for this college semester.  How am I going to pay for that?  Kids will need school supplies soon.  (Anxiety level ups another notch.)  Wal-Mart probably has their school supply specials running.  Maybe I can pick some of the supplies up early next week.  But the cell bill is due and it’s a biggie.  I sure hope they don’t cut off the phones if I am a couple days late.  Have to call them.  (More dread)  I wonder how many classes my son is going to take this semester?  If he takes that extra class, I’ll have to pay more.  (The tightness in my stomach creeps into my chest.)  It’s the books that really amp up sending a kid through college.  I need to check how many books he can turn in for credit at the campus book store.  So many school supplies!  The cell bill is due on Friday…

 

And on, and on, and on.  The same thoughts, more anxiety, and no solutions.  Because there are no solutions.  My worries are projections of things going badly in a future that hasn’t happened yet.  It’s a continual process to stop my mind from running the show.  I have to realize what I am doing, tip over that darn bucket, and become aware of the present.  Also, it’s not the most comfortable feeling to allow the emotions to flow.  Seriously, it feels like acid running through my insides which is why the mind works so hard on containment.  The mind, in its fight against pain, creates longer, more ongoing and intense pain through its efforts to contain and control.  It’s like having a migraine and holding absolutely still so it doesn’t hurt instead of facing the pain at least long enough to find whatever medication is in the medicine cabinet to cure the migraine.  Whereas living in my spirit acknowledges that the future can bring either happiness or pain but those are fleeting emotions.  Many, many times a day - 50, 60, 100 – I have to stop and reframe. 

 

Slowly but surely, I am changing.  God said to be anxious about nothing.  I used to believe that meant pray about my problems and then beat myself up for failing God when I worried anyway and fighting a nagging sense that as a Christian, I must be doing something wrong that I couldn’t let go of the worry.  Now I pray about my problems but when I find myself worrying, I let it go, and delve underneath the mind-worries and allow my spirit free.  The peace that passes all understanding comes forth and joy spills out.  That’s not to say that the mind and emotions aren’t necessary and useful.  But it’s an amazing thing that when I am filled with spirit, with the joy of being, feeling the peacefulness from within, my mind will find solutions that hadn’t appeared before or I can plan what needs to be done, make the list and go about the tasks without the constant fight to contain anxiety, dread, fear – whatever controlling emotion trying to manifest. 

 

Also, I make a conscious effort, once I am realigned in the present, to use a stream of thought with positive pictures of the projected problems I was fretting about.  I’ll call Sprint and the call will be pleasant and quick.  School supplies will be on sale the following week as well.  The money will be available for my son’s tuition and his books will receive the highest credit at the bookstore.  It’s amazing how uplifting it is to see the future as a pleasant place instead of a dark and fearful monster waiting to pounce.  Just typing these words puts me in the present moment and I am filled with gratitude.  The AC is running and the house is cool despite the 98 degree temps outside. I’ll enjoy a pleasant shower in a couple minutes.  My shampoo smells good.  A bowl of leftover chili will make a great lunch.  Where I am at this moment is a great place to be.

 

Jul. 6th, 2008

Lists

Things I appreciate (today)

An unexpected breeze while I am walking or running.

The sound of that breeze rustling the leaves in the trees.

The smell of freshly mowed grass and flowers blooming.

Peanut butter cookies (my current craving).

Kids or dogs leaning against me for a quick hug or pat.

A text message from my husband telling me he loves me.

Children who clean up a mess after they’ve made it without being asked and who throw their trash in the garbage.

Waves lapping against my feet.

A movie or tv program that grabs my emotions and takes them for a ride.

Lots and lots of music.

The good kind of tired after I’ve exercised.

A good book.

An e-mail from a friend that makes me laugh.

My iPod.

 

Things that used to be ridiculous but are now a fact of life:

 

People talking to themselves in bathroom stalls or as they wheel their carts down grocery aisles.  It used to be funny but now I assume they are on their cell phone.

 

People riding a bike and talking on a cell phone.

 

TV’s in every room in the house.

 

Gas for $3.89/gallon.

 

How casually young people use the “F” word and other sexually explicit terms.

 

Rap music

 

Young men walking around with their pants falling off their butts as a fashion statement.

 

Solar power.  No making fun here, I think solar power is da bomb and intend to use it in my house as soon as I figure out how to afford the necessary equipment.

 

Tongue piercing

 

 

I protest and object:

 

I protest that a 16 oz frozen bag of cauliflower has jumped from $1.25 to $2.29.

 

I object that $20 buys only 5 gallons of gas.

 

I object that I can’t buy tomatoes in my local grocery store because they were mistakenly accused of spreading salmonella.

 

I object to calories, on general purposes.  If we didn’t have calories, no one would be overweight.  Many health problems would disappear and perhaps health care would become more manageable. 

 

I protest any law that prohibits my use of my cell phone while I am driving until the law includes smoking, eating and drinking while driving.  Drive behind a person pulling out of the drive-thru at Taco Bell and trying to eat a taco and you will agree with me about what constitutes a danger while driving.

 

I protest signs that prohibit people from walking across the grass.  It’s grass, it grows on the ground, it’s made for walking on unless it’s just been fertilized or needs time to regenerate.

 

I object to mail on the weekends.  Give those guys the weekend off.  Let residences and businesses that want weekend delivery pay a small fee and use that money to lower shipping costs.

 

I object to truck stops that make truck drivers pay for coffee after they’ve dished out hundreds upon hundreds of dollars in fuel.  Give them a break, give them a cup of coffee to drown their sorrows.

 

I protest machines that charge to put air in my tires.  It’s air, it should be free.  If a fee is necessary to cover the cost of the machine it should be a nickel or dime and it shouldn’t run on a timer.

 

I object to people who chew with their mouths open in public.  Keep your food to yourself.  No particular reason, it just grosses me out.

 

Tags:

Jul. 5th, 2008

My Neighbor, The Spammer's Assistant

Several stay at home moms who happen to have part time jobs (including me) live in my cul de sac.  Staying at home can be a tough gig financially so we all tend to look for creative ways to bring in extra bucks.  I drive a school bus, my neighbor works part time at Wal-Mart, another used to take pictures of houses for a realtor.  The jobs vary but the goal remains to stay at home with the kids as much as possible.  Standing outside one day, I was chatting with one of the other moms who was watching her daughter at play and she told me about her new job in marketing.  My interest was immediate as in my other life as an 8-to-5’er, I worked in marketing for an architectural firm.  It was a great job and in some ways I still miss it.  I used to go to work and make up stuff.  What could be more fun?  When she mentioned marketing in terms of working from home I perked right up. 

 

“Tell me about it,” I asked so she did.  Her job consisted of surfing the ‘net, looking for companies in specific markets, skimming through their web pages and copying e-mail addresses associated with that company.  She was paid 10¢ per e-mail address she copied plus a couple other perks.  She could work as little or as much as she wanted and at the end of the day she would forward her list to the “marketing” firm who would then use those e-mails to advertise products.  She enthused over how easy the job was and how much money she could make. 

 

I listened and experienced a moment of panic when my varied reactions warred with each other and I couldn’t decide how to react.  Incredulous – She’s savvy enough about the web to find companies and scavenge their e-mail addresses.  How could she not realize that “marketing” was another name for spamming?  Horror – I confess, part of me wanted to point a finger and label her “Spammer”.  Humor – The incongruity of my neighbor, a smart, kind, dedicated stay at home mom, sitting for hours inside her house gathering e-mails for spam hit my funny bone.  OK, so maybe it really was a legitimate marketing company.  Maybe.  Yeah, right.  And now I wonder if every e-mail in my junk inbox from refinancing my house to toys for female sexual stimulation stem from her dedicated work.

 

In the end, I didn’t say much.  I am a firm believer in if-you-don’t-know-what-to-say-for-goodness-sakes-keep-your-mouth-shut!  I wouldn’t want to offend her.  Who knows what she’s capable of?  After all, she was a spammer’s assistant

 

(Update:  Phew!  The job didn’t last long and she’s moved on to other endeavors.)

Jul. 3rd, 2008

Shades of Equality

A herd of children were playing in my front yard having a blast wrestling and rolling around in the dirt and grass.  When I called my 3 granddaughters in for dinner they came inside filled with girl power and bragging about how they’d wrestled with the boys and won.  They were strong; they were invincible; hear them roar.  My middle granddaughter (7) grandly announced to the table several times, “I can’t punch.  I’m too strong.”  As they spoke I learned that a couple of the Dad’s were standing in the driveway next door instructing their sons in the gentlemanly arts.  In other words, they boys were made to hold back while my girls went to town wrestling them to the ground and claiming kick butt victory.  From their comments I gathered that the boys did not appreciate the lessons their father’s were trying to impart.  Allowing the girls to win did not sit well.  A rematch sans parents was planned for the next day. 

 

I loved their girl power.  I loved that they discovered the feeling of physical power and hopefully took a step on the path of how not to be a victim but concerned that their victory was hollow as the boys probably will not hold back the next time.   Without bursting their bubbles, I tried to explain that perhaps they weren’t quite as victorious as they thought but they couldn’t hear me.  I let it go but it’s bothering me.  

 

Men and women are not created equal.  We are different but equally valuable.  For the most part, men rule the world (they are welcome to it), but women run it.  One cannot function without the other – different but equal, each necessary to the other and beautiful in what they can provide to collective society.  That’s the lesson I want to impart to my children.   Finding their value, believing in it from the inside out and not the outside in means they will never be victims.  I love their girl power, now I have to figure out how to teach them it doesn’t mean wrestling boys to the ground but believing in themselves even when they can’t win at wrestling.

 

Please don’t mistake honest evaluation of skills and weaknesses as naïve vulnerability.  Just because I am not as strong as most men doesn’t mean that I smile and shrug and don’t use common sense.  My girls will learn self defense skills as did my boys.  It might not prevent a tragic event like a man with a gun in a parking lot, but basic kick butt knowledge gives them a fighting chance.  Just because I appreciate the differences between the sexes doesn’t mean everyone else does.

Jun. 28th, 2008

AskEarl and VBS

AskEarl


June at our house is a lot like December.  12 birthdays are noted on my calendar, two of my children, 1 grandchild and my husband are included on that list.  Add in Father’s Day and the cake and gifts go on forever.  It’s the 27th of June now and I am hoping not to see, bake or eat another birthday cake until late July.  Plus, I am out of gift cash. 

The birthdays tend to roll together – sing, wish, blow, unwrap presents – but Father’s Day stands out.  I am a woman blessed with a great Dad.  The kind of Dad that tribute books are written about.  My Dad knows something about everything.  Remember the website AskJeeves?  In our family we have AskEarl.  I do it, my brothers and sister do it, his secretary and even his friends do it.  If cheese comes from moldy milk, how come the different kinds taste so differently?  Do you believe in global warming?  Should I feed my dog fish oil?  Who invented kites?  My Dad just knows stuff and he’s more fun to talk to than Google.

I know stuff too.  One of my favorite things to know is that my Dad loves me.  It’s like holding a soft, warm, cuddly blanket inside of me.  I am one grateful little chick who appreciates the blessing of a loving father.  It’s been two days since we’ve spoken and I need to call him tomorrow.  I have to AskEarl about coffee bean trees.  I want to grow one and he’s sure to know how to go about it.

Vacation Bible School

Last week I couldn’t find time to write because we were immersed in Vacation Bible School.  Since my 4 grandchildren participate and my daughter helps with the younger children, I volunteer also.  For the last couple years I’ve finished the week totally spent, used up, hanging onto sanity by my fingertips.  Too much noise, too many people for too long a time made the week extremely difficult even though I enjoyed the children despite my shortcomings. 

This year it wasn’t nearly as bad.  As an empath I’ve learned (still learning) to block out other people’s energy so it doesn’t overwhelm me.  Meditating also changes my interior landscape and I find myself much calmer.  Observing the other teachers I had a revelation.  People are born with different genes and I think those who thrive in a room with 20, 3 year olds must possess a dominant chaos gene.  What else could explain their enjoyment in a situation that would make me want to lock myself in a closet and cry?  Others must’ve been born with a teaching gene.  I seem to have missed both of those genes but my strong tolerance gene allows me to appreciate and work with the 4th and 5th graders each year, assisting the teacher.  When I am overwhelmed, I just hang on and do what needs to be done until I can find a quiet corner for a minute or so to regroup.  It feels good to decipher my strengths and weaknesses so I can know what suits me as a volunteer.  To each, his own unique gene pool.

Jun. 27th, 2008

It's My Life and They Can't Have It

This morning I planned to take back my life but I overslept.  (Isn't that a great starting sentence?  It sounds like Stephen Wright line.)  It’s true though, determined to save myself from the overwhelming currents of life swirling around me like a tidal wave threatening to rush over my head, I made the decision rise an hour and a half earlier than the kids wake, walk the dogs, go for my run, and enjoy that time for myself.  I even set the alarm.  Then I slept through it which might indicate 1) maybe I don’t want to change my life (screw that I really need to make some changes before I turn into a crazy woman living underneath the nearest overpass); 2) I was very tired and therefore unable to do without that extra hour of sleep (probably more than a grain of truth there); or 3) I don’t really need to go for a walk, exercise, read, write or do anything other than answer to children 24/7 (OK, stop here, that overpass is sounding better and better).  So I am setting my alarm again, turning up the radio and plugging it in across the room.  I will have some time that doesn’t involve another person, especially another person who cannot vote yet.  If you are up around 6:30 can you send some wake up thoughts my way?  Just in case.

 

Jun. 12th, 2008

Men in Speedos

And now for some breaking Dallas news.  A reliable source tells me that there were five young men in Speedos waving signs on I-35E just before the I-45 exit in Dallas around 6:00 p.m. this evening.  My source was unable to determine what the signs said so their reason for making such a bold move remains unclear.  It is also unclear why men would consent to harnessing their manly bits in such unattractive attire and then stand on the side of a busy highway.

Much to my source’s (my husband who was on the telephone with me at the sighting) and my disappointment, he was unable to snap a picture.  *Sigh*  Maybe they’ll show up again next week.

If anyone has information on these daring young men in Speedos, inquiring minds want in on the joke.

Tags:

Ding Dong Ditching, Rice Krispie Torture, Music as Food, Sticker Shock

Ding Dong Ditching

 

About 20 kids live in our cul-de-sac.  On a normal day, 4-12 of them will be in my front yard playing, wrestling, riding bikes and scooters, water ballooning, arguing, etc.  Since I have 4 who play outside regularly, the kids are attracted to my kids and voila, I look outside and a herd of children has gathered.  I think they have radar.  One goes outside and stands on the sidewalk and pretty soon others sense his presence and come outside to play. 

 

Today a new game hit our little piece of the neighborhood.  It’s called Ding Dong Ditching.  Instead of ringing the doorbell and waiting like a normal person for me to answer and say, “They can’t come out until they’ve finished dinner.”  Never mind that they came inside two minutes earlier and everyone standing in the vicinity heard me announce dinner is ready.  Now they ring the doorbell and run away.  The two boys who thought up the game ran to the street in front of our house and pretended to play football while giggling hysterically at their cleverness.  After the second ring, I learned my lesson and didn’t answer again. 

 

As soon as the kids finished dinner it started again.  Apparently, my kids sent out a telepathic message that dinner was over.  At our house, when the door bell chimes, usually at least 2 children and sometimes 5, charge the door yelling, “Mimi, there is a kid at the door.  Can I answer it?”  I don’t let them answer if a grown up is knocking.  It probably sounds as though I am a control freak but if I don’t make them ask, they will head outside at their whim and I will have kids scattered without knowing where they are.  Also, my little ones haven’t met a stranger they don’t love.  Stranger Danger isn’t a concept that they’ve been able to embrace so they have to ask before yanking open the front door. 

 

Tonight the door bell chimed, 4 kids charged the door only to see an empty porch.  They exclaimed each time as though it hadn’t happened minutes before and might never happen again, “Mimi, we’ve been ding dong ditched, again!”  Then they discussed who was doing the ditching and plotted how to catch them and exact revenge.  In the process of the conversations they had to say “ding dong ditched” more times than I could possibly count because the alliteration elicited a little ding dong thrill deep in their psyches each time it was uttered.  I’m telling you, you haven’t lived until you’ve been ding dong ditched.

 

Rice Krispie Torture

 

My 19 year old and his girlfriend are torturing me.  They’ve discovered the ease and joy of freshly made Rice Krispie Treats.  Since they both have jobs, they have the pennies to buy the supplies and make them to their sweet tooth’s content.  My problem is that they don’t eat the whole pan.  No, they leave it sitting in plain sight, waiting for unsuspecting people like me who have no control over their Rice Krispie Treat urges to walk by.  Self discipline evaporates in the face of sweet, marshmallowy, warm, gooey, Rice Krispie Treats.  If you have only eaten the fake premade store bought Rice Krispie Treats, I urge you to hurry to your nearest grocery store for a box of Rice Krispies and a jar of marshmallow goo.  The recipe is on the box.  Hurry, don’t deny yourself!  You can thank me later. 

 

At my house though, they have to stop or my shorts aren’t going to fit no matter how far I run or how many sit ups I do.  Where’s a salad when I need one!

 

Music as Food

Now that summer has hit, my schedule has changed and I have to walk the dogs in the morning and do my exercise when it’s cooler.  If I am on top of things I can be out the door and back before the kids wake up.  First I walk the dogs and then I go for a run.  The first couple mornings I was hungry.  Not a little need-a-bite-to-eat hungry but tummy rumbling, low energy, wonder-if-I-have-the-ingredients-for-pancakes-and-sausage hungry.  Returning home for breakfast and coming back out wasn’t an option.  Once the kids are moving they need supervision while dressing, brushing teeth and hair and breakfast.  For them (they have food issues) hunger is a scary, bad place so I try to make sure they eat on a regular, reliable schedule.

Dealing with my hungries I made an amazing discovery.  Josh Groban can temporarily cure hunger.  If I concentrate on his rich full voice I can stop listening to my insistent stomach.  My reaction was visceral as the sound of his voice moved into my cells.  Since I noticed my physical reaction, I’ve been experimenting.  If I am not so hungry, I like music that tells a story, gives me something to think about.  Feeling tired, I like music that lifts me up.

 

I’ve always loved music and my iPod is filled almost to capacity with my favorites.  But I never realized how much music can influence moment to moment existence though I should have.  Have you ever had some young person pull up behind you at a stoplight and proceed to almost vibrate you off your seat with their bass pounding?  It doesn’t irritate me; it fills me with grab the steering wheel and hang on for dear life hate.  I am a live and let live type person, not prone to road rage or violent outbursts.  But let one of those booming vibrating cars pull up near me and I want to punch something, preferably their stereo system.   My immediate, strong reaction sails right over the top of normal for some reason.  It’s like the music goes into my interior self and I can’t get it out.  I guess if I ever face torture, loud, vibrating, repetitive, thumping music will either do me in or give me the strength to do in my captors.  My husband, on the other hand, could care less.  Maybe it’s a guy thing. 

 

My new goal is to figure out if music exists which can replace my love of Rice Krispie Treats and chocolate.  Josh Groban is good but he’s not that good.


Sticker Shock

My husband, a truck driver, called me yesterday afternoon to inform me that he was topping off his tanks.  Not completely filling mind you, but topping off.  As we were talking he mentioned that the pump price had just rolled through $950.00. 

Nine Hundred and Fifty Dollars!

Without thinking I yelled, “Stop!”

Nine Hundred and Fifty Dollars!  And the tanks weren’t even full.

“What?” he asked.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want him to have fuel.  But I just couldn’t fathom paying over a $1,000.00 at one shot.  Sticker shock got me.  I asked him not to tell me when he fuels again.  It hurts too much.

Jun. 10th, 2008

Meditation and Mental Objectivity

This quote appeared in my inbox.

In order to recognize our self-image, we can no longer identify with it. In other words, we have to learn how to objectify our own mental processes.

-Matthew Flickstein, Journey to the Center

 
When I first began studying Buddhism and meditation, the idea of separating from my emotions sounded ludicrous.  Emotions are a natural part of life and necessary for our mental health.  Without emotions, apathy would rule the day.  Surely enough apathy already exists in the world; seeking more seemed destructive.  You might wonder why I continued learning to meditate if I thought the goals were silly.  It’s a little like sex.  It only takes one good experience to know that good things can come from practice even if it’s not done perfectly every time.  OK, meditating isn’t orgasmic, but it is chaos calming and peace producing.  In my life, those feelings are almost as good as sex (and occasionally better though I don’t think my husband would agree).  However, after several months of regular dedicated meditation, I think I am understanding and learning about objectifying my mental processes. 

 

It’s hard to feel my emotions and then stand apart from them and look at them but it is possible.  When I can stand apart from my emotions, I still feel their intensity but they don’t rule my actions.  It makes it possible to consider a situation and act upon it instead of blindly reacting.  And believe me when I send the kids outside to play and check on them 10 minutes later to find my little one jumping naked on the trampoline because she had to go potty and getting off the trampoline to use the bathroom seemed like too much work, objectivity is a very good thing!

 

At first, reading about Buddhism, I assumed separating from my emotions meant not having them.  That was a stumper.  How could I not have emotions and what a boring flat world that would be.  Emotions are a vital form of communication with ourselves, offering clues to our deeper consciousness.  God gave us emotions for a reason.  Of course, He also gave us mosquitoes but that’s a different conversation.  The more I meditate and practice just being and breathing, the more I learn that separating doesn’t mean ignoring or denying emotions; it means acknowledging in a far more honest way because they aren’t contained, denied or stuffed away. 

 

On weekends, when my husband is home, he usually does the dishes.  On Saturday he didn’t and I was annoyed.  After all, I cooked a fine dinner, and the help would have been appreciated.  I felt the annoyance.  I felt it flow through me and acknowledged to myself that it wasn’t a comfortable emotion.  Just taking that small step back allowed me the space to act instead of react.  I decided that I really didn’t want to do the dishes either right then and if I had to, I’d get to them later when I felt like it.  I could also see that my husband might be running on overload and just didn’t want to face dishes right at that moment either.  There was no sulking (which I am ashamed to admit I may be guilty of resorting to occasionally in the past) only a decision on my part on how to handle the dishes and an acceptance that my husband might be dealing with his own feelings.  The annoyance faded away.  AND, my husband did the dishes later because he felt like it not because of any bad attitudes on my part.

 

I have a feeling that I have a long way to go before I can claim success at objectifying my mental processes.  Just dealing with my emotions differently feels like a huge step forward onto an important path of discovery.  Who knows, at this rate I might grow up before I die.  

Jun. 1st, 2008

Graduation and Bank Robberies

My niece graduated from high school today.  She walked across the stage and came out on the other side as an adult.  So they say.  A couple well meaning people asked her if she felt different now and she shrugged, "Not really."  I remember that feeling clearly.  I walked across the stage.  I graduated.  Though I don't remember my actual walk across the stage, I do remember Bazil Datzman (sorry Bazil if I didn't spell your name correctly after all these years) carried a tabletop dictionary that must've weighed several pounds.  Probably on a dare.  And Larry Lufkin wore cutoff tattered jean shorts under his robe.  Larry was the epitome of cool-can-do in high school.  Wherever he is in life right now, I hope he kept that fun, devil may care way about him.  That's all I remember.  My head knew I had reached a milestone but my emotions said, "So what?  You'll wake up tomorrow morning just like you woke up this morning, in the same room, in the same bed with the same clothes thrown on the floor in the corner."  It took several years until I started to feel grown up.  Even birthing children didn't give me the grown up vibe.  A part of me couldn't believe I could have a baby and take him out of the hospital for free.  Of course, now I know the joke was on me.  Ain't no free with a baby. 

Right now, sitting here typing, I feel grown up and I love the age that I am.  48 feels great!  But I can't pinpoint when I grew up.  When did I make the transition from kid faking grown up to most assuredly grown up?  No matter when it happened, I am glad it did and I wouldn't go back to the younger me for anything.  It was too much work to make it to the me I am now.  Maturity's a bitch sometimes, but immaturity is downright painful.  My niece, filled with self confidence, will have to grow up in her own time.  I don't envy her the hard bumps and difficult ups and downs, but I wish them for her so that, hopefully, she'll discover her grown up self and appreciate the heck out of her.

Funniest line I've heard in a long time:

My cousin (mother of the niece that graduated) drank enough champagne this afternoon to feel very happy.  Her friend commented that "H" wasn't wearing the dress that they'd picked out.  My cousin said that "H" had gone shopping and decided she preferred a dress with more cleavage appeal.  One of the other women noted she wished she had some of "H"'s cleavage.  My happy cousin who weighs a bit more now than she used to sat up straight, thrust out her chest and declared,  "I have cleavage.  I grew them with chips and salsa." 

Another cousin, my executive banker cousin, told a story of an attempted bank robbery when her career was barely starting and she worked as a teller at a drive through on a weekend about to pop with child.  Almost 9 months pregnant and a man drove up wearing sunglasses and a hat.  Through the vacuum tube he sent a bag and a deposit slip  blank on once side and  5 seconds = $5,000 written on the other side.  At first my cousin thought he'd sent a bag of change through the tube but when she opened the bag there was a black box with a red wire hanging out on one side and a white wire hanging out on the other.  This story wouldn't be funny except she wasn't scared but pissed off.  How dare he send a bomb through the tube to a 9 month pregnant woman!  Looking at him to acknowledge his note, she acted as though she was reaching into the drawer and putting money in the bag and pressed the magic emergency button that calls for help.  After a few seconds, she sent the bomb, with no money in the bag, right back to him and then dived into the bathroom which was located right behind her.  She huddled there waiting for an explosion which, thankfully, never came. 

She learned later from the FBI that he'd successfully robbed several other banks in the vicinity with his bomb and note.  She was the only one who not only refused to give him money but sent the bomb back to him.  Pfft!  Never mess with a hormonal pregnant woman!  Stupid bank robber.

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