Calamity Jennye

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Life's a Beach

(This is the other post I thought I had already done. Thought it was posted on 7/23 and now we're back on track.)

I had this moment this past week...
One amazing moment that made every difficult moment in life: every heartbreak, every painful lesson learned, every day of trying to make all the right decisions and be the perfect wife/mother. One moment that made all of that worth it.
One amazing moment that made every triumph: every compliment about my well-behaved child, every instance where true love seemed real and tangible, every success I ever won at work through blood, sweat and tears. One moment that made all of that pale in comparison.

See, I don't have a ton of memories of my mom. I have a few very vivid, very dear memories. And one of those is from the years when we spent a lot of time in California during her illness. I will never forget one day at the beach and the image of holding hands with my mom while she taught me how to jump the waves. How to wait for just the right moment, you wait for the crest to be nearly at your toes, then you put your all into it, to make sure you soar over all the white and land safely back in the calm. (boy as I type that it seems like there's some life lessons in there) But life lessons aside, every time I'm at the beach, every time I get to dip my toes in the amazing surf that makes my heart soar, I have to jump.

I don't have to time my jumps so perfectly anymore, there's a big difference between how far your muscles can take you at 6 versus 36. I don't have to concentrate all my power into making it over the crest of the tiny waves. But the thrill is still there. The joy at being part of nature and overcoming it all at the same time.

And never has that joy been so visceral as this past week when I spent time at (nearly) the same beach, 30 years later, jumping waves with my very own daughter. This has undoubtedly been one of the hardest months of my life. But standing there in the surf, teaching my daughter the tricks and outsmarting the waves together. My heart was full. Never before (and I think possibly never again) have I felt so complete. My life came full circle that day in the San Diego surf.

We held hands, we planned, we closed our eyes, we jumped together, we laughed, we conquered! And in that moment I knew, with all my heart and soul that it is just the beginning. Like the waves, that soon enough knocked us over and tossed us about, life together will have it's ups and downs. But in that moment I knew for sure that together we can conquer anything. Together we will conquer it all!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Nobody Likes a Fixer

(thought I'd posted this on 7/11, but just realized I screwed up...)

What a week, what a month, what a decade.
I'm not even sure where to begin.
We were living in a lovely spot, with raised beds, and a dog, and a family.
It seemed like all of life was ahead of us.
As if anything could be possible...
If only I could see it through this haze, if I could just get up off the couch: take the dog for a nice long walk, plant something in those lovely beds, play a family game with my daughter.
It took tragedy (again) to realize how bad it all was.

But here we are, the two of us stronger, wiser, without our poor Francis who has raced off to his happy running place in the sky. Heaven no longer has any safety for the squirrels!
BUT we are stronger and wiser.
Stronger because I'm learning to accept help, advice, and comfort.
Wiser because my learning curve is drastically improving. I'm able to see the patterns (at least some of them) that keep me from being...well being the magnificent being of love that I know I can be!

Putting Francis down was hard, I had to face what felt like the consummation of all the failure in my life. In order to move forward:
To give him those drowsy making pills: I had to realize it was never actually my job to fix these things.
As I placed the muzzle: I admitted I chose things that no one could fix, people that didn't believe they needed "fixing".
As I helped the vet give him the shot of anisthetic that would render the muzzle useless: I found the courage to help myself, by realizing I need to start with myself, at the very least figuring out what I think needs fixing about me,
that drives me to "fix" everyone else
And as I stood there watching him breathe his last: I had to face the fact that nobody likes a fixer.

So I think I'll come back for a while. Let you all help me sift through it all, while I sort out the next step.
Care to join me?

Rest in Peace Francy Pantsy, We love you!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I think I might be back, Maybe...

Originally published in The Plain Dealer on Sunday, May 28, 2006,written by Regina Brett
To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.
It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here's an update:
1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don't ask, you don't get.
49. Yield.
50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I'll take a village over a skyscraper any day

No, no, no it's not a list of things you never thought you'd hear me say.

A year ago this week my entire world was crashing down.

Like one of those lego towers you build as a kid. And then that little boy, the one who's always so mean when he doesn't get his way, comes over and just kicks the crap out of your labor of love. Legos fly everywhere! They're all over your legs, it's hard to kick them off to get over the to the table where so many flew right under, and even over there under the chair. So many legos all over...that even nearly a year later, look under that dresser, can you believe there's still a...oh shit, that's moldy cheese. Hmm, maybe the lego thing wasn't so bad?

So I picked up my legos, looked all around and realized. It would be pretty sad to put all these legos back into one tower. To use all my resources toward one purpose. So I took them, and instead I built a village. I spread them out, there was grass, and houses. I even let the blue legos touch the red and some houses were yellow and green mixed together with red windows! Such an exciting village. So great to slowly create a village, to let others come add a house, or a tree. And Esme drew the backdrop, with hearts and purple trees and six foot flowers and fuzzy bunnies all around.

And now I sit here, a year later, thinking hmm...I really had a feeling I could get here. Here is by no means the end of the road, there are still some tunnels ahead and I'm sure it will take all my strength to find the pinhole of light at the end of them.
But a year ago, all I could see was tunnel I wasn't even sure I was going the same way I was when I went into the tunnel, no idea what way the traffic was going or if I was in the right lane. For all I knew I was about to be taken out by a semi.  (Thank goodness I couldn't see what was ahead, now that I think about it.) Being taken out by a motorcycle is nearly as bad it turns out.

So a year later. I've got more hair, more friends, an incredible family, an easier smile, a job I love, the most amazing kid there ever was, and more light than tunnel out there on the horizon.

Here's to a new year!! Bring it on.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A little lake wobegon

There are times when this town makes me think of Stars Hollow.... times when it makes me think of Lake Wobegon and times when it is just a town unto itself.
Every week the newspaper publishes the 911 calls for the week. "The Cook County Law Enforcement Briefs" to be exact.
It is quite possibly my favorite part of every week (and it's most definitely the best part of the paper).
I've been meaning to start featuring my favorite call every week... This one is finally to good to resist any longer!

Saturday, Feb. 4

11:56 a.m., Lutsen: A woman hiking the Superior Hiking Trail from Lutsen Mountain said she was lost on the snowmobile trail and asked for directions back to the hiking trail. She was told to follow her tracks back to the hiking trail.

Makes me laugh every time I read it!  Thank God Cook Counties finest are always ready to rush to our aid with such sage advice: follow your tracks back out...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Game Changer

I've mentioned before that I live in a very small town. One where everyone is aware of the business of everyone else. It doesn't matter if I've met them... somehow or another they know. And usually given my last year, they know a lot!

I recently started going to physical therapy for the vertigo I continue to experience. I had not met the therapist more than once in passing prior to my first appointment but as soon as I told her my whole name and mentioned that I was no longer with the person whose last name matched mine, that she so enjoyed seeing at his place of employment. She suddenly pieced together a great deal of my story.

It has become clear, through just three sessions that this is a woman with strong feelings about things and among the ENFP's, and ISTJ's of the world she is a "J" if you know what I mean.

Tonight as I was getting ready to leave my physical therapy appointment she looked over at me. Tilted her head a bit and said:
"You are so beautiful and have such a good heart. I can't believe that there's not someone great out there waiting for you."

I could feel the red rise on my cheeks for the second time this evening and as I fought to keep myself upright on my chair I realized I was actually sitting a bit straighter.  In that moment I felt not just beautiful, I actually felt a bit radiant, just for a second.

I'm not trying to be modest or seek affirmation. I'm just being honest in saying "beautiful" is not a word I have ever associated consistently with myself. Like anyone I know I have had moments of beauty in my life, moments when I worked hard, paid attention, spent the extra time and felt beautiful.

But to think that someone who barely knows me could call me beautiful, so casually, really stirred something in me. As I tried to recall the last time someone had called me beautiful, and realized I can't. I was also flooded with all the ways throughout my life that people have made sure I know I'm not beautiful. Almost every single one of those moments really stick with me.

This same woman encouraged me to use a little daily affirmation every morning, or throughout the day, just whenever:
"May today be more magnificent than I could ever imagine."

And you know, because of her, just for a few moments, today was!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Welcome Back Freud

I've been back to my exhausted self suddenly and my vertigo also seems to have returned. It's the oddest type of vertigo (if you ask me) because it mostly only happens when I'm laying down. I'll wake up in the middle of the night, or early morning, or one of the 50 times I seem to wake up every night lately, and I'll feel so spinny, and nauseated and overwhelmed by the feeling that if I don't lie in this one certain position my life just may end.
It is such a frustrating feeling. And then, when I wake up in the morning I have to roll over carefully, sit up while bracing hard to the bed with my hands on either side of me and sit with my eyes closed until everything rights itself, my gasp has passed and I can stand up and carry on.
Now if ever there was a good reason for not getting out of bed in the morning I think I've found it. It is nearly impossible to fully wake up when every time you open your eyes and move your head you have to snap your eyes shut because the world is moving so violently.

Damn violent world, that's the problem!

So with the vertigo my crazy dreams seem to have returned. Two night ago I had this dream that I was at a fishing contest (yeah, just wait, that's not even the funny part of the dream). Someone loaned me their very expensive fishing rod and as I reeled in this really big fish it suddenly leapt out of the water and hit me in the face. I screamed, dropped the rod and the fish went leaping back into the water; swimming off with this persons rod. "but the fish touched me...that was so gross!!" That's all I could keep repeating as everyone looked at me like I was crazy. Yes, I told this friend I will replace your very expensive rod, "but the fish touched me, in the face!!!!"
(That was the funny part for those of you who were still hoping there might be something better, fish in the face, it don't get much better than that).
So anyway the contest continued and the next guy was pulling in his really large fish when all of a sudden I could see that it had attached itself to his face, it's mouth right over his whole head. I ran up to help him as he fell to the ground and just as I got there I could see that it was not a fish at all and was, in fact, a very angry, very vicious, dog.
I ran up trying to figure out what I could do to get the dog off this man, I tried kicking but was really afraid to get too close, the most I could do I figured was draw the dog off of him and onto me and I couldn't see how that would actually be an improvement to the overall situation. I kept yelling and screaming for someone to help us, to call 911, to do something, just help. Inside I was berating myself for not letting the dog just go at me instead, anything to give this poor suffering man some relief. But then I kept thinking I'm a single mom, I don't have time to recover from a dog attack. I was trying every minimal thing I could think of to draw the dog away but he was so far gone into his world of attack I felt as if I was baiting a lion, too much and I knew I would completely lose at any second.
Finally some police or someone arrived, got the dog off the man and I collapsed, feeling so horrible that I had only been able to stand aside and watch. I felt useless and small and like I hadn't done nearly enough.
Too many dreams like this and I guess it's pretty obvious why I'm exhausted every morning!