Caller ID: It’s ALL the Rage!

     Generally speaking, I love technology.  I have a lot of it in my personal possession, too.  I have a laptop computer, an Android-powered Smartphone, an iPod, and, best of all, my Kindle.  We have top-notch cable television, with HD and a DVR–all the bells and whistles.  I have all the cool features on the house phone, too; call waiting, call forwarding, three-way calls, and my personal favorite–the point of this post–caller ID. 

     For those of you who may have been living under a rock for the last ten years like that guy in the Geico commercial, caller ID allows you to look at a little box and view the name and number of the person who is calling you.  Now, there’s another way to get this information, but I’ll get to that in a moment.  Sometimes, there’s no name, just a number.  These tend to be telemarketers or–shudder–bill collectors. 

     Sometimes it’s a random number that we don’t know, even though it looks like a local number.  Here’s where the trouble starts.  When the phone rings in my house, I watch in amazement as various members of my family intently study the caller ID as though the winning lottery numbers are going to be revealed there in secret code. 

Then they start calling out the number, seeing if anyone can recognize it.  They study and study and call out the number over and over.  Then, the phone stops ringing.  We didn’t answer it.  Then this circular conversation begins, a conversation that makes me want to simultaneously scream, cry, and throw up.  “Who was that?”  “I don’t know! I didn’t recognize the number!” “What was it again?”  God save the queen!  Here’s the big secret, a secret so…..secretive….that I can barely even type it here for fear secret telephone company agents will swoop in on me and cut my phone cord:  Want to know who’s on the other end of the phone? ANSWER THE DAMN PHONE!

     I do love technology, but I sometimes wonder if we aren’t slowly building a fancy, touchscreen wall around ourselves that will eventually shut us out of society to the point where we never have to have actual contact with another human being again.  Even actually talking on the phone is giving way to texting.  We happily “socialize” with people on Facebook that we couldn’t be bothered to stay in touch with for fifteen years. 

     Maybe it’s easier to interact with people this way.  I’ve often said I wish my life had a spell check and a delete button.  True issues that arise in real interpersonal relationships are never addressed.  If someone pisses you off, you commit the ultimate act of social rejection–you unfriend them.  Who cares? You have 273 more where they came from.  That’s another thing–have any of us ever had 270 friends in our entire lifetime combined, let alone all at once? 

     It’s the cowards way out, no doubt about it.  Relationships are hard to keep up, sometimes more trouble than they are worth.  So maybe we are conditioning ourselves to have simple, meaningless ones that don’t cost a thing–but the trade-off is that they don’t mean all that much, either.  Part of knowing a person is knowing the things that make them who they are–their eyes, their facial expressions, the tone of their voice when they get mad, or sad, or happy–all of that is lost in the social network.  Maybe that’s the way we want it.

      For me, I’m a hypocrite.  I say all of this stuff from up here on my pedestal, but I love all of my techie stuff.  I text every day, I love Facebook, and it doesn’t hurt my feelings one bit to read my book digitally instead of holding the actual written word in my hands.  Still, I can recognize a depressing trend.  I think most people are already socially challenged–this can’t be helping.  My biggest fear is that I’m getting old, and that’s why I feel this way.  I’m two sermons away from chasing kids off of my lawn while brandishing my cane.  Oh well.  I need to wrap this up.  It’s getting late, and I need to text my mom goodnight.

{insert quote here}

     I need someone to invent a do-it-yourself, at-home lobotomy kit.  I’d pay good money for it.  Then, I’d have Matt, maybe, or Ian drill right into my head and take care of a few little problems.  Don’t worry, they couldn’t hurt me.  My brain is evidently protected by several inches of absolutely useless bits of trivia, quotes, and numbers.  Every time one of these little “bits” surfaced in my brain, Matt (or Ian) could get it.  Snip.  Then maybe I could remember things that have an actual bearing on my life, such as why I just got up out of my chair and walked purposefully into the kitchen, only to then stand and look around me in a confused sort of way like a total dumbass until at last, after trying and failing to remember what I was doing there, I wander aimlessly back to the chair in hopes that whatever it was will fight its way back to the surface of my mind again.

     Take, for example, numbers.  I can remember phone numbers with ease.  Here’s the catch:  I have some phone numbers in my memory that I remember with perfect clarity, but I don’t know whose number they are!  The President?  An old friend?  The secret government agency that I used to be an assassin for?  (Think “The Bourne Identity.”)

    Which leads me to my main complaint–in nearly every situation I confront every single day, I have, stored in my brain, some corresponding song, movie quote, book quote, or Far Side cartoon.  Seriously.  I can’t control it–it’s like some weird, mental diarrhea.  Nice image, I know, but it’s really that bad.  Here is just a little glimpse into my brain.

  1. If, for any reason, I am laying down and look down at my own bare feet, my brain says, “I’ll be damned.  This is funny.” (Doc Holiday–Tombstone.)
  2. If I am talking about the government, or somebody who I am opposing at that moment, my brain says “Screw ’em!” (Anthony Hopkins–Legends of the Fall.)
  3. My son has a friend named Mickie, and every single time anyone mentions her name, my brain cheerfully screams out the song, “Hey Mickie you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, Hey Mickie!” If my brain had hands, it would do the clapping part, too.
  4. My son has another friend who has a sister named Maggie.  So, my brain, in a perfect Rod Stewart impersonation, sings “Wake up Maggie, I think I’ve got something to say to you!” every time it sees her.
  5. Dana Carvey, as the Church Lady, says “Well, isn’t that special” at least fifty times a day in there.
  6. Whenever my son says he wants something, my brain, as Mick Jagger, says, “You can’t always get what you want.”  I even wrote a post and quoted that one.
  7. I can apply a Far Side cartoon to nearly any situation.  Just ask my husband. 
  8. Also, I’m pretty good at applying Spongebob to everyday life.

     The list could go on for ever.  As the saying goes, “I’ve got a million of ’em.”  It’s no wonder I can’t remember anything useful.  I don’t know why my brain applied Highest Priority Status to this stuff, and decided that other stuff, like where various members of my family are at any given moment, really wasn’t all that important.  I had a theory about it, but I honestly don’t remember what it was.  You know, that reminds me of this cartoon……..

Dear Dad (Sorry, Hallmark)

     In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I’d write a post about……..wait for it…………..my dad.  I’m not much of a gusher.  I am the exception that proves the rule about how girls are supposed to be into greeting cards and stuff.  I almost never send cards for anything, and I never send those sappy, emotional ones with pictures of the ocean on them or whatever.  If you’ve received one of those from me, I can assure you, someone else bought it and you just thought it was from me.

     Also, I used to be one of those people who said holidays like Valentine’s Day (and Mother’s and Father’s Day, too) were dreamed up by the greeting card companies.  (Then, of course, I became a mother and got presents and all kinds of special attention on Mother’s Day, and I changed my tune.)  The only holiday I even care about is Halloween. 

     Anyway, I thought I’d write a little about my dad.  

      Yep, that’s him as a teenager. 

     Parent/child relationships can be complicated, but who cares?  Now that I’m a parent myself, all of my black-and-white view points have become so many different shades of gray.  Things aren’t always as simple as they seem, are they?  You do the best you can, and that’s all.  As far as my dad goes, the one word that I always associated with him was cool

     I know, right?  I look at this picture in awe.  He is several years younger in this picture than I am now.  How depressing is that?  He looks so young to me.  Yes, those are beer cans sitting around.  My dad drank beer, and he listened to rock and roll music–really loud rock and roll music–he smoked Marlboro Reds, and he always had a cool ride.  Once, he had this silver Chevrolet truck that was jacked waaaaayyyyy up–he had to lift me in it, I couldn’t climb up–and he had installed a special horn in it like the one in the General Lee (from The Duke’s of Hazard, in case you don’t know.)  He used to hit it, and it literally echoed off of the hills. It was the coolest thing ever! 

    He also had an old black Jeep, which transcended coolness.  He could drive it right up the side of a mountain (or so it seemed to me, anyway.)  He was a good mechanic, and he was a coal miner.  We had a Doberman Pinscher as our family dog.  I guess, looking back, he was the “rough and rowdy” type, but he was just a kid when I was born. 

     Even now, I still don’t think of my dad as “old,” though we are both certainly “older.”  All of the things about him I said before are still true.  He still listens to rock and roll, and smokes, and drinks beer (though not too often–his “older” stomach won’t allow that) and though he may not always have the ride of his choice, the one he picks almost always has something unique about it. 

     My dad has always been good for a laugh, and his humor is a little dry, bordering sarcastic at times, but never mean.  We share taste in music, for the most part, and movies too, though the path diverges from time to time.  I can always remember my dad being as much a friend as a father.  He was never great at being the heavy–I just don’t think he has the heart to be a hard-core disciplinarian like some dads are.  He came in at the end of the flower power movement, remember.  If you don’t believe me, consider the following:

     Don’t laugh–if you are within ten or fifteen years of my age in either direction, I just about guarantee there is a picture of your dad that looks just like this somewhere out there.  Remember, this was the height of hip at that time.  I remember once, one of my friends said, “Your dad is good-looking, for a dad.”  I told him, and he just laughed and laughed.  Now that I’m older, and a parent, I think I finally get the joke.

     I still think my dad is cool.  It’s funny how we sometimes think of our parents.  We don’t think of them as actual people.  We tend to forget that they are more than just our parental units, there to provide for us and take care of our needs.  They have their own lives, and their own needs, and they make lots of sacrifices for their kids.  I didn’t send a card to my dad for Father’s Day, but there wouldn’t be one that said what I wanted, anyway.  They either say too  much, or too little.  (Sometimes I have the same problem.)  What do you say to a man who bought you the Led Zeppelin box set for Christmas one year, and taught you to smoke, and drive too fast?  What do you say to a guy who is your dad, yes, but also so much more than that? He’s the guy who gave you your temper, your hands, and a million hugs over the years. Nothing much to say, I guess.  Just thanks, Dad, and I love you.

Black Tuesday (or, Mommy had a Meltdown)

     It’s funny, isn’t it, how little, unrelated events can combine and conspire against you?  How a simple task–for example, returning a shirt to Kohl’s–can take an ordinary day and turn it into so much smoking rubble.

     I won’t pretend I was at my finest this morning.  Monday night ended on a rather sour note, but I tried very hard to move on and have a good day today.  Matt, the kids and I went to run a couple of errands, and we went in Kohl’s while we were out.  Evelyn, who rarely ever shows interest in toys or books, saw a little Toy Story book set.  She loves the movies, and she was enthralled by the books in their handy little box (with a handle and everything) and immediately picked them up and smiled.  It didn’t cost much, so of course I was going to buy it for her.  All I ever buy her is clothes.  That’s all anyone ever buys her, because she doesn’t really care about anything else.  (She doesn’t care about the clothes, either, but she has to have them.) 

     Meanwhile, my son (who is eleven, if you don’t know) picked up some sort of toy car and said, “I’m getting this.”  I said, “No, you’re not.”  Ian wasn’t happy.  He wanted the car.  I told him no again, and I was fighting not to be irritable with him.  Then he said, “Then why does she get to have something?”

     Now, a good mother, a special  mother, would have taken this golden opportunity to teach the child, to tell him that he had so much and was so fortunate to have all that he did, and calmly and quietly call the matter closed.  Mother has spoken.

     Have you seen the title of my blog?

     Of all of the things about myself that I don’t like, the most despicable thing, the thing I hate the most, is how I have to battle hurt by dishing out more hurt–a childish, spiteful defense mechanism that I’ve had my whole life.  All of my frustration, my bitterness, my anger, and yes, my pain, boiled right to the surface.  I naturally have acid in my mouth, the kind that burns, and sometimes it splashes out.  Poor old Ian got it today.

     I didn’t make a scene in Kohl’s.  What I did do was tell him to put the car back right now.  When he came stomping back (and oh! how that look on his face and that stomping gate just ran all over me) I grabbed his arm and leaned to his ear and said, “What did we buy Evelyn when we were buying all of those clothes last week? Or the big pirate ship? How about your cell phone, or your iPod, or your DSI, or any of the other stuff she can’t play with? You don’t give a crap about her when everything is being done for you, which is all of the time! Now she can’t have a Toy Story book?”  I then turned my back on him and walked away.  But I wasn’t finished–oh no, not me, mother of the year. 

     I know I had a right to say something to him–his attitude and his behavior were out of line.  I just couldn’t be satisfied with that, though, because for whatever reason, all of that crap that lies in wait, hiding in the various nooks and crannies of my mind, popped out like some horrid Jack-in-the-box from hell.  Evelyn–who is ten, and by all rights should be interested in toys, dolls, cell phones, iPods, and video games–isn’t interested in any of those things, and can’t operate them.  Maybe she never will.  And it breaks my heart–crushes the soul right of me sometimes, a hideous weight of despair and anger that never really goes away.  None of that is Ian’s fault, but I saw him through a red haze today, and I lashed out at him.  I cold shouldered him, because I know he can’t stand that, I know it hurts his feelings, and I wanted to hurt his feelings.  I told him in the van I thought he was the most spoiled, selfish, ungrateful child I had ever seen.  I told him he should be ashamed.

     The shame, though, lies only with me.  He is only an eleven-year-old kid who wanted a toy car.  When Evelyn’s problems came to the forefront all of those years ago, I swore I wouldn’t make him lead the life of a disabled child because his sister was disabled.  I grew up as the sister of a disabled child, and it’s hard.  I remember distinctly feeling at times that it was always about Mindy, never about me, that I didn’t matter as much.  I felt punished for being normal, like I didn’t have a right to have a normal, happy life because Mindy didn’t have one.  I know that wasn’t the reality of it, it was just how I felt.  Ian would never feel that way.

     Right.

     Raising a child with special needs is a challenge, a subject that fills many books, but raising their siblings can be infinitely more complicated and precarious.  You’re always on the razor edge, ready to fall.  Today I fell.

     Thankfully, Ian is a much better person than I am.  Later, when we were alone, he said, “I’m sorry for being such a jerk today in Kohl’s.”  The last of the fire went out.  I said, “No, Ian, I’m sorry for being such a jerk today in Kohl’s.”  Things are okay with us, like always, but I hate what happened.  I hate that person–that spiteful, hurtful person–and I have no idea why I can’t remember how much I hate her when I feel her coming to the surface.  All of this crap belongs to me, not Evelyn or Ian or Mindy or Matt, but they are the ones who suffer for it.  Thank heavens they love me enough to tolerate it, and forgive me.  I don’t deserve it.  Today was absolutely a not so special day.

R.I.P, Story

     I worship Stephen King.

     That may sound like a pretty extraordinary statement, but anyone who knows me very well knows that it’s true.  I’m just a shade or two under one of those scary, stalker-type fans (and that’s just because he lives too far away.)  I think he is a genius, one of the most gifted writers the world has seen, and I have read nearly everything he has ever written, most more than once.  In Janiceland, Stephen King is a god.

     Why?  Because the man can tell a damn good story.

     That’s it. Really.  It’s not because he has a firm grasp on the human condition in the post-modern era. Maybe he does–I wouldn’t know.  That’s a book snob evaluation, and I have no patience for book snobs.  Now, don’t get me wrong: I don’t care particularly what anyone reads, as long as they are reading something.  I think more people should read as a hobby.  It improves your vocabulary, your thinking, and hell, maybe even the human condition in the post-modern era (whatever that means–maybe someone can tell me one of these days.)  Anyway, before I started off track there, I was saying book snobs annoy me.  I’ll tell you why (of course.)

     Book snobs have to have some “deeper meaning” in everything they read.  The book has to be about something, in the sense that it has to represent something in our culture, like political corruption, or man’s greed, or some other similarly “important” topics.  Book snobs pick a book apart looking for these things, and criticize the author if they are too difficult to find.  Here’s my question:  what can’t it just be a good story?

     I’m not much of a fan of movies that are made from books, even Stephen King books, but I did like “The Green Mile.”  I freakin’ loved the book, and I thought the movie did a pretty good job at getting the major point of the story (or at least what I perceived as the major point.) It doesn’t hurt that I’m also a huge Tom Hanks fan.  At the end of the movie, the main character is walking through a cemetery, and on the headstones in the background is the word “Story,” over and over.  Now, believe it or not, I actually caught this the first time I watched the movie, and then later on when I watched the “making-of” stuff that was extra with the DVD, the movie-magic guys said a lot of things similar to what I said before–it’s never just about a good story anymore.  His point was that the art of story telling is dead.

     I’d like to pick up a book and see the following review: “Well-written, great characters, great story, will scare the shit out of you!” I’d buy ten copies.

     I don’t think that will ever happen, because we seem to be getting worse instead of better.  Books are either total sap or total crap, and movies are almost as bad.  My goal for the summer while school is out is to read fifteen or twenty good books that I’ve never read before, and I hope I can find some gems in there.  I’ve swiped a couple of ideas from Selena over at “Because Motherhood Sucks,” and we’ll see how that goes.  Stephen King is semi-retired, so I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to get that many new books out of him.  Voldemort is dead, and Bella and Edward are in their happily ever after.  Yes, I read both the Harry Potter and the Twilight series.  This isn’t a literature class, and I have enough reality as it is. Leave me alone.

     So, here I am, mourning Story, and hoping that I can scrape up some really good books over the summer. I’ve read a lot, so it’s a challenge.  Plus, I’m picky. Maybe I’m the book snob, and everyone else is normal, I don’t know.  I’d love to consider that point some more, but I can’t.  I’ve just had a look at the human condition here in this house, and I have to tell you, it’s a mess.

Hyster-wreck-tomy

     O-M-G it’s H-O-T!!

     Ian and I like to watch those weird paranormal shows, and one that vividly stands out in my mind one that discussed the validity of spontaneous human combustion.  I can remember the image of a burned up bed with a charred skeleton lying on it, while the rest of the room/house remained relatively unscathed.  In retrospect, while the show didn’t reveal the gender of the charred skeleton, I feel certain it had to be a woman.  And I’d be willing to bet that she’d had a hysterectomy a few months prior to the highly charged event.

     Mine was back in September.  For a few months, I felt pretty good about the fact that I wasn’t suffering from hot flashes or mood swings like you hear about.  I had just about decided it was a bunch of stereotyping and hype, probably perpetuated by men, and that I was going to do fine.

     That was before.  This is now.

     There are literally times when I look down at myself to make sure articles of my clothing aren’t smouldering.  Every time I smell smoke, I jump around and check my ass real quick to make sure it isn’t on fire.  Now that Satan has left his front door open and it’s approximately 200 degrees every day, I quite literally sweat all day long.  For those of you who don’t know about my mild OCD, I hate to sweat. I hate it.  I have dark hair, and sweat just makes it all oily and yucky and my skin feels all nasty……just barf, you know?  And now I’m in a state of perpetual sweat.

     I have  a nice garden that I am quite proud of, but I can’t bear to go out during the daylight hours to work on it.  So here I am at nine at night, pulling weeds and keeping company with the lightning bugs.  It’s kind of like “Twilight,” only the heroine is WAY uglier, there’s no sexual tension, and there’s a LOT more swearing.

     I just can’t bear the sun.  I don’t even like walking past the windows in the house.  I look at my son’s school work sitting at the dining room table one foot in front of the air conditioner.  Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I just randomly wake up, and I HAVE TO GET OUT OF BED RIGHT NOW AND GO STAND IN FRONT OF THE FAN!!!!!

     Whew! Sorry about that.

     I’ve never been much for heat, but it was nothing like this.  I don’t think the words “hot flash” really do it justice.  The word flash implies a very temporary thing, and so far this seems to transcend temporary. It’s more like my thermoregulators have gone completely out, sort of like when the thermostat goes out in your car and it starts overheating, only sweatier (and with more swearing, of course.) 

     As far as the other stuff, I’m not so sure.  I don’t think I have mood swings, unless you count the occasional urge to strangle members of my immediate family with my bare hands.  Or the desire to run over people with my van in Wal-Mark parking lot.  Or the sudden increase of my personal space to approximately twelve feet in every direction.  Or my new habit of yelling at the television and sometimes, in the mornings, the newspaper.  Other than that, I think I’m fine.

     I don’t know if everyone goes through this. I take estrogen, in the form of the estrogen patch, religiously.  I have a friend who had a hysterectomy, and she doesn’t take estrogen.  Honestly, I don’t know why her house hasn’t burned down (or why she hasn’t burned it down.)  My mom had one in February.  She takes estrogen.  Her fuse is a little short, anyway, so it’s hard to tell the difference so far.  (Sorry, Mom. I only speak the truth, and only because the old proverbial nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.) 

     So anyway, I guess only time will tell.  Maybe I will adjust as the summer goes on.  Or maybe I will burst into flame one night in my bed, and end up on Sci-Fi. Either way I have to go.  I smell smoke.

(not so) Politically Correct

     Words are very powerful things.  Obviously I think so, since I use them so much.  One of the lessons I always try to teach my kids is how important words are, and what a profound effect they can have on people.  Also, that words cause a different kind of hurt–cuts and bruises heal, but words can never, ever, be unsaid.  That’s why I raised them to say things like “I’m mad at you” instead of “I hate you.” (Well, Evelyn doesn’t actually say anything. She just hits you when she’s pissed, but that’s another topic altogether.)

     Having said all of that, I think maybe everyone has lost their mind.  Even I have fallen victim to it, and I didn’t really realize it until today.  I found an awesome online community called “Underground Moms.”  It’s a group I fit in to very well, and so that should give you some idea of what it’s like.  Check it out.

     Anyway, I registered my blog, and there’s a spot to make a little statement about yourself for everyone to see, and I referred to my children as “typical” and “special needs.”  I refer to them in those terms most of the time when the context calls for it, and I never even thought about it until today.  Suddenly, it just hit me.  What the hell does that mean? Typical?  Special needs?  WTF??????  What common sense and logic tell me is that I should say I have a normal kid and a disabled or handicapped kid.  These terms do not offend me, and since they are my children, that’s what should matter, right?

     Wrong.

     I’ve been around handicapped kids my whole life.  I was three when my sister was born, so I have no memory of a life without her.  She went to school both before and after mainstreaming took place (another blog topic I could hit that I bet would get me some hate mail) and I spent a lot time at her “special school.”  So anyway, it really doesn’t phase me.  And we called them handicapped kids.  In fact, the program which is run by the state of West Virginia to assist families with handicapped kids used to be called “Handicapped Children.”  Guess what it’s called now?  “Children With Special Health Care Needs.”  Really.  Because at some point, someone got offended.  Even the normal kids can’t be called normal, because that implies that the handicapped kids are abnormal.  So now those kids are typical, and the newest term I’ve heard which seems to becoming popular is neurotypical.     

     What is happening to us?  We are so worried about offending someone, and some brain somewhere comes up with this crap, but it has nothing to do with reality.  Maybe we should be a tad more concerned about the fact that we are raising a generation of children to be morally void automatons who have no empathy, ethics, or education.  But that, of course, is just my opinion.

    It seems like we are trying so hard to make it seem like a disabled child is just like all of the other children, but here’s a news flash, folks–they aren’t.  My daughter is different, damn it, and she is special, and yes, she has special needs, but she is handicapped, too.  I’m not ashamed of it, and I don’t have to try and put some pretty, PC phrase on her to make myself feel better.  Maybe normal isn’t a great word, because really and truly none of us are normal–certainly no one in this house–but I guess it’s as good a word as any. 

    Ultimately, I guess what I’m trying to say is that maybe we should get to know the kids themselves instead of worrying about what they are called.  For Evelyn alone, there are thousands of words I could give you that describe her–angel, for example, or devil, depending on the day–but there’s only two that mean anything to me:

Daughter.  Mine.

Pardon Me, Your Stupid is Showing

     In case you missed the memo, this is Bitchy Monday. Either that or my estrogen patch is starting to lose its effectiveness. Either way, here are some very random things that have wiggled their way under my skin in the past few weeks.

  1. I’m really glad you have a positive body image, but low-rise jeans are over. Even a relatively small person, when squeezed into pants two sizes too small which are then buttoned up nice and tight around her hips, will have a pasty, squishy roll of flesh around the top. I’m not making this up–it’s just physics, folks.  Hint:  if the security people in Wal-Mart are stopping you and accusing you of smuggling a swim noodle out of the store under your shirt, you may want to jump up a size or two.
  2. On a similar note–guys, whoever started the skinny jeans for guys thing was an idiot. Period.
  3. Want nice things and money? Get a job or marry someone who has one. The world doesn’t owe you crap, buddy.
  4. Maybe you are disabled, but why is it you can’t walk from your car to the door of the store, but once inside you can walk up and down every aisle?
  5. Not having access for wheelchairs is not ok, especially in a building you are using my tax dollars to pay for. (On a survey filled out about our local non-handicap-accessible school, one of the respondents, when asked if they felt the school was accessible for people with disabilities, replied that no, the school wasn’t accessible, but “we don’t have any wheelchair students, so that’s ok.” I swear I am not making this up.)
  6. The left hand lane is called the passing lane. That’s all I’m going to say.
  7. You are not the only person on earth. Really.  Look around you.  You might be standing in the way or cutting someone off.  I bet all of a sudden you’re thinking, “Where did all of these people come from!”
  8. If you have poor service on your cell phone and are cutting in and out, shouting isn’t going to help.
  9. If you spit in public, there is a special place in hell for you. Human beings are born with a swallow reflex. Try it out.
  10. It’s okay to get older. We are all doing it. Accept it. Dressing like a teenager doesn’t make you look like a teenager–it just makes you look like an aging person trying to dress like one.
  11. You will not spontaneously combust if you use manners. I promise.
  12. Last but certainly not least, don’t drive faster than me because if you do, you’re an idiot. Also, if you are driving slower than me, you are a moron.

     Happy Monday!

Mick Jagger Said it Best

     “You can’t always get what you want…..”

     Inspired by a post on a beloved blog, “Do Sweat the Small Stuff,” and the writing prompt for Red Writing Hood,  I decided to write about a very thought provoking question……..what do I want? What an open-ended question! I ask all of you to think about it–what do you want? Probably lots of stuff pops into your mind right away, mostly material things or things that need to be completed in your life. But what do you really want?

     I thought it would be most interesting to think about the things I wanted 18 years ago and compare them to the things I want now. I don’t even know who that person was, let alone what happened to her, but I do remember some of the things that were very important to her. Here’s a list of what she wanted most in the world.

  1. To be a marine biologist and study humpback whales in both Alaska and Hawaii.
  2. To study at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.
  3. To become a world-renowned expert on humpback whales.
  4. To have a home on a rocky coast somewhere overlooking the Pacific.
  5. To lead a free, unbound life, on no one else’s terms.
  6. To possibly never have children, and certainly not until much later in life, and even then most likely adopt them.
  7. To never, ever, ever, depend on anyone else.

     Now, that list just looks like a big pile of crap to me now. Not one thing on there is reality.  Here are the things that I want now.

  1. I want my children to have every possible opportunity and to never be held back by their own fears.
  2. I also want them to have a top-notch education.
  3. I never want my own fears to project onto my kids and stop them from doing something they want to do.
  4. I want them to have as little pain in this world as possible.
  5. I want to have just one month with a little money left over.
  6. I want to remember what it’s like not to worry.
  7. I want someone to invent self-cleaning windows.
  8. I want my family to be happy.
  9. I want my daughter to look at me and call me mommy. I’d sell my soul for this one. Believe it.
  10. I want to be able to find myself again someday.

     It’s not hard to see the difference between those two people.  You get married and have kids, and things change. Some things change for the good, and some things, well, not so much.  Responsibilities and obligations arose, but the truth is, most of the things I didn’t do are simply because I was too afraid to do them. That’s what happens to us all. The things we want, that we really want, we are too afraid to go and get them.  We put them off for just a while, then a while longer, and then the next thing you know, your life is so far down some other path that it is unrecognizable. 

     I don’t ever think I’ll have those things on that first list, but that’s okay. Things are different now. The essence of the dream is that it comes to an end and reality takes over. Sometimes it hurts a little to let them go, but letting go always hurts, even if you are letting go for something better. Sometimes the thing you didn’t even know you wanted turns out to be the best thing ever, and so it’s all okay in the end.

     I notice how much simpler the things I want now are. I guess I’m more easily satisfied. My dreams are smaller, but my satisfaction is infinitely greater. My children’s happiness means more to me than my own ever could. All of my hopes and dreams now are wrapped up in them.  I’m fine with that.  They are both the most beautiful part of my life, and the fact that I didn’t even know that I wanted them until I had them makes it even better.  Maybe there’s a lesson there–forget about what you want, and just be content with what you have.

     “……but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.” Mick Jagger

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