Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ladies, We Have Got to Talk...Again!

I guess some of you have forgotten the first time this was posted. So, we are having a refresher course. Please, please, please read and remember the section on lining the seat with toilet paper and leaving it for the next user. There will be a test...


About bathroom etiquette!

Sure, this is uncomfortable for all of us, but I think some need a refresher course. Frankly, I don't care what you do in the privacy of your bathroom at home. Your home, your business. It's what you're doing in public restrooms that's grossing me out. Big time.

I'm breaking us all into two categories: squatters and sitters. If there is another category, please let me know. Personally, I am a sitter. I have short legs and squatting is just not comfortable.

Just a little lesson about the dangers of public restrooms. Urine is sterile. There, I said it. Yes, there are exceptions when people have a bladder or urinary tract infection. Then it is not sterile.

The only way you're going to get some sort of disease or infection from a public toilet is if you sit on a soiled seat with huge, gaping, weepy sores on your butt. If that's the case, we have a lot more to fear from you than you do from the other public bathroom users. Get to a doctor and get that cleared up.

Let's address the squatters first. Sure, you have strong thighs and quads and can keep yourself hovering above the toilet seat. This is fine if you aren't peeing all over the seat. However, if you do make a mess on the toilet seat, PLEASE CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF! Seriously, I am getting tired of coming into the stall after you and either passing it up entirely because you've peed everywhere or having to wipe down the seat before I can even use it.

It's gross. It's messy. It's piggy. You made the mess, clean it up.

Now the sitters. Some of us sit directly on the seat, some of us put down two strips of toilet paper on the seat. Now you have a nice, clean barrier between you and the toilet. Unfortunately, sometimes you leave the nice strips of toilet paper laying on the seat as you pull of your pants and go on your merry way. Again, CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF! Remove your paper strips, drop them into the bowl, and flush. Do not just walk out of the stall and think you're done.

Personally, I don't want to deal with half-sodden pieces of toilet paper. When you dangle it into the toilet, the toilet water is wicked up and someone has to deal with that mess. Do it yourself.

Everyone, it takes mere seconds to turn around, assess the mess, and deal with it. Drips? Amazing how a little tissue can fix the problem. Spatter? Again a little toilet paper.

If you've taken your child into a public bathroom, it is your responsibility to clean up after the little one. Little boys spatter. You hate it at home. We hate it in public.

If we would all just clean up after ourselves, it would be a cleaner, healthier, happier world!

(Let's not even talk about the people who use their dirty, gross shoes to flush the toilet. Just what the next person going to flush wants--a handful of floor filth!)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I'm on Spring Break

It's Spring Break here in Roselle, Illinois.

Spring Break=Kids, No School.

So why am I suddenly so unmotivated? It's almost like I am also on Spring Break.

Cook dinner? But I'm on spring break!

Vacuum the living room? But it's spring break!

Watch the kid? Hey, I'm on spring break here!

The sad thing is that being a stay at home mom means nearly every day is spring break. Seriously, how much cleaning can you really do? Laundry is endless, so I don't even count that as a chore. Cooking comes second nature.

But for Jim--who really could use a Spring Break--his days are filled with never-ending work and stress. I feel really bad for him.

Plus, it's day 2 of Spring Break, and I don't even have anything to bitch about yet.

No one's threatened to kill anyone else. Well, Jermaine did call Aaron "retarded" yesterday and I had to yell a little about that.

Aaron went with me to bowling today and was good as gold. Seriously, I was dreading it--okay, seriously dreading it--but with a full McDonald's breakfast and my Ipod touch, he was content to sit for 2.5 hours while I bowled. And he only asked to go to the arcade once!

Maybe I'll get motivated to do something. Or maybe I'll watch "Jag" on Sleuth. That David James Elliot guy--or whatever his name is--is pretty cute.

Monday, March 29, 2010


It's almost here! Just a few more days! It starts Thursday!

What is it? It's the Motherhoot Happiness Challenge.

The idea is that by identifying things that make us happy each day, we will end up happier. It's a way to get us to see that life is filled with good, but we probably don't always see it that way.

For instance, if I were to do a gratitude journal entry for today, these are the things I would list (so far!):
  • the smell of chlorine even after showering off the pool water
  • kids who are getting along
  • sunshine
  • the wall Jim built me in the yard
  • budding leaves on the lilacs
Nothing mind-blowingly grand. Nothing that cost a lot of money or took a lot of effort (well, except for the part where Jim built a wall!). Just noticing life and how darn good it can be most of the time.

I came upon this website today and now want to read the accompanying book. The Happiness Project is Gretchen Rubin's memoir of a year she spent "test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier." The whole site is fascinating and I could lose myself there for hours. Take a look and see what I mean.

For the Motherhoot Happiness Challenge, the Hoots (which is now how I am thinking of all the contributors to the Motherhoot site) and all who want to join in, will keep a daily gratitude journal listing the things that they are grateful for that day. The science behind the gratitude journal is that after doing this for awhile (we're all doing it in April!) you will become happier.

I like that idea. I've been on a year-long stint of postive thinking and looking at the glass as half full, and I am definitely feeling better about things. I've been pretty lax with my recent gratitude journal keeping, but am looking forward to starting it up again. I, of course, have an app for it! But anything will do: small notebook, scrap paper, your computer...

I hope you'll join us on the project. The Hoots will be posting comments once a week about their progress. You don't need to share your actual gratitude journal, just share a little something about how it's making you feel.

Of course, if you don't find a gratitude journal at all helpful, we want to know that too! If you can't be honest with the Hoots, we're doing something wrong!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pet Peeve Friday...Safety Seals on Bottles

I understand the food and drug industries are doing whatever they can to keep their products safe for consumers. What I don't understand is why they make it so freakin' difficult to open their products!?

Give me just a little tab or a lip to grasp so I can pull your safety device off clean and neat. You're really not making me a big fan of your product when I have to feel around for the piece that's hanging over the opening so I can get a good grip to get it off.

I don't like just punching through because I don't want the dirty safety guard on the outside of the bottle touching the contents of the bottle. Isn't one of the reasons for the safety guard so the product doesn't get contaminated?!

Plus, I'm a little neurotic about this and need to have the entire safety guard removed from the bottle. It's just neater that way. It's how I like it. (I also like my towels hung a certain way, my gym bag packed a certain way, towels folded a certain way...)

If I had the energy, I would start a letter-writing campaign. Start boycotting difficult-to-open products. But since I don't have any excess energy at the moment, I will just complain here.

Hurry! Give me your pet peeve for today! I'll be doing a drawing on Sunday from all comments. The prize: an Avon lipstick sampler. Tell your friends! Please include an email address so I can contact you.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Where's My Patience?!

Has anyone seen it? Because it sure as hell isn't here right now!

I am testy and pesky. And Aaron's driving me nuts.

It could be my pre-Spring Break dread. The knowledge that I will be forced to entertain and endure the children for an entire week. I'm sure Jeremy and Jermaine will be off doing track-like things. So that will leave me with Aaron.

I could play Cop Out Mom and keep him entertained in front of the TV, the playstation, the DVD player. But I just can't do it. So I will have to come up with some Fun Family Activities that we can enjoy together.

If it's nice we can go to Cosley Zoo and look at the spring animals. And we'll laugh about the time the cow scared Jermaine senseless and at the chickens with the funny feather hats.

We can see movies. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and "Percy Jackson Lightning Thief" are still showing. But I really really hate spending lots of money at the movies. Aaron requires popcorn--preferrably at the theater that also supplies the cinnamon/sugar or cheddar cheese flavoring--or nachos. Of course, we'll need something to drink.

Of course, if the weather's nice I will have nothing to worry about. I'll just need to keep tabs on where he disappears to. His bike is broken, so I don't have to worry about the acrobatic traffic darting those 11-year old boys prefer.

If you have any suggestions for a fun and fulfilling Spring Break, please share them with me. Share them with all of us!

If I find my patience, I'll let you know if yours is lurking nearby!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Send it in a Letter

Last week I ran into a friend, who began telling me the details of her now-completed nasty divorce. She shared some of the more dastardly things he pulled. None of which I remember.

Because I got completely side-tracked by the fact that he did many of these dastardly deeds through...LETTERS!

Yes, he wrote silly demands and perverted requests to her IN LETTERS.

Seriously, letters. And she's been saving them in case she needs them in the future.

Jim has never, ever, in nearly 14 years of being together, written me a letter. I don't even think he knows my address. Cards are signed simply, "Love, Jim" and are sometimes embellished with a smiley face.

I'm not sure I want him to write me letters. Do I want a written list of the things I need to be improving? I prefer the running tally being made silently in his head, thank you! I don't want concrete evidence of my shortcomings.

I know that letter-writing is a dying art. In fact, the letters I actually do receive each year are usually attached to Christmas cards. Although my brother Tommy is an excellent letter-writer and I loved receiving them. Most of my written communications are limited to emails and texts.

I'd rather talk to Jim than have him write me a letter. I hope there's nothing we have to say that is so horrible it needs to be written and left silently behind.

Kelly and I were talking last week about women who have boxes of love letters from old beaus. I have none. Zip. Zilch. I guess I've never been the type of woman who inspires men to pick up pen and paper and wax eloquently on my many admired qualities. Maybe there are no admired qualities!

Still, I like where Jim and I are communication-wise. We're somewhere between "tell me everything" and "un-huh." If it's important, it's said.

Most importantly, we say "I love you" a lot. As a family, it's one of the things we all do well.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sing, Sing a Song

Yesterday I wrote about dancing. Today will be the obvious companion--Singing!

I love to sing. I love to sing when the music is loud. As the years have gone by, I have become more blatant in my singing in the car.

I sing as I dance about the house.

And I am always good! Seriously, American Idol contestants have nothing on me! I could swing by and dance through Dancing with The Stars and then mambo into the next studio for my episode of American Idol!

I've even toyed with the idea of joining some sort of choir. Or asking the singer down the street for voice lessons. She's a professional singer, so I don't actually ask her.

For a long time, I forgot how important music was to me. I always had the television on to fill the house with noise. I limited my music consumption to the car. Then I started turning on music in the house. And it has made such a nice difference!

Music is very important to our family too. When Aaron was younger and was never going to walk, talk, function, etc. (that's what the professionals told us anyway) he was being taught sign language to give him communication skills. Then one day he starts belting out "Big Machine" by the Goo Goo Dolls. Let me tell you, my admiration for Johnny Rsesnik took on a completely different facet. Aaron could communicate, he was just waiting for a really great song as his message! (I heard Johnny Rzeznik likes to hear inspirational stories about his music, so feel free to pass along this blog if you know him!)

I made up a lot of little songs for Aaron when he was little. Sure, Rick Springfield has his lullabies, but did he ever sing "Socks on Toes" and "The Arms Go In The Sleeves." Or sing "Rock a Bye Baby" over and over to induce giggles when the line "and down will come baby" meant he would be dropped and caught before he got hurt. (Again, if you think Rick Springfield would like the music rights to "Socks on Toes" or any of the other ditties, please feel free to pass on this blog.)

Jeremy and Jermaine thought Peter Gabriel was singing "Chocolate Monkey" instead of "Shock the Monkey." For a long time, Jeremy's favorite song was "Cheeseburger in Paradise." They recently informed me that they prefer Jim's music (rock and country) to my 80s laden alternative choices. That's ok with my, because they'll be remembering my music and telling their kids one day, "Gramma Susie used to sing this song all the time when we were kids!" They won't be able to hear the Cars "Moving in Stereo" without thinking of me!

Jim plays guitar every night. Once I asked him to play me a love song and he did a little Mexican hat dance like song. Yeah, he thinks I'm hot and spicy!

There are songs that always bring a smile to my face. The memories are from long ago, but hearing the song makes it seem like just yesterday. I am instantly transported back in time when I was young and carefree.

So sing today. Sing loud and proud!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dance 'Til You Drop

How often do you dance? Seriously?

I can’t remember the last time Jim and I danced together. It was probably at a wedding. Crap, Shannon’s been married eons now. We did dance a lot at our wedding twelve and a half years ago. However, it’s not our dancing together that is ever remembered. It is Jim dancing solo on the table while people shoved money down his pants. (We had a wild wedding!)

Personally, I dance a lot. In the morning I pop on my IPod and dance around the bedroom. Some times I make the dogs dance with me. Dylan used to love to dance. I’d grab his front paws and around we’d go. But now he’s old and not all that fond of being swung around like that. Nikki’s too darn big to dance with. I usually end up getting licked from ear to ear. That’s not something I enjoy right after a shower. Roxy prefers dancing on her own. She will spin on her back paws without any assistance needed on my part.

When I dance alone I am a phenomenal dancer. I would win Dancing with the Stars in a heart beat. Well, if I were a star and I could be the only person voting!

I used to Jazzercise. That was fun dancing. There was a routine we did to Copacabana. I swear, we were Vegas showgirls.

When I was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, I told my kids I was really diagnosed with Showgirl Syndrome and would soon have spectacular legs and would be dancing all over. I practiced and practiced so I could be a Rockette. When I saw their Christmas show, I realized the only role I would ever dance was Mrs. Santa.

I was just dancing around the living room. I wonder what the neighbors think when they look in the windows? Not that I really care. I just want to dance!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First Day of Spring

It's the first day of Spring and I am watching the snow falling outside my window.

Seriously. The grass is white again. The pine trees in front of me have white and green branches. And the finches have fled the front yard.

I know, I know, it won't last long. The warmer weather will melt it soon.

Still, I'm just tired of snow and the teasing of spring we had all week makes it even worse!

I'm ready for eternal sunshine and pleasant breezes.

Awwwww, summer...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Health Care Reform

I really hate to get political because it is so easy to offend people. But I can't keep my mouth shut any longer.

What the hell is the matter with healthcare reform? OK, that didn't come out as delicate and polite as I wanted it to. But it's what I've been screaming in my head for months and months.

Let me tell you some stories...

How about the pregnant woman who had her company's health insurance change mid-pregnancy and then couldn't get coverage with her obstetrician because he wasn’t covered under the new insurance? True story. I worked with her.

How about the single mother who was beaten up by her children’s father? She didn’t have insurance and didn’t have a caring employer, so she worked all day. I heard about her because I was the family counselor at the day care. She had to walk past my office to get her kids. She could barely walk, was holding her side, and explained that she wasn’t going to the hospital because she wasn’t able to drive herself down to Cook County Hospital to get medical care. I called the nearby hospital and got them to agree to treat her.

When I was the executive director of The Peace Center—a social service agency that worked with people who were homeless—I saw more than one family lose their housing because they were struck with a devastating illness. These were hardworking people who struggled to pay all their bills. Even though people without insurance regularly pay more than people with insurance. People often lose jobs because of an illness.

I’m getting a little miffed when I see all the older Teabaggers doing the protesting. Aren’t you getting Medicare? Don’t you already have a government health care plan in place? Why would you take it away from others who need it as much as you do?

Is there anyone in America who truly believes that the system we have in place now is working? Sure politicians don’t care…because they already have a government plan in place that covers them. And, it’s become painfully obvious that politicians do not believe in paying bills; I’m assuming this from all the education cuts being made in my state because the state is in arrears.

So I beg you, call your representative today. Let her know that some sort of health care reform is needed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The signs of a Healthy Relationship

This blog post by Brett Blumenthal really hit a nerve with me today. I am the middle of something that has my head spinning.

Apparently, I am so evil and twisted that my badness stretches across the miles and through the Earth's atmosphere, causing mayhem and destruction without me actually have to do one single thing. Yes, I am so powerful that I could ruin your day, perhaps even your entire existence!, if I merely think your name today in a negative way.

It's scary being so evil. (I can't even bring myself to add the requisite "muhahahahaha" after that. [Hey, I do an incredible evil laugh!])

The person at the receiving end of my evilness has described me as having "deep problems" and said that I get "pleasure" out of hurting her and others. Once again, I point out to you that I actually did not speak, email, or communicate anything to this personal at all! Hmmm, who's the sick and twisted one?

What this has done has rocked my very existence. It has made me doubt my goodness. I am not perfect and never have claimed to be. But my basic belief as a human being is to be a good person. I try to be kind and empathetic. I try to think positively and help others do the same. I believe my greatest task as a mother is to raise children who do the same thing. My mantra is "we are kind to other people and kind to the Earth and all her animals!"

Yet, this one person has made me question myself. I've actually had quite surreal moments over the past few days where I have had to ask myself if my reality could be so completely askew. Am I such a devious person that I think I am good when I am actually very very bad?!

Can I rely on friends to be honest with me? Or are they also so evil (birds of a feather and all that) that they revel in my badness and won't tell me the truth? Who or what can I believe?!

Are you starting to see why my head is spinning?

I think I could take the relationship of which I speak and write an article on the signs of a relationship that really isn't working. Because a relationship doesn't really exist if it is between one person who walks on egg shells waiting for the inevitable moment when she makes the other person angry. A relationship doesn't exist when one person looks at every word, every phrase, every email, every phone call looking for the inevitable thing that will send her off the deep end.

Why, you ask, is it inevitable? Because this little ballet has been performed over and over through the years. It's a dance I know well. Unfortunately, I am never the lead. I never get to be the choreographer. I never get the cool tutu. I never get to be the princess. I always get to be the troll.

Well, I am tired of being the villian. I don't want to dance anymore. I'm stopping here. I'm going to chalk this up to a learning experience and another lesson how not to treat people. I'm taking back my sanity by refusing to play in her insane production ever again.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Do You Know Where Your Resolutions Are?

You know, the ones you wrote or made in January. I did a nice little layout of my resolutions--or goals as I chose to call them. I noted actions needed to accomplish my goals. It looks really pretty.

Last week I chose to review my goals. It was a another goal I made that week for a writing group I belong to. I quickly found the nice little type-written page and spread it open on the keyboard.

[My desk has undergone a transformation recently when I was driven to clean it off. And it has stayed that way! It is amazing what empty wood looks like!]

Goals 1, 2, and 3...working on them pretty steadily.

I'm working out, trying to regularly keep a food diary (I use the one at Daily Plate and it's nice. They boast over 650,000 foods in their database. There's also an IPod Touch app.)

I'm writing. I made quite a dent in the first draft of a second mystery novel during the Guppies Chocolate Challenge. I joined the Goals for Guppies group so I would be inspired to keep up the writing challenge! I'm keeping up my blog and am working steadily on the Motherhoot website.

I've been keeping up with Avon and servicing all my regular customers.

Then I got to number 4. I had completely forgotten about it until I spread that piece of paper on the key board. It's a fairly important one. It's something I am always struggling with. OK, I'll confess: I am trying to get my house organized. Corral those stray papers, deal with the mail immediately, file important things away immediately.

I keep asking myself how with a mere four measley little resolutions I could actually forget one. Heck, maybe I actually have four children and have just focused on three. The fourth is stagnating somewhere under a hairball in the corner!

All I can think of now is that I hope my goals only took up one 8.5x11 inch page. I hope there's not another sheet or two of neatly organized resolutions floating around the house.

Twitter Moms: The Influential Moms Network

Sunday, March 14, 2010

You Are Invited

Cordially, of course!

Our next group project on the Motherhoot website is going to be a happiness experiment. I read an article recently (don't remember where) about an experiment where people kept a gratitude journal. Each day they listed things that made them happy. At the end of the experiment, they rated whether they were happier or not.

The Hoots are going to do our own version of this. Starting April 1st, we will start our daily happiness journals. Each week will post comments about our feelings on this journal. Is helpful? Are we feeling happier? I'm encouraging total honesty!

I would like you to participate with us! Please, keep a gratitude journal with us during April. It can be as low-tech as scraps of paper or as high-tech as an IPod app. Personally, I use "gratitude journal" from the ITunes store. Since I'm always using my IPod touch in the evening, it's easy to just fill out my journal.

Several times in the past I have started doing the gratitude journal, but always end up letting it fall to the wayside like so many other things in life.

Male or female, parent or not, the invitation is presented to you to join us in the Motherhoot Happiness Experiment. Try it, and share your comments with us! You don't need to send them weekly, just send them in when the feeling grabs you!

I look forward to hearing from you!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Corporate America, Take Heed!

Dear Corporate America,

Lately, I have concluded that very few of you are capable of employing functioning customer service personnel. Normally, I am loathe to make blanket statements like this, but in this instance I feel I am more than justified. I wish I could convince you to adequately train these employees. (Make mine English-speaking and computer literate please.)

However, since you haven't taken it upon yourselves to hire competent employees, I am vowing the following: I will be test driving your customer service departments before I purchase your product. I am going to go to your websites and I will check them for ease of use. I will see if your Frequently Asked Questions section is at all helpful. I am going to call, email and live chat with your customer service departments about completely false problems.

If, and only if, you manage to pass my rigorous screening process, I will consider purchasing your product. It would be in your best interest to know what your competitors are doing customer-service wise because I will also be checking them out. Highest scorer wins!

Why have I been driven to these drastic measures? Because for many of my goods and services, you have failed in the areas of customer service.

While I don't feel safe enough in our litigious society to name the names of the bad, I will instead, name the good. (Althought wouldn't it be totally cool if the Motherhoot blog came under fire?!)
  1. DirectTV--absolutely amazing customer service and not one problem in nearly six years of being a customer
  2. First American Bank--again, amazing customer service (they haven't even made me feel stupid when I have emailed them the most stupid of questions!) for nearly 13 years of service
  3. Apple--it's no secret that I believe the Apple people are Gods
  4. Allied Waste--I pay, you take my garbage; you don't inundate me with junk mail
  5. US Cellular--ok, the only bad thing I can say about you guys is that you don't offer the Iphone (see #3 above)
I hope this list isn't complete. Frankly, I don't want to go through my bill pay list at the moment to rate everyone. But if you don't see your name above and you know I am a customer or own one of your products, you might want to spend some time training and re-training the troops. Because they aren't getting the job done!

I look forward to doing business with you in the future!

Susie Kline

PS While I won't be writing about the bad in my blog, I will be telling all of my family and friends about specific customer service. My email address book is large!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Proper Parenting

Yesterday's visit to the LifeTime locker room developed into a "healthy living" discussion between several of us. I offered Vitamin E as a way to moisturize the pregnant belly of one woman. Another woman chimed in that cocoa butter was best and you'd better buy it from the health food store because it would be chemical free. It morphed into the dangers of cosmetics and the benefits of jojoba oil, olive oil, and coconut oil.

It further morphed into what we feed our children. Avoiding high fructose corn syrup, plastic bottles, canned goods. Eating "whole" foods.

But just when I start to feel smug that I'm doing things "right" I realize I missed something completely. Damn!

For weeks I have been trying to feed my family "whole" foods. That means nothing processed. Frozen vegetables. No rice a roni. No pop tarts.

Then I spot the store-bought cinnamon rolls on the counter top. One left, of course. And the tub of store-bought cream cheese frosting in the refrigerator because there's never enough frosting on store-bought cinnamon rolls. You have to add more.

And last week I made spaghetti sauce with a jar of store-bought sauce and a can of crushed tomatoes. I can't begin to imagine what's lurking in the store-bought sauce! Chemicals. Ingredients impossible to pronounce. This week I'm attempting the sauce again, but with two cans of crushed tomatoes and my own spices. I bet I get some complaints.

I made tuna casserole...and used canned cream of mushroom soup. Seriously, I have no idea how to make cream of mushroom soup and don't think I want to add it to me cooking repertoire. I mean, it already comes in a can. And Campbells has entire cook books devoted to its use!

Sometimes it gets so confusing. I won't microwave leftovers in plastic containers because of the terrible chemicals that leach into the food. But I will eat a frozen meal that comes in and is microwaved in a plastic container. I'll even eat a Lean Pocket that gets cooked inside a cancer-envelope. I haven't actually heard them called that, but I am waiting for the scientific report saying it's true.

I was so pleased with myself when I got rid of the bottled water. Then I had to get rid of the plastic refillable water bottles because of the BPAs. I replaced them with metal--except only stainless steel is good; aluminum is bad. I have some BPA-free plastic. But I just read a news article on how canned goods contain BPAs also.

Frankly, I'm surprised kids today don't have three heads, dual sex organs, and are drooling uncontrollably. I know as the mom, I'm starting to drool incontrollably because I can't keep up with the do's and don'ts of proper parenting!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Happy Found You Day!

Today is a special holiday my sister Jamie and I celebrate--Found You Day!

It was on this day, six years ago, that I found my seven older siblings (three sisters and four brothers), in-laws, a slew of nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles. Even a grandma for a few years.

After 38 years of not knowing who the hell I was or where I came from, I found these guys!

The first time some of us met in Kansas City, it was like coming home. After so many decades, do you have any idea what it was like to finally look like someone, talk like someone, laugh like someone?! We even talk to our kids the same! These are things those of you who aren't adopted probably take for granted. To me, it was a very special gift.

There's not a lot to say, except that I am truly blessed to have each and every one of these Johnsons in my life. Thank you, God!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Do You Hear What I Hear?!

Ha! You think I'm going to start singing Christmas carols. In March!

Trust me, I am so glad Christmas is many many moons from now. When ITunes plays a Christmas carol, I fast forward that sucker so fast the patridge spins out of the pear tree.

What I am talking about are the voices in your head. The ones in my head give me a running commentary on life as it passes by. For instance, while walking through the grocery store I might look as thought I am intently looking for the frozen peas (we go through TONS of frozen peas because we use them as ice packs for various wounded body parts--we never actually eat frozen peas), but my mind is chattering something like this:

"Get the hell out of my way. Why the heck do you think it's okay to park your cart across the entire aisle as you grab your butter?...Are you really wearing those shoes to the grocery store?...What a cute baby!...Cool tattoo!...Wonder what she had to do to get such a big diamond?...Are my kids getting enough nutrients in their food?...If I was a good mom I would cook everything from scratch from vegetables I grow in my own garden!...What should I plant in the garden this year?...God, summer's coming and I'm still going to look like caca in shorts!...Why am I so short? My brothers are tall!...Hey, I have brothers! And sisters!...I wonder if anyone thinks my hair sucks as much as I do?...Jeanne's hair always looks nice!...Man, I miss Aunt Darlene!...I wish I lived in Omaha!...Omaha steaks!...A steak sounds so good!"

The above passage was just the first two minutes in the store. Because my inner voice never shuts up!

I did manage to silence the critical inner voice a few years ago. Good medication took care of it. That inner voice was a nasty bitch who needed a good slap upside the head. I'm glad she's gone.

But I'm afraid the regular inner voice is here to stay. She's ok, really, but man is she a talker! Never shuts up, that one!

What absolutely fascinates me is that some people do not have the voices in their heads giving them a commentary on life. They live life in blissful silence, never interrupted by inane comments. They simply exist in silence.

This, I cannot grasp. Who can you talk to if not yourself?! (And your pets, of course!)

I was rather comforted the other day when I was discussing visualization with the twins. They told me their coach tells them to do that. I've been telling them to visualize things since they were in middle school. (I've read studies that say visualization actually does make a difference in physical performance. For instance, visualizing yourself batting the ball perfectly actually affects your muscles in a concrete manner.)

When Jermaine told me it was hard to visualize things because the voices in his head were never quiet enough, I was pleased. I'd hate to think I've raised quiet mind people!

What about you? Do you or don't you have voices?!