Monthly Archives: January 2011

Club Awesome Grateful Zone January 26, 2011


I used to do Gratitude Lists consistently here. Then I started feeling self-conscious about it so I stopped. But I realize this morning that it really is nice to share with others what we are grateful for. We need inspiration sometimes to stay in the grateful zone. And besides, if you don’t like what you are reading on my blog, you can stop!

1. I am grateful for Bhanu reminding me that we need to nurture our gratitude consistently. My friend Delia assures me that the energy of gratefulness in our brains is the most powerful positive energy we can create ourselves. It really is a powerful tool we can use to create good things in our lives.

2. Tomatoes in January. “Campari” is the brand (, we can buy a box of them at Sam’s Club and they taste like real tomatoes!

3. My fingers may still be numb, but I recovered from my frigid cold shower this morning and was able to hug the children who took all the hot water this morning and send them off to school with warm wishes. (Tomorrow morning they will be skipping their showers) Everyone recovers from bad moods.

4. Good will goes a long way. When we have disputes or disappointments, projecting good will with prayers, positive energy, optimism, or whatever really does make a big difference!

5. A good relationship with coworkers goes a long way towards creating a happy life. I am lucky to work with really smart, kind, thoughtful people who want all of us to succeed. I work every day at these relationships, being the kind of coworker I want to have.

6. Today is Thursday, the weekend is almost here, and we are not sick!!!


Juggling Guilt


Upset boss last week, sick kid today, and sewer back-up disgusting mess that I have not completely cleaned up and sanitized yet.

I can’t get to everything, so I am juggling the guilt these days. If I pay attention to kids too much, work doesn’t get finished. If I spend an hour cleaning the bathroom, dinner is cereal and toast. All the balls cannot be up and spinning in sync. I cannot get “it all done”.

Everything WILL be in balance, eventually. Over the course of a couple of weeks, it all works out evenly and we all will have split our time over the course of the couple of weeks in ways that were balanced. But meanwhile, on a daily basis, it seems impossible. There are just too many plates up in the air to keep track of!

That needs to be ok. (awareness, acceptance, action, right?)

I fell onto another single mom’s blog, and she is counting her loving and courageous actions.
This is an awesome way to combat the guilt juggle. So here goes:

1. I stayed home with my sick child today and spent time with her rather than working. It would have been unproductive anyway.
2. I am running more consistently this month than last month. So I am taking better care of myself.
3. My independence tug-of-war with my son is beginning to show signs of much more honest respectful communication, if not during the struggle, then shortly thereafter.
4. I followed up on work responsibilities early yesterday to get the huge task that I am unmotivated about started at least.
5. I am thinking and talking and considering getting a new(different, not new) car by myself, something I have never ventured alone.

We can drop the guilt juggle. Rather than a to-do list tonight while we brush our teeth during the only moments we have alone/awake/aware all day, let’s make a list of the things we did that added to the love and kindness in the world and towards ourselves. Carrot cake counts.

Carrot Cake, Baths, and Contentedness


I was feeling really crappy Friday night- On every level, my week had been a B-… At work my boss had voiced disappointment in a judgement call I made, the kids were gone for the weekend and I missed them sooo much already, no one was beating down my door to spend time with me, I had not called a friend going through a hard time with her daughter, AND payday was still a week away and grocery money was elusive. AND– I was in desperate need of a hair appointment to keep the gray hairs from becoming a reality in my fantasy life of being young and lithe. I don’t know which was worse, but I had not been a fantastic mom, worker, accountant, or friend that week. My dog was dying to spend time with me- that was the high (but a little annoying) point of the hour.

I did some praying and asked for help/guidance/mercy… whatever could be provided.

An hour or so later, the overwhelming thought came over me “I need to love myself”. It was like a lightning flash, flash flood, and an earthquake all at the same time. Nothing else mattered, every other concern dropped away.

And then the miracle happened- I cut myself an extra large slice of carrot cake that had magically arrived on my kitchen counter from a housemate’s mom’s friend’s birthday party. I found my favorite book. I scratched my dog’s belly for a few minutes, and told him how much I loved him as I let the hot water fill the bathtub.

Heaven on Earth: Eating carrot cake in a hot bathtub, happy dog lying nearby on my dirty clothes, and reading my favorite book. I didn’t need anything else; all was well in my world. I fell into bed 2 hours later, after giving my dog yet more hugs and scratches and kisses and thanked him for being such a sweet being in my life. Then I thanked the Divine for allowing me to love myself and stop looking for outside reassurance and love.

The Crying Games


“Mom, It was soooo so cool. I made him cry. That is the third time this season!” (jubilantly announced)

I was not sure what to think of my son’s remark about wrestling practice: (in no order, as they all came at once)

1. Mortification that my son is potentially a bully;

2. Amazement that he could make a competitor cry with wrestling moves he has learned;

3. Wondering about the coach, the circumstances, and the situation. What happened, and how did they all handle it?

4. Feeling badly for the 3 boys- Were they hurting physically? Were their feelings hurt?

5. Boys in middle school never cried when I was that age.

6. How in the world is my boy, who has lived with me exclusively for 12 of his 14 years, learning these (seemingly male, because his sister and I don’t do them!) traits? To enjoy competition so much that he is thrilled to make his opponent cry in defeat; to channel surf with annoying skill; to proudly fart at will on the couch sitting next to me; to eat syrupy waffles from his hands while walking across clean floors; and yes, to smile disarmingly when I mention that perhaps a fork would be a good idea for salad?

A different being has replaced my gorgeous tow-headed toddler. How does that happen? Yes, he is not a refined man that I would ever want to let loose in the world as a finished product. He has some “finishing” to do.

Teenagers are miracles- annoying, smelly, perplexing, amazing miracles.

PS-I decided to explain that in the ring, it is very good to be so skilled and intimidating that he might make opponents cry. But outside the ring, never ever ok (he is wrestling, after all, not playing chess- it is a physical competition of mutual consent). He quickly replied- “I know, mom. In the ring, I’m a fighter. But outside the of it, I’m a lover”. And that remark started me on an entirely new trajectory of wondering about how my sweet young son is growing up!!

NMM:Not Marriage Material


I cannot save myself, but I can save him from the brain damage.

It was unprecedented. Two men asked me out this week. Handsome, appealing men, not alcoholic, and with jobs even! Another man, while not asking me out, was very attentive and charming on emails and text, for a while there anyway. I was attracted to them all. I crave adult male company and I want a partner in my life. I would love to go to dinner and share an evening of adult conversation…

But I want to sidestep them all and ignore the calls, texts, and invites even more.

You see, I am convinced this morning that if I’m not going to get married, I should not become attached. If I’m not intending to attach or share my heart with a man, I should not become accustomed to his company. If I don’t want to get used to his company (can you hear the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” story here?), I shouldn’t date him, kiss him, spend time with him, or share any secrets with him.

I am Not Marriage Material (NMM).

When I write checks, I often forget to write them down. I’ve tried giving up writing them altogether, but somehow they find me again, pen in hand. I am really terrible with checking accounts. Really terrible.

I cannot be on time. I try, really. I have lost dear sweet friends as a result of my inability to properly manage time. Why would I invite anyone into this mess? I would be inviting shame and turmoil and pain as well.

I am sweet and kind (usually), and I have been told by more than my 9th grade boyfriend Tommy that I am a good kisser. However, numbers are a problem for me despite a Master’s degree and 5 years of experience teaching high school math.

“Her many sins have been forgiven, for she loved much.”
Luke 7:47

Does that really apply here? Is there really hope I could work harder, be more diligent, master money and time, and be forgiven for my many numbers-related transgressions? Honestly, I picked that verse out of the blue and completely out of its context, so I have no idea if it applies to me. It sure sounds good.

The number that is the biggest contributor to this NMM label is of course 2:
-2 children I love very much, more than the air I breathe. How could I consider bringing anyone into their lives that could potentially hurt them, even with something as innocuous as his presence and absence in my life?

-2 marriages failed. I’m in a very special, elite club of folks and don’t want to become a member of an ever MORE elite club.

-2 people. Only. Together for better or worse. Daunting, terrifying, inspiring, magnifying, electrifying, amazing, astounding and magnetizing.

The last word, “magnetizing” is key. I’m drawn in anyway, like a moth to a flame. Where did I put my phone?

Alanon’s Three A’s and the Control Thingamajig


“Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

Whoa. That is a lot of pressure. “The whole aim”? The entire enchilada?!?! I disagree. A divine connection is my primary aim. But happiness is also high on my list of priorities. For either aim, I need to get my shit together and stop stressing, worrying, and angsting. Because that for sure is not my purpose in life…

In Alanon, I learned the 3 A’s—Awareness, Acceptance, Action. We were told this slogan helps when learning to reform our lives and brains and hearts and lives after extreme stress (i.e. in my case, marrying not one but two alcoholics and living the extreme craziness that ensued).

We were told to 1) stop trying to control other people; 2) stop thinking we could ever control other peoples’ behavior; and 3) get on with the business of controlling OUR OWN behavior.

The 3 A’s assist us with that Control Thingamajig that makes connection with God and happiness so fleeting.

Awareness: Become aware of the issue/behavior/crap that came down the highway at you.

Acceptance: Accept the reality of it, don’t be the Queen of denial, live in the present.

Action: After acceptance and reality check, then Act (don’t Re-act).

I’m pretty sure that it is not in the 3 A’s to yell at the top of my lungs “Where are you-get off the computer-get your butt in the kitchen-it is 7 am-time for breakfast NOW!” loud enough for the neighbors to show up for scrambled eggs.

I don’t think I am promoting anyone’s happiness when I do that schtick. If I want to be happy and enjoy my family breakfast, it is time for me to pay attention to my behaviors and promote my daily habits of MY happiness.

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while”
Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

Back to learning my Habits of
-Investing Time in Loved Ones
-Divine Connection
-And figuring out what is next