Themes for my stories moving forward. 

#deathwarmedover – conversations related to dying and grieving loss.

#dreamingwhileawake – my crazy dreams and what I think they mean.

#boobalicious – thoughts about my boobs, body, and health in general.

#shespeaks – parenting a teenage daughter. No more words needed here.

#conversationswE – I talk to Erich a lot. Send him notes, posts etc…. These are them.

#MoMo’ed – work life balance is a bunch of BS. This covers work, friendships, family, and the daily grind of it all….

#greaterthanfiction – my fiction work, poems, short stories etc. Hopefully it spills over from some of the other tags.

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Things I would do and Erich would laugh (sometimes on purpose)

Erich Laughing

 

Everyone loved to hear my husbands big ‘ole belly laugh. Including me.

It was pure joy and happiness caught up inside a baritone bark, complete with a head tilt and eyes to the sky dance move that would easily have given Elaine a run for her money on the dance floor.

The last few years, as his pain grew stronger, that laugh grew weaker. It did not disappear – but it did get smaller. More restrained. Controlled.

You see, unfortunately the less laughter, the less pain in his head. And his main job at the time was keeping the pain and pressure off his brain at all times…. so the laugh did not leave us but it did change.

I admit I missed it so much that every once in awhile I would go out of my way to try and elicit one of those old school belly laughs.

Fortunately it was not that hard – I knew all his buttons – the good ones (the bad ones are for another post)!

Here were a few fun things that I would do to get a chuckle from Chesnutt: (sometimes on purpose – sometimes to my delight – without even trying).

– Try and fake out the animals that I was still asleep – even though they could hear my “awake” breathing under the covers/pillows. (Erich’s subsequent laughing would then of course, completely give us away).

– Run for garbage and/or recycle guys with additional items to add to their pick up (usually in my pjs and hair all a mess).

– Cook anything. especially something that called for cream of chicken.

– Sing and dance to The Voice

– Yell at the TV when ANY sporting event or political show was on (regardless of having even the least bit of interest in the sport, team, topic etc)

– Occasionally refuse to get dressed or off the couch for 24-48 hours (and watch bad TV and read for hours) – But then run like a little girl to our room anytime the doorbell would ring and make him answer it.

– Make him pack the car for a trip and then repack the car while cussing… every. single. time.* *Note this may appear on a future list about how to push Erich’s “bad” buttons as well. The laughing and jokes only came about 30-45 minutes into our trip…

– Chase Steve (the cat) with the laser light and cause a dog/cat war on who was going to catch that damn light.

– Sing in the shower.

– Step on Albin (our dumb, and always under my feet, youngest schnauzer).

– Harass Hannah and tease her about something that we knew she would get crazy irrational about… but kept on telling her it was going to happen anyway until she slammed a door or yelled at us… 🙂 hehehe

– Trip, fall or bump into _________ (insert ANY inanimate object here). I am pretty sure there are meme’s showing me doing this from security footage at work, as well as multiple nicknames for me from people we know – one nickname that I am ok with is “Grace.” Regardless Erich always found my pain to be funny – so wrong.

– My ability to lose any tool that helped me recover from the above listing – aka crutches, bandages, ice packs etc that would immediately go missing inside our house the moment I needed them. Also, the infamous boot/shoe that he named “DAS BOOT” and decorated with a sharpie by adding that name and each reason I ended up wearing it (I’m pretty sure I wore that at least 4 times in the first 6 years we were married).

– The number of times I would have to run back inside in the mornings after I “left”.

– My imitations of the animals voices and the nicknames that the animals gave us (Albin’s were all sourced from the KFC menu).

– Me and Hannah fighting about anything…(these were moments where I would NOT be pleased he was laughing but secretly enjoy it).

– Get scared during ANY movie we went to and at some point jump and scream in my seat (this also applies to all the cartoon movies we took Hannah to).

– Insert the word “cry” for scared to the above statement; remove jumping and screaming, add snort laughing.

– Make a list of 27 things we were going to accomplish on a Saturday or Sunday and then sit on the porch reveling at its beauty while drinking coffee and reading paper for 4 hours; Then run around house like a crazy person for rest of day trying to get 5 of the 27 things done on the list.

– Try to thumb wrestle him – (it’s always ended differently than I imagined).

-Try to sneak off with a “one kiss goodbye” – He always caught me – and got his other two – He was a 3 kiss kinda man…

That third kiss was always given with a smile, an “I love you” and a laugh… I remember the third kiss the most – which is why he gave them. And probably why I loved his laugh so much.

13 months.

Excitement. Fear. Hope. Frustration. Terror. Relief. Guilt. Anger. Love. Concern. Pain. Anguish. Mercy. Peace. Misery. Resolution. Nothing.

 

Those are all feelings that have fought their way to the front line of my life over the last 13 months. Depending on the situation Love or Anguish could be the winner of the day. I guess the good news about my emotional state was, like they say about the weather in VA, if you don’t like it, just wait a moment and it will change.

The one thing I did not think would bother me was the latest emotional gift…or rather lack of emotion… the feeling of Nothing. It is strange and slightly jarring to feel Nothing at all. You think back to all those times when so many emotions were running all over your body like trains on train tracks and remember how much you wished for some of those emotions and feelings to go away. But the scary thing is that when you do actually get to a place where you feel nothing, you immediately want to go back and jump onto those tracks. Nothing is not good. Nothing is quiet. Nothing is disturbing to others. Nothing is a defensive tactic that surly is masking something else deeper inside. Or at least I hope that is the case. Nothing is an insult to the memory of the person you loved.

It is good and right to feel love, anguish, sadness and pain. It is bad to feel nothing.

I will sit and wait in my Nothingness until the pain returns and that will give me hope which will lead me to a new place. Where there is something not nothing.

 

I asked my friend-averse to send me some inspiration to help me get balance back into my health/life and this is what I got back….

I asked my friends to send me some inspiration to help me get balance back into my health/life and this is what one friend sent me back. It’s amazingly touching and simple and lovely and funny… just like the girl who sent it. I thought I would share with all my friends and loved ones because… well… I love ya 🙂 You may not agree with all of them but I thought the pretense was great. Live Simply, Laugh Daily, Love Wholly – isn’t that how the saying goes?

1. Pray every day (to what, “God”, or whomever u choose- the spirit of LoVe). be grateful/thankful and ask for help
w whatever u need.
2. Drink water. in the morning especially, but drink water (not out of plastic bottles) all day or at least several small glasses a day. spice it up w herbs/citrus/etc for added nutrients. Do not drink soda..in any form..ever. Try to limit juice, but when u do..go for 100%juices or as close. Drink
less coffee too. coconut water yummy and hydrating and great fr u!
3. Walk. Park further away, take th stairs, and walk th nearest long beach much as possible (couple times a wk?)
4. Swim when/if u can (once a wk?) or ride a bike.
5. Take a yoga or Pilates class at least once a week or make Breathing properly (belly breathing) a thought about, intentional habit u practice several times a day.
6. Do kiegals (sp?),squeeze ur buttocks, or have sex often;). Dancing in any form is great..and live concerts rock!
7. Smile. At ur family..at coworkers..at strangers. And always hold the door for people.
8. Get some good ole vitamin D via the Sun..10 min a day or one whole day, preferable at the beach, per wk.
9. Buy local, organic, whole, raw or live foods whenever possible..and eat them..all day long. Never eat fast food. It’s just not worth it.
10. Drink less beer and less alcohol in general. No tobacco products! Smoke a doobie to relax, preferably through a bong or vaporizer.
11.*Bonus..Never text while driving. Put ur phone away and drive.

Found an old column from 2009 on Husband vs. Best Friend relationship…

I liked where I was going with this…. decided to share it as is… enjoy! 🙂

What do you think? Should your spouse/significant other be your Best Friend?

 

We All Need a Few Best Friends

By Mary McChesney

3/31/09

kittens

I have been pondering something a relative said to me the other day.

 

“Your husband should be your best friend,” She quipped through my cell phone.

 

I thought about this for a long time after we hung up.  And now, weeks later I am still considering that statement and its accurateness.
The person you choose to “spend the rest of your life with” should certainly be someone you like and someone you consider your friend.  At the same time does that person have to be your “best friend?”

 

If you only relied on your husband for everything it would put a lot of pressure on one person to fulfill so many different needs for you. They are already the person you are in love with and intimate with, the person you raise a family with, and the person you probably invest the most money and trust with. They are your business partner (co-CEO’s of your household), and yes your friend. However it is not fair to make them your only friend – you must have another well to pull from when it comes to your social life and so should they.

 

Katie Payne, reporter at the Artesian Herald, thinks every woman should have at least 5 best friends. She categorizes them into different needs you have at different times and that makes good sense to me. Her top 5 best friends are “The Uplifter, The Travel Buddy, The Truth Teller, The Girl Who Just Wants to Have Fun, and The Unlikely Friend.”

 

The explanations for these friends is probably self-explanatory, but just to be clear Payne details the descriptions and expectations of these friends in her Jan. 28, 2008 article titled: “The Five Best Friends a Woman Should Have.” 

 

Now maybe for other women their top 5 fall into different categories than Payne’s but I  am sure every woman you know could give you 5 other people who they felt were a “Best Friend” and the different role that person plays in their life!

I think relying on only one person to give you the emotional, mental and physical support a human being needs will only set you up for disappointment.

 

Others may disagree.

 

A quick perusal of a few chatting sites such as Yahoo, Answer Bag, My Lot, Redbook, and Buzzle showed me that most people when asked about this topic felt that your husband should indeed be your best friend.

 

One writer even said that if your husband was not your best friend then your marriage was doomed – ouch – quick call the attorney!

 

Most of the opinions I found claimed to cherish this singular and idealistic unity with their significant others.  Ironically in almost the same breath – every one of them went on to say that other friends were important and necessary for a well balanced life.

 

So I concede that of course your husband should be your friend and in some aspects of your relationship he will be closer to you than anyone else.  However just because you have a level of intimacy with him in some things does not mean you should then put all your other emotional eggs into his basket.

 

So relative who shall remain unnamed, lighten up, and give your poor over-extended hubby a break.  He already fulfills a lot of things for you in your life.  You don’t go to your girlfriends for foot rubs and romantic dinners so why go to your husband for retail therapy, work drama and gossip sessions?

 

If you think about it she has already proven my point anyway by simply making the phone call to me to talk about her issues in the first place!

 

At the end of the day husbands and can be your friends, but your best friends are  who help you keep your husband and your sanity.

 

 

Try to Stay “Up” When you Really Feel Down

In light of so many things swirling around the universe right now pertaining to depression I thought I might take a moment to share some things I do to help me when I am having a hard time getting through (or starting) my day. Mornings can be the hardest. Getting started with your day is often overwhelming so I have learned to prep myself with motivating tasks, visuals and activities. Here are a few.

1. Stupid little sayings all over the house…. They sometimes annoy me but often make me smile, pause, breathe and move ahead. Here is one spot. My Fridge:

IMAG2234

 

 

2. A week or so ago I had shared another strategy – daily affirmations. Again – slightly cheesy but often a source of re-centering myself and thinking about how I want to attack my day.
My windowsill in kitchen:

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The fortune basket is just another little way I help my mind when I needs some direction.

 

3. Having quiet time (and a quiet spot) each morning to read and sometimes write.

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This is my spot. I sit here with the window open, usually no matter the weather,  and read in the morning. Sometimes I write, like today, but usually I just read. And drink my coffee. In silence. And peace.

 

4. Make lists. Some folks say this can cause more anxiety or stress (and certainly is the source of some teasing in my family) but for me it helps me get things out of my mind and onto something that I can use later for direction. It can be very cathartic.

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This is a “to-do” and a grocery list that I made this morning…I immediately felt better knowing all that was on paper and I could use it later as needed.

 

5. A clean sink. Sounds slightly 1950s – I know – however accomplishing that small (or sometimes large) task makes me feel good and motivates me to start my day. While it is last on this list it is usually the first thing I do: The animals are fed and outside, coffee is brewing and I take 5 minutes to clean the sink out and start the day “fresh.” The symbolism can’t get much more obvious than that. Plus my Buddha and “fortune basket” are right there so when I finish I can take my first sip of coffee, smile at Buddha, who seems quite peaceful and happy in his current state, maybe read a fortune or two, and then move on to the next part of my day.

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The simplicity of it all makes it seem too easy and yet that is why it works.

Taking the most simple of tasks and inserting meaning and purpose is what you often need. It helps to get you moving, thinking, feeling, accomplishing and being present as a normal human within your day.

Go find those two or three simple things that you find comforting or motivating and try to begin your day with them. Start off on the right foot and (sometimes) it will carry you through your whole day. If it doesn’t, that’s OK, many of us have been there. Sometimes no matter what you do you know it’s just going to be a rough day. When those days come try to make a plan to visit with a friend or family member later in the day – either a quick coffee, lunch or after work/dinner catch up to look forward to usually helps me move through the tasks of the day.

I hope this little peek into my mind and world helps you somehow, someway or with someone you love. Share your tips as well, or your struggles. Do not be afraid to say how you feel and what you feel. Many are listening and might be able to help.

 

Hugs, Love and Peace.
MoMo

Daily Affirmations

I know there are a lot of cliches out there – jokes even, regarding people who use daily affirmations. I find them to be fun, heart-warming, encouraging and sometimes reverent. It does not mean I change my life or plans based on one affirmation I read… but I do keep it top of mind for a few hours in the beginning of my day just to see if setting the tone for my day in that way feels like it will have impact on my consciousness.

Sometimes we all just need a little encouragement or reminder to wake up and be self-aware and purposeful in our feelings and our presence in the world. Here are a few I love. I keep them in a little mini bonsai pot on my kitchen windowsill and try to remember to grab one and read it in the morning as I brew my coffee. What are your favorite affirmations or sayings? Please share!

God can heal a broken heart, but he has to have all the pieces.

Happiness is a state of mind.

This too shall pass.

Its much harder to go up a hill than down, but the view is always better at the top.

Life is not fair.

The universe only gives you what you can handle.

Today. I will just get through today.

Just keep on keeping on.

Do you believe? Endurance and persistence will be rewarded.

Can I give more? The answer is usually “yes”

Restrain yourself from intruding in other’s business.

Smile, It will make the world brighter.

Run Run as fast as you can!

Fresh ideas are not always the best ideas.

Happiness is a state of mind.

Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?

How will you know if you can succeed if you do not try?

Act as if it were impossible to fail.

If you work hard, good things will inevitably happen.

Know the right times to be assertive or to simply wait.

There are no guarantees in life. Do what you can, what you love, what you know is right and hope for the best.

You can get what your heart desires.

He who is afraid of doing too much always does too little.

Don’t worry, be happy.

Make the best of it when you get the worst of it.

Act as if your child is always watching.

Be kind and warm-hearted to everyone, for no reason except that it’s just the only way to be.

Give love the way you want to receive love.

Work as if no one else was going to reward you but you.

Beautiful Words From Strangers

I received this link today to a wonderful blog from my preacher as he spends a few weeks in Africa (as he does regularly) with a team of people doing amazing things. Here he shares some simple and wonderful words from a connection he has there named Simon. Enjoy.

An Excerpt:

“The heart of a man is so big that nothing can fill it.” 

“Do you believe that, pastor? Do you believe that a man’s heart is so big that he can never fill it? I worry that it is true and if it is true then I, first among man, am guilty.” 

Strange words from a friend who has come to grips with more in his life than most could ever imagine. Come to grips with no real formal education.  Come to grips with abject poverty. Come to grips with abandonment. Comes to grips with chronic mental illness. Come to grips with that deep feeling of loneliness. Come to grips with being emptied time and time again. 

Simon Says | Tree of Lives.

Can She (want to) Learn for Herself?

I believe children love to learn. However, you must first find out what inspires and excites them and then figure out how best they learn.

Un-schooling, hacking-school, homeschooling, children-driven curriculum – whatever you want to call it – I don’t care. The fact of the matter is that most of the time, in many classes and schools, the children are bored. No, I don’t fault the schools or teachers – they are doing what they can with the limited resources and time they have. It is a parents job to inspire and drive their children to expand their minds. Does that mean I think we should not have public schools any more – NO – of course not – but I do wonder if we need them to look ANYTHING like they do now. Why can’t they change? Why can’t kids and parents be more involved in designing an appropriate curriculum and environment for their children to learn?

This is an older theory from the 90’s – but I still think it rings true. If your child is on the bottom half of this ladder can we ever be certain they will have learned at their maximum capacity? I don’t think so.

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Next year we will take a year off from “school” and hit the refresh button on Hannah’s mind, body and soul. She will spend time doing what she wants to do in regards to her education. I think the irony will be that she will be busier than ever.   Next time Hannah steps into a classroom (whatever that may look like) it will be because she wants to be there.

I look forward to this journey. We both do. Which for me, is proof that we should start.

 

 

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