Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Survivor - Outwit, Outlast, Outplay

One cold weekend in November will forever be known as my "Survivor" weekend. My husband and I traveled to Chicago to visit. His company has sent us in an attempt to get "familiar" with the area they want to move the company headquarters. Chicago suburbs were as Chicago area is often this time of year, cold and dreary. My husband kept saying, "They want me to be delighted about this move. I am waiting to be delighted." The brief visit did not necessarily bring us joy but more questions and concerns.

Along with us on this trip were fellow co - workers from Sun Coke Energy. They became our tribe on this trip. You see, at the end of the trip we were truly a Survivor tribe. We had been dropped into a crazy and wild area of Chicago known as "Chicago O'Hare Airport". Our goal was to make it home to Knoxville.

Many challenges were placed in our way, but we were lucky. Our tribe remained unified and determined to win the prize. Unfortunately the prize was not a million dollars (probably the amount of money to keep me happy in Chicago), it was to get HOME. Our tribe was strong and varied. We had young, all the way down to 17 months, and more experienced travellers. Our wile, determination, and support of each other allowed us to overcome our obstacles. These obstacles included: no outlets to charge phones, airport food, exhaustion, cancelled flights, illness, and delayed flights. The tribe held together, it watched bags, talked, protected seats, and shared magazines. There was no back stabbing or secret deals.

In the end our tribe was able to leave the most annoying member of the tribe and return home. That member being of course the "Chicago O'Hare Airport" itself. You see, as the day and night continued on, it seemed as though the airport was not only the lost area our tribe had been placed, but also a stealth competitor determined to do it's best to thwart our progress. Eventually though, we boarded our plane and flew away. The tribe was able to vote and snuff out the lantern of "Chicago O'Hare" airport and return to Knoxville. The tribe had spoken.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cell Phone Hugs

Recently we got my eldest daughter a cell phone. It was not something we did lightly and it WAS something we had put off. "She wasn't old enough.", we said. "Who is she gonna call or text?, none of her friends have cell phones.", we said. "It is to much money.",we said.

Then we moved. A cell phone allowed her to call and text her friends in Delaware that did have them, or would soon get them. The bill did not get THAT much bigger. (It went up mostly due to my new data package) She got the phone because I felt better knowing she had it on those days I would not be home when she arrived after school. It made me feel safer.

Now I must say that I really like the cell phone. I laughed with my daughter when I got the bill this month. She and I had sent in the realm of 800 texts! Naturally we had only called people on the phone for about an hour. I am shocked at how little I talk on my phone.

I think a great deal of my texting goes to and from my daughter. She texts me when she gets on the bus in the morning. She will tell me her friend is not on the bus. She will ask a question. She texts me when she gets on the bus in the afternoon. Practically everyday I get "Im on da bus". She also asks questions about what we have to do that evening or if I will be home or taking her sister somewhere.

I think the most important thing the cell phone did for my daughter this past weekend was give her a security blanket. My eldest daughter is not always the bravest away from home. She has been known to get homesick even when away with close friends. This weekend she went away for a Karate Camp. It was 4 hours away with kids she did not know THATwell. I kept my cell phone near by all weekend long. I even slept with it by my bed. (very unusual) She would text silly things to me. I knew things were hard when she would text, "I miss you :(" At those times I could try to distract her or steer her toward an activity. It was a lifeline for the both of us. She could miss me and talk to me without being embarrassed. It was not as good as a hug, but I was glad it was what we had.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I am becoming my mother

I love my mother. She has many wonderful qualities. I have noted before in my musings how I am sometimes known as "Little Joyce" or "Mini Joyce". When I turn to my husband and say, "I am becoming my mother." He always responds,"It's a good thing I love your mother."

This particular story is not so much about the characteristics I may share with my mother. It is a story of how I am now a mom and how my daughters interact with me. I have some distinct memories of talking to my mom. (It always comes back to talking with me) My poor mother would come home from work and have to start dinner. When I was in middle school and high school, she would walk in the door and I would POUNCE!I would follow her about the kitchen as she prepped and prepared our food. (I never really helped) I would start telling her about my day, "well, in period one I did this and this," and "in period two we learned this and that". Of course there was also some personal drama I had to share. At times during this process, I would have to duke it out with my sister for "talk time". We would accuse the other of not being patient or say,"I was here first, I get to talk to her first." I am not sure how my mother survived.

Now time has marched on and I am the mother. I picked up my elder daughter at school. She hopped in the van and it started "Mom, today in Focus Thirty I did this." She goes on to tell me what project she completed in each class. I get a blow by blow on who did or said something funny. She chatters on as we exit the car and enter the house. That is when it hits me, she does this EVERY day, whether we are in the car or the kitchen. She comes home and starts to go through her day, she processes through talking.(Just Like ME!)While I am pleased to see we have a characteristic in common, I also stop in my tracks and think - I have become my mother! Which is ok, because just like my husband, I love my mother.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Pity Party

You are all invited to my Pity Party.

When: As soon as possible
Where: Knoxville, TN
Time: Did I not say- as soon as possible?
Dress Code: Dress for comfort and with the ability to get down and dirty to help clean
RSVP: Fab IggyZ

There will be plenty of food. Pizza, chocolate, open cartons of ice cream, and of course beer and wine. The house will be a disaster and you must take a condiment from the fridge or can from the pantry as a parting gift.

I have been feeling more stress this week than usual. Hence my nose dive into full scale pity party mode. It is finally getting colder here and I pulled out the pity and wrapped myself up in it like a warm coat. The waves of strength and resolve have pulled back out to sea and the nights of bad sleep pondering what I have to do and how to do it return.

Now, I don't want anyone to worry, sometimes in writing a blog it helps to "enhance" things to make it more interesting, but it does seem November and December are getting busier and I am floundering to find my way in this new environment and situation. When it starts to get bad, I plan my pity party. I think about who I could invite. All my new friends here, my family, and all my friends back in Delaware. This often makes things worse, I get sad and miss them. Fortunately, I have a new photo in my kitchen that helps me. When I "declutter" and "stage", I will need to move it. Right now though, I just can't. You see, I am in the picture with my friends and we are all laughing. When I pull out the pity cloak and plan the pity party my friends look at me and laugh. They laugh with me, and cheer me up. Their laughter also gives me a reality check. It reminds me that I don't need a pity party. I just need them and all the other people who care about me to get through this.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Trouble with Tai Chi

One thing I was looking forward to when I stopped working was getting back to my Tai Chi. I had purchased a DVD and done some at home and really found it helped with my stress. The children would sometimes ask, "Mom did you do your Tai Chi today?" if I got grumpy with them. I was ready when me moved here to relish all my free time in my new house and add Tai Chi back into my fitness routine. Of course that was before we found out we had to move, again.

So the free time I had will now be used packing, cleaning, and purging. Up until this point however, I had gotten back into my Tai Chi. I must admit I love it. It is 20 minutes of time I HAVE to devote to me, or at least try. I do some morning exercises. You need to focus on moving slowly and breathing carefully.

One time when I was doing my morning Tai Chi routine I had a truly blissful moment, a meditative moment, and then I thought to myself, "hey what's going on this is cool." and it was over. I pondered what had happened. I worked very hard to try to get it again. It did not seem to work. I got frustrated. I decided to call my sister. She is more knowledgeable about meditation techniques. I explained my situation to her. She just laughed and said, "Stop trying to get it, the more you try ensures it won't happen." I asked, "Can I get it to last longer?, this moment of out of body bliss?" My sister said, "Sure, if you meditate like 20 hours a day." Since I don't have that kind of time I am left trying the best I can on my own with my 20 minutes.

This is where the trouble comes in to the story. I do my exercises, I breath, I try to relax, and the THOUGHTS come bursting in. Sometimes it is just questions like, what are we going to have for dinner?, or did I write bread on the shopping list? Now the questions are getting more intense, how to make that closet look bigger? Do I really NEED this or that to come to Chicago? How am I going to sell this house? What is Chicago like? and what does everyone want for Christmas? The thoughts and questions crash into my head. They burst my potential bubble of serenity and quiet. Some days I give up and let them come. Other days I try to push them out and FOCUS on my Tai Chi. It is a constant battle, just like the Yin and the Yang of the Chi AND everything in my life!