Monday, November 23, 2009

1st High School Trimester Redux - Part 1

Since Logue entered high school this Fall, my anxiety level started increasing exponentially. The voices inside my head keep saying "Now his grades actually count." At first I had to restrain myself from grabbing his backpack and doing his homework for him. Call me crazy, but I've seen the 3rd grade science projects in which the quantum physics applied clearly did not come from the 8 year old.

I want Logue to have all the resources possible for the kind of education he deserves, that any child deserves. Unfortunately, grades sometimes determine the opportunities and homework sometimes stifles the excitement for learning.

A few nights ago, Logue had to sketch a copy of a Calvin and Hobbes illustration as accurately as possible. He tried for 2 hours to conjure up something he thought would be acceptable to turn in to his new high school art teacher. But in his mind he fell short because accurate meant perfect and to him it wasn't perfect. Then came the frustration, the anxiety and the defeatist attitude and BOOM! It hit me - like wearing 5" heels reminds me that I have bunions:

Flash back to 5th grade math class. One day Logue didn't finish a homework assignment. His teacher, brilliant man, decided he'd show Logue a thing or two by putting him out in the hall. That night, Logue didn't know how to do the new homework because uh, he was in the hall feeling stupid and missed the lesson. This went on EVERY DAY for months before I found out. The teacher sure showed Logue. Wait, showed him what? That homework and school can be profoundly castrating?

After the Art assignment melt down and my flashback b*tch slap, I let Logue have some time to just relax and not think about homework. Then I did the unthinkable: I told him that the grade was not worth losing self esteem. If he tried, he tried - even if that means a "D" as in "Dang, so close." If the teacher has some suggestions for improvement, so be it. His grade is not a reflection of WHO he is. I want him to WANT to learn. And anyway, I would be punching out any teacher who doesn't realize how wonderful and brilliant he is. He let out a huge sigh and gave me a hug. *Joy* I still get hugs from my 14 yr old son. Twenty years from now, we're going to remember the hugs, not the grades. (Well, and maybe the image of me socking his teachers with my 5'3" mini self.)

I've always had mixed feelings about homework and grades, probably because I got nothing but A's out of fear and now I'm a pretty screwed up, gigantic, anxiety ball. What are these stressful homework situations teaching our kids?

Cut back to present day, 1st Trimester, Freshman year: For Logue's final exam in English he had to answer the question, "What does it mean to be Educated?"
While I may not be educated enough to answer that question in any coherent fashion, I do know what it DOESN'T mean:
*It isn't that you've memorized the Periodic Table and all the Presidents of America.
*It isn't how many hours your butt was stuck in a desk.
*It isn't your test scores.
*It isn't your pedigree of degrees from Pre-School to PhD.

What kid can even make it into Stanford or Harvard these days? One with a 6.8 GPA? And what does that half million dollar education get them today? A large diploma with an gigantic student loan bill?

We've all stuck our nose in our kid's homework where it didn't belong in an effort to either circumvent an emotional breakdown, boost their chances of getting to be an Ivy Leaguer or (even better) prevent our "perfect parent" reputation from being tarnished by a bad grade in 3rd grade geography. Whether its helping with just that one little paragraph or building the damn model bridge ourselves, sometimes we just to want it to get done already!

Apparently some parents' (not me of course) OVER involvement in homework has become an epidemic according to Alfie Kohn. In "Stop doing the homework, overzealous parents warned," Kohn states this phenomenon has some schools requiring students to complete their work at school to ensure parents are not undermining the learning process. I say yay to that concept. I already did my times tables.

Homework at our home can cause tension, stress and anxiety. I'm not going to let 5 hours of video gaming take the place of what could be more productive, non-comatose time BUT, I will be the first to email a teacher when memorizing states and capitals becomes a 2 hour long process with only Oregon and Washington accomplished while members of my family are losing their voices and handfuls of hair. I have questioned teachers on the validity of an assignment. It does mean crossing that line. You know, the one that puts you on THAT list at the school. So, I'm the Bad Mom - the out of the box, non conventional, trouble maker who questions the curriculum making all the teachers avert their gazes when I walk down the hall.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "So, what's going on at home that is affecting your child's ability to do their homework?"

You mean besides the fact that I tell my kid the homework is stupid?

I'm not at the point yet where I have taken on battling the school's homework policy, but there are many parents who have done just that: like here.


Luckily, I have THE BAD MOMS CLUB - to at the very least share my badness, non Super Mom ways and have moms like me to justify my unconventional means of surviving .

note: no teachers were hurt in the making of this blog post.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

For Anna



Sweet Anna, my justifiably absent co-blogger, has been slammed with an autoimmune disease that is debilitating, painful and worst of all not curable. Remarkably, it is the same disease I was diagnosed with 9 years ago.

No one can fully understand another person's experience until they've lived it and even then it is through different filters, perspectives and emotions. As they say...Until you walk a mile...But, nothing can be more of a comfort than hearing someone say "I've been there," (and meaning it) "I understand what you're going through."

While Anna is struggling with her disease in greater proportion than I ever have...I dedicate this video to her - to you Anna, as my way of saying: I've been there and I understand what you're going through. Don't give up, it will get better...and I love you. Oh, and I picked this to remind you what the good kind of chills on the back of your neck feel like that lead to inspiration rather than curling up in a ball.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Parenting - Are SuperNanny and Dr. Phil Steering us Wrong?

I found this article from the New York Times, When a Parent’s ‘I Love You’ Means ‘Do as I Say’ by Alfie Kohn quite thought provoking. As a parent I'm constantly motivated by the desire to keep my kids out of therapy in their adult years as a direct result of my inept attempts to protect, teach and guide. I find myself fighting the urge to "helicopter parent" quite often even though I know better. Somehow that instinct to protect your children from pain and sadness can become so strong, reason gets overshadowed.

The article raises some points that have enticed me to read the book. I've always been a believer in talking with your children so they understand why you have the rules you enforce, why it's important to abide by them and why certain behavior is unacceptable.


Wesley Bedrosian


When Logue was a toddler we impressed in him that crossing any street is dangerous and he should pay attention to signs such as "Don't Walk." We didn't want to just say "No" to him all the time without explaining why. In fact, we did our best to take "No" out of our vocabulary and use words such as "Danger" as more descriptive cues. One day while riding our bikes at the beach (I think Logan was 7) we came to a boardwalk. After several minutes I realized I didn't hear the whir of the bikes behind me. As I turned around I saw Logue stopped at a sign with his Daddy bending down to talk to him. I rode back to find out what had happened thinking Logue's chain came off or he was tired. I looked at J and he pointed to the sign right in front of Logue that read "No Bikes Allowed on the Boardwalk." "He won't disobey the sign," said J. Logue started to cry. He didn't want to break the rules. We couldn't convince him that just this once, breaking the rule wasn't going to hurt anyone. He wouldn't budge. So, we walked our bikes and he was happy following the rules.

However, I have questions after reading the article. Mainly, how does it all work Mr. Kohn? If Bean tells me I'm stupid and I walk away because I'm not willing to participate in a conversation like that with her, am I giving her the message that I don't unconditionally love and accept her? Or am I setting a boundary that teaches her how her behavior affects other people?

I would love all of you to weigh in on your thoughts about Unconditional Parenting vs. well, whatever it is you do. Parent or not, you were parented at one time. Did you feel unconditionally loved and accepted or did it feel that love had to be earned? If you are a parent, have you put yourself in the minds of your children to try to see your love and acceptance from their point of view? Do you reward based on grades, good behavior, high performance in sports? Do you withhold love and acceptance from your child if he/she doesn't meet your expectations?
How do you feel about the exerpt from Kohn's article:

The child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, who readily acknowledged that the version of negative conditional parenting known as time-out can cause “deep feelings of anxiety,” nevertheless endorsed it for that very reason. “When our words are not enough,” he said, “the threat of the withdrawal of our love and affection is the only sound method to impress on him that he had better conform to our request.” But the data suggest that love withdrawal isn’t particularly effective at getting compliance, much less at promoting moral development. Even if we did succeed in making children obey us, though — say, by using positive reinforcement — is obedience worth the possible long-term psychological harm? Should parental love be used as a tool for controlling children?
Let's talk!

Friday, September 4, 2009

This Girl

Dear beautiful, free thinking, independent yet dependent Bean,

You can be so smart, funny and fun to be around but sometimes the teenager in you comes out and it scares the hell out of me. I feel like I can barely remember the last nine years and I don't want to lose any more time. I guess that's the question I have: Do you "lose" time that has past when memories fade? Or is it something you've gained like a stripe on your uniform of life? Or is it that gray hair that sticks straight up in the middle of your part? I desperately want to hold on to time...make it slow to a pace my brain can keep up with.

It's funny Miss Bean - you regress to younger behavior at times, throwing your tantrums, crying and screaming and yet at others you're spitting out hateful, yet teenager-like phrases. Your favorite thing to say is:
"You hate me and everyone can tell. It's SO obvious."

I'm in awe of you and yet so confused by you. I love all the blogs and businesses you've created. The ideas amaze me and your commitment to your Pet Helping Program filled me with pride. Yesterday, you came up with a business card for your NewsFlash website on the computer and I was floored by how smart and innovative it was.







I've learned a few things from you this summer:

  1. I need to work harder on pushing you out of the nest so you can build on your comfort level with separating and becoming independent from me.

  2. You cannot be bribed! (Yes, I have stooped to trying bribes.) It usually backfires.

  3. You are such an independent thinker. While some girls your age are concerned about Manolo Blahniks and Coach purses (I'm not kidding), you are concerning yourself with writing songs, conjuring up skits, having tea parties with the dogs and finding a miniature wheelchair for Pinkie the injured pink puppy.
I hope you never lose that exquisite part of you.

I look at this picture of you and after I throw up, hyperventilate and pour some Visine into my eyes, I hope with every neuron in my brain, that I can be the right mother for you.
Love,
Mama

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Should Have Done This a Long Time Ago

When the world lost two legends yesterday I panicked. Not only from the sadness of the loss but from the fear that I hadn't taught my children about the people from my childhood who have shaped the entertainment world today. I thought I had time to inject little bits of Michael Jackson musical history into Bean's world of Hannah Montana and The Jonas Brothers. But, as life reminds us from time to time that it is fleeting, last night I was jolted with the fear that she might grow up not knowing who this musical genius was.

Logue was out of town and is old enough to know who MJ is and appreciate his contributions and influence on music and dance today. But Bean, being 5 years younger, somehow missed that Soul Train ride through music history.
I felt a pressing need to give Bean a history lesson of all things Michael Jackson. Of course I first had to give props to Farrah: "Farrah Faucet was an original Charlie's Angel, they were spies and mommy thought that was so cool 'cause it was when "Girl Power" was really popular you know like after Title Nine?" The kid actually knows about Title Nine, thank you American Girl (I'm sorry I once thought your products were a worthless, stereotype inducing waste of time...I was wrong). I kept it short not because I think less of Farrah, I just knew I had that short 9 yr. old window of time (like 10 minutes) before her eyes would glaze over and Selena Gomez on TV would take precedence. I mean no disrespect to Farrah, but come on, MJ was the man I was going to marry...or so I thought when I was 10. Priorities.

I started with the Jackson Five singing "ABC" then "I'll Be There" as I used to sing that to Bean when she was still little and couldn't say, "Mama, can you please stop singing now?" She watched with bated breath. I dug in. "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough" and "Billie Jean" the live version where the Moonwalk was debuted.
"He invented that Mom."
"I know baby, I'm so proud that you know that."
"I invented the "Sun Walk" which is forward and the "Star Walk" which is sideways!" She said.
Right on Sister!

"Now Bean, you have to understand "Beat It" came out when A) Music videos were brand new and B) MJ was the first to use Dance as an artistic expression of his music in his videos and that was BRILLIANT."
"Wait, how come there isn't a "Menu" on VHS tapes?" she asked.
"Tomorrow I'll teach you about 8-tracks, vinyl records, Beta and VHS tapes."
"Wha?"
"Nevermind."

J came in to share in the tribute and if Daddy was interested, well then so was she. So, I steered her focus back with "Thriller" the ultimate lesson in innovation, artistry, expression of music through dance and well, just pure genius. I tried to invoke the emotion of anticipation I felt waiting for the album "Thriller" to come out. I was in junior high school, in the very same gymnasium where my son's 8th grade class performed their rendition of "Thriller" this past May. I was practicing my MJ spins and Moonwalk with my friends talking non-stop about who's house we could watch MTV for the premier of the video because most of us didn't have cable.

"Why didn't you just DVR it?" asked Bean.
"Tomorrow, babe, tomorrow."

Since "Thriller" was familiar to her, I had her hooked and from there we followed the journey of MJ's career until she fell asleep.

I continued to reminisce about the countless hours I practiced the Moonwalk, how when "Don't Stop Til you Get Enough" plays, I get chills every time, how I dreamed of someday dancing in one of MJ's videos and because of that teenage obsession my poor best friend had a dream/nightmare when we were in high school that I kept coming after her, stomping my feet with that wild look in my eye shouting "Dah!"

I hope I imparted in Bean the influence MJ had on my dance career and what an iconic legend he will always be. As a lover of music and a former professional dancer this piece of history was so important to me to pass on to my kids.

At some point when the ban on embedding MJ's video's lifts, I will post "Black or White" here for my kids to watch in the years to come as this video helped break barriers between races through dance. For now, here's the link:
BLACK OR WHITE

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

OUT OF THE FOG

Oh, I just came out of a fog. A wrong-freakin-medication-for-a-year-and-a-half fog. And the thing is I didn't realize I was in a fog until I changed medications. I mean, I had moments when my gut would say "Hey, I think we're not doing so well," and my brain would say "Quit your whining wimp! There are children starving in Africa."

By the way, I do have an adopted child in Uganda. His name is Amos, he's adorable and the money I send goes towards his education and other necessities.

Anywho, I kept thinking things weren't quite right but it took me a long time to get up the courage to go to my Doc and mention it. I kept thinking she'd come out of the examination room after talking to me and gather all the nurses around to have a good laugh about what a hypochondriac I am and then come back in and say "Well, let's just give it some time and see what happens."

But, I gathered up my gumption and made an appointment with my Doc. It went something like this:

Me: "I think I kinda haven't been wanting to really get out of bed for like maybe six or twelve months like I might be I don't know kinda depressed-ish?"
Doc: "That doesn't surprise me, the medication your other doc put you on isn't really the right one and depression isn't something we should mess around with."
Me: (outside voice) "Oh?" (inside voice) "F-ing why did he put me on it in the first place and let me frickin' suffer for a year-plus god dammit and where were you in all this? Did it just occur to you that I was on the wrong drug even though we've talked about it numerous times? Or, were you waiting for a call from the psych ward that I'd been admitted before you decided to do something?"
Doc: "Yes, let's change your medication."
Me: "Huh, ok."

I won't get into why I need these meds - I've already reaped the ramifications of "sharing" this information i.e. Life Insurance companies won't insure me anymore. They call me "high-risk" but the message I hear is: "Our surveys say you're gonna die sooner than later and we just can't take that kind of risk given the statistics on people like you and all." I know, I'm such a pessimist.

So, after switching meds, which I won't even go into the insane process that was (well, I have just two words for what the side effects felt like: Brain Electrocution)...the fog has lifted.

And I'm kind of thinking, wow this is what 'normal' feels like?

And I'm kind of pissed because I knew in my gut something wasn't quite right when all I could really do was make sure the kids were alive, clothed and sent off to school and then collapse, but what do I know?

Monday, March 9, 2009

RANDOM DENIAL

Dammit, it happened again. I found another career to add to the 582 careers that I want to pursue.

It always happens on a day like today when I'm in the middle of a Fibromyalgia attack that inevitably makes me depressed, grumpy and guilt-ridden because I'm not dealing with my day-to-day responsibilities.

It's a slippery slope of guilt, denial and...I don't know WTF else.

As if I don't have enough on my plate - I'm constantly trying to squeeze in some pet project or charity even though I don't take care of myself as it is. When I became a mom I let go of the notion that I "needed" anything but my children to thrive. It's as if a switch went off and the thought of say going to the makeup counter weekly as I did in the old days makes me feel like I'm violating some code I don't know the name of but it's there in my head and it says: MUST NOT DO FOR SELF. I mean, I want to look good but who the hell would pay $50 for a lipstick when that money could go towards 20 home cooked meals of Kraft Mac & Cheese, and 6 day-old loaves of bread? Besides, the time it would take to look decent enough to go out, drive to the mall, park, choose a lipstick that I'll never wear and come back home? I'd rather freakin' take a nap. Lately, if I have time and energy to put chapstick on I'm giddy with pride and accomplishment.

I can't remember the last time I got a haircut, as in like going to the salon instead of taking some Fiskars into the bathroom and hacking off some layers. And shopping for clothes? Yeah right. Good one. But alas, there I was on the internet, watching a news story (see below) and going I WANT TO DO THAT TOO!!!

Maybe it's the Cancer (astrological not medical) in me who wants to nurture every possible thing I come across. I say "thing" because I've been known to feel sorry for inanimate objects. "See Jay, the lion statue is sad because the birds are all sitting on the other lion statue."

I am fully aware that the dreams I have over and over about losing a baby bird and desperately searching for it until I wake up in a cold sweat could be my subconscious mind crying: YOU ARE NOT FULFILLED! I SO am in the sense of fulfillment I feel with my family, my kids and our lives together. How am I contributing to the world (aside from raising my kids) that gives me a sense of accomplishment and gets me out of bed every morning? That seems to be where I have gotten lost.

First step: balance the peas, chicken and potatoes on my plate (and maybe take off a few Krispy Kremes).






Seriously though, anyone want to open a SAME Cafe with me?

Monday, February 16, 2009

SUSTAIN-ABILITY

I think my efforts to be a more responsible user of the earth's resources and making our family's carbon footprint smaller has rubbed off onto my children. Yesterday as I turned on the ever-so-stylish eyeball lights in our living room Logue (age 13) told me "Mom, you should turn on the light in the middle of the room it uses less energy." Right, I knew that. Bean (age 8) decided her next project at school would be to go through all their recycling, make "stuff" out of her findings, sell the "stuff" and donate the money to our local children's hospital. Sigh.

I've been kind of slacking with no particular good excuse except that the economy is threatening to take my current humble, living situation away and that makes me a little depressed. But, I believe things always happen for a reason. Yesterday I received an email from Social Media Today. Of course I always skim carefully read their emails word for word because it's only one the 512 emails I get per day, like the one from Logue's PE teacher saying he wasn't bringing his PE clothes to school to which I wanted to say Dude, you're lucky he's not hiding in the locker room, the kid likes PE about as much as showering which we have to pay him $100 to do each time and I'm looking forward to your efforts to get him in shorts 'cause it ain't gonna happen. But seriously, this email was different. It made me pause and think more about my part in sustainability. How do I fit into this enormous picture? How can I even make a dent? Or NOT make a dent as it should be. Social Media Today has created The Energy Collective, an electronic conversation about energy, policy and climate who in turn created the Sustainable Cities Collective where urban policy makers, entrepreneurs and technologists could build solutions and share ideas. The video is not an award winning, jaw dropping piece. But it does make the responsibility to take part in sustainability efforts personal.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

BITTERSWEET






















Photo courtesy of Gear Live

I seriously want this Vivienne Tam Mini HP Laptop in all its glorious,-Asian-inspired-floral-luscious-red splendor! But, I'm not willing to give up my MAC. There have been too many PC deaths in this family for me to recover emotionally and stop wanting to write YOU WILL DIE SOON on every PC screen I see. So, I'll just drool.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

GREENER PASTIMES

Ever since I saw the image of a Polar Bear sitting on a melting piece of ice, I vowed through the tears in my eyes to do my part to reduce my carbon footprint.

First, we adopted Lucy, June, Ruby and Honcho two years ago and in return for all our food scraps and a little TLC they give us...EGGS! We live in a neighborhood where mini mansions are sprouting every 2 hours (except now they're not selling - and these ginormous, energy sapping homes with their flamboyant 5000 sq ft are now taxing the wallets of their builders. I am not gloating, that would be unkind). So, not all of our neighbors understand when our chickens make that noise that sounds like a child being murdered, it's all for the greater good of the ozone layer.

Second, we have changed all the light bulbs in the house to energy efficient ones. So, basically when we turn on our lights, we can't see for about an hour - a sacrifice we're willing to make even though I keep thinking I need to get glasses.

Third, we bought a Prius which I love. The glory of filling up the tank for under $20 and being able to drive on that tank for 370 miles makes me want to stop every HumVee I see and ask "Really, WHY?"

In my quest for finding greener pastures (ha, that just came to me) I found this RITI Printer courtesy of Gear Live.



Now in addition to throwing our coffee grounds out into the yard, I can get my coffee aroma just by printing my daily celebrity gossip affirmations. I wonder if you can get the caffeine high via osmosis?

Oh, and my new pet project (another donation of my so-called free time) is an organization that will bring communities together to help create conversations about sustainability in schools, corporations, homes and jobs. Much like Green Worker Cooperatives as shown in this enlightening video:

Saturday, January 31, 2009

WHEN I GROW UP

I want to be just like my nephew Scotty:
Lake Oswego's Leedy and Reader lead Lakers past Oregon City












I'm no basketball expert but did you see the rock he threw from downtown? The kid can make it all day. He can drive, draw and dish - put the ball on the floor. The boy's got mad skillz. Werd. Respect. Peace Out.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

GOOD PR VS. BAD PR

I don't write often about my professional life and actually I'm still not. But, the profession I'm in can be such a cluster f*ck at times it's highly entertaining. Public Relations is evolving faster than you can "Twitter" the words. It's well - a good thing and a not so good thing. Sometimes I can get a little bitchy when I see a good organization leaving a bad impression. In fact, yesterday I couldn't resist. My fingers just typed a message to the webmaster of a site (who's cause I fully embrace).

Dear Sir/Madam,
I can't read your website.
Very cordially,
Me

I thought it was rather un-bitchy of me for once.
I really think I offered well intentioned feedback yet kept it concise.
They're response: "Thanks, It's a work in progress" reminded me why I have a job.

Friday, January 9, 2009

WHERE'S THE BEEF?

We're being held hostage in our home. If you hear from us in the usual time period call for reinforcements! The four-legged members of our family have taken over. First I started noticing our language and conversations change. Instead of the usual, "Dinner is good mom" or, "Could you please pass the salad?" I would hear, "Could you watch my food for me so the dogs don't eat it?" or as Bean said last night, "I can't go to the bathroom because Lola will eat my food!" It has progressively gotten worse. We are now becoming obsessive/compulsive about making sure NO FOOD is accessible to these thieves. I shoot up in bed to ask J, "Did you put all the food away?" The kids ask me before we leave the house, "Did we leave the cereal box out?" I've succumb to hiding food in the oven only to turn it on days later and have to explain to the neighbors that no, our house is not on fire. Last night, the neurotic, evil, spaz of a dog Chloe ate 8 donuts out of a box on the counter. That was a fragrant evening. I haven't even mentioned the stealing of snacks out of my purse, eating leftover food off the plates in the sink, holes in the socks, the dish towels that end up in the yard, the de-eyeballing of stuffed animals and the chewing of 500 thread ct. duvet covers. I'm too exhausted to go on. Caesar Milan. We need you! Pleeeeeeze?

Monday, January 5, 2009

RESOLVE


re⋅solve
   /rɪˈzɒlv/
verb, -solved, -solv⋅ing, noun
–verb (used with object)
1. To come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine (to do something): I have resolved that I shall...

So it begins. The juncture each year in which we ponder ways to make ourselves or our existence better. I started this post with the full intention of revealing the softer side of me. How I was going to find more meaning in moments, unearth the fundamental good in human kind and deepen relationships through existential conversations. Then *ding* reality hit as a pain in my neck (literally) and I'm thinking "who is this sentimental pansy and what happened to the REAL me?"

I have long debunked resolutions as silly little lies we tell ourselves. I saw the intentions at face value as honorable, but when scratched below the surface, wishes and wants seemed to be hollow with no self actuating plan. As a life coach and a fitness trainer I heard more resolutions dealing with body weight, beauty and money. I started to get cynical.

Why resolutions? I mean, do we just want to set ourselves up for failure? Isn't it a self-fulfilling prophecy to say we're going to do something (or not do something) that goes against the very fiber of our being like "I will stop eating chocolate," when the cabinet is stocked with Hersheys and once the thought of obstaining enters our brain we can think of nothing other than chocolate? The definition of insanity?

Oh, but I too bought in to this idea of New Years Resolutions (who thought of them anyway? I must Google it). I even tried using reverse psychology on myself. 1. Eat as much as you want of whatever you want. 2. Do NOT exercise whatever you do. 3. Smile less. But, dude? Where's my car? Why do I have to trick myself into accomplishing these goals? And unless I missed a form of new age mind control, I can't convince myself that a rice cake tastes like Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream.

Where is the depth of reality? I understand to the fullest extent that if we ourselves are not happy, we can't give well to others. But at the end of the day what really makes us feel fulfilled? Is it our beauty? Our possessions? Family?

Cue sappy segment: How about finding a reason for being - a purpose beyond our appearance, possessions and status? There ARE things I want to try to do more of, less of, better or worse this year. Too many. Be a better mom, cherish all the little moments, save money, finish school, do more charitable work, get healthier, write gooder, eat less Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream. (Typical type-A bitch, can't you just be happy with who you are and what you have?)


I'm trying to find the answers here, really. But, no sooner than I type this sentence my daughter screams frenetically that her brother hurt her, it's an hour past her bedtime, the dog is chewing the eyes out of Luke the stuffed Lab, the dishes are piled in the sink, on the counter, the table and absolutely nothing in my house is in any semblance of order. And me? I burst into laughter. Laughter about the crap, this shit in our lives that can weaken us if we let it, mortify us if we choose and cause us to conjure up resolutions that just don't make sense for our lives. And in this moment as pure chaos in ensuing, I'm laughing. And it becomes clear. No more resolutions, just laughter.