Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fond Memories from Childhood - Ode to Mom

I've mentioned previously how I have a habit of "retro'ing" from time to time.  I'm not sure if this phenomenon is validated anywhere within psychology journals or studies?  But I'm telling is real.

There was that time, maybe about 7yrs ago, that I drove my kids home after work.  As I reached for the door handle to exit the car, I realized I was sitting in front of the house I grew up in circa 1972-1987.

And the time I drove to the grocery store...that had closed about 15yrs earlier?

What can I say?  I have many fond memories of yesteryear.  Many of those 'many' can be attributed to my Mom.  I've decided to share a few 'cards' from my psychological rolodex, which is retro in and of itself...

Like...I remember this:

My memories of this song?  Are of Mom whipping the wheel of our '72 Buick Skylark back and forth, so as to toss me about.  She referred to this as "car dancing", and it was fantastic!  Kids today can't relate with all this seatbelt business.  Our only safety device back then was Mom Arm.  Let me tell you, if given the choice between my Pacifica (5 star crash rated in both front and side impact tests) or Mom+arm in whatever has 4 wheels - I'm choosing Mom+arm EVERY time.  But I digress...

Sometimes, those childhood memories are quite distorted from the reality.  For example, I was able to find a photo of the identical car my parents had.  In reality, it looked just like this:

...something you must know about my mother is...she likes to go fast.  I had come to find out, and in a very interesting way, that she had won more than a few drag races in her younger days.  That interesting way?  Was when I was caught drag racing out town as a teenager and Dad repo'd my car.  I was very upset with him, because I did not lose the race and felt the punishment to be unjust.  As I was sounding my own trumpet, I was basically informed that - had Mom still been in possession of her old car - she'd take me out and, let me get this quote right, "blow the doors off your car".  Blow the doors off my car? Really, Mom?

Game on.

It makes all the sense.  Because this is how I REALLY remember the Buick as a child:

Mom and I really did have the best times.  There was a hill in our town that she'd drive me over just for fun.  I can still recall my intense feelings of anticipation as she'd round the corner...and coast...and I'd clap...and I'd look at her face...and she'd say, "holllllllld on!"  She'd then stomp the pedal to the floor, the front end would pick up like an accelerating boat, and we'd zoom up and over that hill!  My stomach would leave my body, slam into the roof of the car, and back down where it belonged.  The answer to the daily request of, "AGAIN!!!" was, "maybe tomorrow..."  (which meant 'definitely tomorrow')

Hill of Gastrointestinal Joy

Mom.  I know you'll read this.  

I want to thank you.  I want you to know that I appreciate the fact that you endured my insomniac childhood with saintly patience.  You never once ignored my requests for drinks of water or late night bowls of Cookie Crisp.  You didn't force me to eat red beets...after I had thrown up that time.  You never raised your voice when I spun on my Sit 'n Spin until I spewed.  You immediately threw it away, but the point is, you didn't do so in anger.  I will always cherish our moments of dancing and singing, even though the dog would run and hide.  Surely it was a case of poor acoustics?  

Oh, and thanks for taking me and the dog out trick or treating...

They say the more things change, the more things remain the same.  I suppose that's true.

I'm still an insomniac.  I still like Cookie Crisp.  I still hate red beets.

You're still driving a Buick.  You are still beating me in every single race around this town, even when I cheat.  I've become rather used to this view:

So really...thank you for my childhood.  Thank you for all of the support and advice over the years.  Thank you for the many lessons in quiet resilience and strength.

But most of all...

Thank you for being my very best friend:-)  


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Teaching My Son 'The Ways'

I decided my son was ready to learn The Ways.

We all know that grocery shopping is not something to be taken lightly. Perhaps especially so when you're like 'us'.  If you don't develop Ways, you don't win the battle of Store vs MS.

The Ways consist of:  Gathering a full week's worth of groceries in the little cart, recalling where the car is, not allowing any items to escape on the way out of the store via circular bumpy ramp from hell (yes, straight from hell), learning how to achieve maximum gas point benefits, and...last but not least...observing his surroundings in appreciation.  

How'd he do?  I believe the pictures will best tell the story.

Week's Groceries via Little Cart?  CHECK ;-)

Finding of The Car?  CHECK!

Circular Bumpy Ramp of Hell?  Got stuck, but persevered!

...what others are paying per gallon

...what I'M paying per gallon ;-)
Gas Points? Maximized.

me:  "look at that beautiful sky...isn't the Lord good?"
him:  "yes He is!  Hey, I just saw a Smart Car!!!"

:::Bonus on the Smart Car:::

I had but one thing to say, and that thing was, "you learn quickly, Grasshopper..."

Dear Future Daughter-in-Law:
You're welcome.
With Love,

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Inner Athlete - Screaming to Get Out!

Over the past several weeks, I came to the realization that...

I have felt WELL!

Really, really WELL!  Yes, I'm shouting:-)

In fact, if it weren't for the eye flies I've got dashing around in both eyes, I'd swear ms has left the building.  Unless I'm just being overzealous.  I'm a bit like The Most Interesting Man In The World that way.  Like:

"I don't often feel well, but when I do...I go off the deep end..."

Over the years, I've honed the talent of lying to myself about what I was and was not able to do.  Because underneath all 12 years of neurological short-circuitry lies a facet of my personality that was shoved far down, but never forgotten or silenced.  My Inner Athlete.  And she likes to convince me to do things.  Stupid and risky things, when your symptoms are like mine.  For example, those times Inner Athlete convinced me to play basketball in our annual staff/student fundraising games at school?  I found myself dizzy and blurry eyed within about 2 mins of court time.  And how about when she coerced me into placing my ol' faithful glove on and wobbling around out at 2nd base for our church softball team.  I ended up vibrating from head to toe after hitting the ball in my first at bat of every game.  Sometimes, that vibration didn't go away until the following week.  Finally, about 2 years ago, I decided I would listen one more time.  I attempted to run for exercise.  That bright idea resulted in lots of tripping, followed by mobility and balance difficulties, as well as nerve pain from head to toe after all the jostling of my fascia.  My poor, poor fascia.  I sought relief from my cranial sacral therapist, who asked the best question ever..."what were you tryin' to do?" followed by the best statement ever..."don't try that again, okay?"

...but I still wanted to run.  Or jog.  It's all the same to me and Inner Athlete.  I couldn't help but wonder if this would be a good time to try it again, since I was feeling so WELL (shouting) and all.  The voice of my cranial sacral therapist began to argue with that of Inner Athlete.  "Don't try that again" vs "you're WELL!  Let's take you out for a spin, girlfriend!"  (she was shouting, because she's feisty like that)

In typical fashion, I made a mental list of pros and cons of things I could do.


  1. actually pull it off!  


  1. fall and hurt self  
  2. fall into path of oncoming bicycle and end run with ride in ambulance - for 2
  3. fall into path of oncoming car and end run with helicopter ride - for 1  
  4. throw my central nervous system into a tizzy, resulting in vibrations, vertigo, and...(no, that's all. I'm out of symptoms that begin with a 'v')
  5. misjudge abilities to complete run and not be able to make it back   


A helicopter ride might be a 'pro'.

As you can see, the cons far outweighed the pros in both quantity and sheer magnitude.  The choice was crystal clear.  I put my sneakers on, stretched my stiff and sedentary muscles, and broke into a jog down the road.


Within about 10 steps, searing pain shot into the muscles in my shins.  That was quite an obstacle, but the pain wasn't as much of a hindrance as the fact that those muscles stopped pulling up on my feet, meaning I risked falling.  Inner Athlete yelled, "run to the next telephone pole before you stop!" but I couldn't.  The helicopter ride, though appealing, was not desirable.  I slowed to a walking stumble and tried my best to shake those muscles out.  The pain lessened.  I decided to try to jog again.  The pattern continued.  :::jog...searing pain....slow to awkward walk...pain easing...jog:::

Rinse and repeat.


Jog after walk after jog after walk, I noticed it became a bit less painful until it wasn't really a factor.  Why not?  Because my lungs were trying to escape through my mouth.  These lungs haven't had to breathe like that in 12yrs!  And according to my shadow, my form looked a whole lot like 'Igor meets Frankenstein'.  Even neighborhood dogs didn't bark at me.  They stared in fear.  I thought about unsuspecting, innocent passers by and determined that I would not run when I saw actual people.  I didn't want them to call for an ambulance, thinking I'd already been hit by a car with that form I had going on.  In a word, whatever this thing was that I called 'running'?  Looked 'emergent'.

I began to challenge myself more and more...further and further...until finally, I arrived back at home.  I had successfully jog/walked a little over a mile - with far more jogging than walking!

How did I feel?  GREAT!  AWFUL!  But not ms-awful...more like athlete-awful!  You know, the 'pain is pleasure' sort of pain!  I was a balanced mix of exhausted, joyful, and pained.  As I was holding on for dear life in an effort to catch my picture was taken.

So pretty.

It's only fitting.  Can't have a 'before' and a 'during' without an 'after' picture :-)


This, my a 'hot mess'.  And yes, I shall try again tomorrow!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Daughter

February 13th is one of the best days of my life, because it's my little girl's birthday.  My 'Baby Bean'.  Okay.  So maybe she's my Baby Bean that has grown up into my Teen Bean.  Yeah.  Teen Bean.  That's more accurate.

- Everyone warned me that these years would come and go too quickly.  And they were right.
- Everyone warned me that this sweet little girl would become a teenager someday.  And they were right.
- Everyone warned me that this sweet little girl who would become a teenager someday would do teenager things like...throw me attitude, because I'm the alpha female of the household.  And want to be with her friends more than she'd want to be with her family.  And hang on the phone for hours on end.  And be concerned with fitting in.  And wouldn't want to be in my presence in public, because I'd be embarrassing.

And they couldn't have been more wrong.

My daughter has never...and I mean much as looked at me crooked.  She's pure sweetness.  Well, unless you're viewing this from my son's perspective.  She does enjoy pushing her brother's buttons once in awhile for good measure:-)  As for talking on the phone?  She won't even answer it when someone calls.  She doesn't have a cell phone, nor does she want one.  She dislikes 'technology', therefore, does not own nor desire to own the latest I-whatever.  The only kind of shopping she likes to do is at the local consignment shop.  The only 'labels' she likes to wear?  "Flyers", "Phillies", and "Eagles".  Furthermore, she loves to accompany me wherever I go, because she thinks my antics are funny, and because she's never quite sure what I may do next.  These are the exact reasons my husband dislikes accompanying me wherever I go.

Maybe she's my Anti-teen Bean?

She has perhaps the most convicted heart for the Lord that I've ever seen.  She's my biggest inspiration.  Her life's desire is to enter the missions field and become an author.  She's in the midst of writing about 5 books.  What's she write about?  The Lord.

Some things are best described in pictures.

Here she is, creating a poster for World Vision's 30hr Famine to provide for hungry children:

Here she is, with the brother, thrilled to see her great-grandmother at the nursing home.

What teenager is excited about choosing a pumpkin with her family?  This one.

And what teenager creates this on the computer?

I guess the answer to that is...mine.

Some people have wondered if she's too timid and shy for her own good.  They've asked me if we've sheltered her too much, thereby creating a fear of the world deep within her.  What they don't know is...she's way up there:

...and there.

...and she has no problem standing in front of the 'You Are Entering Ravens Land' with her Eagles jacket on.

...or openly admitting that she someday wishes to 'noodle' for catfish down south, while the brother shakes his head.

...or being the Captain de Fishing Boat.

I suppose she does have some things in common with her peers.

She wears makeup.  If you're counting school spirit days?

She has also been relentlessly harassing me about getting a car.  This one:

Why?  Because it means the world to her.  It's her grandfather's car - the keys to which he handed me on my 16th birthday.  It was a force to be reckoned with back in those days and shall be in due time.  Thankfully, it's not in my name and I can place full responsibility of handing over those keys...on him;-)  This shot was taken a couple of summers ago, while my husband was tinkering with it.  See her stalking it in the corner?  Patience, Baby Bean...patience.  One cannot simply jump into a '72 LeMans and consider it theirs.  One must receive 'The Talk'.  One must receive 'The Lessons' (like when he took me out in the snow for what he called "a driving lesson", but in reality, was attempting to kill us both.  Because come on, who stomps the pedal through the floor in a giant, powerful, rear wheel drive car and says, "steer out of it"?  If you answered with "Army Dad", then you're right!  Clearly, we made it and I'm a pretty decent snow driver as a result of said frightful event:-).  One must also receive 'The History'.  Then, and only then, can one receive...The Keys.  Now that will be a Kodak Moment if there ever was one:-)

Dear Baby-Anti-Teen Bean,

Happy Birthday to you!

You are truly an inspiration.  I do not have the proper words to express what you mean to me.  Thank you for shining the light of Christ in all you do.

In addition, thank you for not being embarrassed of me.

When I grow up, I want to be just like you:-)

...and just remember, I don't own that car.  Granddad does.

All my love,