Health, Personal

To blog or not to blog

Today is one of those days when I want to blog, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea.

I want to blog because I want to whine, complain, and rant.

Those are usually not good reasons for blogging.

But, since my fingers are moving so quickly, I will respect the urge to write.

Read on at your own peril.

It all started with the brave goal of standing on the scale this morning after a weekend of too many indulgences.

Stunned by the number staring back at me, I went on a what-is-wrong-with-me, why-can’t-I-do-anything-right mental rant.

I spent a good amount of time over the weekend planning healthy menus for our upcoming beach trip.

The problem is I went to Pinterest for ideas.

English: Red Pinterest logo
English: Red Pinterest logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Really? Pinterest?

Who ever thought Pinterest was a good idea was crazy.

Pinterest is where you go to either dream your time away, plan things you’ll never do, find foods you should never eat, and see all the things other people are doing that make you feel like you are the most untalented loser in the world, living in the most drab house on the planet, and wearing the dullest wardrobe ever created.

(I told you I was going to rant and whine, didn’t I?)

Seriously, pinners, do any of you have any business making homemade Butterfinger candy bars or Caramel cream cinnamon puffs? And who pinned the recipe for one-minute peanut butter syrup?

Butterfinger
Butterfinger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why does anybody need to make one-minute peanut butter syrup?

And who in their right mind puts something so fattening and artery clogging on pancakes or ice cream anyway?

That’s ridiculous.

What’s in a one-minute peanut butter syrup anyway?

Oh, peanut butter and honey in equal portions. You microwave it for a minute and it melts together into a gooey syrup.

That’s disgusting.

But, of all the miracles in the world, I actually had peanut butter and honey, so I plopped a tablespoon of each together in a bowl and off it went into the microwave.

Just like the recipe says, it’s the consistency of syrup and for some unknown reason at 9:30 at night, it looked delicious.

With no pancakes and no ice cream available, I remember one little delectable brownie I didn’t send home with the missionaries after we had them over for dinner.

I rarely make desserts because Doug and I are the only ones around to eat them,  but I heard the missionaries at church talking about how they craved chocolate.

So, for the missionaries, I hunted for the Miss Piggy recipe book for the brownies that requires only unsweetened chocolate, which is the only chocolate I had in the house.

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So, there I was on Sunday night with one Miss Piggy brownie and a bowl of fat-laden Pinterest peanut butter syrup.

Do I have to explain what happened next?

Suffice it to say, it all came back to me this morning on the scale.

Yep, Miss Piggy and I are soul mates.

And, it’s all because of that stinking Pinterest.

As I ranted about the scale, my insatiable sweet tooth, the lure of Pinterest, and my lack of self-control, I thought of the book Daring Greatly. (I’ve mentioned this before in other blogs.)

I remember how Brene Brown’s research showed that women feel overwhelming pressure to be thin, beautiful and perfect. (Oh really?)

And, when we fail at those ideals, the “shame” tapes of self-doubt and self-criticism start playing loudly in our heads. (Another,Oh, really? These conclusions are not new, are they?)

I thought of all her tips on shutting down the ninja-warrior gremlins that move into our heads — talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend who is in the middle of a meltdown — you’re okay, we all make mistakes, blah, blah, blah.

Clearly, that wasn’t going to work. Not today. Not after the one-minute peanut butter syrup on top of the appropriately named Miss Piggy brownie.

Sometimes, I think we just need to own the anger and then, get it out of our systems.

We can practice all the positive psychology garbage we want and we still just feel mad, disappointed, or frustrated.

And, you know what?

That’s okay.

Sometimes it’s harder to wear the “everything is okay” mask  or remember the self-help tips from some expert than it is to just have a little tantrum and move on.

So that’s what this blog is really all about — wallowing in my Pinterest peanut butter syrup melt-down and the resulting Miss Piggy-ness of it all.

And, you know what?

I feel better.

I feel better because I’ve ranted, admitted my foolishness, and haven’t even pretended to be something I’m not.

If you are a regular reader of mine, you know I am trying to embrace the reality that I will never be perfect, and neither will anybody else, so why not admit it, lose the shame over it, and get on with what looks to be a beautiful day ahead?

It’s not Miss Piggy’s fault I made the brownies. And, it’s not Pinterest’s fault I made the syrup.

It’s time to lace up my walking shoes and make this a better day.

Oh, and in all my negative ranting, I failed to recognize that I hiked around Roosevelt Island and went for a bike ride… See I’m working on those negative tapes in my head. Are you working on yours?

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Friends

Old Friends

Last night I went to dinner with some old friends — former colleagues from my Capitol Hill Days.

We’ve known each other for well over 30 years now, and we’ve celebrated each other’s birthdays for all those years.

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I once asked Doug if he would like to join us for one of these dinners.

“No!” He emphatically replied.

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because it wouldn’t be fun. It would be like hanging out with you and your high school friends and having no idea what you’re talking about.”

Oh, the high school friends…

He brings them up often because he felt so out-of-place when they came to visit.

Trying to be the perfect host, he barbecued a great dinner, and tried to engage everyone in good conversation.

It didn’t take long until he felt squeezed out of the group or felt like he’d missed the punch lines of all the jokes.

He slowly faded out of the room, recognizing that he couldn’t be an active participant in our girly gabfest.

When my high school friends get together, we don’t finish each other’s sentences like they say good friends do.

We don’t even use sentences.

A simple word makes us hysterical with laughter.

Take the word, “popcorn.”

That innocent word can get everyone laughing until tears are coming out of our eyes and we can hardly breathe.

The word “popcorn” is all we need to remember a hilarious story about a friend of ours who went on a date in high school and had a memorable experience with a box of popcorn.

When I get together with my Capitol Hill friends, it’s the same kinds of conversations.

Someone twitches their shoulder and we can’t stop laughing, but to explain to someone why a shoulder twitch is funny is impossible.

An orange peel, the mention of certain Greek words, or certain renditions of the Happy Birthday song can bring on more  laughter.

I understand why Doug doesn’t want to be part of these events, but I was still surprised by his blunt refusal.

When I told my friends about how Doug didn’t want to join us, one of them said, “Would you want to join us if you were him? Why would anyone want to join us?”

Good point.

Why would anyone else want to join us?

It’s like starting a movie when it’s half over, and spending the rest of the movie trying to figure out what’s going on.

But, aren’t these the best kinds of friends — the ones that share a kind of familial language and a level of intimacy that  comes from years of shared experiences and memories?

These are the friendships we earn over entire lifetimes, and our silly little stories help cement the relationships.

Just thinking about these friends and our stories can make us happy.

A lot f research has been done on friends and they all show that the better quality relationships we have, the more likely we are to be happy.

In Doug’s family, the mere mention of the song, “Reading a Book is Fun to Do” sends his family into fits of laughter, which then reminds them of more silly memories. When he is with his friend Scott, one of them just has to start the story about piling students into a van to take them camping, and they bust up laughing.

These kinds of conversations and simple word cues symbolize the strands of life we enjoy with other people.

We weave more strands every time we get together and invest in these important relationships.

I wonder if these fragmented conversations and word prompts mean more than we realize.

I wonder if they are the comfortable, superficial props that sustain our most enduring, durable, and treasured friendships.

Uncategorized

Happy Mother’s Day

It’s hard to admit, but I remember a time when I wondered if I wanted to be a mother.

 

I thought I lacked the natural maternal desire.

 

It just didn’t grab hold of me with the urgency and excitement I thought I should feel.

 

It didn’t help that I grew up in the women’s liberation era when motherhood was characterized as the most unsatisfying job on the planet.

 

Women spoke of motherhood as drudgery, and the common belief was that there was more to life than just having babies and staying home to take care of them.

 

Who would want the mind-numbing, old-fashioned role of mother when the doors of opportunity for women in the workplace were flinging open, inviting us to experience true fulfillment, intellectual stimulation, and real success?

 

We could “have it all,” so why settle for be strapped down by crying babies with runny noses, ear infections and chicken pox?

 

Surely my life would not be limited to that!

 

But, after I married Doug, I felt like having a family was the next natural step.

 

It just felt right like when you set out on a path and your feet just naturally move.

 

Even though my feet were moving in that direction, I had no confidence in myself as a mother.

 

After Sara was born, a friend asked me how I liked being a mother.

 

I said, “I feel totally incompetent!”

 

She kindly said, “How can that be? You are one of the most competent women I know.”

 

“Not as a mother,” I said. “I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s actually a relief to go to work every day because at least I know what I’m doing in an office. I feel totally out of my element at home with a baby.”

 

As time went on, I became better at it, probably because every time I looked into the face of that baby girl, my heart expanded to a new capacity.

 

Every time I cuddled her, and smelled her powdery body, my worldly skin molted a bit, and my confidence in my ability to be a good mother grew.

 

Actually, my confidence grew because my love grew.

 

After I had Annie, my mom came to stay with me to help.

 

One afternoon, Sara was sitting next to me and I was holding our new little Annie.

 

“Laurie, do you know how much you’re loved?” My mom asked as she watched me with my two children.

 

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“Yes,” I said, feeling grateful to know how much she loved me.

 

“I don’t think you do,” she responded, surprising me. “I don’t think you’ll know how much I love you until you are my age and your babies are grown up like you. Then you will know because you will have loved them for a lifetime. That’s when you’ll know how much I love you.”

 

I see what she meant by that now. Just when I think my heart can’t get any bigger, it does.

 

I’m glad she taught me that while my heart expands to new capacities, it also contracts to new depths as my children experience the challenges of life.

 

When I had cancer, my mom embroidered a pillow for me that said, “Always remember, I am the rock in your garden. You are the blossom in mine.”IMG_2263

 

I try to remember that, hoping to be the rock in Sara’s and Annie’s gardens like my mom has been in mine.

 

I can’t believe there was a time I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a mother because I can’t imagine my life without them.

 

Being a mother has made me a better woman in every possible way.

 

I don’t care what the feminists of my era said, motherhood is the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had.

 

There is a level of satisfaction that comes from career success, but it can’t compare to the joy I’ve felt as a mother.

 

So, as Mother’s Day approaches, I will celebrate being a mother, having a mother, and knowing that the voices of my era were wrong.

 

Motherhood is not stifling, unsatisfying, and unimportant.

 

It is the opposite of all of those words.

 

While I may have believed I lacked the maternal instinct, I found it,.

 

And, I discovered it was more than an instinct, it was a divine part of my identity as a woman. It just got a little buried in the mire of all my other ambitions.

 

It is the essence of who I am.

 

I am proud to say I am a mother. It’s the most ennobling, dignified, and important job I’ve ever had.

English: jkklglh
English: jkklglh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Mother’s Day. I would love to hear your thoughts on motherhood.