Tuesday, October 22, 2013
My husband sent me a link today to a gif on Boing Boing that he proclaimed to be "The Coolest GIF of the Day." I'm linking it here. Feel free to take a moment to peek at it. I'll wait.
When I saw this, I was flooded with memories of watching Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood with my children when they were little. I learned how trikes and crayons were made, among other things, thanks to a humble minister and his low-budget children's show.
What I remember best about Mr. Rogers, though, was his kind acceptance of people "just the way you are." He liked everyone, no matter where they were on their path in life. If you were working to become a better person, that was a good thing, but that didn't mean you weren't valued for who you were right at that moment, before you had achieved your goals. You deserved kindness, and respect, and to like yourself. Even if you also wanted to become something better.
I have been struggling with liking myself just the way I am for a while. Life has been really chaotic, and filled with stress, and work has been so busy that I have not had time to get out and ride my bike or get to the gym or take care of myself in the way that makes me feel healthiest. That's frustrating, and it's made me feel impatient with myself and disappointed that I don't have the capacity to somehow find the time to do all I am doing *plus* the rest of everything.
In a way, it's a good sign that I'm noticing what I'm missing. For a while life was too crazy for me to even pay attention to that. It's a sign that, fingers crossed, things appear to be restabilizing.
But I have to be careful about my inner dialogue. It's easy to think that I should be now to just jump back on the bandwagon of everything I was doing before, and to ignore that changes in life may mean that the new "normal" doesn't look exactly like the old "normal" looked. And that is okay. If I don't accept that, I am likely to spend my time comparing and being disappointed in myself, which leads to a sense of defeat. I've been there before; I've given up in the past because I wasn't able to sustain a certain level of perfection. And the worry that I will do that again is one more worry on top of the heap of other worries.
But today a GIF of chain being made reminded me of Mr. Rogers, and Mr. Rogers reminded me that I am likable, just the way I am. I feel better about myself, and the self-defeating disappointment has been jettisoned before it could turn into loathing. I'm not perfect, but if I like myself I take care of myself better. I am special. I deserve to be loved.
Monday, October 21, 2013
So, DH's dad was here to visit this weekend, and we spent Saturday at Stan Hywet Hall. We love this place, because in addition to the house they have beautiful gardens, and it's just fun to walk around in them. But not Saturday, because it was POURING rain. Instead, we'd arrived in time to take the "Nooks and Crannies" tour, which tours the service portions of the hall. I love best seeing the "behind the scenes" portion of such places, and we'd never managed to get to that part before. It was an awesome tour. We renewed our membership again this year, and I am determined to get down there more. On Sundays they allow people to walk their dogs in the gardens, so I hope to take Shasta down there and enjoy the gardens with her.
Yesterday DD came over with a sewing project, so I dug out my sewing machine. When I say that, I really mean it; even though I have that nice sewing area set up in my basement, because I haven't been sewing lately it had become the repository of everything that we wanted out of our living space but didn't have the time to address what to actually do with it. My sewing table was a convenient flat surface on which to dump all that stuff. Now it's all dumped on the cutting table, and I really have to do something about it. I want to get back to quilting soon, and I'm also sick of all the junk in my house. I hate clutter. I don't know how it is that so much accumulates. My basement family room was nice and neat, but it's now a no-man's-land until Erin finally gets that last of her stuff out of there. There isn't even a point in trying to clean it up until her numerous boxes are removed.
All that aside, we had a nice day. I haven't seen much of Erin since she moved, so it was fun to be able to hang out with her. We sewed a cushion slipcover for one of the ottomans she was lent by a friend, and gave the puppy a much needed bath. Then we took the puppy on a long walk and played fetch with her in a big field until we wore her out--not an easy feat with a young dog. She has a lot of energy.
We went to the hibachi steakhouse for dinner last night, at my father-in-law's request, and had a really terrific chef who was a real showman. In addition, the food was amazing--probably the best scallops I've ever eaten. They were tender and sweet and perfectly cooked. After a couple mediocre experience with scallops lately, it really brought home to me why I love them so much.
Now I have a week of ceaseless projects ahead of me. But it's good because I'm making money!!
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Ferrett and I have been watching Cesar Milan in the background while working, and one of the things that he emphasizes is giving dogs enough exercise. He rollerblades with his dogs, and encourages people to bike with them as well.
I don't rollerblade, but it's been noted that I do bike, so I thought I'd give it a try with Shasta.
The problem is, Shasta is terrified of bicycles. When we walk, she lunges at them with a ferocity that is unmatched by her reaction to anything else. But, hey, Mommy was gonna be the one on the bike; it would be okay, right.
The first time out, I got about 6 houses down the street before giving up. She was biting her leash, snapping at the tires, snapping at my ankles, and barking her head off. I almost ran her over three times, and almost crashed twice. I staggered back to the house, laughing at the disaster.
But if at first you don't succeed! And we have lots of experience with her being terrified of something the first time she encounters it and getting better. So this morning after taking her for her walk, I decided to try again.
First of all, I used the mountain bike, which is smaller. Secondly, I rode on the sidewalk--something I never do when riding regularly, but in this case it seemed the wiser. As we began, Shasta was barking and snapping just like the first time. This time, though, I was ready to be more patient. I stopped and reassured her, pedaled a few more feet, stopped again and let her sniff the bike, pedaled a bit more and stopped to make her quit biting the leash.
After the third stop, she turned and fled the bike. And after a few yards, she began to get the idea.
And suddenly I wasn't pedaling; I was being pulled down the street by 15 pounds of black, streaking energy. To the point that I was braking. We got to the first corner, and getting her to turn to the right caused me to almost hit a telephone pole. Next corner, I had to come to a complete stop to get her to turn and head back up the length of the block. It's slightly uphill, so we weren't going as fast, but there were distractions: dogs being walked, birds, fire hydrants. So I went back and forth between pedaling and braking, and being suddenly yanked by a sprinting dog such that I had to recatch my balance.
We turned the third corner, and keeping her from going straight and into the street I had to stop completely and pull her back, then sort of waddle the bike around the corner. And things fell apart there. We were back to the snarling and snapping and barking and biting the leash. Fortunately, this was the short side of the block and we were almost home. So we fought our way around the last turn and I was resigned to heading home, glad we'd made some progress.
Then, headed downhill, Shasta started running again. So we went around again, and then a third time. It was better, but we are clearly both still learning. The lunging and slowing for her, the braking and then getting almost pulled off the bike for me. By the time I got home from those three miles, I was hot and sweating, despite the fact that Shasta was doing most of the work.
But she got the corners, and we had a great time.
And now she is flopped beside me, worn out. So yay!
Saturday, October 05, 2013
Today I am officiating at my first wedding. Our dear friends are getting married, and they asked me to be their celebrant. I am excited and nervous. We are getting hair and makeup done now, and the wedding is at 5:30. It's a wonderful day!
Thursday, October 03, 2013
Last Saturday we participated in the CureSearch Walk. It was a beautiful, perfect day, and the purple-shirted Team Rebecca people were out in force. We made up about a third of all the walkers. And we raised about a third of all the money. Our group got a plaque for raising the most money.
In a way, this made me sad. Pedal to the Point, which benefits MS, had over a thousand riders. This benefit for children's cancer research had only about 150 walkers. There simply isn't enough awareness of the fact that so many children die from cancer. The statistics talk about a high cure rate for kids, but that is just kids with leukemia. For other children's cancers, the survivor rate is generally no better, and sometimes worse, that that of adults. Only 4% of the money spent on cancer research goes to pediatric research, and with the government shutdown several research studies that could be saving lives are simply being shuttered. It makes me want to cry.
This is probably my favorite picture of Rebecca, being chased by my husband, who, lacking a purple shirt, had instead dug a purple cape up. Becca remains so very alive and vibrant that it's almost impossible to believe her life is at risk. But at this moment she is undergoing her 16th radiation treatment, out of the 31 that are scheduled before she begins the year of her two-drug chemotherapy regimen. And it's still only a 50% chance that this smiling, high-energy little girl will be with us in 5 years.
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