Archive | August, 2012

Buy Me Some Popcorn and Popcorn and Popcorn..

So, I often talk about my OCD. But I don’t really talk about my extreme anxiety.

Okay, so it’s not 24/7 extreme anxiety. But I am no stranger to panic attacks, and I do not do well in crowds. My anxiety washes off of me in waves when I’m in crowds, so much so that I pretty much torture everyone else around me.

I’ve been this way for a long time, but it worsened with parenthood. I can manage myself, but suddenly having to be responsible for other living beings? OH THE TORTURE CANNOT COMPUTE.

So when Jack decided he didn’t want to go to the baseball game on Friday night, which meant that one parent would have to stay home with him and THAT meant that the other parent would be taking Tony to the baseball game by themselves, well..

(I understand how lame this sounds. I know there are these demigod-like creatures out there – single parents, I believe they’re called – and they do this kind of stuff routinely. I know this because every time I’m forced to do anything by myself for any period of time, I look to the heavens and proclaim I DON’T KNOW HOW SINGLE PARENTS DO THIS.)

I was freaking out a little bit.

But – y’all. It was not bad. It was nice, even.

(Okay, not NICE because it was still baseball.)

Tony was AWESOME. He was patient, and social, and he made friends (“What you been doin’ around your house?” he asked some little girl four rows behind us as they both danced to “Calling Baton Rouge”) and he was fun.

I never had to yell or threaten or caution or anything.

We did not have to have a bomb evacuation or worry about which exit would be the most efficient in the event of a fire or a shooting. (EXTREME ANXIETY, I TELL YOU.)

We ate popcorn.

(.. alright, fine. HE ate popcorn.)

And we watched fireworks.

(.. alright, FINE. He watched fireworks. I watched him as he watched the fireworks, enraptured by it.)

And then we danced to our car, which we had trouble finding, but it was okay. It was okay because we were okay. And we were dancing.

And we got to the car and Tony asked if we could do this again sometime. And I looked at his cherubic face, smeared shiny with popcorn oil, and I said, No, but I bet your Uncle Dude will take you. Baseball is not my thing.

(Did you know there are NINE innings in baseball? NINE. Not seven, as I thought. So I got so excited when we did the “Seventh Inning Stretch” and sang that song about crackerjacks. I figured it was the opportunity for everyone to get their car keys together and everything. But NO. TWO MORE FORSAKEN INNINGS.)

Thanks so much to Rocket City Mom for the tickets to see the Huntsville Stars!

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Suggestion Box: Now Open

So.

I vaguely and almost-in-passing mentioned that Lola scratched Tony on Christmas Eve last year. Like, bloodshed and tears and urgent care and talk of gluing his eye shut. GOOD TIMES.

I, obviously, was all she’s got to go but all the boys – even the one with a giant scar right under his big baby blues – were adamant that she stay. “I’ll just leave her alone, Momma,” said the INJURED BABY.

I did NOT mention (unless you follow me on Twitter) that it happened again. Completely unprovoked. And again, she went for his eyes.

I am pretty sure that Lola was feral when she was caught. Even after two years in our home, she marks territory, shreds everything, PEES ON ALL THE THINGS, and makes life .. well, I’d love to say that it’s at least entertaining, but when there’s a potential TO LOSE AN EYE, it’s not entertaining. It’s miserable.

After the second attack, I put my foot down. Cat has to go.

There were many tears, and we compromised by saying that we PROMISED we would take her to a no-kill shelter. We knew that, as a black cat who has a feral nature, her odds were not good at the pound.

That was a month ago.

We’ve contacted the no-kill shelter from which we adopted her. You know, the one that we signed a contract with stating that she would ONLY be returned to them? They said they could not take her. No room at the inn, and all.

We contacted the other no-kill shelters in town. There is no room at any inn. One shelter suggested we “keep the young child away from her, till he’s eleven or so”.

(?!?!?!?!?!)

Basically, what piece of shit people are we to put a child’s safety before our cat! (Big piece of shit people, if you ask them.)

Some have suggested putting an ad on Craigslist, but .. I don’t know. 1) that feels icky to me and 2) there are currently eleventy frazillion pet ads on there.

We have run out of time.

I do not know what to do.

What would you do?

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In Which I Realize I Am Irrational.

I start school tomorrow.

I am beyond nervous. I am terrified. Almost paralyzed with fear over this. I have been having insanely anxious anxiety dreams – so named because of the anxious part, unless you couldn’t catch that – and I have been both dreading and counting down till tomorrow.

Look, I know how silly this is. I’m no longer school-age. I’m not even visiting actual classrooms, for pete’s sake. I’m merely taking classes online.

AND I’M SO SCARED.

Everyone tells me I’ll be fine, and how proud they are of me, and all I can say in response is You can congratulate me when I’m done. Because you know what? I’ve started school numerous times.

Hence the anxiety.

One negative aspect of my personality that I have learned to cope with over the years is that when I get bored with something, I merely stop doing it. Be it exercise or academia, if it gets too easy or I get bored, I just stop. I can walk through the fires of hell as long as it remains interesting. I don’t think I’d do well in heaven, to be honest. I’d be bored to tears.

I am starting as a freshman at age 32.

I do have some credits that transferred over from my previous attempts to become educated, and that will save me some sanity. (LIT 101? OHMYGOD, SCOOP OUT MY EYEBALLS. I’m more likely to pay attention in a math class than I am a remedial english class.) But I have a LOT of classes that .. frankly, are going to incite a lot of OHMYGOD, SCOOP OUT MY EYEBALLS complaining. Computer Science 101, for instance. I’ve started this particular course TWICE now in my younger days and couldn’t take it. Yes, I can find the Start button: IT’S WEEK THREE.

And my fear is rooted in that. My fear is that I will become bored with the too easy stuff that would normally cause other people to celebrate such an easy course load! because I am weird.

There are two things in life that I have out-and-out failed: roller skating and college. I have tried both repeatedly, and have failed both numerous times.

I have to keep pep-talking myself thatYou failed college because you stopped, not because you couldn’t succeed.(Roller skating is the same way.)(Well, I failed roller skating because I fell a lot.)(Also, because I wouldn’t get on the rink.)(THOSE THINGS ARE DEATH TRAPS.)

I had an online informational session last night and I was so anxious about it – about an online meeting! which I have approximately three bazillion of a day! – that I had about half a box of sugar cookies. I’ve already emailed the administration twice today to make sure I clearly understand what to do tomorrow.

Y’all, I am not good at being frightened. I am not graceful when anxious.

But it’s time.

I made one big step – I am attending at the University of Alabama, which as you may know, is a bit of a PASSION for me. I visit my University of Alabama Alumni license plate very regularly, tracing the letters with my fingers and dreaming of the day I can call myself an alumni. Which sounds like Illuminati to me, and is also as mystical.

And professionally, the gauntlet has been thrown. While no one is immune to reductions-in-force, I have some extremely protective forces keeping me out of the firing line. My lack of education isn’t helping them, and it’s certainly holding me back from advancing any further.

(Also, I meet lots of people – on the regular, even – who are as dumb as a box of hair. Like, seriously, very dumb people. And they have MASTER’S DEGREES. I cannot .. y’all, I cannot.)

I am starting. I am starting because it is one of my To-Dos of 2012, and because I’ve waited too long already. I have some strong support behind me:

From my boys

And a very long road ahead of me.

And I’m very, very scared.

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Things It Feels Good to Admit.

Hey, y’all. Just so I don’t come across as artificial or whatever, I should tell you some of the things that it feels good to admit to.

I cannot wear high heels. Oh, I used to. Man, you would be amazed at the things I could do while wearing incredibly high heels. This was before platform heels, too! I could run full sprint across gravel parking lots in high heels. But time changes us, and post-baby, I’ve noticed that heels don’t work for me anymore. In fact, even a modest wedge will cause me EXCRUCIATING pain once I’m out of the shoes. As such, I’ve given up on my collection in the closet and finally just invested in a bunch of flats. Am I sad? Yeah, I am. But you know what? It’s way better to have a closet full of shoes I can actually wear.

My closet palette idea is working. Some time back, I decided that 1) I was no longer going to buy clothes at Target or Old Navy because they were ill-fitting and never lasted and 2) I was going to only by clothes around my color palette. Said color palette is black, white, gray, and deep jewel tones. I’ve stuck with that almost 100% and you know what? It looks GREAT. And dressing is SO much easier when everything coordinates. I don’t even miss neutrals or browns.

We are sappy folks. Bryan had a commission come in recently that we didn’t really expect to ever see – or I didn’t, anyway – and because we’re “grown ups”, we immediately paid off most of our debt. (Cars/house are another matter, but everything else is done!) Then we decided to give back. We bought a smile through Smile Train, we gave generously to the Special Olympics, and we signed up be a ChemoAngel. The kids are invested in the last one there, and I CRY ALL THE TIME AS A RESULT. I want to help everyone. All the times.

I’m so, so proud of my husband. I didn’t talk about it much, but Bryan’s employer went through an acquisition some months back, and for awhile, we worried that he would even have a job when all the cards played out. Because he’s AWESOME, they actually promoted him to Vice President. Which is AWESOME. He’s stressed now from all the growing pains, but I see the amazing job he’s going to do even though he doesn’t see it sometimes. It’s so cool watching someone reach their own potential.

I’m too old for Ikea. I’m .. torn about this one. I had such high hopes for my first trip to Ikea, but I left feeling like .. well, I felt like The Man. Stupid crappy imports! Bad customer service! Horrible parking! I shook my fist as I folded up my walker and hiked up my pants to my armpits.

I really enjoy my job. I had a really, really tiring week last week. Or maybe a tiring month. I don’t remember now. But the point is this: almost every day, no matter how exhausting the day or how many times I hit my head against a brick wall, I left feeling content with my job. I like what I do on a day-to-day basis, I love the people I work with, and I strongly believe in what we’re doing. Not many people can say this. I’m lucky.

I’m not yet done.Aside from starting school, I have some side aspirations that have recently clicked into place. I don’t know quickly they’ll materialize, but it’s nice to know that I’m not yet done. I may just now be getting started, as a matter of fact.

What have you come to admit about yourself lately?

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Some Weird Heroes I Have.

I had showered from my 3.25 mile run this Saturday and came in to find Bryan and Tony watching some cartoon on Netflix I had never heard of. (T.U.F.F. PUPPY or something?) The voice of Miss Kitty was driving me crazy and finally I got up to get my phone so I could look up IMDB.

And it was Grey DeLisle. “It’s GREY DELISLE,” I said, exasperated. “Because OF COURSE it is.”

Bryan looked at me and smiled, the way he does when he doesn’t know what in the hell I’m talking about, but he’s not really looking for a deeper discussion. HA HA, SUCKER, I’M GONNA TALK ABOUT IT ANYWAY.

Grey DeLisle is a hero of mine. If you’ve watched a major cartoon or video game in the last, oh, ten years or so, you’ve probably heard her voice one or two characters.

Dude, THAT is a calling I missed out on. I do a lot of local voice-over work (and had a few regional gigs when I was still in radio), but it’s always commercial voice work. Commercial is good because, you know, MONEY and all, but I want some artistic work. I want to do voices. Reading books to Tony at night is my FAVORITE because I do different voices for all the characters. (You should hear my Mo Willem’s Pigeon. IT’S AMAZING.) And my favorite thing about Grey is that she voices every kind of person. Kids, boys, girls, women, old, young, whatever. She does it all. SHE IS A HERO OF MINE.

****

Bryan knew that another hero of mine is Jim Henson. I’ve mentioned it MANY times here, about how puppetry has been a longtime fascination with me. There are few things that actively and unequivocally hold my attention, but you can keep me enraptured for FOREVER with puppets.

(Even Jeff Dunham, as long as we’re talking puppetry. I don’t find his comedy so spectacular, but his use of ventriloquism is AMAZING.)

We spontaneously planned a trip to Atlanta this past weekend (to be honest, it was merely to visit Ikea) and Bryan secretly bought tickets for us all to go to Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts. We took Tony to a show for young audiences, a puppetry adaptation of Aesop’s Fables that Tony LOOOOOVED. But Bryan did even better.

He bought me a personal tour of the Jim Henson exhibit.

If I had to name three huge influences in my life, Jim Henson would probably be the top spot. And this exhibit was MIND BLOWING for me. I can’t tell you how many times I cried. (Four.)

Jim Henson purposefully creates puppets that aren’t people. They are simplistic, in most cases, with a capacity of showing human emotion, but he never makes flesh-colored puppets. Because he believes that we are too large a crayon box to do so.

And as I concluded the tour because Tony was getting antsy (it was about the point we hit Sir Didymus, so I’ve clearly got a bit of education to do with my child)(more on that later), I mentioned how amazed I was by this exhibit, how influenced I was by Jim, and how The Dark Crystal is still one of my top two favorite movies. The tour guide said, “Oh, well you saw our Skeksis then?”

AND I SQUEEEEEEEED ALL THE WAY THERE.

“Is it Lord Chamberlin? Or ..”

“Well,” she said. “It’s the general. He commanded the..”

“OH MY GOD, IT’S GENERAL OF THE GARTHEMS. AND HIS SWORD FOR THE TRIAL BY STONE. OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD, LOOK HOW HIS ARMOR REFLECTS THE GARTHEM’S EXOSKELETONS AND..” at this point, the tour guide backed away.

And this, in a nutshell, is what I loved about Henson. He knew nothing about puppetry when he built Kermit out of his mother’s teal felt dinner jacket. He just knew he wanted to be on tv. And he allowed that same creative freedom – “just try something. just try it.” – to everyone who worked in Henson Studios. There were no boundaries, only challenges to be overcome. And one of my favorite principles of working with people is to tell people what end product you want, but let them find the path there. HENSON MADE ME THINK THAT.

Oh, guys. I know those of you following along on Instagram were as geeked out as I were, and I DIDN’T EVEN LOAD THE FRAGGLE PICTURES.

(P.S. My husband is THE BEST EVER.)

* On educating my child:

“It’s BARNEY!”, exclaimed the child that I used to refer to as my child.

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