Monday, August 27, 2007

What are your accomplishments?

Life Balance: When your life exists in such perfect harmony that the energy force within you is in sync with the heartbeat inside. A feeling of overwhelming strength, joy, laughter, love and intelligence that is older then time itself. The sense within you, that your very soul and spirit and divine wisdom are acting as one.

“Everything you do or don’t do, every class you take, every grade you earn, every activity you join, every detention you get from now on, will be part of your PERMANENT RECORD. These accomplishments will follow you everywhere, to college, and to every job you every have. Choose them wisely.”---Principle at high school orientation

She’s not tipsy, she’s not on the way to being drunk, she’s accomplished.”—friend commenting on another friend

The calendar may tell us the New Year begins in January, but we all know it begins the day after Labor Day. Summer ends, back to school arrives, new TV show start up and old ones return, closets changes from shorts to pants, the nights get cool, the days shorter, and our expectations rise. Whether you have kids in school or not, we all feel like kindergartener’s waiting for their first bus. We are happy and ready to begin new routines. Give us a new Snoopy pencil case and 50 cents for an ice cream snack, and we are happy, happy, happy. Success can’t be far behind.

Recently, Wild Child went to high school orientation. I of course, had him at age 12, so I felt like a child again myself. Well, the reality is, I thought how did I accomplish this already? Most of my friend’s kids are in college or in the service, some are married. Others have children. My kids are just moving up to middle school and high school, so I was feeling kinda old. Up until then, I was thinking I was the newbie at accomplishing things, but I found out it really was my kids now.

Or is it?

There I was thinking of my accomplishments last week when I recently applied for a second job and completed my performance review at work. Next the principal used the “these accomplishments will be on your permanent record” speech and then I heard my friend’s son use the word accomplished to mean totally drunk Interesting turn of events, from success to drunk in just a few short days.

Let’s hope high school and middle school don’t end up the same way.

What does anyone ever really accomplish in life? What really are the successes? What is on our permanent record of our life?

If you had to sum up your life in 2 sentences, what would it be?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Heavy Metal Momma the Sequel

Life Balance: When your life exists in such perfect harmony that the energy force within you is in sync with the heartbeat inside. A feeling of overwhelming strength, joy, laughter, love and intelligence that is older then time itself. The sense within you, that your very soul and spirit and divine wisdom are acting as one.

Mom, it’s not heavy metal. It’s acoustic Christian Rock , I mean its techno screamo.”—Heavy Metal Momma on the way to concert NO. 2.

Shortly after concert number 1, Wild Child started bragging to all his friends that he went to his first concert….and it was HIS MOTHER who took him. All the kids were amazed and stunned, and positive that I must be the stupidest mother on earth to take him to hear what their mothers call “that music.” They were all thinking I must not really know the lyrics, and the Wild Child had really pulled off the biggest prank of the year. His stock went up immensely in their eyes. His chest swelled with each retelling of the hot June concert. What was a 4-hour concert, became 7 hours just last night. It will soon become a weekend event in the 25th retelling.

While I really appreciated the artistry of bands throwing their heads down and slamming them back up while flipping their hair and the jumping up and down so sweat pours out streaming like a fire hydrant, I wasn’t really keen on reliving the experience. I told WC another Mom could drive next time. We could schedule someone else for the part-time gig. Wild Child immediately burned a new CD of a “Scary Kids Scaring Kids” (SKSK) and started the music appreciation lessons during the car rides again. Fun, Wow!

WC smiled while he said his friend Soccer Boy (SB) and Hot Soccer Coach Mom (HSCM)would be taking them this time and circled the date, August 24 on the calendar. Excellent, off the hook! As the date pulled closer, I started to hear a scary phrase from SB's mouth, “My Mom wants you to go, she’s afraid to go by herself.” Oh man, here we go again. Fine, I’ll go, it’s good to break in another virgin Mom on the skills necessary to live thru the experience. Fortunately, the band was playing at the Ikon, a cool little nightclub in Buffalo….that has a bar. Great, we had all we needed. I thought, Hot Soccer Coach Mom can drive and I can drink. My Godson decided he wanted to tag along on the concert, so 3 days before the gig, I am informed he will becoming over for HIS first concert and staying….maybe a few days. Fine. The more the merrier. Wild Child usually refers to Godson as his cousin, since he calls Godson’s father “Uncle” but now WC makes up the term “GodBro.” It’s amazing how rapidly the language flows. I get a little excited, since now we have me, Wild Child, Godson, Soccer Boy and Virgin Hot Soccer Coach Mom driving. I thought I might actually enjoy getting to this gig.

WRONG.WRONG WRONG. HSCM did not want to drive down there. Cops kinda get called outside of this place on a regular basis. Fine. I pick everyone up in the Crown Vic (“Vicky”), large enough to seat 6 screaming teens as necessary. We get lost a little turning for the road, but manage to find the place next to the burned out building and behind the really large black bus. (Hint: probably the bands bus). I have no idea where to park, but just go down the street and park there. Soccer Boy's Mom informs me that no one will steal “The Cop Car.” Great, my little Vicky has a new name.

In we go, getting our little wrist bands, escorting the 3 hormone banks with stomachs. We scope out the place, trying to see where to stand. No speaker banks for me this time. I would like to lean to the side on the main area so I can see at all times. HSCM instead heads to the bar and decides to lean there. It’s 88 degrees and the sweat is already flowing. I get a beer and she gets a double Jack with diet Pepsi. I sense I might be in for trouble. It’s 6:30 and already about 50 people are in the nightclub.

The first band up, “Piercing the Vail” has a nice lyrical style that I sense may turn into something greater as they get more experience. I like the artwork on their CD’s with a crumpled wedding dress and bloody wedding rings….I sense some anger and someone feeling the rage of divorce. We order up another drink each, since we have a good 3.5 hours to go with this. The Second band, “Dear Hunter” has a lot the running around and slamming of the head. The acoustics aren’t working too well from my point of view, and the crowd wasn’t moving very much.

Now it gets interesting because a Dad comes over and starts talking to us. Dad #1 is very nice and funny. We are all talking about our kids and how we ended up there, It’s his son’s birthday and they came in from Rochester to see the band. Dad starts talking soccer with Hot Soccer Coach Mom, so I start watching the bands again. The walking hormones come over to get vitamin water and tell us about the band. They thought the band was long winded and wouldn’t leave the stage. As they drink, they notice the Dad. “What’s up with that?” Well, "She's hot" I tell them, so guys like to talk to her. They laugh—a MOM IS HOT. They can’t even picture the word associated with a Mom. As they go back to the main stage, Dad #2 comes over on my side. We all meet and talk about the kids. I really can’t hear to keep on talking during the music, so he drifts away.

Band #3, Boys Night Out, goes on stage. Dad#2’s son wanted to see that group, so he goes to find him in the crowd. Dad#2 is a veteran Dad, having taking his 15 year-old to 2 other concerts. “My wife would never come to this.” I know, it’s a weird bonding thing, and I talk about working on keeping the connection open. His son loves music and does a lot with it, so he takes him to feed the knowledge. “We’re going to see ZZ Top at Casino, so he can see some of MY Music. “ Hmmm, do I think Wild Child would go to Billy Joel or James Taylor with me?”

Finally, the main act, “Scary Kids, Scaring Kids” arrives. I laugh, since I have been telling everyone at work the band is “Scary Children Scaring Children.” They had a lot of energy and the crowd really went wild. The keyboard guy was topless and dancing with the keyboard as he played. The Moshe pit got going. Wild Child body surfed and was dropped. A hot babe was trying pick up Soccer Boy. Godson ran across the stage—clothes on, no streaking—and has the biggest grin on his face. He tried to get a babe to make out with him, but no dice. The hormones had no luck with the babes, but the Hot Mom’s—we each got a business card and email address. Chock one up for the Heavy Metal—no, scratch that---Techno Screamo Moms.

I got the lead singer to sign a card for my cubby—“To the Best Mom Ever” for bringing 3 young fans. And I bought a tee shirt so I can be the appropriate techno screamo Mom next time. NEXT TIME?????

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Heavy Metal Momma

Life Balance: When your life exists in such perfect harmony that the energy force within you is in sync with the heartbeat inside. A feeling of overwhelming strength, joy, laughter, love and intelligence that is older then time itself. The sense within you, that your very soul and spirit and divine wisdom are acting as one.

“I took my 13-year old to a heavy metal concert…and lived to tell about it”Lunatic Mom on the Edge

21st century Moms often try to relax the tight standards they grew up under, in an effort to “bond’ with their children. I believe I crossed the line with this, when I agreed to accompany my son and his friend to a Rise Against Concert.

It all started innocently. After a stringent 2 months grounding and probation period for video taping kids on the bus, my son was desperately trying to suck up and get his life back. He was setting the table without being asked. He vacuumed and picked up the living room. He handed in his homework and didn’t get detention for 3 whole weeks. And then he said “I love you” to me on the phone. We seriously checked him for signs of drug use when he got home that night. We were worried he had crossed the line and we didn’t know how to get him back. He was acting normal. We couldn’t understand the change after the sullen, defiant, lazy child we had lived with for 3 years. We were investigating boot camps to pull him in line. I was calling places on my lunch hour to see who was open for the summer.

Then all this nice behavior didn’t make sense….until he slipped in a CD he burned into the radio when I was driving him to a friends house. Serious bouts of screaming they call music. “Turn it off, “I screamed. “No, Mom, give it a chance. Please. These are the groups I want to go hear in a few months.” What? Go to a concert? “Yes, they are playing close by. On a Friday night. And it’s only $20.” Please? If I pass all my courses, then can we go?”

I remember vaguely nodding yes. It was 2 whole months before the end of the year. This kid was not motivated by anything other then loss of computer IM time. It would never happen….but it did.

I waited until the last minute to buy tickets, hoping the concert would sell out. It didn’t of course. The day came. I was forced to go. It was 95 degrees out. I prayed for air conditioning. The Gods would not listen. It was a cheap remodeled retail store pretending to be a nightclub. I waited in line, listening to the PETA people sign up everyone. Now, I believe in causes….as long as they don’t inconvenience me. They were signing up people for chicken rights. Chicken. As if my $1000 per month food bill wasn’t enough. Really, it took lots of restraint in the 95 degree heat not to jump on them. But I remembered my motto, “You will not embarrass you son, behave.”

We move up the line to pick up the tickets, show our reservation and my credit card. The boys get big X’s on their arms showing they can’t drink. “You staying,” As if most Moms’ don’t bother. “Yup” and I got a fancy wrist band to show I was over 21 and free and white. Whoopee. We go inside, and scope out the area. 20 feet beyond the stage is a split rail fence with 2 slats. Behind the fence, on either side, are large cases to hold speakers, except they are empty. Terrific, Mom has found her spot to sit her carcass down for the 4-hour concert. The boys go front of the fence, away from Mom, so they can be “cool.” I have warned them about straying away from my eyesight. They can do it if they want, but there will be no more concerts if they do…and they are only 13.

So the concert proceeds. The first act is okay, but mostly they live to talk crude. Probably still virgins at the ripe old rock age of 40, but they sure can talk about having sex. Fine, nothing new. I just sit on my box and keep an eye on the Moshe pit. It’s moving around good, but the boys are staying clear. Good. People come and go on the fence or next to me on the speakers. I would love a beer, but don’t dare give up my spot. Next group, more of the same, slightly trashier, even older. Fine, nothing new here. I am drenched in sweat by now. The boys are just jumping up and down and yelling, drenched in the vigor of youth. They are having fun. I just smile and strain to watch them.

People surround me in tattoos, body piercing, leather and tight clothes. I didn’t even know you could pierce the back of your neck or get so many different tats above your derriere. Everyone is sweating, the Moshe Pit is going wild and water is flying. I am in my own little cocoon. Two older guys, with wrist bands, probably about 22, have taken up residence on the fence in front of me, I am thinking for good. One sits to the left of me on the fence, the other leaves a space for me to see the band, and then stands. They are a nice block for the Moshe pit, so I am glad. They have fun pushing obviously wasted kids that fall on them, back into the pit. It makes them laugh. A girl runs around taking pictures. She puts her camera in her back pocket. Next song, it’s of course on the floor. She moves on and doesn’t pick it up. The guy sitting on the fence hops off, and picks up the camera. Before I know what he is up to, he drops his pants and takes 3 pictures of his butt.

It’s been decades since I saw a prime 21 plus butt….Very nice. He does the front also, but alas, I miss out. Mom’s never get a break.

The main group, Rise Against, finally goes on stage. They sound very good, compared to what I have been listening too. I would like to actually enjoy them even though I am now drenched in sweat. The crowd goes wild, and the Moshe pit goes everywhere. It is sucking everyone in. I am grateful for the speaker stand. There is lots of room on the speaker stand, and throughout the night, people, mostly women, come sit next to me. This is fine, I don’t bite.
The Moshe pit is really in a tizzy now and everyone is acting wild. A guy grabs his girlfriend and starts gyrating his hips on her while dancing. Finally, he decides to pull her down on top to him, while lying next to me on the speaker. He is kissing her like wild, and I am sensing immediate danger. I am calculating how quickly I can swing my legs around and push the 2 of them off of me, when the Moshe pit finally pays off, and suck them into the crowd.

This heavy metal Mom was never so grateful for wild and crazy teens. The concert goes on, and finally ends at 11. I am dying, and I can just imagine the boys. It’s the encore, when my son’s friend Marc slowly goes around and grabs my arm. He is soaked. His voice is hoarse and barely audible. “Water, water, we need water. “Okay, let’s go. It’s over anyway.” And then barely crawl to the car. They sleep on the way home. And I laugh, and say “Wow, I lived through it.”

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Let the music out inside you

Life Balance: When your life exists in such perfect harmony that the energy force within you is in sync with the heartbeat inside. A feeling of overwhelming strength, joy, laughter, love and intelligence that is older then time itself. The sense within you, that your very soul and spirit and divine wisdom are acting as one.

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, either way you are right.”---Henry Ford

Sometimes we have things inside us that we keep bottled up for years. Periodically we pull out the idea, dust it off and wonder about letting the genie out inside, to see if our wish can be granted. We start to have a happy fantasy about that idea and what it might be like to actually do it. Maybe it’s quitting your job and staring your own business. Maybe it’s becoming politically active and trying to make a change by backing a favorite candidate. Maybe it’s doing a craft you love and trying to sell it for profit. Maybe it’s adopting a foster child.

So we keep on fantasizing, but we don’t often take it to the next level. We start to see reasons why we can’t. I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money, “She won’t let me”, “He thinks it’s a stupid idea”. We remain afraid to even make small changes to get us there. A friend of mine likened this to being the teenage boy in the basement, playing his guitar, waiting to be discovered by the Rolling Stones. If we want to be in the band, we should join a band and jam, we should write songs and let people hear them and give us feedback, we should start working around bands to get in the atmosphere, we should take lessons to improve ourselves, we should buy the best equipment we can. We need to act like we are choosing the right band to play with instead of waiting for someone to read inside our heads and choose us.

Still, we muddle on most days not letting the genie out of the bottle even for a minute. But God keeps jabbing us in the back, trying to get our attention.

Did you ever have days where you brain just seems to be on fire? You have a million things on your plate and you are whizzing through them at an astonishing rate. You can’t believe how good you feel and how much you are accomplishing. You write lists, send emails, make phone calls, figure out whole new organization systems and solve problems your brain has been ticking away at for months. And in the middle of this Olympic-caliber performance, your brain sends out some hare-brained idea to make something, call someone, go somewhere or be on a new path. It’s as if this idea, or this calling, defines you. And then you see that maybe all you needed was to think you can, instead of thinking you can’t.

Will you keep playing your instrument in the basement, or go outside and let the world hear the music inside you?

Friday, August 17, 2007

I once was a Size 6 and I can prove it

Life Balance

Life Balance: When your life exists in such perfect harmony that the energy force within you is in sync with the heartbeat inside. A feeling of overwhelming strength, joy, laughter, love and intelligence that is older then time itself. The sense within you, that your very soul and spirit and divine wisdom are acting as one.

I know I’m going to lose all my weight now that I got rid of all my 6’s and 8’s. I just threw out 110 suits, my kids counted them”—frustrated dieter

Women judge themselves successful by the clothing they own, especially clothing in tiny little sizes they have not worn since the Reagan years. Even when we are busting out the doorways with a size 22 butt and bosoms to match, if we own size 6 Gloria Vanderbuilt jeans from 1982, then we are beautiful. We are part of the club that has been there once and that’s all that matters in life. We have the potential.

So we stuff our closets with beautiful clothes, some with the tags still on, for that size 6 body. It’s as if the body we used to have will magically appear one morning and we must have something on hand to fit the 24” pre-kids waist size. The Girl Scout inside of us won’t let the clothes go. Or maybe we keep the clothes around as a trophy, a permanent upturned middle finger gesture to one-up all the women who had never even been near a size 6 (me included).

I don’t know why it’s a truism, but just about every woman will tell you that started losing weight right after they decided to give away their “thin” clothes. It’s like the clothes were taunting them with loud chants of “Fatty! Fatty!” and they needed to suffocate the voice. Then, and only then, was it quiet enough for their brains to think and hear their true voice. The one that says, “You are beautiful, even now.”

For me, purging of the old clothes equals purging of the old thoughts, the old ways that don’t work for me anymore. It’s a way to get in touch with the woman I am NOW and to see her boundless potential going forward. And that’s the way it should be.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Gratitude Well

*Life Balance August 12, 2007*

Life Balance: When your life exists in such perfect harmony that the energy force within you is in sync with the heartbeat inside. A feeling of overwhelming strength, joy, laughter, love and intelligence that is older then time itself. The sense within you, that your very soul and spirit and divine wisdom are acting as one.

“Today I wish I was 25….Mom, don’t wish away 20 years of your life. If you were 25, I wouldn’t have been born yet”----Hannah, age 11 going on 100.

How can the daily well of gratitude replenish our spirit if our lives are so out of whack that we complain about everything?

When we are crushed for time, many things irritate us, and nothing seems to please us. I think God sends us reminders throughout the day to pull us back to the life of joy he intended for us, but we keep our blinders on and don’t see them. We perceive that we are in a never ending circle, when we really are on a road with a turn-off right around the corner. God will make me smile with a phone from my daughter Hannah, just calling to say good morning Mommy, and I will change instantly to a mid-life crisis moment, fueled by the heat of a menopause tsunami soaking my hair. And then I often find it impossible to feel any joy or peace.

I was thinking about gratitude the other day at work. It’s been much more pleasant to go to work everyday since I changed my attitude on how I view myself and my job. I used to feel downtrodden and defeated. Everything someone said or did reinforced this. But then I realized I was doing this to myself with my thoughts. So I traded up for better thoughts. Put flowers on my desk; built an inspiration wall right in my line of eyesight, so I can look at a good quote or a funny cartoon throughout the day. Cleaned up the clutter and stopped hanging on to useless piles of hard copy files when everything is electronic. I changed the radio to music from anger filled talk radio.

But I sometimes still feel bad….and wondered why. And then it hit me. Gratitude grows from living in the present, not in the world of the past or in the world of possibilities that can never be. God sends us a little dose of reality to remind us to enjoy now…and sometimes it’s in the voice of our children, who really are the precious gifts God meant them to be.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Sexy lives in the brain

Life Balance August 8, 2007

Life Balance: When your life exists in such perfect harmony that the energy force within you is in sync with the heartbeat inside. A feeling of overwhelming strength, joy, laughter, love and intelligence that is older then time itself. The sense within you, that your very soul and spirit and divine wisdom are acting as one.

“Sexy lives in the brain”
---Jeff, health club trainer, 5:30 A.M workout encouragement, August 8, 2007

adj. sex·i·er, sex·i·est
1. Arousing or tending to arouse sexual desire or interest.
2. Slang Highly appealing or interesting; attractive: "The recruiting brochures are getting sexier" Jack R. Wentworth.
sex i·ly adv.
sex i·ness n.
hm();Sources=Sources 2;
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by
Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Question of the Day: Do Men and Women feel sexy differently?

When we have Life Balance going on, everything feels right. And when we don’t it feel like constant chaos, a tug-o-war of time and mental exertion. On the upside of the war, we have tipped the scales in our favor in some small way, and we feel empowered and strong and happy.

Women need to have the scale tipped up to feel sexy, because sexy DOES start in women’s brains. Have a good day at work when you breeze through your work load or have a free hour because all the kids are at playdates, and watch out! The feeling of joy and euphoria starts to creep in. Often this leads to a King-of-the-hill superpower emerging and we take on even more tasks. We cook a fabulous dinner, do all the laundry, clean the fingerprints off light switches, wash the dogs bed, changes all the sheets on all the beds at once, rip down curtains to be cleaned and organize the junk drawer. This then gives us such a high that we feel sexy from heads to our toes, even when we are wearing our ripped, stained, around the house short shorts and a big old tee-shirt from some sporting championship in the 1990’s.

Men on the other hand do not need the brain to intersect with the body to feel sexy. Life does not need to be organized, clean, caught up, well fed and with an ounce of free time in it, to feel sexy. Just give them an unexpected opportunity or a hot outfit on their mate, and BAMM, they are ready.

Why is this??????

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Are you the hunter or the prey?

Life Balance: exists in perfect harmony, when the energy force within you is in sync with the heartbeat inside. A feeling of overwhelming strength, joy, laughter, love and intelligence.

Question: Is Everyone born either a Hunter or Prey, or does life circumstance determine it?

It seems to me that people are naturally either hunters or prey. The hunters soar through life, going after their goals, grabbing onto dreams and getting everything they can possibly imagine. They are constantly in motion. They have a force field around them that makes them go, go, go. They view the world differently, seeing the world as adapting to their dreams. They see opportunities and possibilities. They make their own music, their own rules and their own careers. If they see an interesting person, they weave their web around the person and pull them in. They make the appointments, have the jobs created for them, find the cushy stock options and make millions, and always seem to gravitate toward bigger and better. Hunters find their joy in the next big kill, be it a new job, a new house, a great stock tip or an adventurous vacation.

The prey in life really lead the more unimaginative existence, having more structured lives. They get a decent job, have a paycheck, find a mate, settle down and look forward to the next new television season. They take dreams vacations and have satisfying hobbies. They are often very spiritual and find a level of contentment in the everyday things that hunters would find frightening. They live in the moment and find joy in the butterflies.

So how do we end up being hunters or prey? Is it our personalities we are born with? Is it the background we grew up in? Is it the mates that we choose? Is it simply the job we are in at middle age?

Do all hunters live to find their next prey? Are the hunters happy, or is contentment something only the prey can find? Do they need each other to exist?

I live in a sphere of life where I can see both sides. I envy the everyday existence of the prey, because I think they lead very contented lives. They possess a gratitude and spirituality that makes the world go ‘round. They make the lives possible for the queen bees and hunters of the world. They may do repetitive tasks, but they also have more free time to smell the roses. They can just goof off if they want to, and they often do.

Hunters on the other hand are often restless, and sometimes a little crazy. Then need the newest, the biggest, the fastest and the most expensive constantly. They are the original creators of the in-crowd mentality. They often judge so not to be judged, but they also are usually the most creative souls around. They see things differently because they are the ones who are the most innovative, making the new machines to drive our world.

Are we all either one or the other? Do we sometimes start out one way, and get lost on the highway of life? Do our dreams fade as the responsibilities increase, causing us all to become prey of our own stupid mistakes in life?

Can anyone really break free, and be the hunter again?