vanburenproject

movin’ on

In Uncategorized on September 13, 2011 at 6:58 pm

My first time blogging in the middle of the afternoon. Usually I need to compose my thoughts and have a measure of quiet, so I write late at night after everyone has gone to sleep. But today is a good day, and for some reason, I can put my thoughts down amidst the chaos.

I finally feel like I have sorted through lots of stuff, and I am in a pretty good place. I packed up camp at stage 3 of culture shock, and have arrived at stage 4 (mastery). I am there and settling in! I realize (that like most everything else in life) it’s all about choices. For example, instead of complaining endlessly about the mass number of abandoned shopping carts at the end of my block, we are choosing to laugh it off, and count the carts. Might as well use it as an opportunity for a simple  math lesson. Ghetto Math 101.  My neighbor said something to me one day that really stuck. We were coming home from work ( I ride with her since we work together) and I started my routine of complaining about the Hotel and its residents. She said to me ” They are your neighbors, and they aren’t going anywhere. You might as well accept it.”  Well crap. She was totally right. So from that moment on, that’s what I did. And let me say, it’s easier to accept it that to try to fight it.

So here I am. Doing well.

We are back on track schooling the kids. Have loads of activities planned for them – that is one perk to Charlotte. TONS of  Rec Centers with events for homeschoolers. If they aren’t free, they are only a couple of dollars.

We scored a Scoby free off of craigslist, and our Kombucha is a-brewin.  SUWEET!

I also took up painting. I painted a picture of Banjo (copying a few ideas from the internet)

 

 

I also completed a paint project that Vania shared with me from a blog she saw. You can download the stencil for free, and you trace it onto cardboard, cut it, and paint. Did the livingroom wall, and I am really happy with it. Here’s the link. Its an inspiring blog too.  http://jonesdesigncompany.com/decorate/painted-wallpaper-a-tutorial/

 

 

OH! Here’s a fun story for you…. Last Friday we were picking up Lattes to take over to Vania’s house. My mom waited in the car with the kids and Banjo (he was coming too, so he could play with Vania’s dog) while I ran in to get our drinks. When I got in the car and set the drinks down, my mom decided that they weren’t placed according to her exact liking, so she went to rearrange them, and spilled my VENTI Latte all over my purse, my phone, and my power inverter. UGH. So she opened the car door to get out to clean up the mess, and I kid you not…Banjo bolted. Now, this parking lot is uber busy, jammed with cars and traffic, and in between TWO strip malls. I screamed a minor profanity and took chase. Shelby followed. We went running as fast as we could past the dozens of folks trying to enjoy their cup-o-joe under the starbucks umbrellas. I screamed  for Banjo so loud my throat hurt. Shelby was behind me screaming and sobbing. It was like slow motion. I see Banjo running full speed about 20 feet ahead of me toward Randolph road. All’s I could think was “Oh my god. I am actually going to watch my dog die. I am actually gonna have to clean up his body parts that will be everywhere.”

And there he went…right into Randolph road. It was like watching a game of Frogger. He froggered across the street, and back to me. I watched in utter total disbelief as he approached me with his tail between his legs. I reached for him, and he turned to run. I stepped on his leash that was attached to his collar and picked him up.

The customers all stared at us in shock.  Some were clutching their chests, mouths hung open.

They did give me a new Latte on the house, since they saw the whole thing.

I called Jason and told him what happened, and all’s he could say was “well, were you sure to tell your mom ‘Thanks a latte’ ??”  (hilarious)

But in the words of my mother “Never a dull moment.”

But I suppose I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Just gotta keep movin’ on.

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My Dad

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2011 at 4:53 am

I had a dream the other night. It was so vivid.

It was about my dad.

I dreamed that my dad was alive again…but only for 24 hours. I couldn’t touch him,  it’s weird, but he looked like an image being displayed on an old movie projector. I remember just getting really close to him and staring at his face.

I haven’t seen my dad’s face in 4 years, nor have I heard his voice. But in my dream, I cold do both.

Grief. I hate it.

Nothing feels worse. And I of course  have chosen to handle my grief in the most unhealthiest way possible. I put it on the shelf. I shelve it for months and months, years and years. It’s really the easiest way to cope.

Till my shelves are full. Which they are.

My grief shelves are stacked hundreds of feet high, and wide. Every time someone says my Dads name, and I get that twinge of anxiety – I shelve it. Every time I can barely make it through a song about the resurrection at the Kingdom Hall – I shelve it. Every time I look at Sofia, and start to think about what a funny papa she is missing out on – I shelve it.

But I am bursting at the seams. I can no longer set my feelings aside.

It’s funny because I enjoy talking about my feelings. I have sorted through some hefty issues in my life, and have have always been an advocate for therapy. But this feeling of grief, is one feeling I don’t want, let alone talk about. I have never once even googled stages of grief (and I google everything!) But I suppose if I want this anxiety to stop going underground, (only to come out sideways whenever it feels like it) then I have to make a choice. I have to learn to cry for my loss. I just hate the thought of that. But it’s really the right thing to do.

I truly know that our brains are not hard wired to cope with the loss of life. After all, we were designed to live forever. Eternity is what’s been put in our hearts. So it’s no wonder that I don’t know how to sort this whole thing out.

But I will try.

Some day, I hope to be able to tell a story about my dad to my new friends without falling apart… that the wound won’t be so fresh. Until then, I will just have to take one day at a time, and help my girls to always remember  how head over heels adoring he was for  his little ‘Golden Girls’.

Ya know, almost everyday I want to tell someone how much I miss him. But I don’t.  I’d just rather swallow hard and find something to paint.

But since I’m low on paint, I’ll make a healthy choice. Ill just say it.

“I miss my dad. Alot”

 

Okay Okay, for your sakes, I will lighten it up. Here is possibly the funniest story about my dad.  I loved the way he told it.

Brace yourself, it could be considered highly offensive, after all, his middle name was ‘Offensive’ .

“My dad was in his 30’s working at a drug store. A black man walked in, approached my dad behind the counter, and pointed to the Rum.

‘Gimme a fifth of Rum.’ 

My dad asked ‘ Light or dark?’

Staring my dad in the eyes, the man replied ‘Dark…like me.’

My dad turned around, faced the Rum, and paused. He turned back again  looking at the man, and said

‘I’m sorry sir, we  don’t have anything that dark’.

He said, that the second he got those words  out of his mouth, that customer jumped across the counter reaching for my dad’s throat. Thank goodness his co worker was there and  he jumped in front of my dad, and saved him from getting  killed. I can’t believe that he made it 55 years without getting shot.

If you knew my dad, and you are so inclined, please leave a funny story about him that you were privy to  – It will make my day.

 

culture shock

In charlotte, culture shock, moving, NC, Uncategorized on July 28, 2011 at 6:37 am

It’s 1:30 Thursday morning. I’m beyond tired.But I’ve had so much stuff on my mind, I guess I need to purge. Lucky you.

My girls had friends over today. The first time in 4 months since we moved here. That’s a long dang time. Too long. But making friends takes time, right?

Leave it to me to expect that what I had back home, I could have here…and in 4 short months.

I feel so emotionally fragile right now, that new friendships, or ‘fitting in’ seem completely out of reach. If you’re just a little too different from me, watch out. I’m making a run for it.

But being a Midwest girl from a small town, who’s moved way south to a big city, pretty much lands me in a place where almost everyone is a little too different from me.

2 words; Culture shock.

Which come to find out, is a real thing! Thank God, cause I thought I was losing it.

It is a type of trauma, which there are 3 phases of:

1) The Honeymoon Phase

Oh my gosh, what a trip. I was so naive. “I love diversity, I love the city, everyone’s perfect, Southerners are so friendly, life is grand.”

2) Negotiation Phase

This is the time period in which the differences between the old and new culture become apparent and creates anxiety. I feel frustrated, even angry at how I perceive other’s cultural attitudes. It seems like I’m the minority. Too much crime in the city, I think I’d prefer the country. They drive like crazy fools down here. Southerners talk waaaay too much, and move way too slow. What have I gotten myself into?

“During this phase you decide whether you will succumb to negativity or negotiate past it to make the most of your experience. If you’re successful, you regain your sense of perspective, balance, and humor, and move on to the next phase.”

‘Perspective, balance, humor’…mmmm. Sounds delightful. ‘I want to go to there.’

3) Mastery

“Those who arrive at this phase feel more at home with the differences in the new culture. The person may feel as if the culture isn’t in fact new, but that they belong, or the person may not exactly feel part of the culture, but they’re comfortable enough with it to enjoy the differences and challenges. Negative feelings are minimized. The person doesn’t have to be in love with their new  location (as in the honeymoon phase), but they can navigate it without unwarranted anxiety, negativity, and criticism.”

It’s obvious that I am planted firmly, and have set up camp at phase 2. However, I promised Jason I would give Charlotte 5 years. So without question I am here for the long haul (Yes, 5 years to me, is considered a long haul!) But, will I “succumb to the negativity, or negotiate past it?” I know for a fact I will negotiate past it. But it won’t be easy. ‘Negotiate’ ultimately involves a compromise. Which does slightly annoy me. I tend to polarize my thoughts, (as in all or nothing) and squeezing in a compromise of such magnitude, is gonna take some rearranging. In fact, it’s gonna take a renovation.

But I have it in me. I can do this. And someday soon, I will break down camp, and I’ll be blogging about how I have reached phase 3. It may be a while, but it’ll happen.

In the meantime, I am thankful for a particular friendship that’s blossomed here. She isn’t part of my ‘5 year plan’. I will hang onto her. She’s the kind of friend I will have for life. And I forgive her daily for keeping that ‘For Sale’ sign up in her front yard.

When I have achieved the ever-coveted phase 3, I know I will have her to thank for helping me through. We all need friends who are honest, and willing to patiently redirect. So, muchas gracias, Vania, for not just smacking me upside the head like I know you want to.

And to show my appreciation, I won’t steal that for sale sign out of your yard tonight.