Archive for the 'Daily Living' Category

Stay In Touch: Virtual Scrapbooking

Most people are familiar with blogging and also with family websites. You keep a diary for your family to visit, catch up on your activities, see pictures of your little ones, and maybe leave comments. But have you though of a combined family blog?

With different free blog platforms such as Blogger and Wordpress, you can add authors to your blogs. I recently began a blog for everyone to keep in touch. My family is accustomed to visiting my blogs (like this one) and just seeing what I am up to or check out an upcoming magazine article to find out where I am next. But, that’s a little one sided. I want to read about my aunt’s trips to Las Vegas, see my cousin’s latest beach pictures, and find out about my uncle’s falconry exploits. And I don’t want to have to add 500 more blogs to my Google reader.

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So, I started a new blog and sent out invitations for each of them to become authors. It’s really hard for us to keep in touch, but thanks to email, I had three people signed up in less than 24 hours. I already have a slideshow posted for everyone to comments on and the nice part is, I can’t wait to see what is going to be there tomorrow.

Families lose touch way too easily. Why not start a new blog and invite your loved ones to blog with you and make your life an interactive experience again?

Here are some articles with more ideas on how to enjoy your family.

The Benefits of Telling your Story

Family Vacation

And Just for fun, because my grandma did this sort of thing to me, I present: Butter Fried Krispy Kreme Donuts.

Posted in Lifestyles, Relationships, Building and Maintaining, Daily Living | No Comments »

Vacation’s Over, Mom!

You knew it was bound to happen. Summer days dwindle to an end, autumn sneaks up and gives you the reality whammy. School! Clothes shopping! Supplies! More, more, more!

Vacation's Over

Getting ready for the kids to head back to school is stressful, but for moms who work at home, it can be a nightmare. The misconception that work at home moms walk around in pajamas, eat bon bons, and then click a mouse a few times while checks pour through the mail slot like Niagara Falls is still pretty common. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble…but the only time any of the moms I know who work at home are still in their P.J.’s at noon, it’s because they haven’t had time to change yet.

No matter the field of work the mom is in, it seems that dad and kids know the perfect time to need things. A grown man can suddenly forget where the fridge is located, while a normally capable thirteen year old is unable to assemble a cheese sandwich. Mom to the rescue!

Seriously, now is the perfect opportunity to get some balance into your life, mom. Everyone forgets how much you do. Cooking, (yes, sandwiches and microwaves count), cleaning, salving the minor wounds that occur daily, and wrestling with internal issues of your own are just a few examples. Working at home increases your stress, for some reason others in the household think that the work performed from home just isn’t that important. Landing a new client doesn’t seem as special to people if there was not a new title gained from a promotion to many.

Take some time for yourself, even in the midst of summer to fall upheaval. Spend some time alone at your favorite time of the day to just enjoy being with yourself. Take a walk in the morning or evening air. Watch how the light changes even the most ordinary scenery. Lock the bathroom door, play your music, and light the incense or candles. Go out to lunch by yourself, or catch a movie. Taking even a few minutes a day will improve your mental health and balance.

Your partner and children will appreciate having a more calm and relaxed you. You’ll appreciate it, too. Especially when you have to leave your file sorting behind to find the fridge for hubby. Again.

Want some more info? Of course you do, because I don’t have all the answers. Not yet, anyway.

Working Mom Guilt

Nurturing the Working Mom

Put The Spice Back Into Your Life, Take a Spice Bath!

Before I close, I’d like to take a second to send warm wishes to Jennifer who has been taking care of this blog so well for a long time. Thank you for trusting me to try to fill in your spot and I hope you get some much needed relaxation yourself! Good luck with all you’re doing. -Julie

Posted in Parenting, Career Minded, Daily Living, Stress Management | 5 Comments »

The Sports Fanatic

I grew up playing sports and loving sports as a child. I even played football and water polo throughout high school — winning the state championship in water polo my senior year. As a boy, I was greatly influenced by my social environment to not only love sports, but to also worship them. I worshiped them through clothes, conversation and the way I spent my leisure time.

Sports always seemed to be like the weather — it was something that anyone could talk about at anytime. It also let the other person know that you’re okay — a regular, normal person.

Like most Americans, I spent my weekends in front of the TV watching football, got excited as the Super Bowl approached and was depressed when the season was over. I found, like I did with video games, that I wasted a huge amount of my time watching and talking about it.

As I got older (during my mid-twenties) I started to have aspirations for more meaningful things — writing, starting new businesses, psychology, etc… As my pursuits were juxtaposed to sports, it soon became clear just how completely meaningless professional sports were/are. I began to ween myself off of sports — avoiding games on TV, checking scores on the Internet and conversations about sports.

Removing professional sports from my life allowed me to spend more time with my family, read more and focus on the things that I wanted to accomplish in life. It also made me stand out socially — not something I was going for, but it was unavoidable. When people would strike up conversations with me about an athlete or a big game, I would have no idea what they were talking about. I tried to act like I had some clue of what they were talking about, just to avoid the awkwardness, but once they figure out that I was clueless, they generally gave me an emasculated response. It wasn’t with their words, but more with their facial expressions. It was usually an “are you a real man?” look.

I say all of this, because a recent article about a woman inducing birth early so her husband could go to a football game absolutely perplexed me. For me, I see a man who has devoted his time, money and energy into loving something that’s absolutely meaningless — an NFL team. The NFL is a giant commercial outfit designed to solely make money. It’s the antithesis of intellectualism and attaches itself to the tribal mentality of human beings — belonging to something and conquering all others. The problem is that like most things, it’s make believe. What happens after someone wins the Super Bowl or any other game for that matter? Nothing. At its best, it’s a distraction (which we all need to some extent). But to make it as important as things that have meaning, like a new baby and the health of your wife, is shamefully pathetic and off balance.

I’m not anti-sports. It doesn’t mind me that people are interested in sports and spend time watching and attending games. However, like anything that’s ultimately meaningless, it should never take precedence or equal importance to the things that truly matter in life.

Posted in Lifestyles, Relationships, Daily Living, Mental Environment | No Comments »

On the Road Again..

Today we drove down to Florida to reunite with our babies after their Disney World fiasco as well as spend some quality post-holiday time with our family.  It’s just a long enough drive to get you thinking about things but just short enough to let it end before you become obssesive or negative about your thoughts.  It was a quiet ride - just me and John - with both of us (however trite it may seem) reflecting on the past year and, more importantly, the year(s) to come.

I will sum it up by saying just a few things.  #1. I feel, most days, like the luckiest person in the world.  As I drove the six hour haul today, I realized that even with all the mistakes I have made (and more than likely, will continue to make) I have managed to eke out a very sweet life.  While I am proud to say that I have made rather difficult decisions which, eventually (over two years of great struggle) proved to be wise, I can only attribute it to the fact that I am surrounded by such great people.  #2.  I, finally and after 29 years on this planet, trust myself and my decision making abilities.  I feel strong and confident and like I have made, and will continue to make, solid choices.  Having faith in your own ability to steer your life, I think, is quite possibly one of the greatest gifts you can ever give yourself (or earn, depending on how you look at it).  AND, last but not least #3.  In my childrens’ absence I realized that the life of a single, young, unattached adult is not for me.  The ability to indulge in constant self gratification became borderline grotesque for me.  I found nothing redeeming about it.  I can now say that my struggle as a young mother who never quite felt like she had a good go at being a 20something go-getter is over.  My family is a defining quality of me and I will no longer daydream about the life I never had - because, honestly, this is better than anything I could ever have dreamed.

So.  Happy New Year to you all.  See you tomorrow….

Posted in Uncategorized, Daily Living, Holidays | No Comments »

Sissies

I was sitting here trying to think of what to write today.. Nothing came to mind.. But then, as my husband was walking out of the door he provided me with a whole armament of issues to hash out on my blog today.  He had a headache last night.  And, apparently, I was supposed to cuddle it away. 

The reason this is even an issue is two fold.  The first reason is, usually, he wants nothing more than to be left alone when he gets a headache (which, can I note, happens quite a lot).  The second reason is that, thanks to my mother being uber melodramatic about hers and everyone else’s ailments when I was growing up, I have become somewhat desensitized about people who are hungry for attention when they are not feeling well.  I know that makes me sound awful, but it’s the truth.  When I’m sick, I suck it up and never complain.  I can’t understand why men feel like the world has to stop on it’s axis when they get something as mild as a headache.  I don’t understand.  really really don’t…….

So, we return home from dinner at a great wine bar and a showing of Monty Python’s classic Life of Brian which was showing and the Belcourt Theater.. Nice evening.  Then the headache.  We come home and I get to work on the computer.  I have a lot of catching up to do since the holidays have been so busy.  Silly me.  I thought that someone with a headache would want to be alone so they could go lay down.  I was wrong.  And, this morning, I have hell to pay for it. 

Realizing, of course, that I have a very low tolerance for sissies who can’t handle being sick, I apologized and even felt bad that I was not more attentive to his needs.  But, it leaves me with the burning question: what is wrong with men that they cannot handle being even slightly under the weather without having the emotional equivalent to a wet nurse at their side?  Am I being awful?  Is this a dreadful thing to think about men?

And the other question is:  is this what people without kids do all the time?  Titter about silly little emotional heartaches that really are quite insignificant?  I am finding this life without kids (even for only three days) quite uninteresting and overly self indulgent.  It’s grossing me out a little bit.  I have enjoyed resting and going out with friends.. But I can do without the constant self gratification, thank you.  And I can do without relating to the people at work who talk about their pets as if they were children..  I actually got into a conversation at work about my cat - don’t get me wrong, I love my cat - but I was talking about him as if he were reason the sun came up in the morning.  This is what single, kidless people my age do.  What the hell?  I never would have guessed that my kids were my source of creativity and energy and, quite honestly, they are what make me interesting.  Thank god I get to be back with them on Sunday.  Otherwise, John and I might start buying sweaters for the dog and arguing over who takes the trash out.  Our world in imbalanced without them and I need this week to go by fast……….

Posted in Lifestyles, Marriage, Daily Living | No Comments »

Ohhhhh… This is Getting Good.

I have been negligent to you, my faithful blog readers. I have not been fully disclosing the greatness I live around, day in and day out. I have not told you, yet, about my across the street neighbors. How I have gotten this far as a blogger and not mentioned them is beyond me. But, this past Saturday, they became too good to keep a secret any longer.

I have to start from the beginning. A quick little glimpse into the kind of madness that is breeding over there.

When we first moved into this house, we were in love with the neighborhood. For those of you who don’t live here in Nashville I’ll fill you in: East Nashville is a changing neighborhood. Stereotypically, all other Nashvillians treat E. Nashville as a place for crazy artists and musicians who don’t mind living near criminals and junkies - however, if you live here, you know that none of that is true. We love our little spot here - it feels like a cozy burrough in Brooklyn.. lots of great cafes and shops and parks. Anyway.. This clarification stands as a point that, even though we are a neighborhood in a state of gentrification and lots of great changes are being made, there is still one family here that… well… behave as if it is a trailer park. And I live right across the street from them.

It’s a family of five. A mama, a papa, two girls and an eldest son that seems like he has great potential but is trapped in home that resents him for wanting anything better than a Harley and a broken down boat in the front yard (which his papa proudly displays… I’ll get back to the Harley nonsense in a minute). The two young girls, probably around 13 and 15 years old, have, apparently, taken to my husband. They are, from what I can tell, quite smitten with him. At least, that would be my assumption since every time he is in the front yard, they start doing a strip tease for him. Intriguing? Not so. See. These girls both have the shape of girls going through puberty - and not, at all, in a good way. Don’t get me wrong - I can’t mock them for having no control over the awful shape that puberty has cursed them with (picture an egg, a very large egg, with toothpicks as legs and arms and a really bad wig with circa 1986 hair style) BUT I can blame them for trying to dance like J.Lo while grotesquely tweaking their nipples at my husband the day we moved in. There was a lot of unnecessary ass rubbing and grinding on the front lawn - and all for my handsome darling.

That happenend quite a few more times - but only for John. I got a lot of rocks thrown at the car and middle fingers flung at me. I don’t think that liked that I openly gaffawed at their “show” for my husband. And, I really don’t think they liked that I ran to get the camera to capture the show for my friends.

Anyway. We really started to have problems when the overall wearing patriarch of the family started to come out around midnight-ish to “work” on his Harley. He would dutifully wrap his Harley dew rag around his head, put on his Harley boots, hike up his overalls dust off the confederate flag patch positioned very elegantly on the back pocket and get to work making everyone within a five block radius angry as hell. I want to make something clear. He never rides the damn thing. He never actually gets tools out to make any repairs. He looks at it. A lot. And, during the night, when all the rest of the world is asleep, he decides that he will rev it up. All night. For hours on end. Just sit on the damn thing and rev the engine. over. and over. and over… and over… and over.. and over… I. Hate. Him.

OH oh oh oh… And one night, he and his crew of drunken merrymen decided they were going to bring out a makeshift drag car from the back yard (which, I’m pretty sure consists of some lawn mower parts and an old shell from a rusted out Chevy) and race it up and down the street - until 3 in the morning.

So. There’s some history. Fast forward to this past Saturday. My family and I were having our Christmas preparation day - we went to the old Belcourt Theater and watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” together.. Had lunch at a French bakery and drove an hour out of town to a tree farm to pick and cut down our own tree. My son, very proudly, helped saw it down himself. Anyway.. We were having a blast.  The weather was uncharacteristically warm that fine day. We were all in short sleeves and skirts and celebrating the great 65 degrees that we probably won’t see again until May.  And, apparently, we weren’t the only ones. The strippers - eh - I mean young ladies across the street were celebrating in their own way.

They had strung up their volleyball net and were playing a very innocent and sweet game of volleyball. Sweet and innocent, that is, until we pulled up. Apparently the sight of my husband made them hotter than hades because they, as he was taking the tree off the top of our car, decided they had to bust out the hose, turn it on full blast and start squirting each other in the chest and, again, tweaking their nipples for some male attention. I walked out to my husband in a near vomitous state and my son asking me “mommy, what is wrong with those girls”.. I ushered my son in with my hands over his eyes (the nipple tweaking wasn’t as offensive as the plus fifty pounds that puberty, or something, obviously wasn’t letting these girls let go of).  The last thing I remember seeing was the eldest girl on her stomach humping the grass with her mouth open for extra sex appeal.
And there you have it. My neighbors. Thank god we only have three more months of living near them. But, I have a feeling when we buy our first home, something might be lacking. No. I won’t miss the midnight Harley swansongs. No. I won’t miss the drag racing up and down the street. But, I might, just might, miss watching these two delicate flowers grow up to be the classy women they are so obviously destined to be…….

Posted in Daily Living | 3 Comments »

The Traffic in My Head

“You have to stop, mom. Really.”

These were my son’s exact words to me as I took him to school today.  Apparently, he is done with my trash talking the other drivers.

“I just can’t take it anymore.  You go on and on and on and I really can’t stand to listen to you be mean to the other people on the road.”

He’s six.

“You know, mom, they are just trying to get somewhere too.”

I slunk down in my seat. For shame.. For shame!!!

“Maybe you should just trying taking a deep breath and being patient.  But, please, just stop.  I don’t want to hear about it anymore.”

Did I mention that he is six?  God.  I suck.
Once I apologized and shook the embarrassing shame from my shoulders I realized that I do go on quite a bit about how much I hate Nashville drivers.  For some reason, when the light turns green people here do not move until 30seconds later.  And, when the speed limit is 45, they see fit to mosey at about 30mph seemingly hoping that the next light will turn red before they get to it.  They drive as if they have absolutely nowhere to be - and of course, 90% of the time it is because they are on their phone or eating a cheeseburger the size of their face with only their knee controlling the steering wheel.  oh oh oh.. AND don’t even get me started about how utterly disfunctional these people are when they are faced with a round-a-bout.. good lord.  You would think that they were being faced with the most difficult physics problem in the universe.  Idiots.  There is no other word for it.

And, I truly thought that these musings were being kept concelled in my head most of the time.  Apparently, though, I am spattering about it the entire time I am driving.  No wonder he is fed up.  It has got to be annoying - hell, it annoys me.  I’ll try to do a better job of keeping it to myself.  Or, maybe, I’ll do a better job of not caring and just try to “take a deep breath and go with it”.  I guess I’m lucky to have kids who keep me in check.  It’s never easy to hear, but - ultimately - he’s really right.  And I need to listen.

Posted in Daily Living, Mental Environment | 3 Comments »

New York During Christmas????

Since the kids are going to be disney world-ing it up for a week - I am starting to think about what John and I will do as two, childless adults… My fingers are drumming at the possibilities..

It has always been my dream to spend Christmas in New York.  When I say “always”, I literally mean since I was old enough to know what New York was.  I have had a freakishly impassioned adoration of New York since I was three.  I’m not kidding.  And, the idea of New York during Christmas, well, nothing sounds sweeter or more romantic to me.

My husband wants to stay home and revel in our ability to sleep till noon and go out around our town.  The idea of hopping on plane and sleeping at friends houses in Brooklyn doesn’t appeal to him quite the way it does to me.
I agree that being home in utter relaxation sounds divine - but I also wonder when an opportunity like this will come around again.  Probably, like, never!  Also, I’m kind of tired of wanting to “rest” when the kids are away.  I want to take the opportunity to have an experience that will inspire us and cultivate more experiences.. we’ll see how it goes.  Keep you posted on the plans…

Posted in Lifestyles, Daily Living, Vacation and Travel | 1 Comment »

One Whole Week… Are You Serrrrrious?

I have divulged to you my plans (or unplans, as the case may be) to stay home for the holidays - and not commit ourselves to hauling ass all over Tennessee, Alabama and Florida, crammed in a car for eight hours with two kids (and two grown ups) who want more than anything just to be home with their own tree and presents and friends and Christmas dinner, just to appease my mom. Everyone else understands - they have all admitted that they would never entertain the idea driving 8hours during the holiday season with kids. Everyone but my mom. She did it with us when we were kids - no matter where we were in the world, she made sure that we picked ourselves up out of our relaxing holiday and loaded every present, package and suitcase into our minivan just so that she could be near her parents for Christmas. It was crazy. And, I have decided that it is not how I am going to spend my holidays with my kids anymore. I say “anymore” because I tried - for the last six years I have felt obligated and was never prepared to face the insurmountable guilt that I knew my mom would hash out. Buckets of guilt would be slung my way - with precise aim.  It’s a gift of hers. Everyone’s gotta be good at something, right?

In her defense, though, these are her only grandkids. They mean the world to her and she means the world to them. But, when I gaiged how excited my son was to stay home, the decision was final. I broke the news to her in, probably, the least sensitive manner I could have mustered. Not intentionally - it just happened that way. I said it very casually and as if it weren’t a big deal - because, once we had made the decision, it wasn’t a big deal. To us. Her reaction was very similar to what I would imagine it would be had I told her that I was secretly a stripper and John was a full time pimp down in the lower east side of Nashville. Appalled. I gave her some time to work it out. After a week, she called and said that she and dad had decided that they, if it was alright with us, wanted to pick the kids up the day after Xmas and take them down to Disney World. I know part of the reason is she wants the kids to be around her family for a holiday - and that Disney World is a guise for that. But, hell, I’ll take it.

And, the she said “We’ll be back on New Year’s Eve”. Wait. That’s a whole week. Hold. On. Just. A. Damn. Minute. I’m torn. Half of me (the half that wants to feel like a cutloose and fancy free 29year old) is jumping for joy and spinning cartwheels out on the sunlit, dewey front lawn. The other half (you know, the mom part that can’t imagine her kids away from her - flying down the highway at warp speed with her half deaf father who can barely see through his five inch long old man eyebrows and her junk food addicted mother [godbless’em]) is flipping out and damn near an anxiety attack about it.

A week. That’s a long, looooong time. John, of course, is already counting the hours of sleeping in that a week without the kids amounts to. I, on the other hand, will probably wake up every morning at 630am wishing that a little boy would climb in my bed and warm his toes on my belly and that I could hear a two year old in her crib singing a morning song to herself.. Being a mother is quite certainly one of the most beautiful forms of torture on this planet.

Posted in Uncategorized, Daily Living, Holidays, Vacation and Travel, Mental Health | No Comments »

What is Happening to Me?

A little known fact about me.  I once helped liberate fourteen animals from a labratory that was affiliated with a major drugstore chain.  It was all very covert and nondestructive.  We saved fourteen animals and gave them good homes.  I hope I don’t go to jail for admitting this online.  It was many, many years ago and I was very young - certainly wasn’t the master mind of the operation.  But I went.

My point in divulging any of this to you is because my identity (if you haven’t noticed from previous blogs) is becoming somewhat illusive to me these days.  I don’t care to be a fist raising activist or someone who is righteously ethical - though that was an outfit I wore for many years.  But, where is the line?  How do we creep into being a reasonable adult with a balanced perspective about their lifestyle without entirely becoming a sell out?  My fear is that I am not becoming “balanced” but lazy. 

I have started taking long walks in the morning.  530am is my target rising time - though it is hard to get out of bed before 6am.  During these long walks alone, I have been thinking.  Thinking about my past.  Thinking about my present.  Obsessively thinking about my future and what kind of person I am turning into.  I have also started to think about who I am not any longer.  Everyone around me seems so pleased to know that I have “loosened up” - I eat fish, I wear leather, I had turkey for Thanksgiving, I drive something very similar to a small SUV (alright, it is a small SUV..), I let my kids watch TV now (only PBS but, still…).  I am far from a perfectionist - seriously.  I never adhered to a “no-TV-vegetarian-econocar-driving” lifestyle because I was a perfectionist about my lifestyle.  Admittedly, I did it out of guilt.  I couldn’t bear having any responsibility for destruction of any kind and, when I had kids, I didn’t want them to be comfortable living an overindulged, destructive lifestyle either.  So, what gives?  What switch got flipped in me?  Am I being lazy or just figuring out how to work within the constraints of the society around me? 

I guess, mostly, I just want to know why I can’t turn it off.  I see all these people, every day, living so simply and easily.  They glide through their day,without even an inkling of a thought for their actions and behaviour.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be like that, I just want to find a middle ground.  Somewhere, there has got to be a middle ground.

Posted in Lifestyles, Daily Living, Mental Health | No Comments »

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