Riding That Train…

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I recently had to go into the city, and I had a choice…drive (YIKES!) or take the train.

As luck would have it, where I was going was close the train station – easy walking distance — so I decided to train it. I generally avoid the train, not because I don’t appreciate the commuting ease or the earth-friendly aspects. It’s really because of a lack of control.

There. It’s out there. I have some control issues.

In my own defense, I don’t have to control everything across the board. With very few exceptions, I don’t care what’s on TV, what food we order in, where we go on vacation, etc. I’m pretty easy going with most things.

And I will say that the train does provide some solid time to just think…I put on my headphones and get lost in my music and my thoughts. Not always a bad thing.

But when it comes to commuting, the simple idea that I have to run on someone else’s schedule? ARGH! This is why I don’t like the train, even when, in most cases, the train gets me home quicker than being stuck in traffic for hours. But riding the train takes that control away from me, especially during the midday schedule, when the trains run hourly only.

This is also why I don’t car pool and why I always hate it when one of the cars has to go in the shop, because more often than not, I end up being the one without the car. And this drives me CRAZY! Granted, I rarely leave the office, even to go to lunch, but knowing that I can’t just kills me. I want to know that — wherever I am — I can just pick up and go at a moment’s notice.

As the train rode along next to the highway, and I saw the bumper-to-bumper parking lot that it was, I was glad I decided to train it. And when I realized my final destination was directly across the street from the train station, I doubly glad I took the train. But I kept thinking the entire time, “I hate not having control.”

I think I have a better understanding of why my husband hates to fly, although I would be more nervous if he had control of the plane rather than the pilot…but that’s another story…

 

One of Those Days…

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Did you ever have one of “those” days?

The day where you wake up crabby and your mood progresses downhill from the moment for feet hit the floor? I can’t explain it, but today is one of “those” days.

Now normally, I am – overall – a happy person. In the grand scheme of things, I realize that I have a pretty damn good life. I have a wonderful husband and two great kids, who are turning to great adults before my very eyes. I have a loving family, who that I see fairly regularly, and fantastic friends, who have quickly become like family to me. We are not starving and we have a solid roof over our heads. There is even cash available to allow for fun.

Physically, I’m pretty healthy – for a “woman of my age” – and mentally, I am comfortable in my own skin and my personal brand is pretty set at this point. Luckily, I have people in my life who accept me as I am and laugh with me on a regular basis. All in all, I know really don’t have much to complain about.

Except when it’s one of “those” days. It’s like a little black rain cloud is hovering over me all day. But I become irrationally angry over the stupidest things. I took the garbage out to the curb this morning, and the lid popped off as I dragged it down the driveway. And I lost my mind! I was folding a load of laundry and dropped the same sock three times…REALLY!?!?!? I went to turn on my iPod (music always helps) and broke a finger nail…I almost threw the iPod across the room! Like I said, irrational. But on those days, I feel like an angry alien has replaced me.

Maybe it’s because it’s Monday. Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep. Maybe my shakras are out of alignment. Maybe I just have gas. I’m going to try to get back my cherub-like demeanor, but sometimes you have to let the black mood run its course.

Maybe I’ll make cupcakes – because cupcakes cure all ills. Of course, I’m sure I will drop the eggs on the floor because it’s just one of “those” days.

 

Entertainment Snobs

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My circle of friends is very eclectic.

I have good friends who are reading (and in some cases, RE-reading) their way through “classic literature” and watch BBC and PBS programs like Downton Abbey. I also have good friends who watch America’s Next Top Model and only read People magazine. I think I fall somewhere in the middle.

I’m currently hooked on DaVinci’s Demons, an import from the BBC that Fox and Starz have partnered to bring to the U.S. Greg Chillin plays Zoroaster, DaVinci’s hoodlum friend, with joyous abandon…not to mention he’s gorgeous. But that is not to say I’m not still loyal to Supernatural, a story of two (gorgeous) brothers hunting spirits, monsters and other assorted demonic types. (I’m sensing a pattern here…demons and gorgeous…hmmm…) But I have been known to indulge in a marathon or two of ANTM.

I am currently reading “The Girls of Atomic City,” a history of the women who worked at the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Nuclear Research Facility during WWII. I recently finished “Why Business People Speak Like Idiots: A Bullfighter’s Guide,” a book that seeks to convince the business world to stop the “corporate speak” and use plain English…mainly common sense but a great book nonetheless. But, as my family will quickly point out, I am partial to historical romance novels, with titles like “The Scandalous Duchess,” or some such drivel.

My point is that your choice of entertainment is entirely yours. I often hear people (these folks are not generally part of my circle of friends) criticizing others for the books they read or the shows they watch. I call this “entertainment snobbery.” There is nothing wrong with watching WWE Monday Night Raw, if you find that entertaining. And there is nothing wrong with reading the “50 Shades” trilogy, if it removes you momentarily from your everyday life (and by the way, essentially the trilogy is a love story, with a little spice…not porn for women).

So to you “Entertainment Snobs,” I say, “Back off.” And to the rest of you, I say, “Enjoy what makes you happy and gives you some escape.” Now I have to go because Ghostfacers (Supernatural: Season 3, Episode 13) is on, and I need the laughs.

 

The Circle of Life

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I am in that stage of my existence, where I’m smack in the middle of the circle of life.

I’m still young enough to remember my past…the heartache of a first love, the frustration of bullies, the pressure to do well in school, the absolute terror of trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. Of course, the kids think that I was born at 30 and never dealt with the problems they are dealing with. Funny too, because they also don’t believe that the things they are trying to pull over on me have ALL been tried before…BY me.

When I complain to my mother about it, she just nods knowingly and says – in her sweetest, old lady voice – “Frustrating, isn’t it?” And honestly, I can’t blame her or even begrudge her that response, since we both know that I was the exact same way when I was the kids’ ages.

On the flip side, I can see where the kids are maybe making the wrong decisions…or no decision at all…and it can drive me crazy. They ask my opinion and I provide the wisdom of the ages…or at least the wisdom that I have fought hard to win through my own poor choices. And then they ignore me…sigh… I know that they need to gain the wisdom I offer through their own mistakes and regrets, but as a parent, I want to save them the trouble.

And when I complain to my mom, she again nods knowingly and smiles.

Being a parent is tough. And it gets worse as they get older, because you can’t soothe their hurts with a kiss and a boo-boo-bunny. You have to just be there to pick up the pieces as needed, even when you could have stopped the breakage from happening in the first place.

And you have to have the intestinal fortitude to not say, “I told you so.” God love my mother for giving me the best example to follow.

I hope I can continue to respond as she does, because I know, someday, I will get to nod knowingly and smile as the circle of life comes back around.

 

 

Do You Believe in Miracles?

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While the cynic in me says a resounding “NO,” there is still a little piece of my soul that whispers, “yes.”

I guess much of it depends on how you define “miracle.” Many would go the big route, raising the dead, stopping a volcano from destroying surrounding villages…heck, even the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team beating the Russians back in the 1980 Winter Olympic Games could qualify, I suppose. But that cynical voice in me tells me to look for the more logical explanation, or write it off as a nice story.

But when I stop to look, miracles are all around us, and happen every day. A lone crocus pushing up through the heavy snow, a cardinal lighting on a tree limb, the giggle of a toddler…all can feel like a small miracle.

I think that we all possess the power to create miracles. Helping a friend move may not seem like a miracle, but it could mean getting him or her out of a bad living arrangement. Paying for the next person’s order at a fast food restaurant may seem like only a couple of bucks out of your pocket, but you could be providing the only meal that person gets that day. Making a friend laugh when they are feeling down can turn their whole outlook around. Even a simple compliment to a stranger in an elevator can brighten someone’s day more than you can even imagine.

I’m going to make it a point to look for ways to create those small miracles every day. I’m going to nurture that tiny part of me that still does believe in miracles.

 

Feel The Moment

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Life is hectic. And in all the frenzy, sometimes it’s too easy to miss the moments that matter.

I’m not talking about the major moments…weddings, births, graduations, even first kisses. Those moment we are almost taught from birth to be on the lookout for.

I’m talking about the simple moments that can become a cherished memory. I remember a Sunday morning years ago…it was one of those perfect June days, sunny and warm but with just enough breeze to be comfortable. With the windows open, we caught the scent of freshly mown grass and lilacs from the neighborhood. My husband and I could hear birds singing while we read the Sunday paper, eating fresh bagels and cream cheese. My daughter, who was about 18 months, was happily playing on the floor, babbling away to us about her stuff animals. Nothing special happened next…it was just that somehow I felt that moment and have carried it with me ever since.

Another time was the day after Christmas. Getting buried under a snowstorm (one day earlier and we could have had a white Christmas!), our two teenagers had no plans (yes, we were shocked too) and decided to hang out with the folks (oh, the horror for our poor children). We decided to watch all the movies we’d received as gifts, so we made popcorn, lit a fire, all grabbed our designated blankies and curled up on the couch. And we stayed there all day and watched movies. A little talking and joking here and there but mainly just enjoyed being together. I’d be willing to bet that neither the kids nor my husband remember that day like I do because I simply again felt the moment. And when I’m down, I pull it out and relive it…and how wonderful it felt.

I don’t know if others agree, but I am trying to be a bit more conscious and present in all parts of my life, so when it happens, I’m open and ready to feel the moment.