Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day 91 - One Crazy Bird

On Friday morning, I was awaken by a weird tapping noise at the glass door in our bedroom.  This door, opens to the fenced in backyard.  I immediately thought my kids (who are earlier birds) were being goofy.  So I got up and looked outside - but there were no kids in sight.  Only a robin, who flew away as soon as he saw me.

So, I got back in bed and snuggled in.  It was early, I figured I could get a little more shut-eye.

TAP, TAP, TAP.  The tapping started again.

I slowly got out of bed and walk toward the door and our 90 pound chocolate lab, Mocha, joined me.  As soon as we could see the door, we saw a robin, fly directly into the glass.  Mocha immediately charged toward the door, and barked at the bird.  The bird took off, in a panic.

I figured that the bird was scared off and that was the end of that.  I also figured that more sleep was not going to happen, so I got up and started my day.

An hour later, I went back into my bedroom to grab some laundry and I heard it again.  TAP, TAP, TAP.  The robin was back and he kept flying into the door, and then perch on the fence, and then he'd fly into the door, and back to perch...time and time again.  Bizarre.

So, I googled it.  (I guess it's not that bizarre.)

And I found out that the reflection of the glass, often tricks a bird into believing another robin is invading it's space.  So the bird tries to fight off the other robin.  There were a couple of suggestions about how to get the bird to stop - one was to close the curtains.  So I did.  I waited a minute or two, and hear no more tapping.  Problem solved.

Or so I thought...

This 6:00 am!    TAP, TAP, TAP.

The bird was back (even though the blind were closed)!  DRAT!  My half-asleep, half-awake self, remembered another google tip and shuffled to the computer, to printed out a picture of a big hawk.  I taped it on the window.  A picture of a predator, would certainly scared off the wee, little robin.

And, it was quiet.  YEAH!  So I dozed back off to sleep.

TAP, TAP, TAP.   TAP, TAP, TAP.              TAP, TAP, TAP.


I printed off a BIGGER hawk - this time with it's wings spread.  And, hung it on the outside of the window.

Quiet.  It worked!!!!!  But, at this point, I was clearly awake for the day.  Again, sleeping-in had eluded me.

Two hours later, I was enjoying a bath, while my boys and husband were running errands.  Ahhh...almost as good as extra sleep, RIGHT?  And then I heard it...

TAP, TAP, TAP.          TAP, TAP, TAP.   TAP, TAP, TAP.  

Damn!  That is one Crazy Robin!

I googled it again, but the only solutions I found I had already tried.  I was at a loss.

A few hours later, I noticed that the bird was gone and the tapping had ended.  And, now it is well into the evening and the robin has not returned.

But, I am guessing that tomorrow morning, I might be awaken to another round of  "Taps"

We shall see...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 90 - Beyond Zebra

Dr. Seuss's books have always made me look a life differently.  My favorite Seussian concept was taught to "Conrad Cornelius O'Donald O'Dell, my very young friend who is learning to spell."  And young Conrad was encouraged to see beyond A is for Apple and Z is for Zebra.

Just imagine how different life could be...beyond Zebra!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 89 - Happiness is a Choice...and how I learned this life lesson.

I was 23 years old and in my first semester of graduate school.  It was a couple of weeks before finals and I was grumpy!  And, I had been for a few weeks. 

My graduate assistantship sucked.  My classes were a drag.  And, I had lots of opinions about why - and I was sure that all of it was someone else's fault!

One afternoon while having a meeting with my supervisor, whom I greatly respected, I bitched, and whined, and groaned about everything! 

She listened.  And, I thought that she was going to commiserate with me.

But, when I was done, she kindly, but plainly said "Kim, if you are this unhappy, you need to make a change.  Either leave school, or stay and figure out how to be happy."

It was like a splash of ice cold water.

I knew that she was right. 

Tears welled up in my eyes.  And, I remember saying "I know you are right.  But, I can not think about that until my finals are over."

Her words stayed with me, and when I finished my finals I began to think about what she said.  First I thought about leaving graduate school.  And, I seriously considered it as an option, but, pretty quickly I knew that wanted to continue my studies. 

So, then I thought, "OK, if I am staying, then how am I going to be happy?"  I began to wonder what, precisely made me unhappy.  I realized that there was a group of us graduate students who whined, moaned, and groaned about everything.  We had lots of complaints, but offered no solutions.  I had gotten sucked into a classic case of negative group think. And, my righteousness and indignant attitude was toxic to my soul.  I knew that it needed to end!

When I returned to school at the beginning of the next semester, my supervisor and I discussed the situation.  She helped me identify strategies for not being a part of negative conversations, while still maintaining friendships.   She was so encouraging and supportive!

And because of her support, I consciously made a decision that I would no longer engage in these bitch sessions.  I learned to say "I am sorry, but I am not interested in being a part of this conversation".  And, I became proficient at walking away from negativity.

And, guess what?!!!  I was happier!

It was the first time I really "got" that happiness is a choice!

And, this is a life lesson that I am SO incredibly grateful for!

So today, I am thankful for Anne - one of the best supervisors I have ever had!


Who helped you learn an important life lesson?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 88 - West Side Market

Since my boys are home this week for Spring Break, I decided that today we'd have a little adventure.

After lunch we hopped on the Rapid (commuter train in Cleveland) and head into the city to the West Side Market

I loved taking the boys on the Rapid and to the Market! 

They were thrilled to ride the train - the whole trip they were reading the "red-line" map, enjoying the scenery, and watching the people - there was not a single whine the entire time!  They were enthralled! 

The West Side Market is Cleveland oldest publicly owned market. There is SO much to ro see...all kinds of meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, baked goods, cheese, and fresh flowers. And, the Market is filled with a wide variety of cultural and ethnic diversity!  We shopped for some fresh produce, (the boys insisted that we get "baby bananas" and a plum) and got some chicken (from a local farm) for dinner.  They were excited to go the the second floor and see a view of all the "stands" from above, they asked tons of questions!

It was such a great afternoon and so fun to take advantage of the sights and sounds of a local history and traditions!

Happy Spring Cleveland!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 87 - 1987

On Day 87, I thought it was appropriate, since I graduated high school in 1987, that I'd blog about high school.

I am not the person who remembers about high school with these wonderfully, fabulous, fond memories.  Overall, high school was a fine, but, it wasn't "the best time of my life" - as it is so often billed.

However, my favorite part of high school was being in marching band - and a member of flag line.  I loved flag line!  Still to this day, hand me a broom, a rake, or a mop (a dry one) and I have the urge to twirl it and march.

It was so fun to learn the routines, work together as a team, and put on a show. 

During my senior year, we were lucky enough to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.  And that was a big deal!

It was my first time...
on a plane
in California
at the Pacific Ocean
to be on national TV

And we got to...
go to Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm
see the Spruce Goose and Queen Mary
hangout at Newport Beach
visit the Hollywood Bowl and Mann's Chinese Theatre
see Rodeo Drive and the Hollywood sign
And, of course... march the 98th Tournatment of Roses Parade!

It was an experience of a lifetime!
What was your favorite High School memory?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Day 86 - Spring Break Fun!

It is Spring Break.

And, for many, that means rip roaring fun! 

For me, Spring Break means it is time for spring cleaning.  (WooHooies...good fun, Right??!!!)

Today, the boys and I went through their clothes.  We took inventory of their wardrobe, purged the too small, torn, and stained items, and shifted summer t-shirts and shorts from boxes to drawers.  And now their clothes are neatly folded and stacked in their dressers, and the old clothes are boxed and ready to be sent off to another little boy.

Tomorrow, on the agenda is cleaning out the kitchen pantry and organizing the pots and pans. 

After that, my closet will get a good purging and the mud room will be cleaned and reorganized.

We are really whooping it up here, aren't we??!!

But, I must say:  For me, there is something incredibly refreshing and re-energizing about spring cleaning.  And, in some ways, it really is rip-roaring fun!

Happy Spring Break!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day 85 - Grandma's Radio

When I was a little girl we would spend a couple weeks each year visiting my grandmother in Elgin, Illinois.  One of my favorite places to play in her house was her basement.  This basement, while functional, was not “finished” in the way that we would think of today, but there was a small portion that was a carpeted, living-area.  This space contained a bar, a piano, a couch and two chairs, and a huge antique radio. 

I loved to play with that radio!  It was a monster of a machine!  I would turn on the radio, spin the mammoth dials, and listen.

Some voices came in incredibly clear, yet the person was speaking in a foreign tongue.  I was curious about the voice.  I wondered, what was being said, and from where was it being broadcast?  These stations took me to the wonder of other worlds.

Other spins of the dials brought me to beautiful music that filled me with all kinds of emotions and, at times, possessed me to twill around and dance.  

Many "stations" were barely distinguishable, as the voices and music were unsuccessfully competing with the static.  And, it felt like a teacher had just scraped their nails across the chalk board.

It surprised me how few stations were both clear and in a language that I understood.  It was a challenge to find those stations and when I did, I felt a sense of place and belonging.

These past couple of years, as I have been trying to figure out what I want to do next with my life, I have often thought of my grandmother's radio.  It seems to me that hearing the voice of my "internal knowing" (you know, that voice inside of you that is very clear about who you are and what you are meant be doing) is a lot like the stations on that radio.

At times, I understand my "internal knowing" completely.  I know what the next step is and which direction I should be going.  But more often than not, it is not so clear. 

If I am lucky, I hear "music" and am taken over by emotions and gut-feeling.  Both are incredibly helpful guides in making these life decisions.  

Other times there is static, and competing noises and I feel pulled in two (or more) different ways.  

And occasionally, I feel as if there is a definite direction and plan for my next steps, but, all the signs, maps, and voices are in a foreign language and I am left confused, frustrated, and unsure.

I am always wishing that my "internal knowing" is on the one and only station - that is of course, a crystal-clear, easy-to-find, English-speaking station.

But, when I think back to playing with my grandma's radio, I realize that if that machine only had one station, I would have been incredibly bored.  Chances are, I would have listened very little, and rarely tuned in

And, that wonderful, fascinating radio would not have been interesting - it would have been no fun - No Fun At All!

...So, I suppose that is true with life.
Sometimes, it's the emotion, curiosity, options, unknown, and frustration that makes life interesting,
and yes, even FUN!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day 84 - half-cracked!

A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg
even if you are half-cracked.
~Author Unknown

Friday, March 23, 2012

Day 83 - My Ugly Confession, again

Today, I spent the afternoon and evening in NYC, and am exhausted...but before I head to bed, I want to post an oldie, but a goodie!  This was origionally published on March 24, 2010.

I do it.

I HATE that I do it.

But, I do.

I’m not proud of it. I try not to even “go there”. But, sometimes it creeps in. And for a moment, I feel better about me. And when that moment passes (which it quickly does), I feel worse. Because, in the end, it is about me… My insecurities. My guilt. My fear.

I CONFESS: I judge other mothers. Damn, I hate to admit that. Because I know that the judgments that we have of each other is what leads to though horrible feelings of “Maybe I am not a good mom.” I try to be kind, understanding, and often times I can, “Oh, so relate”, and my judgment stays a bay. And in those moments, I am proud to be a mom and feel like I am contributing the greater good of all mothers. But there are times, when a mom does something that “I would never do”, or is not kind, or is just different - and then, much to my chagrin, I “go there”. I hate that I see such interaction between a mom and her child and I draw conclusions and make judgments without knowing the person, entire situation, or circumstance. It’s not fair. Not fair to other mothers, and not fair to me.

In these times of judgment, for a moment, I get a “good” feeling. An I-know-better feeling. A feeling of triumph, because in my self-serving mind, I have “beat” that mom and the gold medal of motherhood is mine. But that feeling is short lived, and incredibly destructive. Deep down I know that I have won nothing and that these judgments are merely a defense mechanism for my insecurities, guilt, and fear about my own abilities as a mother.

And, because I have these judgments, I know that other moms are doing the same to me. So, as I hear my son scream “NO, I am NOT going.” And proceeds to laugh at me as I angrily pick up his kicking, flailing body and carry him out of the McDonalds Playland, I feel the eyes.


I want to cry and scream, “I am just doing the best I can, right now in this moment!” And shriek, “No, I AM a good mom.” But as I pull out of the parking lot, with tears in my eyes, and my frustration level off the Richter scale, I wonder, “Am I?”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day 82 - 7 Hours of Blissful Aloneness

Today, from 11am - 6pm I was all alone.  Yep.  No children, no husband, no one but me!  All alone in a car.  Driving from Cleveland to New Jersey to visit a very good friend of mine. 

It was blissful!  Truly - BLISSFUL!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 81 - Your Heart

I love this quote...

When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it's bottomless, that it doesn't have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.
- Pema Chodron

I would love to say that I truly understand and experience the fullness of my heart, but truth be told, I tend to be incredibly protective of it. 

And, I am quite sure my protectiveness (probably a lack of trust?) gets in the way of fully experiencing the goodness of my (and other's) heart!

Hum...  I wonder how I can let go of these barriers?  This, I will ponder...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 80 - Today, I need to get out of my brain.

Have you ever had one of those days?

I am having one today. 

It's not a bad day.  It's just that I am over-contemplating

I just need to stop thinking!

And, I need to shut up the chatter that is going on in my head.

Today, I need to get out of my brain.

Am I the only one who ever feels this way???? 
Please tell me I am not alone!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 79 - Beautiful

“Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.”   
~Markus Zusak

Love that sentiment!  It is so true!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 78 - Gently lean into it.

I am tired of the conversation I am having with myself.  I am tired of my whining, moaning and groaning that is going on inside my brain.

So, I know that it is time to make a change.

I've been here before.  Many times.  And, unfortunately, it feels kind of hopeless.  That, is never a good feeling.  And typically at this point, I do one of two things - either I give up (before I even start) and do nothing, or I try to tackle it head on and make a plan, filled with strict rules, crazy guidelines, and unrealistic expectations.  Neither works.  Both leave me feeling defeated and unsuccessful.

So, I know I need to first change my mindset, thoughts, and beliefs about this issue.  Because, these negative feelings I have right now is a guarantee of failure.

I am not sure I know how to change my mindset, thoughts and beliefs about this feels so ingrained into who I am.

But, I have done it before, for other issues.  And, once I wrap my brain (and heart) around a new way of living and thinking and being - it feels easier.

So I know I can do this!    ...Right?

Truth be told, right now, I am not sure.  I am feeling vulnerable and insecure and, well, scared.  But I think that instead of giving up, or tackling head on, I need to gently lean into it. 

Yep, maybe I need to lean into and feel my vulnerabilities, insecurities, and fears.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day 77 - Happy Saint Patricks Day!

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
~Irish Blessing

Have fun celebrating the day of Leprechauns!!!!!
And, for those who are so inclined, drink a green beer for me!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 76 - Learn and Play Signs

I am thrilled to share with you the launch of my husband and my newest creation! 


When my boys were almost 2 and 3 years old, I came up with this harebrained idea for a Christmas gift for our boys. I wanted to give them road signs, their size, so that they could “create” their own city and encourage imaginative play. After searching for them in stores and online, I did not find what I wanted and decided that my husband and I could make them. When Christmas day arrived, we had two stop, and one construction zone, rail road, and school crossing signs wrapped and under the tree. As the boys opened the signs they were thrilled! 
Alex, age 5

And since that day, these 5 signs have been an integral part of their play.
  • One favorite way to play with the signs is to draw chalk roads on our drive way and place the signs through out the town and get their tricycles, scooters, and other riding toys and travel around in their city.
  • Another favorite memory for me is that when our road was being paved, the boys spend the day in the front yard watching the construction. The first thing that they did, when the construction vehicles arrived on the street, was grab the construction zone sign and place it in, boldly on the front sidewalk.
  • Now that the boys are riding two wheelers, they now use the signs to designate areas. For instance, often they place the rail road crossing near the sidewalk, which becomes the “railroad” and they take turns being the train.
These signs are now 3 1/2 years old and are in great condition – and we use the outside!

Recently a neighbor asked us where we got them, because he wanted to get some for his grandson.  That is when I thought - "Hey, we could create these for other kids."  So that is what my husband and I did.

Today, the website is LIVE!

And, the first 10 In Search Of Me In Mommy readers
who place an order recieve 20% off!
To get the discount, just use coupon code: "MOMMY"


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day 75 - Happy 10th Birthday Mocha!

Today, our 90 pound Chocolate lab, Mocha, turns 10 years old!  She has been such a wonderful part of our family.  So, today in honor of Mocha's birthday, here is a story about her and her best bud.

Starting when Alex, my oldest (now 7 years old), was just 3 months old, a surefire way to see him smile and giggle was Mocha.  Whenever Mocha was near, Alex would watch her - following her every move!  And, as soon as he could, he reached out and grabbed for her.  Throughout Alex's first year, he began to interact with Mocha more, by giving her chew toys and playing tug.  Mocha was always so gentle!  And Alex was enthralled with her!

They were each other's first playmate.  And it was adorable to watch our cute chubby baby playing with this large, dopey-looking dog.  They seemed to truly understand each other at some level.

So, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised...but I was...

One evening Jeff (my husband), Alex (about 1 year old at the time) and I were in the family room and Mocha bounded into the room.  Alex immediately looked up at her and with a big grin, he spoke his first word...  "Mo-kahh".

Jeff and I looked at each other. 
"Did he just say 'Mocha'?"  I asked.
Jeff replied, "I think so."
And then, as if to prove himself, Alex again exclaimed, "Mo-kahhh!"

Yep, my Alex's first word was not, "Mama" (much to my dismay), or even "Dada".  Nope, it was "Mocha!"

And, I suppose it is fitting - since they are such good friend!

Happy 10th Birthday Mocha!
(that's 70 years old, to you and me)

What was your child's first word?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 74 - Acknowledging and Celebrating

For a long time, I have known that I have a hard time acknowledging and celebrating my accomplishments.  In my mind, stuff I do is "no big deal" or worse yet, "should have been better or more."

 It is so easy for me to dismiss or diminish anything that I do.  Second nature, perhaps?

 This theme runs rampant in my life...
  • A committee that I am the chair of wins an award and I reply..."Well, I am sure that there weren't many other people who applied."
  • I complete a triathlon and I reply..."Yep, but it was only a sprint triathlon."
  • I get a compliment and I reply..."Oh it's no big deal."

And, again today, the end of 21 Day Challenge that I successfully accomplished, and I should have felt thrilled!  Yet instead, I felt like it wasn't good enough - "I should have done more."  "I should have pushed myself harder."  "I half-assed it."  "It was too easy."...  Yep, I diminished and dismissed my accomplishment, as usual.

But today, during a conversation with Coach Joelle and friends, I became aware of something different.  (spoiler alter:  Aha Moment occurred) 

I realized that the acknowledgement and celebration is not just about the fluffy "Rah Rahs" and "WooHooies".  It's not just about the confetti and balloons.
Nope, Acknowledging and Celebrating is so much more!
Acknowledging and Celebrating is about:
1st, owning who I am and
2nd, experiencing the joy of life! 
(dare I say, "experiencing the joy of my life?!!?")

Diminishing and dismissing JOYSeriously?

That seems absolutely ridiculous!!!!!

So, while I am exactly sure what to do from here, this awareness is a big, HUGE, deal! 

And that, makes me smile!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day 73 - Daylight Savings Time

This morning I woke up late.  Which was about the same time I woke yesterday morning, and the morning before, and the morning before, and the morning before... 

Which was the same time...except that, prior to Sunday, Monday and today, I was NOT late.

And, mostly, I am not a person who shows up late...  Mostly, I am a person who is on time...early, even.

Blasted Daylight Savings Time (DST)!

The simple one hour time change has messed with me, again!

I am hopeful that tomorrow I will turn the corner and get back on schedule... 
or is it re-schedule?

But, I know that, eventually, I will get there.  Always do...

And, now, if I can only figure out how to change the clock in my car!
You'd like after owning the car for 7 years I'd know how to do that by now...but alas, I am still as clueless as I was in 2005!

Happy DST!

ps... Yep, I do know that posting this on Sunday or Monday would have much more timely.  - Oh, the irony!

pss... It is all DST's fault that this post is late.  - just sayin'  :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 72 - Light at the end of the tunnel!

Ahhhh...I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!
February was a blur...I had so much going on.  Too much, perhaps...?

The promises and commitments I made were pushed to the limits, put on the back burner, and I was holding on to them by a thread.  But now as things, slowly, one by one, are getting crossed off my list and I feel much lighter and free!  I have more hope and energy - and more time to refocus and re-dream!

It's like spring...and, coincidentally (or not), here in Cleveland, the weather has been warming, the flowers are beginning to bud and everything is starting to feel brand new, again.

I, too, am starting to feel brand new again!
And, it feels so wonderful!

The beautiful spring came;
and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.
—Harriet Ann Jacobs

Are you feeling your "Spring"?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day 71 - Being a Monkey

Yesterday a good friend of mine, Mary Riley, had a spectacular open house for her new business Synergy Sports Massage.  Along with doing incredible sports massages, Synergy also offers Anti-Gravity Yoga

If you are wondering what Anti-Gravity Yoga is...imagine Cirque Du Soleil and then add Yoga.

At the Open House, the yoga instructors were there and we had the opportunity to try some poses.

Massage Therapist Maria
in "Monkey Pose"
And, being the non-svelte and overweight woman that I (currently) am, I was a bit unsure about hang upside down.  Many people were trying it out, and "Monkey Pose" looked simple enough.  So I decided "what the hell" and tried to attempt it. 

But when I was in the hammock getting into position, I was a wee-bit scared.

Who am I kidding...I was scared to death! 

I was afraid that I wasn't strong enough.  And, that I was too fat to do it.  And, that I would look ridiculous.  And, of course, I was afraid that I would fall on my head and make a big scene!  The last thing that Mary needed at her Open House was a 911 call and the drama of paramedics whisking me away on a stretcher.

So I almost didn't do it.  In fact, I got off the hammock and walked away, momentarily giving up. 

But, I went back.  And tried again.  Thankfully, Amy, my instructor was incredibly patient and encouraging.  (Thanks AMY!) 

And I did it! 
I hung upside down like a monkey!  And it felt so good - crazy, but GOOD!

Me, hanging out, after being a monkey!

For me, the best part was that I pushed through my fear!!!

How have you pushed through your fear?

ps... And, now, I can't wait to sign up for some Anti-Gravity Yoga classes!  I know they are going to ROCK!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Day 70 - Good Energy

Yesterday I talked about energy drains!   Today, I want to focus on the positive...all the things that gives me good energy.

Stuff like...
being creative
good friends
a good nights sleep
being goofy
being optimistic
having fun
concurring fear
sunny days
Plus more...

What gives you good energy?